Tokyo FinTech
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Tokyo FinTech

Gaia brings back Bitcoin ATMs to Japan

Licensed cryptocurrency exchange provider Gaia has brought cryptocurrency ATMs, this time termed “BTMs”, back to Japan.

The first of the machines, which handle Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin, was deployed at the company’s headquarter in Osaka at the beginning of August, followed by a second machine at their Tokyo office this week.

With the establishment of licensing for cryptocurrency exchange in Japan in April 2017, the operation of cryptocurrency ATMs was deemed to be part of the licensable exchange business. Hence Bitcoin ATMs, which were once popular in Japan, disappeared from their popular spots in bars, etc.

Gaia, which had been working on this service since mid-2016, became licensed by the Japan Virtual and Crypto assets Exchange Association (JVCEA), the domestic Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO), on June 18, 2021. This license now allowed Gaia to re-launch the ATM business.

To comply with AML/CTF regulations, an online user registration is required. Once successful, an ATM card will be mailed to the registered user to gain access to the ATMs. While the user registration operates 7x24, access to the ATMs is restricted by their current placement in Gaia’s offices. Therefore the ATMs are only accessible during weekdays from 10am to 5pm, and not on Wednesdays in Tokyo, when the Gaia office is closed.

Further restrictions apply. The limit per transaction is set to JPY 100,000, 3 times a day, 5 times a week, 20 times a month, and JPY 5m per year. Depending on the annual income of the customer, the annual limit might be lowered to JPY 2m.

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Norbert Gehrke

Norbert Gehrke

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Passionate about strategy & innovation across Asia. At home in Japan. Connector of people & ideas.