S'pore food joints score with Bitcoins

S'pore food joints score with Bitcoins
EASY WAY TO PAY: Mr Somosundram (left), owner of Artistry cafe, and a customer performing a transaction in Bitcoin over mobile devices. The cafe has clocked 71 Bitcoin transactions since it started accepting them last July.

Local merchants who have accepted Bitcoins for their goods - few as they are, for now - may well be sitting on a pot of gold.

The value of Bitcoins surpassed US$1,000 (S$1,260) again last week on the Mt.Gox online exchange, after online game company Zynga announced it would accept the virtual currency for some of its games.

For home-grown businesses like cafe Artistry in Jalan Pinang, the rise in the exchange rate for the crypto-cash was definitely a score.

Owner Prashant Somosundram, 34, told MyPaper the cafe has clocked 71 Bitcoin transactions since it started accepting them last July. He declined to state the number of Bitcoins collected, but their value has appreciated by 500 per cent, he said.

He has no plans to cash out for now as he sees it as a "small experiment".

The bulk of the merchants who accept Bitcoin payments here operate in the food-and-beverage industry, such as Cad Cafe in Haji Lane and Hospoda Microbrewery in Albert Street.

For Mr Patrick Fok, 32, director of restaurant and lifestyle group WWW Concepts Group, which owns wine-and-dine establishments like Mariko's and The Retrospective, giving the nod to Bitcoin transactions was a "no-brainer".

"There are no credit-card transaction fees, or set-up costs - all we need is Internet access," he said. Transactions are carried out by staff using a free app on their own smartphones.

Other merchants who have joined the ranks of Bitcoin-using pioneers here include 3-D printing company Meka and horse-racing website Kranjiracing.com, which is not owned or operated by Singapore Turf Club.

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