In a move that's more Silicon Valley than Ninth Ward, Booty's Street Food, the Bywater's go-to source for jet-setting cuisine, is now accepting payment in Bitcoins. In doing so, it becomes the first restaurant in New Orleans to embrace the new electronic currency.
For those who aren't aware of the new payment method, Bitcoin is an open source peer-to-peer electronic money and payment network introduced in 2009 by pseudonymous developer "Satoshi Nakamoto." Users purchase Bitcoins online, and then use a QR scanner to facilitate payment, often via a smartphone. The setup allows users to pay for goods and services without going through traditional banks and credit card companies, thus avoiding the fees and regulations applicable therein. According to the Booty's website:
We’re enthusiastically allowing guests to pay with Bitcoin for three reasons: 1) Credit card processing fees eat up a significant amount of our revenue each month and offering a lower-fee way to pay means that we can pass on our higher profitability to customers; 2) Alternatives to our current financial system are intriguing to explore, especially as we see ourselves as a community business serving our neighbors; and 3) We’re nerds and we’re proud of it.
Booty's owners Nick Vivion and Kevin Farrell are quick to note that they're unsure whether or not this new venture will pan out. If it does, they might be setting a trend for other local restaurants and businesses, especially when it comes to tourism.
When the news of Booty's Bitcoin move made it on reddit.com, user kajunkennyg noted that it would "Be really awesome to be able to go party on bourbon and not have to worry about carrying a wallet. Just a locked cell phone and my btc app to get wasted! Checkmate pickpockets!"
Only time will tell if Bitcoin will be a boon for Booty's, and whether the controversial currency will spread to other outlets in the city. But for now, those eager to test out their Bitcoin wallets can do so on the Bywater restaurant's Belgian frites, ramen noodles, yuca mofongo and fresh fruit daiquiris.