The Bitcoin community has long dealt with wild fluctuations in the digital currency's value, and as the digital currency has surged to several hundred dollars per bitcoin, more consumers and merchants are adopting the digital currency.
"Especially with the very large rise in the value, there's been a lot of wealth created," says Noah Lehmann-Haupt, founder and president of Gotham Dream Cars, a high-end car rental provider.
Gotham Dream Cars implemented Bitcoin acceptance through BitPay, a merchant services provider, this month and has had a handful of people in Miami and New York City rent cars using the digital currency.
Many merchants use BitPay's services to mitigate Bitcoin's price volatility. For a fee, the company takes on the currency risk for its clients, guaranteeing an exchange rate for merchants.
Vet-Co, an Albuquerque, N.M.-based veterinarian clinic, also implemented Bitcoin acceptance through BitPay in early December.
"We noticed that there was this really pretty amazing Bitcoin community out there," says Lauren MacEwan, marketing director at Vet-Co. "Every time we've seen a new merchant start accepting [Bitcoin], people in the community would get really excited and tweet about it, signing their praises."
After updating its websites and embracing social media this year, "we thought [accepting Bitcoin] would be a really great way to expand our community and reach out to the community we already have in a different way," MacEwan says.
The clinic has accepted bitcoin payments from two customers already, she says.
Vet-co is also interested in using digital currency for business-to-business payments, says MacEwan. The clinic is considering using bitcoins to pay service providers, such as a holistic allergy testing and treatment provider, she says.
BitPay processed 55,288 transactions in November, a number 165% greater than October's volume. During Bitcoin Friday, a marketing event that plays on Black Friday, BitPay processed 6,296 transactions.
During Bitcoin Friday last yearthe first annual eventBitPay handled just 99 transactions. BeesBros, a bee-keeping family business in North Logan, Utah that participated in Bitcoin Friday both years, started accepting the digital currency because the transaction fees are lower and payments are processed quicker than other options.
While Lehmann-Haupt, of Gotham Dream Cars, followed the news surrounding Bitcoin for several years, it became worthwhile to implement when BitPay integrated with Shopify, which the business already used on its website, he says. "We've turned on Bitcoin payments for the online store so customers can buy gift certificates, and we're setting it up on the main website now," he says.
Merchants traditionally labeled high-risk are also starting to accept the digital currency as they have trouble finding processors willing to work with them to handle credit and debit card payments.
Atlanta, Ga.-based BitPay is also swaying businesses to accept bitcoins as BitPay's employees go about their everyday shopping. For example, a BitPay employee was using Corrective Chiropractic, another Atlanta business, and persuaded the merchant to begin accepting digital currency.
"The whole concept fascinates me and is very exciting to watch," says Dr. Austin Cohen, chiropractor and health coach at the facility. "I consider our office one of the most progressive chiropractic clinics in the country with technology. I want to stay progressive in every aspect of our business and accepting Bitcoin was the next step forward."
Currently two people pay in bitcoin at Corrective Chiropractic.
"I have recently visited [BitPay's] facility and the people there are not just in it for a job but because they have found a passion and something excites them about Bitcoin," says Cohen.