New Brunswick’s bitcoin enthusiasts can now cash in their digital currency at a Moncton restaurant, thanks to a teenage entrepreneur.
Raphael Paulin-Daigle, 17, is the chief executive officer of DucatFlow, which helps companies who want to buy or sell using bitcoins.
Paulin-Daigle is also responsible for the city’s first bitcoin machine, which was unveiled on Tuesday at Freshii, a downtown restaurant.
Freshii is now the first place in New Brunswick where bitcoin users can convert their paper currency into bitcoin. The restaurant is also the first business in Moncton to accept bitcoin as payment.
Paulin-Daigle said he hopes many other businesses around the city will follow Freshii’s lead.
“I'd love to see other businesses in Moncton say, ‘Hey we want to accept too, could be cool,” he said.
Bitcoins are an unregulated digital currency that were introduced in 2009 as an alternative payment system to paper currencies.
Bitcoin users do not have many places to exchange the currency for cash as bitcoin ATMs are just beginning to turn up across the country.
The value of bitcoin has fluctuated dramatically over its short lifespan, from $0.08 US in July 2010 to over $1,200 in November 2013. More recently, it has been trading in the $600 range.
Paulin-Daigle said most of his company’s work comes from larger organizations and websites looking to adopt bitcoins.
Paulin-Daigle said it was hard balancing his business with high school but that is now coming to an end.
“I'm finally done high school, spending my time now on focusing on building the business. It's already too busy for me to go to university, wouldn't have time,” he said.
“I had one class in school this year and I have trouble balancing both and it was only one class. Now I'm pretty happy working on the business itself, both on the ATM and consulting side of the business, too.”
Jean Daigle said his teenage son introduced the family to bitcoin years ago. He said he is impressed with how hard his son has worked on this project of bringing a bitcoin machine to Moncton.
"I find it really amazing, I'm not surprised, he's always been really persistent when it comes to building a business, been involved in business since the age of 11,” he said.