Category Archives: Brisbane

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Australia Post Ventures Into Crypto With New Service

The postal service Down Under, Australia Post, is enabling customers to easily access crypto exchanges through a new platform called Digital iD.

The platform has been created by Australia Post as an answer to concerns about the lengthy processes of accessing crypto exchanges for the first time. The Digital iD platform enables users to dispense with private documents such as drivers’ licenses and passports for initial verification, which often results in anything up to a ten-day wait for new users.

The platform was christened by Brisbane-based crypto exchange, Digital Surge, with customers registering through Digital iD for the first time. Director, Josh Lehman, commented that the Australia Post platform was offering a much more efficient user experience and was speeding up the registration process.

Digital iD’s general manager Cameron Gough pointed out that Australia Post was simply improving on its service to its many customers, enabling a far more efficient way of sharing information with organizations and companies. He pointed out that as with using a driver’s license to enter a club or buy alcohol, simply the name and date of birth of the user should be all that’s required.

Lehman suggested that Digital Surge also has additional systems enabling instant verification of new customers. Users can now buy their cryptocurrencies instantly without recourse to providing extra personal information.

Australia has become a leader in integrating cryptocurrencies into everyday use where possible, with two companies Gobbill and exchange Cointree, recently combining to allow Australians to pay utility bills in crypto. Despite the results of a highly expensive report just released by Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency citing that blockchain was being over-hyped by vendors, it appears that the new prime minister is firmly behind new technology. Scott Morrison recently stated that the contributions of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the financial sector have, and will, create “massive opportunities.”

Cryptocurrency investors may be heartened at the arrival of a new PM in Canberra, who as treasurer in 2016, had a hand in removing the hated double taxation on crypto assets.

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Blockchain Must Be Solution to Travel Red Tape and Endless Waits

Despite advancements in aviation technology, the mechanisms underpinning the travel industry in this sector haven’t changed much since the 1960s.

Due to the constant moving parts that make up the passenger air travel industry, digitization and automation of operations have been excruciatingly slow. Flight coordination, customer and supply management are often executed across a myriad of incompatible systems with little or no way of harmonizing their operations, resulting in high costs for travelers and a large overhead of up to 35% for companies.

There is nowhere that reflects these inadequacies more graphically than an airport.

Brisbane airport has teamed up with Australian crypto travel company TravelByBit, which designs tourist routes and provides selected providers with a digital currency payment platform. The airport will use the platform to enable flyers to use Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash and other digital currencies to shop and dine at various stores and restaurants across both of Brisbane’s air terminals.

Getting to the terminal itself has been made easier by blockchain startup AVINOC that brings passengers, airlines, air traffic control and travel agencies together with its advanced, decentralized technology. This company looks to challenge the status quo of old centralized booking companies such as CheckFelix or Expedia.

But what of the airport itself? To many the ordeal really begins at the terminal gates, the traveler having to endure endless ticketing and immigration queues, followed by baggage check-ins, then the sheep pens of passport and visa checks. Many seasoned flyers would subscribe to the view that flying has become time-wasting, stressful and is often a display of complete incompetence by airport authorities and airlines, particularly in some less-developed locations around the globe.

We are now in the digital age and as the Brisbane project shows, it is beyond the time that blockchain should intervene to make the traveler’s experience a happy and smooth one, rather than a recipe for raised blood pressure.

With DLT solutions, traveler identities can be verified in an instant at home via a mobile or desktop and further at the airport without the mindless gaze at a paper picture and endless key pushing by a hapless officially seemingly nailed to a chair. Bags can be chipped and scanned to match owners for both security and speed of loading, a service thankfully currently provided by VeChain Thor.

Face recognition is beginning to use, but inconsistently, and retinal scans and fingerprinting offering maximum security in this age of heightened terrorist activity, are rare to non-existent. Decentralized digital identities remain the realm of fantasy movies such as Mission Impossible but in the real world, the traveler must make do with sagging outmoded systems… and oh yes, those sheep pens.

 

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Australian Startup Designs Blockchain Multitask Chip to Track Animal Welfare

A former Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) scientist is heading up a new startup which has designed a blockchain backed multi-tasking microchip for tracking animal welfare.

