Fifteen of Arnhem’s local bars, restaurants and cafes will begin accepting bitcoin tomorrow, 28th May.
The Arnhem Bitcoinstad – or Bitcoincity – is a one-day event during which bitcoiners can pay for food and drink using their digital currency, and meet like-minded people looking to do the same. A bitcoin ATM will also be installed specially for the day in case folks need to reload their wallets.
Located roughly an hour and a half from Amsterdam, Arnhem is the capital of the Gelderland province in the east of the country.
This event is being organized by three bitcoin enthusiasts: Rogier Eijkelhof, Patrick van der Meijde and Annet de Boer. The friends already hold information sessions about bitcoin where they aim to explain the technology to people in a non-technical manner.
"We know there is a lot of misunderstanding among the mass audience," said Eijkelhof.
This was one of the reasons that Eijkelhof and his friends decided to put together the Arnhem Bitcoincity event.
They were also inspired by the Bitcoin Boulevard in The Hague and wanted to host something similar.
The trio got the ball rolling by trying to recruit participating businesses. Eijkelhof admitted that it was difficult to get participants on board at first:
He added, "I think the most important thing that helped us convince merchants was just showing how easy it is [to accept bitcoin]."
Although the organisers in Arnhem have drawn inspiration from the Hague's Bitcoin Boulevard, Eijkelhof added that they have also learnt from the project's shortcomings:
The organisers in The Hague eventually sought out the help of Bit My Money's point-of-sale system to make the payment process simpler for the participants. However, it took them two months to bring a payment processer on board.
This is something that Eijkelhof and his co-organisers felt needed to happen right from the beginning. As a result, Eijkelhof built BitKasssa (Dutch for 'bitcoin checkout'), a payment system designed to make it easier for merchants to deal with bitcoin, he said, explaining:
Although tomorrow's event is a one-off, the organisers are hoping the participating merchants continue to accept the digital currency. "Several merchants already expressed their interest and intention to keep using bitcoin," says Eijkelhof.
Going Dutch with bitcoin
Though Arnhem’s Bitcoincity will be the second 'Bitcoin Boulevard' in the Netherlands, in other parts of the world, bitcoiners have tried to introduce similar projects, with varying degrees of success.
In comparison to other countries, the Netherlands has had very few regulatory hurdles. Eijkelhof says that the cultural attitude of the Dutch may be one reason why bitcoin has garnered a large following in the country.
Netherlands is also the country with the highest bitcoin nodes per capita.
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