SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Cryptocurrency may be more than a hot trendy investment, it could become a part of everyday life. For many of us, it's something that's out of reach that we leave for big investors. But we spoke with folks who say that's already changing.
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Jeff Flowers teaches chemistry at the College of San Mateo. He is also at the forefront of economic innovation.
He paid for his pastries at Dianda's in San Mateo with a debit card loaded with Bitcoin and also did the same thing when he bought coffee.
"So what happened, I was able to buy a cup of coffee using cryptocurrency, using a BitPay debit card," he said.
BitPay was founded in 2011. CEO Stephen Pair told us, "We launched a debit card that allows you with just a couple of taps on your phone convert bitcoin into a dollar balance that is spendable anywhere Visa is accepted."
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According to Pair, BitPay users spend anywhere from $500,000 to $1,000,000 a day.
San Francisco resident Marisha Sahay stores her Bitcoin using the Coinbase mobile wallet. She recently paid for drinks at Stookeys Club Moderne in San Francisco with Bitcoin.
Sahay hopes cryptocurrency will become the worldwide standard, eliminating the need to exchange money.
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"I go to India I have to change dollars into rupees and then into dollars so I Iose a lot of money paying it to the government," she said.
Stookey's believes paying with cryptocurrency is the wave of the future. Co-owner Aaron Cole told ABC7, "I'm a big backer of it. It's something that's going to be pretty mainstream."
How soon it becomes mainstream is a matter of opinion.
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San Francisco-based futurist James Canton thinks that time is now.
"I think in 2018 we're going to see a significant mainstreaming of cryptocurrency, particularly for purchasing more real things that people need," he said. "You'll be able to walk into grocery stores, be able to buy them for vacations and travel. You'll be able to basically spend cryptocurrencies the way you spend dollars today."
At least two online retailers have jumped onto the cryptocurrency bandwagon.
Purse IO sells discounted Amazon products and only accepts Bitcoin for payment.
Overstock.com expects to do $10 million in sales from people using cryptocurrencies.
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"We're in the business of making it easier for people to purchase stuff on our site whether that's credit cards or Paypal or cyrptocurrency. That made sense to us," said Overstock.com executive and board member Jonathan Johnson.
Johnson says he received his bonus in Bitcoin last year.
Flowers, who also serves as a consultant to several overseas banks, has also been paid in Bitcoin.
We even found an ATM at a neighborhood grocery store in San Francisco where you can both buy and sell cryptocurrency.
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Mike Rothenberg of Rothenberg Ventures has followed this all closely.
"It's pretty clear that electronic currency is here to stay," he said. "And so you're seeing a lot of hype."
Most people ABC7 talked with predicted cyrptocurrency will be mainstream sometime in the next five years. What do you think?
Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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