The First In Europe – Hunting Down Europe’s First Bitcoin ATM In Bratislava, Slovakia

This month’s 52 Weeks in Slovakia series on Bratislava, Bitcoin, and the tech sector is being done in connection with the launch of a new book by Allan Stevo – The Bitcoin Manifesto.

The Bratislava Bitcoin Bankomat

June 16, 2017

Allan Stevo

There’s something to be said about being established and respected and mainstream. There is also something to be said for being none of those things. Sometimes innovation simply misses the established entities and established places.

Those who are established don’t want or need the truly cutting edge and untested. It’s famously been said that “Necessity is the mother of invention” and places that are established tend to not have the same need to prove themselves as places that are not established. They want what has stood the test of time and the tests of popular culture and received some level of establishment credit.

This has positives and negatives to it. For example, this insistence brings a high level of quality to the established places – they don’t put up with the truly experimental. At the same time, it is also what puts world class places at risk of losing their first in the world status – they don’t put up with the truly experimental.

Rome, Vienna, and London all enjoyed center of the world status, a status they no longer enjoy. They were all once upstarts that came to be the center of the world, and they became comfortable in their role as an established place, eventually losing touch with what made them so worthy of being the center of the world. Every empire crumbles under the weight of being an empire, every first rate city, every first rate civilization crumbles under the weight of being number one.

When New York City and Washington DC were places barely worthy of mention, other cities dominated the global landscape. In all likelihood the weight of dominating will ensure that some upstart barely known today will come along and dominate, eventually placing New York and DC into the category of “once great” alongside the likes of Rome or Vienna.

While New York City heavily regulates new technologies such as Bitcoin, with laws like the Bit License, making it near impossible to run many types of Bitcoin business in that city, contrastingly, places that have little establishment credibility are becoming launching pads for new technologies.

Just steps from a main pedestrian thoroughfare in Bratislava, if you turn into a funky little passageway between two streets, a well maintained passage packed with neat little sculptures, you will find the first Bitcoin ATM in Europe.

A Bitcoin ATM allows a user to buy or sell Bitcoin in the local currency. Users may come to the machine with Bitcoin and receive the local currency or users may come to the machine with the local currency and receive Bitcoin. It’s a miniature mechanized Bitcoin exchange.

For those seeking to find the first Bitcoin ATM in Europe, that pedestrian passageway – the Bitcoin Passage – connects the buildings Gorkeho 3 and Laurinska 4. In the beautifully designed passageway are several businesses, between the restaurant Flamender and Lekaren pri Divadle (literally “the Pharmacy next to the Theater”) is where that Bitcoin ATM can be found.

Where was the first ATM for this cutting edge technology placed ?

Bratislava, Slovakia.

Sometimes there are benefits to not being established.

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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