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Two Australia-based tech companies have launched a new initiative that will make bitcoin available for everyday consumers around the country.
The Australian digital currency exchange, Bitcoin.com.ua has partnered with retail network Blueshyft to launch a new platform that will allow customers make purchases with virtual currency. Under the project, people will be able to buy bitcoin at nearly 1,200 newsagents around the country.
Blueshyft, the fintech solutions business offering premium software and hardware equipment, is owned by Matt Handbury’s Murdoch Media. Bitcoin.com.au is a part of Global Internet Ventures (GIV), a venture capital company which previously opened local exchange Buyabitcoin.
It is the first time Australians will be able to buy bitcoin over the counter using their cash. The project is expected to boost customers’ trust in bitcoin and improve its reputation as a reliable cryptocurrency.
“It’s hard to trust the current Bitcoin exchanges because the process is very vague to the consumer,” Rupert Hackett, general manager of Bitcoin.com.au, told Mashable Australia. “We believe that through this retail partnership, we’re offering proper branding that will give a lot of trust to the consumer.”
“Our idea is that if we can take the change in your pockets and make that of more value in digital form, that will encourage bigger and bigger purchases,” he said.
To enable clients buy bitcoin, newsagents will use an iPad and an app connecting digital currency and the platform. The companies will charge a 4% commission on sales.
The minimum transaction will amount to $50, but the exchange wants to lower the limit to $1. According to Hackett, they are aiming for around 15 million transactions in the first year with the average transaction expected to range from A$150 to $200.
Blueshyft’s platform is already being used by Australian newsagents and couriers, facilitating the use of bitcoin.
Hackett believes bitcoin will continue growing in the future. Its underlying technology, blockchain, has already attracted some large investors. The world’s leading banks are also investigating the potential use cases of the technology.
“There is no doubt that Bitcoin is poised for huge growth,” Hackett noted. “Big banks and accounting firms are investing in the underlying technology, Blockchain.”
The Australian Securities Exchange is also exploring how to use distributed ledger to improve banking operations and make them faster and cheaper. Earlier this year, it enlisted the blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings to create a new system for settling trades in the country’s equity market.
Last month, the Swiss Municipality of Zug announced plans to let customers pay for government services with bitcoin. It became the first city in the world to offer public services in exchange for digital currency.
The pilot project will begin from July 1 and last until the end of 2016, when the city will analyze the trial results and then decide whether it is reasonable to accept digital currency payments or not.