While the Australian Tax Office labours over whether or not it should classify bitcoin as money or property, here are some of the Australian companies and individuals already operating on the cutting edge of the crypto-currency space. Jackson Palmer, creator of Dogecoin Palmer accidently invented Dogecoin in December last year and has since relocated to San Francisco. Dogecoin is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency, inspired by the popular Doge meme. Coinjar The Melbourne-based bitcoin exchange and payment system is Australia’s largest and longest running bitcoin company. Coinjar’s app allows users to manage their bitcoins on multiple devices, keeps those bitcoins safe and buy more bitcoins. Domenic Carosa, co-founder and chairman of the Future Capital Bitcoin Fund The Future Capital Bitcoin Fund has launched a $US30 million fund that will invest in companies that are leveraging services based on bitcoin and other crypto-currencies. Bitcoins Reserve This Melbourne-based company is the world’s first crypto-currency arbitrage investment fund. It’s a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based Chesham Group Limited and has been operating for the past year. It says it has generated a 662.3% return on investment for its customers, in its first 11 months. Diamond Circle Diamond Circle is a startup based in Brisbane that offers debit cards and cashless ATMs for bitcoins. The company uses technology like that found in credit cards capable of wave and pay, to allow distributors and merchants to accept bitcoins, and earn commission by accepting bitcoins on purchases, providing cash-out facilities and by selling bitcoin debit cards. Igot The South-Australian based bitcoin exchange is one of the few, if not the only, exchange that accepts BPAY, direct debit and bank transfers. Cointree A new Melbourne-based bitcoin exchange that says it’s focusing on price, ease-of-use and security. It has no buying or selling fees, no bitcoin withdrawal fees, and a 2% cash withdrawal fee. CoinTree creates secure bitcoin wallets for its users and transfers actual bitcoin into the wallet when purchased, which enables users to verify their balance at any time using external sites. Forepost Forepost is an Australian startup that allows its users to buy bitcoins via over-the-counter bank deposits at any one of Australia’s big four banks. Cryptothrift Cryptothrift runs an eBay-style online auction site where users can buy and sell items with bitcoins and litecoins. It sells everything from computer game download codes, to fishing hats, laptops and tablets.
BitCoinCloudMining.com has launched, making it Australia’s first global bitcoin mining cloud service. Cloud mining consists of a customer leasing mining hardware capabilities through a cloud based service. According to the company, BitCoinCloudMining platform has been designed to reduce complexity for investors and offer the easy creation of a passive bitcoin income without incurring the cost of mining hardware and operations. Its website claims it is the “world’s most affordable bitcoin mining company”. The platform is a key business in the operations of the Bitcoin Corporation (BTC Corporation), founded by Australian digital media pioneer and entrepreneur Domenic Carosa. The specialist bitcoin investment group also includes BuyaBitcoin.com.au, where Australian users can buy the currency with further bitcoin-based products and services in development for the online interactive gaming industry. “Bitcoins are changing the way we live, transact and do business. The digital economy has removed the traditional restraints of geographic boundaries with the rise of bitcoin currency facilitating the evolution and growth potential of both private and commercial transactions in ways that the market has not yet conceived,” says Carosa. A recent report by investment firm Wedbush Securities estimates more than $US200 million ($A215m) was spent on bitcoin mining equipment globally during 2013, with the utility costs of running the equipment continuing to rise. Carosa says the entry of BitCoinCloudMining.com provides relief from these rising operating costs for individual bitcoin miners by removing the overheads from the process and delivering simple access and an easy to use interface to the bitcoin process. BTC Corporation chief executive Simon Oliver says as an early adopter of the bitcoin technology, the Australian market also provides an accommodating regulatory ecosystem. “The recent launch of Australia’s first bitcoin ATMs is a promising sign the market is seriously embracing this new digital currency,” Oliver says. There are already a number of established global bitcoin mining cloud services in the market.
A failed Canadian start-up has turned heads after promising to return all remaining funding to its investors, but a local investor has applauded the move, saying it’s “the right thing to do”.
A prominent Australian entrepreneur has called for a domestic television series on start-ups, following TV mogul Simon Cowell’s launch of an X Factor-inspired show for tech entrepreneurs in the UK.
The controversy surrounding former Yahoo chief Scott Thompson highlights investors’ low tolerance for dishonesty, start-ups have been warned.
It is a rather grim irony that the York Butter Factory – a venture designed to unearth the most innovative, modern tech businesses in Australia – could fall foul to the kind of needless Twitter gaffe that other, less web-savvy, companies have blundered into.
Tech entrepreneur Sean Parker has hit out at US investors by labeling small start-ups as "ridiculously overfunded".
Celebrities look set to continue to invest in tech start-ups as the industry enters a second dotcom boom, after Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio invested in Israeli start-up Mobli.
Venture capitalists in the United States are pitching ideas to entrepreneurs on behalf of time-poor investors, with local funds backing the idea to take off in Australia.
Australian venture accelerator Future Capital Development Fund has acquired a minority stake in tech start-up DriveMyCarRentals.com.au, raising the possibility of taking the company global.
With business lending still not an option for many banks and financiers, the demand for private capital from angel investors will be high in 2011.
Domenic Carosa’s Future Capital Development Fund has invested in two online start-ups - a memorial site for people and pets and an event registration and ticketing platform.