We’re always excited about trying the world’s newest creations – and Bitcoin is one of such fresh creations.
Started only 2 years ago, Bitcoin is a person-to-person digital payment system that basically replaces banks and government-supported fiat currencies. It also offers a more streamlined way to pay for goods and services without having to pay bank or credit card fees. And if you’re traveling around the world, paying with Bitcoin is the same wherever you are. As long as the merchant acccepts that form of payment, you can pay without foreign transaction fees or currency exchange fees.
Governments are just now starting to take note of this enormously buzzy digital currency, as it threatens the mechanisms of financial control that they’ve been fine tuning for centuries. Fiat currencies – or currencies backed by governments – have changed over the years, and this is one of the latest developments. A development that actually proposes an alternative to a regulated financial system in favor of a peer-verified and direct-to-person network.
The way it works is this: each Wallet has a unique, anonymous code associated with it. In order to pay someone, you simply open your app, choose how much, scan a QR code of that person’s account, and then it will send that amount of Bitcoin to that specific address.
There’s no set account number, there’s no bank forms to fill out – it’s simply like setting up a Paypal account that happens to have it’s own currency. Of course, this currency is still pegged to whatever denomination you are cashing out to – so you’re still going to be looking at the dollar price and converting to Bitcoin, at least until merchants begin posting prices in Bitcoin.
However, since Bitcoin has been incredibly volatile (speculators and buzz are driving it wild), it makes printing prices on menus quite difficult as the price changes too regularly to be accurate.
We’re enthusiastically allowing guests to pay with Bitcoin for three reasons: 1) Credit card processing fees eat up a significant amount of our revenue each month and offering a lower-fee way to pay means that we can pass on our higher profitability to customers; 2) Alternatives to our current financial system are intriguing to explore, especially as we see ourselves as a community business serving our neighbors; and 3) We’re nerds and we’re proud of it.
We’re not sure how this will pan out, and given that not many folks actually have Bitcoin wallets, we imagine this won’t be a popular way to pay for awhile. Nonetheless, we’ve decided to participate in this new alternative economy to see what real-world implications there are.
As a business focused on serving the community, we want to be able to accept whatever form of payment the community uses. That’s why we accept credit cards, and that’s why we accept Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is still highly speculative and, as we can’t predict the future, recommend extensive research to anyone considering using Bitcoin as a form of payment.
More about Bitcoin can be found here,
here, and here. To sign up for a Bitcoin wallet, we recommend CoinBase or BitPay. To see other merchants worldwide that accept Bitcoin, visit http://bitcoin.travel.