The startup Ultimo Digital Technologies (UDT) is founded by John Baird, also the chairman of the cybersecurity advisory council advising the NSW government. With the help of students from Sydney’s University of Technology earning up to AUS 100 an hour, the company has designed the incorruptible chip.

The tamper-proof chip takes information directly from the goods via the internet to a secure location that can’t be corrupted and tracks change in temperature, location and radiation levels. Baird claims that the chip could change the future of IoT device communication channels and data storage worldwide. He explained:

Blockchain is completely flexible it can store any sort of IOT data… There’s a lot of people using blockchain for  cryptocurrency, but to actually use them for the storage of IoT data — so you can get that data and store it away securely — I don’t think anyone in the world has done that yet.”

One of its uses, he suggested, is the tracking of animal welfare. Today, a BBC Radio 4 news item suggested that farm animal welfare standards are falling behind in the UK, with concerns over techniques utilized in some farming procedures. These concerns are reflected in other countries too, including the shipment of livestock and their treatment once they arrive overseas.

UDT is currently planning on working within this sector with its first tracked system leaving Brisbane for China in late October. The company will eventually be able to track livestock from the farm itself.

“We can figure out what stress looks like for a cow, and at a later point in the journey, if we can start to see that behavior again we know that the cow is stressed at that point, and… something has got to be done about it,” Baird says.

Sydney Fish Markets are also keen to explore using blockchain for supply chain tracking. General manager Bryan Skepper suggested:

“We’ll be able to have a system where it’s photographed at the point where it’s caught that photo goes into a blockchain ledger, it can never be corrupted and then… the blockchain system will trace that journey.”

Currently, UDT is also trialling an e-nose, which a device which will verify the age, temperature and freshness of fish.

 

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NEM Strengthens Regional Foothold with Two New Blockchain Hubs in Australasia

Creators of the XEM digital currency NEM have announced that the company is to open two blockchain hubs in Australia and New Zealand.

The Australian hub will be located in Brisbane at Fortitude Valley and its New Zealand counterpart will be established in Westport. NEM Foundation’s director for Australia and NZ, Jason Lee, said that both hubs will be represented by a NEM staff member in place with a role to “educate and inform the general public and businesses about the benefits and applications of blockchain”.

The Australian hub is hosted by TravelByBit which promotes the use of cryptocurrencies in Australia’s tourism industry and has become a supporter of numerous businesses which accept Bitcoin and other digital currencies for food, services and travel around the country.

Caleb Yeoh of TravelByBit, who is also a board member of Blockchain Australia, welcomes the NEM connections and sees it as another positive move towards Australia’s wider cryptocurrency “education and adoption”.

The New Zealand hub in Westport, just a 45-minute flight from New Zealand’s capital Wellington, will also include a co-working space and will provide regular educational and engagement activities as well as a NEM incubation platform.

New Zealand’s Minister of State for Trade and Export Damien O’Connor is positive that such hubs demonstrate the country’s desire to be in the vanguard of promoting new technologies in the region. He stated:

“Blockchain development represents an exciting new frontier for startups in New Zealand and it’s great to see that going on in our regions with such strong international support.”

The XEM Foundation is now a feature of 47 countries around the world and the two regional hubs see themselves as key in being able to encourage local startups and to promote NEM’s Global Community Fund which currently has $ 300 million allocated to it annually.

Asian markets, primarily Japan and South Korea, will be encouraged by XEM’s new presence in Australia and New Zealand, giving the company a real foothold in Australasia.

 

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A Traveler’s Guide: How to See the World With Bitcoin in 2018

After software developer Felix Weiss from Luxembourg attracted worldwide attention two years ago, by traveling the world with Bitcoin at his disposal, Hard Fork asks the question: Has this feat become easier in 2018?

When Weiss left on his world trip in January 2015 Bitcoin had crashed to around $200 per BTC, but started to slowly climb back en-route which he said had helped him to complete his 18-month journey. He said that the easiest country had been the US, particularly San Francisco, where Bitcoin acceptance was widespread around the city.

