About 30 businesses in the Czech Republic accept payments in bitcoin currency
Prague, Jan 1 (ČTK) — About 30 businesses in the Czech Republic have started to accept virtual currency bitcoin so far, but they agree the possibility of payment in bitcoins is an extra incentive that has been only little used so far.
Bitcoins can be used to pay for parking, accommodation, computer equipment, shoes, drinks in a bar, a haircut or a massage, for example.
“We have accepted bitcoin payments for about one month, but we are doing so because we are fans and want to support an alternative to common means of payments that has, in our opinion, good prospects,” Zdeněk Hink of printing company Copystudio Pretiko said.
A larger part of bitcoin owners hold the currency as an investment tool and the use of bitcoin for payment will be more common after the rate stabilizes, Hink said.
Online shop with computer components HW World has concluded one bitcoin transaction worth hundreds of crowns so far, HW World’s operator Pavel Bocek said.
Bitcoins can be used to pay for parking at the Václav Havel Airport Prague, or for buying a beer in Prague bar No. 7 or luxury shoes at the Classic Shoes shop, for example.
“Customers’ interest is still rather theoretic and they ask a lot about this possibility, but they do not use in practice very much. We have concluded only few such transactions whose value is in the order of thousands of crowns,” Michal Kučera, the owner of the Classic Shoes shop, told ČTK.
Digital currency bitcoin was created by an anonymous developer nicknamed Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. The currency has been designed in such a way so as nobody — neither governments nor central banks — can have influence over it.
The value of bitcoin depends on people’s trust in the currency. Bitcoin payments on the Internet have minimum or zero transaction costs.
Bitcoin’s disadvantage is the great volatility of its exchange rate.
The value of the currency fell from about $1,000 to nearly a half in the middle of December last year after China’s main exchange for bitcoin trading had announced it was no longer accepting deposits in Chinese yuan.
The value of one bitcoin is between $700 and $800 now.
The number of Czech owners of the virtual currency is hard to find out.
During the attack on the Czech bitcoin exchange Bitcash in November, bitcoins equal to several million Czech crowns were reportedly stolen from about 4,000 wallets.
Users can exchange bitcoins at online markets or mine them using computing operations. But mining is becoming increasingly difficult as the number of undiscovered bitcoins is falling, and users must either use special high-performance computers to obtain the currency or join forces and mine together.