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Athena Bitcoin to Integrate Lightning Network for Bitcoin ATMs in El Salvador

David Pokima
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Pixabay / Michael Wuensch

Athena Bitcoin has announced plans to integrate the Lightning Network into its crypto ATM fleet in El Salvador with wider expansion targeted at the entire Latin American region.

In a Nov 7 press release, the company revealed it has enabled the technology in partnership with Genesis Coin Inc. to all its infrastructure in the country giving users a faster and overall better experience.

The network will be integrated into 100 cryptocurrency ATMs within the next two months with further plans to extend the service to more countries.

The company operates Chivo ATMs in El Salvador, the country’s official Bitcoin wallet, and seeks to be a leader in ATM infrastructure as a new market report by Coin ATM Radar shows only 3.7% of global digital asset ATMs supporting lightning.

One hundred machines will be Lightning Network-enabled by the end of December 2023 and the remaining kiosks will follow in the first quarter of 2024.”

The other sole Athena-branded machine will be embedded with the lightning network in Q1 2024, a few months after this development. As a pro-Bitcoin country, El Salvador has 215 crypto ATMs and remains key to the global perception of the importance of technology worldwide.

Lightning network has been hailed as the perfect layer 2 payment solution due to its faster withdrawal initiations while keeping fees minimal. 

El Salvador’s growing Bitcoin initiatives 


Popularly known as the country to make Bitcoin a legal tender, the government continues to extend web3 efforts into new fields and has been praised for using Bitcoin to stabilize the economy.

Distribuidora Morazán, the second largest consumer distribution chain in El Salvador has entered into business with Bitcoin Beach Wallet to accept the leading cryptocurrency from over 40,000 merchants.

This will foster business-to-business relationships getting more retail service providers on board as the government expands the use of digital assets in the country.

This collaboration between Blink and Distribuidora Morazán has paved the way for a pilot program that allows the distributor to accept bitcoin from a select segment of its extensive customer base, which includes over 40,000 merchants.” 

While El Salvador integrates crypto and blockchain into finance, education, and policy formations, critics have pushed blockchain technology with Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) as the way forward. 

Nayib Bukele, the President of El Salvador is in the race for re-election although critics say he isn’t meant to be constitutionally qualified for election. His supporters and other pro-Bitcoin users suggest that other countries emulate the President’s policies in embracing digital assets.