Bitcoin ATMs to be launched in Hong Kong, Toronto; banned in Taiwan

A few months after the world’s first bitcoin ATM was launched in Vancouver, the second one is set to be established in Hong Kong sometime this month. The cryptocurrency ATM permits customers to buy and sell the digital currency in a matter of minutes. The machine is available to purchase for banks and private entrepreneurs.

This is how the machine operates:

–          Select to either buy or sell a bitcoin

–          Choose the amount of cash you would like to withdraw

–          The ATM’s software creates a code to scan with your smartphone

–          The machine then generates a receipt

–          After a confirmation, scan the code on the receipt and money is given

One of the primary objectives of the bitcoin ATM is to make the process faster than creating an online exchange account through a mobile application or computer which could take a week due to account verification. Also, another reason for the move is to bring further legitimacy to bitcoin by bringing it to the real world.

“It removes all the pain and barriers of entry to buying Bitcoin on an online exchange. Our goal as a company is to make the acquisition truly grandma friendly,” said Robocoin chief executive Jordan Kelley in an interview with CNN. “I think we’re going to unleash the power of Bitcoin. It opens a virtual money portal where people can send money to and from.”

Sometime this month, another bitcoin ATM will be created in the city of Toronto at 64 Spadina Avenue. It was constructed by BitAccess and works the same way as the Vancouver and Hong Kong machines.

As some entrepreneurs in other countries embrace cryptocurrencies, other governments and central banks are taking steps to prohibit bitcoin from growing. Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) issued a statement confirming that it would not permit the installation of bitcoin ATMs because they do not deem it as a currency and should not be accepted by financial institutions and individuals.

The statement also included stern warnings against investing in the bitcoin because of its extreme volatility. In the past couple of months, bitcoin has fluctuated from as low as $500 to as high as $1,200. At the time of this writing, bitcoin is trading at just around $900.

Despite Taiwan’s move, other Asian countries appear to be more accepting. For instance, the Singapore central bank – the Monetary Authority of Singapore – has confirmed that it will not be interfering in bitcoin and not establish regulations.

“Whether or not businesses accept Bitcoins in exchange for their goods and services is a commercial decision in which MAS does not intervene,” it told Singapore-based Bitcoin trading platform Coin Republic in an email, notes Tech in Asia.

In Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) said that the digital currency is subjected to taxes and can be traded like other commodities. South of the border, though, is a different story. Although the Federal Reserve has stated that it does not have the authority to regulate bitcoins, the many rules and regulations and agencies competing to regulate the cryptocurrency could become too much for bitcoin operators.

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