Bitcoin News

Subway accepts Bitcoin, so users can get a sandwich on the Lightning Network

Subway accepts Bitcoin, so users can get a sandwich on the Lightning Network

No, it’s not Groundhog Day. Subway is accepting Bitcoin (BTC), again — but this time it’s using the fast, nearly free Bitcoin Lightning Network.

The world’s largest franchise by number of restaurants is trialing Bitcoin payments at three Subways in Germany’s capital, Berlin. Subway first experimented with Bitcoin almost 13 years ago in Moscow, Russia. 

Over the past few months, Daniel Hinze, the Berlin Subway franchise owner, recorded over 120 Bitcoin transactions. In an interview with Cointelegraph, Hinze explained his desire “to help Bitcoin become money.”

“Five years ago, I started to deal with cryptocurrencies; and in the last two years, I have dealt very intensively with the topic of Bitcoin. With that in mind, I’ve decided that [Bitcoin] could be the better money system.”

Bitcoin is not a popular means of exchange in Europe, despite the efforts of merchants, retailers and even Lightning-enabled conferences. Hinze has encouraged Bitcoin payments by offering a 10% discount on all footlongs, meatball marinaras and sucookies paid for with BTC.

To kick off the campaign, Hinze offered a 50% discount on all Bitcoin payments for one week:

“Around the week, there was, of course, extremely high demand. Our three restaurants were frequently visited by people who liked to pay with Bitcoin.”

German-speaking social media was buoyed by Subway buys as the hashtag #usingBitcoin took over. Hinze partnered with Lipa, a Swiss-based Bitcoin company, to enable an easy-to-use point-of-sale solution.

Bastien Feder, CEO of Lipa, told Cointelegraph that its mission is to make Bitcoin “basically irresistible to use because Bitcoin is currency.” Lipa kitted out the Subways with merchant devices that allow customers to quickly scan a Lightning-enabled QR code that allows for fast, frictionless, low-cost payments.

Lipa charges merchants 1% for the service, as opposed to Visa or Mastercard payment rails, which charge double or more. Feder explained:

“It’s 2.5% to 4% depending on the contract from the merchant. If it’s a business card, there’s 0.5% on top of that. […] And if it’s a foreign business…

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