Australia is one of the countries around the world that has had a warm relationship with cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin for many years. There has been lots of positive Bitcoin news from Down Under over the years which strongly confirm that Aussies do love the crypto.
Even when the price of Bitcoin dropped below the $10,000 mark at the end of January 2018, (after having hit an all-time high of $20,000 in Nov 2017) and many feared for the worst, there was still room for significant news for Bitcoin from an Australian airport.
- Australian authorities end Bitcoin double taxation
The increased usage of Bitcoin by the populace has inevitably led to many wondering whether these were not signs that Australia could end up adopting Bitcoin as an official currency. While that may not happen (not saying that it won’t ever), the Australian government seems to have realized that Australians appreciate the benefits of Bitcoin as a payment system and are increasingly turning to it to pay bills.
In 2017, the government released a budget statement announcing that from July of that year; cryptocurrencies were to be treated in the same way as legal tender. What that statement meant was that purchases of cryptocurrencies would no longer attract the Goods and Services Tax (GST), thereby bringing to an end the double taxation that Bitcoin users experienced when they first bought their Bitcoin and then when they used it to pay for goods and services. Outright adoption of Bitcoin as an official currency may not happen soon, but the positive attitude about BTC from the Bitcoin lovers seems to be getting even stronger. Many people buy Bitcoin on many exchanges like Bitpanda.
So, why do we say that Australians love bitcoin?
Several instances over the years provide a measure of proof about this assertion.
- Australian airport becomes the first in the world to accept Bitcoin.
On February 1, 2018, the day Bitcoin prices plummeted to trade under $9,500 heralding another disappointing day for the cryptocurrency; an Australian airport became the first in the world to accept Bitcoin as payment for its services. Brisbane Airport made the announcement saying that Bitcoin and a few altcoins like Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, and Steem would be acceptable as payment options within the airport.
The airport authorities have signed an agreement with TravelbyBit Australia which lets travelers using the airport’s services pay with Bitcoin. You can now travel to and from Queensland via its busiest airport and pay online using the cryptocurrency on top of being able to shop and eat at the restaurants courtesy of your Bitcoin.
However, the move by Brisbane Airport isn’t the first time Australians have come out in support of Bitcoin. Some leaders have been at the forefront in championing for the adoption of Bitcoin in Australia.
- Parliamentary Lobbyists wanted the Reserve Bank of Australia to recognize Bitcoin as an official currency.
In August 2017, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that lobbyists from the opposition Labor party had united with their colleagues from the ruling coalition to ask the RBA to recognize Bitcoin as an official currency. The group had argued that Australia’s financial sector depended on an active encouragement of cryptocurrency (read Bitcoin) and blockchain technology.
Senators Jane Hume and Sam Dastyari even went on to form an advocacy group named “Parliamentary Friends of Blockchain.” Their sentiments lay in the belief that Bitcoin’s emergence had the potential to revolutionize money markets and therefore needed support. The cross-party group advocated that Australia needed to pursue the possibilities of having an official Bitcoin for use in the cryptocurrency market.
It turns out even the leaders loved Bitcoin.
- Australians pay bills using Bitcoin
The Living Room of Satoshi, aptly named, reports that the number of citizens paying their bills using bitcoin was growing every other month. Aussies utilize the free online service to settle any BPAY-enabled bills in Bitcoin. The crypto’s adoption is down to it being secure and fast and, therefore, Australians use it to pay all sorts of bills- electricity, phone bills, tax, credit cards and even school fees.
By November 2017, the LRoS reported that they handled up to $1 million in bill payments every week. According to co-founder Daniel Alexiuc, Bitcoin usage has multiplied and those with the crypto love to spend it on paying bills. To further illustrate that Aussies love Bitcoin, David Larkin, a Melbourne IT worker, was reported to have paid all his bills using Bitcoin.
- The first cashless Bitcoin Kiosk in the world
To continue the long line of “firsts” for Bitcoin, Australia saw the installation of a pioneer cashless bitcoin kiosk. Brisbane-based company Diamond Circle installed the machine at Burleigh’s Bluff Café. The Kiosk dispenses Bitcoins with a debit card, which is then used to facilitate online purchases in Bitcoin.
Similarly, Forsyth Real Estate joined the fray of companies embracing Bitcoin for payments by allowing its customers to use bitcoin. Although this was the first for Australia, it said a lot as Forsyth is a respected brand in Australia. More and more companies and startups are taking up cryptocurrency payments methods, with Bitcoin leading the way.
- Young Australians invest in Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies)
It appears that it’s not only those with Bitcoin to spend love it. Troves of young urban Australian people have taken to mining and trading bitcoin with the hope getting returns. A survey by bitcoin.com.au found that 59% of bitcoin users were below 34 years. The report has prompted some people to question whether bitcoin will turn out to be a financial revolution for the young investors or it would end up like the Tulip bubble.
Australia is one of the countries with a relaxed approach towards the question of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ regulations. Meanwhile, many of the Aussies continue to use Bitcoin in their day to day transactions. The positive attitude and receptiveness have made companies devise ways to capture this lucrative market. And if Bitcoin was to ever gain international acceptance as a world currency, one of the first countries to ratify may just be Australia; they love Bitcoin.