With over 40 locations across the globe, Vinci Hair Clinics are renowned as leaders and innovators in the hair restoration industry. The company’s forward-thinking attitude and desire to deliver the best possible service extends far beyond providing state of the art hair loss treatments though. This is exemplified by their decision to accept payments of the digital currency Bitcoin.
A Milestone in Medical Care Payments
The 18th of December 2013 marked an important milestone for Vinci when they became the first medical clinic and first hair transplant clinic in the world to accept Bitcoin payments for their services. The client was a 32-year-old, who travelled from the Middle East to Vinci’s flagship Harley Street facility to undergo hair transplant surgery. He paid 11.538461 BTC, at the time, the equivalent of $6,000 or around $96,000 at today’s exchange rate.
Why Vinci Said “Yes” to Bitcoin
The growing interest in Bitcoin payments became increasingly obvious to Vinci around November 2013. At that time, there was a surge in enquiries which was likely related to Bitcoin’s strength compared to other currencies. The clinic have seen rising demand for this payment option since 2017, and in 2019, they received double the number of enquiries than in 2018.
Vinci Hair Clinic’s CEO Salvar Bjornsson explains that the company’s early adoption of Bitcoin was a natural progression. They were driven by their desire to be amongst the first to offer this service and to satisfy the existing client demand. Since the clinic already accepted ten currencies, implementing another to satisfy customer demand was a straight-forward process.
The Advantages of Bitcoin Payments
One of the primary benefits of Bitcoin for Vinci customers and the company is its convenience. Payments made using this method are processed virtually with no third party intermediaries, which means that funds can be sent instantly from and to anywhere in the world. As many of Vinci’s clients travel from other countries for treatment, it is essential for the company to be able to receive funds in a timely manner. Bitcoin resolves an issue that the clinic had faced in the past, when clients had to cancel their treatment due to unexpected delays when sending funds internationally via traditional banking systems. It will be particularly helpful to clients based in countries such as Venezuela and Argentina, where international financial transactions are placed under strict limitation. The avoidance of third party fund processing also means that many clients using Bitcoin will enjoy lower administration/transfer costs. Bitcoin also has the advantage of being completely anonymous. Since the decision to get hair restoration work done tends to be a very personal one, some clients prefer to maintain their privacy and this method allows them to do that, by attaching no personal details to the payment.
Ground-breaking Bitcoin Purchases
At its $96,000 value of today, Vinci’s first Bitcoin transaction would be the most expensive hair transplant ever performed. Vinci’s place as the first medical clinic to accept Bitcoin goes down in the record-books alongside the first ever purchase made with the currency – pizza. This took place on 22nd May 2010, when programmer Laszlo Hanyecz spent 10,000BTC on two pizzas, which was valued at approximately $30. His aim was to provide that the currency was a viable alternative to the existing options and it seems he has proved his point. At today’s exchange rate, the same amount of Bitcoin is valued at nearly $80,000,000.