This shoemaker in Barcelona sees a crypto future for artisans


Tiago Maximo’s grandparents were shepherds. They word solid, handmade boots into the fields, trudging through dry grass and mud, over rutted country roads and through barnyards. He brought that tradition – handmade boots for people who appreciate quality – to his business, Urban Shepherd – where sources boots from Portugal to sell to customers in Barcelona and all over the world.

But Tiago has a problem, a problem that plagues many small business owners. The banks and credit card terminals charge him too much to make even a small profit on his boots. The result? He has to charge more just to stay in business. In other words, he’s surviving, not yet thriving.

Maximo sat down with us in Barcelona last month to talk about his boots, his problems, and how he sees cryptocurrencies as one way forward for his fledgling business. He isn’t optimistic right now – the speed just isn’t there for him to pay his suppliers on the blockchain – but even in this out-of-the-way little shop in Barcelona’s Old Town, Bitcoin is getting a fair shake.

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