New Hampshire’s Amazing, Unmatched Bitcoin Community

Manchester, NH Bitcoin Meetup

Manchester, NH Bitcoin Meetup

It’s not a coincidence that New Hampshire has arguably the highest concentration of bitcoin and crypto-friendly people anywhere. For more than a decade there have been active migrations of libertarian, voluntarist, and liberty anarchists moving to New Hampshire. Many of these movers are activists who are into alternative currencies and the bitcoin community here has exploded as a result.

The oldest migration of libertarians to New Hampshire is the Free State Project, which as of September 2016 boasts nearly 2,000 participants already in New Hampshire, with 18,000 more pledged to move by the year 2021. There’s also the more decentralized Shire Society which has been encouraging liberty-loving people to declare their personal independence and move to “The Shire” since 2010.

These early movers are not only users of bitcoin, but are also some of the key developers and creators of the bitcoin world. Liberty migrants to New Hampshire created the iconic, most-installed-in-the-world Lamassu bitcoin vending machine in Manchester. Some are developing the evolutionary “Open Bazaar” and “LBRY” software. Decentralized ride-sharing app “Arcade City” has also sprung up just this year, and within a week of it being announced, signed up 1000 drivers worldwide. Arcade City founder and liberty migrant Christopher David said, “With its libertarian leanings and an influx of free staters, New Hampshire is perfectly positioned to become a major hub for bitcoin and blockchain startups. That’s a big reason why I moved here.”

Cheshire Fair 2015

Bitcoin Outreach Booth at the Cheshire Fair

Here are some more fun facts about the burgeoning bitcoin scene in the Shire: Manchester is home to the world’s longest-running weekly bitcoin meetup, plus regular meetups are being held in Keene and the Seacoast. According to Overstock.com, the highest concentration of their bitcoin orders comes from New Hampshire. Plus, you can actually use bitcoin in real life here, at mom-n-pop businesses like “Corner News”, “Local Burger”, and multiple food trucks in Keene, plus “Pizza 911”, “Dancing Lion Chocolate”, and more in Manchester. It turns out that Keene, the Southwestern NH city of 23,000 people, even outdoes San Francisco in amount of bitcoin-accepting business per capita! Take a look at CoinMap.org to see the dozens of New Hampshire businesses that are taking crypto!

New Hampshire also boasts New England’s only public Bitcoin Vending Machines (BVM), connecting people with bitcoin from as far away as New York and Boston. (more…)

The Image Problem and Its Solution

They say if you’re going to criticize something, unless you intend to do so out of cynicism or disrespect, to be prepared to answer those criticisms with solutions. I’ve offered simple alternatives in lieu of the criticisms of “ambush interviews” and Robin Hooding. But there is a bigger problem I want to point out. One that goes deeper than a few alternatives. One that I’ve struggled to pinpoint in a clear, single ‘pitch.’ Libertarianism has an image problem. An image problem that stunts recruitment and creates a bad taste in people’s mouths when they’re presented with good ideas. That problem doesn’t stem from its principles, and it doesn’t stem from state propaganda or brainwashing. It stems from libertarian culture. The way we think and act. Rather than just complaining, I want to attempt to go over a bit of scientific research and some intellectual ideas to explain that problem. At the very least, you may learn about something you’ve never heard before. At best, you’ll be challenged, maybe even offended, but in a way that promotes growth.

Contest is a part of human life everywhere that human life is found. In war and in games, in work and in play, physically, intellectually, and morally, human beings match themselves with or against one another. Struggle appears inseparable from human life, and contest is a particular focus or mode of interpersonal struggle, an opposition that can be hostile but need not be, for certain kinds of contest may serve to sublimate and dissolve hostilities and to build friendship and cooperation. -Walter J. Ong, Fighting For Life

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Another Small Victory for NHexit

I organized an NHexit event in Portsmouth this Friday called “NH Independence Celebration“. People from Keene, Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth attended. Dave Ridley of New Hampshire’s #2 YouTube channel shot video from a safe distance across the street. Shire Dude live-streamed video while making commentary and chatting with curious passers by. One person waved a blue flag with a peace sign. Another waved a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and a sign that read, “I LOVE AMERICA, NOT D.C.” Some conducted a 3-question poll about secession from a random sampling of Portsmouth’s downtown. Music by The Beatles played from a small portable speaker. In total the event was 1 hour.

