Evidence of Bitcoin’s growth in Mexico isn’t found in places where currency is normally bought and sold. It’s found in shopping malls, comics book stores and at a bakery called Pasteleria Nelly.
A casual “Restaurant and Fun Bar” in Altabrisa is the first spot in Mérida to buy and sell Bitcoin, the first digital currency without a central bank or government behind it, with a designated ATM.
Lapa Lapa, a regional chain with several locations across the city, is among the restaurants, tiendas, gas stations, delis, and convenience stores around the world to install Bitcoin teller machines.
The kiosks, which appear similar to normal cash ATMs, surged in 2017, with a 7.6 percent increase in machines worldwide over the past few months. Bitcoin can be bought or redeemed for cash at these machines.
According to the Athena network, which installed the machines, a transaction can be completed in 90 seconds with a smartphone wallet app.
The biggest markets for Bitcoin ATMs reside in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Mom-and-pop shops, gas stations and pawn shops in the U.S. report the machines getting a lot of traffic.
The Athena Bitcoin Network has 55 BTMs in circulation throughout America and the one machine in Mérida. Lapa Lapa’s is one of 12 machines in Mexico. Mexico City and Tijuana each have three, and there is one in a Culiacan shopping mall, a pastry shop in Silao and in comic book shops in Monterrey, Guadalajara and Santiago de Querétaro.
Bitcoin’s value tends to rise and fall. As of Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, the value of a single Bitcoin was down to $13,564.46 USD after a record high $19,511 reached on Dec. 18, 2017.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that was created in 2009 by an unknown computer whizz using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Individual Bitcoins are created by computer code.
Transactions are made without middlemen, so there are no transaction fees and no need to give a real name.
More businesses are beginning to accept them and at some spots, a Bitcoin can even be used to buy pizza.