Economy

I put the euro, withdraw bitcoins. Afternoon at the digital currency ATM

Luca Bianco

ATM Bitcoin in Rome

In the Esquilino neighborhood, a few steps from Rome’s Termini station, residents note a special presence. We are in Via Emanuele Filiberto. Those who pass in front of it cannot help but notice. The reaction is automatic. Eyes immediately fall on the sign. That’s where that weird written word, in capital letters, has been on everyone’s lips lately: Bitcoin. Yes, even in Italy there are branches where you can withdraw the most famous cryptocurrency in the world. As if it were an ATM. These are Bitcoin ATMs, and in the capital there are at least 3 ATMs across Italy, according to the latest Available data, there are more than 70. Where are they located? Especially in big cities. Or in very private places, like the bitcoin counter It is located in Livigno, a stone’s throw from the Swiss border, in the province of Sondrio. But only because that region has the status of duty-free zone. tax issue.

In fact, installation is slow. Especially if we compare the Italian numbers with the numbers of other countries. employment FeinboldYou can find the updated data. The vast majority of branches are concentrated in North America (more than 26,000, or 93.5% of the world’s installed machines). The rest are almost all in Europe (4.5%). The numbers are irrelevant, however, in Africa and Latin America. They are even banned in China. A purely western phenomenon? For now, yes. One thing is for sure: as Finbold points out, the growing proliferation of Bitcoin ATMs (in 2021, more than 10 thousand new ATMs were installed in the world) is closely related to the explosion of the cryptocurrency phenomenon.

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In Italy, it was said, things are slow: even crypto ATM facilities are under the eyes of the Bank of Italy. According to what was written by the Financial Intelligence Unit of Via Nazionale in 2021 Annual ReportAdditional analyzes focused on the phenomenon of buying / selling cryptocurrencies through ATMs, which are installed in the commercial premises of Italian companies operating on behalf of a foreign VASP (Entity that manages crypto assets, editor). In such cases, large cash payments are recorded in the company’s accounts, contrary to the economic features of the executed activity (small retail stores), followed by transfers abroad in favor of VASP. And again: “The picture of difficult control appears in the phenomenon of” crypto-ATMs “, due to the inherent capacity of the participating companies and the lack of service regulation.” In short, these ATMs lend themselves easily to “dirty” small cash money laundering operations.

Luca Bianco, The Huffington Post, Italy

ATM Bitcoin in Rome

Example? In 2020, the Polish company Shitcoins, which is installing hundreds of ATMs across Europe – including one in Rome – prevented by the German supervisory authorities. In Germany, to manage cryptocurrencies, you must have permission, because cryptocurrencies are equivalent to financial instruments there. However, in Italy, ATMs of the Polish company can remain safely open. Without certain rules to be respected: using the counter – then loading or withdrawing money – no need for that to present their identity. A gift from heaven for those who do not want to leave traces and clean money in peace.

“I don’t know what other people do with it, but I only come to fill my wallet (Digital wallet where cryptocurrencies are stored, editor) “An ATM patron in Via Filiberto tells HuffPost. Very young – he will be a little over twenty years old – Michele is just one of many Italian men and not just those with a passion for the cryptocurrency world. On the other hand, in Bubble times – the value of bitcoin continues to rise – it pays to invest in the coin designed by Satoshi Nakamoto.” A lot of people come. Especially in the last month… “Italians and foreigners, but all young men,” tells us a Pakistani shopkeeper who has his business next to an ATM.

Sitting at the tables of the nearby Chinese bar, it is possible to notice a high turnout, especially in the late afternoon. But doubt arises: if Bitcoin is a digital currency, and it does not actually exist, what will those who use the counter pull? “You connect your phone, where your wallet is, to an ATM and sell your Satoshi for current currency.” Satoshi is the “cents” of bitcoin. 1 bitcoin = 100 million satoshis. “Once the process is over, collect the euro banknotes,” explains Michel. “You can also do the opposite process. Put the euro in an ATM and charge your wallet with Satoshi.”

It looks very convenient, especially for those who want to quickly change the “dirty” money. “Well… Thanks to the work of Blockchain, you can remain anonymous when exchanging Euros for cryptocurrency. But don’t believe that someone knows what the money goes into in this ATM. And also because there is a daily spending limit of 1000-2000 Euros” . Numbers of small deals, at most.

But Michelle says nothing more about this. After speaking with him, the reporter stayed another hour in the opposite bar. And in less than sixty minutes, he saw 3 more people praying. They are all very young. But unlike Michelle, they didn’t really want to talk. A big crowd, for being a cryptocurrency that doesn’t really exist.

Luca Bianco, The Huffington Post, Italy

ATM Bitcoin in Rome

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