Cryptocurrency is making its way into the Magic City

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin – you’ve likely heard of one or more of these cryptocurrencies before.  If you haven’t, you likely will soon as they begin to burgeon around Birmingham.

“People in Birmingham – they’re no different than other folks around the United States,” Author of ‘Thank God for Bitcoin’ Derek Waltchack said. “There are more and more people buying bitcoin, sort of like a digital gold.”

According to Waltchack, more people around the world are investing in the decentralized currency, believing it will eventually replace the US dollar.

“The breakthrough with bitcoin – it allows you transfer value on the internet as easy as sending an email,” he said. “You can literally send an email with your bitcoin and you have sent value. Before bitcoin you couldn’t do that without a central intermediary.”

In response, local businesses are adapting. As the Magic City becomes more cryptocurrency friendly, a few area businesses like Crestwood Tavern have crypto ATMs, making it possible to buy that person across the bar from you a drink.

A bitcoin ATM, not the one inside Crestwood Tavern.

“There are better ways to buy bitcoin than an ATM because the fees are going to be really high,” Waltchack said. “But if you want the simplest thing in the world, go to a bitcoin ATM where you can actually buy bitcoin – it gives you a paper receipt which essentially gives you your wallet address, your secret key and the amount of bitcoin you have”

And Waltchack said you may want to think twice before blowing your bitcoin on a meal. He urges people to look at paying with crypto coins like paying for an Amazon item with Apple stock.

“I personally wouldn’t use bitcoin to buy pizza and a beer just because it continues to go up in value,” he said. “And you don’t want to be the guy who bought a pizza and a beer and then four years later, the equivalent amount of bitcoin could buy a car or a house.”

As of now, there are a few businesses around town accepting bitcoin payment including Eagle’s Restaurant on Birmingham’s north side.

Waltchack said he expects more restaurants to follow suit soon.