Namibia gets first bitcoin ATM

NAMIBIA’S first bitcoin automatic teller machine (ATM) was installed in Windhoek in February, with more than 200 Namibians making use of it so far.

Aminah Ndeulita, the marketing manager at Crypto Kiosk Investment, which operates the ATM, says cryptocurrencies have proven to be a useful instrument for frictionless cross-border payments, facilitating fast transactions with low fees.

Cryptocurrency can be used to transfer value on a peer-to-peer basis, when two parties want to fully benefit from their advantages over traditional money.

Crypto Kiosk Investment is a registered virtual asset service provider, which is in business to conduct the transfer of virtual assets, with an instrument enabling the administration of virtual assets, called the Crypto Kiosk, at Maerua Mall in Windhoek.

It operates in full compliance with the Namibia’s Financial Intelligence Centre, and all applicable Namibian and international laws.

Bitcoin ATMs are machines through which users can liquidate their cryptocurrency into fiat currency or cash directly from their crypto wallets, and turn this into cryptocurrency sent directly to their crypto wallets, Ndeulita says.

“The ATM providers require users to have an existing crypto wallet to transact on the machine, and it looks like a traditional ATM, but does not connect to a bank account. Instead, it connects the user directly to a crypto-exchange or private wallet,” she says.

The Crypto Kiosk requests certain information from the user, such as their Namibian ID, postal address, and a selfie, before allowing transactions.

Additionally, if a client is transacting more than N$5 000, they would need to submit their residential address and a copy of their ID to comply with the current regulatory frameworks.

Clients receive receipts as proof of transactions.

“According to a recent report by Coin ATM Radar, bitcoin ATMs around the world have risen. Over 882 bitcoin ATMs have already been added in the first 10 days of June alone,” Ndeulita says.

She says the bitcoin ATM industry has reached a milestone, as the number of machines installed worldwide has surpassed 38 000 in the eight years since the first machine was installed in 2013.

There are currently 38 317 bitcoin ATMs spread across 77 countries in the world.

As blockchain-based financial services develop as an industry, ATMs are expected to become an essential gateway for most people, including the underbanked.

“We are optimistic that our company will bring user-friendly and convenient services to more people across the country, as we grow and establish more crypto kiosks nationwide,” Ndeulita says.

Leo Nepolo, a local bitcoin ATM client, has been using cryptocurrency since 2014.

“I am a crypto enthusiast, and the ATM is very easy to use. The world has now changed digitally. It’s a big innovation. We encourage the Bank of Namibia to step up and regulate it,” he says.

Jason Naneo, another client, says he has used the ATM on two occasions, and has had positive experiences so far.