An Exeter pub has become the first outside of London to accept Bitcoin as payment.
The Port Royal pub by the River Exe is now allowing punters to pay for pints with Bitcoin after owner Carlos Pires saw the move as a business opportunity and to meet demands of the local technology meet up.
After a successful trial, The Port Royal has agreed to continue accepting Bitcoin transactions for Exeter's local meetup group.
Bitcoin is an online payment system which cut out any administrator or bank. Introduced in 2009 the peer to peer payments are recorded in a public ledger using its own unit of account, which is also called bitcoin.
All Bitcoins in circulation and their transactions histories are recorded in a giant ledger known as the blockchain. This prevents each Bitcoin from being spent twice.
The system has been described as a virtual currency and users can send and receive bitcoins electronically using wallet software on a personal computer, mobile device, or app.
In the UK the payment is currently only available in a handful of places in London.
Exeter landlord, Carlos, has said he sees potential for the technology to help his business, but is concerned about the currency's volatility exposing him to unnecessary risk. Accepting Bitcoin from Bitcoin meetup members provides an opportunity for him to build confidence and gain experience using the network.
When customers place orders, the pub will run everything through the till as normal, then use a smartphone with the Bitcoin app to collect payment from the guest's phone.
The landlord has said that the only drawback with the move is that, while the cost of a pint remains constant, the value of the Bitcoin payment he gets fluctuates.
The move has been welcomed by Exeter’s Bitcoin community who hold meetings at the pub. The group meet to discuss the technology and how it ‘can be used to decentralize markets (i.e. including money lending, energy, data storage and bandwidth).’
Orgainsers of the meeting said they welcome anyone who would like to join them for discussions with more information available at http://www.meetup.com/CoinScrumExeter/.