A Greek restaurant owner is offering a discount to customers who pay with virtual currency Bitcoin. According to CoinDesk, Nikos Houtas — the owner of Tavern Agelos in Athens, Greece — believes "virtual currencies are the future." Houtas started accepting Bitcoin at the restaurant back in 2012. He is hoping offering a 20 percent discount will inspire more Greek customers to use the currency.
Greece is currently in the midst of a financial crisis and banks are starved of cash. Furthermore, the government has introduced "capital controls" or limits on a number of types of monetary transactions. Due to this, the Bitcoin community in Greece — thought to be an alternative to traditional banking — has seen a larger influx of members and recently held its first ever met up. Many, including Houtas, believe that the financial crisis has increased the awareness of Bitcoin in Greece.
So will Bitcoin be the future of the restaurant industry? Houtas hopes so. However, so far he has only received a few Bitcoin payments and they mainly have come from European tourists. He is hopeful that could soon change. During a Reddit AMA with Houtas, Eric Grill the CEO of Bitcoin kiosk maker Coinoutlet, offered to meet with Houtas to discuss installing a BItcoin ATM machine in his restaurant, which would make the currency more accessible to customers. Houtas tells CoinDesk: "Bitcoin has the potential to be successful in Greece. We need more stores to accept bitcoin and to offer a discount for bitcoin payments."
Bitcoin has slowly started to pick up as a payment option in restaurants and bars. Not only do a handful of establishments accept the virtual form of currency as payment, mobile payment company Square is working on a cash register that also works with Bitcoin. Currently businesses that accept Bitcoin feature systems that are "difficult" to set up. Square's new register hopes to streamline that process.