Yesterday, Robocoin's blog revealed that Bitcoin ATMs were to be revealed in Hong Kong and Taiwan by the end of the month as part of a global expansion program building on the success of the first Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver, Canada.
In prompt response, the head of Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Tseng Ming-Chung [Pictured above] issued a statement essentially banning Bitcoin ATMs from appearing in Taiwan. For those that have been following Bitcoin news out of Asia, the FSC's prompt destruction of the Bitcoin ATM dream in Taiwan should not come as a surprise. Taiwan's Central Bank: The Central Bank of the Republic of China, along with the FSC released a joint statement at the beginning of the new year:
“Bitcoin holders are on their own, as the currency is not issued by any monetary authority and is therefore not entitled to legal claims or guarantee of conversion.”
The statement from Tseng in response to Robocoin's announcement was published to the Central News Agency in Taiwan, which of course shows up in Yahoo.tw's news, somewhat of a front page for internet-savvy Taiwanese news-seekers. The story of the Bitcoin ATM's denial in Taiwan was quickly picked up by English news outlets such as TechCrunch.
Tseng Ming-Chung had this to say:
“Given bitcoin’s non-currency status, no bank deposits should made in it, and banks are not allowed to receive or provide (bitcoins). To install bitcoin ATMs would require approval from FSC, which will not be given. So it is impossible for a bitcoin ATM to come to or appear in Taiwan.”
Redditor /u/slowmoon, whom is somewhat of a leader in the Taiwan Bitcoin community, was the first to organize a Taipei Bitcoin Meetup, and is also the one behind the attempt to bring a Robocoin ATM to Taiwan. Given Taiwan's unique access to the Chinese RMB market and their technological manufacturing edge in the semi-conductor industry, many Bitcoiners have their eyes peeled for Taiwanese action regarding Bitcoin that is different than in mainland China. Given this recent move from Taiwan, I'm keen to see whether or not Robocoin or Lamassu ATMs will actually make their way to Hong Kong or Shanghai without government interference.
While reports suggest that Bitcoin ATMs meant for Taiwan's shores might instead by rerouted to Hong Kong, /u/slowmoon and other Taiwanese Bitcoiners are planning a reaction. Bitcoiners in Taiwan will seek legal action/clarification to the FSC's statement and attempt to legally get a Bitcoin ATM to Taiwan. Apparently there's a law firm in Taipei that accepts Bitcoin; needless to say, the Bitcoin community will watch this debacle unfold with great interest.