For months there has been a steady trickle of online and bricks and mortar merchants accepting crypto for their products. This includes cafes, shoe shops, Tobacconist, Barbers, Doctors, bed and mattress stores, solar panel providers and more.
Good for the odd occasion when you need one of those items, but not much use for the day-to-day necessities, even as that trickle has grown to a stream.
To make crypto viable to live off, these big blocks needed to fall into place;
- Utility Bills
As of today, I am thrilled to say they are all in place with multiple ways to pay for these items with crypto! While it is not always easy and convenient it is still amazing given that only 6 months ago we could hardly use crypto for anything, and it is getting easier and more convenient every day.
There are 2 main services which cover everything; they are the Living Room of Satoshi and CoinJar’s eftpos card. Then there are some more targeted options specifically for one type of expense.
This site will take your crypto (16 coins) and send the equivalent in Australian dollars to any B-Pay biller or any Australian bank account. Straight away that takes care of
- Utility bills and council rates.
- Credit card bills or accounts.
- Rent and mortgages.
- Tax bills or paying down HECS.
- Medicare copays or health insurance.
- Traffic, parking, public transport ticket violation and other fines.
- Government charges such as the cost of a passport or paying back a Centrelink debt.
The list could go on and on. Anything you could pay from online banking or at Australia Post. Living Room of Satoshi takes about a 3% cut via the exchange rate they use.
The only thing you can’t use Living Room of Satoshi for is over-the-counter retail transactions where you would normally use cash or a card, for that we have our next hero.
This is simply an eftpos card, like a bank card, that you can top up with Crypto (5 coins). Eftpos is ubiquitously accepted at all Australian retail outlets for purchases and all Australian ATMs for cash.
The fees and charges are a little complicated but quite reasonable. It will cost from 1%-3% to use this card.
As well as the eftpos cards above you can use bitcoin (or alts via ShapeShift) to purchase Coles and Woolworths gift cards from Bitcoin Gift Cards. These gift cards can be used at 80% of Australia’s supermarkets and other outlets owned by these retail giants like
- Big W
- Dick Smith Powerhouse
- Coles and Woolworths service stations
You can also buy gift cards for
- JB Hi-Fi
- Super Cheap Auto
- Mitre 10
- Athletes Foot
- Sports Girl
- Caltex petrol stations
- Harvey Norman
- The Apple Store
- Google Play
and more with crypto!
You can use the Coinjar eftpos card for any public transport ticket.
You can pay for petrol and all vehicle expenses with the eftpos card or gift cards mentioned above.
Rent and mortgage payments can be paid with Living Room of Satoshi. We now have mainstream real estate agents accepting bitcoin for all their services.
Most of these methods are stop gaps that will not be necessary when merchants accept crypto directly, which most will do sometime in the future.
These services add an extra layer of friction, complexity and trust to the process. As such they are mostly useful for the growing number of people who earn income in crypto or who want to upgrade from government currency for ideological reasons.
Folding cash is still best in a few cases such as outdoor entertainment venues, markets or festivals.
No one said it would be easy and there is still a way to go before we can conveniently use crypto for everything but we have already ticked off all the items for basic living. Think where we could be in another few years!
Australia is not an obvious candidate for crypto adoption. We have a strong and stable currency and high-quality, low-fee banking products. This gives us less motivation than people in many countries.
In favor of crypto here is that we like to travel and buy things from overseas, and we are tech-savvy and well-connected. Australia is also a large source country for remittances to China and India.
One of the main things helping crypto in Australia is the government’s hands-off approach. Glen Stevens, The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, was asked about it in an interview and said:
“You can hold US dollars or euros or whatever in Australia completely freely if you want to and there would be nothing to stop people in this country deciding to transact in some other currency in a shop if they wanted to. There’s no law against that so we do have competing currencies. Maybe there will be a world in which currencies based on some computer algorithm to limit supply as opposed to physical gold or something.”
Compare that to his counterparts in many central banks who have warned people against crypto and in doing so have demonstrated that they do not understand crypto or their own job descriptions.
Time will tell whether this government non-interference is a planned policy or whether it’s due to politicians and policymakers not yet being aware of what crypto will mean. Either way at the moment Australia is one of the most crypto-friendly nations on earth and long may that continue.
Disclaimer: I do not have any commercial or affiliate relationships with any of the products and services mentioned here. If you have a good or bad experience dealing with them please let us know in the comments section.
Happy crypto spending!