19 February 2014 1:05am
BITCOIN, Bitcoin, Bitcoin – not a day goes by when the pioneering cryptocurrency isn’t dominating headlines, but actually getting hold of the virtual coinage is still relatively difficult for most people (The Capitalist included).
But that might be about to change. There’s now a Bitcoin shop (Europe’s first). And it’s in the City – well, one street outside the official boundaries on Goulston Street, Aldgate.
We ventured down to the store, Azteco, yesterday to see what it was all about. What does a Bitcoin shop look like? Well, picture a large room, white walls and one desk – with a man hunched over a laptop – that’s it.
You walk in, pay some money and founder Akin Fernandez prints out a voucher with your Bitcoin code. “I wanted to set up the store to demonstrate this new easy way of buying Bitcoin,” Fernandez told The Capitalist.
“Usually it takes weeks but this system is really easy; you redeem your voucher within five minutes and you’ve got your Bitcoin.”
Fernandez has set up Azteco by himself – a former publisher, he developed the core software involved and is hoping to open more stores, starting with Mexico and Sierra Leone. He has already suffered a hiccup though.
Fernandez had planned for people to redeem their voucher while in the shop using Bitcoin apps wallet like Blockchain but last week, Apple banned the apps. “People with Android phones can still use the apps in-store and see their Bitcoins appear in their wallet, but those with iPhones now have to download a Bitcoin wallet on a computer and redeem it that way.”
Which is exactly what The Capitalist intends to do now, with our haul of 0.005 Bitcoins. Watch a video tour of the store.