Welcome to Kreuzberg, Berlin: The Neighborhood with the Highest Bitcoin Concentration on Earth

Fascinating article out today from the Guardian about the Kreuzberg area of Berlin, which has the highest density of businesses accepting Bitcoin in the world.  The associated video at the top of the article is also a must watch, as it becomes readily apparent how excited both the merchants and the customers are about using this free market currency.  I am completely convinced that the more people learn about Bitcoin and use it, the more exponential its adoption will become.  My favorite line from the video comes at the very end from Joerg Platzer, owner of the bar Room 77:

“Every day we do not start using a free currency like Bitcoin, we actually actively vote for the current system to continue.”

From the Guardian:

Like Chebli, Martens, whose Kersenvlaai (cherry cake) from her native Maastricht is rated as one of the best culinary offerings of the area, says she decided to accept Bitcoins because of the ease, cheapness and transparency of its payment system.

“It’s an easier way of digital payment than credit cards, which cost me a lot of money as a business and to which I’m forced to sign up for years,” she says.

These two tradespeople are among around a dozen in the Graefekiez, a cosy neighborhood established in the 19th century in the southern Berlin district of Kreuzberg, which currently boasts the highest density of businesses accepting the currency in the world. Its growing list of Bitcoin establishments includes a restaurant, a printing shop, a bar and boutique.

“Kreuzberg is traditionally an area in which people are very politically aware, critical towards existing systems and are constantly discussing and looking for alternatives to them, which makes it the perfect breeding ground for Bitcoin,” says Joerg Platzer, a staunch Bitcoin advocate who roams the neighborhood with a missionary zeal in search of new recruits.

“It could be from a science fiction novel, but the fact is we have it in the here and the now,” Gallas said, listing the items he has bought with Bitcoins, including “honey from Thailand, historic flags from the United States, gold and silver, concert tickets”, and of course, his beer and burgers.

He taps the amount he owes Room 77 into the virtual Bitcoin wallet on his Android phone and, aligning it with a code on the bar’s device, presses a button to process the payment. A theatrical “kerching” sound follows and Gallas is grinning from ear to ear. “It could hardly be easier,” he insisted.

Platzer buys the beer for Room 77 from the nearby Rollberg brewery, owned and run by qualified brew and malt meister Wilko Bereit. He pays for the barrels with Bitcoins and, while Bereit says he doesn’t fully understand the workings of the payment system, he is willing to trust it. “There is no middle man involved,” he said, talking in his hop-scented brewing parlour with its gleaming copper kettles, and casually dropping into the conversation that the German president is among his customers.

Looks like the first localized Bitcoin economy has been born.  Go Kreuzberg!

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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