When Paddy and Sean are planning to go out on the St Patrick’s Day in Dublin, where can they change their BTC? In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Cointelegraph investigates just how much Ireland had been impacted by Bitcoin.
Although Bitcoin and cryptocurrency news coming from Ireland is somewhat few and far between, it would be wholly unfair to say that Ireland is devoid of the innovative technology.
Beer and bread, the Irish way
As is well-known across the globe, the Irish have quite the taste for beer, so it is to no one’s surprise that one of Bitcoin’s first commercial uses in Ireland came in the forum of retailing pints of beer.
The pub in question, the Baggot Inn, installed a Robocoin ATM to encourage customers to trial the new payment system, with the first Bitcoin-bought pint being served in March 2014 to Michael Rudnicki. For those of you beer aficionados, it happened to be a bottle of Kopparberg cider, which he bought for 0.0093 BTC, worth €4.50 at time, but only €3.45 now, meaning you’d have to shell out 0.01 BTC if you wanted a pint nowadays.
Sadly, after a change in management at the pub, the BTM and Bitcoin payment system were removed in October 2014, with the new owners saying:
“We regret to announce [that] due to ongoing issues regarding the legality of Bitcoin ATMs in the Republic of Ireland, we can no longer accept Bitcoin payments.”
However, another fine institution, Healy’s Lounge of Ballycastle, County Mayo, claims to have sold over 200 pints since it first introduced Bitcoin payments.
Another retailer venturing into the world of Bitcoin is Krüst Bakery, Ireland’s first Bitcoin-accepting bakery. It made its first Bitcoin sale of cronuts and coffee on 18th July 2014 to Peter Oakes, a former director of the Central Bank of Ireland, and Garrett Cassidy, the European head of Circle.
The Dublin-based retailer, co-founded by Garret Flower and Rob Kramer, said their decision to begin accepting Bitcoin was down to the increasing number of startups and students in the bakery’s surrounding area.
“Digital currencies are still in their early days but they are becoming more and more mainstream. Consumers will be using digital currencies more and more to buy goods and services. That’s what our business hopes to do by setting up our European headquarters in Dublin.”, said Cassidy.
Drugs over Deep Net: Ireland No Exception
The topic that always seems to dominate the news when it comes to Bitcoin is the buying and selling of drugs over the ‘deep net’. Ireland is no exception, as in December 2015, when Neil Mannion, 34, and Richard O’Connor, 34, a bitcoin trader and a film technician respectively, were jailed for the possession of drugs, including LSD, amphetamine, and cannabis resin, worth €143,000, with intent to supply. The first was given six and a half years, with the latter receiving only three years
The arrests were made following a garda [police force of Ireland] raid on their ‘business premises’ in south Dublin in October 2014. When details arose at their sentencing in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, O’Connor revealed that he was paid up to €600 a week to post packages to customers in countries including Japan, Argentina, the Czech Republic, and the United States.
Bitcoin ATMs: From Coco Cafe to Hippety’s
Bitcoin ATMs have had semi-limited success in Ireland. From the get-go, they have faced multiple issues. The first Bitcoin ATM was supposed to be installed at Hippety’s Cafe in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, but following complications, it was instead launched in March 2014 at the nearby GSM Solutions electronic store.
Furthermore, the Ireland-based Bitcoin ATM provider, BitVendo, that installed the Lamassu BTM, was refused an account with the Bank of Ireland in 2014, which very much limited their capabilities for expansion. The company was bought out by BitEx.ie that same year. Bitcoin-related companies being refused bank accounts, not only in Ireland, but around the world, has proved to be quite a problem for many in recent years.
However, the news is not all bad. In January 2015, the country’s second BTM was installed at Busyfeet & Coco Cafe in Dublin, by Skyhook.
When Gaelcoin Loves Bitcoin
The Bitcoin Foundation of Ireland is the Irish branch of the international Bitcoin Foundation group. It aims to bring together Bitcoin industry leaders and the Bitcoin community in order to foster greater acceptance and adoption of the cryptocurrency, and tackle legal issues that plague Bitcoin in Ireland.
Board members include founder, Alan Donohoe, CEO of the Allcom Group; Roger Ver, entrepreneur and well-known Bitcoin pioneer; Denise Anderson, advisor with Cryptor Trust North America; and Antonie Geerts, founder of Gaelcoin, Ireland’s first ‘national’ cryptocurrency.
Everyone Knows the Circle
A name very much familiar to those in the Bitcoin community, Circle, the Bitcoin exchange and wallet platform, in fact has its international headquarters in Dublin. The company has proved to be a huge success, closing $17 million in Series B financing in early 2015, which brought its total funding raised to $26 million.
Investment group, Oak Investment Partners, joined previous investors, Breyer Capital, Accel Partners, and General Catalyst Partners, in the second significant round of venture capital financing.
Circle founder and chief executive, Jeremy Allaire, said of the funding’s success:
“We are thrilled to have such a strong showing of support and vote of confidence from world-class investors and strategic individuals as we move into the commercial phase of Circle.”