Dr. Norman Rowe, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss why more plastic surgeons are accepting crytpocurrency as a form of payment.
ZACK GUZMAN: Well, Tesla and Elon Musk might still be waiting for a return to accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment again for Teslas. But exactly the opposite is playing out right now in the medical field. Doctors are increasingly accepting crypto as a form of payment for everything from beauty products to medical procedures. Yes, even accepting Bitcoin for Botox.
And for more on that trend, happy to bring on Dr. Norman Rowe, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York, who also now accepts Bitcoin. And doctor, for starters, I guess, how did this all come about? You know, what sparked the call to start accepting Bitcoin over cash?
NORMAN ROWE: You know, first of all, thank you both for having me. Sorry about that. Thank you both for having me on your show. I’m very excited. I love your show, by the way. Why did we start? It was overwhelming demand. I mean, I– it’s kind of the same way that Elon Musk– not that I’m comparing myself to Elon Musk, but there was a need. And so we filled it.
We had patients who asked– I mean, we take credit card, checks, cash, or whatever. And they asked do we take Bitcoin. So we obliged them and said yeah. I mean, it’s convenient for us. It’s convenient for them. And we stay– we have to stay there. So we offer it to our patients and give it to them. And it was overwhelming demand, and we gave it to them.
AKIKO FUJITA: And so if you break down the forms of payment right now for the services you offer, what percentage would you say is in crypto?
NORMAN ROWE: 5% to 10%.
AKIKO FUJITA: And when you talk about the demand–
NORMAN ROWE: 5% to 10%.
AKIKO FUJITA: 5% to 10%. Obviously, you see much more demand–
NORMAN ROWE: Yeah, sorry.
AKIKO FUJITA: –going on the back of that. So how significant do you think the upside is?
NORMAN ROWE: I think that the upside is going to go nowhere but up. I mean, it’s going to do nothing but increase. If you think about it, look what happened just a couple of days ago with just yesterday, Elon Musk. I said he– or there was actually a podcast where some economists were saying that eventually the Bitcoin is going to be at the same cash basis as the US economy. And so, I mean, if you believe that, then there’s a tremendous amount of upside and growth for Bitcoin. I think it’s the future of commerce. And I think that we wanted to get on board sooner rather than later.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and Dr. Rowe, I mean, we’ve talked about how companies are starting to do more of this. And it sounds like you’re using Coinbase Commerce to work through and accepting crypto. They also added Dogecoin to the amount of cryptocurrencies they process for transactions. I mean, is it just Bitcoin you’re accepting, and how do you look at maybe potentially accepting others out there?
NORMAN ROWE: Right now, we’re accepting Bitcoin and Ethereum. Doge, we’re looking into it. I’m not going to say it’s a little bit more volatile. It’s just a little bit more of an unknown. And also, at the end of the day, I have to protect the practice, so I have to make sure that there is an upside to whatever crypto that we’re accepting.
And I think there is a little bit more– I’m not going to say stability because there’s a tremendous amount of inherent instability in crypto. But I think given the fact that Bitcoin has a certain endpoint that they’re only making 21 million coins and there’s a certain finite amount– not so much Ether, but in Bitcoin. And I think that lends a little bit to its credibility, which helps me more so than the Doge and even Ethereum.
AKIKO FUJITA: And–
NORMAN ROWE: But–
AKIKO FUJITA: And doctor, for all the demand that’s there, there’s also an equal amount of volatility that comes with holding crypto. As a business, how do you protect yourself against some of those price fluctuations?
NORMAN ROWE: Well, initially, we were hanging on and keeping the transactions in Bitcoin and keeping them in crypto. Now, in order to protect and hedge, we’re basically cashing out and converting to dollars about half of the money in Bitcoin and leaving half in crypto. So we’re protecting against volatility by cashing out.
And what we do and the way we’re doing it, what we’re– it’s roughly half. That’s because our markup is about roughly 75% to 80%. So I’m cashing out the– taking out whatever I’ve invested in the procedure that the patient wants. And the thing I leave, quote unquote, [INAUDIBLE] is the profit. And so I’m cashing out on my expenses, and the rest I leave in crypto.
ZACK GUZMAN: Interesting approach. Interesting. It’s going to be interesting to see if more doctors start to do what you’re doing there. But Dr. Norman Rowe, board-certified plastic surgeon, the first to catch on here. Appreciate you coming on to explain it all to us. Be well.