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.
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.
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.
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