Ready to pay for your morning coffee with bitcoin? One coffee shop in Moscow is one of the first in town to allow customers to use this form of payment for their espresso and croissants.
It’s important to note that Russian authorities haven’t yet defined the legal standing of bitcoin or rules revolving around it within the country. Some Russian regulators have even threatened to ban the use of bitcoin entirely.
In case you’re wondering, the coffee stand is located in the headquarters of Sberbank PJSC, the state-owned bank.
While Russia continues its back-and-forth internal debate on bitcoin, analysts say many governments have already decided that, if they ban bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, they risk suppressing innovation and perhaps missing out on the quickly changing digital payment landscape.
Herman Gref, Sberbank’s CEO, said a year ago that he owns some bitcoin and added that Russia shouldn’t ban cryptocurrencies for the same reasons.
Timofei Kulikov, co-owner of the coffee shop within Sberbank’s headquarters, is an independent vendor, who said he started the bitcoin coffee exchange as an experiment after deciding it was too expensive to mine the currency himself. He said it’s simpler to “sell for bitcoins something that people buy every day.”
That said, the way that one bitcoin is trading that could equate to hundreds of cups of coffee.
While he accepts payment in bitcoin for coffee and food at the cafe, which opened in August, he reimburses the business in rubles so that the transaction is effectively between the customer and himself as two individuals. One bitcoin was worth $606.96 as of Monday (Sept. 26), enough for nearly 400 cups of coffee.
If that math seems somewhat overwhelming, Dunkin’ Donuts runs on its own bitcoin-for-coffee deals.