Last Friday a new sandwich shop opened in Oxford – Jimbob’s Baguettes. Normally this wouldn’t be news except this particular business accepts payment in Bitcoin and Litecoin. So, after having acquired some bitcoins, I went to go check it out. Here’s what it looks like:
The guy on the counter, Bob, looked surprised when asked for a hot chocolate and said I wanted to pay in bitcoins, it turned out I was their very first Bitcoin customer. Bob called over Jim, his colleague (that explains the name ‘Jimbob’) who brought over his laptop. We agreed on a price of 0.0807 Bitcoin, which is ~£2.25 in normal money. I scanned their wallet address with my phone and sent them the amount, you can see the transaction here. The whole process took about 15 seconds. It was less fiddly than I’d expected, and it helps that they have free wifi.
So, why does this matter? Up till now I’ve only spent my bitcoins on non-tangible things: funded a software project, bought a game download, got a subscription to a VPN service. This makes sense: you use virtual currency to buy virtual goods.
The fact you can buy baguettes or drinks in Bitcoin is important because the currency is being used to buy real-life things. According to Coinbistro there are another 14 eating establishments in the UK which accept payment in Bitcoin, it’s a small start but it shows the currency being accepted more widely.