A LEADER of Townsville’s cryptocurrency community has spoken out to distance the city’s significant uptake of the digital money system from high-profile investor Michael Sloggett.
Noel Lovisa, CEO of Townsville software development company Code Valley, said Mr Sloggett, who has been charged with money laundering offences, was associated with Bitcoin rather than its more accepted offshoot Bitcoin Cash, which had a lower cost per transaction.
The two digital payment systems emerged in 2017 after developers split between those who favoured Bitcoin’s use as a digital investment vehicle and those who liked Bitcoin Cash’s advantage as a low-cost transactional currency.
Bitcoin fees range between $5 and $50 USD per transaction compared with a fraction of a cent for Bitcoin Cash.
Mr Lovisa said the high charges meant Bitcoin was impractical for the casual spending and smaller transactions most consumers and businesses needed to cut the fees being charged byt the big banks and financiers.
“My concern is that news of Sloggett being charged will hurt the good work we are doing here and that people are associating Sloggett with Bitcoin Cash,” Mr Lovisa said.
“This could not be further from the truth. We are punching above our weight in Townsville. We have very high merchant adoption (of Bitcoin Cash) and probably the highest merchant adoption per capita in the world.”
About 100,000 merchants globally use Bitcoin Cash while in the Townsville region about 100 businesses accept the currency – the highest uptake of any community in Australia.
People like Mr Lovisa and Hayden Otto, CEO of Townsville-based Internet of Things start-up BitcoinBCH.com, have been dedicated to the adoption of the electronic cash system, encouraging businesses with its uptake.
Mr Lovisa said Bitcoin Cash outcompeted Visa and MasterCard, giving merchant an extra 3 per cent on all payments.
Businesses often added a surcharge of 50c or more to an online tap-and-go payment for small items to cover bank fees.
Mr Lovisa said he wanted everybody to use Bitcoin Cash because it was cheaper, reliable and resulted in “no fees to merchants”.
“It’s the closest thing to the ideal money we have ever created. Nobody owns Bitcoin Cash – the people own Bitcoin Cash,” Mr Lovisa said.
Code Valley is developing a software supply chain that will work with the Bitcoin Cash system and is planning a Bitcoin Cash technology park in Townsville based on its Emergent Coding technology.The company will be a tenant at Townsville City Council’s technology park.