The Australian firm with great designs on bitcoin

Monday 05 May 2014

It was not just a knowledge of and interest in bitcoin that inspired Martin Print owner, Martin Russell, to start accepting the crypto-currency for payment. Enquiries from long-standing customers also prompted the decision as awareness of bitcoin and its benefits spreads throughout Australia.

From studying the currency for a couple of years to becoming “one of the very first people in Australia to buy a bottle of lager with an actual bitcoin”, Martin Russell’s print and design firm have now become the first business of its kind in the country to take bitcoin.

“I have always had a strong interest in new trends and new ways of doing things,” explains Russell.

NFC business cardThey were one of the first Australian print and design companies to see the potential in digitally enhanced Business Cards and take real advantage of (near field communication) NFC technology. Accepting bitcoin was the next logical step and just a few weeks in, they have already accepted their first bitcoin-paid orders. “It’s very early days but it’s a very promising start,” Russell tells us. “I think the clients who know us well were kind of expecting us to be the first print and design company to embrace the new currency - it was just a matter of when!”

This attitude is partly why he thinks so many of their clients are also keen to embrace the new digital payment. “Our clients tend to have their fingers on the pulse, and they expect us to adopt and embrace new innovations,” Russell says. “[They] seem happy to jump on board with new concepts and new trends.”

Like many businesses, Martin Print were intrigued by the idea of a currency that cuts out the middleman and the fact that anybody can accept payments in bitcoin, without the need for a bank or central authority. The security and ease of setting it up were aspects, which appealed to the company and as a business model, Martin Print hope the decision will allow them to “capture a unique chunk of the market.”

So far the decision is proving successful as the firm have already attracted new clients, who were influenced by the ability to pay with bitcoin. “I’m a strong believer in offering a wide range of payment methods to suit every conceivable type of customer,” says Russell. “I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve felt disappointed as a customer when I discover that I can’t pay for my goods and services with the method most convenient for me at the time.”

Martin Print are part of a growing bitcoin economy in Australia and they are not just a small-town enterprise. They have offices in Sydney, Perth and the Gold Coast and have seen, themselves, a big increase in interest in bitcoin. “I feel that bitcoin is gradually gaining ground in Australia,” Russell says, adding, “It now seems that every week brings news on the latest big corporate names to sign up to bitcoin. Not so long ago, barely anybody in Australia had ever even heard of bitcoin, but it now seems that people are sitting up and taking notice. I think it will only grow in popularity and potential over the next year.”

However, he acknowledges that bitcoin “is not for everyone”… yet. “The initial interest may be too small for every business to jump on board at this relatively early stage," he says.

But he, like everyone else, will be watching the progress with interest.

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Louise Goss

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