Two large convenience store chains in Taiwan, Hi-Life and OK Mart, have turned into de facto Bitcoin buying locations for Taiwan’s highly tech-connected population. Two months ago, BitoEX started letting users buy Bitcoin directly at their local Family Mart. Now, that functionality is available in Hi-Life and OK Mart, bringing the total amount of convenience stores wired for Bitcoin buying to over 5,000.
Taiwan is slowly but surely embracing Bitcoin as the island nation’s residents start to establish key infrastructure for Taiwan’s Bitcoin ecosystem. Now that the country’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th largest convenience store chains have partnerships with BitoEx, it may just be a matter of time before international giant 7-Eleven starts dabbling in the world’s most international currency.
BitoEX’s CEO, Cheng Kuang Tai, highlighted his company’s new move in a recent press release:
Following the existing 3000+ FamilyMart convenience stores, BitoEX has signed agreements with two other mega convenience store enterprises (OK Mart and Hi-Life), making it now a total number of more than 5,000 locations in Taiwan available for purchasing bitcoins in late 2014. We have chartered KBBEX as our supplier of Bitcoin to BitoEX. We are confident that in collaboration with KBBEX and the associated companies, the recognition of bitcoins will grow and general public would cast their vote of trust to bitcoins.
KBBEX is one of Hong Kong’s newer Bitcoin exchanges that is attempting to take the Asian Bitcoin market by storm. Already, KBBEX operates in 11 currencies and plans to introduce bitcoin saving, p2p lending, futures, and potentially other derivative products as well in the future. KBBEX provides the liquidity to BitoEx’s wide-reaching operation. KBBEX’s CEO, Patrick Lam, explained the move from his side of the strait:
Bitcoin’s global markets have entered into a brand new era. Bitcoin-related financial tools and its derivatives have attracted billions of investment funds from Wall Street and Silicon Valley. The existing offline transactions (OTC) markets are insufficient to cope with the demand of our worldwide customers. It drives us to open a bitcoin exchange platform. KBBEX plans to launch its China platform whenever users can use onshore Renminbi to perform transactions in early 2015. Besides the business in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, we also have our business partners in Switzerland and Japan. We will keep working hard for expanding our network. We strongly believe that globalization is one of the keys to enhancing the development of bitcoin industry.
Taiwanese convenience stores offer, on average, between 300-700 different services, many of which are financial. In fact, according to a recent report, 40% of Taiwanese visit a convenience store at least once a day. More telling is that more than 70% of Taiwanese pay their bills at the convenience store. Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesians can also buy Bitcoin at convenience stores near them. IndoMaret, a large chain of convenience stores with much the same function to the community as Taiwanese convenience stores have, has services that allow users to buy bitcoins at over 10,000 locations.
Images from KBBEX, Wikipedia, and Shutterstock.