February 19, 2014
On 29th October 2013, we witnessed the debut of the world’s first Bitcoin ATM. Robocoin first unveiled the ATM at a conference in San Jose, California during last year’s springtime. On 7th January 2014, Robocoin announced that they would be deploying the world’s second Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong. Now the company has extended its reach into the US with the announcement that it will be installing Bitcoin ATMs in Seattle and Austin, Texas.
The Kiosks to be installed at these to venues will be equipped with scanners. This is so that government issued IDs such as passport or driver’s license can be read by the equipment to confirm the identity of the user.
In 2013, Bank of America became the first major financial institution to initiate analyst coverage of Bitcoin. The bank stated that the virtual currency had the potential to become a major means of payment for e-commerce and a serious competitor to traditional payment methods.
It is not all hunky-dory…
The Taiwanese Central Bank & Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) have jointly declared that Bitcoin cannot be recognized as a valid form of currency. FSC Chairman Tseng Ming Chung said that Robocoin ATM’s would be prohibited. This was almost immediately in response to Robocoins intentions of introducing Bitcoin ATM’s to Hong Kong as well as Taiwan.
Central Bank and FSC recently released a joint statement warning against bitcoin. According to the Central Bank, bitcoin is not a currency; financial institutions and the public shouldn’t use it as medium of payment, stated FSC Chairman Zeng Mingzong In an interview with CNA. Given bitcoin’s non-currency status, no bank deposits should made in it, and banks are not allowed to receive or provide (bitcoins). To install bitcoin ATMs would require approval from FSC, which will not be given. So it is impossible for a bitcoin ATM to come to or appear in Taiwan.
Taiwan is not completely shutout from Bitcoin however. They have a Bitcoin exchange called BitQuick.tw. Digital Entertainment company Wayi also recently announced its plans to begin accepting Bitcoins. Its online retails wing, Wmall displays the Bitcoin logo on its front page as well as banner.