Thu, Nov 19, 2015 - Page 14 News List

FSC vows to keep hands off bitcoin management

Staff writer, with CNA

As more Taiwanese convenience stores have started accepting bitcoin transactions, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday said it would not regulate the management of the virtual currency.

The commission and the central bank have reached a consensus on viewing bitcoin as a commodity rather than a currency, so that the two agencies will keep their hands off bitcoin management, FSC Chairman William Tseng (曾銘宗) said on the sidelines of a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Finance Committee.

However, the commission will demand that local banks do not accept bitcoins for third-party receipts or payments, Tseng said.

Tseng’s remarks came after Taiwan FamilyMart Co (全家便利商店), the nation’s second-largest convenience store operator, announced earlier yesterday plans to form a partnership with BitoEX Technology Co (幣託科技), a Taiwanese bitcoin wallet provider.

The partnership transforms bitcoins from a virtual wallet into coupons that can be used in nearly 3,000 FamilyMart stores.

BitoEX teamed up with FamilyMart and two smaller convenience store chains — Hi-Life International Co (萊爾富國際) and OK Mart (OK超商) — late last year to make bitcoin purchases available in local convenience stores.

Bitcoin was invented in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto as an alternative to government-run monetary systems, and was released in 2009 as an open-source software.

It is controlled by an international network of computers and can be used to buy goods and services, traded for traditional currency on a bitcoin exchange, or stored in a virtual wallet.

The central bank last year said that bitcoin is a highly speculative virtual product and lacks a mechanism to protect transactions.

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