As the virtual currency Bitcoin gains more popularity and confidence with the general public, more companies are starting to accept the digital crypto currency in transactions. Some of those businesses may be bars or pubs right around the corner where a customer can transfer some Bitcoin to buy some ice cold beer.
Bars aren’t the only type of business that is starting to use Bitcoin as an alternative currency. This week the online retail giant Overstock.com also started taking payments for goods and shipping. You can read more on Overstock.com by reading this article in the Guardian Liberty Voice: Bitcoin Drives $126,000 in First Day Sales.
One of the latest to join into the Bitcoin exchange business is Volstead Act, a Spokane, Washington bar. The first customer to buy a beer with Bitcoin in the bar was Matt Rush. The $24 payment was made to clear Rush’s tab of three drinks.
The Volstead Act bartender, Ash Hayden, spent the last year learning all he could about Bitcoin. The option to pay in Bitcoin just offers customer’s another alternative to payments other than the traditional credit or debit cards. Those traditional methods of plastic payments also come with a three percent or more service fee attached and accepting Bitcoin as payment illuminates that extra cost.
The process used by the Volstead Act is fairly simple. A customer can set up a Bitcoin account with an online exchange such as the most popular exchange service, Coinbase (also the exchange used by Overstock.com). Then they make a purchase of some Bitcoin. The customer can then download a digital wallet with their smartphone and set it up with their Bitcoin account.
When customers are ready to pay their tab they are presented with a tablet screen that has translated the dollar amount of the tab into Bitcoin value. A QR code is then displayed on the tablet that allows the customers to take a picture of it with their smartphones. An app on the smartphone reads the QR code and the digital wallet app allows the customer to make the purchase in Bitcoin value. Once the customer approves the purchase, the Bitcoin transfer is initiated and Bitcoin value is transferred from the customer’s account into Volstead Act’s account.
Hayden is promoting the bar’s ability to buy beer with Bitcoin by offering discounts for drinks. A $9 cocktail goes for $8 if the customer is paying via Bitcoin.
The Volstead act isn’t the only bar accepting Bitcoin payments. The Red Rock bar in downtown Reno, Nevada also accepts Bitcoin as a payment currency since November of last year. Two other Reno area businesses now accept Bitcoin as well.
The Latin House Burger & Taco Bar and Coral Gables’ Planet Linux Cafe in Miami, Florida are two other innovative hospitality businesses taking Bitcoin transfers for payment.
The owner of The Latin House, Michell Sánchez, is promoting his restaurant’s Bitcoin exchange by hosting a monthly happy hour dedicated to Bitcoin. On December 27, Sanchez’s Bitcoin guests were treated to unlimited appetizers and select draft beer. The customer’s of The Latin House were also given an additional 50 percent off their other Bitcoin purchases.
Bars in other countries are starting to use Bitcoin as payments too. California Cantina in Santiago, Chile is another sports bar, nightclub and trendy restaurant to allow customers to buy beer with Bitcoin. Coinbase now has 19,000 businesses that have Bitcoin exchange accounts, but some analysts still think that Bitcoin is too volatile in value to survive being used on a wider scale.
By Brent Matsalla