BitX-Coda Payments partnership enables merchants to trade in Bitcoin

Bitoin Specie Project, silver and gold-plated, limited edition. Credit: Flickr/BTC Keychain

Southeast Asian payment gateway Coda Payments has established a partnership with BitX to offer bitcoin as a payment option for the online transactions.

Markets targeted by this agreement include, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. Coda Payments has been accepting bitcoin as a payment method in Indonesia and Malaysia.

The latest agreement with Bitx will also help Coda in acquiring more merchants in other countries, as the Singapore-based BitX provides real-time conversion between Bitcoin and local currency, enabling merchants to have the option to accept payments either in local currency or bitcoin. Through the partnership, merchants can file change requests in local currency and receive payments in local currency.

Bitcoin is already available to customers in Indonesia and Malaysia via Codashop, Coda’s in-house online gift card and game voucher distribution platform.

The BitX-Coda partnership will enable Coda to focus on acquiring merchants, as well as further developing integration and settlement aspects of their service.

According to Neil Davidson, CEO of Coda, the low transaction fees and universal accessibility of Bitcoin will position it as an attractor for merchants, relative to the other payment options on the market.

“Given the low penetration of debit and credit cards in the region, we think Bitcoin holds great promise as a way for customers to transact online,” Davidson said.

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While certainly a positive development for the local and regional Bitcoin space, it must be remembered that many major businesses, while technically accepting bitcoin, partner with a middleman – Coinbase or BitPay – will accepts a bitcoin transaction and immediately convert it into cash. This cash is subsequently deposited in the company’s bank account.

Bitcoin processing partners who accept bitcoin use business models relying on transaction fees, as in the case of Coinbase. Alternatively, they sell their software and services as a subscription, as in the case of BitPay.

BitPay – which has partnered with Microsoft – has confirmed that the majority of major clients seek to instantly convert their bitcoins to cash. In a statement to TIMETony Gallippi, co-founder and executive chairman of BitPay, said, “I would say as a general trend most of our larger business do choose a settlement in 100 per cent US dollars because that’s how they do their accounting and finance.”

In essence, are mainstream businesses ready to accept Bitcoin as a payment option? Most businesspeople and entrepreneurs will prefer fiat currencies over bitcoin.

Due to the tremendous volatility of the past, merchants tend to be dis-incentivised in accepting bitcoin as a store of value. As a merchant and/or user, most users will desire to exchange their digital currency for a fiat currency that tends towards more stability (e.g. Singapore Dollar).

The contrary view states that the value of bitcoin lies in the underlying blockchain technologywhich unifies anonymity; a guarantee of trustworthiness; convenience and scalability of digital transfer; and a store of value into a single financial asset. But should businesses accept bitcoin?

Bitcoin presents strong opportunities to mainstream businesses but raises questions of acceptance. It is a better way to do transactions, primarily from a payments perspective. But gaining mainstream use requires far more stability and maturity of the ecosystem as a whole before it merchants are open to adopting it as a payment option.

With firms like Symbiont offering ‘smart securities and Deloitte, one of the Big Four auditing firms, exploring the possibilities offered by blockchain technologies for client auditing through the formation of the Deloitte Cryptocurrency Community (DCC), the melded bitcoin & cryptocurrency space is a domain that is in flux and bound to see further changes.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.