Countries in Central America have been taking more pro-crypto positions as the market continues to grow. Last Sunday, the president of El Salvador announced that citizens would have the opportunity to convert their cryptocurrencies to fiat immediately after Bitcoin is recognized as legal tender.
The government would be building the infrastructure, including ATMs, to support a state-issued Bitcoin wallet. Similarly, in Panama, a member of Congress has proposed a bill to lawmakers demanding to make Bitcoin legal tender.
Honduras is also joining the wagon as it has installed its first cryptocurrency ATM.
Honduras’ Crypto ATM, “La Bitcoinera”
TGU Consulting Group, a company based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capital, has reportedly installed the country’s first crypto ATM. Locally named “la bitcoinera,” the ATM allows users to acquire bitcoin and Ethereum using the local lempira currency.
CEO of TGU, 28-year-old Juan Mayen, directed the effort to bring the ATM to Honduras to educate people about virtual assets through first-hand experience. This is according to a Reuters report.
Until now, there was no automated way to buy crypto-currencies,” he said. “You had to do it peer-to-peer, look for someone who … was willing to do it, meet in person and carry X amount of cash, which is very inconvenient and dangerous given the environment in Honduras.
Mayén said his country is already seeing some of the “spillover effects” of El Salvador’s bitcoin adoption. He was able to accomplish this with the help of cryptocurrency billionaire Brock Pierce. Mayén, along with other members of BUIDL – a crypto-themed group made up of Hondurans on Discord – reached out to Pierce. As a result, this led to a meeting with Pierce where they showed him the ATM.
“Congratulations to these local entrepreneurs from BUIDL Honduras for creating the first #BTM in #Honduras”, tweeted Brock Pierce on the 25th of August.
However, Mayén says that his long-term goal is to launch Honduras’ first online crypto exchange in the next few months. He told Yahoo Finance that he feels an increasing urgency to get his crypto exchange off the ground.
This is prompted by the news of El Salvador’s adoption, on top of bitcoin’s latest bull market run. According to the entrepreneur, the longer it takes to launch his exchange, the less bitcoin Honduras’ currency, the Lempira, will be able to buy.
Juan Mayén’s Entrepreneur Journey
After earning his MBA from the University of Memphis in Tennessee, USA, Juan Mayen returned to Honduras. Then along with a team of developers, he started working on BitReal, his crypto exchange.
He talked about the difficulties of starting a business, also stating that launching the exchange was going slower than anticipated. “Starting a business is so hard if you don’t have the connections or the capital,” he said.
For me, trading bitcoin, Ethereum, and NFTs have provided enough capital to sustain myself so I can build my company in Honduras.