Last updated on April 22nd, 2014 at 11:42 pm
As public interest grows in bitcoin as a method of payment processing, shop owners are catching on to the potential benefits that might be had by accepting the crypto-currency. Last month, every shop along two canal-side streets in the Hague, Holland, began accepting bitcoin to form the world’s first ‘Bitcoin Boulevard,’ according to Coindesk. In total, nine restaurants and an art gallery are taking part in the experiment, which was initially set to last two months. If things go well, the shops have said that they will continue with the concept indefinitely.
The organizers of the boulevard are not making any profit off of the experiment, the news source explained. Rather, they are interested in spreading interest and awareness about bitcoin to the general public.
“This event is is not just for nerds like ourselves, but for the regular moms and pops, kids and students,” organizer Henk van Tijen told Coindesk. “The purpose is to make it for a more broad audience.”
Cleveland leads U.S. response
As of May 1, the Dutch won’t be the only ones with a bitcoin boulevard. According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, nine businesses along Lee Boulevard in the Cedar-Lee neighborhood of Cleveland will begin accepting the crypto-currency next month.
Cleveland Heights-based bitcoin consultant Nikhil Chand, one of the organizers of the U.S. Bitcoin Boulevard, explained to the news source that businesses can save money by using the currency because transaction fees are lower than those for accepting credit card payments – about 1 percent compared to 2-5 percent. Chand also cited added security for customers as a potential motivator.
“When you hand someone your credit card, you are giving them all your personal information,” Chand explained. “You don’t do that with bitcoin.”
The idea began with The Wine Spot, a local wine store that started taking bitcoin in February, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported in a separate article. Adam Fleischer, the owner, explained that he created the store in order to bring something unique and innovative to the area – a desire that ultimately led him to the crypto-currency.
“I realized [bitcoin]would give us another unique edge,” Fleischer said. “No one else was accepting them. Now we are trying to create a community of bitcoin merchants, a destination for shoppers who want to use bitcoin.”
The two Bitcoin Boulevards know of each other, and hope that the concept will expand to other areas around the world, according to CoinReport. It is too early to tell what kind of results will be seen by shops in the two cities, but perhaps one day every city will have its own Bitcoin Boulevard.