In a move that could potentially boost bitcoin usage in the country, two Australian tech startups will set out to launch an over-the-counter platform for selling bitcoin for everyday consumers.
An endeavor to make bitcoin more accessible and usable will see 1,200 newsagents (small retailers and newsstands) across Australia selling the cryptocurrency over the counter. This feature will mark the first time that Australians can fundamentally purchase bitcoin, with cash, over the counter.
According to the Australian Financial Review, all 1,200 newsstands will be fitted with an iPad that contains an application that will help facilitate the purchase of the cryptocurrency.
A joint venture between Sydney-based fintech startup Blueshyft and bitcoin exchange Bitcoin.com.au will enable Australians to buy Bitcoin with cash, at retail outlets.
Blueshyft’s retail platform is already being used by newsgents in the country, further easing the addition of bitcoin as an asset to be sold for fiat money.
“And it allows online businesses and digital retailers to extend their existing products and services into a local retailer without the costs of setting one up,” stated Blueshyft CEO Kain Warwick.
Furthermore, selling bitcoin over the counter will aid a struggling legacy industry with new ways to add to their income. Australian newsagents are essentially newsstands, found in popular and much-frequented public places. Australia has over 4000 individually owned and operated newsagencies, collectively making for over $6.5 billion AUD in revenue each year. The industry is also Australia’s largest retail and home delivery group, employing over 20,000 people.
Both fintech startups can lay claim to well-known backers with experience in the bitcoin industry. Bitcoin.com.au falls under the purview of Global Internet Ventures, a venture capital firm which has previously set up local exchange Buyabitcoin. Blueshyft is incidentally owned by Matt Handbury, the former head of Murdoch Books and the nephew of Rupert Murdoch.
Bitcoin.com.au general manager Rupert Hackett further stated:
There is no doubt that Bitcoin is poised for huge growth.
The move to “sell” bitcoin over the counter has already seen fruition in Canada, where fintech startup Decentral announced purchasable ‘bitcoin cards’ at retail storefronts in the country. The cards fundamentally work like gift cards, available in denominations of $20, $50 and $100 CAD, which can then be redeemed for bitcoin.
The following month in March saw BitAccess, a Bitcoin ATM manufacturer also launch a similar voucher-based bitcoin purchasing system, available in 6,000 retail storefronts aCanada.
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