Believe it or not, The Old Shoreditch Station coffee shop on Kingsland Road was the site of the UK’s first Bitcoin ATM way back in 2014. At that point, the value of Satoshi Nakamoto’s cryptocurrency was at a three-year high, meaning that a £10 investment in Bitcoin in 2011 would have matured to £4,000 in 2014. Two years later, did that incredible growth mean anything for the area?
Firstly, a bit of a refresher:
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a type of currency that exists only on the internet – there are no physical ‘tokens’ like pound coins. Born from a 2008 essay written by a still-unknown person or people called Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is alleged to be virtually immune to the ills of modern currencies like counterfeiting, theft, and inflation.
Bitcoin’s ascendency has been slow but definite – the cryptocurrency is accepted by Microsoft, Steam, Virgin Galactic, and Expedia, among others – but its presence on the UK’s high streets is still something of a distant dream. It’s unlikely to become a common alternative to fiat currencies in the next decade.
However, iGaming sites, inclusive of poker, blackjack, and similar sites, have become something of a haven for Bitcoin users in recent months. The fact that the UK Gambling Commission recently added Bitcoin to a list of their approved currencies is testament to just how powerful Nakamoto’s cryptocurrency has become in the sector.
If you’ve never heard of iGaming before, click here– the bitcasino website is a good place to start. Their guides and trainers can give you a good grounding in a number of games, and you can also play their games in Bitcoin.
Bitcoin in London
As you might expect, London has the lion’s share of Bitcoin-accepting businesses compared to the rest of the UK. The Sawmill pub (Stratford), Your Sushi (City of London), the Pembury Tavern (Hackney), the Old Nun’s Head (Nunhead), and CeX on Tottenham Court Road all accept Bitcoin in the capital, among a number of other places.
However, the example set by The Old Shoreditch Station in 2014 didn’t turn out to be quite as inspirational as the famously tech-friendly locals might have hoped, as only a handful of other businesses have jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon since then. On the plus side, Shoreditch and the surrounding area has one of the highest concentrations of Bitcoin ATMs in London.
So, if you have Bitcoin to spend, you can visit vegan tattooists, Fifth Dimension (ironically enough, on Bacon Street); Himalayan People, a craft store near Moorfields Eye Hospital; Nincomsoup, a coffee and juice joint offering a Bitcoin ATM; House of Vapes, to the southwest of Shoreditch High Street Station, and Serrula Research in Spitalfields.
In 2016, Bitcoin’s presence in the capital is obviously more of a unique diversion than a true revolution (unless you’re a London-based vegan with a love of coffee and crafts) but it’s still a promising start to life in the real world for an online currency not yet ten years old.