It was set up by David Moskowitz, the Singapore-based founder of bitcoin exchange Coin Republic, and Vancouver-based Bitcoiniacs.
The machine will provide another option for people who want to make transactions in bitcoins but prefer to deal in smaller amounts or do not want to go through the bitcoin exchanges, Moskowitz said.
|Singapore’s first machine that can accept bitcoins in return for cash opened at Bartini Kitchen on Boon Tat Street on Monday. (The Straits Times)|
It will also allow technologically savvy tourists to exchange their bitcoins for cash to spend in Singapore.
Moskowitz said: “A lot of tourists come to Singapore and some have bitcoins, so they are going to be looking for a place where they can easily and comfortably sell their bitcoins, get some local currency and then spend it.”
Apart from hosting the machine, Bartini Kitchen also accepts payments from customers in bitcoin.
Tomas Forgac, who set up the restaurant’s bitcoin payment system, said the bitcoin machine will increase foot traffic for Bartini Kitchen.
It is also cheaper for the machine to be placed there than at a mall, where it might cost $3,000 a month, he said.
Earlier this month, the Monetary Authority of Singapore proposed new regulations on intermediaries of virtual currencies such as bitcoins. It said the anonymous nature of virtual currencies makes them “particularly vulnerable to money-laundering and terrorist financing risks.”
A public consultation will be held before the proposed regulations are brought in.
Moskowitz hopes to speak with MAS regarding the regulations. He said it will be good for the bitcoin community here to work together with the regulator.
By Rachael Boon
(The Straits Times)