Bitcoin ATMs have come out of hibernation in Japan for the first time since the crypto winter of 2018 — allowing residents of Osaka and Tokyo to trade cryptocurrency from devices other than their smartphones or PCs.
Gaia Co., Ltd, a local cryptocurrency exchange, revealed on Wednesday that it will soon launch crypto automated teller machines, or “BTMs,” and has laid out plans to roll out 130 of these devices that support Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) over the next three years.
A Bitcoin ATM is an internet-connected terminal that allows consumers to exchange fiat currencies for bitcoins. BTMs allow users to sell bitcoin for fiat money.
Gaia President Motohiro Ogura confirmed that this is the first time a local exchange has installed cryptocurrency ATMs in the country.
“It is comforting to know that BTM can be converted into cash instantly. Virtual money tends to earn the most interest as an investment vehicle, but it also has the potential to be used as a settlement currency,” he said.
Downtown Tokyo. Image: TripAdvisor.com.ph
Bitcoin ATMs Live Again in the Land of the Rising Sun
These systems differ from traditional ATMs, which allow bank customers to physically take cash from their accounts. These types of ATMs are instead blockchain-based transactions that transfer cryptocurrency to a user’s digital wallet, usually via a QR code.
The catastrophic Coincheck breach in early 2018 dealt a huge blow to the Japanese crypto sector, rendering crypto ATMs at major trading sites virtually unusable.
At the beginning of 2018, hackers broke into their firewalls and purchased nearly $500 million in NEM tokens, prompting lawmakers to shut down all crypto ATMs across the country.
In recent years, the number of Bitcoin ATMs around the world has expanded exponentially. The United States is currently the undisputed leader with nearly 34,000 machines.
BTMs are growing at a fast pace
CoinATMRadar, a platform dedicated to measuring the number of cryptocurrency ATMs in the world, revealed in December 2017 that the number of Bitcoin ATMs worldwide has expanded by more than 100 percent over the past year.
According to the sources, the reintroduction of BTMs in Japan will be the first of its kind in the country’s crypto-economy, as no Japanese company approved by the regulator has operated such a cryptocurrency exchange machine.
Bitcoin ATMs will allow customers to withdraw up to $747, or 100,000 Japanese yen (JPY), per transaction, and $2,243, or 300,000 yen, per day. As part of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance effort, withdrawals are restricted.
Bitcoin is currently selling at $2,202, down 2.5% from last week, according to Coingecko statistics.
BTC total market cap at $442 billion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com Featured image from Twitter, chart from TradingView.com