EXCLUSIVE: How Binance is transforming Adelaide into ‘blockchain city’

Binance with South Australian Premier Steven Marshall

The world’s biggest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange has already begun work to transform Adelaide into a ‘blockchain city’.

Binance CFO Wei Zhou has revealed the massive crypto exchange’s plans for Adelaide to become one the country’s crypto hotspots – with up to 20 businesses in Rundle Street and Rundle Mall being equipped to take cryptocurrency payments.

The crypto payment technology is being offered to businesses free by Binance’s local partner TravelByBit as a way to encourage adoption.

They enable shoppers to pay with a US dollar stablecoin, Bitcoin, Binance Coin, Litecoin and a number of other cryptocurrencies.

Adelaide currently only has a handful of shops that accept cryptocurrency payments including Sushi Planet (with its crypto themed menu), Hunt Furniture and Green and Grilled.

The official launch of the scheme and more details are expected on November 22 during the SouthStart technology conference in Adelaide.

In August Binance representatives met with South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, and tweeted a pic of the Premier in a Binance hat saying: “We think Adelaide would be the perfect place to #BUIDL a #Blockchain City!”

First stage of the plan revealed

Zhou revealed some details of the plan to Micky at an exclusive press dinner in Singapore this week (and our interview with CZ the following day), saying the idea of having a wide range of businesses in the same street accepting crypto was about “opening it up for crypto adoption”.

He said the Premier was an enthusiastic supporter of blockchain technology.

“We’re an apolitical organisation – we don’t get involved in  politics, we just support all politicians that support crypto adoption,” he added.

Micky was lucky enough to dine with the Binance team including CZ and Wei Zhou

Blockchain continent, a street at a time

Zhou paid tribute to TravelByBit’s founder Caleb Yeoh, saying Yeoh had been trying to talk “the Government into doing a ‘blockchain continent’, but I don’t think he was able to pull that off. So we’re going to do a crypto street”.

Yeoh told Micky at Block Show Asia in Singapore he was unable to reveal too many details ahead of the official launch.

“We are working really closely with the State Government of South Australia to roll out crytpo adoption in one of the main shopping precincts of Adelaide,” he said, adding Adelaide City Council was also a partner.

Free platform with no transactions costs

He said five enterprises had already signed on, with 15 to 20 more in the works – and possibly more expected as word got around

“Our platform is free, we rolled it out for free and there’s no transaction costs. It makes sense for any merchant who wants to try it out,” he said.

“What we’re trying to do is to encourage the local community to test out (crypto) transactions.

“It’s about getting it into people’s minds that you can actually use this stuff and not just speculate on it.”

Nakamoto Nigiri (named after the creator of Bitcoin) is on the menu at Sushi Planet in Adelaide

You can pay with USD stable coins

“We’re going to enable a US dollar stable coin so that someone who comes from the US could just convert into the stable coin and come down here and pay directly with a digitisied version (of US dollars) without any conversion fees – or much less compared to what you would go an pay with Travelex,” he said.

Binance recently launched its own US dollar stablecoin called BUSD, so that’s a potential candidate.

Binance last year invested $3.5 million into TravelByBit with the aim of fostering cryptocurrency adoption in Australia and worldwide.

Binance CEO CZ has a seat on the board of directors.

The company has installed its crypto payment technology in hundreds of businesses across Australia, including a large number of shops at Brisbane airport and in the Queensland town of 1770.

Binance Lite, which enables users to pay for crypto over the counter for a 2.5% fee, also operates out of Adelaide.

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