Wales’s first Bitcoin ATM was switched on for use at the end of last month and you probably didn’t hear about it.
Confusion in the press meant that while excitement built online about a launch supposedly happening in a St Marys Street location on the 27 February, when the day came it turned out this was just a rumour.
Meanwhile the real introduction of the virtual currency ATM to the capital passed quietly under the radar on the 26th.
Simon Miles, 29, is the tech investor from Merthyr Tydfil behind Wales’s real first Bitcoin ATM located at Castle Emporium on Womanby Street, previously known as Cardiff Fashion Quarter.
“I have had the idea in my mind to install a Bitcoin in Cardiff for about a year,” he said.
“The most difficult part was finding a location. Firstly, most people didn’t know what Bitcoin was. Secondly, it can get a lot of negative press which puts people off.
“The team at Castle Emporium seemed keen and that was great. We wanted to be part of their relaunch on March 1 so we held off on publicity.
“What really took the wind out of our sails was when about a week before, we read online that another machine was launching. Because we wanted to maintain the status of being first, we launched quickly on the 26th. But unfortunately for the other venue – and for us – it didn’t go ahead.
“Initially I was disappointed to see there was going to be a machine so close but now I think it would be good to see more in Wales as it is good competition and it is good for the community.”
“We’re currently the only one but we are still going to maintain competitive prices compared to online.”
“The advantage of a machine over only is that even though online is fast, an ATM is still quicker. The price of Bitcoins can be quite volatile, so you could buy at £200 a bitcoin and by the time it has been released the worth could have gone down to £180.”
James Morgan-Rees, Manager at Castle Emporium, explained why he was keen to embrace the new market.
“We had heard of the technology and thought it was a good idea.
“This is a way of keeping up with what’s current. We have had a few people coming in and using the machine. It is still very new technology and people have been a bit unsure about what it does, but I think it will be successful. It is good to have the first one in Wales.
“Bristol can be a bit more up-to-date with these things but Cardiff is catching up.”
The machine at Castle Emporium remains Cardiff’s only working Bitcoin ATM and is located just to the right of the doorway to the vintage market.
An ATM has also been installed in CeX goods trading store in St Davids shopping centre, however it is not yet available to use and staff say they do not know when it will launch.
CeX is one of only four Cardiff businesses, along with Lobster Digital Marketing, Maryjane Essentials and Your Sushi Cardiff, to do trade using Bitcoin. It already has Bitcoin ATMs installed at its stores in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham.