MENLO PARK (KPIX) - Stephen Silver inside the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel is known for selling rare, ultra-high end jewelry and watches. These days the Menlo Park jeweler is also standing out for doing business in cryptocurrency. It's the first jewelry store in the world to accept the digital money.
"Being that we're here in Silicon Valley really in the cradle of innovation it provides us an opportunity to see how these technologies mature and what we've found was that we have a lot of customers who are reputable investors, entrepreneurs and they wanted to pay in cryptocurrencies," says Jared Silver, president of Stephen Silver.
Jared Silver says 20 percent of his sales are paid via cryptocurrency, namely Bitcoin. Wire transfers account for about 50 percent of the company's transactions and it pays 3½ percent every time he accepts a credit card payment.
"For me, it's about a third the cost of credit cards," says Jared. "It's faster closing time than wire transfer or credit card and it's much easier on my customers."
Stephen Silver's sales in cryptocurrency over the last 8 months have been strong, totaling over 8 figures."
"I've made small little purchases, especially when I've been in New York," says customer Charles Yim. "Believe it or not, I bought one of my first slices of pizza with crypto."
This evening, Yim, a tech entrepreneur and CEO of cryptocurrency company Cointopia, is shopping for diamonds with his girlfriend.
"So I've amassed a little bit of a fortune via cryptocurrency in Bitcoin and Ethereum, I figure I can pay directly with it as opposed to converting it to U.S. dollars" he says.
If he were to do that, Yim would pay a 1.5% fee. He says it's about convenience. The couple picked out a $50,000 diamond bracelet with 13 karats.
The transaction happens almost instantaneously and the cryptocurrency is converted into real U.S. dollars.
With Bitcoin, the value can go up as dramatically as it can go down.
"Similar to stock that's also risky, there's always ups and downs, whether it's the S&P or Dow Jones market, you just need to go ahead and monitor it," says Yim. "But what's interesting about crypto is that the value, where it increases or decreases, you can actually spend it in real time."
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