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Talk of the Day -- Bitcoin to be introduced in Taiwan
Central News Agency
2013-12-11 10:59 PM
Wayi International Digital Entertainment Co. announced Wednesday that its online shopping site Wmall will begin to accept Bitcoin payments next year. The OTC (over-the-counter) market-listed company, which focuses on the research, development and distribution of online games, will be the first Taiwanese company to accept the decentralized virtual currency as a payment tool.

Financial analysts said Wayi's decision will test the Central Bank of the Republic of China's (CBC's) attitude toward Bitcoin development in Taiwan and its ability to regulate the currency's circulation. CBC Governor Perng Fai-nan said recently that the central bank has been keeping close tabs on the development of Bitcoin, a new kind of money circulating among a specific group of people.

Some see Bitcoin as a digital commodity while others view it as a digital currency. It is run in a decentralized peer-to-peer network without a central authority or banks to manage transactions. Cryptography is used to control transactions and prevent double-spending. The issuing of Bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. The concept was introduced in a 2008 paper by a pseudonymous developer known as "Satoshi Nakamoto," according to Wikipedia. The following are excerpts from a special report in the Wednesday edition of the United Evening News: Wayi said it will not only accept Bitcoin payments for its online shopping services but is also looking forward to becoming Taiwan's Bitcoin exchange center. The announcement pushed the company's share prices up by the daily maximum 7 percent to close at NT$10.45 (US$0.35) Wednesday. The price was above the stock's monthly and quarterly moving averages. Wayi said the company does not have any Bitcoin at present but is working to connect with Bitpay, an Atlanta-based company that helps companies accept Bitcoin as payment, to verify the legality of Bitcoin owned by consumers. Starting next year, Wmall will accept Bitcoin from consumers who buy products or services on its website. Once the company accumulates a tranche of Bitcoin, consumers will also be able to buy Bitcoin on its website, a Wayi spokesman said. The company will collect a 3 percent service charge from those who procure Bitcoin through Wmall circulation system, he added. Bitcoin can be cashed into the local currency through digital exchange centers.

Local financial analysts said they do not think that Wayi would become a major Bitcoin exchange center because few Taiwanese people have the currency and the Bitcoin bubble is likely to burst.

Bitcoin first appeared in 2009 and has become increasingly popular as a payment tool.

The Germany government recognized Bitcoin as a legal currency in August, allowing Germans to use it for tax payments and trading.

But China announced Dec. 6 that its financial institutions are banned from pricing physical goods or services in Bitcoin.

Chinese institutions are also not allowed to accept Bitcoin as a currency or use it for financial services or investment. China's insurance companies are not permitted to provide coverage for Bitcoin-related problems. Taiwan's central bank said recently that it views Bitcoin trading the same way it views trade in precious metals. The central bank said it is keeping track of changes in the development of Bitcoin and will prevent money laundering using the digital currency. (Dec. 11, 2013). (By Sofia Wu)

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