He struggled in Cuba having to revert to cash. In Asia, he said his cash usage again was high and found a higher degree of Bitcoin acceptance in South America.

Hard Fork’s Neer Varshney researched how this picture might pan out in today’s crypto space by contacting airlines: the first port of call for any travelers. He found that there are multiple airlines accepting cryptocurrency payments including CheapAir.com, who started accepting cryptocurrency payments as far back as 2013. The company now accepts Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Dash payments.

Other companies offering cryptocurrency booking services included Expedia, BTCtrip.com, Destinia.com, Japan’s Peach Aviation, California’s Surf Air, and Latvia’s airBaltic, and A Bit Sky.

Finding a placed to stay has become even easier as most of these companies also allow you to pay in crypto for accommodation too, although it depends on exactly which part of the world the traveler chooses.

Eating is not quite such a simple affair with limited restaurants and cafes around the globe accepting Bitcoin and other currencies. Although, CoinMap can help travelers find a Bitcoin-accepting venue for the next meal. La Sirene in Manhattan now accepts Bitcoin. Some companies now offer a gift card service which can be used to purchase food coupons for Bitcoin.

Shopping has become easier with many online stores now accepting the popular cryptocurrency, and as revealed in the last week if you land in Brisbane, the International airport there will be welcoming crypto payments in all its terminal shops and cafe’s this year.

The last resort, of course, is to hunt down a Bitcoin ATM. This is good news for the traveler, as there are now over 3000 such ATMs worldwide, and if South America is the list, then Argentina must be a destination for the discerning Bitcoin traveler, with its plan to install 30,000 machines in that country alone. Europe and the US are increasingly installing machines to keep up with customer demand, most machines offering Bitcoin and often a choice of other major digital currencies.

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Brisbane Airport Lets You Buy Before You Fly with Crypto

Australia’s Brisbane International Airport has announced that it is to introduce cryptocurrency payments at its terminal, according to News BTC.

Brisbane airport has teamed up with Australian crypto travel company TravelByBit, which designs tourist routes and provides selected providers with a digital currency payment platform. The airport will use the platform to enable flyers to use Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash and other digital currencies to shop and dine at various stores and restaurants across both of Brisbane’s air terminals, a press release says.

Roel Hellemons, Brisbane Airport Corporation’s (BAC) general manager of strategic planning and development, claims that Brisbane is the first city airport worldwide to offer the service saying that it’s a logical move given that many travelers are cryptocurrency investors. He said, “This is just the beginning for us as we hope to expand the digital currency option across the business.”

TravelByBit CEO Caleb Yeoh said that the move was a good indicator that cryptocurrencies were a viable currency, commenting, “Here at TravelByBit we are promoting the Bitcoin travel movement. Digital currency for worldwide travel. It’s simple, safe and there are no bank fees.”

Australian business has a very progressive record in its uptake of cryptocurrency for commercial purchasing. TravelByBit has been very proactive in promoting its use within the booming travel and hospitality industry across the country. Brisbane itself has been named ‘Crypto Valley’ by locals with more than 20 merchants across the city now accepting crypto payments.

Yeoh said that the company’s aim is to build a case for cryptocurrency use within the travel industry and commented:

“Whenever you travel overseas you have to deal with multiple currencies and you never know what exchange rates the banks are charging you… we are promoting the Bitcoin travel movement. Digital currency for worldwide travel. It’s simple, safe and there are no bank fees.”

Australian as a nation was very quick to allow the public to be able to use Bitcoin as a practical payment method. Brisbane’s claim to its Crypto Valley tag rather pales when matched against Melbourne which had twice the number of merchants as Brisbane was accepting Bitcoin as far back as 2014, with Sydney laying claim to half that total. Since last year an Australian Startup called ‘the Living Room of Satoshi‘ has been helping customers to pay their utility bills with Bitcoin, by using a bank account or Bpay payment system, and then sending their funds to a cryptocurrency address, according to Business Insider..

Australia’s attempts to regulate the cryptocurrency industry have so far been successful in its endeavors to protect citizens and the financial sector while still continuing to develop and incorporate the technology into the infrastructure of the country.

 

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