Vote now: Should pubs use cryptocurrency?

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Incentivising staff: Amersham pub operator rewards employees with 'Koda' cryptocurrency (Credit: Getty/cihatatceken)
Incentivising staff: Amersham pub operator rewards employees with 'Koda' cryptocurrency (Credit: Getty/cihatatceken)

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Since the start of the pandemic, many pubs have adopted a cashless approach, but could this lead onto a future where cryptocurrency is widely used? This is certainly the case according to one licensee in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.

Operator of the Potters Arms, Peter Gilbert, has recently started incentivising his staff with cryptocurrency rewards through Koda.

Koda, like all cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin, is blockchain technology, and Gilbert rewards up to 30 staff members each month by putting anything from £25 to £100 in their ‘digital wallet’ on top of their monthly salary.


Gilbert says: “I feel the world is skewered at the minute; the banking system doesn't work.

“Blockchain technology is the future. It’s going to change the world like no one can believe.

“In the 1970’s the internet was born but no one really made mass adoption till the 1990s and 2006, I think it was, when blockchain technology came out with BitCoin being the first thing, and people are now realising the power of blockchain technology."

However, the dramatic ups and downs in the value of cryptocurrencies mean not all licensees are ready to accept blockchain technology and cryptocurrency as a viable, or reliable, option.

Licensee of the Red Lion and Sun in Highgate, north London, Heath Ball, says: “It needs to be a bit more mainstream before I would even think about using [cryptocurrency].

“The cryptocurrency bandwagon is, is what it is right now. I just don't think it's mainstream enough to be counting on it.”

Highly volatile market 

It would seem some experts agree with Ball, with cryptocurrencies posing potentially rapid ups and downs in value, investing does come with a risk and requires thorough research beforehand.

Cryptocycle chairman and co-founder Tony McGurk says: “While Cryptocurrency is all the range right now, in reality it is still in its relative infancy.

“Much of the interest in cryptocurrencies is to trade for profit with speculators at times driving prices skyward, the crypto market is highly volatile and comes with challenges so if you plan to participate you need to be prepared for ups and downs, do your research, and invest conservatively.”

According to Gilbert, several cryptocurrencies went up as much as 14,000% in one year and according to CoinGecko, When Koda was launched in May the currency was worth $0.0000730 whereas this week, it was worth $0.00089977. 

Cryptocurrencies allow users to make payments without using personal information or banks by using Blockchain technology, but the value of each cryptocurrency fluctuates depending on supply and demand, depending on how many coins are being made, or ‘mined’.

Licensee of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk, Brendan Padfield, says: “Any business that does not commit to continuous improvement, needs to have a fresh look at itself; it's a competitive world out there and new ideas like this should not be dismissed.

“I wish I really understood what cryptocurrency was, but I've only got the vaguest idea. I would like to understand more though and I certainly wouldn't dismiss it.

“We’ve not been taking cash since the beginning of Covid because of the risk of contamination via notes etc. and moving cashless has been a great thing for us, the end of cashing up at night, the end of bank reconciliations, the end of bank charges on cash.”

Despite the risks involved, some experts agree with Gilbert in that the benefits of cryptocurrency bonuses could easily benefit staff.

Incentivising staff

Money advice newsletter Freed Community co-founder Sam Dempsey says: “There would be no need to have all your finances go through a bank anymore. All the bureaucracy could be removed, and a relationship between the owner and staff could become much more streamlined and efficient.”

Cryptocurrencies present a multitude of varied opportunities and risks for hospitality but overall, the main reason Gilbert advocates blockchain technology is to help his staff build what he calls a ‘nest egg’ for the future.

Gilbert adds: “I've been in crypto for a while now and I thought ‘I want to help all these young people’, because I feel none of them have got a snowball's chance in hell of buying a house for the rest of their life, I don't think there's much hope for younger people today and it doesn’t have to be this way.

“If by giving them incentive in crypto, which increases in value by a lot of a lot of work, I can keep my staff and I can keep them incentivised, that's why I do it.”

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