The new bitcoin event, called Calle Bitcoin, took place in the busiest shopping district of Madrid on Friday.
Over 20 merchants participated in in the two-day spectacle. According to the organiser Félix Montero, Calle Bitcoin is the the largest bitcoin event until now.
Similar initiatives have already taken place on the streets in Arnhem, The Hague and Cleveland.
Althouth the bitcoin community in Madrid is still small, Montero expects the outdoor event will demonstrate bitcoin’s purchasing power. The project features a pub crawl, treasure hunt and photo competition, as well as giveaways in the digital currency.
“We thought a bitcoin street was the best way to prove that bitcoin payments stand up even to the pressure of a crowded bar or shop in speed and flexibility,” Montero said.
Calle Bitcoin is located at luxury shopping Serrano Street, known as the city’s ‘Gold Mile’ (see the map below.)
The 1.5 km area includes coffee shops, bars and restaurants, as well as a design hotel, an architect practice, a gynaecologist and an international fashion boutique.
Montero said: “Once merchants saw that the bar next door was sporting a ‘Bitcoin Accepted Here’ sticker they lost all fear and wanted in!”
He added the event is experimental and includes different payment mechanisms, processors and apps. Blockchain, BitPay, Coinbase, Avatar BTC, Coinffeine, Bitcon Spain, an owner of the first Robocoin ATM in Spain, and Coinffeine are among the investors.
Blockchain’s CEO, Nicolas Cary, stated: “Calle Bitcoin is a perfect example of how grass roots efforts are making a big difference locally.”
BiPay director of European business development, Moe Levin, added: “There is no other payment system in the world as open-source and community oriented as bitcoin. These are two very unique traits.”
Volunteer Fernando Bitti Loureiro, who often visits bitcoin meetups in Madrid, considers the project is a great opportunity to show the digital currency potential. He added: “The information about bitcoin one finds on the Internet is [either] too technical, too speculative or too ideological.”
The project has been documented on popular Bitcoin Talk forum. Montero hopes that fellow Spanish-speakers the conversations will prompt fellow Spanish-speakers to create their own events in the future.
Upon the completion of the event, each merchant will continue accepting bitcoin for at least three months.
Montero added he hopes to expand the project in 2015: “Hopefully, next year we can do it with 100 merchants.”