Early local boosters embrace Bitcoin

flamestone-american-grill04 May 2014 / The Tampa Tribune – — Flamestone Grill restaurant founder Nick Pappas loves gadgets and technology. “It’s my passion, other than the restaurant business,” he says. So when he heard last year about the digital currency known as Bitcoin, he investigated and decided to buy a unit, which was trading online for $20. The value now is at about $500, after spiking in 2013 to more than $1,000 apiece. Betting that using bitcoins for everyday transactions eventually would become commonplace, Pappas in February began accepting it for payment at Flamestone. He has since had two customers purchase two $50 gift cards each. “If the customer wants to pay that way, why not make life easier for them?” he said. Founded in 2009, Bitcoin is a digital payment system that has its own currency but no central body of control, unlike PayPal, which uses U.S. dollars and other official international currencies. Without centralized management, Bitcoin’s valuation can fluctuate according to its buyers and investors. The total worth of all bitcoins is estimated at about $3.5 billion. Businesses are attracted to accepting Bitcoin transactions because they can be used in lieu of credit or debit cards but without fees charged per transaction. But many are leery of security issues. To insulate their investments, Bitcoin investors can use third-party exchanges such as the San Francisco firm Coinbase to buy and sell at current market rates for a fee of about 1 percent of the valuation…..Read more


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