Wine Spot embraces digital currency

Adam Fleischer, owner of the Wine Spot, is the first Cleveland Heights retailer to integrate Bitcoin payment processing into his business. Bitcoin, a digital cryptocurrency, is a complex and rapidly growing financial ecosystem with the potential to revolutionize the future of money.

Since Feb. 4, Wine Spot customers have been able to pay using Bitcoin, as the result of a partnership between Fleischer and Northeast Ohio Bitcoin consultancy CoinNEO.

“Bitcoin provides my customers the flexibility of another form of payment, and those investing in Bitcoin are searching for places to spend it,” Fleischer said in a CoinNEO press release. “In addition, as a small business owner I am always looking for ways to manage expenses. At this point Bitcoin transaction fees are less expensive for me, versus credit cards and PayPal. I see why many believe digital currencies are the future.”

On March 5, at 6:15 p.m., the Wine Spot will host a Cleveland Bitcoin Meetup. It is open to anyone interested in the digital currency.

As of mid-February, reported Fleischer, some customers had already used Bitcoin at the shop. He added, "There is interest from the Bitcoin community, and they are thrilled that a merchant in Northeast Ohio is acccepting it."

Bitcoin is an anonymous peer-to-peer payment system in which users trade Bitcoins (BTC) that attain value as a result of supply and demand. BTC are minted through a “mining” process where private individuals use computers to solve complex algorithms. New BTC are added to the digital economy at a constant rate as problems are solved.

The Bitcoin protocol was founded by an unknown person or group in 2009, who designed the system to be self-limiting and stabilizing. Only a total of 21 million BTC will ever exist, and coins will be created at a decreasing rate because the mining process increases in difficulty over time.

The mining system inputs approximately 25 additional BTC every 10 minutes. An individual Bitcoin currently trades at $625.20 USD as of Feb. 17, and the market capitalization of all BTC in existence was around $7.9 billion on that date. Coins can be traded in fractions down to eight decimal places, allowing for small-scale consumer transactions.

The flexibility and low fees of those BTC transactions convinced Fleischer to work with CoinNEO founder Nikhil Chand, who helped the Wine Spot build BTC into its existing point-of-sale system as well as its upcoming online store, which will ship nationwide.

Chand is confident about the Wine Spot's new Bitcoin policy, and said that he thinks the store can serve as a model for other businesses interested in adopting BTC.

“The retailer does not assume the risk of Bitcoin's extreme market volatility” said Chand,.“Bitcoins are automatically converted to U.S. dollars within one or two businesses days, guaranteed for the price paid at the time of transaction.”

Alastair Pearson

Alastair Pearson, a Cleveland Heights resident, is a student at Saint Ignatius, where he edits the school newspaper and literary magazine. He is an Observer contributor.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 12:22 PM, 02.25.2014