In April 2021, the global cryptocurrency market grew to a valuation of over $US2 trillion. As cryptocurrency has grown in popularity, it’s paved the way for new, crypto-based technology alternatives that transform the way businesses run.
One of these technologies was known as ‘Bitcoin Fax’. In this article, you’ll learn the basics of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin Fax, as well as Bitcoin Fax alternatives you can still adopt in your business today.
What Is Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency built on a technology known as ‘blockchain’. Blockchain is a database that stores data in blocks. As the name suggests, these blocks are chained together to create a virtually impenetrable sequence.
Whenever someone initiates a cryptocurrency transaction to buy or sell a coin, their device transmits data to the network of computers on the blockchain (called a ‘peer-to-peer’ network). Once the peer-to-peer network validates the transaction, the transaction data is clustered into blocks that form the blockchain.
There are three key things to understand about cryptocurrency:
Cryptocurrency systems are ‘decentralized’, meaning there is no third-party gatekeeper controlling the blockchain network.
Cryptocurrency transactions are anonymous. However, non-identifying transaction data is public and traceable.
You cannot reverse a cryptocurrency transaction once it has been validated (except in exceptional circumstances).
There are currently over 2,000 different cryptocurrencies in circulation worldwide. Bitcoin is one of these coins.
Bitcoin was first launched in 2009 by a group or individual using the pseudonym ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’. Over the next few years, Bitcoin grew in value and popularity quickly. In June 2021, a single Bitcoin was worth between $US30,000 – $US40,000.
Bitcoin Fax was a digital faxing service that allowed users to pay for faxes with Bitcoin. Australian developer Simon Males created Bitcoin Fax in 2015. Males originally introduced Bitcoin Fax with a Reddit post on the subreddit r/Bitcoin. In the original post, he writes:
“Thought I would support the Bitcoin economy by helping those who still need to send faxes from time to time.”
Bitcoin Fax was pretty simple to use. To send a fax, a user simply needed to type the recipient’s fax number into the Bitcoin Fax website, attach a PDF, and press ‘send’. Users would pay for their fax with Bitcoins.
Faxes sent through Bitcoin Fax were fully anonymous and could be sent anywhere in the world.
Bitcoin Fax Benefits and Problems
While the technology was still active, Bitcoin Fax was a relatively popular faxing alternative with many benefits.
As the technology didn’t require a user to get a fax number to send a fax, anyone could fax with Bitcoin Fax. Additionally, users could transmit their documents confidentially, which made the service great for sharing information securely. Bitcoin faxing was also cheaper than faxing through a traditional machine, as users didn’t need an expensive fax machine to send a fax.
However, there were also several drawbacks to Bitcoin Fax. As Bitcoin Fax was anonymous, you couldn’t use the service to receive a fax. Bitcoin Fax didn’t track the fax numbers you sent faxes to through an address book, either. This meant that the service was only good for sporadic faxing.
Bitcoin faxing also only transmitted PDF documents, so you couldn’t use it to fax images, videos or other common file types (like .doc). Finally, the cost of Bitcoin faxing fluctuated with the current market value for Bitcoin – meaning that users paid more to send faxes when the price of Bitcoin rose.
Will Bitcoin Fax Come Back?
Bitcoin Fax was active for roughly three years before the service shut down. According to a notice on the website from Males, Bitcoin Fax, a hardware failure shut the service down in 2018 and it is now “hibernating”.
As of 2020, Males has moved on to another startup project, so we don’t know what the future holds for Bitcoin Fax. If you are interested in Bitcoin Fax for your business, however, you can use two other digital faxing alternatives instead.
Bitcoin Fax Alternatives
The primary benefit of Bitcoin Fax was its ability to send a fax via the internet. Internet faxing is crucial for Australian businesses, as the nationwide NBN rollout disconnected the PSTN and ISDN fax lines businesses needed to transmit faxes.
Naturally, Australian businesses who want a Bitcoin Fax alternative need a digital faxing option that doesn’t rely on fax lines. There are two options you can choose from, including:
Digital Machine Faxing
If your business relies on your office fax machine, you could connect it to the digital network through a telephone adapter. This approach allows you to bring your fax machine online and fax via the internet.
However, there are some drawbacks to using a fax machine. As fax machines require toner, paper, a fax line and maintenance to run, it costs $1,259 annually to run the average fax machine. Fax machines are also insecure, as anyone could steal your fax by simply taking it from your fax machine.
If cybersecurity is a key concern for your business, you’d be better off with online faxing.
Online faxing (also known as ‘internet faxing‘) allows you to send faxes via the internet through an online faxing provider like eFax.
When you send a fax with online faxing, eFax encrypts it with Transport Layer Security (TLS) and transmits it to your recipient. You can send an online fax through your computer, smartphone or tablet.
Online faxing is similar to Bitcoin Fax, except it includes extra features that make it easy for businesses to use. For example, with online faxing, you can transmit non-PDF file types, including JPEG, PNG, MOV and MP3 files. Online faxing providers also allow you to add digital signatures to your faxes and save the details of your fax recipients.
Get The Bitcoin Fax Advantages With eFax
If you’re considering online faxing for your business, make sure you partner with eFax – a leading fax provider with over 11 million customers globally.
eFax’s faxing system is full of features, including email faxing, digital signatures, free cloud-based storage, large file transfer up to 3GB, and a PDF converter. eFax is also fully-NBN compatible and future-proof, as it does not rely on analog fax lines to transmit faxes. Recently, eFax even became an accredited NBN business provider, meaning eFax can help you transition to the NBN smoothly.