by Jamie Holmes
If you want to take a stroll in Amsterdam, one of the most interesting places is the Albert Cuyp market, where you can find an array of stores and food vendors. The market started trading in 1904 and lies within the trendy district of De Pijp. There is also one merchant here which accepts bitcoin, a warming and welcoming place called ‘Trust.’
The cozy shop stands toward the east of the long, winding market road. After getting some chips and mayonaisse, I walked along the market looking at the various stalls and then found Trust. The slogan is emblazoned across the shopfront, “Come as you are, Pay as you feel,” which gives an instant impression that this is not your typical café or eatery.
Looking at a part of the menu below, we see there are no prices. When have you ever seen a priceless menu?
While the shop accepts bitcoin, customers are encouraged to pay what they think a dish is worth, a unique feature known as ‘Pay As You Feel.’ Of course, this opens the shop up to ‘free riders,’ which is made apparent as I walk in the shop and see some people giggling and leaving in a rush. But most people, I guess, pay honestly.
We also see there are no meat dishes (sorry ‘bitcoin carnivores‘!) as only vegetarian, locally-sourced ingredients are used. Nothing goes to waste, which also fits with the theme of love, reminding us of our connection to every other being.
As I gazed at the menu, I decided to go for the porridge with fruit. Once the food arrived, I was amazed at how much I got (given the menu description) and at the effort that had gone into it, with the presentation immaculate. The porridge tasted brilliant too, with an assortment of different ingredients including apple, almonds, banana, pomegranate, and mint.
My partner ordered eggs and toast, and again, the staff over delivered. The dish came with several added extras such as grilled aubergine, pesto, pomegranate, and spinach. We weren’t complaining, in fact, we found the extra touches very thoughtful and made our time at Trust that much better.
The combination of flavors and textures in the porridge complimented each other really well, definitely for someone with a sweet tooth.
As I pay with bitcoin, I was slightly disappointed to see that the shop had a Coinbase account and did not hold the bitcoin directly, or handle the cryptocurrency themselves. The themes of the shop reasonate somewhat with the principles of bitcoin, i.e., trust and compassion.
Here, the shop owners trust you to pay fairly for the food you buy by relying on you to ‘show love,’ while with bitcoin, it eliminates the need to trust any third parties or banks with handling your money. As the saying goes ‘in cryptography, we trust.’
Compassion for others was a key theme for Satoshi Nakamoto, as his/her/their attempt was one of providing a form of honest money to counteract and escape the dreadful economic situation many people are experiencing in both developed and developing economies.
With the constantly rising price of bitcoin, the amount I paid at the time when BTC-EUR was just under €1000, is now worth more than €150 today with the market now above €5000. However, when asked ‘how many people pay with bitcoin?’ the volunteer responded that some regulars pay with the cryptocurrency, but most use euros.
Regardless, it was certainly a pleasant experience to ‘connect to your heart and let it tell you what to pay,’ as the menu suggests. The staff even offer free hugs, as you will notice from the collection of card tokens near the counter. The venue also has a serene atmosphere you’d come to expect from the Netherlands. The warmth of the staff and ‘Pay As You Feel’ concept will make you wonder whether you can show more compassion to others.
Visiting the café was one of the highlights of my trip, so if you’re ever in ‘The Dam,’ make sure to show Trust some love.