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Meetups

Dash Meetup Beasts Bitcoin Meetup — Again

Here’s what the first regular Dash Meetup looked like last night:

By the numbers, Dash continues killing it in Portsmouth. Despite my best efforts, the scrappy #13 coin appears by all metrics to secretly be #1.

The Portsmouth Bitcoin Meetup took place just one day before the DASH meetup. Here is what it looked like:

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Meetups Staff Thoughts

Boston Bitcoin Cash Meetup Crashes the Portsmouth Dash Party

Of course. Where else would Bostonians who love bitcoin meet up? There are only 15 retail shops and restaurants that accept the digital currency as payment. Welcome to the Free State. Bring your cryptocurrency, and keep your Federal Reserve Notes in the fireplace where they belong.

The event was organized by the Bitcoin Cash Meetup group of Boston. They usually meet in Boston, but after a recent visit to Portsmouth (aka “Bitcoin Village”) by one of their organizers, the group decided to take the trip north an hour to visit Liar’s Bench, a popular brewery that accepts Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and Bitcoin Core.

The thing is — they didn’t take bitcoin cash until the meetup was scheduled. Only once customers arranged an outing to spend BCH did the business owner feel any impetus to accept *another* cryptocurrency. They already take Dash and Bitcoin Core — what’s this new bitcoin?? Well, by the end of the evening, Liar’s Bench accepted Bitcoin Cash.

It was great. Most people used the Bitcoin.com wallet. At the end of the night, there was a line of 5 people paying their tab with their smartphones. It was a sight to behold. Fortunately, I grabbed some video so you can see for yourself here.

Oh and of course they use Anypay.

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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.

 

 

 

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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!

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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!

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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┬á(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 Blockchain.info, 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┬áblockchain 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.

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Meetups

Bitcoin Meetup | The Fresh Press

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┬á 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.