Singapore Shopping Mall Debuts Bitcoin ATM, Draws Impressive Queue

The launch of what operators called Asia's first public bitcoin ATM drew crowds on Friday.

Mar 1, 2014 at 9:02 a.m. UTC
Updated May 2, 2022 at 3:56 p.m. UTC

Singapore received its second official bitcoin ATM on 28th February when a Lamassu unit debuted at Citylink Mall.

With a retail space of 60,000 square feet, the country's first underground mall is not the largest to host a bitcoin ATM. But, the venue is still in a high-profile location that connects City Hall with local transit and hotels, which should help ensure its visibility.

Of the launch, Zann Kwan, executive director of Singapore-based Bitcoin Exchange Pte Ltd, the company operating the ATM, said she was "happy to bring this potentially groundbreaking technology to Asia and Singapore".

Kwan cited the launch as evidence of Singapore's fast-growing bitcoin community, and indicated that her company plans to install more bitcoin ATMs by the end 2014. In particular, she noted the group would continue to target public locations with a heavy traffic flow.

Singapore Bitcoin ATM

The bitcoin ATM, which the company said is "Asia's first public" ATM, will be open from 5am to midnight every day, local time.

Notably, the announcement comes just one day after Singapore-based ATM provider Tembusu Terminals revealed the country's first permanent bitcoin ATM.

About the launch

Bitcoin Exchange indicated that it helped promote the machine with a bitcoin giveaway, in what seems to be an increasingly popular tactic among groups launching bitcoin ATMs.

Zann said that the first 50 users would receive S$5 in cash and a paper wallet as part of the first-day giveaway that inspired long lines of interested users.

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Still, the event hasn't been all positive. Redditors took issue with Bitcoin Exchange, as it did not comment on its fees. The company did not answer questions about its pricing online, but did provide a statement as to why the ATM requires fees.

"Doing this is actually harder than most people probably think. There is a reason this is one of the first public machines in Asia. [...] There are legal risks, price risk, technical risks and so on and of course hardware costs, rent and so on."

International expansion

Bitcoin Exchange indicated that though Singapore has been its initial focus, it is also exploring opportunities in its neighboring nations in Southeast Asia.

Still, despite the company's enthusiasm for the endeavor its market seems to have already been limited by the harsh stances taken by regulators in Vietnam and Thailand. Further, it remains unclear what actions Singapore will pursue regarding bitcoin regulation.

Image credit: Singapore skyline via Shutterstock

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