A barber who funded his business with cryptocurrency and now accepts it from customers says it is the future of the beauty industry.
Rapper Drowze opened DPZ Parlour in Gravesend around six months ago and has allowed his clients to pay with the tender from the start.
Cryptocurrency only exists in the online world – it is a digital currency which is not at the whim of political upheaval or stored within the confines of one financial institution.
It is also extraordinarily secure and the only real threat is the volatility of its value.
Non-fungible tokens (NFT) can also be purchased which are a certificate of ownership for something that is virtual.
Drowze said: "I have been investing in cryptocurrency for a while and really invested my time and energy in it. I sold an NFT and used that money to open the parlour.
"It has been going well. There is a small base of our client base that use cryptocurrency but it a growing market.
"It is a volatile currency, it does go up and down but if you play the game properly you benefit from it.
"There may be the reason people or business are not going into it. Once you do you research and hang around people who are in that field you have a better insight into it.
"It is a small market but it is growing. It is like anything, there is no guarantee but you never invest all your money into it.
"It is like if you wanted to buy and then sell a car, you would not put your whole life savings into doing it. It is the same with crypto. You have to take calculated risks."
Drowze – who lives in Dartford – said it is mostly his celebrity and influencer clients that use the alternative payment but he thinks this could change.
"We invested in that initially and then used it as a revenue stream," he added. "I feel a lot of local business are not taking advantage of it and it has helped us out massively.
"I feel a lot of people are getting into cryptocurrency, NFTs and the metaverse and there is no-one who has really capitalised or taken advantage of it so we thought 'why not be the first?'
"A lot of the competition do not really focus on it. They are more focused on their tools and services.
"I believe that is the direction we will be going in and the beauty industry. Hence why we are trying to lead that. This is set to be a real game changer for the beauty industry."
He believes he is the first business in Gravesend taking cryptocurrency and one of the first in Kent.
DPZ Parlour in Manor Road also offers its customers access to the metaverse – which is the idea of the internet becoming a virtual space in which users can be immersed in via a VR headset.
Drowze moved to Dartford from London after both of his parents passed away when he was 14-years-old. He lived in shared council accommodation before getting his own place.
"I did not have anyone or anything," the rapper said. "Losing my parents became my drive and motivation to do something to better myself.
"I never had any opportunities so I am now trying to be that for the more disadvantaged people in the community.
"It would have made the world of difference if I had someone like what I am trying to be. Trying to stay positive is difficult and I understand how people feel as I did."
Since opening, the entrepreneur says he has helped 150 people learn skills that could help them get career opportunities.
The shop also has a tattoo studio, offers health and beauty treatments, shoe cleaning services and a shisha garden with video games and cocktails.
It has attracted the likes of Love Island's Rykard Kenkins and Nigerian singer Seun Kuti.