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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manion

Gaia Relaunches Bitcoin ATMs In Japan

Japanese crypto exchange Gaia has recently announced that it will be relaunching BTMs (Bitcoin ATMs) in the country, with the new machines supporting popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin, among others.

Bitcoin ATMs have been around in Tokyo since at least 2014, but because of the decline in usage, developers and firms supporting these machines have pedaled back and discontinued production. This is hearkened by the collapse of Coincheck in 2018, a popular exchange at the time which was exploited for some $530 million, effectively crippling Japan's local crypto sector.

In late 2014, another tragedy hit the country's burgeoning crypto scene at the time, with the downfall of Mt. Gox, an infamous crypto exchange which has since been shut down. It appears that the country and its private sector has rekindled its commitment to fostering the growth of the market.

This series of events prompted the Japanese government to relegate regulatory oversight to an independent and self-regulatory agency, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA). With the reintroduction of crypto ATMs in the country through the initiatives of Gaia, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida has called on the JVCEA to hasten its screening process to expand its listing for new digital assets, with a particular focus on local exchanges.

With the reintroduction of crypto ATMs, key locations in Tokyo and Osaka are being targeted by Gaia. This is a significant move by Gaia, as it not only signals a resurgence in confidence in cryptocurrencies by the firm, but also suggests that there is still public interest in digital assets despite the bear market. ATMs will provide individuals with a way to easily and quickly buy or sell cryptocurrencies, which may help to further increase adoption and growth for the crypto sector in Japan.

According to Gaia, they initially plan to set up at least 50 such crypto ATMs across Japan, with a working timeline of 12 months. Further, Gaia plans to be able to install 130 within three years. The ATMs are capped at 100,000 Japanese yen per transaction, with the withdrawal capped to 300,000 yen per 24-hour cycle. These specifications for withdrawal are in compliance with the country's existing Anti-Money Laundering laws.

Prospective users are required to register with Gaia and receive a card which will provide them with access to the ATMs. Users may also send crypto assets to the BTMs through Gaia's mobile app. While the ATMs would themselves not serve as a crypto-fiat ramp, these will be very useful for users who may need spare cash of up to $700 (the rough equivalent of the per-transaction limit) for daily needs and expenses.

The decision to relaunch crypto ATMs in the country marks the first time that a locally-registered crypto firm will do such a project in Japan. Previous crypto ATMs were deployed by foreign firms looking to service the country's growing crypto user base, a few years back.

The Japanese government has also been making strides, in particular with the emerging sectors for Web3. The country recently opened a Web3 Policy Office under the supervision of its Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI). This office will be tasked to work on the development of "innovative business environment(s)" for Web3 firms, alongside regulatory frameworks that would support these firms as they establish the country's Web3 infrastructure.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.


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