Tilman Fertitta has found his first Bitcoin buyer. Less than two weeks after announcing that his car dealership, Post Oak Motor Cars, would accept the popular cryptocurrency for the purchase of a Rolls Royce, Bentley, or Bugatti, a local businessman has stepped up to turn his coins into a car.
On September 17, Ken Bridge, the owner of local restaurant group Delicious Concepts (Ritual, Ready Room, Blackbird Izakaya, etc), used a portion of his bitcoin holdings to purchase a Bentley Continental GT. He appears to be the first person in the country to use cryptocurrency to purchase a vehicle from a dealership.
“I have always had tremendous respect for Tilman and all that he has accomplished, and I wanted to demonstrate my support towards his pioneering efforts,” Bridge said in a statement. “Blockchain and crypto are undoubtedly the technologies of the future, and I applaud Tilman for making massive strives in Bitcoin consumerism.”
Although the purchase price was not disclosed, Bridge tells CultureMap that his decision to invest in Bitcoin years ago means his cost in dollars is much lower than if he had paid for the car in cash. Although one coin is currently worth about $6,300 (down from its high late last year of almost $20,000), Bridge's early investments at lower valuations have paid off.
"The first time I ever purchased bitcoin I bought in at $648 per unit," Bridge says. He later bought another block at a little over $1,200.
"I try to take advantage of when Bitcoin is at low ends to buy different blocks," Bridge explains. Later, he adds, "I think that paints a pretty good picture of the advantages of [this method] of purchase."
In fact, Bridge has become so enamored with cryptocurrencies that he's developed a new restaurant point-of-sale system that utilizes blockchain technology and its own coins. Dubbed Roobee, the system pairs with an app that allows users to order dishes from their phones. With each purchase, users earn a certain amount of Roobee Coin that they can redeem for goods and services at merchants on the platform. Ultimately, Bridge plans to let Roobee Coin holders trade them on cryptocurrency exchanges, which means the coins someone gets for purchasing gyoza at Blackbird Izakaya could someday be worth enough to buy a whole dinner at Ritual — or maybe even a luxury automobile.
“Still today, most people remain unaware of the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and the global impact they will have on all of us in the very near future,” Bridge added in the release.
That awareness grows with each major purchase, especially one as splashy as something off the Post Oak Motor Cars showroom floor.