Bitvendo, the company that provides Bitcoin ATM facilities here, has formed a partnership with Merrion Vaults to provide a safe deposit facility for the digital currency.
Giles Byrne, head of marketing with Bitvendo, said Merrion Vaults was a natural partner for the group as there was a demand from holders of Bitcoin for somewhere to store their digital currency safely. "We have encrypted wallets inside the vaults. If you want to send bitcoin into those wallets, they are stored offline in an encrypted format where nobody can hack them."
Giles Byrne said there was a lot of perceived mystery around Bitcoin, which was being used as a tool of speculation by traders, but it was just a method of online payment. "It's just like emailing money that's produced by miners with sophisticated computers that get rewarded for their work for validating transactions."
"People are confusing Bitcoin with trading like stocks and shares. It should be used as money. The point is to transfer money quickly, cheaply and fast with no or very low transaction fees for the merchant and purchaser. Because there is a limited supply of Bitcoins, speculators are trading and causing price fluctuations," he said.
The Central Bank does not regulate Bitcoin meaning it cannot be stored in banks and Giles Byrne does not see this situation changing any time soon. He believes the Central Bank here is awaiting a decision by the ECB on the matter.
Bitvendo operates Ireland's first Bitcoin ATM on Abbey Street in Dublin. There are plans to open at least two more with a further three being considered.
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