UAE's first Bitcoin ATM set up in Dubai
Machine has been set up by software integration service provider Umbrellab
The UAE's first Bitcoin ATM has been set up by software integration service provider, Umbrellab in Dubai.
The ATM, which is not yet ready for public use, is located in an office in Dubai Media City and allows people to deposit cash into their Bitcoin wallet using their mobile phone number.
According to coinreport.net, the ATM allows for a daily limit of AED2,000 or approximately one BTC - by today's market.
The machine is demonstrated in a video by Umbrellab's co-founder, Tarik Kaddoumi. After putting in his mobile number, the kiosk shows Kaddoumi the current exchange rate of bitcoin. Kaddoumi then inserts a AED100 note into the machine and taps to ‘OK' the transaction. A few seconds later, he receives a receipt and a text verification that notifies him that there was account activity. A few more seconds later, the money arrives in his digital wallet.
After performing a single transaction, the user's phone becomes linked to their digital wallet address for future use.
According to The National, the Middle East is one of the least integrated regions into the global Bitcoin network, but advocates for the virtual currency say it is fertile ground because of its large, youthful population and high proportion of migrant labour.
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Bitcoin has the potential to enable migrants to transfer money home at cheaper rates than those offered by conventional exchange houses, supporters say.
Supporter, Ola Doudin, entrepreneur with bases in Amman and Dubai said: "There are around 60 to 70% of adults across the Middle East that don't have access to any banking services. They can't transact and are stuck in a cash economy. With Bitcoin you're eliminating that - all you need is access to the Internet or mobile phone with access to the Bitcoin network."
Umbrellab aims to integrate the technology into 300 existing electronic service kiosks it already operates in shopping malls, supermarkets, hotels and labour camps across the UAE. Another 100 kiosks stored in a warehouse will also be activated. Each individual will be limited to the equivalent of up to AED2,000 of Bitcoin transactions per day and AED10,000 per month, The National reported.
"People are welcome to come and give the ATM a go," said Sergey Yusupov, the co-founder of Umbrellab. "We are seeing how everything goes from a legal perspective with the first ATM, as well as making sure it is stable before rolling them out."
In the region, regulators have been largely silent on how they plan to respond to the increasing use of Bitcoin. Umbrellab has had no communication to date with the Central Bank about the regulation of its Bitcoin ATM.