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Bitcoin ATM in Košice, Slovakia

Author: LB 2020-08-29 1293

We have seen a surge in the number of Bitcoin ATMs all around central Europe. Nevertheless some counties completely ban these machines and citizens are not even allowed to touch these digital assets. Slovakia is fortunately not amount these countries and you can find some places with handsome Bitcoin ATMs in major Slovakian cities. Last time I visited Bratislava, which is the capital city in this Eastern-European country and I tested two machines. I could successfully withdraw cash and purchase cryptocurrency during that one-day journey from Budapest. It was pretty convenient for me, because Budapest and Bratislava are connected with frequent train services and a two-way ticket costs only 20 Euros.

This time I wanted to gain more experience in the world of cryptos in Slovakia. With this intention I purchased a similar two-way ticket from Budapest to the second largest city in Slovakia, called Košice. I am not sure of the pronunciation of this world, but it looked like a cool city to check out from Hungary and as I searched for Bitcoin ATMs in Košice, I could find two locations with these machines. When I was in Bratislava I found two Bitcoin ATMs, one was manufactured by General Bytes and the other one was a machine from Lamassu and I expected a similar scene here in Košice.

So I got on this train and headed to Košice on a very early train. Luckily enough the train was almost empty, I could occupy three seats, read a little bit and slept almost the whole journey. It was just before noon when I arrived at Košice and the first Bitcoin ATM I wanted to check out was in the building of the train station. Let me share an embedded Google Maps for you so that you can find this location if you visit this city:

When your train arrives you have to disembark and ascend to the top floor in the building.

You will find a casino that looks like this:

Bitcoin ATM in Košice, Slovakia

Enter the casino, disinfect your hands and proceed a bit further inside the establishment. The machine will be in front of you:

Bitcoin ATM in Košice, Slovakia

This Bitcoin ATM speaks both Slovakian and English. As I don’t speak the local language I switched to English and started my first Bitcoin purchase in Košice. The machine displays the following screen enticing you to insert your euro bills:

The screen of the Bitcoin ATM

I followed the instructions and I inserted two 10 euro bills to purchase Bitcoins for 20 euros:

Purchasing Bitcoins

The next step is to press the “Send Coins” button and the transaction will be initiated at this point:

The Send Coins button

It wasn’t long after when I could detect the incoming coins in my e-wallet application:

The Bitcoins arrived.

The machine displayed this final screen acknowledging the successful transaction:

BTC transaction in Slovakia

I could confirm the transaction in my wallet application and you can also see that I received Bitcoins worth of 21.5 USD:

This is how much BTC I have received.

If I convert this value into euros using a different application the value of the BTCs turned out to be 18 euros. So we can conclude that the transaction fee this time was 2 euros, which is a little bit expensive, considering that it means roughly 10%. But still the fixed fee of the Bitcoin ATM was only 1 euro so I guess if you’re about to play around with larger amounts this transaction cost would decrease a little bit.

Bitcoin in Euros

By the way, this machine seemed to be similar to the one I found in Bratislava and that was a two-way machine so I could withdraw cash for Bitcoins. Therefore I conjectured that I will be able to do the same.

1. Trying to sell Bitcoins in Košice

I pressed the “Sell Bitcoins” button and I tried to withdraw cash from this machine. Oddly enough, I did not have to register my phone number when I bought my Bitcoins in this ATM, but when I try to do it the other way around it requested my phone number. Weird, isn’t it? I have a Hungarian phone number and I tried using that for this purpose and the machine did not seem to accept it so I had to give up on this mission.

This whole experiment did not take more than a few minutes for me and I headed for the second location but it wasn’t even open. I had to wait until 4 pm in the afternoon when the guest house where the second Bitcoin ATM was opened its doors. I spent some time in the city center of Košice, bought some forest grown blueberries at the local market, tried some local food and drinks to kill some time.

Trying local food in Slovakia

2. A failure in Košice

When the placed opened I returned and entered the guest house/bar. The machine was there, but it was unplugged from the wall and the owner told me in Slovakian that the ATM is out of order. Another failure in Košice, but this was again a good lesson and the crypto community can learn a lot from this. I am still trying to figure out the reason for this, but a large proportion of these machines, especially in Slovakia are not even there where Google Maps tells us and operators don’t seem to pay too much attention to the usability of these devices. This is a pity, because I believe that the technology offers us many possibilities and definitely there is a growing number of users who would be happy to utilize cryptos for various purposes.

3. Machines not maintained

Are these machines not maintained because of the lack of demand? If that is the case then they should be promoted more actively or at least it would be good to have an up to date database that could tell us the availability of these ATMs in central Europe. And by the way, at central locations with many pedestrians there most be many crypto users already so I doubt that there is not enough demand.

4. The importance of crypto-based international transactions

Instant international transaction with minimal information disclosure are of great importance especially when our possibilities to travel are limited during the coronavirus crisis. When governments can close borders whenever they wish mortal citizens have less options to carry large amount of cash from one country to another one even if they are in the European Union. Isn’t it the cryptocurrency architecture supplemented with these two-way machines that could provide us the solution in such unprecedented times?

Stay tuned for the next post!

You can support me using the following BTC address: 1D6qYk7mWQFE1K5tUgqimjiCLT66AHdyNX

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