Portuguese manufacturer Bitcoin Já launched its first Bitcoin ATM in Lisbon over the weekend
The company is a brand new name in the world of bitcoin ATMs, so this is not only its first bitcoin machine in Portugal, but also the world.
The launch of the ‘BJATM1’ model took place at the ATM’s permanent location, Lisbon’s @Cinema theatre, on Saturday, 4th October.
Bitcoin Já describes its ATM as a versatile, feature rich and highly scalable system. Being a two-way machine, it currently allows users to buy or sell bitcoins for fiat currency.
However, the company said it is already working on software updates that will enable support for altcoins and PayPal payments, as well as certain types of service payments.
CoinDesk discussed the launch with Bitcoin Já founder Joaquim Lambiza, who was keen to note that the machine had been extensively tested by his team and some members of Lisbon’s bitcoin community.
Lambiza has previously worked as a partner at IBM and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he was responsible for several global IT projects.
“I left IBM to dedicate myself to my two passions – aviation and finding the disruptive technology that will change our lives. I found that in the block chain technology,” Lambiza told CoinDesk.
Lambiza said he decided to launch an ATM in Portugal last January, but was not satisfied with the approach or returns offered by existing solutions. His solution? To create his own from scratch.
“A very reputable Portuguese OEM kiosk manufacturer, Partteam, had an OEM ATM kiosk design, so it was just natural that we ordered the product. I joined together highly experienced hardware and software experts, coupled with business know-how, and created the Bitcoin Já ATM model BJATM1.”
He added that Bitcoin Já plans to sell ATMs rather than operate them, with the exception of the Lisbon installation which doubles as the company’s showrooms. Therefore the company will not charge a fee to operators for basic functionality.
The project was funded solely by Bitcoin Já.
Appealing to operators
Lambiza said his system is very scalable, and thus allows variety of features to potential operators – whether they decide to operate just one machine or a cluster of them.
Operators can also either choose a hot wallet or one of a number of supported exchange services. The Lisbon unit will use a hot wallet, with a 3% fee to be levied from customers.
What sets the ATM apart from the rest of the competition, he indicated, is the guiding design concept employed by the team, emphasising community development and operator profitability. It allows for a lot of scalability, customisation and more revenue for potential operators.
“In my opinion, keeping the operator profitable will help grow the network and indirectly promote and grow the crypto-currency industry,” Lamboza explained.
The upcoming addition of PayPal and service payments, Lamboza argues, will increase both flexibility and revenue for the operator, rendering the units more attractive compared with other firms’ products
Bank ATM warning
The statement pointed out that bitcoin ATMs are not integrated with the country’s ATM system and that digital currencies are unsafe and unregulated.
As with the many previous cautionary statements issued by European regulators, it names volatility, lack of regulation and consumer protection mechanisms, AML issues and potential criminal activities as the bank’s main concerns.
However, the warning says nothing about the legality of operating and using bitcoin ATMs, which remain legal in Portugal
The publication also reported that Algarve is expected to get its first bitcoin ATM soon.