Bitcoin Merchants revolutionize Arnhem, Netherlands
Bitcoin Merchants in Arnhem, Netherlands have recently become popular as many of the local cafes and shops now accept Bitcoin. In order to learn more, Bitcoin Price Live reached out to Patrick van der Meijde, who is one of the founders of the Arnhem Bitcoinstad project. In the following interview we learned a great deal about how Arnhem is revolutionizing the Bitcoin economy.
1) How much sales are done in Bitcoin on your average shop in a day? month?
This varies very much from shop to shop. Some shops don’t have a Bitcoin transaction in the entire month (or for two months) while others have a few Bitcoin transactions per week. And since the shops differ very much from cafes (with sometimes a payment for a single drink) to automobile repair shops it is hard to point out an average shop.
2) Has there been an increase to business for the restaurants that are accepting Bitcoins?
Yes. For most of them you could say they got new customers who specifically went to their restaurant because they accept bitcoins. However, I do believe this only accounts for a small number of their sales. The number of people in Arnhem who spent bitcoins on the street is still very small, but we do see an up-rise in number of users.
3) Do you have tourists who come specifically to spend Bitcoin?
A small number of shops have stated they got foreign tourists customers who specifically went to their place because they could pay with bitcoins. But we really need more bitcoin tourists here. So here’s our call out to all the bitcoin users: Come to Arnhem of a nice city trip! Even besides all the bitcoin stuff we have a few nice attractions like a world class sea aquarium at our Zoo.
4) How did the project get started, and who organized it?
We are the three organizers (Annet, Rogier and Patrick) and we got interested in Bitcoin in 2012. We saw a very big potential for Bitcoin and dreamed about the day we could pay for everything we need with bitcoins. In 2014 we decided to organize free lectures about Bitcoin in the city center which attracted about 75 people. Most of the people loved the idea but we got asked “well, what can I buy with bitcoins?” a lot.
At that time we could only redirect them to online stores which was not a very satisfying answer. So we decided to set up a project “Arnhem Bitcoincity” and we tried to convince cafe and restaurant owners to accept bitcoins. We told them we would create a special opening event that would attract a lot of bitcoin users to come to Arnhem to their Restaurants and bars. For this purpose we build our own payment processor (BitKassa) that would instantly convert the bitcoins to euro’s for the participants. Without this tool it would have been much harder to convince so many participants to join Arnhem Bitcoincity.
It was a coincidence that just about the same idea was set up in Den Haag on the other side of our small county. Of course we went to their opening (2 months earlier than Arnhem Bitcoinstad) and they gave us some useful best practices based on their experience.
5) Why is Arnhem well suited for Bitcoin payments?
Arnhem was not a special suited place for Bitcoin payments. We just happened to live here and we decided to put a lot of effort in being able to pay everything with Bitcoins in our hometown. However the city center of Arnhem is quite compact so most of the bitcoin shops/bars are very close to each other. If for example Paris would have 27 bitcoin shops or bars you would probably still have to seek for them. Arnhem has a University of Applied Science who recently supported our project by giving freshmen a small amout of bitcoin.
We encourage everyone to do the same in their hometown. We are happy to support by free use of BitKassa for anyone within the SEPA zone.
6) Is it easy for the restaurants to process transactions in Bitcoins?
Definitely a big YES! We do get a lot of compliments about the easiness of BitKassa. Even when employees of a bigger shop/restaurant haven’t processed a transaction before they easily do a transaction without any supervision. If you want to convince merchants to accept bitcoin you have to make it as easy as possible.
This concludes our interview and we hope your next stop is to visit Arnhem! The full list of Bitcoin merchants in Arnhem can be seen on the Arnhem Bitcoinstad website