The CoinJar service ensures you won't be out of pocket if the value of your BitCoins changes.
We've previously discussed why you might want to accept payment in Bitcoin, but in that article we touched on the volatility of the digital currency. It's quite possible that what was $4 worth of Bitcoin when you sold someone a cup of coffee is only worth $2 when you get round to spending it.
That's no exaggeration: in early December 2014, one Bitcoin was worth about $450. But in mid January it plunged briefly to around $227.
One way round that is to immediately convert incoming Bitcoin into Australian dollars, but that's somewhat inconvenient if you have to do it manually. There's a double whammy if you deal with someone that prefers or only accepts Bitcoin, as you'll also be socked for the conversion when you swap dollars back into Bitcoin. (As with any pair of currencies, you lose some value every time you make an exchange.)
So if the excitement involved in Bitcoin's volatility doesn't appeal to you - after all, there's a chance that the rate will swing in your favour - CoinJar has a service that may.
The way it works is that CoinJar now allows its customers to hold their Bitcoin in 'hedged accounts' that peg the value in real money - either Australian or US dollars, British pounds, or Euros. So if you put in $100 worth of Bitcoin, you'll be able to get $100 out at a later date, regardless of what's happened to exchange rates. There are no additional charges, but there's no interest paid either.
CoinJar is one of several companies that will hold your Bitcoin for you, making it easier to access and convert the digital currency.
Its other services include transferring funds between a CoinJar account and a bank account, and simplifying the transfer of Bitcoin to or from other people.
CoinJar Swipe is an EFTPOS card that allows CoinJar accountholders to convert some of their Bitcoin to Australian dollars and then use the proceeds to buy goods or services, or to get cash from an ATM or a merchant's cash-out facility. As far as the merchant is concerned, it's just another EFTPOS card, but users need to understand that the absence of Maestro capability means it can't presently be used overseas.
CoinJar Checkout is designed for merchants that want to be able to accept Bitcoin payments but actually receive the funds in Australian dollars. Using CoinJar's web site, you send the customer an 'Order' (most people would think of it as an invoice or perhaps a quotation) for the total price of the purchase in Australian dollars.
Checkout converts that to Bitcoin amount that is valid for 15 minutes. If the customer - who doesn't have to be a CoinJar user as long as they have a Bitcoin wallet - pays within that period, the Australian dollar amount is credited to the merchant's account. If the original Order has expired, Checkout re-quotes based on the then current exchange rate.
The Vend/DC POS collaboration we've mentioned in our previous article uses CoinJar's exchange and hedging functions.