The D and Golden Gate might keep millions of dollars in cash in their casino cages, but starting Wednesday the Downtown hotels will begin accepting a different kind of currency: the bitcoin.
Don’t expect to put 2 BTC on red at the roulette table, though. The relatively new online currency will not be taken on the casino floor, but starting tomorrow, guests can use their bitcoins at both of the hotels’ front desks, the D’s gift shop and D eateries American Coney Island and Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.
Introduced in 2009, the bitcoin currency is a "peer-to-peer payment network" that uses no third party (think banks). To purchase the currency, buyers must set up an online or bitcoin wallet application and then utilize an online bitcoin exchange (many can be found at Bitcoin’s website). Determined upon supply and demand, the price of a bitcoin is quite volatile, as new bitcoins are generated every day—one exchange website indicated that a single bitcoin costs $823.96 today (others had prices over $900), but that same site priced a bitcoin at $16.80 just a year ago. It’s reported that the currency will max out at 21 billion BTC in 2140.
The Downtown hotels will be the first casino properties in the city to begin accepting bitcoin, though they aren’t the first businesses in Las Vegas to embrace the increasingly popular currency. The Zombie Apocalypse Store, Jalisco Cantina, ZiKiZ Wraps and Brooklyn Bagels are just a few local businesses accepting bitcoin; a lengthy list of Valley businesses that accept the currency can be found at bitcoinsinvegas.com.
So, will the trend catch on? Will the currency system crash? Only time will tell. But for now, you won’t need a Benjamin or a Bank of America debit card to book a room on Fremont Street.