Last Friday, on 6/20/14, a jewelry store in the Sands Macao world-class hotel lit up with the virtually iridescent glow of cryptographic splendor. Jase Leung, Bitcoinnect’s CEO, together with Matthew Ventura, a Macau entrepreneur, have established a Bitcoin vending kiosk accessible to the myriad of tourists that frequent the international gambling hub of the world. Bitcoinnect is the trademark under the company Harbour Technology Limited (no relation to Harbour Rich Technology Limited) which is the exclusive distributor of California’s Genesis1 Bitcoin vending kiosks in Hong Kong and Macau region. Though Genesis1 Bitcoin “ATMs” are often called ATMs in other parts of the world, for Macau Bitcoiners, it will be referred to as a “Bitcoin Vending Kiosk.” This is because the Monetary Authority of Macau recently issued a press release titled: “Caution against Engagement in Bitcoin Transactions.”
I asked Jase Leung about Bitcoinnect’s regulatory compliance efforts by email and he responded back promptly:
“According to the press release by The Monetary Authority of Macau dated 17 Jun 2014, Bitcoin is not legal tender nor a financial instrument subject to their supervision. They also warned not to be caught “using the words, expressions, or any other terms having or implying the idea of operating the business of a credit institution.” Therefore, we will not use the word “ATM” for our Bitcoinnect machine.
Bitcoinnect is also equipped with a fingerprint scanner, EMV card reader, a high-definition camera so that we can comply with the KYC requirement, if necessary. While we do not want to obtain excessive personal data from customers, we also try our best to comply with legal requirements.
We will keep monitoring the situation, and we will work very hard to ensure compliance with Macau’s government requirements.”
According to Bitcoinnect’s press release:
Bitcoinnect, a bank-grade digital currencies vending kiosk, has high banknotes capacity to cope with the market demand. It is capable of accepting as many as 2,200 and dispensing 6,800 banknotes respectively at a time. It takes less than a minute for each buying or selling transaction. Bitcoinnect is also equipped with SMS verification function, fingerprint scanner, EMV card reader, and high-definition camera which can comply with the KYC requirements, if necessary.
Bitcoinnect CEO Jase Leung emphasized the huge effort needed to bring Bitcoinnect into Macau. Series of thorough testing was conducted for months to ensure fast and stable performance of the machine and satisfactory user experience.
Bitcoinnect will be at the Inside Bitcoins Hong Kong conference held June 24th through the 25th in Hong Kong and will feature some of East Asia’s most prominent Bitcoiners as speakers. Chinese Bitcoin exchanges such as BTC China and Huobi are in attendance lead by their CEOs, Bobby Lee, and Leon Li, respectively. Other featured speakers include Ron Cao, a co-founder of Lightspeed China Partners, and Jehan Chu, the founder of Hong Kong’s own Ethereum Meetup Group. In addition to the star lineup of speakers, exhibitors and sponsors from around the world, such as Bitcoinnect, will also be in attendance. MediaBistro invites you to “Explore the Business of Bitcoin” in HK with them. If you are unable to make it to HK for this event, have no fear. Inside Bitcoins will be hosted around the world over the next year in central locations such as Melbourne, Tel Aviv, London, Las Vegas, Seoul, Singapore, Berlin, and NYC.
Images courtesy of HK Bitcoin ATM’s Robert Lam .