Even with little awareness of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, Greece ranks sixth in terms of the number of cryptocurrency ATMs. This is out of twenty-seven European member states.
There are currently sixty-four active ATMs for usage, mostly concentrated in the capital of Athens and the second largest city of Thessaloniki. Bitcoin ATM operator BCash has also placed some of its ATMs at the country’s popular island destinations of Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete.
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital money, an encrypted data that denotes a unit of currency. It is completely decentralized and out of the reach of banks and national governments. Instead, it is monitored and organized by a peer-to-peer network called a blockchain.
The company’s director and co-founder, Dimitrios Tsangalidis, told Coin Telegraph that the greatest use comes in cities but that the ATMs are also very popular in Crete, where there is a “very loyal cryptocurrency crowd.”
In Heraklion, the capital of Crete, the local start-up accelerator H2B Hub collaborated with the Greek-language University of Nicosia to create and support a local blockchain community. Furthermore, both Athens and Thessaloniki hold active and regular meetups for the crypto and blockchain communities.
Greeks are not very aware of cryptocurrency and blockchain
However, while tourism is the biggest revenue engine of Greece’s economy, bringing in more than twenty billion euros this year, according to Tsangalidis, it doesn’t translate to crypto users. “Unfortunately, the absolute opposite happens,” says Tsangalidis.
“In summer months and high tourist seasons, the demand drops,” he says. “But we are in the middle of crypto winter that came earlier this year, so it is really hard to tell.”
Tsangalidis also notes that Greece needs more awareness of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and their utility in everyday life. “Influence on local tourism can be noticeable only if there is a general adoption of cryptocurrency within society,” says Tsangalidis.
He highlights that there is little to no infrastructure or adoption from the level of Greek businesses and local governments. “If our government…[becomes] crypto friendly and if a green light…[is] given to businesses, then adoption will follow,” he says.
In May, the president of the Greek National Tourism Organization, Angela Gerekou, said that Greece is currently exploring how blockchain technology might bring safety and transparency in the tourism sector.
Cryptocurrency in Greece is often financially prohibitive
In order to maintain the cryptocurrency mining system, it would need the yearly electricity consumption of the nation of Finland. As a result, cryptocurrency mining is unattainable for even an upper-middle-class EU citizen—and this is even more so true in Greece.
“There is no methodology to measure the number of people or companies mining cryptocurrency in Greece,” says Nolis, the CEO of Lancom Ltd, a data collection and cloud service provider based in Thessaloniki.
Cryptocurrency mining is as anonymous as the currencies themselves, he says. “I am personally aware of a handful of miners in Greece who are amateurs,” he adds. “They are investing in [about one to ten] mining rigs, the equipment needed for mining.”
There are even fewer Greeks who own so-called cryptocurrency “mining farms,” and all of them are outside the country—mostly due to electricity costs. Professional miners usually employ a group of people to maintain and increase their investment. They utilize huge computers on a 24/7 basis.
And yet, Bitcoin.com reported that “the interest in cryptocurrency from women in Greece [has] grown 163.67 percent.” This was the highest percentage in Europe, according to this particular study.
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