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Bypassing Capital Controls: 1,000 Bitcoin ATMs to be installed in Greece

Have you lost trust to Greek banks? Do you hate the Euro? Do you feel the capital controls restrict your business and private activities?No problem. There are alternatives. The Bitcoins, for example, the web-based digital currency. In order to facilitate business activities free of capital controls and the uro and away form the Greke banks, there are allegedly plans to install 1,000 Bitcoins ATMs in order to help companies overcome the restrictions and personal aversions, if we come to believe the reports.


According to a report of Coin Telegraph, a website on the future of money, Bitcoin service provider and exchange Cubits has partnered with Greek bitcoin exchange BTCGreece to install the units to help small and medium sized businesses move money.

“We are creating the ecosystem of bitcoin and blockchain solutions in the Greek market.” Thanos Marinos, the found of the only Greece-based bitcoin exchange BTCGreece, told CoinTelegraph. “That will include the rollout of 1,000 ATMs and solutions for the e-commerce and tourism industry.”

Today, many Greek businesses have failed to pay their suppliers and partners outside of the country due to the countries record high financial problems and the recent capital controls, which froze all bank accounts, credit cards and debit cards in the country for weeks.

The Greek government still restricts the weekly withdrawal limit for bank accounts and debit cards to US$464.76 [€420] per week. To help small and medium sized companies send payments abroad, the two companies plan to develop a cross border payment system, which will allow small businesses to send payments quickly, at low cost. Marinos:

“Btcgreece and Cubits are offering a solution to the small and medium sized businesses to keep their operations, pay their invoices outside of Greece, pay for datacenter and servers, without the limitations imposed by the banks under capital controls.”

Also we will integrate some of the Greek charities onboard Cubits, as Cubits have done on a massive scale with the collaboration with Wikando,” added Marinos.

Additionally, bitcoin adoption in Greece is growing rapidly, he added. Individuals and business are beginning to recognize the advantages of bitcoin and its decentralized nature.

“Bitcoin adoption is happening and in a very fast pace,” explained Marinos. “Bitcoin in Greece is not just hype but a solution to day to day problems of people and businesses under capital controls. Also a key factor is that the trust for the traditional banking system is long gone and people are open to bitcoin.”

At the beginning of July, Marinos told Reuters that New customers depositing at least 50 euros with BTCGreece rose by 400 percent to “a few thousand” between May and June.” (Coin Telegraph)

Bitcoin is a web-based digital currency invented six years ago that floats freely and is not backed by a government or central bank. Its value has been highly volatile.

However, I have a huge question here: since Bitcoin is a digital currency, how the ATMs will operate in practice? Will they be loaded with Bitcoins but they will spit uros? And how can one transfer Euro via Bitcoins abroad? Feed the ATMs with euro, exchange them into Bitcoins, make the payment, then exchange the Bitcoins again to Euro or whatever other currency?

And: don’t Bitcoins ATMs need a Bank of Greece/Greek government license?

KTG would appreciate a reasonable explanation 🙂

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  1. Regarding bitcoin ATMs, they operate like this: you scan a QR code with your phone’s camera, that way you connect your e-wallet to the ATM. Then you insert euros and the ATM charges the equivalent amount in bitcoins into your e-wallet. The opposite operation (insert bitcoin, get cash bills) is something I never really saw, but these companies might do it.

    Moreover, until now you could buy bitcoins via websites. To buy them you look for a company that offers the service, each of them offers a different price based on speculation, then you pay using paypal or bank transfer, which usually requires the payment of a fee.

    When it comes to the ATM, you don’t pay fees and you buy to concrete companies, which are the ones that invested in the ATMs.

    Even more, ATMs software and hardware can be bought with bitcoins. They are made to work in a disributed way, which means you can have an ATM at home if you want, or in your kiosk.

  2. The problem I see is that bitcoins are “mined” through complex calculations, meaning there is no way to controll how many of them get created, meaning there will most likely be too many or not enough of them. Suppose the whole of greece wanted to switch, printing new bills is easy, getting new bitcoins takes time. Or the opposite, the first one with an actual, functioning quantum computer will be a bit coin trillionaire.

    • I have always wondered what the scam behind bitcoins is… It is obviously a very well designed one, but I wouldn’t trust it any more than I would trust a bank, meaning, I don’t trust the bitcoin thing one “bit”… It has a serious smell of foul play about it…

      • Well its the closest thing to online CASH you can get, meaning unlike paypal or regular bank accounts the money isnt tracable. As such they do their job and it also wouldnt be possible to just create millions at the tip of a finger, even modern pcs will take a long time calculating to create a single one. I think mostly their used for online blackmarkets and I dont even want to know what theyre selling.
        So yeah serious smell of foul play hits the nail on the head.

      • varoufakis has discussed bitcoin at some length on his blog, in the past. His conclusion (as I recall) is that as there is nothing to back it, it relies 100% on confidence and is even more risky than our wonderful finance houses and central banks.

        Also, there has been a court case with the founder of bitcoin accused of embezzling money from the complex setup. This is guaranteed to happen: the more obscure and complex a system, the easier it is for people to steal money from it.

    • the bitcoin amount is limited to 21 million units. so the idea is that a single person cannot ”print,mine” more bitcoins/money than that, at least that is the idea. i am not sure if you can hack / cheat the system, but so far, it seemed safe.
      but bitcoin banks and internet trading portals have been hacked, basically robbing a internet bank and people loosing their money.
      the value can also vary by huge amounts, one bitcoin was worth ~1000 dollar in november 2013, now there around 250 dollars.

      ( check it here )

      ”mining” is done by calculating certain algorithms and takes some processing powers and time, so that people even link their pc to mine one coin and then split the value. so you can make money with your pc, but because it takes so long, the cost of electricity to run your pc day and night can lower you profit severely.

      btw i have read somewhere that part of greek financial aid ( from the greek government ) was cheap or free electricity for families in need. if that is right it would be possible to cheat the system to use cheap / free electricity to mine bitcoins and the profits should not be traceable if you are careful.
      you maybe could abuse the government system that way to get free money. but probably the high electricity bill would give you away.

      but you would damage the state economy for your own gain and every citizen including yourself by doing that.

  3. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    So first they discriminate the people who want real money and force them to get debit cards (1 million since bank holidays) and now the next step: Out of people who have no mobile they make subhumans and this in a time where minimum 1/3 of the people gots no connection to internet.
    To not be allowed to pay cash bills over 70 Euros is the next step and in this context even for European tourists the Euro makes no sense, as they pay more fees at an ATM than they ever would have paid for traveller cheques or change into Drachma.

  4. You guys should read Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon” if you’re interested in the future of Bitcoins. Guy is a genius.