A 400-square-foot shop is opening this week in Western Hong Kong in the Sai Ying Pun area, becoming the city’s first bitcoin purchasing point. Asia Nexgen Bitcoin Exchange is responsible for the store, and they’re hoping it’ll become the place to acquire the digital currency in the vicinity.
It’s all about ease of access:
“The biggest issue people have right now is buying the bitcoin. People have to put money in, trade it through an exchange online,” said Asia Nextgen’s Lo Ken-bon, who heads the company.
“Now, you walk into the store, hand over your cash and send the bitcoin to your digital wallet.”
In effort to comply with anti-money laundering regulation, anyone looking to purchase bitcoin from the shop will be required to provide an address and identification.
But there’s a looming uncertainty with regard to the legality of the business due to lack of legislation.
“We will be operating it as a vending machine. There’s no exchange of money involved,” said Lo.
In mid-November, authorities in Hong Kong stated they would not be regulating bitcoin, but according to the South China Morning Post, “A source from Customs and Excise said officials were considering which government department was responsible for regulating bitcoin-based activity.”
For now, it would seem as if the bitcoin shop is in the clear. Whether or not that changes down the line is anyone’s guess at this point. [via SCMP]