Ever since Michael Cargill’s gun shop started accepting Bitcoin sales have been through the roof. Gun owners who don’t want to rely on banks to make financial transactions are turning to Bitcoin for both security and privacy.
Forbes put together a great video on this man’s gun shop and why he started accepting Bitcoin.
In January, Cargill’s Austin firearm shop and training center Central Texas Gunworks began accepting Bitcoin as an alternative to dollars for all sales, making his store the first legal Bitcoin-friendly firearm retail business in the country, if not the world. He also sells guns for Bitcoin online, opening up his business to bitcoiners around the country. And he’s even installed a Bitcoin ATM in the store’s front room that allows anyone to instantly trade dollars for Bitcoin or vice versa, only the second machine of its kind in the U.S.
Unlike the black market sites that have used Bitcoin to protect the identity of gun traders, Cargill makes clear there’s nothing anonymous about buying a gun with Bitcoin in his store. He still requires the same paperwork and background check that he would of any buyer. Even online buyers can only have firearms shipped to a nearby gun store where the same legal process applies.
Instead of evading the law, he says that accepting Bitcoin was more of an ideological decision, tying together his libertarian opposition to regulations on firearms and finance. “I stand in front of my [self-defense] classes and tell them this is about their personal protection. This is about taking their on personal protection into their own hands,” Cargill says. “It’s the same thing for Bitcoin. It’s about taking that financial responsibility upon yourself and controlling your finances yourself, and not depending on the banking systems who are too big to fail.”
Cargill’s enthusiasm for Bitcoin, which he processes along with the alternative cryptocurrency Litecoin through the payment processor Coinvoice, has certainly helped his sales. While only 5% of his sales are actually paid in Bitcoin, but he says actual dollar says have jumped 50% as visits to the store have spiked, in part due to visitors who want to use his Bitcoin ATM. ”It’s pushed us into a busy season,” he says.
It’s also pushed Cargill into opening an e-commerce business. After announcing that he’d accept Bitcoin, enough customers asked to buy remotely that he felt compelled to start selling on the Web. “I never wanted to sell guns online,” he says. “Once we accepted Bitcoin, I was inundated with emails and phone calls…We had no choice but to put them on the website.”
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