A Spanish hotel chain that accepts payment in bitcoin celebrated the launch of a bitcoin ATM in one of its Madrid hotels last night.
One Shot Hotels hosted a cocktail party at its Recoletos 04 venue, which was attended by more than 100 people.
"It was packed. All the Spanish Bitcoin startups were there, along with a lot of bitcoin users and also a few newbies who had a lot of questions to ask," trader Félix Moreno said.
The ATM installed in the hotel is a two-way Robocoin machine, which enables users to both buy and sell bitcoins.
While the official launch was yesterday, the machine has actually been up and running since 2nd October. Enrique de Solís Tello, partner at One Shot Hotels, said the ATM has processed more than $5,000 in transactions since it was installed.
Taking the leap
Solís Tello said he started to think about accepting payment in bitcoin and installing an ATM after speaking to some bitcoiners in Madrid and having a conversation with Antonio Luis Garcia, CEO of Bitcoin Spain, the bitcoin ATM's operator. He added:
One Shot Hotels has been accepting bitcoin payments directly, using the services of BitPay, since 1st October, but customers have been able to pay for their stays in the hotel in bitcoin through intermediaries, such as Destinia and Expedia, for around five months.
New hotels owned by the brand are set to open in London, Barcelona, Seville and Valencia next year, and they will all accept payment in bitcoin, too.
Moreno, who was a volunteer at the Calle Bitcoin event this month that aimed to increase awareness of bitcoin, said it was great to see so many people at the party last night.
He believes bitcoin ATMs are extremely important in increasing awareness of cryptocurrency as they "give bitcoin a lot of visibility" and work in a way most non-bitcoiners are already very familiar with.
At a recent event in Madrid, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that his company had garnered 9,000 new customers in Spain within a month of its launch.
There is an, albeit small, appetite for bitcoin in Spain, with more than 50 bricks-and-mortar stores in Madrid that accept payment in bitcoin and over 200 across the country, according to online bitcoin merchant directory CoinMap.
Moreno said interest in bitcoin in Spain is "growing fast", estimating 40,000 people currently use the digital currency there. He is hopeful this will increase to 100,000 by this time next year.
"The number of users has doubled in the past year. We are still a very small community, but hopefully the next doubling will happen in less than six months," he concluded.
Madrid image via Shutterstock. Event images via Robocoin.