Mike Caldwell, a 35-year-old software engineer, holds a 25 Bitcoin token at his shop. (Rick Bowmer, AP, file)
Cape Town – Digital wallet service BitX has rejected the notion that Bitcoin could be doomed amid fierce debate over the cryptocurrency's future.
“It is a bit misguided to say that if Bitcoin loses market share, or if the community fails to reach consensus on the block size today or if the exchange rate suddenly drops that it would be a considered a ‘failure’,” Werner van Rooyen, business development manager at BitX told Fin24.
Van Rooyen was responding to Vinny Lingham’s comments that 2016 was a “key year” for the cryptocurrency.
READ: Bitcoin faces make-or-break 2016 - Vinny Lingham
Werner further dismissed reports of a “war” in the Bitcoin community which would undermine the currency which is not supported by any government as a trading platform.
Debate in the Bitcoin community is currently raging over whether or not the service should increase its block size, which sits at 1MB.
Bitcoin blocks are batches of transactions that are confirmed and shared on the cryptocurrency’s public ledger, which is called the blockchain. These block sizes are said to filling up quickly which could result in transactions slowing to a crawl.
Earlier this year, a fork of the crytocurrency called Bitcoin Classic was released which has increased the block size to 2MB.
“It's a debate, not a war and that is the beauty of the Bitcoin open source system - things get debated ad nauseam before any major changes are made. We will ensure uninterrupted support for whichever permutations Bitcoin goes through over time.”
Globally, Bitcoin is experiencing growing adoption with 225 000 transactions per day in February (peaking at 276 448 in March), versus an average of 100 000 transactions in April 2015, according to Blockchain info.
BitX and bidorbuy
Singapore-based BitX, which has offices in Cape Town, continues to expand Bitcoin in developing markets like Africa, despite the debate around the cryptocurrency's future.
On Thursday, BitX announced a partnership with online trading platform bidorbuy which will begin accepting the cryptocurrency as payment.
“Bitcoins are convenient and easy to use and although relatively new, the virtual currency has a lot of growth potential. Our partnership with BitX is an integral part of our efforts to always offer the latest, innovative solutions to our users,” said bidorbuy chief executive Jaco Jonker in a statement.
The bidorbuy deal is further expected to help expand e-commerce in African countries which have weak financial systems, said BitX.
"This integration is also a big milestone in terms of opening up the wider Bitcoin ecosystem in Africa, and should have a strong positive effect on the broader industry," said BitX CEO Marcus Swanepoel of the partnership.
During checkout on bidorbuy, buyers will be given multiple payment methods and the Bitcoin exchange rate will be guaranteed for 10 minutes by BitX.
Van Rooyen argued that the platform was robust and had the momentum to increase e-commerce.
“I've read many Bitcoin obituaries over the past few years, and to paraphrase Twain, the rumours of Bitcoin's death have been greatly exaggerated.”
* BitX has received $4m in funding from Naspers. Fin24 is subsidiary of Media24, which is owned by Naspers.
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