Getting paid in Bitcoin: These businesses are ready for it

vetcoABQ19 Feb 2014 / ZDnet – Whether you’re a geek with a love of cryptocurrency, or you’re just from a country outside the eurozone and want to avoid banks’ outrageous currency conversion fees, for your next holiday in Italy you might want to try something new: pay in bitcoins.

The number of Italian merchants and stores that accept this kind of payment is on the rise, According to, a website which tracks Bitcoin usage in the world, and Bitcoin Foundation Italia, an organization promoting the use of the virtual currency.

“CoinMap lists around 170 businesses that give customers the chance to pay with bitcoins,” says Franco Cimatti, chairman of the foundation “but there are actually more, as many do not use the website because they don’t know how to subscribe or ignore its existence.”

The early adopters in Italy are chiefly hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses, located mainly — but not exclusively — in the northern part of the country and in big cities like Milan, Florence, Rome and Naples.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, some of these businesses aren’t run by Italians, but by foreigners who can easily put themselves in tourists’ shoes. That’s the case, for instance, for Cascina la Famo, a renovated farmhouse in Piedmont now available as self-catering holiday accomodation.

“Piedmont is very popular among Americans, they love to come here,” Gerald Smith, one of the owners, said. “But the problem is that since 2008, when the economic crisis began, banks have started charging higher fees for foreign currency exchange, so that it can now cost from $8 to $20 to make a transaction.” Sometimes commissions can be higher still: “one of our customers was asked for $80 to make a transaction,” Smith said.

One workaround is to use Bitcoin instead: as long as you pay directly, wallet-to-wallet, there are no fees. And even if you rely on an intermediary to convert bitcoins into euros — a lot of merchants in Europe use BitPay, for example — the commission is usually much lower than that charged by traditional banks….. Read more

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