Australian cryptocurrency payment processor BitPOS is closing its business, citing a shift in public perception of Bitcoin from alternate currency to investment instrument. The company will continue to process payments for its existing clients until April 18th, 2018.
‘Social Consciousness’ Not Yet There for Bitcoin
The almost five year-old company described the situation in a statement this morning (local time):
We started BitPOS in 2013 with the hope cryptocurrency would reach the collective social conscious and drive consumer adoption.
Unfortunately that has not been the case, and despite our brand being positively recognised, despite our experience in the market and despite continuing merchant adoption, that social consciousness has not been reached.
The BitPOS team is proud of what we have achieved; we’ve achieved many firsts (the first pub in Australia to accept cryptocurrency), we’ve been featured in national and international press, and we were the first dedicated payment processor in Australia.
With that all said, the narrative has changed over time from one of an alternate currency, to one of it being an investment instrument. As such, BitPOS no longer fits in with this, and can no longer continue to operate.
Despite lots of media attention, high public awareness and generally favorable regulation, Australia remains a relatively small market for a technology that’s still considered niche. As an advanced economy with ready access to digital payments and financial services, that market likely doesn’t see a need to adopt a whole new form of currency — at least not yet.
BitPOS Focus Was on Consumer Use, Bitcoin as Money
“My focus has really been on consumer, bringing it to the masses,” founder and CEO Jason Williams told Bitsonline.
Williams has been a key figure in Australia’s Bitcoin community, co-founding the Bitcoin Sydney Meetup in 2013 with Max Kaye and the Bitcoin Association of Australia the same year. The meetup group happened semi-organically, with a small group of enthusiasts chatting on Reddit about where to find a pub or restaurant that would accept BTC.
Williams has also appeared regularly as an expert commentator in industry and mainstream media interviews, in many ways becoming one of the faces of Bitcoin in the country.
As part of BitPOS’s business he developed new software for Bitcoin ATMs that improved on current offerings, including added security and multi-sig transactions.
Someone’s Making Money in Crypto – But Who?
Even if consumer-level adoption isn’t accelerating as fast as some would like, is the industry still healthy in Australia? People around the world are still making a lot of money from bitcoin and cryptos, so who are they?
“I think the exchanges are doing pretty well here,” Williams said. “I think the best play right now are systems that make use of bitcoin in an investment context, whether they be trading or general acquisition platforms.”
BitPOS is closing for new user registrations effective immediately, but it will continue processing payments for existing clients as usual for two more weeks. It recommended potential signups to look at Travel By Bit (a local alternative) and U.S.-based BitPay as alternatives.
What’s your opinion on bitcoin as an alternative daily currency, rather than an asset for investment? Is it a good or bad thing? Let us know in the comments.
Images via BitPOS, Jason Williams, Pixabay