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NYC business owner looking to sell his bars for bitcoin

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Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Patrick Hughes, NYC bar owner, discuss why he wants to sell his businesses for bitcoin.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Another sign that Bitcoin may be going mainstream-- a long-time restaurant owner in New York City is looking to sell his two Manhattan bars for Bitcoin. Patrick Hughes put his side by side bars Scruffy Duffy's and Hellcat Annie's up for sale last month-- got to love those names.

The asking price? 25 Bitcoin, or about $1.3 billion at the current prices. He'd also accept-- million dollars, that is. I don't know if I-- did I say billion? He'd also accept 800 Ethereum tokens, which values the bars at $1.4 million US. Please welcome to the show Patrick Hughes. Patrick--

PATRICK HUGHES: Hi there.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: --good to have you here-- at Scruffy's, we see. You know, a lot of people say--

PATRICK HUGHES: Right.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: --oh, this is a gimmick. He's not for real. But you are. You are really looking to sell these bars for Bitcoin, right?

PATRICK HUGHES: Oh, absolutely. And yeah, it is a little bit of a gimmick because I knew it would attract publicity when I came up with this little scheme at the beginning of the year. I've been trying to get out of this business since before the pandemic. Because I've been doing it so long, I've been doing it for over 30 years as an owner, and I am exhausted.

However, the idea with the Bitcoin, more and more bars-- or not bars. More and more businesses around the world are starting to incorporate Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into their-- maybe their reserves or how they operate. And I thought since the bar and restaurant people are really not in the market to expand, then I might be able to catch some cryptocurrency holders that are trying to legitimize the currency.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, so I think you've been on the market there with those two bars for about six weeks. Have you gotten any offers for folks wanting to buy it with Bitcoin?

PATRICK HUGHES: Absolutely not. I haven't gotten any offers yet for the cryptocurrency. But I've gotten a lot of publicity. And perhaps I helped drive the price of this Bitcoin. When I first placed that-- put this out there, the price of a Bitcoin was 30,000. Now it's 51,000. So I might have to cut the price a little bit. So maybe instead of 25 Bitcoins, perhaps 10 Bitcoins? I don't know. We'll see.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah. Well, it's not just Elon Musk driving up Bitcoin, I guess it's Patrick Hughes as well. Do you own any Bitcoin yourself?

PATRICK HUGHES: That is a great question. And your viewers will be surprised to learn that just this morning, I sold all of my Bitcoin because it hit 51,000, and I got in early. And I just felt like this was a nice time to trade out of the Bitcoin. But then I just immediately traded into the Ethereum. So I'm not out of the cryptocurrency. I just slid from one and added to the other at this time.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Talk to me a little bit more, though, about what business has been like during the pandemic. I know you had to close your bars, both of them, for a while. At least one of them is reopened with all the protocols. But what has business been like? And did you have to let workers go? I'd imagine you did.

PATRICK HUGHES: Oh, absolutely. I had to let-- well, most of the workers are gone. I had three places before the pandemic. And I had 25 employees at the largest of the three places. That place is shuttered for good. So everyone there has lost their job. I took a couple of people over to Hellcat Annie's, but for the most part, we lost-- I had about 50 employees before the pandemic. And now I'm down to, mm, six or seven in total.

But business has been tough. And I got the loans like everybody else. But I didn't use the PPP loans or the emergency loans right away, because there was nothing to open up to. So I waited. I built one of those beautiful outdoor dining sheds, and we're actually doing business. At Hellcat Annie's, we're almost back to pre-pandemic levels with the outdoor. And now with the 25% indoor, I'll be able to keep that place afloat. Scruffy's still remains closed because it's more of a bar, and we're not allowed to sit at the bar yet and this type of thing.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Right. Yeah, you know, if the sale happens with Bitcoin, I believe this would be the first cryptocurrency restaurant sale in the US. So Patrick, how would you feel about making history?

PATRICK HUGHES: Oh, I would feel awesome because I'd like to leave this business at the top of my game and to make a big splash, make a little history, and just go out on top. So I'd like to sell it for Bitcoin. I think it would be awesome.

And it would help to further what I think is the future of currency or transactions in business and life and the world. It's all going to be cryptocurrency eventually. You know, it's just-- it's here, it's coming. And I don't want to be holding US dollars in a few years when inflation rears its ugly head again. Because it's coming.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Hey, Patrick, before we let you go, what would you do with the Bitcoin if you were to sell the bars for the Bitcoin?

PATRICK HUGHES: I would keep it right there in the account and just-- and maybe trade it like I did this morning. But for the most part, I would keep it invested in the cryptocurrencies. And I would be curious to see in five years what the value of the cryptocurrency would be compared to the value of the US dollars, had I accepted for this transaction. I suspect the cryptocurrency is going to be worth much more.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: So if somebody came to you, though, with, like, you know, cash, you know, US dollars, you would still sell the bar, would you not?

PATRICK HUGHES: Yeah, I would. But then I would take that money and I would put it into the crypto account. And it would be, you know, symbolically, I would be selling it for the cryptocurrency. But I guess my point was that it was something new to attract a different type of buyer, get a little publicity, get some-- try to legitimize the currency a little bit. And for the most part, with the exception of actually selling the bars, everything else has worked.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And we're talking, so something's working. All right, Patrick Hughes, best of luck. We're going to follow your story. Come back, OK, when you sell the bars, whatever you sell them for.

PATRICK HUGHES: Thank you.