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Bitcoin MyWay Recharge?

By 23 January 2014 66

Hey everyone,

We’re super excited to announce we’ve crossed the 50,000 active user mark for our MyBus 2.0 app.

We wanted to do something special to thank everyone for their support, and we got tired of waiting for the real-time feeds to become available (the launch date has been a roving target…), so we decided to focus our attention on the MyWay recharge.

We’re trying to see what we can do to let users recharge their MyWay card in real-time (think tap your card to your phone type thing) rather than wait for 3-5 business days, but while we try to find the legitimate way to do that, we were wondering if any of you would be interested in recharging your MyWay cards using Bitcoin? Asides from the novelty of the idea, we’re strong supporters of the currency, and would love to bring some legitimate use cases for Canberra. It would also be interesting as it’d be the first transport agency in the world that (indirectly) allowed for use of Bitcoin for public transport.

We’re rolling it out over the next week or two, but wanted to know if it was something anyone thought useful? If not, what would you like to see added?

Thanks everyone!

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66 Responses to Bitcoin MyWay Recharge?
#1
johnboy8:45 am, 23 Jan 14

Before anyone gets too enthusiastic about bitcoin I recommend Charles Stross’ take on it.

#2
BundyB9:11 am, 23 Jan 14

johnboy said :

Before anyone gets too enthusiastic about bitcoin I recommend Charles Stross’ take on it.

Or this FAQ.

#3
astrojax9:15 am, 23 Jan 14

which bit of my coin will recharge my myway card?

#4
Roundhead899:27 am, 23 Jan 14

OMG!! We’re still paying for Rhodium and the solar panels fiasco, the last thing the ACT Government should have anything to do with is anything as dodgy and volatile as Bitcoin.

#5
Genie9:39 am, 23 Jan 14

Personally I’d settle for air conditioning / heating on all buses more than being able to reload instantly.

#6
watto2310:06 am, 23 Jan 14

yeah the whole nature of Bitcoin is dodgy. Its all about bypassing laws.

#7
imagineteamsol10:17 am, 23 Jan 14

Sheesh such negativity.

We’re well aware of bitcoin’s shortcomings, but we wouldn’t have done this if there wasn’t reasons that make it worth it. Specifically:

- Considering Credit Card processing fees are upward of 3% per transaction, the ACT Government must be spending a fortune. A conservative estimate of $40,000 a week means the ACT Government would pay `~$1200 a week in fees alone. This isn’t even considering costs for charge-backs and fraud. Bitcoin fees average at 1%, and can technically be free if you set it up yourself.
- The volatility is over-hyped. Bitcoin certainly isn’t as stable as the dollar, but the likelihood that the value changes significantly within a 10 minute window is non-significant. Certainly not enough to offset the benefit of no charge-backs and reduced fees.
- Perhaps most obviously, there is no risk, only benefit. If you use Bitcoin to recharge your MyWay card, who loses? It may not be an ideal currency, but we’re talking about recharging a MyWay card, not using it ubiquitously for everything ever. At the very least, its another way to recharge your MyWay card.

#8
imagineteamsol10:17 am, 23 Jan 14

astrojax said :

which bit of my coin will recharge my myway card?

The doge side

#9
poetix10:33 am, 23 Jan 14

imagineteamsol said :

Sheesh such negativity.

We’re well aware of bitcoin’s shortcomings, but we wouldn’t have done this if there wasn’t reasons that make it worth it. Specifically:

- Considering Credit Card processing fees are upward of 3% per transaction, the ACT Government must be spending a fortune. A conservative estimate of $40,000 a week means the ACT Government would pay `~$1200 a week in fees alone. This isn’t even considering costs for charge-backs and fraud. Bitcoin fees average at 1%, and can technically be free if you set it up yourself.
- The volatility is over-hyped. Bitcoin certainly isn’t as stable as the dollar, but the likelihood that the value changes significantly within a 10 minute window is non-significant. Certainly not enough to offset the benefit of no charge-backs and reduced fees.
- Perhaps most obviously, there is no risk, only benefit. If you use Bitcoin to recharge your MyWay card, who loses? It may not be an ideal currency, but we’re talking about recharging a MyWay card, not using it ubiquitously for everything ever. At the very least, its another way to recharge your MyWay card.

Don’t ask for opinions and then criticise those that are more than ‘Wow, great’.

There is no way that an ACT government service should be associated with bitcoin.

#10
imagineteamsol10:49 am, 23 Jan 14

poetix said :

Don’t ask for opinions and then criticise those that are more than ‘Wow, great’.

Not asking for “Wow, great!” comments, rather looking for informed opinions with the context as a part of it. “Bitcoin is dangerous” or “Bitcoin sucks” isn’t an opinion thats relevant unless you explain how its being so is relevant to using for MyWay recharging.

#11
Jardeath11:39 am, 23 Jan 14

Sounds interesting, would pay with Bitcoin if given the option.

#12
LOVESPYLOVESPY12:20 pm, 23 Jan 14

I fail to see how a low adoption, volatile, dangerous by design currency should be even considered for a government application.

