Exclusive: Why Hong Kong is Asia No.1 in Bitcoin ATM?

By Matthew Lam   Jun 05, 2019 6 Min Read

Exclusive interview with Wincent Hung: Part 2

Following Part 1  of the interview, Wincent Hung, Director of Genesis Block shares with us the latest adoption of Bitcoin ATMs in Hong Kong. Wincent reveals the secret why Hong Kong is No.1 in Bitcoin ATMs. He is also optimistic on the Bitcoin price run, believing this bull price run can surpass its all time high in Dec 2017!

We know that ATM services is one of the business segments of Genesis Block . How’s the adoption of Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong?

We keep expanding the ATMs in Hong Kong in different locations, just want to make it like convenience store such as 7-11, which is accessible by the public 24/7. This is our goal because some people don't like going to a shop like registering and opening accounts. However, when they see Bitcoin ATMs, they just want to go in buy some Bitcoins. Our job is to expand more locations for Bitcoin ATMs and make more people to access Bitcoin ATM every 30 minute walk.

The Bitcoin ATM adoption in Hong Kong is still very slow. However, it is much better than other countries like South Korea, Japan, as they need licenses for operating Bitcoin ATMs. There’s only a few Bitcoin ATMs in Japan and South Korea. Taiwan also only has nine Bitcoin ATMs. There are 38 Bitcoin ATMs in Hong Kong and it is no.1 in Asia.

I would say Bitcoin ATM adoption in Hong Kong remains low compared to traditional ATMs. There are 7 million population in Hong Kong and with 38 Bitcoin ATMs, it's like more than 180,000 people per Bitcoin ATM. Comparing to traditional ATMs like HSBC, Hang Seng, and Bank of China, they're everywhere. The adoption remains still very low compared to traditional banks. I still think there's a lot of markets and improvements that we can do. When the bull market is about to come, we see a lot more transactions now as well.

Crypto ATM installation Growthcompressed-min.jpg

Crypto ATM Installation Growth to date
Source: Coinatmradar

Readers are quite interested to know more about the Bitcoin ATM penetration rate. Do you have more statistics on Bitcoin ATMs in Hong Kong and rest of the world to share with us?

The number of crypto ATMs has grown 5x over 2017-2019, from 964 at start of 2017 to 4913 to date. On average 7.1 Crypto ATMs are installed daily. In terms of Bitcoin ATMs by country , United States topped the list with 3102 Bitcoin ATMs, followed by Canada (702), Austria (272) and the United Kingdom (243). While Hong Kong has the most Bitcoin ATM in Asia, this is followed by Malaysia (10), Taiwan (9) and 8 for Singapore and Vietnam.

HK Bitcoin ATMcompressed-min.jpg
Distribution of Bitcoin ATMs in Hong Kong
Image credit: Coinatmradar

What are your plans to boost the adoption of Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong?

We will try to push more and also try to push more merchants to let us put the Bitcoin ATMs. They also accept crypto as one of their payment methods. I think this is the best way to drive crypto mass adoption with more merchants accepting crypto as means of payments.

We can do everything for the merchants. We help them to set up the payment system; we help them to do the settlement as well they can accept crypto and we will not charge them anything and then directly convert their crypto to fiat. They don't need to pay the fluctuation of the crypto. I f the owner who is very optimistic about cryptocurrency, they can just accept that and then hope all the coins they got.

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Bitcoin ATM in Soho District, Hong Kong
Image credit: Genesis Block

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Bitcoin ATM in Naked Hub, Hong Kong
Image credit: Genesis Block

Do you think Bitcoin can sustain its positive price run as Bitcoin recently surge around USD 8000? Do you think this pricing momentum will continue and why?

I strongly believe the bear market is ended and I am optimistic that the next price target will be breaking the new record high of Bitcoin. I believe that this bull run will definitely break the last peak. The reason is that there is growing demand from institutions on OTC because there are more people interested in crypto.

We can see a lot of countries having their problems in their currencies as well. For example, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, even for China that suffers from trade war.  We can see many chinese people who buy cryptocurrency will be expecting the RMB will depreciate.

Traditional giants are using crypto as well. Facebook and JP Morgan are issuing their own coins. These kind of news are ignored in the bear market but now we can see that all these factors together are making the crypto market more and more promising. Cryptocurrencies are definitely the future. If nations suffer hyperinflation in their fiat currencies, cryptocurrency is the only option which helps them to mitigate the risks of holding those fiat currencies.

We know that mining equipment is one business segment of Genesis Block . Do you think the surging Bitcoin price leads to the revival of BTC mining?

All the miners are mining for profits. If they expect what they are mining will be more valuable in the future or now, they can make a break-even. Last year, I see a lot of mining firms closed down. Recently, I see people are still adding machines to their mining farms already.

How about Genesis Block , do you guys still expand this business segment?

We will do it passively. The reason why we have this business segment is because there was a shortage of mining machines in China so we can be a middleman of buying and selling mining machines. However, the supply of mining machine is not in the shortage now. People can buy mining machines directly from suppliers like Bitmain . Middleman is no long required for purchasing mining machines and we do not expect to expand this business.

Recently HKSFC has published regulatory guideline on security tokens on March. How would you position yourself to adopt this new regulation?

We are not surprised with this recent regulation on security token offerings (STO). The lawyers and financial professionals who hold the HKSFC license know that STO is directly regulated under the HKSFC because we are selling something similar to securities and we understand it is regulated. The problem is that the government or the SEC does not specify how strict they will regulate STO. I spoke to SFC license representatives such as the distributors and lawyers. Their view is that after the HKSFC statement, the regulators will need someone who wants to offer the security token to meet the standard similar to the IPO like a regular stock. They need to see audited financial statements which are very strict. 

Does Genesis Block need to do anything particular to adopt this new regulation?

For us, we are not issuing any STOs. We are still trading major cryptocurrencies. I also study a little bit about the regulations and see if there's any impact on us. If you're asking if there's any impact on Genesis Block, I will say none because we don't claim to have any new STOs.

About the author

Matthew Lam
I believe the true value of cryptocurrencies is the underlying blockchain technology. The development of CBDC, DeFi, blockchain standardization are the key trends to watch in 2020!

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