A journey through Bitcoin Village.
Ever since around Thanksgiving, it’s been impossible to tune out all of the noise that Bitcoin is making in the media. First, it was Bitcoin’s meteoric rise to $20K, followed by an abrupt crash, downward spiraling all the way down to under $6K at one point. The widespread mania prompted (foolish) people to remortgage their homes to avoid missing out on the promise of Lambos and wealth beyond our wildest dreams. Dreams that quickly turned into nightmares for many, as FOMO turned to FUD in a mere few months.
Beyond the wild swings in price due to its volatile, speculative nature, those that have been embracing the cryptocurrency as a replacement for the almighty dollar, have begun to show the rest of the world what life using Bitcoin is like.
“Bitcoin Village,” a small section of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is taking lead and showing the rest of the world that cryptocurrency is indeed a currency that can be used for everyday occurrences, like dining out at your favorite restaurant, visiting a theatre, ‘getting your hair did’, or shopping at a local mom and pop retail boutique.
The journey started with STREET, a casual dining restaurant that was featured on an episode of the Food Network’s ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives’, entitled ‘Sausage, Seafood and Shawarma’. Flyers for Bitcoin that include a “quick-start guide” and references to a “world famous” Bitcoin tour. Marketing materials in the lobby call out that Bitcoin is “accepted here” and boasts that “people who paid with Bitcoin saw food prices drop by 75%” likely referencing Bitcoin’s parabolic value increase in 2017.
The signage boldly asks “can your money do that?”
STREET also accepts other cryptocurrencies, such as Dash, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. When management was asked “why crypto,” the response was “there wasn’t a reason not to accept it,” citing how easy it was to integrate an app into their iPad-based point-of-sales system. STREET’s sister restaurant, an eclectic pizza parlor located in the same plaza called STREET’ZA also accepts the same cryptocurrencies.
Also on this famed Bitcoin “tour” was La Maison Navarre, a French pastry shop; Fresh Press, a 100% organic smoothie and foodie spot; Lair’s Bench, a brewpub; and Fezziwig’s Food and Fountain, which offers coffee, tea, crepes, milkshakes, and ice cream sundaes. And that only covers food.
Sol Sunwear, which was the first retailer to join the Bitcoin revolution that started in Portsmouth, takes a tongue in cheek approach to their accepting cryptocurrency. Like STREET, each shop accepting crypto in Bitcoin Village has unique signage to alert customers and passer-by that Bitcoin is accepted here. At Sol Sunwear, a shop that sells designer eyewear, the sign reads “Bitcoin millionaires prefer Prada and Valentino.”
Another fashion outlet, Cotillion Bureau, offers second-hand clothing selected for its craftsmanship.
As a tourism hotspot, Bitcoin Village is also home to a few gift shops that offer unique and interesting trinkets. Pickwick’s Mercantile is one of them. Their “feminine” counterpart is Lady Pickwick’s. Deadwick’s Ethereal Emporium is chock full of oddities including crystal balls, costumes, antiques and more – a stark contrast to the technologically advanced nature of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. All of these places will accept cryptocurrency alongside traditional dollars and cents.
For entertainment, 33 Artspace offers a local value for live performances, and the Seacost Repertory Theatre is a historic venue for plays, musicals, and more. Portsmouth School of Ballet, Portsmouth Smoke and Vape, Oomph Hair Salon, Port City Coin and Jewelry, Pickwick’s at the Banke, and even Portsmouth’s local Lens Crafters franchise accepts Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Yoga classes at Bikram Yoga Portsmouth can be paid for using crypto. Crypto can buy you almost anything in this town.
Portsmouth is also home to the Blockchain Institute of Technology and offers hands-on education on blockchain development. Passing by the window, students were hard at work while unmanned computers had screensavers that flashed the images of various cryptocurrency tokens.
Last but not least, the tour ends at the Portsmouth Free State Bitcoin Shoppe. This is where it all started, the “Cryptoanarchy Mecca,” as the two founders define it. Their mission is to “help people use better money.” At the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe, everything from crypto related T-shirts, cold storage hardware wallets, books, and propaganda are available – but here, only cryptocurrency is accepted. That’s right, they’ll turn away fiat money and encourage you to use their crypto ATM if you don’t already own Bitcoin or one of the many other cryptocurrencies accepted here (including Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Zcash, Monero, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin). It’s the founders of the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe that encouraged other retailers in the area to get involved in the “movement.”
And what a job they’ve done. No other place on the planet offers such a wealth of diversity in its people and its businesses, yet also accept cryptocurrencies so widely and openly. Portsmouth, NH has always been an innovative community, but it’s the one place on Earth where the future of currency – a future led by cryptocurrencies – is already in practice.