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Fred Wilson, one of the most respected venture capitalists in New York, says he has not seen a technology with this much potential since the invention of the internet.
You can get an idea of how many physical businesses accept Bitcoins or Litecoins at coinmap.org, which lists them. As of Thursday this week, it listed 3,169 Bitcoin-accepting outlets globally – of which about 180 are in the UK. They range from a tobacco-seed supplier in Southend to a Scottish-themed gift supplier in Dundee. Many are companies that sell a lot of their products abroad and so incur costs converting foreign currencies, and they tend to offer Bitcoin payment as well as – not instead of – more conventional payment methods such as credit cards and PayPal.
Germany – a country that has had a major currency collapse in the past century – leads Europe in Bitcoin adoption, with Berlin home to many cafés, bars and record shops (such as BuyReggae.com, below) that accept digital currencies – though they still tend to list prices in euros.