It is not something you would expect to find walking into a small coastal town’s fish and chip shop, but at Yeppoon’s Seagulls Takeaway there are three options for payment – cash, card or cryptocurrency.
- A Yeppoon fish and chip shop co-owner is trialling cryptocurrency as a payment option after seeing interstate retailers using it
- If a big development goes ahead for the local Great Keppel Island, the owners think bitcoin use will increase locally
- An RMIT University professor says as cryptocurrency payment systems continue to develop, more regional businesses could possibly follow suit
Part-owner and manager Clint Horsfall began offering the method of payment a couple of weeks ago.
Mr Horsfall said he was inspired to trial the system, after hearing about retailers in other areas of the country rolling it out.
“I myself am trying to dabble into it … to see if it works or what all the hype is about” he said.
“There’s nowhere in Yeppoon to actually use it. I’ve heard that you can purchase products and services down south for example, and I thought ‘why not just chuck it out here?'”
Mr Horsfall said it was relatively easy to install, as it was all application-based.
“I create an account, and if someone does want to pay with crypto, I just bring up my app, choose a currency I want to trade in, and that brings up a QR code for them to scan on their app.
“They just show me the approved payment and, that’s it, it’s done.”
Though he has only had one customer (a visitor from Townsville) use it so far, Mr Horsfall said he thought cryptocurrency would become more “mainstream” in the future, and he wanted to be ahead of the curve.
“[Though] it does fluctuate in price quite a bit, so I am taking a risk of course.”
“But the flipside could happen … what’s interesting for me from a business point of view is that $20 order could some day be valued at $50 or more, who knows.”
Ingrid Cornelis, Mr Horsfall’s mother and co-owner of the business, said she also believed cryptocurrency payment would be useful to have in the future, if a proposed development of Great Keppel Island went ahead.
“If it goes ahead, we’re going to get a lot of people from overseas and interstate that may use it,” Ms Cornelis said.
“[But] I [also] think it’s going to be a headache for the accountant, maybe.”
The Capricornia Chamber of Commerce said it was not aware of any other businesses in the region following suit.
Could we see more of this in the future?
RMIT University Professor Ellie Rennie said Australia could see more retailers offering cryptocurrency as a payment option in the future, but there were still regulatory issues to iron out.
“Many governments around the world, including Australia, are looking at developing their own central bank digital currency,” Professor Rennie said.
“For instance, an Australian dollar that you would be able to have custody of in a crypto wallet.
“That doesn’t exist in Australia yet, but there have certainly been pilots and experiments by the Reserve Bank to look at that.
“We could have something like that, or we could end up in a situation where they could be issued by the private banking sector, under regulations.”
“[But, ultimately] developers are working on making payments easier, faster and cheaper for all of us as consumers.”
Professor Rennie said as some countries, like Venezuela, make bitcoin legal tender, that then requires retailers to accept it as payment.
“Therefore there’s been a lot of development with the payment system for retail transactions, as a result of what’s occurring in South America.”