MOUNT SAVAGE, Md. (AP) — The Iron?Rail Diner is the only business in the area that is now accepting a cryptocurrency known as a Dogecoin.
The restaurant has been accepting Dogecoin since April 4 and it wasn't long before the word went viral and several cryptocurrency miners traveled to Mount Savage to spend their hard-earned Dogecoins, according to Iron Rail co-owner Terry Linn II.
Linn thought locals might be attracted to the idea of Dogecoin since it's a sponsor of NASCAR.
"The way I feel is that for us, it's the same as a credit card but it eliminates a lot of the fees," said Linn. "I feel they will be valuable in a couple of years down the road."
A Dogecoin is a Litecoin-derived cryptocurrency featuring a Shiba Inu from the Doge Internet meme on its logo. Dogecoin community, as well as members of other cryptocurrency communities, use the phrase "To the moon!" to describe the overall sentiment of the coin's rising value.
Tym Holwager, a former Frostburg resident who now lives in?Hagerstown, drove by the restaurant?April 4 and noticed the sign in the window stating that Dogecoins are now accepted. Holwager, who is a cryptocurrency miner, took a picture of the sign and posted it online to Reddit, where Dogecoin has its user base, and the post went viral.
Jared Gorby of Morgantown, W.Va., saw Holwager's post on Reddit and the next day, with his brother in tow, he traveled to the restaurant to make his first in-person purchase with?Dogecoins.
"Before this, I had only ever spent Dogecoins online to purchase fine-grade sea salts, as well as commemorative copper and silver minted Dogecoins, so this was the first opportunity I had to spend the coins in person," said Gorby.
Holwager had a pizza delivered paying for it by using his tablet and the QR code from the sign.?Holwager paid Ð13,000 in Dogecoin, which equals $8 in U.S. currency. Gorby paid Ð32,000, which was equal to $20, for a chopped steak with onions and mushrooms, a Big Chief hamburger with french fries and applesauce as well as an appetizer of batter-fried mushrooms and two fountain Dr. Peppers.
Dogecoins can be used to buy goods and services, or can be traded for other cryptocurrencies or traditional currency like U.S. dollars. Dogecoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin are all interchangeable virtual currencies that can be sent all over the world very quickly with very low fees, said Holwager.
In order to use Dogecoin, an online desktop or mobile wallet is needed. Miners who wish to purchase food at the Iron Rail Diner can scan the QR Code with their smartphone/tablet to get a key code and the Dogecoin can be transferred from wallet to wallet, according to Linn. If Linn wanted to trade Dogecoins in for cash he would have to get a merchant service.
"Mining cryptocurrency, in laymen's terms, involves making your computer solve math problems. When a problem is solved, the computer that solved the problem is rewarded a certain amount of the currency (25 Bitcoins, 50 Litecoins and 250,000 Dogecoins, currently)," said Holwager. "So, the more powerful your computer is the more chance your computer will solve a math problem faster than all the other computers working on the problem."
Both Holwager and Gorby have been mining Dogecoin since January.
"The incredibly friendly community behind Dogecoin is what got me supporting and mining Doge," said Gorby. "The Dogecoin community is truly the friendliest, most sincere place I have ever found on the Internet."
Gorby plans on returning to the Iron Rail Diner with several friends.
"My friends seem to be most curious as to how and why merchants should take Doge, and I think the best way is to just show them," said Gorby.
Holwager has been a Bitcoin miner since 2011.
"The main difference be-tween Bitcoin and Dogecoin are in terms of rarity. There will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins in existence, with about 12 million already mined up and in circulation," said Holwager. "Once the 21st millionth Bitcoin is mined up (130 years from now) there will be no more created."
Holwager also noted that Dogecoin is more user friendly than?Bitcoin for those who aren't as tech savvy.
There are several ways to acquire Dogecoins; by far, the most popular is for tipping fellow Internet-goers who are creating or sharing great content, according to the Dogecoin website.
Dogecoin was created by programmer Billy Markus from Portland and was introduced?Dec. 8, 2013.
For more information on how to use Dogecoins, visit http://dogecoin.com/get-started.
Information from: Cumberland (Md.) Times-News, http://www.times-news.com/timesnew.html