By now I am sure that you have all heard about Bitcoin the cryptocurrency that seems to have been the talk of the Internet over the last 12 months or so. Currently a single bitcoin is valued at over £320 and has been as high as £613 (Nov 2013) but do you know how many retailers near you will accept bitcoin? There is a website that will show you. In fact it will show you not only businesses that accept bitcoin but also those that accept the rival cryptocurrency Litecoin as well.
Coinmap.org is an interactive map that takes data from Open Street Map and displays it for you. In order for your business to be on the map then you need to accept bitcoin or litecoin, obviously, but you also need to have a physical location that you trade from. The site is designed to promote those businesses that you can walk into and purchase from rather than online stores. If your business fits into that category and you would like to be shown on coinmap.org then you need to register your business with the Open Street Map editor and add the payment tag “payment:bitcoin=yes” or “payment:litecoin=yes” as is appropriate.
For those using coinmap.org to find out which retailers offer either of the cryptocurrencies as payment options the site asks to use your current location when it first loads and then shows an area that covers about 100 square miles around you but you can scroll in or out to see more or less detailed data. Each business that is shown has a marker to help you find the premises. You can also toggle the map between retailers who accept bitcoin, retailers who accept litecoin or both.
The map covers the whole planet but there appear to be far more businesses that are listed in Europe and The US and Canada than in other parts of the world, though this could be as much due to the popularity of Open Street Map in these regions as anything else. In fact looking at the map of Europe it would appear that the Netherlands has the highest number of retailers who accept these cryptocurrencies per head of population.
Will cryptocurrencies be a passing fad? Only time will tell but if you are lucky enough to own a few bitcoins and you’re not sure where to spend them then coinmap.org might be able to help you.