Within the next few months, 100 of the state-owned network of cryptocurrency ATMs in El Salvador will have the Lightning Network integrated into them by Athena Bitcoin. After enabling the Lightning Network technology to be used throughout their whole technology infrastructure, Athena Bitcoin Global and Genesis Coin Inc. will now start applying it, initially in El Salvador and subsequently throughout Latin America. A ‘layer 2’ payment mechanism called the Lightning Network allows for quicker withdrawals and lower transaction costs without storing transaction data in the main network’s accounting. In the world, only 3.7% of crypto ATMs support the technology, according to Coinatmradar.
By December 2023, Athena plans to turn on Lightning support in 100 of the state-owned Chivo ATMs that it now operates in El Salvador. In Q1 2024, the remaining kiosks—including those bearing the Athena brand—will be installed. At the moment, El Salvador has 215 cryptocurrency teller machines. The president of the nation, who declared Bitcoin to be legal cash in 2021, has declared his intention to seek reelection in 2024. Bukele took a risk in April 2023 by removing all taxes on technological advancements, which would encourage more business owners and foreign investors to settle in the nation. Certain experts, such as Gabor Gurbacs, a strategy adviser at the investment management company VanEck, think El Salvador can become the financial hub of the Americas by following Singapore’s example.