Meltdown Comics in Hollywood made history today by being the first comic book store to accept Bitcoin. While some comics are sold online for bitcoin, no brick and mortar stores currently support it. General Manager Francisco Dominguez and his staff were giddy with excitement to conduct their first transaction.
I used Blockchain on my iphone to buy Daniel Clowes’s Death Ray book. Francisco rang up the order on a tablet using BitPay. It was a smooth transaction, and a bit later I bought some stuff from his employee, who was super psyched to take a bitcoin order. I got a Black Business Protection Lucky Cat vinyl figure, Adventure Time Mathematical Vol 3, and some strawberry Yan Yan. That also went seamlessly.
Los Angeles doesn’t have many places that take bitcoin, and Meltdown reaches a pretty broad audience. Most of the places here are service based (car insurance, plastic surgery, dentistry), while Meltdown has an irresistible product selection spanning books, games, toys, and even Japanese snacks. It’s a pop culture mecca, and people from all over come by to visit the fantastic artwork housed within.
Spelunk.in: For readers who haven’t visited Meltdown before, tell us a bit about the store.
Francisco: Meltdown opened in 1993 and has since become one of the most respected comic book stores in the world and a mecca for all things comic book, comedy, podcasting, product mix as well as a reputation for hosting successful events in their Gallery and NerdMelt Showroom. We are a must-see pop culture destination in LA. Please stop by, we accept BitCoin.
Spelunk.in: Why did Bitcoin draw your interest?
Francisco: I started to hear about Bitcoins a couple years back, just little chatter here and there. I followed it around for a bit until I met with Pinguino Kolb (long time customer/friend) who answered some of the questions I had, which are the standard for anyone running a business. Is it legit? How does it work? etc.
We at Meltdown like technology and like to move with it when possible. The thought of some magical money that’s not being spent and that I can accept to sell product was mindblowing. So it was a no brainer that i had to jump on this new currency.
Spelunk.in: What impact do you see Bitcoin having on the comic book community?
Francisco: Hopefully some, any would help at this moment. Brick and Mortar / Mom and Pop shops are closing as digital takes over paper print. Hopefully this new way of bringing revenue in to a business will help keep them/us alive.
Spelunk.in: What incentives do Bitcoin users have to spend at Meltdown?
Francisco: We’ll be the only comic book shop accepting Bitcoin. Down the line Bitcoin customers will start receiving special discounts, offers, swag, online shop, events, and more.
Spelunk.in: Would bitcoin be a good fit for artists looking into micropayments?
Francisco: Definitely a good fit for artist, hopefully with our structure they will pick up on it and generate more Bitcoin users.
Spelunk.in: Are you worried about risk attached to volatility of the currency?
Francisco: I just hope it keeps going up, cha ching@!
Francisco had been keeping an eye on Bitcoin for several months, gaining more confidence in the currency. At the start of the new year, I got a message saying “Bitcoin? Let’s do this.” He trained his staff on the merchant platform, and readied himself to field questions from customers. The first one was about how he determined how much a bitcoin was worth. Luckily, BitPay has a page that answers that (it’s calculated from the various exchanges in US/Europe). As Francisco studied Bitcoin, his passion for it grew. He currently plans to keep some bitcoin from sales, and not convert everything to fiat.
Meltdown is a great addition to the Los Angeles Bitcoin community. Their passion and excitement for the currency is infectious.
7522 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90046
Open everyday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
New Comics Wednesday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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edit 1/31: We erroneously reported that Francisco was the owner, but changed it to general manager.