Meetups Staff Thoughts

Bitcoin Meetup | Fresh Press

Again the Portsmouth cryptonauts found ourselves at the Fresh Press, lunching on healthy salads, wraps, smoothies, and juices. It’s an intimate venue, so we scattered ourselves around the back area so as not to take up too much space, but we ended up using 4 tables! Our group spanned 8 people this time, one coming as far as Portland.

Our presence must have had an impact, too, because immediately after, the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe received a message from Fresh Press Owner Aaron Smith asking to set his restaurant up to take bitcoin. Of course, this is a free service that we at the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe are happy to offer — indeed, setting up new businesses to take bitcoin is our favorite thing to do!

Topics for this meetup included: the Ethereum byzantium hard fork, Bitcoin Gold Hard Fork, hard forks vs soft forks, how to store crypto on a hardware device, using a hardware wallet in conjunction with an Android device, setting up businesses to take bitcoin, point-of-sales that incorporate bitcoin and other crypto, portable bitcoin vending machines, shapeshift, best wallets, running your own bitcoin node, and trading platforms. A meetup full of great info, lots of conversations, and delicious food!

Many thanks to the always-awesome Fresh Press for hosting this week’s meetup. Next one is at Domo sushi restaurant on State St — Monday, October 23 at 7pm. See you there!

Meetups Staff Thoughts

Bitcoin Meetup | The Kitchen

The bitcoin meetup this week was a blast! We packed one corner of the Kitchen restaurant with people of all ages and experience levels. We celebrated Mark, the owner of Portsmouth Smoke and Vape, becoming the newest addition to the World Famous Bitcoin Tour. His business is unique on the tour, as it is the first downtown retail store to take cryptocurrency — and he takes a lot! They accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, and ZCash.

Some people had heard about the meetup from the flyers posted around town — others from visiting the store — and still others from searching It was a good mix of people. One guy downloaded his first bitcoin wallet and funded it by trading someone at the table for $5 in cash. He was surprised how fast and easy it was, and that it required no signup at all.

The food and service was notably excellent, as it often is at the Kitchen. The staff knew we were having a bitcoin meetup and treated us super nice. They delivered some food out to us (which is not normal — usually you pick it up from the counter yourself). And they let us linger a bit after they closed, since we were having so much fun talking and learning from each other.

Charles shared with us about a cool thing the Portland Bitcoin meetup group is doing: they’re issuing their own cryptocurrency and awarding it to people who attend and participate by speaking. It would be so awesome to have someone spend that cryptocurrency to purchase merchandise at the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe!

The next Portsmouth bitcoin meetup will be at the Fresh Press on Sunday, October 15 at 2pm. The Shoppe will be closed for the next 2 weeks as Steven and Derrick will be in Prague for the Hackers Congress. We’ll have lots of great info and fun pictures and video to share, so follow us on Twitter.

Meetups Staff Thoughts

Bitcoin Meetup | Cava

Cava was the best meetup yet by far. 14 people showed up to talk bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 3 people set up their first wallets. The food and service was 5-star, top-notch friendliness and attentiveness. Afterwards, some of us went to hang out at the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe and listen to music and talk some more.

One of the owners, John, called me earlier in the week because he saw our advertisement posted on a telephone pole and wanted to make sure he could accommodate our group. We reserved seats for 9, and were surprised by some additional folks who forgot to RSVP, but John was able to pull up another table and chairs for our extra guests. Our server, Bridget, who is also an owner, amazed me with her ability to handle such a large group.

This could be a server’s worst nightmare: an indeterminately large (and growing) group of people, sitting down an hour before the kitchen closes, some guests not buying food, folks changing seats, and then asking for separate checks. She handled it all with a smile and made every guest feel comfortable.

I had the medjool dates stuffed with manchego and serrano ham, the pork tenderloin with mojo picon and salt wrinkled potatoes, and the beef short rib with chanterelle mushrooms, barley, and porcini truffle broth. For a beverage, I had an espresso martini. Yes, everything was as good as it sounds.

I’ve been wanting to come to this spot for a while, and the timing was never right for some reason. Now I’ll be making sure to come back often because everything on their menu looked so good and they treated us so well! Of course, a lot of people were asking if they could pay in bitcoin. Cava does not yet take it, but I’ll bet they will when they hear from enough customers. So go visit them, enjoy their incredible food and drinks, and tell them you’d like to pay in bitcoin. Otherwise, they won’t know!

