Australian ATM operator Stargroup has signed a joint venture with DigitalX, a blockchain technology and advisory company, to convert its machines to trade the digital currency Bitcoin.
The joint venture agreement is for the entire global network of Stargroup ATMs, initially with 500 in Australia, to allow buying and selling of Bitcoin.
The cryptocurrency hit a record $US4,800 for the first time on Friday. Bitcoin is up 390% this year.
Currently there are fewer than 20 ATMs in Australia which can process a Bitcoin transaction with conversion fees between 4% and 8% of the transaction value.
Most of these ATMs are only one-way ATMs meaning users can only acquire Bitcoin and add it to their Bitcoin wallet.
The Stargroup/DigitalX joint venture will allow users to cash out Bitcoin to Australian dollars.
It can take days for Bitcoin owners to convert the digital currency to cash using existing Australian online digital currency exchanges.
The joint venture says the two-Way Stargroup ATMs are expected to solve a significant pain point for Bitcoin users.
The ASX-listed Stargroup and DigitalX will share in transaction fees charged at the ATM.
“This development may also be able to be applied to other cryptocurrencies and be distributed internationally,” says Todd Zani, Stargroup’s CEO and Executive Chairman.
In Australia, Stargroup has 500 of its own ATMs and manages another 2,400.
The company has a 11.28% interest in NeoICP Korea Inc, a private Korean company which manufactures ATMs, back office, coin counting, banking and casino settlement solutions. NeoICP Korea has approximately 16,000 ATMs.
In 2017, Stargroup posted a 128.4% rise in full year revenue to $8.36 million. Profit more than tripled to $1.94 million.