Malta is fast becoming the blockchain capital of the world, recently introducing 3 crypto friendly laws. In terms of blockchain adoption and acceptance, Malta is miles ahead. Moon Zebra – the Maltese crypto startup behind the two-way crypto ATM – has decided to clean up the reputation of crypto ATMs in Malta following a lot of bad press last year. In 2017 Malta’s first Bitcoin ATM went missing, and charities were scammed out of over €3000. Moon Zebra is installing its first two-way Bitcoin ATM in the Sliema branch of Zanzi homes. With a team of 4 crypto specialists, it specialises in maintaining and installing crypto ATMs and plans to launch a further 2 more in the coming weeks.
What Is A Crypto ATM?
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 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.
Can Crypto ATMs Solve Exchange Centralization?
The creator of Ethereum – Vitalik Buterin – believes that centralized exchanges are evil and must “burn in hell as much as possible.” While Buterin slated these exchanges, he also stated that they are necessary to bridge the gap between centralized currencies (fiat) and decentralized currencies (crypto). What if crypto ATMs could bridge the divide?
Centralized exchanges enable a user to load their account with fiat currencies and then trade those into cryptos. Due to the fact that fiat currencies are inherently centralized, no exchange that accepts fiat will ever be fully decentralized. If crypto ATMs became more common place, they would provide the means for people around the globe to change their cash into crypto, which is then deposited directly into their online (hot) wallets. They can then transfer these into a decentralized exchange and trade into whatever crypto they desire.
However, there are a few catches to this scenario. The first being that currently, there are very few of these ATMs around. Until there is a high enough saturation of them in the world, centralized exchanges won’t be overthrown. For these levels to be achieved, you would need roughly one crypto ATM for every physical ATM – or at least one in every town. The second drawback is that they aren’t very practical. If you want to buy some crypto in the middle of the night, you have to either plan ahead and visit the crypto ATM during the day, or you have to get out of your pajamas and take a trip to the nearest crypto ATM – not very convenient, especially on a cold winter’s night! Until these issues are overcome, crypto ATMs remain somewhat of a novelty item and don’t look likely to overthrow decentralized exchanges.