The world learns about #BitcoinIsle

Last week I was interviewed, alongside Giles Day from Tiffin, by BBC Jersey about Bitcoin and how it’s being used in Jersey as well as the potential future opportunities. I will try to get a copy of it up here but in the meantime, a full article has been produced by Ryan Morrison. This was very well received and immedieately started getting noticed by a huge amount of news sites (including front page on Engadget, Motherboard & Cnet).


It was also great to have our Treasury & Resources Minister comment on Bitcoin in such a supportive way:-

“[This] is a sector that could hold significant opportunities for Jersey.

“Our infrastructure of world-class financial services and digital expertise gives us the tools to be an early leader in the field. Innovation will be central to Jersey’s future prosperity.

“We are keen to support local businesses by helping to create a well-regulated and responsive environment for investment in the sector.”

– Senator Phillip Orzouf


 

I’ve tried to compile all the links in a list below, so if there’s one missing, please add to the comments and I’ll add it.

http://www.engadget.com/2014/06/23/jersey-bitcoin-island/

http://www.cnet.com/news/bitcoin-isle-might-be-next-on-jerseys-docket/

http://www.coindesk.com/jersey-rival-bali-next-bitcoin-island/

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/an-offshore-tax-haven-plans-to-become-the-worlds-first-bitcoin-island

http://www.cityam.com/1403609801/isle-bitcoin-jersey-take-bali-best-place-cryptocurrency

http://cointelegraph.com/news/111912/offshore-tax-haven-jersey-aims-to-become-bitcoin-isle-

http://news.insidebitcoins.com/can-scenic-tax-haven-become-bitcoin-isle

http://www.siliconrepublic.com/business/item/37373-jersey-aims-to-be-worlds-f

http://www.itproportal.com/2014/06/23/jersey-aims-to-become-worlds-first-bitcoin-isle/

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/bitcoin-island-campaign-aims-create-cryptocurrency-haven-1454037

http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/28v3nk/bbc_news_campaign_to_create_jersey_as_a/

http://bitcoinagile.com/4CBF6/jersey-to-become-the-worlds-first-bitcoin-isle-cryptocoinsnews_stream

http://bitcoindaily.com/jersey-in-pursuit-to-become-the-bitcoin-isle/

https://coinreport.net/isle-of-jersey-adopt-bitcoin-official-currency/

http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/06/26/jersey-bids-to-become-the-worlds-first-bitcoin-isle/

http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2014/06/jersey-wants-to-rebrand-itself-as-bitcoin-isle/

http://bitcoinexaminer.org/bitcoin-isle-horizon-jersey-plans-radically-adopt-cryptocurrency/

http://thecoinfront.com/jersey-wants-to-become-a-bitcoin-haven/

 

 

CIISF announce review into potential of Cryptocurrencies

CIISF_logo

Today the Channel Island Information Security Forum (CIISF) announced that they will be working on a paper outlining the potential for Cryptocurrencies in the Channel Islands. We will be working with them to research this topic

News Release – Channel Islands Information Security Forum

20/06/2014 14:00 – For Immediate Release

CRYPTOCURRENCY INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED BY CHANNEL ISLANDS SECURITY FORUM

The Channel Islands Information Security Forum (“CIISF”) has launched a review of cryptocurrencies and how Jersey and Guernsey could benefit.

IISF Chairman, Matt Palmer, said “Cryptocurrencies are much misunderstood but have the potential to revolutionise the financial system. That may be good news or bad, but a ‘wait and see’ strategy is not an option. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin could well underpin the future of offshore finance centres.”

“The Forum will be undertaking an in-depth review of the issues and opportunities around cryptocurrencies, including both the technical and administrative barriers, and presenting our findings back to government and the digital community.

“There is an opportunity to create a trusted regulatory and legislative environment in which cryptocurrencies can be established, operated and traded. However, whilst some jurisdictions are rushing ahead there are considerable risks that need to be addressed.”

Arthur Mainja, Deputy Chair of the CIISF, added “The CIISF has access to over 100 specialists in cybersecurity, and this will provide critical advice and guidance to the States in developing their strategies for the digital and financial services sectors.”

