FamilyMart Taiwan accepts bitcoins

FamilyMart Taiwan says a growing number of customers are paying by bitcoin since it struck a deal with local wallet provider BitoEX.

The convenience retailer started accepting the cryptocurrency at its 3000 stores across Taiwan on October 24 and has recorded more than 500 transactions since then.

Most customers are using bitcoin to buy coupons dispensed by FamiPort terminals which Taiwanese use to pay for a variety of things including utility bills, cinema tickets, parking fines or train tickets.

FamilyMart PR manager Chen Chia-Chi told the Taiwanese news agency United Daily News that the bitcoin acceptance is aimed at travellers to Taiwan and a growing domestic bitcoin userbase.

BitoEX, meanwhile, claims to have more than 40,000 web wallet users, a customer base growing 30 per cent annually.

“There are more and more users of our bitcoin wallet now, but the market in Taiwan is still small, and it’s still growing,” said Rica Chiang, deputy GM of BitoEX.

Last year, BitoEX struck a deal with FamilyMart to sell bitcoins. That relationship raised the retailer’s awareness of the currency’s acceptance and consumer interest, leading to October’s payment introduction.

“Since last year [FamilyMart] saw a growing number of bitcoin sales. That’s why they were cautiously thinking about accepting bitcoin to see if it there’s a bigger market out there,” said Chiang.

Among the local users of the service are gamers who take a break to grab a refreshment at a familyMart store – and pick up some bitcoins on the way to use online.

“We noticed a lot of transactions taking place in the middle of the night, so we were curious. We found out they were gamers,” said Chiang.

“Sometimes they say, ‘Please give me bitcoin, I’m in a hurry – I’m in the middle of a game!’.”

BitoEX says people using bitcoin for remittances, investors and speculators are its next largest customer groups.

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