“Do you accept Bitcoin? Would you like?” These questions echoed through the streets of Reading, near London, United Kingdom, during a hard day’s work for two British Bitcoin (BTC) lawyers.
James Dewar, founder of Bridge2Bitcoin, and MSW, a business developer for CoinCorner, took to the streets of Reading in a marathon mission of merchant adoption. In just six hours, they spoke to 63 shops, cafes and restaurants, hoping to convince them to accept BTC.
Armed with flyers, sales experience and a ton of enthusiasm for the world’s largest cryptocurrency, the Bitcoiners detailed the data and their experiences interacting with the general public. Of the 63 traders they spoke to, about 50% were outright rejections and 10 out of 30 were “worth a follow-up,” Dewar told UKTN. Three companies were taken on board at the scene or soon after. Dewar continues:
“It’s a 3% success rate within two weeks. From my point of view, it’s pretty good from a standstill when you think about the adoption curve.”
Indeed, while 3 out of 63 traders may seem trivial, it is representative of where the world stands in terms of Bitcoin adoption.
Dewar explains that Bitcoin awareness is currently low as we are at the lower end of the Bitcoin adoption threshold. However, it is still worth giving it a shot and asking your local trader if they take Bitcoin. Dewar jokes that even if he was handing out £10 notes on the street, people would still be reluctant to accept or decline the offer because it’s like ‘Sales in general’, he explains.
“We think it’s an obvious no-brainer, right? There is literally no downside to doing it. But convey that message; you have to have a fairly thick skin to understand that people don’t [get it] – it’s like handing out tens in the street!”
MSW, who accompanied Dewar, explains that accepting Bitcoin makes commercial sense for many traders. “One of the benefits for many is that you can just accept pounds. It’s like a cheaper version of Sump with Bonus Marketing.” SumUp is a point-of-sale solution that is popular in bars and restaurants across the country.
But why shouldn’t companies board other cryptocurrencies? MSW, who accompanied Dewar on his journey, explains that “The Lightning Network is the best way to transmit value, at a low cost and instantly. No other network comes close.” Indeed, the Lightning Network outperforms Ethereum (ETH) and other cryptocurrencies as a payment network.
MSW has since embarked on adoption walks by Bitcoin merchants in Edinburgh and Oxford with varying degrees of success. Coach Carbon, a Bitcoin football coach, teamed up with MSW in Oxford a few weeks later, while in Edinburgh Jordan Walker, CEO of the British Bitcoin collective, joined MSW. Walker and MSW spent a day onboarding traders ahead of the UK’s first Bitcoin-only conference.
But is Bitcoin not for HODLing – not for spending – because it is gold 2.0? Dewar and MSW agree with the story that Bitcoin is a store of value, but they are in favor of spending Satoshis. In addition, in the UK there are no capital gains on Bitcoin that are issued and then replaced within 30 days due to “Bed and Breakfast” laws. MSW underlines that spending Bitcoin in stores is also educational:
“I am optimistic about merchant adoption as a way to demystify Bitcoin and show it has utility. Bitcoin is a way to buy a cup of coffee or an ice cream or go to your favorite cat cafe and pet some cats.”
MSW and James both shared that while it’s been a tough day out and some people still have a deep-seated hatred for Bitcoin, the process can be “very rewarding”. What’s stopping you from asking your local dealer, anon?