More than 20 merchants in Madrid's busiest shopping district will open for a Bitcoin Boulevard-style event today.
While Spain’s bitcoin community is small, Montero hopes the outdoor event will showcase the currency’s purchasing power and utility to those in the "offline" world.
“We thought a bitcoin street was the best way to prove that bitcoin payments stand up even to the pressure of a crowded bar or shop in speed and flexibility,” he said.
The 'calle' itself is located at luxury shopping hotspot Serrano Street – also known as the city’s ‘Gold Mile’.
The event is largely experimental, involving all kinds of payment mechanisms, apps and processors, both better- and lesser-known, Montero said.
Nicolas Cary, Blockchain’s CEO, praised the event for its commitment to the local bitcoin community, stating: “Calle Bitcoin is a perfect example of how grass roots efforts are making a big difference locally."
Moe Levin, director of European business development at BitPay, echoed this sentiment – adding that events like this underscore both the technology's ethos and its community:
Calle's 13 volunteers have been instrumental in getting the project off the ground, often taking time out from their full-time jobs to visit prospective merchants and give tutorials on bitcoin point-of-sale systems.
Fernando Bitti Loureiro, a regular at bitcoin meetups in Madrid, sees the project as an opportunity to dispel common misconceptions about the digital currency first-hand. He added:
Another volunteer, Santiago Márquez Solís, is hoping to engage visitors with his Flappy Bird-inspired android game. Unlike the original however, players must navigate through a series of fast-moving buildings using their bitcoin avatar. After crashing (inevitably very quickly) they are greeted with information about shops participating in the event.
In the spirit of open-source development, the whole project has been documented on popular forum Bitcoin Talk since its inception. Montero hopes that fellow Spanish-speakers will use these conversations as a blueprint to create their own events in the future.
Calle's own future looks promising too, as each merchant has pledged to continue accepting bitcoin for at least three months after this week's event.
Montero is confident many will stick with the currency past this point, and hopes to scale up in 2015, adding:
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