SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – An obscure form of currency is taking the bay area, and the country, by storm.
More and more people are investing in cryptocurrency and now local businesses are trying to get in on the action.
At Solorzano’s Pizzeria on Siesta Key, you can buy a slice of pepperoni by simply taking a picture of a barcode.
“We have three different cryptos that we accept,” said owner Phil Solorzano.
Solorzano is now one of the few business owners in the Tampa Bay area to accept cryptocurrency. Aside from being on the cutting edge, he sees it as a way to save money on bank fees.
“Credit card processing, fees, all over. So many ways that they want money and take money from you. Cryptocurrency- one person sends it you get it instantly. No fees. Simple as that,” said Solorzano.
Simply put, cryptocurrency is an entirely digital currency. The most popular is ‘Bitcoin’ but there are other currencies out there, even Facebook recently announced plans to start its own cryptocurrency.
“The real challenge with that is as a real currency its extraordinarily unstable,” said financial advisor Scott Barcomb.
Barcomb says using it now is a gamble. Because its very volatile- its value today can be entirely different tomorrow.
But he sees benefits- its easy to use, and there are many around the world who don’t have access to a bank.
“At some point in time, I think its going to be a very valuable mainstream sort of currency,” said Barcomb.
Solorzano is hoping more area businesses will jump in.
“I consider it like the internet when the internet came out. A lot of people are like ‘Whatever, it’s the new fad or whatever, its just gonna pass.’ But its not going to go nowhere,” said Solorzano.
There are many critics of this currency. President Trump tweeted last week- “I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”
Treasury Chief Steven Mnuchin also came out strongly against Facebook’s ambitious plan to create a new digital currency. He warned it could be used for illicit activity such as money laundering, human trafficking and financing terrorism.
If you have any questions or concerns, talk to a financial advisor.