Gaia Co. Ltd, a crypto exchange firm in Japan, unveiled in an official press release that it will be installing crypto ATM across the country (“BTMs”). At least according to one of Japan’s primary newspaper sources, this move will be the very first time that a local (crypto) company would install and manage crypto ATMs.

The first wave of the development campaign will install these BTMs across specific locations in Tokyo and Osaka. 

Eventually, a total of 50 of these machines will be installed across the country in a planned period of one year, then expanding further to 130 machines over several years afterwards.

The press release also outlined a simple step-by-step procedure on how the BTM’s verification process would primarily operate (refer to page 2). 

First is a standard registration procedure, which grants a special card that would allow withdrawal of the equivalent amount in Japanese yen (JPY) after sending the crypto assets to a smartphone.

The crypto ATMs will allow transactions and exchange of primarily Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC). 

According to Anti-Money Laundering compliance measures, the maximum withdrawal amount per transaction is 100,000 JPY, and the withdrawal amount per day is 300,000 JPY, which is equivalent to about $745 (USD) and $2235 (USD) respectively.

Gaia’s CEO, Motohiro Ogura. stated in the same Mainichi Shinbun article that “BTMs provide a sense of security by being able to exchange cryptocurrency assets on the fly (locally). People often focus on the digital merits of cryptocurrency, but its possibilities as hard currency are still there.” 

Indeed, with BTMs all around, the withdrawal process for cryptocurrency is significantly sped up. No longer would assets have to be wired first from a local bank before even being accessible by the user at a local ATM.

History of Crypto ATM Stations In Japan

crypto atm stations in Japan

While Gaia’s move is considered revolutionary, this is not particularly the first time Bitcoin ATMs were deployed in Japan. Some may remember these machines debuting in Tokyo as early as 2014, though as hinted earlier, none of these machines was installed and managed by a local Japanese crypto-based company.

Then there was also the infamous Coincheck hack of 2018, where the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange service suffered a massive $580+ million worth of coin loss due to an authorized transfer of NEM assets. 

This definitively rocked the Japanese crypto industry, significantly reducing public confidence in blockchain networks, and eventually leading to the Japanese government’s handing off oversight regulation to the Japan Virtual and Crypto assets Exchange Association (JVCEA).

With the soon-to-be deployment of BTMs again in the country’s economic hotspots, it seems that confidence, or at least interest in the crypto market, has been renewed once again in Japan.

It is hoped that this will be just the first step towards building more bridges for more services and networks within the country within the next following years.