Spurred by a host of recent converts to the peer-to-peer digital currency, Newsweek has become the first magazine to accept Bitcoin PR pitches. The digital currency’s visibility in popular retailers remains modest, but its presence in our email inboxes has frankly never been higher.
If the volume of recent press releases is any indication, Newsweek will be shortly accompanied by the first Indian e-Commerce store, Swiss dentist, HFT service provider, and public university to embrace the currency form.
Founded in 2009, Bitcoin transactions take place through a digital mining process and attracted a generous heaping of notoriety with the 2013 bust of Silk Road, the online black market for drugs. So goes the currency’s reported association with “seedy online activities.” But conventional retailers have taken to the payment with less enthusiasm, as coinmap.com, an interactive display of Bitcoin-accepting businesses, illustrates.
Still, out of the wilderness have emerged a spate of pioneering businesses — cryptocurrency converts, you might call them, lured by low transaction rates and new customers expected to step away from Reddit long enough to spend their daily digital bread.
Overstock.com, the online retailer, has been one high-profile crossover. But it’s not alone. Philadelphia Brewing Company, the first brewery in the country to accept the currency, told Newsweek that Bitcoin sales have raked in about $700 or $800 in the month since they started. More recently, CheapAir.com has become the first U.S. travel agency to take Bitcoin. And Meltdown Comics & Collectibles, located in Hollywood, has been crowned the first comic store to make the leap.
“We’re starting to see new faces — people that have Bitcoin and want something to spend it on,” Francisco Dominguez, the store’s general manager, told Newsweek. “Not a big crowd, just a few Bitcoin users out there. But we’re fishing them out.” Plus, the currency’s low transaction rate, an occasional selling point for retailers, has handed him additional revenue to invest back into the business.
“Our community's embracing it,” he said, though he estimated the new clientele figure sits at only “a couple customers” each day. “It’s something revolutionary and fun for us.”