My Visit to Australia’s First Digital Currency Town

in teamaustralia •  6 months ago

@NaturesCoin’s social media manager explores cryptocurrency adoption in central Queensland tourist destination.

With friends visiting recently from southern Australia and heading up the coast, my family took the opportunity to continue on with them north and explore the adoption of digital currency in the newly announced digital currency twin towns of Agnes Water and Town of Seventeen Seventy.

Sunset view of 1770 Beach

My friends hitched the caravan up and we loaded the camping gear in the town and set off on a Monday afternoon to find a spot to camp. Thanks to partnership with TravelbyBit, most of the accommodation providers in Agnes Water/1770 accept a number of digital currencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and NEM. This includes all the local backpacker hostels, a number of luxury resorts as well as camping spots. We settled on a low-key bush camping area run by the local council, Workman's Beach Camp Grounds. You cannot book in advance; you just rock up and find a spot and the inspector will be around in the morning.

We arrived just in time to nab one of the last remaining spots and settled in for the night. We told the inspector in the morning that we would like to pay in crypto. He said they were still getting their account set up and he would be back later in the afternoon. He gave us a good run down of things to do and see and which places take crypto and he recommended the cafe in town run by his mother-in-law.

Posing with the TravelbyBit sign

So we set off to get the obligatory photo with the sign proclaiming Australia’s first digital currency town, and after its discovery we retired to Cafe Discovery at Agnes for lunch. I ordered meals for my wife and I and asked to pay with bitcoin. The girl serving wasn’t sure how to put the payment through, but another staff member came and in no time had the QR code on the screen for me to scan. I pointed my Blockchain wallet at it, and then confirmed the transaction. Immediately, the transfer was broadcast to the network and within a second a green tick appeared on the cashier’s screen confirming receipt of the payment. It was a lot easier than even I expected.

Bitcoin accepted here

TravelbyBit has partnered with the Living Room of Satoshi to handle conversion in fiat currency for the merchant. I later spoke with Gordon Christian, the local real estate agent and TravelbyBit ambassador for regional Queensland, who showed me how it works behind the scenes. The merchant portal keeps a history of transactions and can create reports for tax and financial compliance. From a merchant’s point of view, accepting crypto is no more difficult than EFTPOS or credit card transactions, except without the merchant fees. As a customer, I was expecting a poor exchange rate for the transaction, but the AUD value agreed with that shown in my bitcoin wallet to with a few cents. Whether this will always be the case, I can’t say.

The next morning, the weather was overcast and rainy, and we were sleeping off a late night staying up to watch Australia’s World Cup loss to Peru. The afternoon, however, saw a change in weather and we ventured to the beach, and then took a sunset tour on the LARC, which I again paid for with bitcoin. The LARC is ex-US army amphibious vehicle, which saw prolific use during the Vietnam War. Some models are still in military use, while others were scuttled at the end of the war, and still others are now serving to shuttle tourists in various parts of the world. The 1770 LARC tours have two vehicles and offer a range of expeditions from an afternoon cruise through to a full day tour visiting nearby Bustard Head Lighthouse. Unsure of my wife’s sea legs, we opted for the shorter afternoon cruise. This tour did not disappoint, with lovely views of the setting sun, the golden beaches, and 1770 Headland, as well as a trove of bird and sea life, including a pod of dolphins playing the waves.

1770 Larc Tours

It was getting late after the tour and the younger member of our troupe were feeling hungry, so we grabbed some chips from Off the Hook on the way back to camp. By the final morning of my time at Agnes Water, the inspector at the camp grounds was set up for the crypto payment, so I settled our bill and began packing up, even though I would have loved to stay longer.

I managed my entire visit to Agnes Water/1770 spending only bitcoin—I did need to resort to using my Coinjar card at the butcher and convenience store, which do not currently accept crypto natively. While the cashier at the convenience store poo pooed the idea of accepting crypto, thinking it to be all just a marketing stunt, we visited and spent money there we wouldn’t have if it weren’t for this marketing push.

I must say, though, that my most enjoyable parts of our trip to Agnes Water/1770 didn’t cost any dollars or satoshis at all. I enjoyed the natural beauty of the place: a chilly walk along the headland in drizzly, cold wind; flying a kite on the beach; and rock hopping to a secluded shoal we had all to ourselves to throw a Frisbee around and spot crabs in the rock pools. The preservation of this natural beauty while maintaining a healthy economy is of vital importance and is one of the goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda. That’s why I’m excited to be a part of NaturesCoin—new blockchain technology designed to fuel new investment into achieving these goals and making the planet a better place. I will be sharing more about this exciting new project in future posts.

Nature in all its beauty

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