On Thursday, December 14, the first clothing store that will accept bitcoins opened in Costa Rica.

Felipe Kirsch (white shirt) and Luis Araujo, owners and representatives of the UV.Line clothing store in Costa Rica. Foto de Melissa Fernández Silva, La Nacion

Felipe Kirsch, representative of the Brazilian UV.Line franchise in Costa Rica, explained that it is the first company in Latin America to produce sunscreen and the first in our country to accept cryptocurrency.

“For being such an innovative company, and I am particularly keen on bitcoin, thus we had the idea of starting to accept it in Costa Rica, giving people having bitcoins the possibility to spend them,” Kirsch explained.

He added that at the moment they only accept bitcoins. The store uses Copay to accept the cryptocurrency.

Costa Rica’s Central Banks warns of the risks of using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. In a statement last October, the Central Bank warned those who acquire digital currencies such as Bitcoin, do so at their own risk, as they are not backed by the entity.

In addition to the clothing store, in Costa Rica Crservers also accepts bitcoins as a means of payment, explained Otto Mora, representative of the bitcoin community in Costa Rica.

Globally, companies such as Microsoft, Virgin Galactic and Tesla, among others, accept the bitcoin as a means of payment, according to a list published by the site steemit.com.

What is a bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. It is the first decentralized digital currency, as the system works without a central bank or single administrator.  The network is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly through the use of cryptography, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009.

Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment.

What is the exchange rate for Bitcoin to Colones?

Today,  (December 16) 1 Bitcoin equals ¢10,317,666 Colones.

Is Bitcoin legal tender in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica’s Central Bank explains that the Ley Orgánica del Banco Central, in its articles from 42 to 51, establishes the Colon as the monetary unit of Costa Rica. Likewise, the law designates the Central Bank as the sole issuer of the bills and coins in circulation and establishes the unlimited liberating power of the Colon to liquidate all kinds of pecuniary obligations, both public and private.

Due to the above, Bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrencies do not have the backing of the Central Bank of Costa Rica. Likewise, since they are not issued by a foreign central bank, they can not be considered as currency or foreign currency under the exchange regime, which is why they are not covered by the security offered by the exchange intermediation or the free convertibility of the currency, enshrined in articles 48 and 49 of the Ley Orgánica del Banco Central, according to the entity.

In addition, the Central Bank makes it clear, “Any financial entity that, for whatever reason, is directly or indirectly involved in the commercialization or use of any nature of these digital assets with its customers, said operation will be carried out under its own account and risk, as well as that of its customers.”

Sources: La Nacion; Wikipedia; Google