by Joseph Young
Hranilnica LON, a Slovenian savings bank better recognized as LON, will officially become the first regulated bank in the world to sell bitcoin directly from its existing ATMs.
On September 25, during a corporate press conference which was livestreamed on various social media platforms, LON introduced its latest bitcoin service integrated into its ATMs that are installed and located throughout the country. According to the bank’s representative, LON customers are now able to purchase bitcoin directly from its ATMs by purchasing bitcoin coupons.
“Bitcoin coupons from now on can also be purchased at our classical ATMs. We are the first and currently the only one in the world that can do this.”
Increase in Liquidity, Beneficial For Adoption of Bitcoin
The majority of new and beginner cryptocurrency users, investors, and traders still struggle to purchase and sell bitcoin through regulated bitcoin trading platforms and cryptocurrency exchanges. In most regions such as the US, South Korea, Japan, and Europe, bitcoin trading platforms require users to comply with strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) policies, complicating the process of verifying bitcoin trading accounts.
In some countries including South Korea, the AML and KYC verification processes are significantly more complex and inefficient. South Korean bitcoin trading platforms require traders to submit relevant bank documents, personal identification, and carry out face-to-face interviews to increase daily trading limits. Thus, the process of creating an account and having it manually verified by bitcoin exchange administrators could be exceedingly difficult and challenging for users not familiar with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
In South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines, bitcoin service providers including Coinplug and Coins.ph allow customers to purchase readily available bitcoin coupons in convenience stores such as GS25 and 7-Eleven. Specifically, as BTCManager previously reported, Coinplug has enabled its app users to purchase bitcoin from tens of thousands of GS25 and Family Mart stores located in South Korea.
Still, the applications of Coinplug and Coins.ph that allow users to purchase bitcoin in the form of coupons at convenience stores require users to verify their identities. In contrast, LON allows anyone to use its ATMs to purchase bitcoin coupons without prior verification and complex processes.
LON is a major savings bank within the Slovenian finance industry. LON’s announcement of direct bitcoin integration attracted significant mainstream media coverage, further increasing the demand for the cryptocurrency.
In various online bitcoin communities including Bitcoin Reddit, local Slovenian developers, entrepreneurs, and employees working for cryptocurrency startups have revealed that the Slovenian cryptocurrency market is growing at a rapid rate with friendly regulatory frameworks imposed by the government.
“There are many stuff going on in Slovenia (even at government level) that will make this tiny country the new Silicon Valley. I am a Slovenian working fulltime for a crypto company,” said a Reddit user.
In general, central banks and governments in Europe are optimistic toward bitcoin. Earlier in September, the Bank of Finland released a research paper which encouraged economists to study the “marvelous structure of bitcoin,” the world’s first truly decentralized and peer-to-peer financial network. The paper read:
“Bitcoin is not regulated. It cannot be regulated. There is no need to regulate it because as a system it is committed to the protocol as is and the transaction fees it charges the users are determined by the users independently of the miners’ efforts. Bitcoin’s design as an economic system is revolutionary and therefore would merit an economist’s attention and scrutiny even if it had not been functional. Its apparent functionality and usefulness should further encourage economists to study this marvelous structure.”
A growing number of both central and commercial banks are beginning to demonstrate optimism toward bitcoin and its technology. As more financial institutions like LON integrate bitcoin and offer services around the digital currency, the mainstream adoption of bitcoin will increase at a rapid rate.