OneBit Goes Alpha, The Dawn of Universal Bitcoin Payment

July 29, 2015         By: Steven Anderson

One of the greatest problems of Bitcoin is that it’s hard to use everywhere. While it does have some interesting uses as a trading mechanism, and some websites do accept it as payment, it’s nowhere near mainstream enough to be truly useful as a mobile payment system. That, however, may be about to change as OneBit brings a Bitcoin wallet app into alpha testing.

OneBit’s payment system, according to reports, will allow users to pay with Bitcoin at any store that can accept contactless mobile payment systems. It functions by working with the credit card payment networks, converting Bitcoin to major local currencies as needed and then paying the merchant accordingly, with no fees to the user. Users will have to deposit Bitcoin first, and then from there, users will get access to instant payments.

Perhaps the only downside to OneBit is that users will essentially have to control the deposited Bitcoin. However, users will only need to deposit the money required for use, which makes it a very flexible system.

Naturally, being in alpha, it’s still very early-stage stuff. However, OneBit’s developer, Toby Hoenisch, offered up some early word about the product. Hoenisch had a particular focus on the product’s security, and was working to bring a wide variety of investors into the picture as well. The alpha testing stage won’t last long, though, as reports suggest a closed beta trial isn’t too far off. Thus potential users are invited to step in for the alpha.

OneBit was reportedly developed as part of a Mastercard hackathon, but Mastercard has no partnership with OneBit, a development that Hoenisch notes is largely unnecessary. There isn’t any guidance from either Mastercard or Visa, and thus it’s left to the individual issuing banks if there’s any interest in working with OneBit.

This is actually a huge step forward for Bitcoin; already somewhat suffering from a negative public image after things like ransomware, Silk Road and the Mt. Gox disaster. In additon, it’s also not frequently used. If it can get more into public perception, it’s likely to eliminate a lot of the lesser aspects of its perception. After all, cash is routinely used in illegal operations as well, yet no one thinks twice about having it in their wallet because it’s been used in so many other ways as well. The more common Bitcoin is, the more people will be inclined toward its use. Plus, if this works out well, competitors will likely step into the fold and make the use of Bitcoin even more widespread.

Could this be the thing that brings Bitcoin into general use and indeed turns it into the Internet equivalent of cash? Only time will tell just how well it will work–it’s got to get out of alpha, let alone beta–but it’s certainly looking like a very good possibility.