FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

How Singapore businesses are basking in Bitcoin boom

But security woes hamper growth.

There’s no stopping Bitcoin’s popularity despite the rising threats of cybertheft. In Asia, Singapore becomes one of the latest markets to join the pack as the virtual currency gains ground across the globe. Last week, Tembusu Terminals Pte unveiled Singapore-made Bitcoin ATM at The Spiffy Dapper bar in Boat Quay. Another ATM was also launched at Citylink Mall.

According to Martin Arm of iWorld Concepts, one of the first local shops in Singapore to accept Bitcoins in 2012, ‘’with nets and credit cards payments costing 2-3%, the narrow profit-margins of our retail business get even smaller. With bitcoin we pay almost next to nothing.’’

From the merchandisers’ perspective, Bitcoin offers several advantages. Uzair Gadit, Co-founder & Director at PureVPN, said Bitcoin payment in his business was started on the back of customer demand.

"It was a good move. The customers needed an 'anonymous' payment method to keep their information private with a privacy service such as ours,’’ he shared.

"The best advantage for us is low processing fee and absence of chargeback provision which saves online merchants such as from the dragon of chargeback policy abuse and credit card fraud," he added.

However, not everyone emerges as a winner by using the virtual currency.

Martin shared "major issues facing bitcoin user are trust,security and price volatility. For bitcoin to progress users need trustworthy respectable exchangers and availability of security-solid wallets. Huge price swings among exchangers are due to market inefficiencies."

Uzair also added "right now it's still not as easy to obtain Bitcoins or exchange for hard cash which we believe will improve over the next couple of years boosting currency adoption."

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