Originally published January 14, 2014 at 11:07 a.m., updated January 15, 2014 at 2:29 p.m.
Sean Cole, Owner, Downtown Johnny Brown's
James Hamilton, Professor of Economics, UC San Diego
A digital internet currency is beginning to break into the real world. Bitcoin is accepted as online payment for a growing number of retailers.
Last week, Overstock.com became the first large online retailer to take Bitcoin as a method of payment. The company's CEO announced via Twitter that on the first day of taking Bitcoin, it received 840 orders and made $130,000 in Bitcoin sales.
But the decentralized, unregulated currency is also being taken by a few San Diego brick-and-mortar merchants.
You can now pay by Bitcoin for your next burger at Downtown Johnny Brown's just like Ryan Milbourne.
He was the first person to make a Bitcoin transaction at the Gaslamp eatery.
"I am thrilled about the rise in San Diego businesses that see the value and advantages Bitcoin has to offer merchant's and consumers alike," Milbourne said.
Bitcoin is also being accepted by some sellers at local farmer's market.
In addition, San Diego is home to the first Bitcoin ATM, where Bitcoin currency can be exchanged for dollars.
Early adopters say Bitcoin, which isn't regulated by a bank or government, is secure, anonymous and allows them to avoid credit card fees.
Skeptics point out downsides, like Bitcoin's volatile exchange rate and the lack of consumer protections.