In a recent announcement on their blog the Vietnam-based OTA Future.Travel announced that they have launched the very first Lightning ATM in Asia into regular operation.

The machine is hosted at the office location of Future.Travel in Tan Binh district and operates at regular office hours. The machine allows for direct conversion of VND into Bitcoin Satoshis on the Lightning Network.

The machine has been built based on the open source design provided by 21isenough with hardware components sourced and compiled on-site in Vietnam.

Eats Fiat, gives Sats. Asia's first Lightning ATM in Ho Chi Minh city.
Eats Fiat, gives Sats. Asia’s first Lightning ATM in Ho Chi Minh city.

Future.Travel thereby continues to be one of the path-forging pioneers in the Bitcoin space in Vietnam and Asia.

In 2013 Future.Travel became Vietnam’s first merchant to accept Bitcoin payments for its services such as flight tickets, visas, hotel booking or cruises and took BTC acceptance online in 2015; followed up in 2020 by becoming Vietnam’s first Lightning-enabled merchant thanks to a partnership with Neutronpay and BitcoinVN.

David Watson, General Director Future.Travel:

“With the world economies in flux it is more important than ever for merchants to remove barriers to purchase by consumers. As an international Online Travel Agency, Future.Travel works with customers from around the globe. In many cases the ability of customers to purchase is limited by the ability to gain access to bank credit or debit cards. Banks are not keen to issue those these days of economic uncertainty.

David Watson, General Director of Future.Travel during BlockFin Asia 2016
David Watson, General Director of Future.Travel during BlockFin Asia 2016.

The Lightning Network payment pathway lets the consumer purchase with local currency at a Lightning Bitcoin ATM and to buy products online, almost instantly. For us at Future.Travel that means we have near instant funding from purchases around the world being directly deposited into our Vietnamese bank account. Much faster and cheaper than traditional credit/debit cards issued by Visa or MasterCard. We have lowered the cost of travel products to the consumer to essentially a cash rate by allowing them to use the Lightning nNetwork when they make a payment. Removing friction and barriers at the point of sale works for everyone.”

While there are a couple of more Bitcoin ATMs operating in Saigon, the Lightning Bitcoin ATM by Future.Travel is the first machine in Ho Chi Minh City to provide direct access to Bitcoin sent via second layer technology Lightning Network.