Bitcoin to be sold in Australian newsstands over the counter

Australians will soon be able to buy some Bitcoin along with the newspaper and a pack of gum.

Launching Thursday, a new initiative will help people buy Bitcoin with cash at around 1,200 newsagents nationally, Fairfax Media reported.

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The project is being rolled out as a partnership between the retail network Blueshyft and Australian Bitcoin exchange, Bitcoin.com.au. Blueshyft’s technology already allows customers to connect in-store with the bookmaker Ladbrokes, among other services.

According to Rupert Hackett, general manager of Bitcoin.com.au, the joint venture should help promote trust in Bitcoin, which doesn’t exactly have the best reputation as a reliable place to put your money. 

By going in-store, they hope to inspire trust by providing a tangible experience. “It’s hard to trust the current Bitcoin exchanges because the process is very vague to the consumer,” he told Mashable Australia. “We believe that through this retail partnership, we’re offering proper branding that will give a lot of trust to the consumer.”

An iPad in the newsagent will allow punters to make the transaction, and the companies will take a four percent commission on sales.

As of writing, one Bitcoin was worth A$744.24, which seems like a lot to hand over at your local newsagency. However, Hackett said people would be able to purchase portions of a Bitcoin. To begin with, they’re aiming for an average transaction of A$150 to A$200.

The minimum transaction will be $50, but Hackett said they’d like to drop that further and lower the barrier to entry. “Ideally we’d like to get to A$1 minimum transaction,” he said.

 “Our idea is that if we can take the change in your pockets and make that of more value in digital form, that will encourage bigger and bigger purchases,” he said.

Of course, Bitcoin remains a very volatile digital currency. In recent days, it’s been on a high not seen since August 2014, according to cryptocurrency news site CoinDesk.  

“It is risky, but we believe there is a huge value to offer customers in term of investment,” Hackett said.

Blueshyft has been contacted for comment.

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