COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A Colorado Springs man said Monday he hopes his Bitcoin-friendly business will bring in extra bucks.
Bitcoin is an anonymous online currency that's gaining ground in the digital world. Bitcoins only exist virtually so it's not possible to hold them in your hand or keep them in your wallet. Bitcoins are stored in a virtual wallet on your phone or computer.
The crypto currency is controversial because it is utilized on websites on the Dark Web that allow customers to buy things like illegal drugs and stolen identities on the virtual black market anonymously.
It's also volatile with bitcoin's value skyrocketing and plummeting often. Still, it's gaining popularity among legitimate websites.
Joshua Havens said he will allow his customers to purchase snacks using bitcoins on his site "Moonlight Munchies" set to launch in April.
"I see crypto currencies as a good alternative to the existing currency simply because it's set, it's not based on flatious credit," said Haven.
There are dozens of crypto currencies but bitcoin is the most recognizable. Haven has watched bitcoin prices skyrocket as it has become more mainstream. At 3:30 p.m. Monday, a bitcoin was worth $656.90.
"It's all based on demand," said Haven. "It's turned into this who fight online who can mine the most the fastest."
One of the ways people get bitcoins is through a process called "mining." Available bitcoins are hidden in complex encrytped computer programs. Computers sort out the complicated algorythms to release new coins.
There are 21 million bitcoins that exist and 11 million have been mined so far.
Sam Gelberd works at the Money Museum in Colorado Springs. He is a numismatic, studying and collecting currencies.
He's interested in watching bitcoin grow as a currency.
"At the moment it's too new to really be a try viable currency on the world scene," said Gelberd.
A popular online exchange for bitcoin, MtGox, shut down unexpectedly and it's rumored almost $500 million worth of bitcoins disappeared.
Gelberd said issues like that make Bitcoin prices volatile.
"What trust do people have that it's going to be a sustainable currency?" said Gelberd.
Havens said the solution is to establish government regulations on online crypto currency exchanges.
"Protect your citizens. People shouldn't be able to get robbed because they were using a crypto currency," said Havens.
Still, Havens has faith in the future of crypto currencies. He only has a small fraction of a bitcoin in his virtual wallet right now but he hopes that will change with his bitcoin-friendly business.