A new industry has emerged around using bitcoin to create online accounts for businesses.
In a move that could save businesses billions in costs, online banking firm CitiBank has introduced bitcoin payments as an option for customers who use the service.
The new bitcoin payment option comes as bitcoin prices have fallen sharply, making it a viable option for small businesses and consumers looking to buy goods online without using banks.
The move comes after the Reserve Bank of Australia introduced a range of measures to curb bitcoin use, including requiring bitcoin exchanges to obtain the approval of customers and limiting transactions in the virtual currency to $20,000 or less.
In addition to the new payment option, Citi said it would offer customers a free 30-day trial of bitcoin, which would include a range or products such as bitcoin wallet software.
“Citi has been committed to protecting Australian consumers, and this move reflects the company’s strong commitment to supporting our customers’ digital rights and freedoms,” a spokesperson for Citi told Business Insider.
The company said the trial will run from today until August.
“The trial will include bitcoin-based payment options for consumers, businesses and individuals, and the company will offer free bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash options for individuals who opt to receive the trial,” the spokesperson said.
Citi said the bitcoin payment process was designed to make it easier for small and medium sized businesses to offer digital services.
“This is a way for consumers to make small purchases that would otherwise be difficult or costly, and for businesses to make digital payments to individuals without the risk of losing their business,” the statement said.
Citi and the Reserve bank announced the move on Tuesday, saying it was aimed at protecting consumers from being hit with “unnecessary, unnecessary and unfair fees” and that the Reserve’s decision would “encourage all digital services providers to provide a more robust digital payment experience for all consumers”.
The Reserve Bank’s move follows a recent announcement by Australia’s financial regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that bitcoin transactions would not be subject to a $1,000 minimum transaction threshold.
The regulator also announced a new bitcoin-focused website and mobile app to help consumers access the digital currency.
“Citing the Reserve banks decision, we will be launching the new Citi bitcoin app in the coming days and will work closely with Citi to support digital currency payments,” a spokeswoman for Cites told Business Insights.