NEW YORK (Reuters) – Patrick Hughes has put his two side-by-side bars in New Yorkâ€™s Hellâ€™s Kitchen, Hellcat Annieâ€™s and Scruffy Duffyâ€™s, up for sale – for 25 bitcoins or 800 Ethereum tokens, now worth up to $1.12 million.
He listed the bars in the western Manhattan neighborhood – which like other eating and drinking establishments have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic – for sale in early January.
â€œThis would be a good time for somebody young, fresh blood to get in here and go for it, like I did when I was 26 years old and opened my first place,â€� Hughes said in an interview. â€œNow Iâ€™m 56, and maybe itâ€™s time for somebody else, because I am tired.â€�
A niche investment only few years ago, bitcoin has became the worldâ€™s most popular cryptocurrency.
Last year, it rose 304% in value, prompting investment banks to predict more future gains. JPMorgan Chase said it would reach $146,000, while Citigroup said bitcoin could hit $318,000.
Bitcoin is currently trading at nearly $36,000 apiece, putting the price for Hellcat Annieâ€™s and Scruffy Duffyâ€™s at nearly $900,000. Paying 800 tokens of the second biggest cryptocurrency, Ethereum, would make it nearly $1.12 million.
Hughes said he has had â€œa number of inquiries,â€� but not for a bitcoin deal, and said he would also consider selling the bars for dollars.
â€œPerhaps we will ceremoniously add one bitcoin to the deal, you know, just to kind of top it off,â€� Hughes said.
He closed both bars in March as the pandemic began battering New York. In November, Hughes reopened Hellcat Annieâ€™s with an outdoor dining area that brings in enough business to support the establishment even with indoor dining shut down.
He uses Scruffy Duffyâ€™s to store furniture removed from Hellcat Annieâ€™s.
Before the pandemic, the bars had a combined staff of 50 people. Now itâ€™s about five.
Hughes said COVID-19 had not hurt his personal finances badly. â€œI was fortunate enough to have saved my money over the years,â€� Hughes said. â€œAnd Iâ€™ve been able to weather the storm.â€�
He said he has one bitcoin. â€œItâ€™s fun to watch it,â€� he said. â€œAnd weâ€™ll see what happens in the future. But cryptocurrency is the future.â€�
(This story corrects spelling of Ethereum in paragraphs 1 and 6)
Reporting by Aleksandra Michalska; Writing by Jonathan Oatis; Editing by Rosalba Oâ€™Brien
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