Bitcoin could be the safest, new way to pay

Bitcoin could be the safest, new way to pay

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- With fraud prevention on many people's minds, a new way to pay can keep you completely anonymous.
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- With fraud prevention on many people's minds, a new way to pay can keep you completely anonymous. It's called Bitcoin. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out about the latest financial technology.

It's starting to pick up steam all over the world. A few casinos in Las Vegas started taking the virtual currency this week and it's already gaining popularity in other countries too.

But so far, there's only one store in Champaign County where you can use it. When you go shopping, you probably expect to pay with paper or plastic, but now there's Bitcoin.

"It allows me to stay at the forefront of where things are headed with virtual currency," said Bart Basi, who owns Cheese and Crackers.  

After seeing personal information get stolen from places like Schnucks and Target, Basi decided to try it out.

"It's viewed by a lot of people right now as something that's very technical," said Basi. 

That's because you can't hold it in your hands. But, you can get it online.

"Right now, Bitcoins are running about $800 per coin," said Basi. 

If you weren't planning to spend that much on specialty foods, that's okay. The cashier presses an extra button when you pay to calculate the rate in Bitcoin. Then the register creates a code you can scan. Since your information is encrypted, the money is transferred anonymously.

"It doesn't look like our government or anyone else can follow a trail of Bitcoin transactions as you could with a credit card or other electronic transactions," said Basi. 

But, that's the idea. To keep your personal information as safe as possible.

"Will it last forever? I don't know," said Basi. "Will it last until tomorrow? Of that, I'm pretty confident. I want to embrace new things. You don't win every gamble, so if it goes away, we had fun with it and we played while it lasted, but I think it's here to stay."

Basi says he usually gets two or three customers a day who use Bitcoin. At the end of the day, he exchanges his Bitcoins online for U.S. dollars.

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