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Why One Los Angeles Restaurant Started Taking Bitcoins

Le Petit Jardin (Photo courtesy of Celine Sopelo)
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One local restaurant has taken the plunge and started accepting bitcoins, the preferred currency of internet-dwellers.Celine Sopelo, the owner of Le Petit Jardin, started taking bitcoins a few months ago for her business that is one part French-inspired bistro and one part flower shop. Sopelo says that a friend visiting from Germany introduced her to bitcoins and suggested that she started accepting the currency from her customers. She put up a sign in the window three months ago letting customers know bitcoin was accepted there.

She says she's still learning about bitcoins, but she already sees some big pros as a small business owner: "No bank fees, it's very easy, it's easier than taking credit cards."

She's also noticed an interesting phenomenon: She says that while not many of her customers have been paying with bitcoins, some people come to her just so that they can pay using bitcoins.

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Some of the local businesses advertising that they take bitcoins (
Restaurants and bars in NYC and other cities have caught onto the new, digital currency, but this is the first we've heard of in L.A (if you know of some, leave them in the comments). There are some other local businesses advertising the fact they take the coins on this website.

Businesses are taking them for the same reasons it interested Sopelo—it's cheaper to take bitcoins than credit cards. Farmers have shown an interest in it, because their businesses run on such low margins. (That includes a grocer that sets up shop at farmers market in San Diego.)

The New York Times did a story a few weeks ago about the "much-hyped and much-doubted" currency's slow move into the mainstream. The price of bitcoins have fluctuated wildly, which has worried some people, but Sopelo is optimistic that it will be a good investment in the long run: "In the meantime, I'm benefitting, because I think the bit coin is going to go up, it's not going to go down."