Restaurant takes bitcoin because of 'freedom,' 'optimism'

At first glance, La Sirène looks like any other cozy French restaurant, complete with escargot. But this new Upper West Side eatery accepts cash, check, American Express, and a powerful yet controversial form of currency known as bitcoin.

The owner Didier Pawlicki is the consummate host as well as a savvy entrepreneur. He also owns a restaurant by the same name downtown where he has accepted bitcoin for about four years now.

Pawlicki said he came to America for freedom and that bitcoin is a "form of freedom." He called it "better than gold."

"Bitcoin is a digital currency that exists on the internet and also a payment network that allows anyone anywhere to near-instantaneously send money just like you send an email," said Andreas Antonopoulos, the author of Mastering Bitcoin.

"Well, bitcoin is regulated by mathematics and is an internet-based protocol," he added. "There is some risk. It's not easy to use, it's still in its early days so it's mostly technical people who are using it but it's getting easier all the time."

Bitcoin is still not easy to understand. After all, its value can fluctuate wildly but that is why Didier said one must have patience and the right attitude to use it profitably. He said, "success is a journey" and that one must be optimistic.