For years, restaurants and shops turn over a percentage of their profits to credit card companies as the price of doing business. After all, what do you do when almost no one carries cash? Accept virtual money?
More and more, bitcoins or cryptocurrency is being accepted world-wide as an alternative form of payment for goods and services. When paying with this digital currency, there is no exchange of notes or tokens and the transaction takes no longer than a usual credit card exchange. Although bitcoins are just catching on, they were actually introduced in 2009 and are used by some pretty large companies like WordPress and Virgin Galactic.
So, it stands to reason that if Sir Richard Branson accepts bitcoins for trips to outer space, Miami restaurants would start accepting the currency.
Latin House's chef/owner Michell Sanchez explains the reason behind the bitcoin. "We love new technology and I've been following the progress and rapid growth of Bitcoin for some time now. I believe in the alternate currency and feel it's a great hedge against the never-ending inflation and regulatory fees from government. I also am a firm believer that this is only the beginning and that it's volatility will level out."
Sanchez explains that bitcoins are easy to use -- both for a restaurateur and customer. "We have QR codes generated in the restaurant, and when someone wants to pay for something they scan the code with a phone or tablet and send the percentage of the bitcoin to our virtual wallet. Payment is free and no transaction fees are paid by either party."
Sanchez says that he loses money on every credit card transaction and with bitcoins he can eventually pass the savings on to the consumer.
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To celebrate the bitcoin, Sanchez is hosting a monthly bitcoin happy hour at his restaurant, starting tonight, December 27. Starting at 7:30 p.m., guests using bitcoins will enjoy unlimited select draft beer and appetizers, plus an additional 50 percent discount on all other Bitcoin purchases. Sanchez says he hopes to attract like-minded people and start a Bitcoin movement in Miami.
One thing's for sure: although the currency may be virtual, the burgers and beer are real -- and discounted!