Mane Antu, a semi-precious jewellery merchant, has announced it is to accept bitcoin payments on its website.

It’s the latest in a string of online businesses that have welcomed the currency in recent weeks. It seems retailers of all sizes are eager to cash in on bitcoin’s ever-growing fanbase.

Mane Antu has chosen to accept the digital currency via Coinbase transfers and direct deposits to its wallet address.

So far, the company has only processed two transactions in bitcoin, though founders Daniela Esparza and Miquel Angel Candelas remain confident the currency will bring many new customers to their site.

However, it wasn’t just the promise of new customers that influenced the pair’s decision. Esparza said:

“We believe in the potential of bitcoin, firstly, because it is worthy and useful; secondly, because we would like to stabilise its use.”

Bitcoin’s potential is appealing to smaller retailers who seek a viable alternative to PayPal’s fees and the international banking system as a whole.

Esparza cited bitcoin as “the currency of the future”, adding that it appealed to the company’s ideals of “freedom and efficiency”.

A nomad life

Mane Antu’s ‘heart and hand-made jewellery’ business began four years ago, when Esparza and Candelas were low-budget backpackers finding a way to fund their travels.

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They began trading in objects: sourcing semi-precious stones from Pakistan to sell in Brasil, and African fossils to sell in Europe. Daniela’s skills as a designer, combined with Miquel’s ability to unearth rare stones and fossils from remote locations, grew into a company that valued, above all, the freedom of a “nomad life”.

When Esparza and Candelas discovered bitcoin eight months ago while searching on the web, Esparza said: “We realised that bitcoin offered us a monetary system beyond the borders; an ideal currency for a free world; the perfect money for a nomad life. A life that isn’t controlled by a superior authority within a hierarchical economic system.”

Bitcoin retailers

Worldwide, a significant proportion of bitcoin transactions on merchant sites are jewellery purchases.

Mercy Chikowore, a spokesperson for online merchant BitcoinShop.US, said that figure stood at roughly 15% of the site’s overall orders. She added that the site frequently receives requests for better deals on jewellery items.

This news comes as retailer Gyft accepts bitcoin payments for gift cards that can be redeemed at fashion and jewellery brands like Zales, Gap and Target.

Comparing the currency to a well-designed pair of shoes, Esparza said bitcoin was a technological masterpiece, although she warned:

“Bitcoin will remain as long as it is useful. We are now starting to test its usefulness.”

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