Bitcoin cashpoint installed
OFF-LICENCE boss Rakesh Odedra has installed one of Leicester’s first Bitcoin cashpoints.
The new machine went live yesterday at Kesh’s Wines and News in Braunstone.
Mr Odedra, owner of the Guthridge Crescent shop, said customers can use the ATM to buy or sell the crypto-currency directly to or from their electronic smartphone “wallet”.
Coins are transferred directly from person to person and are kept in a digital wallet that can be accessed on a computer or mobile device.
There has been huge demand in recent weeks from people investing in Bitcoin around the world - forcing its value through the roof.
On Wednesday a single Bitcoin was valued at more than £12,300 as more and more buyers took a punt.
Despite its value climbing nearly 1,500 per cent since the start of the year, financial heavyweights are divided over the digital currency’s significance.
Jamie Dimon, boss of US banking and financial services giant JP Morgan recently branded Bitcoin a “fraud” and there are fears the bubble could soon burst.
There have also been concerns crooks could use the cash machines to launder dirty money.
Many young entrepreneurs, however, have made fortunes after investing prior to the boom.
Bitcoin was launched in 2009, with transactions made between computers.
This means they are independent of central banks and difficult to trace.
Mr Odedra said he had been fascinated to hear about the machines and hoped it would boost footfall at his store from honest people curious to be part of the latest trend by buying fractions of individual coins.
“You can use it to buy Bitcoins using cash – for up to £250 you don’t need ID,” he explained.
“Then, for £250, you have to have the security of a mobile phone.
“For anything over £500 you have to sign up with the Bitcoin ATM company.
“I read about this in a trade paper and the opportunity came up to be one of the first.
“It’s basically for anyone who wants to jump on the bandwagon.
“You just insert your money and get a receipt or scan the app on your smartphone.”
Earlier this month Scotland Yard warned that illegal cash could be deposited into the machines.
Detective Superintendent Nick Stevens, of the Met’s Serious and Organised Crime Command, said officers had identified the use of cryptocurrency in organised crime.
“Cryptocurrencies are not illegal, but they are unregulated, decentralised currencies that can be quickly transferred across borders and then converted into the currency of the country where the funds are received,” he said.
“Organised criminal groups have been early adopters of cryptocurrencies to evade traditional money laundering checks and statutory regulations.
“Criminals have also used cryptocurrencies to purchase illegal commodities on dark market sites with anonymity.”
The Met believes there are 91 cryptocurrency ATMs across the UK.
And Det Sup Stevens said the Met is investigating several organised crime groups that use cryptocurrencies to run their activities across a range of crime types including drugs, firearms, modern slavery and child exploitation.
A crackdown is also being mounted by the Government on Bitcoin, amid rising concerns about money laundering and tax evasion.