Anyone wishing to contribute to the study should contact the CIISF secretariat at admin@ciisf.org.

About the CIISF

The Channel Islands Information Security Forum is a not-for-profit organisation established to support government, residents and businesses in addressing cybersecurity issues in the Channel Islands. It undertakes public policy research and operates a growing community education programme in both Jersey and Guernsey.

Further information

Please contact Matt Palmer – Chairman on 07700 899900 or the CIISF secretariat at admin@ciisf.org

Tib Street – First clothes store in Jersey to accept Bitcoin

tibstreet

We are please to announce Jersey’s first clothing store to accept Bitcoin. Tib Street, run by owner Chris McBurnie is a boutique clothing & accessories store that is well known locally for it’s high quality of stock and friendly service. Tib Street stocks brands such as Carhartt, Sumpremebeing, Farah Vintage, Duck & Cover, Herschel Supply Co, Supergra, K-Way, DC Shoes, Uppercut & Dickies.

Chris had become interested in accepting Bitcoin as a payment method after reading numerous news articles on it. Bit.coin.je helped Chris set up and go through the various steps that a customer would make during a purchase, which after previously accepting Euros & Paypal as payment methods, Chris sees this as just another way for his customers to pay.

If you’re in or visiting Jersey, pop in and say hello to Chris and check out his store.

Why should Jersey Businesses accept Bitcoin?

phone_btc

One part of what the Jersey Bitcoin community is trying to do is to get more Jersey businesses to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. At first, it can be hard for a merchant to see what the benefits are over traditional forms of payment, but after learning a bit more about the process of accepting Bitcoin, it becomes obvious that there is no risk in doing so.

Currently if a merchant wants to accept a digital form of payment, they have the following options: Credit/Debit Card, Paypal (or similar), NFC payments or some kind of pre-loaded card. Each one of these comes with a high transaction fee percentage (between 2-5%) and usually requires purchasing new hardware (EPOS machines, terminals, etc) and sometimes a monthly fee (line rental for example). All these added costs mean that usually a merchant puts in place a minimum transaction amount to allow these forms of payment. This solves the problem from a merchants point of view but causes the customer frustration with this restriction, especially for low value goods (newspaper, coffee, etc) where you’d be forced to purchase more than intended to be able to pay digitally.

It is a common part of modern life where, especially younger customers, don’t carry cash. In their mind, being able to pay with a swipe or tap with a card is much easier than having to visit a cash point, withdraw cash, and then have to carry the spare change after the transaction. This can become obviously apparent by anyone who, after a night out, has woken up to only find their wallet or purse’s weight multiply by the amount of change gathered after every transaction.

Currently in Jersey, we don’t have an island-wide system for digital payments. Some places allow no-minimum card transactions, some have piloted tap-to-pay systems, some with NFC or Passbook versions. None are widespread, which leads to a gap in the market for a payment platform to integrate at every level of society and commerce.

Bitcoin could be this system.

For a merchants point of view, if they already have a smartphone or tablet, they can be setup to accept Bitcoin in a matter of minutes. If not, buying a tablet or smartphone for retailer is a one-off cost that has a resell value if needed. There is no monthly fee, the transaction completes in seconds so that the merchant isn’t waiting several days for the funds & if the merchant isn’t converting straight out to FIAT, there is a historical trend of that Bitcoin being worth more in a month than it was at the time of transaction. If the merchant does wish to get out to FIAT instantly, there are a number of payment processors that offer this service, as well as members of bit.coin.je have decided that they would happily purchase bitcoin from local merchants (most likely during our fortnightly meetups).

The added benefit of this form of payment is that apart from the potential tourism opportunities of Jersey being a Bitcoin-centric island, merchants could have their goods paid for online by a customer anywhere in the world without having to convert from their native currency into GBP. This opens up a Jersey business to a global marketplace, which currently would be great asset to Jersey’s export strategy.

If you are a Jersey business/merchant and want to learn more, please come along to our next meetup where our various bitcoiners can help you learn more about the process. You can keep up-to-date with our meeting schedule by signing up to our newsletter.