Poll respondents were asked to read 3 short statements and rate their level of agreement or disagreement with each one. 17 people participated. The results are as follows (click image to enlarge):

NHexit poll
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FSP Schism Over Snowden Recording Headlining NH Newspapers

Crowd Holding Snowden Masks

Snowden is all of us. Photo courtesy Union Leader.

The Free State Project got a lot of things right about this year’s Liberty Forum. It was well-attended, fun, and the organizers did a good job overall. The Edward Snowden keynote interview made a huge splash in various media around the globe.

However, for reasons yet unknown, it’s being claimed by new FSP president Matt Philips that keynote speaker Edward Snowden requested there be no recording by audience members. Free Keene blogger and NH native Garret Ean recorded anyway and released it here yesterday.

Why would Snowden try to restrict recording when hundreds of people would be attending with recording devices, including, likely some undercover federal agents? I tweeted at Snowden today in an attempt to get a comment and received no reply thus far. According to the organizer of the Liberty Forum in an unofficial facebook post, there was some agreement to allow the FSP to record the event and have Reason.com (whose editor Nick Gillespie conducted the interview with Snowden) release it via their YouTube.

Many in the liberty community are on an all-out attack against Garret for making the recording, and me for refusing to pull it down. One even called for “Free Keene” to be banned from all FSP events. Hilariously, that ban would include FK blogger JJ Schlessinger, who is the video professional the FSP hired to record the event. He called Free Talk Live Tuesday night to inform our audience that he is currently editing a high-quality five-camera HD shoot of the Snowden talk.

NH mainstream newspapers are now picking up the story of this latest FSP schism. Here’s the first two headlines, posted online and appearing in print today:

These schisms have occurred forever in the FSP (more…)

150+ Reasons to Move to Keene, Updated for 2016

keene-postcardInspired by the Free State Project’s 101 Reasons to Move to New Hampshire, in 2008 the original 101+ Reasons to Move to Keene was released, then later updated to 130+, and finally 150+. The list is a collaborative effort by local early movers for the Free State Project and describes many of the things that make Keene a unique activism opportunity and great community in which to live.

With the FSP reaching its goal of 20,000 pledges to move to New Hampshire, it’s time for future-movers to start seriously looking at their destination options.

Keene is big enough to have the conveniences of a city, but small enough to be walkable. For activists of all stripes, it’s easier to have a larger impact here because the population is smaller than Manchester. Check out the 150+ Reasons to Move for details on the area’s conveniences and demographics. Plus, liberty activists already have a major footprint here. Free Keene is not only an international source of news of activism across NH for Google News, but locally we serve as a much-needed third news-and-opinion destination for Keene area inhabitants.

Liberty activists here have built bridges with the community through volunteering, sponsoring local charity, and even working to assist Keene police when they are doing the right thing.

DJVCS PosterThough many more people move to the big city, Manchester, for obvious reasons like more jobs, Keene is high on the list of destination choices for many people planning their move. That’s likely because of the historic, publicity-generating activism that has transpired here over the years. There’s even a feature-length documentary about a year of activism here, “Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree“.

Recently, Keene activism has become more political with multiple candidates for office, petitioned warrant articles for school board, and election media generated by FSP early movers, like Darryl W. Perry’s excellent mayoral debate, which received accolades for its fairness.

As a result of the loads of media, both internal and mainstream that we’ve generated over the years, more people in Keene know about us – for better or for worse. That means there are a segment of people who fear change that have and will continue to lash out at liberty activists here. However, as the Free UBER activists found in Portsmouth, that’s what happens ANYWHERE the state is threatened and that activism is publicized. People form strong opinions for/against said activism.

Keene’s not without it’s challenges, but it’s the challenge that attracts so many here. Keene is the Western outpost of the Shire and we are shining the light of liberty to keep the encroaching statists from NY, VT, and MA at bay. Consider Keene as your destination for the Free State Project. Here are 150+ reasons why you should.

What Happened at Stone Manor, According to All Involved

The last time I posted to FreeKeene.com I shared my excitement of traveling back to the ‘shire with my partner Amanda B. Johnson. In that post I concluded, “There is no perfect, yet we can strive for it.” That aim is what motivates me to discuss a situation that occurred shortly after we returned. It’s my hope that transparency and discourse bring accountability and growth.

At the center of this conversation are the concepts of property rights, aggressive versus defensive force, and personal responsibility. This is admittedly a lengthy post — it allows for those involved to share their full recount of events in their own voice. If anything is unclear, please comment. Better yet, reach out to those involved to inquire of them directly.

 

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