Australian bitcoin bill payment processor Living Room of Satoshi (LRoS) has announced it is reopening for business, after closing in October citing the country's sales tax rules.
Founder Daniel Alexiuc said that, while the Australian Tax Office's imposition of the 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on customers acquiring bitcoin has not changed, "the resourceful bitcoin industry has".
Speaking to CoinDesk, Alexiuc would not elaborate on exactly which services were offering the better deals, but recommended any of his fellow bitcoin businesspeople attend local meetups in their state/city to hear the latest information.
It is still not economically possible under the ATO's rules for GST-registered businesses for LRoS to continue buying all its bitcoins on the local market, he continued.
The industry's development, he said, means there are now more options to do this cheaply without needing to charge customers extra fees.
Free bitcoin bill payment service
Focused entirely on bill payments and with Alexiuc as its only full-time employee, LRoS was previously processing AUD$20-25,000 ($16-20,000) worth of bill payments per week.
Being able to make mundane payments like utility and commercial bills is vital to bitcoin adoption among the general public, Alexiuc said, along with making it easier for people to receive their salaries in digital currency.
The ATO's sales tax ruling in August upset several stakeholders in the Australian bitcoin community, who say it unfairly "double-taxes" users: once to acquire the bitcoin and then again when purchasing everyday goods or services with it.
It is still infeasible for Australian businesses to use bitcoin as a day-to-day currency due to the ATO's stance, Alexiuc continued, though adding it was "just an unfortunate side-effect of the existing legislation".
The ATO's view
Whether bitcoin or other crypto-currencies should be treated as ‘money’ or ‘currency’ is a question of government policy, it said.
BPAY widely used
Nationwide, the BPAY network processed over A$260bn ($218.5bn) in regular dollar payments last year, with the average payment being around A$785 ($647).
Living Room of Satoshi users, meanwhile, pay with bitcoin through the service by entering their BPAY reference code and bill amount, for which the service generates a unique payment address with QR code.
Alexiuc said he has some assistance with development and marketing, but that LRoS is "always keen to explore partnerships or funding".
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.