As the number of merchants accepting bitcoin in Japan grows, companies are incorporating the digital currency into their business models in different ways. Japan’s leading printer, info-telecom and ATM manufacturer, Oki Electric Industry Co Ltd, has entered into the Bitcoin ATM business. Their first line of Bitcoin ATMs is launching this month.
Leading ATM Manufacturer
Founded in 1881, the Tokyo-based Oki Electric Industry Co. Ltd (Oki) manufactures and sells products, technologies, software and solutions for telecommunications systems and information systems. Among other offerings, Oki supplies ATMs, cash-handling equipment, bank branch terminals for financial institutions, automated check-in machines as well as ticket reservation and cash-handling equipment for the retail and service industries.
The company claims to be the first to develop the world’s first cash recycling ATM in 1982. These ATMs recycle banknotes by taking deposits from customers and dispensing them to other customers who withdraw cash at a later time. They are expensive but are more efficient and save on the cost of labor.
According to London-based Retail Banking Research, there were 3.3 million active ATMs in 2016, about 30% of which were cash recycling machines. Oki’s corporate brochure says:
Oki is a leader in ATMs, with a leading share in the domestic market for financial institutions and the retail/service industries. In overseas markets, we actively sell “ATM-Recycler G7”, a cash recycling ATM that can handle banknotes in multiple currencies.
The Recycler G7 (RG7) is the company’s latest line of legacy ATMs, which is the seventh generation of its cash recycling machines.
Oki Launching Bitcoin ATMs
According to Nikkei Asian Review, the company’s next line of ATMs will be launching this month, and they will be Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs). The Recycler G8 (RG8) will allow customers to withdraw local currency from their bitcoin wallets as well as charge expenses to them. The publication describes:
It [the BTM] lets users link their online bitcoin wallets to the machine in order to withdraw funds based on the virtual currency’s market price, as well as deposit physical cash into their digital stashes.
There will be other functionality as well, such as settling payment on invoices sent via smartphone. The features an ATM will have depend on the country where it will be located and what services local banks offer.
Initially, Oki aims to launch the new machines in China and other emerging nations. “Oki has no plans to deploy the ATM back in Japan yet, given the relatively quiet demand for bitcoin by financial institutions here,” Nikkei Asian Review wrote.
While the company has not announced where these Bitcoin ATMs will be installed, the RG7 units are installed in high foot-traffic areas such as international airports in Narita and Haneda, and other commercial facilities in Japan. In June last year, Oki installed 600 RG7 units in the State Bank of India, which is the largest bank in the country.
What do you think of Oki entering into the Bitcoin ATM business? Let us know in the comments section below.