A Mexican restaurant in Wrocław, Poland now accepts Bitcoin and marks the first Taco sold for Bitcoin in Poland as of this Friday.
The historic city of Wrocław in southwestern Poland has much to offer for visitors. Established in the 10th century, the well preserved old town is rich of beautiful historic buildings, churches and cathedrals.
As of Friday 1st of July 2022, Wrocław can be proud to also call a bitcoin-accepting taco joint regional innovation. The small shop by the name ‘Kartel’ offers Mexican cuisine such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, lemonade and other famous Mexican classics.
The joint is built into an old kiosk below an apartment building and sells straight out its walk-up window with only two outside seating tables.
The owner Ewelina is a seasoned entrepreneur and restaurant owner with experience operating a food-truck as well as a physical restaurant. The restaurant used to be located a stone’s throw away on a plaza inside the old town, a high frequency location.
Her restaurant used to be well visited and a financial success. But every business comes with a risk and in the case of Ewelina the insurance would use the ‘force majeure’ clauses to refuse paying a dime. A ‘pandemic with global impact’ was nothing she or anyone expected to happen.
…when prohibitions are starting to be enforced during the global covid disaster, her business takes total damage: A force-closed restaurant is a ‘bottomless pit’ rather than a sustainable employment.
From one day to the other, businesses in Poland had to close shop to follow guidelines made up by the government and health authorities. Central planners and bureaucrats know how to things right the moment they get born.
However, when prohibitions are starting to be enforced during the global covid disaster, her business gets crushed: A force-closed restaurant is a ‘bottomless pit’ rather than a sustainable employment.
While irrational restrictions maim millions of jobs, erase livelihoods and sectors around the globe, her shops struggles to survive. The gastronomic service industry which relies on retail space, walk-ins and tourism is one of the biggest losers of political interventionism in 2020/2021.
Ewelina has to continue paying ‘top-tier’ rent but the doors of her restaurant remain closed. The value of her prime location drops to zero over night. Moreover, the landlord refuses to waive the rent and the reserves drain quickly which ultimately forces the business to file for bankruptcy.
Ewelina had to stay optimistic during that time and thankfully she is not short of entrepreneurial ingenuity. At this point, the best way to ensure the survival of her business and save jobs is to take over a small kiosk space on a temporary lease.
The old-fashioned spot with the ‘under the bridge’ atmosphere is quickly turned into a friendly and colorful streetfood shop offering Mexican comfort food and good vibes.
The pop-up concept works but the lease ends in less than two months, hence a larger investment into infrastructure is pointless. This means, Kartel does not accept card payments but only cash and digital payments through a local mobile payment service called Blik.
Blik is a polish payment system launched in 2015 by an alliance of six polish banks. It allows payments and transfers through a mobile app as well as via mobile numbers. But if you don’t have a Blik app or account, a payment can become difficult.
For tourists and customers without cash in their pocket, this can become an inconvenience. While swiping or tapping cards is not uncommon in Poland, it’s still not the standard for small shops. Many places rely on cash and offer Blik in addition.
When Evelina heard about Bitcoin, she became curious as it could be an easy solution to offer another payment method without opening an account or investing into a card reader terminal. Further, thanks to bitcoin second layer technology such as the Lightning network, merchant fees are close to zero.
On Friday 1PM local time, Kartel wrote a small piece of national history. For the first time, food went over the counter with bitcoin as method of payment marking the first Taco sold for bitcoin in Poland.
The payment was made on the Lightning Network by using Wallet of Satoshi’s custodial Bitcoin and Lightning wallet service. The payment settled instantly and 28,200 Satoshis changed ownership just as smooth as the tacos went from the kitchen into the stomach.
Business owner Ewelina learned to stay creative when “the shit hits the fan” and was open to the idea to accept bitcoin. Although she know little about it, she is all for innovative concepts and creative alternatives. “Wow, that was quick, I didn’t know it’s so fast” she commented when she saw the payment confirmed on her phone. From now on anyone can buy tacos for Bitcoin at Kartel.
“Wow, that was quick, I didn’t know it’s so fast“
To the knowledge of the author, this marks the first ever taco sold for bitcoin in Poland.
Just as the first Pizza sold for bitcoin back in 2010 is remembered as a prototypical real-life event that validated the case for bitcoin as a medium of exchange, merchant adoption remains a crucial part of bitcoin adoption. Imagine the impact of an entire city to start accepting bitcoin.
Grassroots momentum driven by merchant adoption has lead to the countrywide adoption of bitcoin in El Salvador. A similar paradigm shift can take place in other regions, cities and communities around the world if the word spreads.