THE bitcoin machine contagion has spread across the Causeway, with the launch of Malaysia's first bitcoin vending machines by Singapore-based payment transaction firm Numoni.
One of its machines was installed in Kuala Lumpur's Bangsar Shopping Centre, while another was set up in Penang's Gurney Plaza.
"While different countries are deliberating over the acceptance of bitcoin, bitcoin remains in demand," said Numoni's chief executive Norma Sit.
"The Numoni bitcoin vending machines enable the general public to participate in buying small amounts of this cryptocurrency that is seen in many countries as an international voucher that can be used to barter for goods online."
This expansion into Malaysia follows Numoni's launch of four bitcoin vending machines in Singapore earlier this year.
Now, Numoni plans to have 10 such machines in Malaysia within a year and 100 of them over three years. BTC Future Sdn Bhd has been appointed the distributor of bitcoin machines for Peninsular Malaysia.
Each machine is priced at US$4,500 and available with a "lead time" of one month, Numoni said yesterday.
In Singapore, Numoni is one of three bitcoin operators who collectively run the seven bitcoin vending machines that are operational. All the machines are currently of the one-way variety, in that they accept fiat currency for bitcoin but not the other way around.
An eighth machine - a two-way one that has a cash-out function - might soon join the market with the entrance of a fourth operator.
Numoni has opted not to implement the cash-out mechanism in Singapore or Malaysia, it said. This September, Numoni will launch a touchscreen model of its machine which will be headed for international markets, it said.
Malaysia's central bank does not regulate bitcoin operations, but has advised the public to be cautious about the risks associated with using digital currency.
On this side of the Causeway, the Monetary Authority of Singapore has mooted plans to regulate virtual currency intermediaries, including bitcoin machine operators, in order to curb money laundering and terrorist financing risks.