Australia: Crypto in Circulation?

australia-crypto-in-circulation

Many critics of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies have pointed out that crypto’s usability in day-to-day transactions is minuscule, thus highlighting their argument that cryptocurrency is nothing more than a “speculative bubble,” with no real value. In Australia, however, a major cryptocurrency inroad has finally come to fruition. This action may increase the Ethereum price, Bitcoin price, and other cryptocurrencies’ prices.

In early June of 2020, Coca-Cola partnered with Centrapay, a major player in helping brands digitally integrate payment methods. By designing an application that links over 2,000 Coca-Cola vending machines to consumers’ Sylo Smart Wallets, Centrapay has given purchasers of the refreshing sugary-drink a cash-free way of procuring it, using Bitcoin, Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies.

Current times present a ripe opportunity to integrate cashless payments for day-to-day transactions. Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic, along with its effects of social distancing and quarantine, has pushed consumers to use payment methods that require as little physical contact as possible. While ATM withdrawals in Australia have steadily declined year-over-year since 2008, they plunged off a steep cliff in early 2020.

Although the correlation of fewer ATM withdrawals does not indicate the cause being greater cryptocurrency use for general payments, there are several trends apparent in Aussie society that point to crypto’s future-flourishing.

A recent survey conducted by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) found that over 80% of Australians are aware that cryptocurrency can be used for day-to-day purchases. Over 16% of all Australian citizens own some type of cryptocurrency; this includes 35% of Millennials and 27% of Gen Z. At the very least, decent-sized swaths of younger generations in Australia are expressing faith in crypto by holding it.

An array of businesses are catching on to this fact and are therefore willing to accommodate their customers by accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method. In addition to online retailers such as Overstock Australia and Travel by Bit, traditional brick and mortar businesses are beginning to accept Bitcoin as well. Black Star Pastry, which has 5 shops spread between Melbourne and Sydney, and a major car dealer who specializes in selling luxury brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini both accept cryptocurrency for payment. It is also legal for people to use cryptocurrency to purchase property in Australia; some sellers prefer that they receive rent or procurement payment for their properties in cryptocurrency. Finally, Flinders University, located in South Australia, allows students to use Bitcoin to pay for tuition and student housing.  Flinders was one of the first universities, worldwide, to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.

In Australia, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Ripple are gaining more and more steam amongst consumers and merchants alike. The acceptance of cryptocurrency payments for Coca-Cola from vending machines, will, at the very least, spread more awareness of cryptocurrency acceptance to a country where over 80% are aware of cryptocurrency’s uses. On the sell side, this increased exposure may result in a larger acceptance of crypto for payment, which may then, in turn, push some crypto-investing Millennials and Gen Zs to spend what they are currently holding, thus circulating more cryptocurrency in the Australian economy. With several businesses already accepting crypto as payment, it seems as if cryptocurrency will continue to gain traction in Australia.

Image used courtesy of Catarina Sousa/Pexels

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