Japan brings back its first crypto ATM after four years

Crypto exchange Gaia BTM aims to install 130 crypto ATMs in Japan over next three years

 A sign outside a store in Madrid, Spain, advertises a Bitcoin ATM                                 
Crypto ATMs – also called BTMs – similar to this one in Madrid, Spain, are returning to Japan after a four-year break – Photo: Getty Images

Crypto ATMs – also known as Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) – are returning to Japan after a four-year break.   

Gaia BTM, a Japanese crypto exchange, announced that it will soon be rolling out crypto ATMs in Tokyo and Osaka. Over the next 12 months, the firm is planning on setting up 50 BTMs across the country.    

The company said it aimed to have installed 130 crypto ATMs over the next three years.

No active BTMs since 2018

Despite the first crypto ATM arriving in Japan back in 2014, there have been no active digital asset ATMs since 2018 due to the crypto winter brought on by Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck being hacked for $530m (£437m).

Additionally, the infamous Mt Gox hack also took place in Tokyo in 2014 that resulted in the crypto exchange filing for bankruptcy.

The current machines will allow users to withdraw a maximum amount of $747 (just under JPY100,000, £617) per transaction with a maximum quantity to be withdrawn per day to be $2,243 (just under JPY300,000, £1,853).

The crypto withdrawals are limited to comply with the country’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws. To withdraw funds from crypto ATMs, users need to register with the company to receive a card that then allows them access to the crypto ATMs. Once approved by Gaia BTM, users can then send crypto assets to the BTMs via a smartphone and withdraw the cash amount in yen.

BTM placed in Mexico’s Senate building

In April 2022, the Mexican Senate building installed a BTM, making it the country’s 14th.

It was installed to help with the efforts of Congress of the Union Senator Indira Kempis who hoped to make Bitcoin legal tender in Mexico through a bill she was planning to present later this year.

Bitcoin ATM manufacturer ChainBytes in co-operation with ATM operator Axolotl Bitcoin installed the BTM, which had already received the support of several legislators, including Miguel Ángel Mancera, head of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

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