Faversham bar makes ‘Kent first’ in accepting cryptocurrency payment

A cocktail bar is thought to be the first in Kent to accept payment in cryptocurrency.

Customers at Soirée in Faversham may now pay for their food and drinks using certain types of currency, including the much-talked about Bitcoin.

Oliver Branson-Cole behind the bar at Soiree in Faversham. Picture: Oliver Branson-Cole

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that only exists in the online world, rather than in the form of physical coins and notes.

A key reason for its popularity is the fact that it is not at the whim of political upheaval or stored within the confines of one financial institution; its popularity is entirely in the hands of the people.

Cryptocurrency is currently a hot topic, with many canny investors having seen huge returns on their investments.

In a bid to stay ahead of the curve, Faversham bar owner Oliver Branson-Cole has decided to start accepting cryptocurrency as payment for food and drinks at his Preston Street business.

As of this week, Soirée now accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, and Mr Branson-Cole hopes to open to other currencies in future.

Soiree cocktail bar in Faversham is now accepting payment in cryptocurrency. Picture: Oliver Branson-Cole
Soiree cocktail bar in Faversham is now accepting payment in cryptocurrency. Picture: Oliver Branson-Cole

The former Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School pupil, who lives in Faversham with his partner and baby girl, first invested in cryptocurrency at the start of lockdown.

“I’ve got a lot of friends that are into it,” the 33-year-old explained. “I just started doing basic research on the internet and downloaded various apps on my phone and desktop.

“I’m still learning – I probably only know 10% of what there is to know about crypto.”

For those wishing to pay at Soirée using cryptocurrency, the process is as simple as scanning a QR-style code on tables or at the bar, using a mobile phone.

Mr Branson-Cole says while Soirée is “not the first” establishment to accept cryptocurrency, he believes it is the first in Kent to do so.

Soiree cocktail bar in Faversham is accepting cryptocurrency. Picture: Oliver Branson-Cole
Soiree cocktail bar in Faversham is accepting cryptocurrency. Picture: Oliver Branson-Cole

“I’ve always been a bit innovative,” he said.

“I think that this potentially could be part of the future in finance – being able to purchase things with a decentralised currency.”

“There’s quite a big buzz at the moment around cryptocurrency and I don’t think it’s reached its peak.

“I think people like things that are new and innovative, and some people just like to be part of that story – that journey.

“I’ve already paid for a couple of my own drinks using it, just to test the process and and make sure it’s seamless.

“I’m now just waiting to have my first crypto-customer.”

As for whether he feels other small businesses are likely to follow suit, Mr Branson-Cole says “time will tell”.

“I like to be optimistic,” he said. “I’d say it’s not far off, but it’s anyone’s guess.

“The sooner the better. We’re just jumping ahead and giving it a try.”

Read: What is cryptocurrency? Is it still worth investing it, and what risks are involved?

Read more: All the latest news from Faversham