Is there a place for cryptocurrency in dental?

Cryptocurrency has made waves in the tech industry, but does it have a place in dental?

New York City-based Upper East Dental Innovations now accepts Dogecoin, Bitcoin and Ethereum as payment for dental services.

Sharde Harvey, DDS, owner of Upper East Dental Innovations, spoke with Becker's about why her practice decided to take the plunge and answer that question for themselves.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What made you decide to start taking cryptocurrency at Upper East Dental Innovations?

Dr. Sharde Harvey: I'm always one of the dentists who've been on the cutting edge of technology. Cryptocurrency is right there right now, and we'd like to support that cryptocurrency revolution.

Q: Do you think cryptocurrency will become a larger trend in dental?

SH: Absolutely. It definitely will be a larger trend. We used to have a barter system, then that moved to paper and coin currency and then we had credit cards. After credit cards we had digital wallets. I think this is just the next level.

Q: Aside from cryptocurrency, what other innovations do you hope to see from dentistry in the near future?

SH: The robotics industry is still to come; I think that's the next level. In our market currently — and not just in [dental] but in medical and other fields, there is a shortage of employees. Going robotic or outsourcing is very big now and [artificial intelligence] is very big now. So I think the next step we're going to see is artificial intelligence playing a role across the board and not just in dentistry but in medicine.

Q: How does cryptocurrency play a role in making things easier?

SH: It's so much faster. In fact, I timed how long [a transaction] took. We had our first crypto payment last week and it literally took less than five minutes to complete the entire transaction where I was holding my phone and I saw that I got a payment. It's not only faster, it's also anonymous. It's a secure system that's retained indefinitely on the blockchain ledger, and it's an anonymous payment.

Q: What would you say to dentists who are considering implementing cryptocurrency into their practice?

SH: It cost me absolutely nothing and it cost [the patient] a fraction of a cent to send that payment to me. The fact that it reduces credit card cost is exactly why you should do it. We should all jump on that bandwagon. We pay probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card fees every single year in our business, and [cryptocurrency] barely costs us a dime.

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