Earlier this year in March, the city of The Hague in the Netherlands became an international Bitcoin hotspot by launching the world’s first “Bitcoin Boulevard ,” two canal-side streets where every restaurant and store accept bitcoin. The Boulevard, found at The Dunne Bierkade, had already been a popular spot famous for its restaurants and bars. However, merchants hoped to increase tourism and make their businesses even more accessible. And thus, Bitcoin Boulevard was born.
According to Henk van Tijen, one of the three organisers of the project,
“This event is is not just for nerds like ourselves, but for the regular moms and pops, kids and students. The purpose is to make [bitcoin] for a more broad audience.”
The city was quick to jump on the project, and Bitcoin Boulevard has been heavily promoted by the tourism office. Thanks to the help of the Bitcoin community, the Netherlands also got its first Bitcoin ATM placed in The Hague. All in all, Bitcoin Boulevard seemed like an exciting way to make bitcoin more popular and more accessible. However, over half a year later, just how successful has the Dutch Bitcoin Boulevard been?
See for yourself:
At Bitcoin Boulevard, “use your bitcoins to pay for coffee, a sandwich, or a haircut, and everything in between”. As RT reporter Irina Galushko states, “When travelling to The Hague you can leave your [fiat currency] wallet behind”. As one can clearly see from the video, Bitcoin Boulevard has been a major success. So what is it about bitcoin that these people like so much?
“The banks help the planet get strongly into the ****, and I think we couldn’t get really much deeper, and the banks don’t want to help people get out of it. But the bitcoin is all about connection between people and how they will themselves do their own thing without the help of the banks.”
-Vincent Michel, owner of a bitcoin barbershop
“What we are hoping for is to get a bitcoin economy. Because now you have a hybrid situation. Everything… bitcoins are changed into Euros or dollars. This is not what we want. We want a complete bitcoin economy. And then you have the advantages… it’s faster, it’s cheaper, it’s direct person-to-person. No banks involved. No government involved. That’s nice.”
-Hendrik Jan Hilbolling, one of the three Bitcoin Boulevard project organisers
No system is ever truly perfect, and bitcoin is no exception to this rule. Bitcoin’s volatility is a turn off for some merchants and customers, since large price fluctuations can either be extremely beneficial or extremely detrimental. The bitcoin price has also recently been on the decline. Furthermore, bitcoin has been criticised for its use on illegal online markets (though fiat currency has been used for illegal transactions much, much longer). However, citizens of The Hague appear undeterred, and their enthusiasm for bitcoin has remained strong.
What do you think about Bitcoin Boulevard? Comment below!
Images from Shutterstock.