The 'digital future' is always seemingly on the horizon, but as time goes on things that were once futuristic can become the norm.
Digital and cryptocurrencies are part of that transition, as more people adopt them they are becoming increasingly viable for people looking for an alternative to cash.
Enter, Qoin, the new locally-connected cryptocurrency that is seeing adoption among Mudgee region businesses hoping to offer forward-thinking alternatives.
One of the businesses to get on board first was was Flower Obsession, owned and operated by Cearna Illy who said her adoption of Qoin was a way to stay ahead of the curve.
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"I didn't know much about digital currency, but Geoff walked me through Qoin and I recognised right away that it was easy to understand," she said.
"I thought the whole concept was new, innovative and exciting. I am always looking at ways to attract new clients into my business and with the opportunity to have an additional income stream, it was a yes for me.
"Digital currency is here to stay, and my business has to look at new ways of doing things and that includes digital currency.
"COVID-19 has seen the need for cashless payments and digital currency is fast and convenient and grows in value."
Qoin's representative in Mudgee, Geoff Byfield, says businesses are looking for innovative ways to trade and at the top of their mind is that customers are wanting alternatives to cash.
Customers are becoming more comfortable with tap-and-go payments and the Mudgee business community want to make it easy for locals and tourists to spend.Geoff Byfield
"While Mudgee has fared better than other regions in New South Wales, COVID-19 has compelled Mudgee business owners to consider alternative payment options," Geoff said.
"Customers are becoming more comfortable with tap-and-go payments and the Mudgee business community want to make it easy for locals and tourists to spend.
"Businesses that use the Qoin platform will create business opportunities within Mudgee and other regional centres, which will boost our local economies. It's funny that sometimes we don't know the shops and stores right on our doorstep. It's worth taking another look at the variety and quality of goods and services we have in the local area.
Geoff said that there are 18 local businesses signed up to accept Qoin. For consumers, buying and using Qoin is handled through an app available on iOS and Android. Users need to register before being able to buy the currency and selling it's yet supported though Geoff said he expects this functionality before Christmas.
Research done by the Reserve Bank of Australia in 2019 found that consumers are continuing to switch to electronic payment methods in preference to cash with just less than a third of payments being cash at 32 per cent.
'The fall in the cash share of in-person transactions over the three years to 2019 was particularly pronounced for smaller payments, which reflects consumers increasingly using contactless 'tap-and-go' options for these purchases,' the report said.