UPDATE: The venue for the ATM has now been moved to GSM Solutions, is fully installed and will launch at 10am on 13/03/2014.
A Lamassu bitcoin ATM machine, from Irish provider BitVendo, is to be launched at Hippety’s Cafe in the Temple Bar area of Dublin in the next few days.
With the new ATM just a stone’s throw from the Central Bank of Ireland, “there’s no way the Irish banks can ignore bitcoin now”, BitVendo, told CoinDesk.
Coming hot on the heels of the installation of the UK’s first bitcoin ATM in London, BitVendo say that it intends to roll out ATMs across Ireland and the UK, with three more expected this year.
The 2008 financial crisis hit Ireland particularly hard. Although the worst has now passed, the country had to go cap in hand to the EU and IMF for billions of euros in bailout money, which came with harsh strings attached.
At the end of 2013, it finally left the bailout programme, but distrust in the banking system has remained, says Giles Byrne, head of marketing at BitVendo:
“Initially people think the banks are behind bitcoin and are instantly turned off. There is huge hatred towards the banking system here, and some people want to support us purely to spite the banks.”
As in other countries, bitcoin services and groups have begun to pop-up in Ireland.
These include bitcoin broker Eircoin.net and the Irish Bitcoin Foundation, which in January called for the Irish Central Bank to regulate bitcoin. Irish companies accepting bitcoin include a CCTV provider, a farmhouse B&B and a mobile phone store.
BitVendo was founded in July 2013 and was born out of frustration at the difficulty of buying bitcoin in Ireland, says Byrne:
“We were shocked to see how difficult it was. In Ireland the only people selling it were charging twice the going rate, so at that point we decided something should be done.”
The group then spent $5,000 on an ATM, an investment that could have netted them a $115,000 profit if it had been invested directly in bitcoin, Byrne notes. That discrepancy motivates the team, he says.
As well as providing ATMs, BitVendo intends to offer a brokerage service in future, as well as “very personal cold storage for VIP clients”.
As well as trying to run a profitable business, Byrne says, BitVendo will have to keep fending off loaded media reports associating bitcoin with crime:
“We still haven’t seen our business mentioned in Irish media without the drugs on Silk Road, the Mt. Gox crash or general money laundering being mentioned too. More drugs are bought with cash than bitcoin, but the Irish media enjoys the glamour of crime.”
Bitcoin for Guinness
Meanwhile, the Baggot Inn in central Dublin has revealed on Twitter that it received its first bitcoin payment for a pint of Guinness yesterday. The pub claims this is the first pint of Guinness to be paid for in bitcoin in Ireland.
— The Baggot Inn (@Baggot_Inn) March 4, 2014
Another post on Twitter said a bitcoin ATM is to be installed in the pub over the next few days.
Temple Bar image via Shutterstock