As bitcoin payment service CoinPip workswith 37 Coins to make digital payments easier for everyone in Singapore,the question comes up: how exactly is Bitcoin maintaining itself in the world’smost business-friendly economy?
One sign of increasing Bitcoin acceptancearound the world is the presence of the Bitcoin ATM. So far, Singapore has 8 BitcoinATMs installed throughout the city-state, including the island’s firstcash-out cable ATM in late March. The machine,found in the restaurant Bartini Kitchen and made by Robocoin, also allows usersto purchase Bitcoin, create a paper wallet, and send bitcoins to your existingwallet. David Moskowitz of Singapore broker Coin Republic said of the machine:
“I know a lot of enthusiasts have been looking for aconvenient way to sell their Bitcoin for local currency. This machine allowsyou to get your cash quickly using a very familiar ATM interface.”
So after stopping by one of Singapore’s ATMsand figuring out your wallet, perhaps it’s time to do a little shopping. Concretenumbers are hard to come by, but anywhere from 16to 33physical retailers exist in Singapore that accept Bitcoin. These includeanything from cafésand restaurants to computer appliance and photography stores.
What does the government say about all ofthis? In recent months the Money Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been jugglingideas about how to regulate the currency. In March the MAS revealed legislationthat require virtual currency intermediaries buying, selling or dealing invirtual currencies to verify the identities of their customers, to preventmoney-laundering and financial support of terrorism. The intermediaries arealso to report suspicious activities to the MAS.
The regulations don’t come off as too harshto Moskowitz, who offers the idea that technology can quash a lot of the MAS’fears. He cites European technology companies that look to operate thecrypto-currency in a similar way to how central banks handle their country’scurrency. Singaporean businesses will also be taxedon their Bitcoin sales. As far as individual taxes go, they will only be taxedif the bitcoin is exchanged for real monies, goods or services.
What does the future hold for Bitcoin inSingapore? Some would say jobcreation. CoinPip is a Singapore based company with a 0.55 percentprocessing fee. Merchants in CoinPip get their transactions immediatelycredited and deposited in Singaporian dollars, avoiding any risk of volatility.The company has already expanded to Hong Kong.
ItBit is another Singapore-based globalBitcoin exchange with 12 employees worldwide, five in the Singaporeheadquarters. The company has raised over $3 million in funding. Anotherstartup is the four person Ripple Singapore. The company lets users trade goldand silver bullion into the crypto-currency Ripple, which allows users toexchange or send rights to redeem valuable items conveniently. Singapore-basedSilver Bullion handles the company’s hard assets.
CoinPip CEO Anson Zeall has stated hesigned a contract with a physical POS provider that includes Bitcoin along withother payment methods like a credit card. He hopes to pilotthe service to over 700 merchants in Singapore. Despite Bitcoin not being usedon a massive scale in the country as of yet, such business ventures andwidespread education of the crypto-currency leaves enthusiasts optimistic.