The only possible positives to using bitcoin are the lack of fees, which is normally largely nullified by the payment processor at play, or even by any fees that an exchange takes for the purchase of bitcoin. “Bitcoin has no fees” is a load of crap – sure it doesn’t have any by design, but neither does the dollar.

Bitcoin, while a fundamentally secure protocol, also falls flat in that it relies fully on your own (usually ridiculous) security measures to keep your money secure. The security of your funds is guaranteed by no one. Money goes missing from someone’s wallet, hosted on a exchange? Service provider simply says “tough”. Invisible hand I guess. There is no fraud protection in place for the CONSUMER.

I fail to see why charge backs are considered an issue – they exist as a consumer protection.

Not to mention – how could the government possibly cash out 40k a week at market value in a timely, effective manner?

It has been proven by large websites like reddit that the cost of receiving bitcoin, with the additional work required, was more than the amount of profit actually made from bitcoin.

#13
davo10112:32 pm, 23 Jan 14

imagineteamsol said :

- Considering Credit Card processing fees are upward of 3% per transaction

You’re almost out by a factor of 4 there. Credit card merchant costs are 0.81% and falling.

imagineteamsol said :

The volatility is over-hyped. Bitcoin certainly isn’t as stable as the dollar

That certainly is an understatement, Bitcoins are as close to being a currency as Picasso sketches are, they have value in so much as you being able to find someone else who take it in exchange for something you want.

imagineteamsol said :

At the very least, its another way to recharge your MyWay card.

You can currently apply to have your MyWay card autoloaded when the balance drops to $10 and they give you a 5% discount. I’m not entirely sure setting up the ACT Government as a laundering service for Bitcoins is an improvement on the current options.

#14
JackW0112:41 pm, 23 Jan 14

The Commonwealth Bank’s new app and smart stickers (for mobile phones) could be technology to look to. It allows users to pay wave with their phones and send funds to others using mobile numbers or Facebook https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6Eir3x-3BA&feature=player_embedded

I don’t use Action busses though would be great to pay (for small purchases) with my phone. I am more inclined to forget my wallet rather than my phone.

#15
Primal1:14 pm, 23 Jan 14

If it’s not ‘legal tender’ by definition, no Australian government should be touching it with a billion-foot bargepole. Call it risk aversion if you will, I call it common sense.

#16
Erg01:18 pm, 23 Jan 14

JackW01 said :

I am more inclined to forget my wallet rather than my phone.

Suddenly I feel very old.

#17
c_c™1:27 pm, 23 Jan 14

I love how some deluded people have taken to thinking BitCoin is a ‘currency.’ It isn’t, it’s one of several crypto-currencies whose purpose is to anonymise transactions. The media has latched on to it because it has a large share and a catchy name, but it’s not unique or novel. And yes some folks are now speculating on it, trying to make it more, but ask yourself, do you really want to be a part of something the Winklevoss Twins think is a good idea?

#18
johnboy1:34 pm, 23 Jan 14

Well, the Winklevii were right about facebook ;-)

(I wish people would steal my ideas, do that hard work of building them, and pay me out millions down the track)

#19
c_c™1:41 pm, 23 Jan 14

johnboy said :

Well, the Winklevii were right about facebook ;-)

(I wish people would steal my ideas, do that hard work of building them, and pay me out millions down the track)

They came up with an idea for a Harvard online community that they totally botched up development of, letting it go through a series of cheap developers while being lazy with the intellectual property, letting someone take it with ease. Really the folks you want to rely on for your financial security?

#20
johnboy1:42 pm, 23 Jan 14

More I wish Mark Zuckerberg would steal some of my ideas.

#21
Nixter2:01 pm, 23 Jan 14

I’ve had some conversations with people about the flaming hoops of fire that would need to be leapt through to get paypal available for ACT Gov payments (something I would find handy because I’m too lazy to get out of my armchair and find my credit card when I need to pay something). Not as easy as you’d think. In my very humble opinion, you haven’t got a hope in hell of getting bitcoin approved.

#22
Mordd2:07 pm, 23 Jan 14

Well reading this just shows how grossly ignorant the majority of RiotACT readers are regarding Bitcoin and how it works, which is a shame, I would have expected more educated responses here but oh well.

To point out a practical issue rather than a moral/philosophical one – there are almost no bitcoin exchanges that allow AUD > Bitcoin or Bitcoin > AUD transactions, meaning you would need to convert AUD to USD first, then to Bitcoin to use this.

Although I fully support bitcoin as a concept, I don’t think there is a practical benefit to the OP proposal at this stage, mainly due to the limited use of Bitcoin in Australia so far compared to the USA or Europe.

