Shrouded in mystery, Bitcoin catches on in Las Vegas

las-vegas-sign-at-dusk31 Jan 2014 / Fox5 Vegas – LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – Jalisco Cantina owner Ross Williams first let a customer pay with Bitcoin last year. He received two bitcoins for a $30 tab.

“At the time, they were worth $15 apiece,” Williams said.

But he saw potential in this alternative payment.

“About the time those things got to be worth $1,000 apiece, I started to think, you know what, maybe we ought to think about taking these things,” Williams said.

Williams’ Jalisco Cantina is part of a growing community of businesses ranging from pro basketball teams, like the Sacramento Kings, to Las Vegas hotels, like The “D” and Golden Gate casinos downtown, that now let you pay in cash, credit or Bitcoin.

“It’s money you can email. This is going to be huge. In 1994, if you said the Internet was going to be the size of what it was today, people would have locked you up,” said Michael Terpin, co-founder of BitAngels, a group which provides capital for Bitcoin start-up businesses.

So far business is good for BitAngels.

“We’ve done over $7 million worth of deals in the last six months,” Terpin said.

As more vendors accept bitcoins to save on transaction fees, their demand and value is skyrocketing.

When it was introduced five years ago, a single bitcoin was worth less than a penny. Now it’s worth more than $800 and poised to climb even higher.

“Because, like real estate, they’re not making them anymore in terms of bitcoins, there’s a cap of $21 million, the value of each bitcoin has to go up,” Terpin said.

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Meanwhile, the inventor, possibly inventors, of Bitcoin remains a mystery.

“We know the pseudonym that they went by – it’s Satoshi Nakamoto, which is a Japanese pseudonym,” Tony Gallippi, the CEO of Bitpay said.

“We know that he was obviously very bright,” Terpin said.

But little else is known about Satoshi Nakamoto, not even if it’s a he, she or them.

“Many people believe it is several people in the [San Francisco] Bay Area who are early-90s cryptographers. Some people say it’s a Japanese guy. I mean, everyone has their theories,” Terpin said.

“But no, nobody knows who he is,” Gallippi said.

But most involved don’t care who started it, only what their investment is worth.

“I don’t know very many investments in history that have gone up [a million times initial investment] in five years,” Terpin said…. Read more

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