Have you ever paid for your coffee with bitcoin? **Bitcoin Coffee of Paralelní Polis is a bitcoin-only coffee laboratory serving superior tasting coffee that reflects on the flavor profile and unique character of every variety and the influence of the environment in which the coffee grew.
Blockchain’s initial exposure to Bitcoin Coffee and Paralelní Polis was last October, when our Security Engineer, Kristov Atlas, visited the space to give a presentation on currencies and fungibility. For Kristov, it was really interesting to see bitcoin so vibrantly in action, and he described the building to be filled with “a very technologically sophisticated and artistic group of people.”
Continue reading for our interview with Jakub Sabata of Paralelní Polis.
What is the inspiration behind the Bitcoin Café? After we (Paralelní Polis) rented an old factory building in Prague, we knew we needed a place where the outside world could learn about new technologies like crypto-currency and experience our concept for a collaborative environment, so we dedicated one floor to our café for people usually meet and chat. Though it was originally meant as a place for the community inside the building, more and more people are coming in from the street. It’s such a thrill to observe the baristas explaining to customers that they can’t pay with cash, then showing them how to buy bitcoin!
**What makes you get up early or stay up late to do what is generally considered to be some of the hardest work out there? ** We just love coffee, especially speciality coffee. We are a group of like-minded people and a lot of our customers have become our friends over time. It’s not that hard if you do what you love with great people.
**What is your vision at Bitcoin Coffee at Paralelni Polis? **Everybody who comes through our door notices that we are not a regular café. A machine to buy bitcoin, a 3D printer, no cash register, nobody in uniform or apron, and a huge communal wooden bar in the middle will impress you in the first few seconds. Everything is super casual and as friendly as it can be. And we accept only bitcoin.
We inverted the principle of a regular café and made it open-source. We did not buy any of the tables, chairs or counter. We built them ourselves. The café is the meeting point from people from Paralelní Polis – the crossroad for all the phenomena that takes place in the building. It’s an open environment for all the geeks, art buffs, bitcoin enthusiasts, and coffee lovers, of course.
Can you explain the story behind your name, Paraleni Polis? Paralelní Polis, or Parallel Polis, was founded about year and half ago by an art group called Ztohoven as a 3D printing lab, bitcoin-only café, co-working space and as a home of Institute of crypto-anarchy. Our aim is to explore new tools for unlimited dissemination of information, encourage a parallel decentralized economy, cryptocurrencies, 3D printing and other new technologies for the development of a free society in 21st century outside of traditional state concept. The name itself comes from Czech political thinker and dissident, Václav Benda, who described underground culture, economy, samizdat and so on during the totalitarian communist regime in Czech Republic as a parallel polis or parallel state.
**What has been the greatest struggle in opening and maintaining your bitcoin-friendly business? ** I don’t think that there was a struggle we could not overcome, so far. We try our best to explain to our customers as to why we only accept bitcoin; it seems that they get it and even support us a lot. We have issued hundreds of bitcoin NFC cards so far. Our biggest challenge right now is to persuade our suppliers to accept bitcoin so we could close the bitcoin economy circle and abandon fiat money for good.
What are your favorite items on the menu? Our coffee is pretty freaking great. (Smiles) Drips, Aeropress or espresso-based drinks from Bonanza Coffee – that’s what keeps the whole building going.
What do you eat when no one is looking? Denisa, our head barista, makes delicious cakes everyday. My personal favourite is Míša – it’s cheesecake inspired by famous Czech ice cream, or any fruitcake.
What’s next for the business? We want to keep preaching the cryptocurrency evangelism, keep making the best coffee we can, build bitcoin ecosystem abound Parallel Polis and try to be the best place in Czech Republic to learn about bitcoin. It’s our hope that other cafés near by will join us in using bitcoin as a way to accept payments for coffee in the near future.
Every Thursday from 7 PM to 8 PM, Bitcoin Coffee invites you to its coffee or tea cuppings.
Address: Dělnická 43, Prague 7 (tram Dělnická or Maniny)
Website: Bitcoin Coffee
Hours: Mon-Fri from 8AM – 8PM; Sat-Sun from 10AM– 8PM.
You can give us the scoop on an awesome new merchant via our Merchant Map in our Android wallet, or if you’re a merchant who accepts bitcoin you can also add your business to our map through Blockchain Merchant on iOS.