Australia Town Asserts Itself as Cryptocurrency-Friendly
A tourist town in Australia is claiming the recognition of being the first digital currency-friendly town in the country.
More than 30 businesses including resorts, restaurants, and local pubs in Agnes Water, a beach town located on Central Queensland, are now accepting cryptocurrencies to pay for products and services.
Gordon Christian, a local real estate agency in the area, was reportedly the reason why the town decision decided to recognize virtual currency as its new payment mode.
Christian recalled how he became familiar with the likes of bitcoin, ethereum, dash, ripple, and monero. One of clients, according to him, inquired on the processing of bitcoin payments. He became more interested about virtual currencies upon learning numerous enterprises have started accepting digital currency payments at Brisbane International Airport.
“I thought, ‘This is something worth having a look at.’ We started from the ground up, shared it with a couple of businesses and they were straight on board […] I guess they were international travelers themselves and had heard of these types of payments. Initially, we had a good 10 businesses that just said, ‘Fine — let’s go for it,’” he said.
As the crypto trend hits the town, Christian said the town itself wanted to make its local tourism scene as a “digital traveler.”
“So it started out as, ‘Well, how would they get here? Could we provide a shuttle service to bring them from the airport or the railway station?’ Then [we considered], ‘Where would they stay and what are they going to do when they get here?’” he added.
Agnes Water has a population of less than 2,000. Situated at the southern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, it is a five-hour drive to and from the Brisbane airport. It is the house of stunning beaches and sunsets, as well as conducive to fishing.
Meanwhile, cryptocurrency tourists from Japan are expected to set their foot in Agnes Water this week. Travelbybit Australia has reinforced the coastal town’s backing for digital currencies.
In November last year, Christian approached Caleb Yeoh, Travelbybit’s chief executive officer following the realtor discovered the company introduced its point-of-sale app processing cryptocurrency payments in the said airport.
“If you travel around the world you have to deal with multiple currencies, the exchange rate can be confusing, sometimes you struggle to find ATMs, and sometimes you get swindled by money changers […] Travelling with on global currency like bitcoin […] makes sense,” Yeoh said.
“The town has made a very strategic move in trying to appeal to a niche market to take perhaps some of those tourists … to come out to their little part of the woods. People who use cryptocurrency … it’s a social movement and they believe in it, and therefore they support places … who take it. So they would come to a place like this just because it takes digital currency,” he added.
Noting this is only the beginning, Yeoh stated they will introduce more of these in the succeeding weeks or months after providing training to its workers.
The payment systems developed are user-friendly to establish trust between customers and merchants.
“We’re just trying to build a real world use case for cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is perfect for travel, there’s no exchange rate issues or risk of credit card fraud,” Yeoh explained.
Brisbane airport’s move to accept virtual currencies as payments was created following its collaboration with TravelByBit, an Australian startup which intends to help tourists pay for their trips using digital currencies.