El Salvadoreans will soon enjoy lower fees and faster withdrawals at the country's many ATMs. The news comes via a press release by Athena Bitcoin, the firm behind the country's state-owned machines. The upgrade will save El Salvadoreans big time and improve their national blockchain infrastructure.
The upgrade will provide faster, more efficient service to the community without raising operating costs for the firm. The Lighting Network integration will enable users to leverage the off-chain protocol to improve performance as well, thanks to the proprietary technical structure of the protocol.
Uniquely, the upgrade will make the ATMS faster than the competition as they will become one of only 7% that can handle LN-enabled transactions. What makes this approach special is that the machines don’t need to interact with the main Bitcoin blockchain constantly to operate. As such, they don’t cause congestion issues which remains a problem for Bitcoiners globally.
Major Upgrade to Crypto ATMs
This major enhancement will improve the user experience for many and is seen as the natural progression of the technology in the region. Notably, El Salvador has about 300 or so ATMs in operation currently. The rollout will only affect Athena Bitcoin and Chivo-branded kiosks in El Salvador currently.
The company stated a progressive rollout would be used to ensure technical capabilities and avoid confusion. The goal is to have the first 100 LN-enabled ATMs upgraded by the end of Q4. Once that step is complete, the remaining coupe hundred units will get upgraded in Q1.
Athena Bitcoin is in a strategic partnership with the El Salvadoran government to provide ATMs to the public. The company is responsible for managing and upkeeping the 300 state-operated ATMs currently in operation. These ATMs are branded with Athena or Chivo, the nation's official LN-powered wallet option.
Chivo has been the official LN wallet for the country since it launched its Bitcoin campaign. The government has supported the project and even introduced an education campaign to educate the citizens on how to use the wallet properly. Chivo offers direct LN transactions which makes it far cheaper and faster than mainnet alternatives.
El Salvador is just the Beginning for Crypto ATMs
The most important thing to note about this strategy is that El Salvador is just the first stage of a larger operation. The full plan envisions these ATMs operating first in El Salvador, and then, across Latin America. Notably, the final goal is to have substantial coverage in Latin America by the end of 2025.
Still a Pioneer in the Market
Athena and El Salvador remain pioneering forces in the Latin American market. The further expansion of LN services within the country helps to demonstrate how successful the digital assets campaign has been for the nation to date. These actions are sure to inspire other economies to get ahead of the trend and position their countries to be global leaders in the future digital economy.