You probably think Bitcoin is a little fishy. Decentralized and uninsured, the digital currency bounces wildly in value and has likely been used for illegal activity. But with no personal data attached, there's less threat of identity theft or fraud. Since it's not bank controlled, merchants aren't saddled with credit card processing fees. And thanks to Nikhil Chand, you can now use bitcoin (which can be purchased through online exchanges such as Coinbase) to buy an ice cream cone at Sweetie Fry in Cleveland Heights.
"I wanted to strip all the sensationalism out of it and look at the tools objectively and see if you could experiment with it," says Chand, who started CoinNEO, a Cleveland Heights-based bitcoin consultancy firm last August.
On May 1, Chand helped launch a Bitcoin Boulevard in Cleveland Heights' Cedar Lee business district. It's only the second of its kind in the world (the first is in the Netherlands). As of May 5, one bitcoin was worth about $430, so we've got some advice on how to best spend it on Bitcoin Boulevard. Hint: Bring three friends.
Katz Club Diner: Four cappuccinos, brioche French toast, buttermilk pancakes, egg sandwich and an omelet and two sides of tandoor smoked bacon. $65
Revive Fair Trade Eco-Boutique: For yourself: Organic Soho Hoody made in India. For your friends: three My Mosaic Little Love' key rings made in Tecalpulco, Mexico. For Father's Day: Tire Tube Bi-fold wallet made in Nepal. $160
Mitchell's Fine Chocolates: Three-pound deluxe assortment box with milk- and dark chocolate-covered caramels, nougats, toffees, fruits and nuts. $90.95
Tavern Co.: Mussels, calamari and prosciutto, apple and goat cheese flatbread small plates, half-pound TKO Burger, the steak-n-bacon sandwich, veal meatloaf and the walleye fish fry. $91.50
Sweetie Fry: Three large orders of cookies and cream, deep chocolate and Turkish coffee ice cream, and an order of funnel cake fries. $24.35