Digital currency retailer expresscoin has launched a Canadian branch of its business, in the first phase of its expansion beyond the US market.
Its Android app lets users manage their accounts and wallets, and track both orders and balances from their mobile devices.
The firm's CMO and co-founder Joseph Hsieh told CoinDesk:
There had been a lot of demand from potential customers in Canada, as well as other markets, but the minimal language barrier proved a key deciding factor, he explained.
Fast, easy payments
Notably, the Canadian arm of the company will allow customers to purchase digital currencies using standard debit cards via DebitWay – a service which accepts all cards issued from the most popular banking networks.
DebitWay allows merchants access to INTERAC online payment services. This, in turn, lets consumers securely pay for goods and services online, in real-time and directly from their bank account.
Fast transaction times have meant expresscoin has had to up its game in terms of customer service, said Hsieh.
"Because it's near real-time," he explained, "we have to up our customer response times and be right there when customers need us or have any problems. [...] If you were to make a wire transfer, the customer can tolerate a longer response time since the wire transfer still needs to clear, but with INTERAC, we expect and want to be there when problems happen."
As recently as 19th June, Canada amended existing laws to allow the regulation of "virtual currencies", which likely includes bitcoin.
Although further legal moves are necessary before the bill is enforceable, some businesses in the digital currency space are likely to face new reporting and licensing issues. However, being regulated may bring advantages, such as easier access to the traditional banking system.
CoinDesk asked Hsieh if the new legislation affected his company's decision to move into the Canadian arena.
"The process [of setting up the Canadian side of the business] took several months," he said. "So it wasn't a direct [cause] of us going into Canada, just a convenient coincidence that they are making it easier for bitcoin startups and companies. We've been registered with FINTRAC (Canadian's version of FinCen) for a while, as it was a requirement from our banking relationship and DebitWay."
"Our inclusion in Bitcoin.com is based on our strong relationship with Blockchain," said Hsieh. "We know Dan Held [the company's director of product] very well, [and] worked with him in the past on some advertising initiatives in ZeroBlock."
Expresscoin's expansion into Canada follows its formal launch in early June. For more on the company and its aims in the bitcoin industry, read our most recent report.
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