Brisbane-based startup Living Room of Satoshi reports that Australians have paid $150,000 of everyday household bills with Bitcoin in the three months since it launched.
Living Room of Satoshi is a free online service that enables payment of any BPAY-enabled bill using bitcoin; including phone bills, electricity bills, school fees, credit card and tax payments.
Often called ‘the currency of the internet’, bitcoin is experiencing strong adoption growth in Australia and offers a fast and secure alternative to traditional online payments.
Co-founder and CTO Daniel Alexiuc said “Bitcoin usage in Australia is growing rapidly, and our customers tell us they are looking for more ways to spend their bitcoin. Paying bills is something we all do, and many are now using bitcoin to do it.”
Living Room of Satoshi uses an algorithm that instantaneously looks at rates from industry-leading bitcoin exchanges around the world that results in the bill-payer using the service for free.
We took a few minutes to sit down with Alexiuc to discuss the the Living Room of Satoshi.
Mike: What are some of the biggest obstacles or hurdles you and your team have had to overcome with Living Room of Satoshi?
Alexiuc: Opposition from banks and established payment providers. We had a business bank account closed without any reason given, and currently are at the mercy of BPAY’s (jointly owned by the big 4 banks in Australia) merchant rules which are designed to protect their payments gravy train.
Relative obscurity of bitcoin amongst merchants. Bitcoin adoption is still in its infancy in Australia, and demonstrating the benefits of bitcoin as a payment system takes effort.
Delayed Tax Office guidance. The Australian Tax Office planned to announce their official position on bitcoin in June, but they have had to delay it. We are fairly confident of a good outcome though, as there were some encouraging comments in their recent government enquiry into the regulation of digital systems:
“However, applying the full weight of prudential or conduct regulation to small players and new start-ups, regardless of the materiality of the risk they represent, may stifle valuable innovation unnecessarily.”
The one thing that has been an absolute pleasure in every way is bitcoin itself. That’s why we’re confident that the digital currency will become a mainstream payment option for business.
Mike: What is something that you are currently working on for the future of Living Room of Satoshi?
Alexiuc: We are now developing Satoshi★Pay, a way for merchants to add bitcoin as a payment option on their bills and invoices. We plan to have our first merchant online in the next three months.
Mike: Do you have any plans to take Living Room of Satoshi global? Any expansion plans in the future?
Alexiuc: Right now we are focusing our energy on the Australian market. However we have received many requests from bitcoin users in other countries who would like to see a similar system, and are well aware of the demand. Expanding our offering to other countries is part of our long term plan.
Thanks to Daniel Alexiuc to take a few minutes out of his busy development schedule to speak with hangletonweblogs regarding the service and future plans.