Meetups Staff Thoughts

Free State Blockchain Digital Assets Conference a Huge Success

This weekend, the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe went mobile for the first time. We attended a bitcoin conference happening in our hometown of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The occasion is the arrival of bitcoin powerhouse Bruce Fenton, his businesses, and his family, to move to NH as part of the ongoing freedom migration that’s been happening for almost 2 decades. The conference attracted some of the most exciting and important minds from across the country to talk about the latest in digital assets.

The Free State Bitcoin Shoppe had an enormous presence, being one of the event’s sponsors. A booth loaded with crypto-themed shirts and accessories, plus pocked-sized secure bitcoin vaults, and a towering bitcoin vending machine kept busy all day as items were flying off the shelves. We sold out of many items, and were delighted to see our last digital vault go to a customer who asked to pay in encrypted Zcash. We still haven’t heard of any other retail store in the world doing that.

After a full day at the conference, we went to not one–but two–bitcoin meetups. They were both record-breaking. First, the cryptonauts drank crafted draughts from local bitcoin brewery, Liar’s Bench.They started taking bitcoin and dash about a month ago after a bitcoin meetup where almost everyone asked if they could pay in digital cash. Good thing for them — all these new customers from out of town came to them because they do.

After a few drinks, people walked a couple blocks to the newest Bitcoin Village favorite, STREET’ZA. Their sister restaurant STREET has been taking bitcoin for about 2 years now, and it’s been a big draw attracting new customers who prefer to use bitcoin. Naturally, every one of the 21 attendees to the meetup paid their bill with their favorite cryptocurrency.

The conference and the meetups were huge successes — bringing together great minds to learn and share information, make new friends, and enjoy using our favorite money.




Staff Thoughts

Portsmouth Smoke and Vape | Bitcoin Preferred

The crypto-economy grew a little bit larger today when the popular downtown shop Portsmouth Smoke and Vape started accepting Ethereum, Dash, ZCash, Litecoin, and Bitcoin. Customers can now buy all the glass, incense, vaporizers, cleaning kits, tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and accessories they could possibly want — all using digital cash.

They sell online too, so if your current local shop won’t take your litecoin, consider getting your items sent right to your house instead by buying at their website! You can keep the same privacy you would get from a cash transaction as your local shop, plus you get the advantage of online shopping.

My partner and I learned that the owner was looking to take bitcoin due to increased demand from customers asking if they could pay in the digital currency. He thought it was a great idea and stopped into our shop to ask how he would get set up to take it as payment. We met the next morning, and it took less than an hour from start to finish. All it took was downloading an app and clicking through a few prompts to set up 5 different secure digital wallets. Now his business can take payment in 5 popular cryptocurrencies.

One cool and unique thing about the way they set it up is that the owner linked his store’s crytpo wallets with his phone. That enables him to see when a payment has come in, no matter where he is, plus he can then send the coins to a secure wallet that employees can’t access. Try doing that with a traditional cash register!

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.