Bitcoin Breaking News: Bitcoins Start Getting Acceptance in Canada

Mega Chill has become the first medical marijuana dispensary in Canada to accept bitcoin. Since the formal announcement this September, Mega Chill has seen an overwhelmingly positive response from the community, both from patients familiar with bitcoin and customers who had never heard of the digital currency.

The relationship between bitcoin and the marijuana industry is long-standing due to bitcoin’s ability to offer an alternative to the traditional banking system and its still-prevalent use in online dark markets.

In the case of Mega Chill, however, the decision had less to do with sidestepping potential money problems and more to do with the growing popularity of bitcoin as a payment method. CoinDesk spoke with co-owner Matt Jung, who cited the public’s curiosity and enthusiasm for digital currency as the reason his business decided to accept bitcoin.

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Jung said customers have begun using bitcoin regularly since Mega Chill started accepting it, telling: “It’s been really good for our patients. One girl who comes in gets paid in bitcoin, so it’s perfect for her.” Notably, the company manages its own bitcoin wallet rather than using a payments processor.

For some, Mega Chill represents the ideal merchant for bitcoin – a business that is a relative newcomer to the technology but still sees the benefits of accepting it. Jung told that Mega Chill, like other small businesses, is responding to grassroots support for the technology. He added his belief that bitcoin is an easy-to-use payment method and that the public ledger makes record-keeping simple as well.

Jung explained: “It’s an interesting new step to take – a new emerging technology. It’s always good to have another payment method, to have more options for everybody.”

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Some observers have pointed to bitcoin as potential boon for businesses in the marijuana space. Several altcoins exist, like potcoin and cannabiscoin, that seek to apply block chain technology to a marijuana-specific digital currency.

In some ways, the regulatory environment for bitcoin mirrors the situation currently facing the marijuana industry. Some of the associated risks and challenges, including restricted access to banking partners and a regulatory framework subject to change by federal regulators, are shared by both communities.

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