Bitcoin ATM Introduced in Kenya for the First Time
The First East African Bitcoin ATM has been installed in Nairobi. This will enable the users to purchase Bitcoins and Litecoins instantly. Traders can now purchase cryptocurrencies for a minimum of $5 and can pay for them using both dollars and Kenyan shillings.
Speaking of the ATM, Bitcoin entrepreneur Wangechi Kariuki said;
“The transaction is simple, taking less than two minutes; You can get as many Bitcoins as the value of your cash.”
This is the first digital currency ATM in East Africa. South Africa had its digital currency ATM four years ago and has doubled in number since then. But still is outnumbered by the number of such ATMs in the US which is currently in more than 2000 locations.
Digital currencies are becoming more popular in Kenya, despite the warnings from experts. Traders must first set up an account with a Bitcoin trading platform in order to purchase their chosen cryptocurrency, however, it does come with an inbuilt Bitcoin wallet where the digital currency will be stored.
This wallet will contain Bitcoin address, and a QR code, which is then scanned by the ATM in order to identify the account. The users simply have to scan their QR codes and deposit the cash, before clicking on a buy option, where the tokens will then be reflected in the wallet.
Kariuki also said,
“Bitcoins function just like the loyalty points we earn from shopping at supermarkets or the reward points we get from talk time. You can also use them to buy goods or pay for services.”
The ATM is currently serving anywhere between 15-20 people a day, which reflects the interest in cryptocurrencies, particularly among younger people. At the end of last year, the results of a survey showed that Kenya had some of the largest Bitcoin holdings.
Dr. Bitange Ndemo, who is the Chairman of Kenya’s Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence said,
“This is a fast growing technology. A few years back we approached mobile money with the same caution we have for cryptocurrency. But look where we are now…We will soon submit our recommendations from the development of the country’s first blockchain-based cryptocurrency.”
Patrick Njoroge, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, has voiced the concerns, saying;
“Let us understand the opportunities, the pros and cons that cryptocurrencies bring along before we fully plunge along. We are not anti-innovation, we are not anti-cryptocurrency. We support innovation but are concerned about the impact on financial instability and the inherent risks.”
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