Tomcar Australia, a Melbourne-based startup that sells original off-road vehicles and equipment online, is now accepting Bitcoin payments in a move that it hopes will make international transactions easier. Bitcoin transactions will go through CoinJar‘s payment gateway.
David Brim, the co-founder and CEO of Tomcar Australia (which is not related to the American company Tomcar), says his startup begin accepting Bitcoin because it will allow it to sell to overseas customers without having to worry about exchange rates and high credit card fees.
Tomcar Australia joins several other online companies, including fashion retailer Bitfash, European Airbnb competitor 9flats.com and Chinese Internet giant Baidu that want to use Bitcoin to facilitate international payments.
“Credit cards are expensive, with a 5% fee. With Bitcoin, the fee is tiny, it’s just .003%, so we can save on the merchants transaction itself,” says Brim, who describes himself as a “big fan” of cryptocurrency.
He adds that many Australian consumers, like their counterparts in the U.S., associate Bitcoin with wild price fluctuations and the recently closed Deep Web black market Silk Road, but he hopes its reputation will improve as more online companies began accepting payments in the digital currency. Tomcar Australia already uses Bitcoin to pay several overseas suppliers and its manufacturing partner, MTM, is also considering the possibility of allowing Bitcoin transactions.
“I think it’s a fantastic thing that Silk Road got closed down. It was a bad example of Bitcoin use,” says Brim. “Bitcoin is still growing. We see it as a value play, which is one of the main reasons we teamed up with CoinJar because it’s fixed the price for us.”
Bitcoin transactions on Tomcar Australia are calculated in realtime and reconciled by CoinJar so Tomcar Australia gets the exact amount it charges and does not have to hedge against fluctuations in the virtual currency’s value.
Tomcar Australia was founded in 2011 as part of a strategic partnership with tier one automotive components supplier MTM and manufactures commercial off-road utility vehicles that are designed for use in defense, agribusiness, mining, emergency services and recreation. One of the ways Tomcar Australia seeks to differentiate from more established auto manufacturers is by selling directly to customers online instead of through dealerships. The startup says it is the first original car equipment manufacturer to accept Bitcoin.