The oldest Bitcoin ATM Company in the world has decided to move its operations to the crypto valley in Switzerland.
Switzerland’s well-defined rules convinced Lamassu
The company which was established five years ago published a blog post on Medium on Tuesday revealing that it has finally decided to put its headquarters in Switzerland. This decision comes after years of searching for the most suitable place to conduct their operations.
The company stated that they had found their home in what they call the “majestic Swiss canton of Lucerne”. Lamassu added that Crypto Valley is very much alive and kicking as they expressed excitement and optimism about working in a region that contains numerous cryptocurrency development and blockchain events.
They stated that “Although hype often exceeds reality in crypto land, exciting stuff is happening in Switzerland at every level. Open source Bitcoin and Lightning Network nodes are being hacked together, hardware wallets are being designed and manufactured, the world’s leading cryptocurrency regulations are being carefully guided, world-class meetups and events are happening, and lots of Bitcoin ATMs are being deployed.”
Lamassu is the first Bitcoin ATM company to be established and has so far installed 433 Bitcoin ATMs across the globe, with seven installed in Switzerland. Lamassu pointed out that even though citizens of the country can purchase Bitcoin with their train tickets at over 1’000 machines in the country, their primary reason for setting up their headquarters in Crypto Valley is due to the well-defined rules put in place by the government.
Still a friendly country
Switzerland has endured a torrid time though over the past few months. It was previously home to the largest number of ICOs, but banking giant UBS closing accounts of crypto companies saw other banks in the country follow suit. The Swiss government had to stop the mass exodus of crypto and blockchain companies following that as they were losing out to crypto-friendly countries such as Malta, Lichtenstein, and even Germany.
The Swiss Banking Association (SBA) put in place guidelines for banks on how they can operate with cryptocurrency companies. This move seems to have eased the fears as Switzerland has regained its position as a crypto-friendly country.
Lamassu is convinced that Switzerland is the best destination for them. They stated that “Exciting stuff is happening in Switzerland at every level. Open source Bitcoin and Lightning Network nodes are being hacked together, hardware wallets are being designed and manufactured, the world’s leading cryptocurrency regulations are being carefully guided, world-class meetups and events are happening, and lots of Bitcoin ATMs are being deployed.”
Bitcoin ATMs have grown popular over the past twelve months as the number of Bitcoin ATMs in 2018 doubled and now stood at over 4’000. Lamassu describes this as booming, and it is confident that its move to Switzerland will be great because the rules are well defined and regulators are open to innovation.
Crypto companies still face challenges with traditional banks
Even though Swiss authorities have found a way to make banks work with crypto-related companies, the situation remains a struggle in other parts of the world. Lamassu pointed out that it was not able to find a bank in its native Portugal to work with them.
They stated that “We’ve been bankless for the past year. We must have been rejected by fifteen banks just because we manufacture terminals for Bitcoin.”
Traditional banks have been hesitant to deal with crypto companies due to the lax AML practices and also the fact that crypto companies don’t have strong KYC policies similar to the regular banks.
Lamassu, however, shouldn’t have found it hard to deal with traditional banks since it doesn’t trade in cryptocurrency nor store cryptocurrency. They believe that by setting up their headquarters in Switzerland, they would be able to open a bank account.
The company stated in the blog post that “Just as we arrived in Switzerland we had a nice chat with a small bank in Canton Aargau and now we have a full account at a bank that is completely aware of our business model and happy to have us on board. In fact, you should expect to see one of our cryptomats in their headquarters early this year.”
Lamassu revealed that it was denied by international payment processor Stripe because the word Bitcoin was found on their website. They added that if Stripe had been a Swiss-based company, that issue wouldn’t have come up.
The company is now excited to start this New Year is a positive way as they stated that “We’re old-timers as far Bitcoin companies are concerned, but we’re psyched to be the new kids on the block here in stunning Lucerne.”