Marc Warne, CEO at Bittylicious, is keen to support Britain’s burgeoning cryptocurrency feathercoin, planning to offer it on his website next month.
This digital currency hails from Oxford, under the leadership of Peter Bushnell. He started feather coin in April 2012, in order to set up a currency that revolved primarily around a community.
Warne says of the feathercoin team:
“I liked their attitude. They are trying to build a functioning economy and ecosystem and there are a few places in Oxford that accept feathercoin already. They have a couple of pubs and a bike repair shop, it’s good to see it has a physical presence there.”
Bittylicious, a UK platform that enables users to buy bitcoins via bank transfer, has been running since April this year.
Sellers supply buyers with bitcoins at a premium price, but this means buyers can get their hands on bitcoins without waiting two days for a bank transfer to go through. In contrast, it takes between seven and 10 days for an exchange like Bitstamp or Mt. Gox to check a buyer’s credentials.
Warne told CoinDesk: “We’re planning to launch feathercoin on our platform in December for certain. The work has been done, mostly, and we just want to make some test transactions before we go live. In the new year it’s likely that litecoins will be a part of it too.”
When asked how Bittylicious is progressing, he responded positively:
“It seems to be doing pretty well – when bitcoin rises a lot, the amount we take in rises a lot. Turnover on a daily basis has risen four- or five-fold in the last five weeks, up from about £5,000 a day to £40,000 a day, from which Bittylicious takes a 1% cut of the bitcoins transacted.”
In terms of competition, Warne sees it as a good thing: “I’m not worried about competition, competition is great! We all have different ideas and everyone is in it together. The community is definitely there to help bitcoins become more popular.”
There are currently about 20 sellers on Bittylicious, of which around 10 are online at any given time. However, Warne’s company also sells its own coins when supply cannot meet demand.
On the subject of tax in the UK, Warne highlighted that HMRC (the UK’s customs and tax department) demands 20% VAT on sales revenues over £79,000.
“So for example, if I bought a bitcoin for £100 and I sold it for £110, I would have to pay HMRC £20. So, obviously I would make a loss,” he explained.
Warne comments that HMRC has issued contradictory advice about tax, but asserts his customers have “different business models and tax arrangements” so it’s not necessary for him to keep track of all that information.
When it comes to Bittylicious’ know-your-customer (KYC) policies and records, the CEO pointed out he is required to keep personal data about buyers and sellers by law, confirming that Bittylicious conforms to data protection regulations and current money-laundering regulations (MLR) in the UK. He said:
“We’ve been challenged on this by one customer, but we simply quoted our registration number, and the issue went away.”
Warne also points out that Bittylicious doesn’t actually hold customer funds, so it is not in the legally complicated area that bitcoin exchanges are.
“We’re in the wrong country if we wanted to do that,” he chuckles. “We enabled Pingit yesterday, and if there were other suitable payment options in future, they could be added.”
Feathercoin may become a significant feather in the cap of Bittylicious, since the value of the currency has increased from just 10p (16 cents) two weeks ago to it’s current high of 40p.
The young cryptocurrency features an ‘Advanced Checkpointing System’ where trusted nodes in the network agree on the valid version of the feathercoin block chain every six blocks.
Warne mentions that with potential ASIC miners on their way for scrypt coins like litecoin and feathercoin, the possibility of a 51% attack may be on the horizon. However, he’s quick to note that feathercoin’s checkpointing system is an excellent defence against this possibility.
Feathercoin’s Chris Ellis told CoinDesk: “Thousands of people have signed up to the feathercoin forum at local.feathercoin.com, we have numerous merchants in the community, and more are joining all the time. We’re always looking forward and trying to develop a healthy and positive ecosystem for Feathercoin.”