A popular decades-old fishball noodle shop in the bustling metropolis of Bangkok has become one of the earlier establishments to accept bitcoin in the country.
With small beginnings in Bangkok’s Chinatown over 80 years ago, Lim Lao Ngow now has over six branches in the city. The launch of a new branch in the modern locales of Siam Square One along Bangkok’s metro line will now see the newly opened noodle soup bistro accept bitcoin.
For 28-year old Tewit Boriboonchaisiri, the third-generation owner of the noodle shop, it’s about embracing modern times and ushering in a future that will see cryptocurrencies becoming commonplace in society.
‘Even though the legendary noodle shop was created over 80 years ago, it doesn’t mean we’re running with new technologies. Because, today, you can pay your bills with bitcoin with blockchain technology,” read an announcement on the restaurant’s blog earlier this month.
The announcement was reposted some 4,000 times across several social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. Such was the interest garnered that the noodle shop was featured today on the Bangkok Post, Thailand’s oldest newspaper and one of the country’s leading English news portals.
A Big Spread: Pinned under its ‘Technology’ column, the Bangkok Post has published a noteworthy report on the restaurant accepting the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, complete with an explainer on how to use bitcoin.
Speaking to the publication, the predictably tech-saavy restaurant owner stated:
I think cryptocurrencies or digital currencies will become a very important technology in the future. These technologies will definitely change the way we make financial transactions.
Tewit describes setting up the shop’s bitcoin payments infrastructure as a simple enough system, stating “it is quite easy to set up the system and make payments with bitcoin.” The noodle shop is using an unnamed bitcoin merchant application, which will present a QR code to the customer when settling a bill of Thai baht converted into bitcoin at current exchange rates.
No Major Delays: What about bitcoin’s transaction backlog? Tewit doesn’t see it as a deal-breaker.
The confirmation takes a few minutes, but I think it’s not a very big deal.
Bitcoin adoption rates in Thailand are relatively low. Data from Coinmap reveals 49 establishments, including hotels and restaurants, directly accepting bitcoin. In the first week following its announcement, about 10 customers settled their bills with bitcoin. However, a whole lot more visited the restaurant to ‘check out’ the technology, the restaurant owner added.
The Bank of Thailand, the country’s central bank, banned bitcoin temporarily in 2013. After shuttering the services of Bitcoin.co.th, the country’s largest bitcoin exchange at the time, the platform resumed services the following year.
As things stand, the central bank has not legalized bitcoin as a method of payment, unlike Japan’s recent legislation that went into effect this April. “I found the Bank of Thailand hasn’t legalised bitcoin as a method of payment, but that doesn’t mean it is illegal to use it,” contends Tewit.
The restaurant owner added:
The main reason I decided to accept bitcoin in our restaurant is to send the message that it can work. I hope other restaurants or shops realise they can also do this
Featured image from Lim Lao Ngow.