The increasingly digital world is changing the way we pay for things. Instead of using physical currency, now virtual currencies like Bitcoin are -- well, gaining currency. The first ever World Bitcoin Conference is underway in Silicon Valley. And, the virtual currency is winning fans in Beijing.
|Instead of using physical currency, now virtual currencies like Bitcoin are -- well, gaining currency.|
In Beijing’s high-tech district of Zhong Guancun, a cafe like this one is a popular spot for IT geeks and internet entrepreneurs, they usually pay 20 yuan for a coffee and hang out for the day...but recently, an American teenager broke the norm. He bought his coffee using 0.012 of Bitcoin.
"This lad came over and asked us if he could use Bitcoin to pay for this cup of coffee. One of our guys knows the technology well, we helped him receive this currency, exchanged it into RMB, and the transaction was done," cafe owner of Beijing Su Di said.
Jack has studied and lived in Beijing for three years, and Bitcoin has already become a big part of his life.
He has bought a tablet with bitcoin, and he’s planning to buy a plane ticket home this year using this virtual currency.
He demonstrated how he shops online.
First the website calculates a product price into Bitcoin value.
Second, scan this bar code, which will direct users to the right payment account.
And with a click of a button the transaction is complete. All this -- in just two minutes.
"Actually I think it’s more convenient to use it to transfer money to the states, it’s easier than going through banks," Bitcoin user of Beijing Jack said.
The virtual currency already has its foot in the real world. Many websites are now accepting Bitcoins. Finnish company SC5 pays some of its staff salaries using Bitcoins. In Cyprus, there is even an ATM machine that supports Bitcoins. And, according to an experienced Bitcoin user, a service provider called Ripple, is going to build a Bitcoin transaction bourse providing P2P service.
Bitcoin was born 4 years ago, created by a Japanese hacker named Satoshi Nakamoto. The digital currency isn’t owned or controlled by any government. It uses cryptographic technology to ensure the funds you receive are genuine. Full story >>
It began as a popular game among computer hackers, and has grown into a virtual currency, traded around the world. Bitcoin’s value has multipled in value some 8000 times. Full story >>