ATHENS – Cryptocurrency prices are in free fall, plummeting 60 percent in a year, but it’s still enough in demand in Greece, driven by tourists, that the country ranks sixth in the European Union for the number of Bitcoin ATMs.
There are 64, mostly concentrated in the capital Athens and second-largest city Thessaloniki, said Coin Telegraph, but also on popular islands including Mykonos and Santorini, operated by BCash.
The company’s Director and Co-founder Dimitrios Tsangalidis told the site that the most use however comes in the cities but that they are popular on the biggest island Crete, where there is a “very loyal cryptocurrency crowd.”
Cryptocurrency is an encrypted data string that denotes a unit of currency. It is monitored and organized by a peer-to-peer network called a blockchain, which also serves as a secure ledger of transactions for buying, selling, and transferring.
In Heraklion, the capital of Crete, the local start-up accelerator H2B Hub collaborated with Cyprus’ University of Nicosia to create and support a local blockchain community, the report noted
But while tourism is Greece’s biggest revenue engine, seen this year bringing in more than 20 billion euros ($19.29 billion) during the waning COVID-19 pandemic, he said it hasn’t translated for crypto users.
“Unfortunately, the absolute opposite happens,” said Tsangalidis, bemoaning the fact that most Greeks have absolutely no idea what bitcoins are nor how to use cryptocurrency or want to do so yet.