Austin Pushes Forward In Crypto Embrace; III Forks Now Accepts Bitcoin

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Austin Pushes Forward in Crypto Adoption; III Forks Steakhouse Begins Accepting Bitcoin
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Austin steakhouse III Forks entered the blockchain world by announcing back in April that it would accept bitcoin via BitPay on the Bitcoin Lightning Network.

III Forks, owned by CRO, Inc., is the company’s first restaurant to begin accepting bitcoin. Guests can now notify their servers at checkout that they want to pay their bill in Bitcoin, and the III Forks team will then present them with a BitPay invoice QR code for the customer to scan at the table.

Curtis Osmond, president of CRO, Inc. steak, told Be[In]Bitcoin has become a frequent topic of conversation among guests, leading restaurants to choose Bitcoin as a new payment method.

“After telling more than one guest that we didn’t accept bitcoin, we decided to look into how it worked. We tried to figure out a way to say ‘yes’ to our guests,” he explained.

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Osmond praised the Lightning Network for allowing any business, including III Forks, to receive dollars, regardless of currency. “Doing this for a fraction of the cost of traditional credit cards,” he noted. “If you’re new to the field, just choose a reputable platform with a well-designed interface with a simple interface. You’ll be glad you gave it a shot.”

Tax Measures Approved by Austin City Council

As for Texas and the city of Austin, Osmond said Austin’s “storied history” at the forefront of technological advancement didn’t make the city’s embrace of cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin, all that surprising.

In late March, the Austin City Council approved a measure that would launch a study into the city’s acceptance of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as city taxes, fees or fines.

“I really want Austin to be a leader,” committee member Mackenzie Kelly told KXAN News. “I wonder if we as a city can accept cryptocurrencies and even put them on our accounting books.”

The local ATX DAO also shared its excitement about the council moving forward in finding new ways to improve the city’s infrastructure:

“We ask city councils and city managers not to get caught up in the excitement of the industry and blockchain technology and rush into different projects that may ultimately be unhelpful for the city,” said Sam Padilla, a member of the group.

However, other groups, including the Justice League of Austin, have expressed their concerns as it weighs against “other city priorities” related to bitcoin mining. The researchers found that Bitcoin consumes more than 121 terawatt-hours per year.

With the resolution accepted, the Council will now delve deeper into issues such as financial stability, security, equity and inclusion, and consumer benefit or risk. For voters who are unbanked but use cryptocurrencies as their primary payment method, Austin’s forward-thinking approach to embracing cryptocurrencies helps provide the flexibility necessary to keep the city at the forefront of an innovative technology hub.

Cesare Fracassi, a professor of finance at the University of Texas at Austin, agreed that the city’s attempts to integrate crypto into its local environment are “very low risk.”

“The city can accept cryptocurrency payments, but they can instantly convert it into fiat cash, so they don’t have any risk of holding cryptocurrency,” he said. “There are full-fledged payment processors that basically accept crypto payments from users, and then they pay the city of Austin in dollars for a small fee, which is actually very similar to a transaction with a credit or debit card.”

“It’s not surprising to think that Bitcoin and the Lightning Network are fast becoming part of the local landscape,” Osmond told Be[In]cryptocurrency. “Where possible, we believe it is important to support local trends and support local businesses, especially when they have the opportunity to simplify or add value to the customer experience.”

Back in February, the City of Miami announced that it had brought more than $5.2 million to Miami through the city’s native cryptocurrency, MiamiCoin.

What’s next for III Forks?

Osmond also said that CRO, Inc. plans to continue evaluating BitPay’s use in other restaurants across the company. “We are actively looking for creative ways to enhance the dining experience,” he said. “With so many new technologies on the horizon, forward-thinking restaurateurs have the opportunity to provide hospitality and enjoyment like never before.”

Since the new system was first introduced, III Forks has received positive reviews from guests — including those using traditional payment methods, Osmond said. “We expect a modest but steady increase in the volume of Lightning transactions we process over the next few years.”

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