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It is fair to say the crypto scene has seen some torrid times in Australia over the past year. In fact, ever since the fall of FTX, it has lurched from one disaster to the next. First, the major banks started placing restrictions and limits on crypto transactions, and then the government’s long-awaited bill outlining crypto regulation was blown out of the water at the first reading.

But there are some shafts of sunlight in the clouds. The recent move by ANZ, one of the Big Four Australian banks, to adopt Chainlink’s CCIP for transferring funds across both open and private blockchain networks shows that there is willingness within Australia’s finance sector to move forward positively with crypto. It’s a small step, but for a nation that has a history of tech innovation and being an early mover, it is nevertheless a step, and definitely in the right direction.

Australia has a track record for being tech ready and an early adopter of emerging technology. In areas like internet connectivity and smartphone penetration, for example, Australia has led the rest of the western world. Crypto adoption has understandably been slower given these wider events, but as the following examples show, there are plenty of Australian businesses that are eager to give crypto a chance. It could be that ANZ’s move will encourage more to get on board.

Casinos were the earliest adopters

The average Australian’s fondness for a wager is not just the stuff of movie clichés. Australians spend more per person on casino games than any other nationality. It’s fair to say that the nation’s regulators have had an even more negative reaction to iGaming than they have had to crypto, so Bitcoin was always going to be a tempting proposition for players using online casinos in Australia. High on security, low on transaction costs, complete anonymity and no need to go through Australian banks – it was and is a recipe made in heaven.

That is why the first Bitcoin casino opened its doors to Australian customers way back in 2014. Those really were the early days of crypto, and admittedly, Bitcoin casinos were initially seen as an interesting curio. Five or six years on, though, it was a different story, and today, the idea of a Bitcoin casino is as odd as talking about a “credit card shop”. The truth is practically all online casinos accept Bitcoin and altcoins without a second thought.

eCommerce were the fast followers

Other online businesses in Australia were not blind to the rate of crypto adoption inn the iGaming space. Retailers like Mooning Market, which is like an Australian “mini-Amazon” and home electronics company Zumo were among the first ecommerce companies aboard, and electronics retailer DreamPC was not far behind.

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There are also several online service providers in Australia that accept crypto. These include travel agent CheapAir, internet service provider Launtel and LivingRoomOfSatoshi, which is a payment services provider.

Digital payments in the physical world

Perhaps the most exciting development is the number of real world businesses in Australia that are embracing crypto. They are genuinely diverse, and are not just the tech geek type businesses you might expect.

For example, how about buying lunch with Bitcoin? Dozens of eateries in Sydney take crypto, including The Old Fitzroy Hotel, Greenhouse Café, The Cellar, Peak Coffee and others. Outside NSW, you can go old school and spend Bitcoin on a pizza at Hungry Joe’s in Darwin or Giuseppe’s in Melbourne. These are just scratching the surface.

Due a pampering? Aiyana Retreat in Perth, Sensu Spa in Melbourne and Fernwood Women’s Gym in Bulleen, Vic all offer spa services and you can pay with crypto. Other businesses accepting crypto include Barber of Seville and Dream Vision, drone specialist, both in Melbourne and Talunga Winery just outside Adelaide.

“We accept crypto” is not quite the norm yet in Australia, but the genie is out of the bottle, and in a couple of years time, it is likely to be commonplace.

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