Sarasota Business is First Company In Southwest Florida To Accept Bitcoin

Dec 11, 2013

Credit Antana / Flickr/Creative Commons


A group that provides space and resources for business start-ups in Sarasota has become the first company in Southwest Florida to accept “bitcoin” as a form of currency.

Rich Swier founded HUB in Sarasota. HuB is a business incubator of sorts that provides space and resources to entrepreneurs and startups in the area.

Swier said in the past year he’s taken an interest in this new form of digital currency called “bitcoin.”

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system traded online that’s growing in popularity. It’s different from all other currency because you can’t really touch it and isn’t regulated by any government or centralized bank.

But Swier said it’s the currency of the future and he wants to help make it part of most people’s lives.

So, for the past few weeks, Swier has been letting his clients pay for rent and even lattes at his building’s cafe using bitcoin.

“It’s been great,” he said. “It’s a very cool thing to be part of and it’s just one of those things that I think, in years to come, in hindsight,  we will be looking back and remembering when it was becoming more and more mainstream. We are happy to be part of one of the first merchants to accept it.”

Swier said he’s the first landlord in the state to accept bitcoin for rent. He said he hopes more businesses in Florida will follow his lead, even though the future of bitcoin is unclear right now.

“You know it’s still risky,” he said. “You know, it’s obviously not a currency that has been blessed by the United States, but it’s a great way to push innovation and you know sometimes with innovation you have to take risk.”

And even though a bitcoin isn’t tangible, it is valuable. A single bitcoin will set you back about seven hundred forty dollars. You can buy a bitcoin through someone you know or an online exchange.