Bitcoin ATMs come back to life in Japan after 4 years of hibernation

Bitcoin ATMs are awakening from their slumber 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 computers personal.

Gaia Co., Ltd, a local cryptocurrency exchange company, revealed on Wednesday that it will soon be launching crypto automated teller machines, or “BTMs,” and has laid out plans to deploy 130 of these machines supporting 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 currency for Bitcoins. BTMs allow users to sell Bitcoin for fiat currency.

Gaia Chairman Motohiro Ogura pointed out 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 changed into cash instantly. Virtual money tends to attract the most interest as an investment vehicle, but it also has the potential to be used as a settlement currency. I want to develop,” he said.

Downtown Tokyo. Image: TripAdvisor.com.ph

Bitcoin ATMs Are Alive Again in the Land of the Rising Sun

These systems are distinct from traditional ATMs, which allow bank customers to physically withdraw money from their accounts. Rather, these types of ATMs are blockchain-based transactions that transfer cryptocurrency to a user’s digital wallet, usually by QR code.

The calamitous Coincheck breach in early 2018 dealt a massive blow to the Japanese cryptocurrency sector, rendering crypto ATMs in major trading locations nearly unusable.

In early 2018, hackers penetrated its firewalls and took away around $500 million worth of NEM tokens, prompting lawmakers to shut down all cryptocurrency ATMs across the country.

In recent years, the number of Bitcoin ATMs around the world has increased significantly. The United States is currently the undisputed leader with nearly 34,000 machines.

BTMs are growing at a rapid pace

CoinATMRadar, a platform dedicated to measuring the number of cryptocurrency ATMs around the world, revealed in December 2017 that the number of bitcoin ATMs around the world had increased by more than 100% over the past year.

According to sources, the reintroduction of BTMs in Japan would be a first for the country’s crypto-economy, as no Japanese company licensed by regulators has ever operated these cryptocurrency distributors.

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 Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance efforts, withdrawals are restricted.

Bitcoin is currently selling at $23,202, 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