With Ottawa already equipped with a new Bitcoin ATM, Canada is quickly turning into the country with most cryptocurrency machines, although the government just launched a statement saying Bitcoin is not considered legal tender in the country.
The official stance was reported by the Wall Street Journal, which quotes an email sent by the country’s finance department. The message explains that “only Canadian bank notes and coins are recognized as legal tender in Canada. Bitcoin digital ‘currency’ is not legal tender in Canada“.
The local authorities had been silent about the matter so far, but they now assure that the Canadian government, the central bank and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions will be monitoring any developments involving virtual currencies. And this includes the arrival of new Bitcoin ATMs to the Canadian territory.
After Vancouver and Toronto, Ottawa just got its first machine. And three more are apparently on their way, this time straight to Montreal, Alberta and, once more, Toronto.
While the first two devices were developed by Robocoin and are under the supervision of the same entrepreneurs who launched the physical Bitcoin store Bitcoiniacs, Ottawa’s first permanent Bitcoin ATM, unveiled this week, is a whole different story. The machine, operating at the Clocktower Brew Pub on Clarence Avenue, was developed by the local company BitAccess with Bit-Capital’s support.
“We’re pretty excited about it”, Ryan Wallace, BitAccess’s CEO, told CBC News. “It’s taken off explosively in the past couple of years. I think 2014 is going to be the year it goes mainstream and becomes a public name”, he added.
Like Robocoin’s ATMs, which can be found in Vancouver and Toronto, this machine – called BTM - allows the users to buy Bitcoin with fiat currency and also to turn cryptocurrency into cash. People can use the kiosk to purchase up to $10,000 worth of Bitcoin daily, but there is another twist, as the kiosk includes a feature that will create a digital wallet on the go for the newcomers.
After Ottawa, Wallace is now planning to deliver the other ATMs and Montreal will probably be the next city to host one of these devices.
Fadi Azouz is the man in charge of the process. He recently told Coindesk this ATM will be installed by 24th January at the Bitcoin Embassy, charging five percent for every transaction. Azouz doesn’t believe the statement released by the government will affect the business. “As long as the millions of people using Bitcoin around the world continue to believe in it and trust it to be an honest method of payment, it shall continue to [be] just that”, he stated.
New BTC gift card
Meanwhile, the first Canadian Bitcoin gift card, called CoinTap, was launched this week, in Edmonton, by the Calgary-based company Bitcoin Ventures. The cards intend to be an easy solution for new buyers who want to purchase Bitcoin, but don’t know exactly how to do it.
The pre-paid cards cost $55.50, but only $50 can be redeemed on CoinTap’s website. Each person can redeem up to $1,000 in cards per day.
Ashley Fulks, Bitcoin Ventures president, recalls that once the users have redeemed their Bitcoins at Cointap.co, they “can buy things with Bitcoins, trade them, sell them, hold onto them as an investment, or keep them in your electronic wallet for a rainy day”.