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Bitcoin Foundation, ATMs hitting NZ shores

New Zealand is set to get its own chapter of the Bitcoin Foundation, the global organisation that aims to standardise, protect and promote the digital currency.

The move is designed to formalise the Auckland Bitcoin Meetup, a growing regional group founded last February whose membership now numbers 179.

A local chapter will help link Auckland members with bitcoin community advocates in other cities like Wellington and Queenstown, says meetup co-organiser Paul Salisbury, the founder of XBT Consulting. XBT is advising the professional services sector, including accountants and lawyers, about bitcoin.

“If accountants and lawyers and tax advisors understand bitcoin then New Zealand small businesses will be able to get that understanding and know they’re not falling foul of regulations like GST,” says Salisbury.

He told Idealog earlier this year that he expects growing adoption of Bitcoin among Kiwi SMEs.

Another organisation out to evangelise and educate on bitcoin is Tibno, an Auckland collective based at co-working space the Biz Dojo.

It’s headed by solutions architect Jonathan Ewing, who at the time of writing had incorporated a new company for the startup venture and closed a VC funding round to commercialise IP related to the software solutions its created.

Tibno has installed a bitcoin ATM at the Biz Dojo in Auckland, aiming to show Kiwi businesses how bitcoin is vended and how the machine could be used at events like conferences and trade shows.

The portable machine only vends (cash fed in is exchanged for the bitcoin that comes out). The machine was made by US company Lamassu, which has its models in several countries including Australia.

An early bitcoin investor, Ewing has been consulting to New Zealand banks and financial institutions about the currency, as well as helping Kiwi firms integrate bitcoin into their payment systems.

He says banks here are incredulous when they hear about bitcoin’s disruptive potential. “It’s a hugely exciting time. There’s a very real opportunity to completely disintermediate whole sectors of banking and finance.”

Another company, Australian Bitcoin ATMs, has also said it plans to install machines here.

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Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

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