News, Technology

UNDERSTANDING how cryptocurrency works may be as hard as trying to imagine every grain of sand on a beach and, for a dealer, it may be a step into a mysterious new world that can become another avenue for attracting customers.

The problem is that cryptocurrency is intangible – it doesn’t fold in your wallet, stack on a table or pass between the hands of buyers and sellers – and sits in an almost impenetrable fog that seemingly defies logic.

But for Ben Karaahmetovic, COO of Australian digital currency facilitator Accept Crypto, the digital currency has specific advantages over cash and banks, including a quick money transfer time – around one hour – that has no fees for dealers and is said to be virtually fraud-free.

“Our business, at its essence, is a legal and compliant way to facilitate transactions from crypto to buy hard assets,” he said.

“Previously, there’s never been a service that actually allowed people to pay with crypto while the seller still received cash. 

“So, we sort of sit as an intermediary between businesses and potential buyers, and give them that functionality.”

Mr Karaahmetovic, speaking after his presentation at the recent AADA conference, said one in four Australians had crypto and 56 per cent of them have used it in terms of a real-world transaction. 

He said crypto was seen as being an erratic form of currency and admitted the market was very volatile. 

“It goes through very strong periods and very weak periods, but that’s not unlike a lot of tech stocks,” he said.

“If you have a look at, for example PayPal or Facebook, any tech growth stock has this same volatility. 

“PayPal, since December, is down 77 per cent. Facebook would be similar, so it’s pretty standard for the industry, especially one that is emerging.

“There are going to be periods of market volatility, especially when the world is affected by inflation or unpredictable events such as the invasion of Ukraine.

“The thing is, you don’t actually have to be a part of the market to make money from it. Which is what we’re showing the dealers – they don’t have to have any investments in it.”

AcceptCrypto is registered by the federal government’s Austrac as a digital asset exchange. 

“Within our licence, we’ve had some customisations that allow us to take funds or crypto in this manner from one party, and then transfer the converted Australian dollars to another party,” he said.

“Crypto is a digital form of currency that uses distributed-ledger technology. That means the entire ledger of data is distributed amongst all the people with the ledger governed by code, rather than people themselves. 

“So if you’re looking for somewhere to put your money, you actually have all the data and the contracts available to you. So you can assess them and see if that’s something you’re comfortable with. 

“In traditional forms of finance, the people involved have to take this information at the word of the seller or buyer. This allows them to hide behind privacy notices.

“With crypto, it negates these notices and makes the process much simpler.

“What it leaves is more trust in the financial transaction. It is a perfect way of securing funds.”

Mr Karaahmetovic said moving funds via traditional methods, as in from one bank to another for international transfers, can incur a holding period of perhaps 28 days. 

Then there are foreign exchange fees – about 5 per cent –  “and then you have to wait for the money to come in”.

He said it could be thought of as a person who wants to buy an asset – for example, a luxury car – for $100,000, but doesn’t have that money sitting in cash.

“But the buyer does have $100,000 in shares,” he said.

“Would the car dealer be willing to take the shares as payment for the car? If the dealer agrees, it would be the same transaction as cash.

“In this example, the buyer pays with the shares (cryptocurrency) and the dealer gets what is needed – cash.”

By Neil Dowling

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