Hungary’s First Bitcoin ATM Started Operation yesterday

by on August 26, 2014 9:59 am BST

Hungary gets a bitcoin cash machine as the virtual currency craze reaches Budapest when Hungary’s first Bitcoin ATM started operation yesterday at the Anker Klub on Anker köz in the heart of Budapest, the machine’s owner announced.

Users can deposit forint bills in the machine and receive Bitcoins, the digital currency that is gaining traction around the world. If the user has a Bitcoin wallet, the QR code can be read on the device. Anyone who does not have the Bitcoin wallet mobile application can print out a sheet of paper with a QR code representing the purchased units.

Hungary’s central bank has warned about the risks of virtual currency, but István Varga, a former central bank official who was on hand for the machine’s unveiling, is a convert. He said: “This is how it starts, and in the end this will grow throughout society and become a natural part of our everyday lives.”

Though the jury is still out on the long term viability of the electronic currency, there are now around 20 bitcoin dispensers in European countries as its supporters talk it up as a symbol of economic freedom and the future of trade.

Our reporter in Budapest, Andrea Hajagos, concluded: “There is a sign here to show that there is a Bitcoin dispenser inside, and another sticker telling you that Bitcoin is accepted here for purchases. The people who’ve installed this machine have as their goal many more such signs appearing.”

Bitcoins were invented for trade on the internet. They are not issued by a central bank, but are valued based on demand. They are currently valued at around $508, but their value has fluctuated widely, reaching $1,147 last December.

This Bitcoin ATM was created by a firm called Lamassu and is locally owned and operated by Barnabás Debreczen.