Last week, we questioned the legitimacy of a story that a company planned to install a Bitcoin ATM in Cyprus.
Jeff Berwick, the man behind The Dollar Vigilante and founder of StockHouse.com, had posted an announcement saying the following:
I have decided to move forward with what I believe could be the next multi-billion dollar business venture: Bitcoin ATM….It is wholly our intention at Bitcoin ATM to put the company in the right position to open its very first ATM in Cyprus. If we did this now, and we are moving quickly to make this so, we would be the only functioning ATM on the island.
We tried for two days to get in touch with someone at The Dollar Vigilante, to no avail.
But Berwick has now responded via email to our contentions.
Here is his response in full, as he framed it, with his cuts from our original story in quotes:
BUSINESS INSIDER — “The project premise is based on the notion that Cyprus’ banking sector would cease to function and that a Bitcoin ATM would save the day. And yet the Cyprus banking system is functioning again, and ATMs have been functioning the whole time.”
JEFF BERWICK – This is not the project’s premise. The history is we bought the original ATM machine which has been being developed by a young man for the last two years a few months ago. It could only accept cash and not dispense cash, though, so we developed it to the point that it is now a fully bi-directional ATM (btc-cash and cash-btc). We finished that and had our first working model ready and we wanted to announce it was ready and we wanted to announce where we would put the first one. We looked around the world and just decided Cyprus made a lot of sense since the banking system has been all but shutdown for the last two weeks. We now have orders for 300+ machines in 30+ countries and are moving quickly to handle the demand.
BI — “The Bitcoin ATM page is extremely vague and says it’s seeking investors/partners, which means there’s no actual product yet.”
JB — Yes, the page is a work in progress but just because we are seeking investors/partners doesn’t mean there is no actual product. We have the product ready and we may actually install one asap in Los Angeles (where our operations are) just to show the world it works. We are seeking investors to help fund our expansion as we are completely swamped with orders and interest and need to hire many people to keep up with demand. We will be closing a first round of investment, like somewhere between $1-3 million in the next few weeks and already have more than that ready from serious investors.
BI — “Another alarm bell for us is that while Berwick boasts of StockHouse.com’s large market cap at the height of the tech bubble, he says he sold it in 2002.”
JB — That is all 100% true and verifiable. I don’t see the problem here.
He also forwarded the following images of their prototype:
And here are mockups of the deposit screen:
Berwick will appear on CNBC at 11:35 am today.