Why Agnes Water no longer needs to offer bitcoin payment options
Agnes Water became the first ‘cryptocurrency’ town in Australia in 2018, with dozens of businesses signing up to accept bitcoin payments. The move made headlines across the country and raised the profile of the small seaside community on the international stage.
Agnes Water businessman Gordon Christian initially led the campaign. Three years on things are a little different. ‘Bitcoin accepted here’ stickers are still displayed in shop windows, but acceptance is now largely irrelevant. Bitcoin has become so mainstream, that special apps and point of sale software are no longer needed to accept digital currency.
“Nowadays, the evolution of the technology is such that you wouldn’t know if someone is paying with bitcoin,” Gordon said.
“If you have a PayPal account, very soon in America you’ll be able to pay with bitcoin. Mastercard are onboarding bitcoin. Every bank is onboarding bitcoin.”
The acceptance of digital currency may no longer be a draw card to tourists, but Gordon said it served the Discovery Coast community well at the time.
“We got international tourism out of it. We had someone come and do a PHD study for the project and she stayed for three months. We had publications all over the world write about it, so we had the spotlight on us. And it has given us the momentum to take things forward as well,” Gordon said.
Bitcoin continues to surge in popularity, given its ability to hold value across international borders. It also increased in value significantly during COVID19, when more people were favouring cashless payment options. While using bitcoin as payment for everyday items is becoming easier and people are becoming more comfortable with the idea of investing in new electronic currency, it is still somewhat of a complicated process.
“The biggest thing now is all of the scams that are out there. People need to realise they should only buy bitcoin from a regulated Australian exchange,” Gordon said.
What is bitcoin?
Even the answer to this question is complicated! It is an alternative internet currency, and a way to do business outside mainstream financial infrastructure.
If you are comfortable, you can buy bitcoin peer to peer, which is what it was developed for. Otherwise, opt for an Australian exchange.
You need a ‘wallet’ to store your bitcoin, which allows you to secure bitcoins on your computer. You will need encryption and backups, to run regular virus checks and have a good understanding of internet security.
This is the term used for ‘earning’ bitcoin. It is a complex process that encompasses how bitcoins are created and how bitcoin transactions are processed. It involves solving mathematical equations and a some luck.