It seems we will be talking about crypto-currencies for a good while yet. Following the success of the first ever Bitcoin ATM in Canada, it looks like Hong Kong and Taiwan will be the next launch locations for ATM company Robocoin, ahead of further rollouts across Europe and the US. Over 1,500 transactions occurred at the ATM in Vancouver in its first month, with a turnover of more than $100,000 in its first week alone. Now Robocoin CEO Jordan Kelley is keen to duplicate these results in the Asia-Pacific region.
Demand for Bitcoin in Asia is “amazing”, according to Kelley: “We have many Asian countries seeking to enhance consumer capability to buy and sell Bitcoin securely and safely.” Robocoin ATMs enable users to exchange Bitcoins for cash, and vice versa. And if you’re a crypto-currency virgin, you can use these ATMs to get your hands on your first ever Bitcoins.
Perhaps most importantly, Robocoin’s ATMs have been designed with stringent biometric security features. “Robocoin was built from the ground up to be 100% compliant globally and secure,” the company’s growth manager Sam Glaser told TechCrunch. “Our 3-step verification gives operators unprecedented visibility of their customers and Robocoin provides incredible power to defend against money laundering. The palm vein scanner, ID scanner and facial matching [are] replacing the need for a bank teller.”
However, a Bloomberg report this week indicates that launching in Taiwan may not be as simple as Kelley and his team first imagined. While the Hong Kong Monetary Authority classifies Bitcoin as a “virtual commodity” rather than a typical currency, making it exempt from regulation, the Taiwanese Financial Supervisory Commission is not so laissez-fair in its ruling. A joint statement from the FSC and Taiwan’s central bank described Bitcoin as “a highly speculative virtual product”, and as such, they will not allow Bitcoin ATMs on the island.
Robocoin is currently the best-known Bitcoin ATM company, but it is by no means the only one. Its performance in the Asian market may set the bar for peers such as Lamassu, not to mention any number of young pretenders that will undoubtedly spring up at the slightest whiff of a virtual payday.