In what is thought to be a first for the recycling industry, Prismm Environmental has carried out a recyclable paper trade using the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
The Kent-based recycling specialist bought 40 loads of mixed recycled paper from North Wales-based recycling service provider Parry & Evans in the deal using Bitcoin as the only form of payment.
According to managing director Mike Jackson, the decision to use Bitcoin came about as a “great way to collaborate with a customer and solidify our relationship”.
“The greatest benefit so far for the customer is that Bitcoin does not incur a transaction fee,” said Jackson. “Its value continues to go up significantly each day.
“Encryption also means that there is a lot more security in Bitcoin trades. With so much data flying about in these transactions, it is easy to mistrust its integrity but that is what this currency provides.”
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that has seen a sudden surge in value this year. It is not legal tender, but exists on the internet with about 3,600 new Bitcoins being generated each day and around 16.5 million in circulation currently.
At the time of writing, a single Bitcoin was worth £12,950. Coins are created in a complicated digital “mining” process. There are an estimated 10-20 million investors as of December 2017.
For Jackson, the currency is still in its infancy with many steps to go before it could be fully embraced by an industry – but he believed its time is coming.
He said: “People are trying to create industry-specific currencies for sectors such as print or recycling, and these would be better for trading.
“Obviously its value is rocketing up, but that indicates stability and I think people are not going to trust it as a safe way to make deals until the currency is stable.
“Businesses will definitely think twice because of Bitcoin’s volatility, but I can see an age where it is used by everyone once they understand its use.”
Prismm worked with the BPIF to introduce the Zero Labels 2 Landfill scheme last December. Its 11-strong team focuses on providing recycling services and materials to the print industry, consultancy, and facility management. From year to year it turns over between £7-9m.