Idealism Alive and Well in Berlin’s Bitcoin Scene
Identifying the most nurturing environment for a blockchain startup can be difficult in the wake of regulation attempts around the globe. In Europe, however, Berlin is emerging as both an idealist’s sandbox and a regulatory safe haven for small businesses looking to alternative currencies and the technology behind them.
Cafes, Bars, and Free Thinking
During the golden era of cheap and fast transaction fees, Berlin saw a handful of different bars and cafes move to accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Niels Göttsch, the owner of Leutschoff Kaffeebar in Berlin reminisces about his decision to do business in cryptocurrencies:
“It was more in 2012. Now with the high fees, it’s not that common anymore.”
A mere six years ago, the average price per transaction was less than two cents. These days, the rising costs have birthed hard forks, split communities, and turned the pioneer cryptocurrency into more a store of value rather than a payment system.
After Göttsch’s coffee bar, the Coin Map tool reveals more than a dozen other bars, restaurants, boutiques and The Prometheus Institute that accept the virtual currency. Outside of bitcoin, Room 77 offers guests the ability to spend their privacy-centric monero when making purchases. The bar also boasts as the hub for meetups and like minds to converge on all things related to cryptocurrencies.
The Monero base identifies itself as, “the restaurant at the end of capitalism: warm beer, cold women and fast food made slow.” From here, the Lamborghini memes run headlong into the fundamental reasons behind Bitcoin’s inception in 2008.
BTCManager spoke with one of the founders of Prometheus Clemens Schneider regarding the institute’s acceptance of bitcoin. Schneider’s comments, albeit not exclusive to Berlin, strike a vibrant philosophical cord active in the city:
“The decision to accept bitcoin came quite natural for us since my colleague was already involved. Also, as a sort of libertarian-minded institution, we have several friends and supporters that have been early adopters of bitcoin. Hence, for us, it wasn’t a Berlin specific but rather a politically induced decision.”
With the adoption rate relatively high and the blockchain startup scene showing promise, the country has also been favorable regarding cryptocurrencies. This acceptance is seen specifically in bitcoin’s status as legal tender in Germany as well as freelancers being able to declare their crypto earnings in euros when filing their taxes.
One only hopes that the proposed G20 summit on January 26, 2018, in Davos, Switzerland will continue to cater to Berlin’s Bitcoin status.