Retailers look to Bitcoin as currency for life’s basics

By Zoe Kleinman Technology reporter, BBC News

In the seaside town of Swanage, “cash only” signs still pepper the high street shops and cafes.

Bank transaction charges and problems with phone lines have led some to reluctantly abandon accepting any other form of payment, even during the lucrative summer holidays.

But one local business has decided to embrace a controversial alternative.

Nestled beside the small ads noticeboard in the crowded shop window of Swanage News is a small sticker that reads “Bitcoin accepted here”.

The so far unregulated digital currency has courted controversy because of its volatile value and its popularity among cybercriminals.

With that track record, can it ever become an everyday essential?

Chocolate sale

Newsagent owner Andy James hopes so. He decided to look into accepting payments in Bitcoin last month after hearing about it on a TV show.

He is hoping his service will be a hit with the many tourists who flock to this part of the Jurassic Coast, in southern England, at this time of year but so far his only two Bitcoin customers have both been local.

 

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