Cryptocurrency investors can now forgo their euro and pay for their lattes and muffins with litecoin or ethereum at a new cafe in Dublin, which accepts payments from your crypto wallet via your smartphone.
Nash Basel set up his Crypto Cafe on Dublin's Aungier Street at the end of January on the back of a good run investing in cryptocurrencies, using his gains to fund the cafe.
He first started investing about six months ago but, having spent time analysing the movements in bitcoin over the past three years, he sold out in early January, ahead of the dramatic slump.
“I got a bit lucky,” he recalls.
Already in the hospitality trade – he also owns Jerusalem restaurant on Dublin’s Camden Street – Mr Basel first thought of opening a standard cafe but then hit on giving it a novel angle by accepting cryptocurrencies, influenced by the likes of Prague’s Bitcoin Coffee, which only accepts bitcoin payments. The cafe follows in the footsteps of other Dublin outlets which also accept crypto currencies. Back in 2015 for example, Busyfeet & Coco Cafe on South William Street started accepting bitcoin for purchases.
Now, the Aungier Street outlet has become a hang-out for all things crypto, with a Coinbase screen updating customers on currency prices, and signs on the wall proclaiming “Hodl 4 Life”, which came out of a typo of “hold” and has become something of a motto for bitcoin investors, urging them to stay invested. It has become a popular venue for blockchain and crypto meet-ups.
But while the cafe accepts payment in both litecoin and ethereum (transaction charges on bitcoin are too high), fewer than 20 customers have paid with the currency thus far, opting instead for cash as the plummeting value of cryptocurrencies means people are abiding by the motto and holding on for dear life. After all, buying a coffee with a cryptocurrency might be akin to purchasing one in inflation ridden Venezuela; given the fluctuations in the currencies, the cost can differ dramatically.
Mr Basel says this is one of the quirks – and attractions – of the cafe.
“When you’re winning [on cryptocurrency investments] you’re spending, as the coffee might be less than €1 at the time; but if you’re losing 50 per cent, the coffee might cost you €6,” he says.
When such payments come in, Mr Basel has the option of either converting the litecoin or ethereum back to euro, or keeping it in cryptocoins. He’s keeping the payments in coins for now, with a view to using the coins to fund expansion down the road.
And cryptocurrencies, he says, are here to stay.
“It definitely will be a standard currency; it’s gotten too big already to ignore”.