How hard is it for a restaurant or bar to accept Bitcoin?

Many brick and mortar small businesses seem to think that accepting Bitcoin is too complicated and not in their best interest.  This happens due to misconceptions about Bitcoin and money, as well as previous experiences with POS systems and the cost of NFC equipment.  As I have written about in my previous post (, accepting Bitcoin by signing up with an existing Bitcoin payment processor has significantly lower per transaction and monthly fees and restrictions than if you were to use Paypal or an equivalent service.  Furthermore, businesses can choose how much exposure they would like to have to fluctuations in the Bitcoin exchange rate, and a vast majority take their Bitcoin earnings in their native currency at the end of each day via bank deposits courtesy of Coinbase and Bitpay.  While the benefits of a larger consumer base and elimination of overseas internet credit card fraud are more pronounced with businesses with online facing storefronts, accepting Bitcoin at a brick and mortar business such as a restaurant or a bar has little to no setup costs and will increase your revenue and hence your profits by attracting new Bitcoiners eager to spend their money in real life.


Both Coinbase and Bitpay have apps for both the Android and IOS platforms as well as tools on their website that make accepting Bitcoin at any brick and mortar business, especially a restaurant or a bar, very very simple.  All that is required is an internet connection and an existing internet enabled device [tablet, desktop, laptop], or a smartphone with 3G or 4G data.  Around the world, these are fast becoming staple items in any business’s arsenal.


Even if the business does not have a reliable internet connection and none of the regular employees have smartphones that can the provided applications, Coinbase’s Charles Lee has created an SMS interface to interact with Coinbase that negates the necessity for even a smartphone or internet connection to accept bitcoins.  After setting up an account with Coinbase, a bartender could simply text ‘req $20’ to 1 (650) 316-5555 and a request for $20 worth of bitcoins at the current Coinbase rate will be received by the customer.  The customer may complete the transaction via SMS as well or any method he or she may choose.


Accepting Bitcoin at your restaurant or bar through a Bitcoin payment processor is the ideal method for streamlining the process by eliminating confirmation time waits and allowing the merchant the option to receive the payment in their native currency, all with significantly lower per transaction fees.  


PS: It would not be unreasonable for brick and mortar businesses to require that bitcoins spent at their location come from an established Coinbase wallet if they use Coinbase as their payment processor.  The benefits of this arrangement go to both the business and the customer: Neither have to wait for transaction confirmations and neither have to pay a transaction fee to the miners: this is an example of an off-the-chain transaction that relies on a trusted third party.


If your restaurant or bar would like any help accepting Bitcoin, feel free to email me at

Don’t forget to buy your ‘BITCOIN ACCEPTED HERE’ stickers:


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