Elegant, a Flemish green energy company, becomes the first in Belgium to accept bitcoin payments.
Thanks to a partnership with BitPay, Elegant, a green energy company based in the Northern Belgian region of Flanders, can now accept payment in bitcoins. The company is the first to offer such a service in Belgium. The decision was taken after requests from the customers.
One of those, speaking to Coindesk, said it was a step towards his goal – “to live without a bank account as soon as possible”. He named two other Belgian services that accept and promote cryptocurrency, the mobile phone operator Mobile Vikings and pizza.be, an online pizza delivery service.
The goal of Elegant is to promote the use of local green energy. It claims that if multinationals were to be pushed back, it would not only benefit the environment, but lower energy prices as well. The company recognizes that green energy has to be subsidized by the government to be competitive but hopes it can change in the future if more people support green energy now.
Currently, the organization supplies 30,000 households and medium-sized businesses. It hopes it can “gradually become a significant player in Flemish energy”. The site has no version in English or French (second official language of Belgium) and does not offer services to the French-speaking or bilingual parts of Belgium.
The price of the services is not fixed. It depends on current market prices for energy. According to Elegant, it is cheaper because a fixed rate includes a margin that safeguards suppliers from fluctuations. To pay with bitcoins, a user needs just to inform the company and he will receive a BitPay link with his monthly invoices. According to the company CEO Maarten de Cuyper, two payments have been already made in bitcoins.
Bitcoin enthusiasts have been looking for ways to pay household bills in bitcoin at least since 2012, according to a thread on Bitcointalk. Multiple ways were devised but energy companies that accept payment in bitcoins are few. The first such energy supplier was BAS Nederland, a Dutch green energy company that started accepting bitcoins in March 2014.