We’ve been sleeping on Australian exchange igot.com, apparently.
The company announced on its Facebook page on September 11 that it had introduced a new bill-payment feature for users in New Zealand and Australia that would allow those customers to pay things such as rent, utility bills and council rates in bitcoin.
It wasn’t until Stuff.co.nz picked up the story Monday, though that we heard about it.
"Igot.com pays the biller direct, deducting the user's Bitcoin balance based on the current market rate, enabling a fast and efficient transaction," the story reported exchange co-founder Rick Day as having said in a statement, adding:
“Bitcoin is now entering mainstream consciousness, and user demand for Bitcoin solutions and services, such as the ability to make bill payments, is growing by the minute. Since launch, we’ve seen an increasing number of users, including experienced traders and new users of Bitcoin, become convinced of Bitcoin’s benefits; the most attractive being lower processing fees on transaction costs, with savings of up to seven to eight percent in some instances.”
The fact that igot.com supports BPAY and direct debit services allows “for efficient and trusted fund transfers directly to and from users' bank accounts,” The Australian reported in June while covering a story about igot.com raising funds from an American investor.
Opportunities in New Zealand
Kiwis in particular could use a little good news, especially after a story last week in The Intercept suggests the government there is spying on just about everyone and claiming that it isn’t.
So, let’s list all the reasons we believe Bitcoin has real potential in New Zealand.
First, the country’s own reserve bank said back in July that Bitcoin could one day replace cash. “[Bitcoin] is a very low cost payment method with strong security features and usable for cross-border transactions, making it advantageous in some regards relative to more traditional payment mechanisms,” the International Business Times reported Geoff Bascand, deputy governor and operations head of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, as saying.
Second, we have already seen examples of huge demand locally for Bitcoin merchants. Representatives from one online grocer, BitMart.co.nz, reported in May the company was “blown away” by the number of Bitcoin and Dogecoin orders coming in. Unfortunately, that site is now offline.
Finally, the Bitcoin-South conference at the end of November is scheduled to take place in Queenstown, on New Zealand’s South Island.
This Conference designed to be a 'journey around the block(chain)' — targeting business owners, entrepreneurs and developers outside of Bitcoin to come and learn about blockchain technology,” organizer Fran Strajnar told Cointelegraph earlier this month. “I didn't want to put on a 'trade-show’. We very much want to bring new people into Bitcoin in NZ.”
[Editor’s note: Cointelegraph is a media partner for the Bitcoin-South conference.]
Not all is rosy, though. Cointelegraph reported in July that a Bitcoin ATM installed in New Zealand had to be shut down because its operator was denied services from a legacy bank, “despite complying with all the legal requirements.”
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