Many of the people who showed up for the bitcoin meetup had been to Cava many times before, but since they’ve never mentioned bitcoin to John or Bridget, the owners don’t know that people even want to spend bitcoin there. Remember, no one is going to do it for you. You have to ask yourself.

I left a 5-star review on Facebook and Yelp after this meetup. I can’t emphasize enough how amazed I was at the greatness of this place. Clean, beautiful, elegant, delicious, friendly, easy. Thank you John and Bridget!

Meetups Staff Thoughts

Bitcoin Meetup | Pink Bamboo

Great meetup last night at Pink Bamboo. The staff was very friendly and attentive and made sure we had everything we needed. The food was excellent, and there were new people in attendance (again!). We had 7 total this time, including a nurse and her mom who just got into bitcoin through a friend at work, and they’re both excited to hold multiple cryptocurrencies, and have the opportunity to spend them around Portsmouth!

One guy in attendance wanted to connect knowledgeable bitcoiners with those seeking expertise through a new online business he started, based in Portsmouth. Exciting new developments this week.

Meetups Staff Thoughts

Bitcoin Meetup | The Rosa

The bitcoin meetup at the Rosa last night was amazing. 10 people got together at the restaurant for dinner and drinks. We set up bitcoin wallets, talked about trading cryptocurrencies, strategies for using bots on exchanges, where to get bitcoins, and how to get them securely off 3rd party crypto banks like Coinbase. People ranged in age from about 25-60.

About half the people attending were joining up for the first time. The food was excellent and plentiful, and the service was stellar and friendly. The server handled a growing table with a smile, and the manager came over several times to make sure everyone was happy. We stayed talking so long, we nearly overstayed our welcome because nobody wanted it to end! I got up to leave and made sure I set up the manager with a bitcoin and dash wallet. We talked about how cool it would be if State St in Portsmouth became the “Bit-Strip” where shoppers could walk downtown and spend bitcoin at every stop.

The next meetup is at Pink Bamboo at 8pm on Wednesday, September 13. I’d like to encourage all attendees to come hungry and order a lot of food and drinks. The idea is to show the restaurants whose venues we utilize that there are lots of prospective customers in the area who want to spend bitcoin at their business. Let’s use this meetup not only to enrich ourselves and increase our knowledge of cryptocurrencies, but also to demonstrate we are people worth emulating. We use bitcoin, and they can too! Bring crypto, or bring cash. They will be more interested in listening to us if we are giving them money!

Meetups Staff Thoughts

Bitcoin Meetup | Durbar Square

Several new people attended this meetup — including a local business owner looking to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at his stores and a teenager who receives bitcoin for his allowance! The food at this Himalayan restaurant was SPICY and they accommodated our large group with a smile. We were disappointed that they didn’t take our crypto, though, since they had indicated a few days before that they would. We were left figuring out a large bill instead of split checks and we had to handle it with cash and multiple cards, but ultimately we figured out the best way to do it — one guy paid on his credit card and everyone paid him in either FRNs, bitcoin, or dash! So some of us did actually get to pay in crypto, and he made out pretty well for acquiring these currencies with no fees!

Meetups Staff Thoughts

Bitcoin Meetup | Martingale Wharf

This meetup was incredible! A few guests came from out of the country to attend: one from Maine and two from Rhode Island. We talked about what to do with Bitcoin Cash (ahem, “Bitcoin Trash”), what wallets people are using to claim it, what exchanges to use to turn it into something useful (ahem, Dash, Ethereum, Monero — some people even still like Bitcoin). Dinner was great — nice and slow with lots of time to talk and meet different people. The service was excellent, of course, as to be expected at a great restaurant like Martingale Wharf. The staff was extraordinarily accommodating for our large (and growing) group. We started outside on the deck with some drinks, and then had appetizers and dinner inside with the large windows open, facing the water. Totally great.

Conversation topics included the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe, organizing meetups in other locations, ways to help businesses like Martingale Wharf take cryptocurrency, beginner stuff like downloading a wallet, expert stuff like multisig addresses and xpub keys, and lots more.

Afterward, some of us went over to the Shoppe and showed off the latest art. Everyone had a great time, and conversations lasted way longer than we could stay and eat. Here are a few pictures from the event:

Meetups Staff Thoughts

Bitcoin Meetup | Lazy Jack’s

Yesterday’s meetup went from good to great. A few of us got together at Lazy Jack’s and had drinks and a light lunch on the decks. One of the attendees set up his first bitcoin wallet. I sent him a dollar so he could see how it works. One person who was new to bitcoin this month noticed when he opened his wallet that the value of his bitcoin had increased by 15%. He was pleasantly surprised. They were relatively new and asked a lot of great questions:

“What gives it value?” “What makes you feel secure using it?” “Can’t the government or some bad guy shut the whole system down?” “How do you turn it back into dollars?” “Where can I spend bitcoin?” “Why not just invest in gold or silver?”

