As Bitcoin adoption across Europe grows, we have news from Prague that ATM machines selling Bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins in exchange for fiat have been installed in ten of its metro/subway stations.

General Bytes, which has offices in both Europe and United States, the second largest “Bitcoin ATM” (BATM or BTM for short) manufacturer in the world, has announced that it has installed its BATMTwo machines at ten metro stations in central Prague in the Czech Republic.

These machines can be configured to provide a wide variety of cryptocurrencies; for example, the machine at “Můstek” station sells Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Dash (DASH), and Monero (XMR).

Here are a couple of photos from one of these stations:  

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These BATMTwo machines, which cost either $2,999 or $3,999 (depending on size, i.e. bank note capacity), are uni-directional (meaning that they only sell crypto in exchange for cash) and have the following features:

  • 7″ screen 
  • support for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and many types of altcoins (even Dogecoin!)
  • extensible via an API to allow the owner of the machine to create and sell his/her own coins/tokens
  • no price volatility risk since “purchases are made on the configured cryptocurrency exchange at the time of cash insertion”
  • support for several crypto exchanges (including Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Coinbase, and Kraken)
  • full support for even the tightest AML (Anti Money Laundering) and KYC (Know Your Client) regulations since customer identity can be (optionally) checked identity can(optionally) be checked “using the fingerprint reader, cell phone number verification, id card scan or selfie verification”

On 31 July 2017, the Czech National Bank (CNB) indicated in a statement titled “Don’t be afraid of bitcoin” that it did not see Bitcoin as a viable alternative to fiat due to the former’s inherent price volatility. Since the CNB does not recognize Bitcoin as currency, it is quite likely that the Czech government will eventually declare Bitcoin to be (intangible) personal property (just like in United States, Canada, and the UK), which means that a taxable event occurs if Bitcoin is exchanged for good/services; in the Czech Republic, 15% capital gains tax would apply to any profit in such a transaction (i.e. the difference between the cost of acquiring the bitcoin and the market price of the bitcoin at the time it was given to a supplier of goods/services).

Despite this lack of regulatory clarity, as acknowledged by the Czech central bank, Prague remains a “home to a strong community of cryptocurrency supporters and users,” and a wide variety of businesses — such as cafes, co-working spaces, and cinemas — are happy to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment (sometimes, even exclusively so). Furthermore, on 23 May 2018, Czech energy company Pražská Plynárenská announced that it was planning to soon accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.

According to “Coin ATM Radar”, there are currently 46 Bitcoin ATMs in the Czech Republic, with 34 of these located in the city of Prague.


Featured Image Credit: Photo by “Jaromír Kavan” via Unsplash