Arnhem is a city located in the east of the Netherlands, on the banks of the Rhine river. It is the capital of the province of Gelderland and has a rich and eventful past that reflects several monumental buildings.

Arnhem is in the heart of green surroundings. The town has approximately 150,000 inhabitants. Arnhem is the world’s most Bitcoin-friendly city (or town) and has one of the highest percantage of merchants who accept Bitcoins globally. Crypto Lists report Arnhem as a revolutionary city that has made its mark in cryptocurrency where you can make all payments with Bitcoin. In order to understand how it is to live in the dutch Bitcoin town, we have made an interview with Patrick van der Meijde that lives there.

Interview with Patrick van der Meijde

Below is the interview that was made remotely, when Markus was sitting in Lisbon and Patrick was back home in Arnhem after attending the biggest Bitcoin Conference in Europe; Bitcoin Amsterdam.

Which were the first 3 shops/restaurants to accept BTC as payment?

We started on May 28 (2014) with 15 bars and restaurants. We organized a pub crawl for all active bitcoiners in 2014, about 70 people showed up. Cafe Njoy was the first to agree to start accepting bitcoin. Although the cafe now has a new owner, the new owner also continued to accept bitcoin.

Which were the hardest ones to convince?

Finding the first bar owner to join the initiative to set up Arnhem Bitcoin City was hardest. I go turned down at 5 or 6 cafes before that one.

Are there many different solutions available for BTC payments?

Crypto Lists continue: Or you simply suggest to use the wallet of satoshi, and the shop give the customer a BTC address.. and you wait until the transaction is finalised?

At the moment all merchants accept lightning payments these are instant. Nearly all of them are using BitKassa, the largest Bitcoin payment processor in the Netherlands. BitKassa now also supports Bolt Lightning NFC cards. Have a look at how that works: https://twitter.com/BitKassaNL/status/1578822489442222081

Crypto Lists comments: You can read up more about the Lightning Network, which is the fastest for Bitcoin transfers. There is an interview with Robert about Lightning Network here. For alternative online-based payment processors, go to the toplist here.

Do you already see other towns following how Arnhem created it?

In 2014 we were in a nice competition with Amsterdam, but they let it go as you need a lot of constant energy to keep it alive. We have seen a lot of initiatives in the past similar to Arnhem Bitcoin City but unfortunately they all seem to have died. But the good news is today more and more initiatives like this show up. Like Bitcoin Ekasi in South Africa and Bitcoin Island in the Philippines. I hope they keep it up, and don’t quit after a few years.

When do you think Bitcoin will be part of everyday life in Netherlands?

It might take The Netherlands much longer than other countries. The Netherlands probably have the best payment infrastructure in the world. It is cheap, instant and very simple to use. So it is quite hard to compete with that unless you care for privacy (which most people don’t). But we believe that in time Bitcoin will be the most used currency world wide.

Is there any shop in Arnhem that you are gutted about?

Any great place that do not have Bitcoin as a payment option yet?

Patrick replies: Well it is already possible to pay for just about anything you need with bitcoin, but it would be nice if we could have the local Zoo to accept bitcoin. Burgers Zoo is one of the main Zoo’s in the Netherlands featuring world class aquarium, bush and mangrove scenery.

Would you ever consider ETH, USDC, USDT or any other cryptocurrency?

I assume that all of the founders are bitcoin maximalists.

Patrick says: Back in 2017 when there was no lightning network and bitcoin fees were to high to be usable for grocery payments, we considered altcoins, but now lightning network is working great and we have no interest in supporting altcoins.

Crypto Lists interpose: Netherlands got around 14% inflation in the last measurement.

Do you have any suggestion how to improve that number?

17% was the last measurement, this is a huge problem. But with all the dept and money created during the covid period this was to be expected. I hope more people will discover Bitcoin.

Note: You can learn more about BTC in our review. It is ranking as the number one among all cryptocurrencies.

Crypto Lists remark: I notice that some Arnhem bitcoin users are going to Bitcoin Amsterdam.

Are there any other conferences that you recommend to attend?

I would recommend Adopting Bitcoin in El Salvador, that takes place the 15-17th of November, 2022! I’m unable to attend myself but it was highest on my wishlist. This Reddit Story might also be nice to read.

