Athena, a U.S manufacturing company, has confirmed its plans to supply El Salvador’s new crypto-based economy with 1500 Bitcoin ATMs.
Through its representative, the Chicago-based firm has confirmed that it will invest at least $1 million to install cryptocurrency ATMs in the country. In its statement, Athena said that it will target regions where residents receive remittances from abroad. The rollout will start in phases, starting with a few dozen machines to establish a business model.
Apart from installing the new machines, Athena promised to hire more staff and open a help desk to streamline crypto operations in El Salvador. Currently, the company operates just two ATMs of this type, one at El Zonte beach called “Bitcoin Beach” and the other one in El Tunco, according to CNN sources. It is operating these two machines as part of an experiment in the country.
In an interview with Reuters, Matias Goldenhörn, Athena Managing Director, revealed more about their communication with El Salvador’s head of state. He said:
“President Nayib Bukele had presented us with a tough challenge of 1,500 ATMs; we will go for that but in phases. We are a private company and we want to ensure that our development in the country is sustainable.”
On June 17, Athena highlighted its plan to expand service delivery in the Latin American nation in the wake of the successful passing of legislation to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender. The company boldly tagged President Bukele when they asked whether a thousand machines would be enough. Bukele responded by saying that he had set his target on a higher figure.
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) June 16, 2021
Goldenhörn strongly believes that the business model in El Salvador is likely to be exponentially different from the United States, which currently has a total of 19419 Bitcoin ATMs based on Coinatmradar data. He added:
“Initially we are going to bring dozens of machines, (we’ll) test what the business model is like in El Salvador, which will probably be different than in the United States.”
Bitcoin adoption plan in El Salvador has already faced stiff resistance from different entities. The World Bank and IMF both refused to assist the country in its transition citing “the environmental concerns and transparency shortcomings.”
On June 22, reports emerged that El Salvador’s deputy opposition leader had filed a lawsuit against Bitcoin legislation terming the new law as “unconstitutional and harmful” in the nation.