An outdoor attraction near Sutton Coldfield has become the UK’s first leisure site to offer cryptocurrency payments.
NPF (National Paintball Fields) Bassetts Pole in London Road says it has become the first leisure company in the country to offer payments with the new digital assets, starting with Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple XRP.
Cryptocurrencies are a type of electronic cash, which do not physically exist, but can be invested in, traded or used for payment. They are seeing a growth in popularity and prices are linked to the current exchange rate against the pound.
NPF Bassetts Pole says it is the first in the leisure industry to offer such payments and follows a bigger move to cashless payments during the coronavirus pandemic.
The adventure park, tucked away in fields behind a McDonald’s and Harvester pub, offers activities including paintball, outdoor laser tag shooting, quad trekking, inflatable action games, axe throwing and target sports including rifle and pistol shooting. The company has a history as a gun-maker and has a Peaky Blinder-themed Peaky Pistols.
And after a tough year during the pandemic with many months of closure, the company is looking to entice customers with a new payment option.
Operations manager, Kerry Mayo, said: “We’ve always been a forward-thinking company keen to embrace new technology and also react to customer’s wishes.
“We have seen a growing popularity with customers wishing to pay digitally, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“More people pay by phone using things like Apple Pay and not with cash or a card.
“And the surge in contactless, phone and new technology payments has led to us introducing a new option for customers to pay for their adventure experiences using crypto currencies.
“We see NPF taking payment via crypto as a natural progression.”
NPF Bassetts Pole closed on March 20 last year days before the first lockdown was announced. It opened in July but had to close again with the second lockdown at the beginning of November.
The site has been open since March 29 – having the advantage of being an outdoor adventure park – opening two weeks before pubs and restaurants could welcome back customers outside.
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Kerry said: “It’s great. We are extremely busy with lots of bookings coming in.
“The bonus for us is we are a huge outdoor venue.
“We are lucky to have been open since March 29. It was nice and steady but is now picking up.
“We have 18 different activities.
“Before Covid we could have a couple of hundred people here for paint-balling.
“We have had to reduce our capacity and have small private games for people.”
Kerry added: “We are also a stag and hen venue and thought we wouldn’t get that back this year.
“But we offer adventure camping and a lot of stag and hen parties have booked with us.
“We have a huge woodland venue and can have private groups in bubbles. Once you are here they are not a lot of areas where people are integrating, which makes it easier.”