Cryptocurrencies are global in their concept and as such an attractive prospect for travelers. Crypto tourism is rapidly developing into various branches. While specialized cruises offer a crypto-focused experience more or less isolated from the rest of the world, individual crypto lifestyle travelers explore the ability to use cryptocurrencies in the mainstream. Slovenia is turning into one of the most attractive countries for this kind of travel. Care for a crypto concert, a relaxing Bitcoin outing to a waterpark or a pair of Ether sneakers? No problem. There are now as many as 150 brick-and-mortar locations accepting crypto all over Slovenia, mostly in capital Ljubljana, home to globally unique Bitcoin City™.
Bitcoin City™, a world shopping attraction
Bitcoin City™ is emerging as a result of a collaboration between the Eligma company, a developer of blockchain and AI-based commerce solutions, and BTC City − one of the biggest business, shopping and logistic points in Central Europe, spreading over 475,000 square meters with over 450 stores, 70 bars and restaurants, a cinema complex, a theatre venue, sports facilities including a waterpark, and other attractions. This commerce giant is now changing into a next-generation environment based on high-tech foundations including crypto, with the aim to cater to an open society of diverse customers and partners. While crypto ATMs are not always handy or easily accessible, a more ready option is Elipay, a mobile app for offline and online shopping with cryptocurrencies, accepted at 150 different locations in Bitcoin City™ and elsewhere in Slovenia. The user pays by scanning the purchase QR code at the cashier and confirming the transaction. Elipay enables payments with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ether, but the merchants conveniently receive the settlements in fiat (euros).
Crypto coffee anyone?
Slovenia is home to a growing crypto community, with some of its members aspiring to lead a partially or even fully crypto lifestyle. Elipay already enables the purchase of all the major product categories – from food and drinks to white goods. So what do crypto enthusiasts usually buy at Bitcoin City™? According to Elipay statistics, their mall shopping behavior does not really differ from that of fiat shoppers, which testifies to a seamless fusion of the crypto and fiat payment worlds. The greatest percentage of crypto purchases represent beverages and snacks: from coffees at popular Soba’Room promenade bar to cocktails at trendy Playa socializing spot, fast food/burgers at Hot Horse (one of the most popular Ljubljana burger trademarks, which accepts Elipay at three different locations in Ljubljana), and other foods at the Restavracija City restaurant on the panoramic 20th floor of Crystal Palace, one of Ljubljana’s tallest buildings, as well as more upscale gourmet venues like the diVino restaurant on its ground floor. Numerous crypto transactions have also been noted at the Atlantis Waterpark and Big Bang, Slovenia’s biggest consumer electronics seller.
How has the reception of Elipay been like so far? “Some buyers are positively surprised that we already offer this payment option. The payment process is simple and by all means a great acquisition for both our users and employees,” Big Bang states. The implementation of Elipay into a merchant’s POS system is extremely simple, with no additional hardware necessary.
Blockchain, a new tourist and economic niche
The Slovenian nation, strong on tourism, aims to attract a new niche of visitors and contribute to the development of the blockchain and crypto communities worldwide. In July 2018, Bitcoin City™ was visited by renowned US author and world traveler Jeff Wilser, who was able to try out Elipay and one of the Bitcoin ATMs. Elipay has also been tried out by political eminences such as Slovenian President Borut Pahor, Slovakian President Andrej Kiska, as well as by former Slovenian Prime Minister Dr. Miro Cerar, who was famously treated to a cup of Elipay coffee by former Slovenian State Secretary Tadej Slapnik.
The political interest is not coincidental. Slovenia is a country that boasts intense blockchain development, with its companies having founded Blockchain Alliance Europe, dedicated to “creating a setting that will transform Slovenia and Europe into a global blockchain destination”, and also cooperates with the relevant authorities in terms of its legislation. The Slovenian government has also expressed interest in using blockchain for its administration as well as supporting the efforts to make Slovenia the leading blockchain destination in Europe. According to Dejan Roljic, CEO of Eligma, developer of the Elipay system, however, this can take place a lot more effectively by presenting the advantages of this technology not only to converted crypto fans but also to the fiat-using segment:
“Elipay enables crypto payments, but this is only the first step. Soon, it will offer integration of credit and debit cards as well as a universal loyalty program through which the user will be able to manage their personal inventory and be awarded with our ELI tokens. All this will be accessible through the comfort of one’s mobile phone regardless whether one is a crypto or fiat user. In this way, we will offer advantages to every Elipay user in Slovenia and gradually get all of them familiar with crypto even if they have not used it before. Stay tuned, however – Elipay will soon enter the international market in order to help create one big global crypto-friendly destination!”
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