QwikBit will launch the Isle of Man’s first bitcoin ATM today at a pub in the island’s capital, Douglas.
As Thirsty Pigeon customers can already buy food and beverages in exchange for bitcoin, the venue was “an obvious choice” to home the Lamassu machine, QuikBit said.
Robert McAleer, the pub's owner, added that although he only began accepting the digital currency two weeks ago, bitcoin business is already booming: “more and more customers have come to the bar, looking to spend their bitcoins on a decent pint,” he said.
To celebrate the ATM launch, McAleer is offering a 10% discount on all food and drink purchases made with the digital currency.
The launch of the ATM was previously delayed as QwikBit worked on a software update to address security concerns from local law enforcement.
However, the company's new update, dubbed Qwik-Screen, is now fully functional. Having registered in advance, users must provide standard AML documentation such as an ID card and a proof of address before they can use QwikBit's ATM.
Once a user's information is verified, their account is activated and can be linked to their smartphone using an random authentication tool Google authenticator.
The user is then issued with a four-digit PIN. This, coupled with the Google authenticator code, will verify the user’s identity on the QwikBit ATM network.
QwikBit's chief operating officer Stan Ho said this is the first time a third party has coded a software update for a Lamassu machine. He added that the two businesses collaborated in the run up to launch to ensure the update was implemented successfully.
Isle of Man rolls out the red carpet
The Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission (FSC), the jurisdiction’s chief financial regulator, has already issued comprehensive clarification of its position on digital currencies.
The island has already attracted a number of bitcoin businesses and will host the first annual Crypto Valley Summit in September. QwikBit believes its software update will go a long way toward complying with the jurisdiction's forthcoming regulatory framework.
Having liaised with local regulators and Jason Kelly, vice chairman of the Manx Digital Currency Association, Ho explained:
“It’s a sensible solution [as] later this year [...] businesses operating in the cryptocurrency sector may be required to comply with anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorist legislation.”
Lamassu CEO Zach Harvey said the Isle of Man is poised to become a “financial centre of digital currencies” and praised QwikBit's efforts to prepare for the ATM's launch.
First Manhattan, then Brighton
QwikBit’s bitcoin ATM joins an ever expanding network of digital currency teller machines across the world.
Today alone, two other Lamassu machines have been launched in Manhattan, New York, and Brighton, England. South Africa also got its first bitcoin ATM this week.
Last week, CAVIRTEX announced plans to expand its operations and bring an additional 10 ATMs to Canada's malls and tourist spots.
For more details on where you can find a BitAccess ATM or any other bitcoin ATM in your area, visit the CoinDesk Bitcoin ATM Map.
Douglas, Isle Of Man image via Shutterstock