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Saturday 20 September 2014

Bitcoin empire marches on as first Irish ATM arrives in Temple Bar cafe

Published 05/03/2014 | 02:30

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A Bitcoin ATM is to be installed in the Temple Bar Cafe
A Bitcoin ATM is to be installed in the Temple Bar Cafe
Bitcoin

IRELAND'S first Bitcoin ATM is to go live within "the next few days", according to staff in a Temple Bar cafe.

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The machine, made by Bitcoin ATM manufacturer Bitvendo and placed in Hippety's Cafe in Temple Bar, will accept cash for virtual currency top-ups as interest in Bitcoin continues to grow.

"We're just smoothing out a few issues and expect the ATM to go live in the next few days," a staff member at Hippety's told Independent.ie.

The new machine, which is not expected to dispense cash, will charge between 3-5pc commission on transactions.

Meanwhile, the Revenue has said that it has not yet decided whether Bitcoin-trading in Ireland should attract VAT rates.

"Bitcoin trading is taken to mean the buying and selling of quantities of Bitcoin," said a spokesman from the Revenue. "Revenue would require sight of contracts for purchase and sale of Bitcoin to determine whether the transaction represented a service for VAT purposes. The VAT treatment of Bitcoin has been raised for consideration at EU level and Ireland is fully engaged in this consideration process."

However, other applicable taxes such as corporation tax are understood to remain applicable to trading activity conducted using Bitcoin in Ireland.

The Revenue's non-classification of Bitcoin comes as Britain moves to drop VAT on Bitcoin trading. The UK Revenue said that it will not charge 20pc VAT on Bitcoin trades or margins made on those trades.

Bitcoin is a five-year-old virtual or 'crypto' currency that is made up of computer code that can be bought and sold online for hard currencies such as dollars or euro.

Irish businesses that accept Bitcoin as payment include Dublin city mobile phone shop GSM Solutions, which sells phones, accessories and electronics. A small handful of other Irish businesses now accept Bitcoin as a means of payment for goods and services. They include Wexford CCTV firms (Visiconnex) and B&B guest houses in Offaly (The Ring Farmhouse, Birr). International online retailers Overstocked.com and TigerDirect.com also accept Bitcoin for the thousands of everyday products they sell, including jewellery, electronics, health products and home furnishings.

Last week, the oldest Bitcoin trading exchange, Mt Gox, collapsed with over €300m missing from accounts. Despite the incident, Bitcoin prices have continued to rise, with the current trading levels approaching $700 (€530).

The rising value of Bitcoins is due partly to some investors turning to the crypto-currency as a safe-haven against volatility in Ukraine and other troublespots and partly to the attraction of Bitcoin as a perceived fraud-free, tax-free way of trading.

However, some of the growth in the virtual currency is also attributed to black market trading in illegal commodities such as drugs and weapons.

Although anonymous, every Bitcoin transaction is recorded in a virtual ledger that is downloaded by every Bitcoin user. Supply of the currency is limited by a pre-determined computer formula, so units cannot be copied or faked. There is also no single individual controller.

Irish Independent

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