Prepaid Bitcoin, a Canadian technology startup, has launched prepaid bitcoin cards, designed to enable the man on the street to purchase small denominations of bitcoin.
The Ontario-based company said it is offering bitcoin cards to retailers and consumers, which it explains as a "simple, streamlined solution for consumers seeking to leverage cryptocurrency".
"Our prepaid cards put Bitcoin within reach of the average consumer, and make it easier for them to purchase smaller amounts of Bitcoin," said Josh Agho, CEO and founder of Prepaid Bitcoin.
The company is offering bitcoin cards in four different Canadian dollar denominations – C$10 (US$9, £5.50, €6.60), C$25, C$50 and C$100. Each card is loaded with the corresponding amount of bitcoin.
The company said that if the market price of bitcoin is C$500, then a C$25 prepaid bitcoin card would hold about 0.045 bitcoin.
The company is also offering unique incentives for retailers who are willing to carry its prepaid bitcoin cards.
"We have an attractive revenue share model for retailers and distributors," said Agho.
"Bitcoin is in very high demand, and bulk Prepaid Bitcoin cards give retailers an easy way to provide it to their customers."
At the whole sale end of the spectrum, US-based Tera Group, a derivatives exchange operator, has created a legal framework to allow financial institutions to hedge against price volatility of the digital currency. Tera is seeking permission from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to offer regulated swap agreements on its exchange.
Bitcoin was launched in 2008 and is traded within a global network of computers. They can be transferred without going through banks or clearing houses, reducing fees involved in the services significantly.
Bitcoin's value peaked at $1,250 in November 2013 as more and more merchants started accepting it, creating an optimistic froth among investors.
However, its inherent volatility followed by the recent collapse of major bitcoin exchange MtGox, has sobered the views of advocates and potential markets.