There have been a number of high-profile articles insinuating a special relationship between the German Haupstadt and the world’s most used digital currency.

We at Bitcoins Berlin, are obviously delighted by the buzz and the fact that we can get beer by scanning a QR code.

Why and how did Berlin become a pilgrimage for Bitcoin?

1. Startups galore

Berlin’s ‘Silicon Allee‘ is by no means as big as its American counterparts, but it is one of the biggest players in the European tech scene.

Every night you can find a variety of events, from practicing your pitching to prototyping.

The community is vibrant and news travels fast.

We have seen a number of startups offering mainstream services (9flats.com is an Airbnb clone and Lieferservice is a online food ordering platform) that have begun to accept Bitcoin.

BitcoinsBerlin is based in East Berlin

2. Clear Legislation

Official responses from the government describe Bitcoin as ‘private money’ and ‘units of account’.

This creates one of the most complete legal frameworks in the world encouraging more businesses to starts accepting the digital currency.

Bitcoin is free from the 25% capital gains tax if held for over a year.

3. Multinational Melting Pot

I am in no way unique as a Brit living in Berlin and one of the challenges we expats face is how to manage two bank accounts.

Giving the extortionate fees on both sides of the channel, Bitcoin is a very attractive solution for moving money internationally.

berlin_77

4. Hyperinflation Hangover

Although fears are fading, the image of bills in baskets is still not completely etched from German culture.

The idea of being 100% in control of your own money should be attractive to anyone, but especially here in Berlin where a commodity is quicker to replace fiat.

5. Credit cards don’t really work here

It was a real shock coming from London.

You just can’t use cards here.

Only in the major stores (of which there are few) will your plastic be accepted.

In fact, if I wanted a Visa card when I opened by bank account, I would have had to pay €30 for the privilege.

6. Small and medium sized businesses

Walk down the streets of Kreuzberg you will be shocked the lack of MacDonalds, Starbucks and friends.

This is undoubtedly a good thing and helps the city maintain its renowned edginess.

It also means that the decision to accept Bitcoin can be made by someone who actually works in the shop or restaurant opposed to head office.

Opinionated Bonus: The banks suck

I have an account with Berliner Volksbank and I can only withdraw money from this bank’s ATMs, otherwise I have to pay a surcharge.

There are not so many banks here and obviously they are nowhere to be seen when you actually need one.

Already have some Bitcoin to spend?

Check out how All4Btc.com can help.

Do you want to accept Bitcoin?

All you need is an Android device and internet connection. Sign up with BitPay today. 

2 Responses to “6 Reasons why Berlin is crazy for Bitcoin”

  1. Levin Keller

    Sorry do disagree somewhat:

    Lieferservice.de is from the netherlands, 9flats.com is from Hamburg. You don’t need a Creditcard in Germany, because you can use your EC-Karte (kind of the European equivalent) to pay everywhere with very low fees (around 0.3%). If you want a creditcard I can list up around 5 online-only banks, that will give you one for free. They let you also withdraw money without charge from any ATM (worldwide!). Also there is no 25% tax on any gains on bitcoin investments even if you sell them within a year after purchase. The gains are subject to your individual income tax.

    The principle idea of your post is appreciated and I really like you guys. But try to get the facts straight before you confuse our friends from abroad.

    Cheers, Levin

    Reply
    • Ben Jones

      Hi Levin,

      Lieferservice.de may be founded in the Netherlands, but it’s target market is Germany and Berlin (although I see the post’s wording could be misleading). 9flats is registered in Hamburg, but the majority of its employees were based in the Berlin office and there were only a few members of staff working from Hamburg (I was employed by them for 9 months and visited both offices).

      EC-Karte is a solution for those who only want to spend money in Germany. You cannot use it in online / offline stores in the rest of Europe and the world. It is accepted in some ATMs, but I had problems in many countries including Japan, Korea and Thailand.

      With regards to the 25% tax, we are pretty sure about this having spoken laywers and tax consultants in a personal and professional capacity. If you have any information to the contrary, we would be happy to review it.

      All the best from Friedrichshain.

      Reply

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