Two friends are going dutch, with one scanning a QR code with his phone to facilitate a transfer of funds — but this is not an exchange of Singapore dollars over the PayNow or PayLah! platforms. Rather, what has exchanged hands is Bitcoin, traded over a programme known as Bitcoin Lightning — a payment protocol to facilitate rapid Bitcoin exchange. 

Recent debates about Bitcoin have typically framed the digital asset as a commodity for investment or even speculation. What most people forget, however, is that Bitcoin was initially created as a means of exchange. It was originally devised to rival traditional central bank-issued currencies for day-to-day exchange, with hopes of reducing payment fees and facilitating decentralised transactions. 

It was precisely this reason that drove serial entrepreneur Jamie Lim to adopt the use of Bitcoin in his business. The founder of Korean joint Joo Bar alongside wife Kristin, as well as the mastermind behind the iconic Sticky hard candy, Lim was frustrated by the accumulating transaction fees from conventional payment systems. All his businesses accept Bitcoin as payment, which he says allows for near zero-cost transactions. 

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