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Tomcar seals milestone Bitcoin sale

Money for old notes: A Melbourne entrepreneur has made the world's first new-vehicle Bitcoin transaction, exchanging just over 100 of the internet cash credits for one of Tomcar's go-anywhere utilities.

Australian off-road utility-maker Tomcar closes world-first transaction with Bitcoin

6 Mar 2015

AUSTRALIAN all-terrain vehicle builder Tomcar has become the first auto manufacturer in the world to sell a new vehicle using the emerging, but still largely unknown alternative currency Bitcoin.

The Melbourne-based manufacturer officially recognised Bitcoin as a method of payment for its off-road vehicles in 2013, but until last month its customers had only bought Tomcar vehicles using Australian dollars.

Instead of handing over $31,000, 21st Century Education and Media Group CEO Jamie McIntyre paid 102.0424 Bitcoin for his Tomcar off-roader, marking the milestone new-vehicle payment.

The Melbourne-based publisher produces a range of finance, banking and trading magazines, including a publication due to launch next month that specifically focuses on the new currency.

Mr McIntyre bought the Tomcar as a present for his father who is a farmer and said that free or minimal-fee transactions possible with Bitcoin loosen the grip of large banking corporations with conventional currencies.

“I’m a huge supporter of Bitcoin as I believe it’s a disruptive technology that can reshape the banks’ dominance over the issuance of money,” he said.

Tomcar claims to be the world's first car manufacturer to accept Bitcoin payments, with electric car start-up Tesla following closely behind, but the Californian-based EV-maker has yet to announce any sales using the currency.

Tomcar Australia CEO David Brim said the company's adoption of Bitcoin has the potential to cut costs, especially when dealing with overseas transactions.

 center imageFrom left: Tomcar CEO David Brim and Bitcoin chief scientist Gavin Andresen.

“We’ve been a strong supporter of Bitcoin for a number of years as it allows overseas transactions with fewer fees and exchange rate fluctuations,” he said.

"This sale justifies our faith in the currency and shows that there are people out there who own Bitcoins and like to spend them.”

As an Australian start-up business, Tomcar has embraced lean manufacturing and management systems such as cloud computing, scalable production and mobile computing, and sees Bitcoin as another innovative technology with the potential to minimise costs.

In December 2013 a Californian Lamborghini dealership claimed to have made the first car Bitcoin sale, handing over a used Tesla Model S in exchange for 91.4 Bitcoins, but the Tomcar sale appears to be the first of its kind by a manufacturer.

As more traders have accepted the new currency, the value of one Bitcoin has fluctuated. When Lamborghini Newport Beach sold the pre-owned Tesla, one Bitcoin was worth about $1000 but at the time of writing, its value equaled $353.72.

Bitcoin's initial popularity grew alongside so-called “dark web” businesses such as the now defunct Silk Road website thanks to its self-regulating and anonymous nature, but a growing number of legal and legitimate organisations are now adopting the currency.

In September 2014, 76,000 merchants and businesses were accepting Bitcoin worldwide with that number increasing exponentially.

Tomcar produces its range of Australian-made all-terrain vehicles in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, and for customers wanting to spend conventional notes and coins, the line-up starts from $24,950 for its entry-level TM2.

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