And to those saying Bitcoin is not a currency – it is a fiat currency just like the money we use every day. Apart from the fact that the US Government recognised at as a currency a few months ago – http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/08/federal-judge-bitcoin-a-currency-can-be-regulated-under-american-law/ – there is also this explanation which might make more sense to some readers:

[blockquote]Bitcoiners famously like to talk about the fact that like most modern currencies (like the US dollar or the euro), it’s a fiat currency. It essentially works on faith. There’s nothing inherently valuable about a piece of computer code more than a piece of green paper. We know that $1 is worth $1 because that’s what we’ve decided as a society. I get paid in dollars, and I can buy stuff with dollars. There are shops on the Internet and in real life that will take my physical paper dollars and my digital (debit/credit card) dollars. We have an innate sense of what things are worth because of it. By contrast, precious metals like silver and gold also have inherent worth too, but that’s more due to their industrial and aesthetic properties. Bitcoins are physically just bits of code.[/blockquote]

So yes Bitcoin is a fiat currency like AUD or USD, although some of its early behavior might have more closely reflected an amortized security or derivative, it is at the end clearly a fiat currency. Some RiotACT readers could do well to educate themselves better about Bitcoin imho.

#23
maxblues2:37 pm, 23 Jan 14

Bitcoin is definitely the way forward for all you hipsters. As a public service, I am quite happy to come around to collect all your unwanted dollars.

#24
poetix2:53 pm, 23 Jan 14

imagineteamsol said :

poetix said :

Don’t ask for opinions and then criticise those that are more than ‘Wow, great’.

Not asking for “Wow, great!” comments, rather looking for informed opinions with the context as a part of it. “Bitcoin is dangerous” or “Bitcoin sucks” isn’t an opinion thats relevant unless you explain how its being so is relevant to using for MyWay recharging.

Thanks for the advice to avoid moral, social and political issues in responses. I’ll ignore it, but thanks.

#25
davo1013:53 pm, 23 Jan 14

Mordd said :

And to those saying Bitcoin is not a currency – it is a fiat currency just like the money we use every day.

It is not. Fiat means authoritative decree as in “he ruled by fiat”, fiat money is money that has value by means of fiat (such as this). Bitcoins are money but not fiat money. If anything Bitcoins are just a modern form of rai stones: they’re hard to make, there is a limited number that you can make, they have no intrinsic value, and they’re traded virtually (ie: people only swapped ownership they didn’t actually move them). Perhaps we could convince the ACT Government to let us top up our MyWays with rai stones.

Mordd said :

Some RiotACT readers could do well to educate themselves better about Bitcoin imho.

Yes, they probably should.

#26
c_c™4:09 pm, 23 Jan 14

Mordd said :

Well reading this just shows how grossly ignorant the majority of RiotACT readers are regarding Bitcoin and how it works, which is a shame, I would have expected more educated responses here but oh well.

To point out a practical issue rather than a moral/philosophical one – there are almost no bitcoin exchanges that allow AUD > Bitcoin or Bitcoin > AUD transactions, meaning you would need to convert AUD to USD first, then to Bitcoin to use this.

Although I fully support bitcoin as a concept, I don’t think there is a practical benefit to the OP proposal at this stage, mainly due to the limited use of Bitcoin in Australia so far compared to the USA or Europe.

And to those saying Bitcoin is not a currency – it is a fiat currency just like the money we use every day. Apart from the fact that the US Government recognised at as a currency a few months ago – http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/08/federal-judge-bitcoin-a-currency-can-be-regulated-under-american-law/ – there is also this explanation which might make more sense to some readers:

[blockquote]Bitcoiners famously like to talk about the fact that like most modern currencies (like the US dollar or the euro), it’s a fiat currency. It essentially works on faith. There’s nothing inherently valuable about a piece of computer code more than a piece of green paper. We know that $1 is worth $1 because that’s what we’ve decided as a society. I get paid in dollars, and I can buy stuff with dollars. There are shops on the Internet and in real life that will take my physical paper dollars and my digital (debit/credit card) dollars. We have an innate sense of what things are worth because of it. By contrast, precious metals like silver and gold also have inherent worth too, but that’s more due to their industrial and aesthetic properties. Bitcoins are physically just bits of code.[/blockquote]

So yes Bitcoin is a fiat currency like AUD or USD, although some of its early behavior might have more closely reflected an amortized security or derivative, it is at the end clearly a fiat currency. Some RiotACT readers could do well to educate themselves better about Bitcoin imho.

Fail.

#27
Smackbang4:14 pm, 23 Jan 14

I’m just amused by the concept of being a “strong supporter” of a currency.

Go euro! Three cheers for the dollar!

#28
imagineteamsol6:16 pm, 23 Jan 14

I want to point out that MyBus is not an ACT government product, and the bitcoin recharge service is not something associated with or commissioned by the ACT government..

#29
imagineteamsol6:24 pm, 23 Jan 14

Smackbang said :

I’m just amused by the concept of being a “strong supporter” of a currency.

Go euro! Three cheers for the dollar!

I’m more partial to the Greek Drachma myself

#30
Pork Hunt7:04 pm, 23 Jan 14

imagineteamsol said :

Smackbang said :

I’m just amused by the concept of being a “strong supporter” of a currency.

Go euro! Three cheers for the dollar!

I’m more partial to the Greek Drachma myself

Long live the Gyppo pound!

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