Australians who own cryptocurrency can, from Thursday, use it to pay household bills even if the biller doesn't accept digital money.
Crypto exchange Cointree and bill payment Gobbill, both startups based in Melbourne, have started a landmark partnership to make this happen.
Gobbill is an artificial intelligence service that allows Australians to check if their bill is a scam or authentic, then have them paid securely.
Customers of Gobbill from this week can nominate to have bills paid using one of more than 100 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Litecoin.
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The digital payment is then automatically exchanged by Cointree to Australian dollars in order to pay the bill.
The system has successfully completed a pilot involving just Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash, but the general release now opens up Cointree's entire portfolio.
Cointree operations manager Jess Renden said that the Gobbill partnership finally allows Australian crypto holders to use their money for practical, real-life purposes.
"Using cryptocurrency to pay bills is a feature that our users have requested for some time," she said.
"We’re already seeing crypto being used to pay bills including credit cards, rent, utilities, memberships, ATO bills, travel cards, phone bills and more."
Renden told Yahoo Finance that the exchange fee would vary between 0.5 and 0.9 per cent, depending on the currency and the size of the transaction.
Both fintech startups are spruiking their security of the bill payment system, with Gobbill regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and Cointree monitored by AUSTRAC.
"With over 40,000 Australian billers, the widest range of coins at a low fee, we expect everyday bills such as utilities and phone bills to be paid using digital currencies," said Gobbill founder and chief Shendon Ewans.
Cointree, founded in 2013, has more than 60,000 members and claims to have processed more than $100 million of transactions.
Gobbill, which was established in 2015 and is sponsored by Microsoft, operates out of the Melbourne branch of fintech hub Stone & Chalk and is an authorised representative of an Australian Financial Services Licence Holder.
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