UTICA, N.Y. - Those who purchased Bitcoin within the last year have a reason to celebrate.
Wednesday, the digital cryptocurrency reached $13,000 in value, a significant increase from the $12,000 worth at the end of Tuesday
While it is primarily used as a high-risk investment, one local business owner is hoping to popularize Bitcoin for everyday payment.
In fact, he now accepts them at his own establishment.
"For us, we are excited about the exchange system being able to do processing of charges much faster, reducing the fees, and making it just be an alternative for those guests," Francis Pezzolanella, owner of Ocean Blue said.
Since November 1st, Ocean Blue has accepted Bitcoin as payment for their meals. Pezzolanella says the driving force behind the decision was rising credit card fees.
"It doesn't have the fees that are associated with regular banks," Pezzolanella said. "Regular credit card transactions can cost you between three to four percent."
The Bitcoins at Ocean Blue are exchanged through blockchain technology that uses unique QR codes. The customer scans a single-use code at the restaurant with their phone and the Bitcoins are extracted from their digital wallet. Businesses can either convert the Bitcoins into money, or hold them as digital currency in the hopes their value increases.
Decreasing credit card fees paid by his business is more important to Pezzolanella in the long term.
"More than saying 'I'm going to accept a Bitcoin and I'm going to try to make money off of the increases of the value of Bitcoin', I'm going to be on the forefront of this and help this network to become more widely used," Pezzolanella said. "That way, we can cut down on these tremendous fees."