A surprising setback has struck in New Zealand, a country in which the Bitcoin sector was until now enjoying some unfettered growth and success.

Bitcoin Central, a New Zealand ATM operator, abruptly announced the closure of its facility and sale of its equipment this week “despite complying with all the legal requirements”, following banks’ refusal to provide the necessary facilities.

“Without these the Bitcoin ATM business cannot operate long term,” the company stated on its website, citing further “negativity” from the banking sector “threatening the owner’s other businesses” and that it would be “prudent to shut the ATM down.”

The ramifications of the banks’ decision is yet to become clear, with The Nomad still carrying an upbeat article entitled ‘Bitcoin’s Potential in New Zealand,’ which concluded:

“Overall, the growth of the Bitcoin industry in New Zealand is promising, and if more merchants start to offer Bitcoin as a payment option and exchanges/startups … try harder to provide easy-to-use services to the general population of New Zealand, New Zealand will have a successful Bitcoin economy by the end of this year.”

Indeed, prior to the announcement, Bitcoin in New Zealand was a shining example of the currency’s mainstream potential.

Earlier this month, Geoff Bascand, deputy governor and operations head of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, even described Bitcoin as a potential alternative payment method to cash.

In the consumer market, the opening of Bitmart, an online supermarket originally featuring Bitcoin and Dogecoin payment earlier this year, reported huge orders upon opening, along with considerable growth thereafter.

Meanwhile, it appears to be business as usual for the country’s first ATM provider, Bitto NZ, which is due to present at the country’s first official cryptocurrency conference, Bitcoin South, later this year. The event, for which Cointelegraph is an official media partner, will seek to cover the latest developments nationally, and will provide the first official consolidation of the local space.

Sadly for Bitcoin Central, all that remains is a discreet call for buyers. “If you have any interest in purchasing a second-hand bitcoin ATM with compliance documents, please get in touch,” its website states. 

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