KUALA LUMPUR, May 25:
YOU can now use Bitcoins, touted as “future currency”, to pay for nasi dagang at a local restaurant in Damansara Uptown in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
All you have to do at Capital Nasi Dagang Kelantan is pay via the electronic terminal within this restaurant, said proprietor Arsyan Ismail, who is also chief executive officer of online marketplace Ked.ai.
Customers can also use an app on their mobile device to transfer the Bitcoin amount from their e-wallets to the restaurant.
The process goes through within seconds and transactions are not revocable, unlike most payment mechanisms like credit cards or electronic fund transfers.
And if you don’t have any of the virtual currency, Arsyan also sells Bitcoin scratch cards with amounts that range from RM10 to RM1,000.
But he admitted these have yet to garner much response from Malaysians.
“I knew about Bitcoin when it first launched in 2009 but I never really bothered to play with it until end of 2013 when Bitcoin news was all over the tech scene.
“I started to get into it, study it, bought one for myself and ever since have been. I believe this technology is the future and we are preparing ourselves for it.”
Arsyan believes the appeal of Bitcoin lies in the fact that it is the first unregulated, decentralised virtual currency with a potential billion dollar market.
“There are no authorities governing it and no other system in the world can send US$100 million (RM321 million) to a recipient without any fees.
“Bitcoin transactions are instant. The source code is open and can be reviewed by anyone, so it is very transparent.”
He expects Bitcoin to eventually gain traction with Malaysians, but remains patient for now. “I still have friends who do not believe in online banking. We most probably have to wait till society has matured before Bitcoin will be a hit among Malaysians.”
Bitcoin acceptance around the world is rising among smaller retailers like Internet cafes and also at websites. You can even pay for a trip to space with Bitcoin.
The exchange rate for Bitcoin to any regulated currency is determined by the amount of demand and supply – based on willing buyers and sellers.
When contacted, a Bank Negara Malaysia spokesperson said anyone dealing with Bitcoin should be aware that the virtual currency is unregulated.
As far as the central bank is concerned, any Bitcoin transactions are private deals and being conducted at their own risk.
And in case you’re wondering what food you can get at Capital Nasi Dagang Kelantan, a basic plate of nasi dagang with gulai ikan tongkol costs RM8.
If you feel like splurging, you can order the ultimate platter featuring tuna, beef rendang, curry chicken, prawns and sotong sambal for RM18.90.
Drinks are extra.