Last night I went to Strange Brew Tavern in Manchester for their 200th bitcoin meetup. It is the longest running consecutive bitcoin meet up in the world — going for almost 4 years now.
People talked about mining ethereum and being dash masternodes — they talked about successful strategies for encouraging businesses and individuals to take cryptocurrencies as payment — and they talked about achieving more personal freedom in New Hampshire. I was impressed by the turnout. About 2 dozen or so people. A range of all types: gay and straight, techies, real estate people, media people, old, middle aged, and young mothers and their children. The group gets the whole back room in the tavern and received excellent service the whole night.
I asked if I could tip my waiter in bitcoin, but he said that he doesn’t have a wallet anymore. He got a new phone and lost all the bitcoin the patrons had given him over the past years. After that, he was really sour on bitcoin and was unwilling to accept it, even as a tip on top of the cash tip I left him. After about 2 hours of chatter, people started to clear out. I was disappointed that there wasn’t a big photo op moment where everyone crowded in and memorialized this event. I supposed I could have tried organizing that, but I didn’t.
I should mention also that there’s another bar in Manchester, Murphy’s Taproom, that not only accepts bitcoin but they also have one of the best bitcoin vending machines for hundreds of miles around. I don’t understand why this bitcoin meetup group doesn’t support Murphy’s and instead goes to a place that doesn’t accept bitcoin, but I see it as an opportunity. There can be a meetup for the crowd that likes cheap beer and a meetup for a crowd that likes to spread bitcoin.
For now, I’ll continue spreading the word about bitcoin in my hometown of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where my Bikram Yoga Studio started accepting bitcoin this week. Namaste.
I should add:
Weekly meetups like the one in Manchester give the bitcoin community a pulse. It says to the world, “We’re alive and growing — bitcoin hasn’t gone anywhere.” In fact, the people at this meetup would be just as happy to help a n00b set up their first bitcoin wallet as they would to discuss Ethereum mining or their Dash Masternode. Manchester’s monumental 200th meetup also shows outsiders that crypto is mainstream — not a bunch of geeks in forums. Bitcoiners are your neighbors, your waitress, and the guys playing pool at the bar.