Exclusive: PayasUgym targets Bitcoin payments for one third of UK gyms
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Exclusive: PayasUgym targets Bitcoin payments for one third of UK gyms

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Online gym pass provider PayasUgym will soon begin testing Bitcoin as a form of payment across its network, paving the way for more than a third of UK gyms to be able to sell membership via the cryptocurrency.

The news marks a major step forward for the health and fitness industry, making it a relatively early adopter of a digital currency described by Bill Gates as a “technological tour de force.” Launched in 2009, Bitcoin is the ‘currency of the internet’ and has been hailed for its relative immunity from inflation, corruption and human error, as it is based on mathematical formulae, rather than government policy. However, critics have pointed out that the currency can be susceptible to theft by hackers if it is not stored securely.

The currency has brought benefits to numerous industries as it negates bank charges and currency exchange fees, while its adoption in the gym industry would mark a major breakthrough at a time when companies like PayasUgym are making it easier for consumers and operators to do business on the internet.

With more than 2,200 gyms and health clubs available through the recently-launched PayasUgym marketplace, customers would be to use the online tool to quickly compare gyms in their area and then use Bitcoin to pay for their gym pass or membership.

“As the UK’s leading online fitness marketplace we feel an obligation to take the lead in terms of testing how this might work and look forward to getting some early customer feedback over the coming weeks,” said PayasUgym CEO Jamie Ward.

“If we at PayasUgym can make it work then I believe this could be a great way for gyms and health clubs to accept Bitcoin payments in future without the need to integrate it themselves.”

The project is still in the early stages, however a more detailed timetable for adoption is expected to be outlined in the coming months, with trials through a number of south east England clubs expected to be underway by the end of the year. How early the currency capability will be launched across the PayasUgym network depends on the outcome of these trials, with details such as how to peg the pricing to pounds sterling still to be ironed out.

The announcement marks the culmination of a busy month for PayasUgym, which began September by launching the new online ‘Fitness Marketplace’, which serves as a convenient search tool for gym users as well as a ‘shop window’ for gym operators to promote the services they offer. This was followed by the signing of Everyone Active’s 93 UK clubs and leisure venues to PayasUgym’s network, while the company also scooped an award. Co-founders Ward and Neil Harmsworth were named in the ‘Young Guns 2014’ network, comprised of promising entrepreneurs, following in the footsteps of past winners Scott Lloyd (Next Generation Fitness Clubs), Tamara Hill-Norton (Sweaty Betty) and Zef Eisenberg (MaxiMuscle).

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Online gym pass provider PayasUgym will soon begin testing Bitcoin as a form of payment across its network, paving the way for more than a third of UK gyms to be able to sell membership via the cryptocurrency.
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