Self-described serial entrepreneur Toby Hoenisch has been making the rounds this morning, promoting his new start-up, OneBit, which
proclaims a radically new paradigm for Bitcoin: the ability to spend it anywhere MasterCard’s PayPass terminals are located.
PayPass is MasterCard’s attempt to get everyday consumers to stop using cash, as their website says:
You get better record keeping of all your purchases then using cash for those small everyday items.
BitPay is the Secret Sauce
However people in the Bitcoin world may feel about PayPass, the underlying technology of OneBit will be its mixing of BitPay and MasterCard. According to the OneBit website, no additional fees will be incurred, as is currently the case with BitPay-handled transactions:
We offer market rate currency conversion using BitPay and charge no extra fees. No hidden fees either!
MasterCard is one of the largest credit card networks in the world, and the announcement of this partnership may surprise those who’ve been paying attention the last few months, as MasterCard’s Southeast Asia president Matthew Driver had just denounced Bitcoin as criminally motivated and wrong-headed (paraphrasing) at the end of last year. His statements were pretty divisive, but apparently they were not the feeling of the entire network.
OneBit Not Yet Fully Available to the Public
OneBit currently appears to be in an early-adopter phase, as visitors to their website are encouraged to sign up for early access. It appears that it will work in much the same way as the existing PayPass mobile application does – without much more work on the part of the consumer than installing the application, filling out details, presumably funding the account, and spending it just like you would cash.
This could be a death blow to certain Bitcoin exchanges that profit daily from Bitcoiners who have bills to pay and no other way but to convert them to cash directly. Now said Bitcoiners could as easily go somewhere like the post office and purchase a money order to pay the same bills, while paying no unnecessary fees or conversion costs.
In a statement on Reddit, Hoenisch said:
My background is AI, IT-security and cryptography. I have been fascinated by Bitcoin for the last 3 years, but never quite found the right idea to form a company around until now. […] My co-founders have a background in UX&UI design and security […] We managed to get Mastercard and DBS bank interested in OneBit and with their help, I am confident that we can build OneBit without getting burned like Charlie Shrem did. And yes, legal is the main reason we can’t just ship it.