Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission is barring Bitcoin ATMs because the country's regulatory body views Bitcoin as a false currency that should not be used by people or banks for payments.
Taiwan's regulatory strike against Bitcoin poses a challenge to companies hoping to move into the market. Robocoin, for example, has deployed a Bitcoin ATM in Canada, and plans to deploy Bitcoin ATMs in Asian markets. Robocoin did not return a request for comment by deadline.
The regulatory environment surrounding Bitcoin is as volatile as the currency itself. China banned Bitcoin in December, while India's government has taken a cool approach to virtual currency, through its stance falls short of an outright ban.
However, Robocoin won't need regulatory approval from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to provide the machines in the Chinese city, and a Bitcoin ATM may be ready in Hong Kong by the end of this month, the South China Morning Post reported Sunday, citing Robocoin CEO Jordan Kelley.
"It appears that the proposed machine is another channel for acquiring Bitcoin or a vending machine," the regulator said in an e-mail reply, noting that there is limited information available. "Bitcoin is not regulated by the HKMA. Bitcoin is not a currency but a virtual commodity."
Hong Kong's laws impose punishment on the illegal act of theft, fraud and money laundering involving Bitcoin, the HKMA said. The regulator said Bitcoin doesn't have any backing and doesn't meet the criteria of a means of payment or an electronic currency.
In the U.S., the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network categorizes Bitcoin exchanges and administrators as money services businesses, an early regulation that has prompted some companies to leave the U.S. for less regulated jurisdictions.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.