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Vietnam, Once a Communist Despotism, Loves Bitcoins

Jon Southurst

Bitcoin ATM operator EasyBit said today it plans to install three new bitcoin ATMs in Vietnam. The company already operates one machine in Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s largest city.

At the same time, it announced a partnership with local exchange Bitcoin Vietnam to supply all four machines.

EasyBit already operates over 60 bitcoin ATMs in over 10 countries. The four Vietnam machines, all supplied by Canadian hardware manufacturer BitAccess, will be two-way. This means users can deposit bitcoins for cash as well as buy digital currency.

Bitcoin Vietnam will handle all operations on the ground, such as liquidity management, marketing, customer service and legal issues.

Bitcoin in Vietnam: Remittances, Students, Tourists and Miners

Italianis Bitcoin ATM BTM VietnamThe operators expect a percentage of business to come from Vietnam’s $13 billion USD remittance industry. The country currently ranks #11 in the world for money sent home from overseas workers and relatives.

However the company has observed many other use-cases, such as students purchasing online games with bitcoin, people purchasing goods from China and the U.S., and miners cashing out their proceeds.

A representative said: “The BTMs so far are mostly used in our experience especially from new users who don’t necessarily have the trust yet in the online exchange websites, or tourists (who are already exposed to Bitcoin) visiting town who look for an easy way to cash out some of their crypto-holding to the local currency”.

Bitcoin Vietnam CEO Nguyen Tran Bao Phuong said she was looking forward to working with experienced partners to bring the benefits of this new technology to the Vietnamese market.

“While still in a nascent stage, FinTech is an increasingly hot topic in Vietnam — and we see this as one additional and important step in order to strengthen our position as market leader in the Digital Currency exchange landscape in Vietnam.”

Bitcoin Vietnam, which began serving customers in 2014, has remittances and the financially underserved in its sights. Last year it launched VBTC, which exchanges bitcoin and sends money transfers even to those without bank accounts.

According to the World Bank, as much as 70% of Vietnam’s population is “unbanked."

First Machine Already Operating

The partnership’s first Bitcoin ATM is already installed and operating. It is available from 10AM to 1AM, seven days a week at Italiani’s home made pizza restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City. Three more machines are headed to Vietnam for as-yet-unannounced locations, likely to also be gathering spots for the young and more tech-savvy crowd.

Vietnamese law requires every phone number to link to a specific personal identity. For that reason, the machines will require only a phone number to verify transactions at this point. However the hardware also allows for additional verification (ID scan and face camera) if necessary.

Cash withdrawals will be limited to less-than-four-figure USD equivalents. This limit makes the machines more suitable to consumers rather than large-scale operations, and avoids situations where machines regularly run out of cash.

This piece ran on Bitcoin.com

 

 

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