Canadian junior to pay for services in bitcoins

Canadian junior exploration firm Alix Resources (TSX-V:AIX) is making history with its decision of start paying its contractors in bitcoins, amid expectations that the crypto-currency’s value will continue to surge.

The first agreement, announced late Tuesday, was reached with contractor Ridge Resources for tungsten exploration work in Canada’s western province of British Columbia.

“This transaction is the first of its kind within the Canadian junior mining sector and positions Alix as a participant at an early stage in the global Bitcoin marketplace,” said CEO Michael England in a statement.

To explore this model of payment more fully with its other service providers, Alix Resources is also working together with a software vendor to operate a bitcoin exchange. If the venture is successful, the mining company may be converting its operations to bitcoins entirely.

Bitcoins have been growing in popularity in Canada. The world’s first bitcoin ATM opened at the end of October in downtown Vancouver, dispensing hard money in exchange for bitcoins through a palm-scan security system. The four other ATMs are set to be rolled out in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Ottawa next month.

Bitcoin prices have soared as of late, reaching a record high of $395 on Saturday on Japan-based Mt. Gox exchange and other marketplaces, as investors —especially those in China— become increasingly optimistic about the digital currency’s potential growth.

The virtual money was trading close to $400 again Wednesday morning.

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