2Talk among the first NZ companies to accept payment in BitCoin
"Good on you 2talk - NZ is way behind when it comes to Bitcoin and it's exciting to see somebody taking it as seriously as it deserves."Featured comment
2Talk has become one of the first NZ companies to accept virtual currency Bitcoin.
Since Wednesday, 2Talk customers have been able to top up their accounts using Bitcoin – which, unlike other currencies, is not tied to any particular nation state.
2Talk provides VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calling. The company says it its customers are making calls over 50,000 lines. The largest shareholder, with a 46% holding, is CallPlus/Slingshot chairman Malcolm Dick.
There is no special transaction fee for customers who want to pay by Bitcoin.
2Talk is using Bitcoin service Coinbase for payment processing and currency exchange.
Coinbase charges a 1% transaction fee for converting Bitcoin to traditional currency or vice versa. There are no fees for transferring Bitcoins between a customer and a merchant. Encrypted digital wallets are used to secrure transactions
What will 2Talk do with the Bitcoins it receives? (In its short life, the virtual currency has proved volatile; right now, one Bitcoin is worth close to $NZ1000).
"We haven't decided yet but we will likely convert it into NZ or US currency and not hold Bitcoins long term," Ms Flood says.
The GM says 2Talk customers are early adopters by nature, so will be attracted to the new, quick and user-friendly Bitcoin option.
"There are no more than the usual risks associated with on-line trading," Ms Flood tells NBR. "We have numerous processes in place to monitor for and prevent fraud."
2Talk says it's the first telecommunications company in NZ to accept Bitcoins [UPDATE: Voyager Internet says it added a Bitcoin payment option a year ago.]
A handful of smaller merchants, including Keruru Brewing, have also embraced the virtual currency.
Bitcoin was first developed in 2009, but has only grabbed mainstream attention over the past six to 12 months. Not all has been positive. On January 27, the Wall Street Journal reported that prominent bitcoin advocate Charlie Shrem was arrested and charged in connection with a money-laundering conspiracy that allegedly funneled more than $US1 million of the digital currency to users of the online black-market site Silk Road.
Although barely the first currency to be used in a laundering operation, Bitcoin has proved popular on sites like Silk Road because of the ease with which it allows anonymous transactions.
Read NBR's backgrounder on Bitcoin here.