Inside the Longest Running Bitcoin Meetup in the World (world, world, world…)

These guys have been getting together every Sunday for almost a decade. They are the secret elite. But inside, all is quite mundane. No lambos parked outside, no flashy suits or caviar. Just some guys chomping down on wings and knocking back a few beers, and then paying with bitcoin. What, you expected something else? Here’s what you can learn from them.

“Just let me know when you’re ready to pay, and I’ll bring the iPad over.”

Ipull into the bar an hour early. Right away something feels different about this place. Every car in the parking lot is covered in bumper stickers. “Ron Paul 2012” “Yes, I am THAT Libertarian” “Vermin Supreme 2016” “Liberty Radio Network” “PorcFest 2018” “Free State Project” “Live Free or Die” “Liberty In Our Lifetime” “I am Satoshi Nakamoto” and “I Refuse Searches”

Okay, I thought I was early? I walk in to find my friend waiting for me by the door. “The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire is meeting here right now. They are going over their bylaws,” he says.

“Oh, interesting,” I say. “Let’s sit as far away from them as possible, over here.”

A young girl comes over and hand us menus. “Before I order anything, I want to make sure I can pay with Bitcoin.”

“Yes, of course. Just let me know when you’re ready to pay, and I’ll bring the iPad over,” she replied while hurrying off to the next table. How mundane. No glimmer of excitement. No exasperated sigh of frustration. No stop-and-think. Just plain old “yeah, sure.”

Huh. Did she hear me right?, I thought to myself. Oh well, I have cash and a card as backup just in case.

My friend and I talked about girlfriend issues and how to get over a bad breakup while I waited for the actual bitcoin meetup to start. To my surprise, about a dozen people had come in and sat down at a nearby table. The bitcoin meetup had started and people were already eating and drinking. I walk over and receive a friendly greeting.

“Derrick! What are you doing here?” (I rarely make it out to Manchester’s Bitcoin meetup, being too pre-occupied with the Portsmouth crypto scene myself.)

“I heard there was a problem here last week. That you guys tried to pay with Bitcoin and weren’t able to. So I came this week to make sure it happens,” I explained.

“Have a seat! What’s new?” Matt Whitlock said. A quick web search for “Matt Whitlock Bitcoin” reveals a video on elliptical curve cryptography, the foundation of bitcoin. And about a dozen articles about Lamassu, the world’s first ever bitcoin vending machine, which he helped to produce back in 2012. No doubt he has worked on numerous other bitcoin projects since then.

He is seated among other greats. Chris Pacia, one of the lead developers of Open Bazaar, a decentralized online market (think eBay, but no one can tell you what you can sell or take down your store page or stop you from receiving payments because they use cryptocurrency). He currently builds tools for Bitcoin Cash and recently gave a talk at Anarchapulcho that was so popular there were no chairs left and people had to stand to listen.

If you don’t, then you are responsible for bitcoin dying a small death.”

Last week, the restaurant did not take their bitcoin. The problem? The iPad was dead, and the server girl claimed she did not know how to charge it. (Ha! A likely story!) Some servers just don’t like bitcoin. They don’t want to do it. They can do it, but if nobody makes them, then they won’t. The reason I insisted on coming to this meetup is to offer to these fine people the thing I have in abundance which they are lacking: courage to endure an uncomfortable social interaction. When a server tells you she can’t take bitcoin, and you know they do, you gotta push back (politely, of course). If you don’t, then you are responsible for bitcoin dying a small death.

Don’t get me wrong, these are good people. But! In order to make a new thing happen, you gotta be the first guy on the dance floor. The guy who doesn’t care about embarrassing himself and encourages others to step outside their comfort zones. The guy who says, “Come on in, the water’s fine!” I came to be that guy. But it turns out I was not needed.

The owner had already heard about the trouble last week and corrected it. This week, they were ready. Even though this restaurant has been taking bitcoin for almost a decade, the service industry famously cycles through staff quickly. There is always some new person who has not taken a bitcoin payment before, even at this place. She thinks it is impossible. In reality, any of these customers can show her how to do it. If you encounter this situation, you owe it to yourself and to all the other bitcoiners out there not to back down. Politely assert what you know to be true, “This place definitely does take bitcoin,” and then offer to help: “I’ll bet we can figure it out together. Let’s give it a try.”

Sometimes it just means waiting for an iPad to charge. Other times it is as simple as locating the Bitcoin icon on their tablet. Sometimes it is a matter of the manager logging in. Sometimes it is a simple matter of encouragement, where the server needs no instructions, just an extremely motivated person who insists on using bitcoin.

Yes, technology enables us to do incredible things like making social interaction unnecessary. But Bitcoin is money technology, and money sometimes requires social interaction. So don’t give up. Be a person. Have a spine. Wear a smile, and politely assert that you are going to use bitcoin, and it’s going to be fun. You will succeed only by being the person who motivates others to join your dance.

The bar where they meet uses Anypay to accept all the different coins that people want to pay with. They took Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Bitcoin Core, and Litecoin that evening. And they were able to do it all from a single app on the pub iPad. If you want an easy professional solution like this, tell your favorite business about Anypay, and send them to https://HelpMeTakeBitcoin.com


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