Convenience store and petrol station brand On The Run (OTR) has launched crypto payment support across all 175 of its petrol stations and convenience stores across Victoria, South Australia (SA), and Western Australia (WA) as of Thursday.
As previously reported, the move is part of a collaboration between OTR, Singapore-based exchange Crypto.com and DataMesh, a Sydney-based payment systems provider.
The exchange has provided its Pay Merchant service as a payment settlement layer, while Datamesh has provided the point of sale terminals.
Speaking with Cointelegraph, Crypto.com’s Asia & Pacific general manager Karl Mohan noted that it only took “eight weeks to from the time of proof of concept to the point of actually getting a full scalable production-ready environment.”
Mohan noted that while 175 OTR stores have initially been outfitted with the infrastructure, the crypto payments service is operationally ready to scale much further.
“What happens now is any merchant, whether you’re a cafe owner or someone who runs thousands of stores, could just plug and play,” he said.
Adding to the 175 stores, OTR’s parent company Peregrine Corp intends to roll out the crypto payments service to another 250 retail sites across the country such as Subway, Oporto and Krispy Kreme.
Mohan also stated that Crypto.com charges zero fees on the transactions in this context. However, there will be fees on the merchant’s end, which will set their own rates. Such may suggest that transaction costs could be similar to that of card payments with fiat.
Questioned on what is needed to make crypto payments widely adopted in Australia, especially given the tax obligations of paying with crypto assets, Mohan opined that the utilization of an Australian dollar-backed stablecoin could be the key:
“So of course, Bitcoin and Ethereum because of their market capitalization are already on the top of the list. But an overwhelming number of consumers have said they are ready to accept and actually start paying with Australian stablecoins.”
“We’ve made the system available and if you've seen ANZ announce the Australian dollar stablecoin, and we see these types of stablecoins becoming available, I really believe that it will become mainstream,” he added.
So far, the ANZ bank has pilot tested its A$DC stablecoin purely for private institutional purposes, but if it eventually does get opened up to the retail market, Mohan stated that “we would love the opportunity to work with any financial or any Australian deposit-taking institution that is keen to introduce a stablecoin.”
The crypto community has poured in an impressive $54 million worth of crypto funds through Aid For Ukraine, aimed at supporting the country’s military efforts against Russia, the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister has revealed.
The $54 million has been funneled in through the Ukrainian government-run initiative Aid For Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov’s Twitter post on Thursday, who thanked the crypto community for their support:
“Every helmet, bulletproof vest, and night vision device save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers. Thus, we must continue to support our defenders. Thanks so much to everyone from the crypto community for supporting Ukraine!”
According to the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Aid For Ukraine’s $54 million has mostly come in the form of 10,190 Ether (ETH), worth $18.7 million, 595 Bitcoin (BTC), worth $13.9 million, Tether (USDT) worth $10.4 million, and USD Coin (USDC), worth $2.2 million.
The crypto payments have gone toward military equipment, hardware, and munitions, including $11.8 million worth of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are typically used to spot enemy troops and direct attacks.
A significant sum of the donations was also spent on armor vests at $6.9 million, along with $3.8 million on field rations, $5.2 million on anti-war media campaigns and $5 million on “weapons of the [Ukraine] Ministry of Defense request,” among other military and medical accessories.
“Crypto is playing a significant role in Ukraine’s defense,” said Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Alex Bornyakov on the government-tied donation website.
Founder of Ukrainian-based crypto exchange KUNA Mike Chobanian added that the contributions from the crypto community have shown the impact that blockchain technology can have on nation-states, stating that it can serve as a “backbone of global security” in times of need.
Aid For Ukraine works by transferring crypto into the crypto exchange FTX, which converts crypto into fiat, and is then withdrawn and transferred to the National Bank of Ukraine.
But Aid For Ukraine isn’t the only organization taking in funds to assist Ukrainian defense efforts. Reserve Fund of Ukraine, Come Back Alive, UkraineDAO and Unchain Fund have also contributed funds in the seven-figure range, although the amount of crypto-based funds they’ve taken in hasn’t been disclosed since March.
A South Korean town near Seoul has been successfully operating a pilot program that allows police to seize crypto from the exchange accounts of individuals with delinquent traffic fines.
Gunpo, a city of about 275,000 in the northwestern Gyeonggi province, was selected by the national government to execute the pilot program in 2022. A Tuesday report from the JoongBoo Ilbo news outlet stated was a way to collect delinquent funds in an “untact,” or contactless fashion.
The program appears to have been successful, at least in the first half of 2022, with Gunpo police achieving an 88% collection rate on traffic fines amounting to $668,000, putting the city on pace to vastly exceed its goal of chasing $759,000 in traffic fines by the end of the year.
However, the trial only saw delinquent fines totaling an excess of about $759 by an individual subject to crypto seizures by the police, while crypto seizures were only a measure taken if the funds in the individual’s bank accounts have already been exhausted.
Jungo Ilbo reported that the fines collected through the first half already exceed the total annual collections over each of the past three years.
The Korean crypto market is a lucrative one for law enforcement to extract fines from as it grew to $45.9 billion in 2021, though the report did not state which crypto would be seized and sold to pay fines.
This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.