Updated: Tuesday, 19th February 2019 @ 2:58pm

Corner shop embraces Bitcoin: Store first in Manchester to accept digital 'currency of the future'

Corner shop embraces Bitcoin: Store first in Manchester to accept digital 'currency of the future'

Exclusive by Marios Papaloizou

There are not many stores in Manchester that will accept anything other than the good old fashioned British pound sterling in exchange for goods.

However, one solitary corner shop is bridging the gap between old and new and is standing on the edge of a new economic frontier.

‘The Corner Store’ on Grosvenor St, Manchester, has been accepting Bitcoins – a digital form of currency – for over a year.

Bitcoins – the so called ‘currency of the future’ – have recently hit the $1000 mark and the Corner Store manager Kadhir Ahmed spoke to MM about the decision to accept the currency.

“We’ve been accepting them for more than a year, we’ve not just jumped on the hype,” the 34-year-old said.

“I don’t know any other shops in Manchester that are accepting them. People thought we were mad but now I’ve got everyone phoning me asking me for Bitcoins.

“At first it was the novelty for people to come in and spend Bitcoins. We just did it to create a bit more awareness around the city.”

While Kadhir had an early uptake of people wanting to spend their Bitcoins, the recent boom in its value means that fewer people are parting with their digital treasure.

“People have come in the shop to use bitcoins but lately people have started hoarding them,” he said.

“I sold a vitamin water about three or four weeks ago for and the price at the time as about 1.20 and I didn’t convert it into cash. And that bitcoin is probably now worth about six pound.

“But now people don’t want to part with their coins because they think they are going to go sky high.”

While his shop might be the first to embrace the new currency Kadhir believes there is a sustainable place in the market for Bitcoin.

“You don’t need all the population to embrace it, as long as 5% of the population embraces it, that’s enough,” he said.

“I think young businesses will start to use it.”

Bitcoin first became operation in 2009 and has, since then, grown closer and closer towards the mainstream.

An interesting facet of the Bitcoin phenomenon is that anyone can earn coins by lending the power of their computer to the network. The network takes users computer power and uses it to increase security and fight fraud.

Those who do this are then rewarded with newly minted coins.

As interest in the currency has risen a number of groups have sprouted up with the aim of raising awareness of the currency and helping its development.

One such group is Bitcoin Manchester which was founded in 2012 by software developer Ash Moran and software engineer Max Flores.

Max, 25, told MM that he first came across Bitcoin in 2011 and that it instantly clicked as a ‘marvel of modern technology’.

After that Max bought a ‘rig’ and started ‘mining’ for coins and, after meeting Ash at a conference in London, founded the common interest group.

“The hope is with the mixed talent and diversity Manchester has to offer we can match up new individuals and businesses with people who can support them to use Bitcoin in the way they require,” he said.

“Once one store gets a few sales and people nearby hear of a place to spend their new found Bitcoins it will most certainly encourage others to follow suit, especially with the savings Bitcoin can provide for small businesses”

The future for Bitcoin is difficult to predict but the group’s co-founder 31-year-old Ash Moran believes that it will not take much for it to catch on.

“It’s impossible to say if they are here to stay because there has never been anything like it,” he said.

“But I think that when the public realise the advantages of it and that it’s as convenient as cash then they will start to take a serious interest.”

Image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks.

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