San Diego Restaurant, Bar Now Among Businesses to Accept Bitcoin

New bitcoin machine unveiled at Downtown Johnny Brown's in downtown San Diego

In San Diego, it's now possible to use bitcoin to buy beer.

Inside Downtown Johnny Brown's is one of the first BTMs or Bitcoin Transaction Machines in San Diego. Users can convert paper currency to bitcoin and then use the online currency to buy some of the beer on tap at the eatery on the Civic Concourse near City Hall.

“A person who knows how to use bitcoin can drop them anywhere in the world,” Steven Michaels, CEO of said as he demonstrated the BTM.

Patrons touch the screen to begin, enter a QR code and enter a U.S. dollar bill into the machine. The BTM then converts the currency into bitcoin, sending it to the user’s virtual “wallet” on their mobile phone.

The virtual currency can then be transferred to the bar for a pint or used with any of the other businesses now accepting bitcoin.

The restaurant displays a "Bitcoin Accepted Here" sticker on the front door and a logo on its home page.

Just this week, the United Way announced bitcoin would be accepted as donations.

“These are all great companies that are embracing bitcoin because they see it as a way to generate new revenue and take advantage of this new and exciting technology,” Michaels said.

Having the ATM isn’t necessary for a business to accept bitcoin. There is information on how to setup a virtual wallet available to merchants that Michaels says takes just minutes to complete.

There either are or will be machines like this in six locations including Nikki & Company Fine Jewelers in the Gaslamp Quarter, Spiritos Italian Diner in Carlsbad, Rossi’s Pizza in San Marcos and Surf Brothers Teriyaki in La Jolla, Escondido, Encinitas and Carlsbad.

It's important to note the machine does not convert bitcoin into paper currency. receives a nickel fee for each transaction.

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