A northern NSW charity for homeless people has stepped into the brave new world of cyber currency.
- Food donations to a Tweed Heads charity halved during the pandemic, but demand almost doubled
- Agape Outreach Inc has received a cryptocurrency donation of $9,000 which it used to buy food from a local farmer
- Farmers market stallholder and banana grower John Bartrim has accepted over $20,000 worth in cryptocurrency but he can only buy large equipment with the currency
The charity for homeless people, Agape Outreach Inc based in the Tweed Shire, has received a digital donation to the equivalent of more than $9,000 in Qoin and has set up the Op shop to accept it as well.
Theresa Mitchell, who runs Agape Outreach, said the digital currency has been a lifesaver for the charity as COVID-19 has had such a big impact.
“Our [food] donations over the COVID period went from two tonnes per week down to 800 kilos and requests for food support went from 400 meals a week to 700, so you can see how hard we have been doing it,” Ms Mitchell said.
“We’ve really been able to benefit and utilise these coin donations that have been given to us to be able to purchase fruit and vegetables and food to be able to help people.”
Ms Mitchell purchases fresh produce from a local food producer on the north coast of NSW using the digital currency. John Bartrim owns Mt Warning Produce and has a stall at the Burleigh Heads Farmers Market.
Theresa Mitchell started Agape Outreach Inc 12 years ago to feed the homeless from Byron Bay to Hervey Bay and solely relies on fundraising and rescued edible food normally put into landfill.
She said it was simple to use the digital currency — just download the app to your phone which becomes your Qoin wallet, you then transfer money into the wallet.
“It’s really as easy as scanning a QR code that is on our front desk, they put in the Australian dollar amount that’s owed, it does the transaction of how much that is worth in Qoin and transfers it over for us,” Ms Mitchell said.
Are all digital coins cryptocurrencies?
Economist Dr Brendan Markey-Towler, from the School of Business at the University of Queensland, said there is a dispute between Qoin and the peak industry body Blockchain Australia, over whether it can be called a cryptocurrency.
Dr Markey-Towler said the easiest way to look at digital currencies was to see what coins are traded on crypto exchanges, which are platforms online that people can use to buy, sell and exchange cryptocurrency like Coinbase and Binance.
Will crypto take over from traditional currencies?
Dr Markey-Towler believes crypto will become a mainstream currency, but it will take some time.
Farmers market stallholder and banana grower John Bartrim was happy to go about his business accepting digital currencies and traditional money for his Mount Warning produce.
“I have accepted the equivalent of over $20,000 worth of Qoin through Agape Outreach Inc and selling at the farmers markets over two months,” Mr Bartrim said.
Mr Bartrim said the only issue he had with the digital currency was he can only use it to purchase large goods like farm equipment or cars, so he was not accepting as much digital currency as before.
“I still gotta pay bills and all that sort of stuff,” he said.