It’s easy to forget, amid skyrocketing values, that the anonymous digital currency bitcoin was created to function as, well, a currency. Unfortunately for people who’d like to pay for (or sell) their bacon-egg-and-cheeses in cold, hard bitcoin, the currency faces some adoption problems. For one thing: Over the last year, bitcoin has increased in value 15-fold, which means a three-dollar bagel you bought with bitcoin last December would have become $45 in your bitcoin wallet if you’d left it alone.
“Nobody is really selling bitcoin right now while its value is so high,” says Daniel Sim, the owner of Lean Crust Pizza. Sim started accepting bitcoin at his Fort Greene pizzeria in 2013, along with a host of cafés and grocery stores in Brooklyn and Queens owned by his parents. Sim’s interest in using cryptocurrency as a payment method has turned Fort Greene into the nascent bitcoin capital of New York, with six restaurants, groceries, and a nail salon — Lean Crust, Greene Ave. Market, Fresh Garden, Greene-Ville Garden, Kinjo, and Mirai Wellness Spa — clustered in the neighborhood.
Sim, who has been interested in — and invested in — bitcoin since he heard about it in 2009, said that he got a flurry of interest when he first instituted bitcoin payments, with about 50 to 100 transactions per week, but that it tapered off after the initial burst of publicity. (For reference, over the course of 2013, the price of one bitcoin rose from around $10 to around $1,000.)
Sim is optimistic about the cryptocurrency’s future, and said that he still holds out hope for bitcoin as a mass-consumer payment method. But beyond a few transactions at his family’s businesses in recent months — the first in several years — the recent media attention bitcoin has received hasn’t translated into more bitcoin-funded manicures. After the initial interest in paying with bitcoin waned a few years ago, the QR codes originally used for the transactions are nowhere to be found in the stores Sim and his family operate. Now, when the rare customer paying with bitcoin comes in, an employee at one of the stores will give Sim’s number to the customer, and they’ll complete the transaction over text.
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Source: nymag.com (via The Empire Report)