In a world where cash is king, where does a digital currency rank?

Highly enough for San Francisco-based Expensify to support it, apparently. The firm removes the paperwork from employee expense tracking by using a smartphone app to scan for pertinent information from a receipt and automatically create a report. It also allows for expenses to be matched with a credit card and submitted online for reimbursement. But what if a Canadian company is on the hook to reimburse a worker in the U.S. or Mexico?

Previously, Expensify only supported direct deposit and U.S.-based Paypal payments for reimbursement. Now it’s adding Bitcoin to the mix as a way to solve the problem of paying back international employees. It’s another vote of legitimacy for this open source digital currency that is not attached to the welfare of any nation state.

Known as a peer-to-peer currency, the Bitcoin economy is growing on an organized inflationary model that allows anyone to produce the currency using spare CPU cycles. If you’re wondering if you can get rich by simply running an extra application in the background, the answer is unfortunately no. Bitcoins are rewarded to computers that solve an encryption problem, and for every problem that gets solved, the next is just a bit harder to crack. The economy is at the stage now where geeks are setting up rigs specifically designed for farm Bitcoins day and night.

The appeal of a currency that is peer-to-peer, leaves no trace of expenditure, and can cross international borders without any conversion penalties is appealing in the context of a globalized market and international Web services. Bitcoins can be sold on an open market to be converted to cash, and are being accepted by online vendors for digital and real goods and services.

But it’s not without risk. The currency has hardly been stable, with a 30 day low of $29.35 and high of $79.72 for one Bitcoin. Bitcoins have also been targeted by hackers for theft.

It’ll be interesting to see how many of Expensify’s 200,000 companies and 1.4 million users adopt the currency. Would you accept Bitcoins as reimbursement for your expense reports? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.

 

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