Bitcoin ATMs in Singapore sell out in frenzied trade
As the price of bitcoin crashed last week new market entrants were rushing in just as panic sellers were looking to cash out.
Bitcoin machines in Singapore last week were unable meet demand for the huge increase of buyers, as bitcoin dipped below US$10,000. The machines were out of order for up to three days because the system was so congested with orders.
While the price of bitcoin had dipped from week highs to their lowest recorded price since 1 December 2017, it was unclear whether the congestion was sparked by panic selling or a frenzied spree to buy the dip.
Downwards pressure on the price of bitcoin grewsignificantly over the course of the week, as news outlets in South Korea swayed world cryptocurrency markets after reporting that a complete ban on cryptocurrencies was possible. The news has since been clarified and it seems that there will be no such decision besides adding to existing regulation.
This shows another example of bitcoin going mainstream. This process has received added momentum, with the first futures contracts on the Chicago Board Options Exchange expiring on Friday 19 January - the same day bitcoin ATMs were imploding in Singapore.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) continues to issue warnings that bitcoin and other virtual currencies will be regulated. Even with that added security, the MAS has warned that trading in bitcoin carries massive risks at this early stage. The MAS announced in 2017 that it would be trialling the underlying technology of bitcoin as it seeks to experiment with blockchain solutions for the Singaporean economy.
Also having an impact regionally has been Japan’s 2017 decision to recognise bitcoin as a form of currency. This made headlines around the world, also added legitimacy to the currency and saw a rise in bitcoin's price. Today Japan accounts for half of global bitcoin trade.
While Singapore has tended to be not quite as liberal towards bitcoin within the Singaporean economy, it has endorsed a relaxed policy towards incoming virtual currencies. The opposite is true with regards to the Singaporean dollar being traded for cryptocurrencies. Because of this the recent strong demand for the bitcoin ATMs will be watched closely by Singaporean authorities.
Zann Kwan, owner of the bitcoin ATMs, said that four years ago when the ATMS were first purchased, the ATMs would need replenishing several times a week. Now the ATMs are becoming so popular they are needing to be restocked several times a day. The trade on the ATMs saw lineups extending as far as 30 people deep and average transactions increased from several hundred US Dollars to upwards of US$1,500.
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