This morning the Portsmouth Bitcoin Network held a meetup at the Fresh Press, a locally-owned healthy organic juice and salad bar. It was awesome! City Councillor Joshua Cyr, co-owner of AlphaLoft, Portsmouth’s first bitcoin-accepting business, attended, as did one of the managers of STREET, Portsmouth’s favorite bitcoin-accepting restaurant!
A few of us ordered delicious juices, a cold brew, and the avocado chop salad with chicken. We pulled up some chairs to a table and the conversation quickly began. “What do you guys think of BIP 91?” BIP 91 is “Bitcoin Implementation Protocol #91” and it would do two things: (from CoinDesk.com)
It makes it significantly easier for the network to adopt Segregated Witness (SegWit), a backward compatible upgrade that fixes transaction malleability and clears the path for off-chain solutions like Lightning Network.
If activated by July 31, BIP 91 will supersede BIP 148, a proposal that poses a risk of causing the network to split.
We then moved to philosophy of bitcoin: How did you get into it? What do you do with it? Where would you like to see the crypto world go from here? When will we see currencies like bitcoin and ethereum and Dash in use at everyday establishments?
It seemed about half of attendees use bitcoin and crypto for ideological reasons (increased privacy, independence from central banks) and the other half for practical reasons (lower fees, faster & easier payments, investment).
Steven, co-owner of Free State Bitcoin Shoppe on State St in Portsmouth expressed a desire to pay property tax to the Corporation “The City of Portsmouth” (of which he recently became a stake-holder) in bitcoin. He reasoned that the purchasing power would likely grow while the purchasing power of dollars diminishes over time, so it would help taxpayers get the most services for their tax bill. Plus, it would decrease the city’s dependence on the Washington DC bureaucrats and their minions by offering an alternative currency to the Federal Reserve Note.
Concillor Cyr expressed doubt that such an arrangement would be legal under current law, but noted that the crypto-friendly NH state legislature could pass a bill that explicitly permitted cities to hold a portion of their funds in bitcoin as if they were US dollars.
We talked about how bitcoin is both a currency and a payment network, and that it competes with both the dollar and processors such as Visa. These are hurdles for adoption in Portsmouth, since the convenience of credit cards is hard to beat. However, the knowledge that the Federal Reserve inflates the money supply to fund wars of aggression may be enough to encourage pro-peace Portsmouth residents to use bitcoin whenever possible.
We also shared some cool things happening in the crypto-sphere: Dash (digital cash) is taking prominence over bitcoin on the seacoast among small, independent entrepreneurs. Decentraland is an alt-coin with a recent ICO that offers plots of virtual territory that users can develop in a digital ecosystem with others.
We concluded by exchanging contact info. The next meetup is at River House in Portsmouth at 8pm Thursday, July 27. Attendance is expected to be around 10-12 people, and the main topic will be the upcoming hard (soft?) fork on Aug 1.