BitBase ATM.

BitBase ATM.

04-02-2021P. Pellicer

The revaluation of cryptocurrency from just over 8,000 euros in early December to more than 33,000 in early January caught the attention of a multitude of investors in Mallorca.

Bitcoin sits at number 5 on the list of cryptocurrencies and is probably the best known.

A few months ago a BitBase office opened near Plaça del Bisbe Berenguer de Palou in Palma. The company has 15 branches in Spain and acts as an exchange office: from euros to bitcoins and vice versa.

"We went from the virtual world to the physical world," says BitBase Marketing Director Jorge Rodríguez. “In January more than 200 people bought cryptocurrencies worth between 200 and 1,500 euros, but the average amount was 1,500.”

We check where the money comes from and collaborate with the Police,” he warned. “The data is collated and checked against an International list of people who cannot invest in bitcoins, such as terrorists, to avoid money laundering.”

The Mallorcan company Criptoárea launched the first cryptocurrency ATMs in restaurants and hotels in tourist areas in 2019.

"We were planning to expand this year, but the virus has stopped us in our tracks, so we will resume as soon as tourism returns," says Criptoarea General Director, Jaime Martínez.

The Criptoarea App also allows tourists to exchange cryptocurrencies into euros to spend at hotels and restaurants etc in holiday destinations.

In a pilot test, tips in cryptocurrencies were 20% more generous than usual, according to Martínez. "We were so successful that restaurants and hotels throughout Mallorca want to participate."

Risks

Cryptocurrency is not a pyramid scam, it’s blockchain, an information system that has value because people want bitcoins,” says Economist Paul Monserrat. “Cryptocurrencies are carried on a computer or pen drive and the money can be transferred from mobile to mobile,” he adds. “Bitcoin is widely used in Argentina and Venezuela where the currencies have been greatly devalued. Young people are not afraid of Bitcoin and invest small amounts, but it is a very speculative and risky asset,” he warns.

National Police sources claim that a number of complaints related to cryptocurrencies have already been received.

“These are complaints from people who receive offers from Russian companies,” the sources said. “People invested in bitcoins, but when they asked for the profits the companies didn’t respond and the investors lost their money. In the Balearic Islands 14 people have lost between 3,000 and 5,000 euros.”

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