When Bitcoin becomes Food

Posted on December 8, 2013

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Friday night after a long day calls for one thing: curry. Staple meal of the British masses, there’s nothing like a greasy pile of rice and gunky sauce with the potential to make your head explode.

A few weeks back I heard that takeaway.com were now accepting Bitcoins. Ordering takeaways online can be an odd process sometimes – I prefer to ring the place up to make sure the order has gone through. But we’ve used sites like just-eat.co.uk with success before, so why not try a new one out? Especially because our usual curry place was on take away.com as well as just-eat, so we knew they were used to future people putting virtual orders in.

What can I say? Everything went just as expected, so there’s not much to write about :-/ Here’s what happened:

1. Add food to order on laptop.

2. Enter delivery address.

3. Click “Pay with Bitcoin” – this springs up a BitPay pop-up.

4. Scan QR code with phone (but you can copy/paste address if you like). Zero confirmations needs, hurray – Bitcoin risk is probably still less than cheque bounce risk, and you don’t have to cash it in at the bank.

5. Send using phone app (blockchain.info in this case, but other apps should work fine. Main typing needed was just a password to send – amount is auto-filled, natch).

6. Get confirmation email – sadly no reference or record of Bitcoin amount on this. The meal came to £19.25, and BitPay charged me 0.0386 BTC, a rate of about £498. This was when the crash was in crazy-bounce mode though. Looking at BitPay’s pricing scheme, I guess takeaway.com are paying a monthly flat fee, and charging some of it to their restaurants, but happy to be corrected.

7. Get curry an hour later (about same as usual):

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Mmm, sagwala.

8. Eat while catching up on Fresh Meat.

Painless. Tasty. Futuristic.

Buying food and general life stuff is currently a really exciting front for Bitcoin. I see this morning you can now buy mattresses and beds as well. All kind of mundane stuff – but without the boring bits (rather than headline-grabbing drugs), Bitcoin will remain a niche currency forever.

As more people accept it, getting others to follow suit will get easier and easier. I’m really hoping that local food groups could embrace Bitcoin as a progressive idea – breaking free from mainstream food supply chains would go great alongside breaking away from mainstream currency. While there’s not a massive value incentive to do so (especially while volatility is still an issue), the technical ease of use and the open accounting side of things may be useful drivers for adoption.

But in the meantime, curry is a damn good start.

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