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This fintech let Australians use Bitcoin to pay $5 million worth of everyday bills

Photo: Andrew Burton/ Getty Images.
Business Insider Australia is the proud media partner for the 2017 Finnies, the annual Fintech Australia awards recognising leadership and innovation in the nation’s financial technology sector. Entries have now closed and we’re now counting down to the gala awards night on May 24. Read more on the awards. »

A Brisbane startup has allowed Australians to pay off $5 million worth of common household bills with Bitcoin.

The unusually named Living Room of Satoshi has created a service that allows any bill that you can pay through the common BPay platform to be paid with Bitcoin. These include payment for utilities like telecommunications, electricity, gas, school fees, water and credit cards.

The startup’s chief executive Daniel Alexiuc said that he started the venture in 2014 because of a lack of practical use for the cryptocurrency.

“As the first truly international, decentralised and peer to peer currency, Bitcoin is perfectly suited to bill payments in Australia,” he said.

“It also enables new possibilities, like parents in foreign countries being able to easily support their children studying in Australia by paying some of their bills.”

While FinTech Australia revealed this week that Living Room of Satoshi had entered its inaugural industry awards, the company almost didn’t survive the first year of operation. In October 2014, it was forced to shut up shop for two months after an Australian Taxation Office ruling on GST for Bitcoin transactions unsettled its business model.

With that drama now behind it, Alexiuc says Bitcoin is now in high demand, even amongst professional investors.

“Bitcoin is experiencing rapid growth in 2017 due to its nature as an ‘uncorrelated asset’,” he said.

Living Room of Satoshi’s Daniel Alexiuc. (Source: supplied)

“As an investment it does not appear to be affected by movements in other currencies or precious metals, by global sharemarkets, or by any particular industry or government. This makes it highly sought after by hedge fund managers and individuals looking to diversify their wealth.”

However, Living Room of Satoshi’s customer base are everyday people paying off everyday bills. The company’s website shows aggregated trends of what people have been paying through the service in the last three months, which makes for fascinating reading.

Credit card payments is showing as the overwhelmingly most popular use of the service, with phone/internet and electricity payments the distant runners up. The biggest bills are for school fees, followed by superannuation payments.

And as for the name? Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym for the person or group that supposedly invented the Bitcoin technology in 2009.

“We like to imagine that when Satoshi has a bill to pay, he kicks back at the end of the day and pays it in his living room. Hence ‘Living Room of Satoshi’,” the company states on its website.

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