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Singapore’s first merchant to accept bitcoin: Artistry

Caroline Ng | Aug. 5, 2013
Artistry trials the uncharted waters of bitcoin payments, challenging its status-quo in the city-state.

Since Singapore's central bank has yet to define what bitcoin is, local exchange FYB-SG does not need a license to operate.

While it is unclear how bitcoin will fit into the financial landscape, "tech giants could develop processing capacity and become clearing houses of digital currency either on their own or through joint ventures with financial institutions," according to a latest report by the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria.

"If bitcoin really takes off, banks will have to get involved in it in some way," said Michael Yeo, market analyst for IDC Financial Insights. "A bank could still possibly get into the ecosystem by leveraging on its own expertise in areas such as providing underlying systems for potential merchant point-of-sale systems or via providing secure transaction frameworks that comply with local regulatory requirements."

A signal that there is a potential for banks to step up to the competitive threat from bitcoin and monetise it.

Earlier last month, online German bank, Fidor Bank AG partnered Bitcoin Deutschland GmbH to serve as a "liability umbrella," following legislations, including anti-money laundering rules for users.

"Banks need to realize that, with all these different payment methods, there is a bigger pie of profits where everyone should share," Yeo added.

But some bitcoiners may not want this bank yoke since the value as a decentralised currency could mean the prospect of a closed-loop economy.


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