Will New Hampshire become a haven for bitcoin and cannabis?
Today was a historic day in the New Hampshire state house. Two very important bills were passed and if they make it through the senate and governor will ensure that New Hampshire is the best place to be a bitcoiner as well as decriminalize cannabis.
In 2015, a bill (HB 666) was passed that spooked many in the international bitcoin community as it added cryptocurrency to the “money transmitter” statutes. This caused at least one bitcoin business to cease doing business with customers in New Hampshire and quite a bit of buzz about New Hampshire losing its vaunted crytpo-friendly status. How did this happen in a state with the largest concentration of bitcoin enthusiasts per capita? Honestly, we were caught off-guard, but now that’s all changed. In 2016 a state house committee to study cryptocurrency was formed, whose meetings I attended and video recorded.
After hearing from multiple NH bitcoiners in the committee meetings, state representative Barbara Biggie stepped up and filed a bill, HB 436, that proposed to repeal NH’s lone statute regulating cryptocurrencies. Here’s video from the public hearing on HB 436. As Darryl and I pointed out at the hearing, the bill as filed wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for. It created a new definition and exemption for “virtual currency” in the statutes, but still left in statutes a definition and regulation for “convertible virtual currency”. We explained to them that this was confusing and they should be striking the regulation for “convertible virtual currency” rather than creating the additional terminology.
You know what? They listened AND did us one better! The commerce committee amended the bill and turned it into the best possible protection for bitcoin businesses in New Hampshire! The amended bill completely exempts from the money transmitter statutes:
Persons who engage in the business of selling or issuing payment instruments or stored value solely in the form of convertible virtual currency; or receive convertible virtual currency for transmission to another location.
101 Reasons Why Liberty-Lovers Like YOU Should Move Here Now!
I don’t think anyone expected the language to be that good, but there it is. This is essentially the opposite of what New York did with it’s business-killing “bitlicense” regulations. Today, the full New Hampshire house of representatives passed HB 436 by a vote of 185-170!
In other exciting state house news, the state house outdid their previous record of 81% voting for cannabis decriminalization, which was set in 2015. This time, 89.8% of the state house members that voted today (318-36), voted for HB 640 which would decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, up to five grams of hashish, and cannabis-infused products. If this bill makes it through the senate and governor (who allegedly is friendly to decrim), then people over 21 years of age who are caught with these products will only face a violation instead of a misdemeanor, as they do today.
Bitcoin fans around the world are celebrating as the price of bitcoin hit a new all time high as of around 10:13pm Eastern time tonight. The price has continued to travel up from there. At the time of this article’s writing, the BitcoinAverage price is over $1,200 US Dollars!
Bitcoin’s previous highest price was all the way back in 2013 on November 29th when according to BitcoinAverage.com, the price peaked at $1,183.59. It then slowly dropped over a year all the way down near $250 and has been going up since, with 2016 being a huge year for bitcoin’s growth. Will the price continue to rise overnight with the Chinese bitcoin traders getting heavily into their day? It’s exciting to watch, now that the previous high that was undefeated for over three years has been vanquished. Onward and upward, bitcoin!
David Brooks at the Monitor did a detailed writeup which included him visiting Area 23 to take photos and interview A23 owner Kirk McNeil. It’s a good piece, but whoever wrote the headline got it wrong. NH is not the leader in BVMs for the nation, but we do outperform all of the rest of New England combined.
Longtime Concord liberty activist Kirk McNeil is Area 23’s proprietor. Longtime readers of Free Keene may remember him for making headlines for legalizing nanobreweries in New Hampshire. Kirk said in an interview for Free Keene, “I’m happy to have a location where people can access and utilize alternative currencies and exchange methods.”
Entrepreneur and newer mover David Jurist purchased the Lamassu brand BVM, approached Kirk before anyone else and offered him the opportunity to host the unit at Area 23, given it was already a liberty-and-bitcoin friendly establishment. David told me, “it’s exciting that the capital city of New Hampshire finally has a Bitcoin Vending Machine”. I agree. It’s also timely as one of the state representatives on the “Commission to Study Cryptocurrency” has followed through on her promise to file a bill this year that will ensure bitcoin users do not need to register as “money transmitters”. (more…)
My optimistic message of migrating to NH with the highest concentration of liberty activists in the world stood in stark contrast to the other guests’ opinions. The others were all spread out in other places with no real hope for liberty in their lifetimes. Their positions were understandably critical of getting involved in the system (they don’t know that the system can actually be changed here in NH). Some panelists supported just trying to run away from the state or improve one’s own individual wealth and happiness where they are. (more…)
I received a call from a friend in Keene yesterday. His friend’s computer had been hit by “ransomware”. Ransomware is malware that supposedly encrypts the hard drive of the victim, then demands payment in bitcoin in order to unlock the files. The malicious software in today’s incident was demanding a payment of 1.9 bitcoin and at the time of this writing, one bitcoin is selling for over $1,000 USD, so the ransomware was demanding about $2,000 worth of bitcoin. Damn. This is not the way you want to introduce someone to the amazing world of Bitcoin.
Having heard that I was someone who might know a thing or two about bitcoin, they reached out to me. My first question was, do you have backups of your important files? He said that his backup procedure had been broken for a while, so he didn’t have one. This is the number one thing you can do to avoid paying ransom. If you have a backup (preferably one on-site and one off-site), then you can just format the computer and reinstall everything fresh.
They were in a hurry as there were mission critical files on the infected computer, so I told them I could help them turn some cash into bitcoin since the Keene Bitcoin Vending Machine at Route 101 Local Goods is closed on Mondays. However, I cautioned that they still have to trust unknown hackers to actually do as they say and unlock the files once the payment is made. (Turns out, they did decrypt the files about ten hours after he paid the ransom.) I then did some digging online for solutions to avoid paying the extortion.
Turns out, paying the ransom or formatting the computer aren’t the only two options, according to some of my even-more-techy friends in the New Hampshire bitcoin community. The most promising options are ransomware decryptors. Kapersky Labs, along with Intel and others, have a website set up with instructions and downloadable files to attempt to unencrypt your files. Another handy site, “ID Ransomware” will assist you in determining which specific ransomware you’re dealing with. (more…)