The digital currency Bitcoin was used to pay for a baby born in a frozen embryo cycle, causing a fertility specialist to proclaim: “This baby was bought with bitcoins.”
Dr. C. Terence Lee of California flashed an image of the baby on a projection screen and made the announcement, reported CNN Money on Monday.
“I thought it was interesting — people supporting it as a way for the common man to take back hold of finance,” Lee told the network. “I was like, ‘OK, let me support them.’ And then I became part of them.”
Lee’s clinic has a sign saying he accepts the digital currency. “We see 10 to 40 patients a day, and nobody even bothered to ask what the sign meant,” he told CNN.
He then made it a personal quest to find a patient who want to pay him only in Bitcoins, placing an ad on social media website Reddit after having no luck.
Later, he found a couple who wanted to conceive a fourth child.
“They said, ‘Dr. Lee, we don’t understand this Bitcoin thing,’ but bless their hearts, they were willing to play along out of loyalty,” he added. “I offered them a 50% discount.”
Bitcoins are notably volatile. In April, one Bitcoin could get $200 but in June, the currency has dropped to around $100, according to MSN Money.
Bitcoin has developed a kind of shady reputation, used only by drug dealers and pornography purveyors, namely due to the “Silk Road” website.
The digital currency was launched in 2009 by programmer who used the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The currency does not depend on a bank and is said to be the electronic equivalent of the paper dollar.
The current supply for Bitcoins is at 11 million and programmers said the currency will reach a fixed supply of 21 million by 2140.
And due to the nature of the currency, some have believed that Bitcoin transactions are totally anonymous. However, Jeff Garzick, the founder of Bitcoin Watch, said that “when they claim that Bitcoins are anonymous or untraceable, in fact the opposite is true.”