PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. - Two Prairie Village attorneys just may be the first business people in the metro area to accept the cyber currency Bitcoin.
The attorneys recently started accepting the digital currency from clients as an alternate means of payment.
It's a person-to-person exchange that occurs without the involvement of a bank worldwide.
"It will pay us to our eWallet in Bitcoins. It's just that easy," John Kennyhertz said, holding up his smartphone with his QR code - his account number - on the screen.
The digital form of currency was created in 2009 by an anonymous Internet user who goes by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto.
Nakamoto created a limited set of complicated codes - a computation theory - that has value simply because people believe it does.
Braden Perry said he has to do a lot of convincing to skeptics.
"I don't think it's any more imaginary than believing in a piece of paper that costs what the U.S. dollar is," he said.
"You probably transact business over the internet all the time," Kennyhertz added, "and you don't actually use paper money but you still believe the transaction took place and in reality it did."
Bitcoins can be used to buy merchandise anonymously, which has drawn many criminals to the site.
International payments are fast and cheap because Bitcoins are not tied to any country or subject to regulation.
The two law partners, who do international business, said they believe they will get more business because of their willingness to take Bitcoin as payment.
Large companies who are starting to accept it are also driving up its value.
Overstock.com just began taking Bitcoin last week, partly because there are no expensive transaction fees.
In its first 90 minutes of sales, the site received 150 orders and pulled in 780 Bitcoin sales worth $127,000 in 21 hours.
In November, the U.S. Department of Justice recognized it as a legal means of exchange and now the local law office is hopping on board.
Its value for investors fluctuates wildly, but Forbes recently reported it would have been a great investment in 2013. Forbes reports a $100 investment in January of 2013 would be worth $5,000 a year later.
Bitcoin may be unusual now, but the two attorneys said they believe it will be common in the future.
"When you see large publicly-traded companies accepting Bitcoin so they can transact business worldwide without worrying about different banks and currency exchanges and delays, I think in five years it will be pretty common," Kennyhertz said.