Around 200 bitcoin users are expected to attend the two-day spectacle, which is to feature a pub crawl, Easter egg hunt and photo competition, alongside giveaways in the digital currency.
While Spain’s bitcoin community is small, Montero hopes the outdoor event will showcase the currency’s purchasing power and utility to those in the “offline” world.
“We thought a bitcoin street was the best way to prove that bitcoin payments stand up even to the pressure of a crowded bar or shop in speed and flexibility,” he said.
The ‘calle’ itself is located at luxury shopping hotspot Serrano Street – also known as the city’s ‘Gold Mile’.
“Once merchants saw that the bar next door was sporting a ‘Bitcoin Accepted Here’ sticker … they lost all fear and wanted in!”
The event is largely experimental, involving all kinds of payment mechanisms, apps and processors, both better- and lesser-known, Montero said.
Though BitPay, Blockchain and Coinbase are ‘gold’ sponsors, smaller local startups such as Coinffeine, Avatar BTC and Bitcoin Spain, owner of the country’s first Robocoin ATM, will be out in force to greet passers-by.
Nicholas Cary, Blockchain’s CEO, praised the event for its commitment to the local bitcoin community, stating: “Calle Bitcoin is a perfect example of how grass roots efforts are making a big difference locally.”
Moe Levin, director of European business development at BitPay, echoed this sentiment – adding that events like this underscore both the technology’s ethos and its community:
“There is no other payment system in the world as open-source and community oriented as Bitcoin. These are two very unique traits.”
Calle’s 13 volunteers have been instrumental in getting the project off the ground, often taking time out of their full-time jobs to visit prospective merchants and give tutorials on bitcoin point-of-sale systems.
Volunteer Santiago Márquez Solís has even made a Flappy Bird-inspired android app to help engage visitors. Unlike the original however, when you die (almost always very soon), you’re met with information about the shops participating in the event.
In the spirit of open-source development, the project has been documented on popular forum Bitcoin Talk since its inception. Montero hopes that fellow Spanish-speakers will use these conversations as a blueprint to create their own future events.
But, what will become of Calle Bitcoin after the event?
According to Montero, each merchant has promised to continue accepting bitcoin for at least three months. He is confident some will stick with the currency past this point, and hopes to scale up in 2015, adding:
“Hopefully, next year we can do it with 100 merchants.”
Around 200 bitcoin users are expected to attend the two-day spectacle , which is to feature a pub crawl, Easter egg hunt and photo competition, alongside giveaways […]