How are Australians using Bitcoin?

In Australia, you can use Bitcoin to buy food, transfer money or pay for a co-working space. CoinJar highlights stories of businesses integrating the cryptocurrency

we-are-accepting-bitcoin

Despite Bitcoin coming out of obscurity, potentially prompting a revamp in the financial system, and sparking off other crypto-currencies like Dogecoin, it still has problems moving beyond a currency for speculation into a currency for day-to-day use. This is because merchants need to adopt Bitcoins for it to go mainstream, and right now, there is not enough incentives for them to do so.

However, CoinJar, an Australian Bitcoin platform, has conducted interviews with four individuals from distinctively different fields — from the agriculture industry to a web hosting company. One thing these Australians share in common is that they integrate Bitcoin in their businesses.

Founded in February 2013 by entrepreneurs Asher Tan and Ryan Zhou, CoinJar is a Bitcoin buy and sell exchange and online wallet service. It has over 22,000 individual and business customers, and processed over US$30 million worth of transactions in the last year. CoinJar is backed by leading investors AngelCube and Blackbird Ventures.

Whether it’s for fun, the technology, the functionality or the philosophy behind Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency is far from dead. CoinJar’s aforementioned compiled stories of businesses integrating Bitcoin coincide with the launch of its new website.

Meet the game-changers
Owner of Earth and Sky Organics, a Australian agriculture firm that delivers freshly certified organic and biodynamic produce, Chris shared that he uses Bitcoins in his food delivery business and is building a decentralised peer-to-peer financing platform to support farmers in Australia. He said, “I read somewhere that Bitcoin wouldn’t be a real currency until people could purchase food with it. We sell food, so we sell food with Bitcoin.”

The Chief Edge Officer at Deloitte, Pete Williams stated that Bitcoin could be the future of exchanging value, in a paper he wrote. He said different countries have different restrictions around movement of value or cash and that he believes that the world is much more global now as opposed to the old world being divided by maps. “In this digital world, maps don’t have a role. It’s this virtual connectivity. I think that having the ability to move money around to whom and how you choose is something that is very democratising,” he said.

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Nhial Majok, CEO, TagPesa is an ex-pat from East Africa who is using Bitcoin to help people in the community save on fees when sending money back home. Because Bitcoins cannot be kept in the country under normal monetary regulation by the government, a decentralised currency may be more useful in sending funds directly to the needy without intervention from bureaucrats.

Developer of co-working and web-hosting company Electron Workshop Nick Jaffe said that the company started accepting Bitcoin as payments as he found that it was an interesting network. He started accepting it for fun, and now the firm has a handful of customers that pay with it.

“CoinJar is at the forefront of Australia’s growing Bitcoin community,” said Cade Diehm, the company’s Creative Director, “We believe we have a responsibility to celebrate and champion the human stories of this exciting technology.”

The company will continue sharing these stories with a short documentary launching on May 21, 2014.

Theon Leong

Theon is a skeptic who believes in possibilities after learning that three thirds of a pie does not add up to one and that cats can be dead and alive at the same time. He writes about business and technology, and is particularly interested in deconstructing complex ideas into bite-sized chunks. His favorite novel is The Little Prince, and spends his free time on chess and video games.

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