Halfway through the meetup, I got a phone call — it was my friend Jim Babb from Philadelphia! He’s into bitcoin, and I even bought 3D printed magnets from his daughters for bitcoin years ago! I told him to come down to the meetup! Afterwards, some of us went over to Free State Bitcoin Shoppe and used bitcoin to buy a singularity t-shirt, an ethereum book, a Somalia postcard, and laser-cut wooden souvenirs.

Next meetup is 3-4p Sunday Aug 20 at Martingale Wharf. See you there!

Meetups Staff Thoughts

Bitcoin Meetup | Oar House

Last night’s bitcoin meetup was awesome. There were 12 people — the largest one yet! All different ages, backgrounds, and experience levels. There were a lot of Free Staters at this one — they were in town visiting the Bitcoin Shoppe and stayed to attend the meetup afterwards.

Some conversation topics included: “What are blockchains?” “What are miners?” “Who are nodes?” “What’s a masternode?” “Who decides who the nodes and miners are? Are they voted in?” “How do hardware wallets work?” “Is it more worth it to mine coins or just buy and hold?” “What’s the difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum?” “What’s the difference between Ethereum and Dash?” “What’s the difference between Dash and Bitcoin?” “How do you start mining, and what coins are worth mining?” “How do you set up a trading account to trade between bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?” “How did you get into Bitcoin/Ethereum?”

Lots of conversation! And those were just the questions I heard on my side of the table. Because it was a lot of people and a large table, there were multiple conversations being carried on at once, rather than the typical meetup which has one continuous conversation with one person talking at a time. This was different.

The service was excellent, by the way. Our server came around at all perfect times for drinks, apps, main course, refills, answered questions, and at the end, was able to split the checks in any combination we asked for, instantly. She was terrific, I wish I could remember her name to pass the praise along. Kate, I think. Anyway, it was my first time at the Oar House, and usually during a meetup I like to talk to the manager or owner about accepting bitcoin, but this meetup didn’t lend itself to that since conversation was already challenging at our own table. The volume of the restaurant was pretty loud. I think it’s better to have those conversations with owners one-on-one or with a small group.

Next meetup is Saturday, 3-4pm at Lazy Jacks. Here’s the Meetup event and the Facebook Event so you can RSVP. See you there!

Meetups Staff Thoughts

Bitcoin Meetup | River House

Last night, nine people met at River House restaurant in Portsmouth to talk about bitcoin over dinner and drinks. We got a table on the deck, which overlooks the scenic Piscataqua river tugboats and faces the bridge to Maine. The weather was perfect for outdoor dining and the awning was drawn in so the sky surrounded us and the stars came out as twilight fell. Our group — 4 women, 5 men — ranged in age from early 20’s to late 60’s. Experience levels varied from “never used bitcoin” to “long-time power-user.” The event lasted almost 90 minutes. At the conclusion, 2 people settled their bill by sending crypto¬†(Dash & Litecoin) to Steven, who paid their share of the bill in cash.

We talked about the much-anticipated bitcoin split, preference for other cryptocurrencies such as Dash, and learned about new coins such as BitBean and SolarCoin. One attendee showed off a paper bitcoin wallet he received upon attending a Bitcoin Symposium that took place in Portsmouth 3 years ago. The event was sponsored by, who donated 1 bitcoin (roughly $500 at the time). The first 100 symposium attendees received 0.01 BTC on a paper wallet, and he was one of those first 100. It’s funny because at the last Portsmouth Bitcoin Network Meetup, one of the people who helped put on that symposium attended and mentioned the bitcoin paper wallets they handed out. He remarked that he wondered if anyone actually kept them, or if the bitcoin was “burned” (lost forever). At least one person kept his!

One of the attendees told us about an exciting new business venture called Harvey Woods that seeks to bring energy independence to the world using an artificial intelligence and¬†blockchain technology to broker power between individual houses. Some people at the meetup made business connections. Some learned about the best wallets to use for everyday transactions or long-term storage. Some talked about the future of cryptocurrency and related today’s experience to the early days of the internet.

The next meetup is 8pm Friday, August 4th at Oar House restaurant in Portsmouth. Stay in the loop by joining the Portsmouth Bitcoin Network on Meetup and Facebook.