Intuit launches bitcoin payment service in Australia

​US-based financial software company Intuit has launched its PayByCoin service in Australia, offering small businesses the facility to accept bitcoin payments from their customers.

Australian small businesses using Intuit's cloud accounting software QuickBooks Online will now be able to offer their customers the option to pay for goods and services with bitcoin, following the company's launch of its PayByCoin service in the country.

Intuit, which also makes the Quicken personal financial software, announced the local launch of its PayByCoin service on Thursday, with managing director of Intuit Australia Nicolette Maury saying that the service has already gained traction among early adopters in its home country, the United States.

The PayByCoin platform integrates with Bitpay's bitcoin payment API, with merchants receiving next-day bank account settlements from bitcoin payments.

Intuit has stressed that while it is providing the connectivity and software services to integrate bitcoin transactions, it will not receive or hold any funds related to the PayByCoin transactions.

The Bitpay API has been doing the rounds among some of the world's biggest internet players, with PayPal teaming up with the company along with Coinbase and GoCoin in order to begin accepting the virtual currency from the PayPal Payments Hub.

In December, Microsoft began allowing users to trade in bitcoin at the going market value via Bitpay and add the equivalent value to customers' Microsoft accounts, for use to purchase content in the Windows Store, and in stores that house Xbox products.

The launch of QuickBooks' Bitpay integration in Australia comes just days after lawmakers in Silicon Valley's home state, California, move to ban unlicensed bitcoin businesses in the state.

Last week's California State Assembly announced a Bill, AB 1326 that, if passed, would ban unlicensed cryptocurrency business activity, prohibiting a person from engaging in "the business of virtual currency".

"This Bill would prohibit a person from engaging in this state in the business of virtual currency, as defined in this state, unless the person is licensed by the commissioner of business oversight, or is exempt from the licensure requirement, as provided," the Bill said.

The proposed Bill stipulates that a merchant or consumer that "utilizes virtual currency solely for the purchase or sale of goods or services" will have to pay a non-refundable fee of $5,000 to the commissioner of business oversight for a licence permitting them to be in "the business of virtual currency".

This seems at odds with legislation signed into law by the Governor of California Jerry Brown in June last year, which repealed the rarely enforced prohibition of companies or individuals from issuing money other than US dollars, effectively rendering bitcoin technically legal in the state.

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