The Mexican border town of Tijuana is to see the launch of two digital currency-toting ATMs on Thursday or Friday of this week, and with an interesting twist – in addition to the expected provision of bitcoin, the ATMs will support litecoin and dogecoin too.
Tijuana is a popular spot for US tourists, including many geeky and potentially bitcoin-friendly college kids who venture south of the border to let their hair down. What happens in Tijuana stays in Tijuana, they say, apart from some less than legal 'souvenirs' that sometimes find their way back to the US.
The company launching the ATMs is called Bitcoin42, and it says that one of the units will accept US dollars and the other Mexican pesos, so it is clear much of the target audience is expected to show up with greenbacks.
Bitcoin42 says these aren't just the first bitcoin ATMs in Mexico, they are the first units in the whole of Latin America.
The ATM hardware is being provided by GenesisCoin, which shipped its first three units to Canada this week, though those have yet to be deployed.
"Our main objective is a positive contribution to the potential of all living beings to develop, today and in the future. Our business model focuses on cultural, social, ecological, and economical projects that aim to tackle challenges in our society by developing creative solutions," the company said. It added:
"Ethical and social responsibility is important to us. We are inspired by the Institute for Social Banking and the Economy for the Common Good, which received larger popularity since the banking crisis."
Bitcoin42 is putting its money where its mouth is: the company will be giving 10% of all profits generated by the ATMs to non-profit associations in Tijuana. Customers will even be able to choose the cause they wish to donate to.
Bitcoin42 is also advocating the use of cyprocurrencies by non-profit organisations, as it believes cryptocurrencies can help non-profits reduce their administration costs and move funds in faster, with more transparency:
"Through this, anybody can become a [truly] independent auditor, since one can provide information to verify balances and transactions, and also allow the public to see how much in donations has been received and where it went."
The company did not say why it chose to add dogecoin and litecoin to the list of supported currencies, but in a forum post one of the team members said dogecoin was proposed by the developer of the ATM – and that Bitcoin42 also "really likes dogs".
Dogecoin was never envisioned as a serious digital currency and as a result it doesn't get much attention from cryptocurrency businesses or investors, although there is a large and vibrant community behind it.
Last month a team of dogecoin lovers set up a DIY dogecoin ATM at the CoinFest digital currency festival in Vancouver, Canada.