S'pore firm hopes to fly despite Bitcoin fall
ONE of the world's largest Bitcoin exchanges, Mt Gox, has collapsed, causing Bitcoin values to plummet some 20 per cent.
But local firm Bitcoin Exchange is unfazed and will go ahead with its plan to launch the first Bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM) here next month.
Tokyo-based Mt Gox stopped trading abruptly on Tuesday, leaving investors stranded. Its founder has since gone missing.
The incident sparked concerns about the future of the virtual currency.
But Bitcoin Exchange's director, Ms Zann Kwan, who has bought a Bitcoin ATM, told MyPaper yesterday that the Mt Gox collapse might actually be "positive" for her firm.
"Unlike overseas Bitcoin exchanges, where money is held by the operators over a few days (depending on wire-transfer processing times), transactions made via a Bitcoin ATM are immediate," she said. It takes just 15 seconds for the machine to convert physical cash into Bitcoins.
Mr Tomas Forgac, who founded a Bitcoin point-of-sale system called BTCPOS, said: "If there is a lag-time, and the firm shuts down, consumers will be left stranded."
The value of Bitcoin, he noted, has bounced back to where it was before Mt Gox went down - at about US$580 (S$733). "This episode shows how the free market deals quickly and decisively with such issues," he said.