No, it’s not Groundhog Day. Subway once again accepts bitcoin (BTC), but this time it uses the fast and almost free Bitcoin Lightning Network.
Starting the 7 days #usingbitcoin week with lunch at Subway, Chausseestrasse in Berlin!
— felix (@felixbillert) October 19, 2022
Starting to use bitcoin for 7 days with lunch at Subway, Chausseestrasse in Berlin! 50% off paying with #bitcoin #Spendyourbitcoin pic.twitter.com/f81kdMOnEQ — felix (@felixbillert) October 19, 2022.
The world’s largest franchise by number of restaurants is testing bitcoin payments at three Subways in the German capital, Berlin. Subway had its first experience with Bitcoin almost 13 years ago in Moscow, Russia.
In the last few months, Daniel Hinze, owner of the Berlin Subway franchise, has recorded more than 120 bitcoin transactions. In an interview with Cointelegraph, Hinze explained his desire to “help bitcoin become money. »
“Five years ago, I started dealing with cryptocurrencies; and for the last two years I have dealt intensively with the subject of bitcoin. With this in mind, I thought so [le bitcoin] perhaps the best monetary system. »
Bitcoin is not a popular medium of exchange in Europe, despite the efforts of merchants, retailers, and even Lightning-themed conferences. Hinze encouraged bitcoin payments by offering a 10% discount on all entrees such as footlongs, marinara meatballs, and sucookies paid in BTC.
— Rumpel_BTC (@BtcRumpel) October 19, 2022
Lunch using #bitcoin at the Subway in Berlin. I also got 50% off. 😀 pic.twitter.com/yZkZ6osO9D — Rumpel_BTC (@BtcRumpel) October 19, 2022
To kick off the campaign, Hinze offered a 50% discount on all bitcoin payments for one week:
“During this week, of course, demand was very strong. Our three restaurants were frequented by people who liked to pay with bitcoins. »
Subway purchases ignited German social media, as the hashtag #usingBitcoin took over. Hinze has partnered with Lipa, a Swiss-based bitcoin company, to enable an easy-to-use point-of-sale solution.
Bastien Feder, Lipa’s CEO, told Cointelegraph that his mission is to make bitcoin “basically irreversible to use, because bitcoin is a currency. Lipa has equipped Subways with merchant devices that allow customers to quickly scan a Lightning-enabled QR code that enables fast, frictionless and low-cost payments.
Lipa charges merchants 1% for this service, unlike Visa or Mastercard payment rails, which charge double or more. Feder explains:
“It’s 2.5% to 4% depending on the merchant’s contract. If it’s a business card, it’s 0.5% more. […] And if it’s a foreign business credit card, you pay up to 7%, and you don’t know until the end of the month. »
The payment experience on the LN is very different from when Subway franchises first accepted bitcoin payments in 2014. Before the arrival of the LN, customers had to wait around several minutes.
Miners would hit the next block on the blockchain, with the transaction confirmed by Bitcoin nodes around the world. This process was not practical for retail payments due to the waiting time and sometimes high fees. With LN, customers benefit from faster settlement times than Visa or Mastercard, and lower fees through a peer-to-peer payments network.
RALLY RACE ♂️
£2.20 loaded on both PoS.
WHO WON?? ⚡️ ⚡️
—Joe Nakamoto (@JoeNakamoto) July 25, 2022
RACE OF THE RAILS ♂️ #Lightning bitcoin payments versus #fiat contactless payments at Bakery #Gibraltar. £2.20 loaded on both PoS. WHO IS IT ABOUT? ⚡️ ⚡️ @CoinCorner @CoinCornerMolly pic.twitter.com/b3ezy7FIeq — Joe Nakamoto (@JoeNakamoto) July 25, 2022.
However, since bitcoin has been a speculative vehicle for most of its history – with few use cases for purchases – it can be difficult to motivate bitcoiners to spend BTC.
However, examples of retail trade can be seen, such as in Berlin or San Salvador. Nicolas Burtey, CEO of Galoy Money, told Cointelegraph that bitcoin acceptance in El Salvador was the tipping point for the Lightning Network. He joked that the bitcoin law should be called the “Lightning Law! “.
Also read: McDonald’s, pizza and coffee paid in bitcoins: Plan B for cryptocurrencies
Lipa and Hinze expect a steady increase in demand for bitcoin payments. Feder told Cointelegraph that this is largely due to the “exponential growth of the Bitcoin community in Germany, Switzerland, and around the world.”
In fact, the LN allows communities that wish to do so to exchange, from Senegal to Guatemala via Switzerland. Hinze told Cointelegraph that the Subway restaurant only accepts the world’s most recognized currency at the moment, because he and his business partners “strongly believe in bitcoin.”