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Financial regulator frowns on Bitcoin ATMs across north Taiwan

Legislator worried bitcoin ATM kiosks form a money laundering loophole

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A physical token that visually represents a Bitcoin. (Getty images)

A physical token that visually represents a Bitcoin. (Getty images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As many Taiwan investors hopped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, bitcoin automated teller machines (ATMs) kiosks appeared from nowhere on busy streets across northern Taiwan Friday (Dec. 24), stirring unease among financial regulators.

Cryptocurrency has begun to gain weight in the past year as bitcoin is hitting an all-time high while being viewed as an inflation hedge. In Taiwan, there were reports of bitcoin ATM kiosks suddenly appearing on the busy streets of Taipei City and New Taipei City.

The devices have, however, yet to be given a green light to go. The country's top financial regulator, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), was said to be investigating 16 cryptocurrency exchange operators to find out who the owner of the devices was.

At least 20 bitcoin ATMs were spotted in Taipei alone, according to Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), a finance committee member at the Legislature. Lai was demanding a thorough investigation of the devices to prevent the ATMs from becoming a big money laundering loophole, UDN reported.