Australians can now pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency thanks to a partnership between two Melbourne-based businesses, according to the Australian Financial Review.
The partnership is between Cointree, a cryptocurrency exchange, and Gobbill, a “digital finance assistant” that uses artificial intelligence to automate bill payments for businesses and private households.
We are thrilled about this exciting partnership! Automate your bills and pay it using #cryptocurrency with any coin on our platform! Future of bill payments. #bills #crypto #cryptocurrency #gobbill #cointree #AI #DigitalCurrency #future #blockchain #fintech https://t.co/rnqF7VRxrp
— Cointree (@CointreeAus) August 20, 2018
According to the official press release, it will work by users of Gobbill opening Cointree wallet and linking it to their Gobbill account. The partnership will allow businesses to pay their bills with cryptocurrency even if they don’t accept the stuff themselves.
Shendon Ewans, CEO and co-founder of Gobbill, said: “Digital currencies are becoming mainstream, and our view at Gobbill is to support customer choice and convenience. We anticipate a surge in the number of customers who would like to pay their bills in crypto in the coming years.”
Cryptocurrency in Australia
The Australian government and Australian banks did not initially welcome cryptocurrency.
The Australian Finance Review reported in January 2018 that banks were being investigated as far back as 2015 for conspiring to force Bitcoin companies out of business, apparently as a response to the competition. In December 2017 it was revealed that the country’s four major banks were blocking cryptocurrency-related transactions.
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission blamed cryptocurrency for the rise of organised crime in the country in its August 2017 report, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported 1,289 Bitcoin-related scam complaints throughout 2017. Apparently, $1.2 million was stolen over that year via Bitcoin and Ethereum-related scams.
Australia recognised Bitcoin as a currency in September 2017, mainly as a way of controlling it. The law clarified that digital currency would be treated exactly as fiat is when it comes to money laundering and terrorism.
AUSTRAC was approved to supervise cryptocurrency-based businesses in December 2017 and said businesses were required to register with that agency as of February 2018. They must also register with ASIC and keep records of the identities of customers.