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‘Blockchain Island’ Malta Gets its First Two-Way Bitcoin ATM

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:10 PM
Gerald Fenech
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:10 PM

The Maltese islands continue to be a hotbed for crypto activity.

After the enactment of three new crypto and blockchain laws that set the standard for regulation of these spaces, we have now had the launch of the first two-way Bitcoin ATM by the innovative company MoonZebra . It’s situated at the flagship Quicklets offices on Tower Road in Sliema, an iconic location on the island.

Moon Zebra is a collaboration between Leon Siegmund (aka Lee Winmouth), a digital nomad and self-confessed Bitcoin maximalist who has been assiduously working behind the scenes to create awareness on Bitcoin and the crypto space in general and businessman Jonas Abrahamsson. Siegmund is one of the founders of Bitcoin Club Malta  which regularly organizes events and meetups and which is an anchor point for the local bitcoin business scene.

In exclusive comments to CCN.com, Siegmund explained that the idea of a Bitcoin ATM might not be so high tech, but this will definitely get people more interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general according to his thinking.

When I moved to Malta two years ago there was a not much happening regarding bitcoin and decentralized ledger technology. But within just 2 years and thanks to the collaborative effort of many individuals, something very special happened. In the beginning of 2017, I met Jonas Abrahamsson at the Bitcoin Meetup in Gozo and we tried to find something that would be appreciated by the local Bitcoin community in Malta and our first idea was to set up public trash bins on the island. These would be would be digital and would reward usage with tokens – a great idea I have to say but which never came to fruition. Another idea was a Bitcoin ATM. It is very difficult to operate here because banks are very hostile and don’t want to support us but after much blood, sweat and tears, we are happy to launch.

Crypto friendly Malta gets its first two-way bitcoin ATM

Leon believes that there is a massive potential for commerce and for society as a whole to flourish with Malta as a hub for Bitcoin and crypto in general.

Malta has had a chequered history with regard to Bitcoin ATM’s in general. In 2017 Malta’s first Bitcoin ATM went missing, and charities were scammed out of over €3000 . However Moon Zebra are out to change that perception with this new ATM. With a team of 4 crypto specialists, it specialises in maintaining and installing crypto ATMs and plans to launch further projects in the not too distant future.

What is CryptoATM?

A Crypto ATM gives people the ability to get their hands on crypto similarly to how they would get cash. Users simply have to walk up to the ATM and deposit fiat cash, input their public key, and crypto will be sent to the wallet. Users can also convert crypto back into fiat with the two-way ATM. It also gives people the ability to bypass exchanges and – on some levels – crypto ATMs could solve the issue of exchanges being centralized. Moon Zebra’s crypto ATM will initially only work with Bitcoin although that could change in the future.

Featured image from Shutterstock.