In a move that's more Silicon Valley than 9th Ward, Booty's Street Food (800 Louisa St., 504-266-2887; www.bootysnola.com), a Bywater spot for refashioned street food, is now accepting payment in Bitcoin. It becomes the first restaurant in New Orleans to embrace the electronic currency.
Bitcoin is an open-source peer-to-peer electronic money and payment network introduced in 2009 by developer Satoshi Nakamoto. Users purchase Bitcoins online, and then use a QR scanner to make payments, often via smartphone. The setup allows users to pay for goods and services without going through traditional banks and credit card companies, thus avoiding applicable fees and regulations.
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 say they're unsure whether the venture will pan out. When news of Booty's Bitcoin move made it on reddit.com, user kajunkennyg said 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 cellphone and my btc app to get wasted! Checkmate pickpockets!"