LAKE District businesses are embracing a digital currency after expert advice from a former South Lakeland school pupil.
Now working as a finance and technology specialist across Europe, Allan Bowe returned to his family roots in Windermere last month and realised there were few areas to spend Bitcoin.
He visited shops and traders in Windermere and Bowness in a bid to convince businesses to enter the digital age – with some success.
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Coffee Bar 7 in Windermere has joined Hubble Bubble Organics and The Mere Gallery, both in Bowness, in accepting Bitcoin as valid tender.
“I got a range of responses,” said the 32-year-old. “As soon as I mentioned Bitcoin some people asked me to leave but others were interested. Some had never heard of it.”
He added: “I gave my nieces Bitcoin for Christmas and they complained they had nowhere to spend it so when I came back I decided to try to change that.
Mr Bowe, who attended the Lakes School and Kirkbie Kendal School, said there are numerous advantages to Bitcoin.
”As someone who travels around a lot it means you don’t have to deal with so many different currencies,” he said.
He added retailers are charged a monthly fee to use credit/debit cards, with a minimum term contract and around a three per cent cost for a transaction – while Bitcoin can attract less than a one per cent transaction fee with no monthly fees or contracts.
Bitcoins can be stored in the cloud so there are no worries about losing a card or forgetting the pin number.
Consumers can easily send coins to anyone with an email address, phone number or Facebook account and can be transferred within seconds.
“In five years time I think everyone will be using or no-one will be using Bitcoin so it does no harm to get on-board now,” said Heather Woods, manager of Coffee Bar 7, on Oak Street, Windermere.