Markus would like to thank Patrick for taking the time to answer the questions about this highly developed town for crypto payments.

Below are a few more common questions and answers about Arnhem and Bitcoin.

Which is the best Bitcoin wallet to use in Arnhem?

Bolt Lightning NFC cards are the quickest-to-use. It is a lightning wallet which provides an avenue for making Bitcoin payments in physical stores. The Bolt cards focus on speed, simplicity – and the best possible user experience.

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How was bitcoin city created?

Arnhem became the Bitcoin city, referred to as Arnhem Bitcoinstad (https://www.arnhembitcoinstad.nl) in Dutch, after three crypto enthusiasts sought to spend bitcoins in their own town. They support the view that Bitcoin must not only be viewed as a store value with speculation over an increase in its price but also as a means of payment. At its opening on May 28th, 2014, 15 places accepted Bitcoins.

Patrick van der Meijde heard about Bitcoin and introduced the concept into the city. Together with other Bitcoin enthusiasts, Annet de Boer, and Rogier Eijkelhof, they taught and set up a payment system that local vendors could run on their devices, allowing owners to accept Bitcoin. The team turned the town into a Bitcoin city, and this started over beer. The conversation was to revolutionize how to make people pay for everything with bitcoins. When Patrick was reaching out to merchants in Arnhem, some had not even heard of Bitcoin in their life. Some people were not interested as they associated Bitcoin with criminals.

Despite the challenges, these enthusiasts attempted to convince various vendors, and among the first to be convinced was a frozen yogurt vendor, Christiann. She mentions that it has been revolutionary for her business for over six years. Bitcoin payments influence customer returns. Patrick jokes that even the yoghurt tastes better after paying with Bitcoin.

Other participants, include Lunch such as Dems En Heren, Diners such as Mej Janssen, Bars such as Cafe De Beugel, and Clothes shops such as Kringloop Arnhem De Schat Kemer. They also convinced Liquor shops such as De Hoppenaar, Hotels such as Bizar-Bazar, Leisure activities such as Robbers& van den Hoogen, and Service providers such as XXL scooters. The creation of the Bitcoin project has been a success in the city, and increased mainstream interest in the crypto industry has seen further demand to bolster Arnhem Bitcoin City.

What can be bought with Bitcoin in this town?

Inhabitants of Arnhem Bitcoin City use bitcoin to pay for everything while shopping. Visitors of the Bitcoin town must understand the requirements when transacting in the city. Bitcoin is the city’s primary payment source. Restaurants, bars, hotels, and supermarkets allow customers to pay with Bitcoin. One can buy cakes, pastries such as doughnuts, food, flowers, interior design, and even frozen yogurt. A popular wood engraver, Tim also accepts Bitcoin as payment for his services. He has even put up a customized wooden sign printed in support of advertising that he accepts bitcoins. Most people get motivated to use bitcoin to pay for their beers with crypto.

The Bitcoin city advertises over 100 venues that accept bitcoin payments, and it is an impressive density of bitcoin-accepting merchants. The popularity of bitcoin lets one purchase organic food, car parts, sweets, and escape games. One can also travel between Arnhem and the airport to rent a car or hire a taxi.

In Arnhem, your phone screen will constantly be on the Bitcoin exchange platforms as it is the standard mode of payment. The Bitcoin town demonstrates there is an alternative to the current financial system by creating a bitcoin economy.

When staying in the Bitcoin town, you can pay entirely with Bitcoin and get most of the essential services you need. However, the number of people spending bitcoin has been affected by price inflations that make it challenging. The circumstances influencing the crypto market could make a challenge for the city. Other cities that use cryptocurrency look up to Arnhem and strive to follow in its footsteps. Contributions that make a city crypto-friendly increase the performance of coins such as bitcoin worldwide.

The initiators of the Arnhem Bitcoin city support the Bitcoin town and continue to encourage crypto adoption despite challenges such as price fluctuations and the Coivid-19 pandemic that caused conservative merchants to restrict acceptance of bitcoin payments. The team conducts meetups in the Bitcoin town several times a year and welcomes all interested in Bitcoin. The next meetup is set to be Saturday evening, October 15th.


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