With the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin, one San Luis Obispo business is allowing customers to pay for their meals with their virtual wallets.
Mike Whittaker is the owner of Bings Bao Buns in San Luis Obispo. He has been involved in crypto since early 2014 and has watched as the currency system has evolved over the years.
After Whittaker and his wife recently opened their restaurant in the SLO Public Market, they decided to accept as many cryptocurrencies as they could.
“We’ve just been lighthearted about it. We put it up on the menu board as 'crazy internet money,'” Whittaker said.
The concept of paying for bao buns with crypto has been catching on with some customers.
“I’ve been surprised at the reception that we’ve gotten. Quite a few people use it. I would say at least once or twice a week we get somebody who wants to use it and that's growing pretty quickly,” Whittaker said.
With the growth in customers adopting crypto as payment, some believe paying with cryptocurrency may be the future.
“You know, I just think that's where we’re headed. I mean, to have a different form of payment that people can use to buy goods and services is a great thing,” said San Luis Obispo County resident Dan Monroe.
“It's all about kind of the ease of use of it. As soon as it becomes that mechanism that's easier than a card then I’m sure I’ll adopt it,” said San Luis Obispo County resident Joe Cornelius.
Whittaker says some businesses are wary of adopting crypto due to its unreliable transaction times.
“Your transaction might not go through immediately, so for some businesses they don’t feel entirely comfortable with that. Where for us, you just show us that you put the transaction through and there’s that level of trust. Others, I guess they want that immediate Visa or Mastercard transaction. I guess they feel like they can trust it a little better still,” Whittaker said.
Transaction times directly correlate with the fees being paid to transfer those funds, meaning those who pay more in transaction fees will have their transactions prioritized.
One hurdle for virtual currencies is getting those fees low enough to become widely accepted.