Kiwi bitcoin shop open for business

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 16:47 19/05/2014

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Local Bitcoin users can now use their crypto-currency savings to buy pork rinds and deodorant from New Zealand's first dedicated digital currency store.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency which operates independently of any government or central bank, with a limited number of new coins able to be unlocked or "mined" each year.

Christchurch-based start-up Bitmart.co.nz offers an eclectic range of groceries and electronics, from chocolate to instant noodles to dishwashing liquid.

The goods are priced in both New Zealand dollars and Bitcoin, with a jar of Vegemite priced at $4.50, or ฿0.0088 Bitcoins.

Store founder Chris Dawson said he had been blown away by the volume of orders and positive feedback he had received so far.

"The enthusiasm of the growing Bitcoin community and their eagerness to help establish a thriving digital currency economy in New Zealand really solidifies my belief that Bitcoin is here to stay."

Bitcoin has a volatile valuation, which has more than halved since peaking above US$1000 (NZ$1157) in December last year.

The crypto-currency lost some of its lustre after the high-profile collapse of one of the world's biggest exchanges, Mt Gox.

It is also facing a host of competitors, including Litecoin - known as the silver to Bitcoin's gold- and even the satirical Dogecoin.

Bitmart accepts payments in what it calls the "new and weirdly fascinating" Dogecoin, which started off as a joke based on an internet meme.

Dawson said the store's overall goal was to help build a "thriving digital currency economy" in New Zealand.

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