The world of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin is a space that is evolving rapidly as retailers and service providers grapple with the payments technology required and banks and financial service providers continue to explore the payments functionality that could be enabled through the block chain.
To help you stay on top of all the latest developments, in this article we bring you a summary of the some of the latest developments that have caught our eye this week.
21 Inc is the company producing Bitcoin Computers and you can now buy them via online retailing giant Amazon.
What’s interesting is that 21 Inc has said publicly that it doesn’t intend for these computers to be optimized for the mining of Bitcoin, but rather they will be units that contribute to the processing of the Bitcoin block chain – acting as integrated pieces of hardware that connect to other devices and sync in with the online Bitcoin community.
There have been previous attempts to make the technology underpinning Bitcoin more accessible to the public, so it will be worth watching whether 21 Inc is going to be one of the first to make it happen.You can buy eggs with Bitcoin
An organic chicken farmer in Queensland – rural Australia – is the first producer of his kind to encourage customers to pay him using Bitcoin. By promoting the use of Bitcoin, the farmer is hoping to create a local Bitcoin economy in his region – meaning less transaction fees and lower bank fees, plus quick payment processing times. However the low penetration of the virtual Bitcoin currency is going to be one of the main barriers to the success of the Bitcoin for Eggs scheme – it is unlikely that the egg farmer’s current customers will be holding any of the Bitcoin currency so it is going to be a slow process to build the necessary momentum to make the micro-economy possible if Bitcoin is going to be the digital currency of the future.Bitcoin proving valuable for cross-border currency transfers
One of the big advantages that a virtual currency such as Bitcoin offers is that it takes some of the risks and costs out of cross-border currency transfers. One interesting development in this space is the emergence of Align Commerce Corp’s use of Bitcoin to underpin its international transfer requirements for its clients. The difference that we are seeing with Align Commerce Corp is that their clients are using government-issued securities to pay each other (so are not dealing directly with Bitcoin), but Align then takes the payor’s currency, changes it into Bitcoin, and then changes the Bitcoin into the payee’s preferred currency. It sounds a bit clumsy, but in the process Align are avoiding the wire transfer fees imposed by banks dealing with international payments – delivering huge savings for Align’s clients.
The world of virtual, digital currencies is a fascinating one. No one really knows where the Bitcoin experiment is going to lead us, but what is clear is that it is changing the world of payments beyond recognition.
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