OverclockersUK now accepting Bitcoin

Jersey folks can now order PC components & systems from OverclockersUK and pay with Bitcoin. As a long time bitcoiner, it’s always a mixed reaction when I hear an online retailer adopt Bitcoin. Usually I’m glad that yet another business has embraced this technology, but it’s quite rare that we in the UK (and more so, in Jersey) can transact with these companies without being charged a fair amount in shipping. Having used OverclockersUK for many years, I think it’s a great move by them as the success in the US by TigerDirect (which also deals in PC components) has proved.

Further Jersey Bitcoin adoption

bitcoinje_card

We’ve had a fair number of these cards made up for Jersey bitcoiners to be able to hand out whenever they transact with local merchants. If you want to grab a handful, tweet me at @bitcoinje or pop by the Digital Jersey Hub as I’ve left a number there.

By helping raise awareness about Bitcoin with all types of local businesses and merchants, we can help improve education in digital payments as well as raise our profile in the global bitcoin community.

Bitcoin Jersey Meetup 1

Our first meetup occurred last night at Digital Jersey’s Hub and it was great to see such a diverse turnout. Nearly everyone in the room had an understanding of Bitcoin and most owned some, so the usual discussions about the basics of Bitcoin could be skipped. We had a strong turnout from existing players in the local tech scene which is a great sign that the local industry is keeping up to date with such a fast-moving technology.

We started with the following questions (always a good way of gauging the crowd):

  1. Do you think you’ve got an understanding of Bitcoin (100% hands went up)
  2. Do you own some Bitcoin or any other crypto (100% again)
  3. Are you interested in integrating Bitcoin into your business (about 60%)
  4. Are you interested in building Bitcoin based company/service (roughly 20%)

Jon and myself then outlined what we see Bit.Coin.Je’s role in helping the island adopt Bitcoin.

Firstly targeting local merchants to increase awareness and usage. Secondly increasing off-island awareness of Jersey’s digital sector via Bitcoin related news articles. Lastly, becoming a voice for the local industry that can speak with the States of Jersey and various regulatory bodies so that we have a consistent message being conveyed as well as constant & open dialogue.

This lead to the group discussing the best way of approaching merchants. It was clear that food/drink establishments are the easiest to approach due to the high amount of card transactions used & low margins on the produce. Others mentioned were sole traders who are not based in one locations (plumbers, etc) who ordinarily can’t accept digital payments and then wait a number of weeks before mailing their invoices. This would be a perfect example of an area that could have massive benefit added to both the merchant and the customer.

A brief demo and discussion about our soon-to-be arriving Lamassu Bitcoin ATM lead to a number of further comments about the local remittance market as well as the potential for a island-wide card for payments that could be ‘charged’ with GBP, Bitcoin, etc. It was clear that those present understood the scale of the various applications something like Bitcoin could have locally.

Takeaway points were that having a card that you could give to potential businesses pointing them towards the bit.coin.je site with the various benefits of Bitcoin would be a good way to start that engagement without coming across as too preachy. The other point was that everyone present should ask as many local businesses that they are aware of (online & offline) if they’d be interested in learning more, and then invite them to the next meetup.

On the subject of the meetups, we explained that we see this to be a single point for all Bitcoin related training/education – if we’ve got several merchants wanting to learn more, it’s going to be a lot easier if we can run through setting up a wallet with a small group at the same time, especially if there are several ‘bitcoiners’ around to help out. The group also decided that having a ‘starter package’ that we can give to merchants would help greatly with the tricky step of ‘wanting to’ but not ‘knowing how’.

All in all, everyone present contributed to a valuable session and we now have various steps for what the community needs to do from now.

We are going to be holding regular meetings every couple of weeks.  Please spread the word and invite your friends.  Future meetings will cover topics such as how a retailer can accept Bitcoin, how to set up a wallet, how to obtain bitcoins, but if you have anything you would like us to cover, please let us know.

If you want to join us for the next, please sign up to our mailing list and keep you updated.