FREMANTLE as a destination for “international, bitcoin-loving Twitter crowds” is in the sights of locals Abheeti Kathryn Pass and Sophie Amat who want to turn the port city crypto-friendly.
Agnes Water in Queensland became Australia’s first digital currency town last year, with TravelbyBit co-founder Caleb Yeoh telling the Gladstone Observer many people who’d made money during the cryptocurrency bubble were now using it for travel.
Ms Pass wants to see the sign #bitcoinacceptedhere outside locals shops to lure that trade to the port city.
With Ms Amat she set up a wheretoshopwithcrypto webpage last year, signing up 18 businesses in six months.
They include retail shops, backpackers, an eco funeral business, lawyers and an accounting firm.
Ms Pass says the owner of a string of Perth hotels including the Norfolk and Rottnest pub is also interested.
Wray Avenue accountant John Reeve signed up a few months ago and reckons a cashless society is the way of the future.
“It’s just a means of exchange … no-one thinks of writing a cheque and bitcoin is going the same way,” Mr Reeve said.
Cryptocurrency transactions are reportedly highly secure, with the “coin” being tracked by a vast network of computers using blockchain technology.
No matter the nationality of the crypto owner, shops and businesses are paid in Aussie dollars through a simple TravelbyBit crypto point-of-sale system using a mobile phone, iPad or shop computer.
“It’s as quick as EFTPOS, the retailer gets cash in their account immediately,” Ms Pass says.
Small businesses pay wheretoshopwithcrypto a $200 upfront fee, while larger multi-site businesses can pay upfront $400 for each store location.
The paying customer also pays a nominal transaction fee per transaction.
“For example a Litecoin transaction cost about 1US cent,” Ms Pass says.
Crypto currencies have been around for 10 years but have had a rocky path, soaring high, and plummeting to abysmal lows.
But it’s clawing back, and some have roughly doubled this year.
Early users were exposed to fraud, and money laundering was rife.
Banks are now moving to set up their own version, including US multinational investment bank JP Morgan which is set to launch its JPM Coin.
Ms Pass co-hosts a podcast Crypto Clothesline, which teaches women about blockchains and cryptocurrencies.
For more information talk to Abheeti or Sophie via their WhereToShopWithCrypto Facebook page, where you can also book into a business info event on Tuesday July 16.
By JENNY D’ANGER