Purse.io, a startup that lets consumers buy Amazon items at a discount using bitcoin, has opened a brick-and-mortar store.
Called Nakamoto’s, the shop is designed to demonstrate that digital currencies can rival other payment methods, offering shoppers significant savings.
Purse CEO Andrew Lee told CoinDesk:
“The goal for Nakamoto’s is to demonstrate the advantage of using bitcoin to mainstream users. The store sells everything for 10% cheaper than Amazon, if paid in bitcoin.”
Lee indicated that he sees a large opportunity in the Nakamoto’s concept, and that the company is looking to franchise retail stores that offer bitcoin discounts.
“Purse is the majority shareholder, but we are looking for partners to take over the retail operations and franchising,” Lee said. “Nakamoto’s is a proof of concept that we hope will be replicated in every major city.”
Notably, the store’s location, inside San Francisco’s Mission District, is the one of the fastest-developing and most gentrified areas of the city.
Previously, Nakamoto’s storefront was known as 20Mission, a bitcoin-centric co-working facility that the city reclassified as a strictly commercial retail space.
Inside the store
Over one dozen San Franciscan artisans are located inside the shop, and custom leather goods seem to be a popular offering.
The Nakamoto’s section of the store offering Amazon goods only accepts bitcoin, although Lee said the store plans to implement Square as well. Even so, customers using the Square credit and debit card payment method won’t enjoy Purse’s 10% bitcoin discount.
Store operators said they are trying their best to facilitate digital currency payments by having an onsite bitcoin ATM. “If the customer doesn’t have bitcoin, a retail associate will guide them to buying bitcoin through [the] ATM,” said Lee.
Nakamoto’s is leveraging Purse’s data to stock in the store what to buy in the area– which consists mostly of electronics.
“The business leverages Purse data to stock items purchased in high frequency by Bay Area bitcoiners. If the store doesn’t have the items, they’ll order it to your address,” Lee added.
Bitcoin returns to 20Mission
Lee said 20Mission is a logical tenant for Nakamoto’s because of the concentration of bitcoin interests within the building. The facility offers entrepreneurs housing on the upper floors and houses the Money & Tech production studios for bitcoin-related video content in the basement.
20Mission was purchased by Jered Kenna, an early bitcoin investor and the co-founder of now defunct bitcoin exchange Tradehill. It has acted as a hub for cryptocurrency events and hosted bitcoin meetups and one-off soirées like last year’s Bitcoin Art Fair.
Having graduated the Plug and Play Technology startup accelerator Lee and co-founder Kent Liu moved Purse’s operations north to San Francisco’s Mission District, at 20Mission, while it was a co-working space for cryptocurrency entrepreneurs.
20Mission closed because the city insisted it become a retail operation, and it was filled with local artists selling their work.
Purse wanted to return bitcoin to 20Mission through Nakamoto’s. The store currently uses the SnapCard bitcoin point-of-sale solution. The other businesses inside the storefront have seemingly grown accustomed to the digital currency as well.
Nakamoto’s is open Wednesday-Sunday, 14:00-22:00 PST. For more information visit the store’s website.
Images via BTCJam, Purse; Daniel Cawrey for CoinDesk