Bitreserve has announced that they are dropping fees for currency conversions, allowing users enrolled in a new membership program to invest in, hold and change between the service’s eight fiat currencies and Bitcoin without a fee. The change does not apply to their various physical commodities offered on Bitreserve.
Founded by CNET creator Halsey Minor, Bitreserve is a service that allows customers to invest, hold and use fiat currencies and various commodities using Bitcoin. The idea behind its creation was to give customers a safe place to hold their money without being subjected to bitcoin’s often extreme volatility.
It has since evolved from doing not just that, but also giving millions of underbanked (not to be confused with unbanked) people an avenue into currency and commodity investments. Using Bitreserve, any schmuck with five bucks worth of bitcoin can purchase gold or the Swiss Franc.
The problem was that while the fees were much lower than fees one would expect to find at a traditional brick and motor money exchange, they still weren’t low enough to encourage customers to active investment and spending. Part of the advantage of holding for an example, dollars, on the Bitreserve system is that you can spend it as bitcoin anywhere bitcoin is accepted. But this required a fee, as small as it may have been and that made it less effective than simply spending bitcoin using a traditional wallet.
While gold, silver, palladium and platinum, the four physical commodities available on Bitreserve, are still constrained by fees, this does significantly eliminate friction related to currency exchange. It is now easier than ever to store value in whatever fiat currency you distrust the least.
Expecting the elimination of fees for physical commodities is probably unrealistic at this stage considering Bitreserve’s commitment to actually backing assets. Buying and selling them requires Bitreserve to work with third parties, but that is apparently not an issue for them with fiat currencies.
In the blog post announcing the move, Minor explained the potential.
“The legacy finance industry has grown adept at hiding costs from customers – where they extract fees from those in society who can least afford it. Now that Bitreserve offers its members the ability to convert and exchange money for free, all of us together take another giant leap toward replacing the current global financial system with one that is fair, inclusive, accountable and transparent — a system organized for the benefit of all people everywhere.”
Users will have to enroll into Bitreserve’s “membership program” which will require some verification of the user’s identity. That means confirming your address and uploading a photo ID. Doing so also eliminates Bitreserve’s $1,000 limit and pre-access to new currencies and features as they are added.
Bitreserve also recently brought William Dennings on board as its Chief Information Security Officer. He previously held the same positioning at Nike and MasterCard.