Op-Ed: My Dental Appointment: No Bitcoin? Ouch!
The past five days have not been pleasant amid the discovery that I have a painful tooth infection. So yesterday I finally decided to overcome my denial regarding the seriousness of this and go to see a dentist.
In the dental office lobby wrenching in pain while completing what seemed like a sea of new patient forms, I happened to see a television screen out of the side of my eye. A series of promotions for the dental practice scrolled across the screen. But there was one in particular that captured my attention:
We Accept Bitcoin
As you might imagine, I was elated to see this as I had arrived with just a few hundred dollars in cash not knowing what the bill would be.
As I was taken back to the exam room, I elatedly said to the person escorting me, “WOW, I’m so excited to see that your dental practice accepts bitcoin.” She looked at me as though I was some sort of cyclops (probably an accurate descriptive given the swelling on the right side of my face) and said:
“What Is Bitcoin?”
Ahh, not the response I was expecting.
Later, my worst fears were confirmed by another member of the dental staff:
“Yes, at one time we did accept bitcoin, but our doctor decided that it wasn’t worth it for us to continue doing so as a practice.”
Of course, I immediately wanted to make my plea to them that they reconsider offering bitcoin as a payment option but the pain in my mouth was too intense to put up any sort of reasonable fight. So I shut up and let them just do the exam.
One of the big debates that continues to rage in the global Bitcoin community is whether bitcoin will ever achieve mainstream acceptance as a form of payment. Of course, there are a few major players like Overstock.com, Gyft, and Dell that accept it online. On the other hand, the number of brick and mortar merchants accepting it is rather pathetic and, may I say, probably declining by the day.
A recent study commissioned by LendEDU and conducted online by polling company PollFish asked the following question to 875 American consumers ages 18 and up: “What is your main form of payment?” Interestingly, debit cards received the majority of votes.
In terms of bitcoin, there was barely a mention of it in the report. Not even a blip on the screen.
Gene Kavner, founder and CEO of iPayYou has been one of few voices in the global Bitcoin community advocating for a return to original peer-to-peer payment intent set out by Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakomoto’s.
In Nakamoto’s original white paper Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System it says:
“Commerce on the Internet has come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payments, but no mechanism exists to make payments over a communications channel without a trusted party. What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.”
Alright, enough said. Time for me to get back to nursing my tooth while figuring out a game plan for getting my new dentist back on board with accepting bitcoin.
Will let you know how it goes.