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 Long Road Home (to the ‘shire!)

I heard Jason Sorens speak in 2005. He advocated that liberty-oriented individuals around the globe vote with their feet and relocate to New Hampshire (NH) as part of the Free State Project – to pursue liberty in our lifetime. I was intrigued. A month later I drove from DC to Lancaster to attend PorcFest. I was present for less than 24 hours. That was plenty of time to recognize the potential of the idea.

I then got involved with the Mid-Atlantic Free State Project group whilst living in northern Virginia. I valued my experiences there – getting better acquainted with Austrian Economics and its implications, and cultivating other knowledge and skills – but the thought of moving to NH tugged at me. It was appealing to not just talk about liberty, but to actively pursue it.

In 2009 I relocated to NH, which I now call “the ‘shire” for its magical qualities. Keene was homebase for The Motorhome Diaries and Liberty on Tour, as well the place that Cop Block was incubated. It became clear when I was on the road with those projects that, while there are growing pockets of communities who internalize the ideas of self-ownership, the ‘shire was special.

In 2014 – at PorcFest, of course – I met the person who, in 2015, agreed to be my life partner. That fine lady, if you’re unaware, is Amanda B. Johnson. We plan to re-up each year, so long as we’re both still having fun. Based on our frequency of laughs and smiles and songs, I’d say we’re on a good trajectory.

tamworth the shire pete eyre amanda b. johnson freekeene.com 600x400

Amanda B. Johnson and Pete Eyre in Tamworth, the ‘shire

In late 2014 Amanda and I left the ‘shire for Oklahoma City where I got top-notch surgery to repair my ripped bicep. The friendly and entrepreneurial folks at the Oklahoma Surgery Center agreed to be paid entirely in Bitcoin and gold. And the anesthesiologist’s own son was super into Cop Block! (more…)

Bitcoin Discussion on Manchester Morning Talk Radio with WFEA’s Jared Goodell

This Summer, Keene native Jared Goodell launched a morning show on Manchester talker WFEA 1370 AM & 99.9 FM. Friday morning I was honored to have my first chance to appear as a guest on his program. Jared wanted to discuss the decentralized future of money and had some good questions about Bitcoin. The interview turned out to be a good short intro discussion for people new to Bitcoin. Feel free to share, as always:

Responding to Vandalized Rainbow Benches, UCC Launches #onthebench Selfie Contest!

Jazzy Girl on the Rainbow Bench!

Jazzy Girl on the Rainbow Bench!

This morning, Christopher Cornell of the United Church of Christ at the head of Central Square in Downtown Keene announced a really cool selfie contest in response to  continued vandalization of their rainbow benches in Elsie Priest Park, just behind the UCC on Church St.

At least one unknown vandal in her sixties has been caught in the act of painting the rainbow bench in red.  She ran to her red compact car and took off.  The bench was subsequently painted rainbow by more volunteers, then attacked by the vandal(s) again, and so on.  The church has plenty of paint and volunteers.  Love will win over hate.

UCC administrator Mark C. Harris explained in a post to the church blog that the benches were painted rainbow this summer by volunteers and that they represent that, “We want everyone to feel welcome to use the park. This is in good keeping with our belief that all of God’s children are beloved, no matter who they are, or where they are on life’s journey. All are welcome, no matter their gender, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, sexual orientation, difference in abilities, religion or absence thereof.”

Renee Kate and Jazzy on the Rainbow Bench!

Renee Kate and Jazzy Showing Love > Hate

Today the benches are rainbow and people who side with love have been invited by the UCC to visit them and take a selfie, and post it on social media tagged with #onthebench.  there are prizes, and the contest for the best selfie ends Saturday September 5th, at 10pm, which coincides with the end of the Keene Music Festival.

Speculation abounds as to the motivation of the vandal(s) – it’s easy to jump to a conclusion and say it’s someone with an anti-gay sentiment, but longtime readers of this blog will also recall the controversy back in 2009 when local entrepreneur Dorrie O’Meara launched her Mexican restaurant Pedraza’s.  Some people around town were upset because O’Meara painted her building yellow!  Certain grumpy people in this area seem to hate colors besides brick red and gray.

Ian Freeman and Jazzy at the Rainbow Bench

Take this, vandals!

Cornell said in an interview for Free Keene that he thinks the first time the the vandal(s) struck, the benches were fully painted red, but that since then the vandal(s) have only painted over the yellow part.  He’s losing track of the amount of times the benches have been vandalized, but thinks it may have been at least six times, all since the beginning of August.

Smart move on the UCC’s part to make this into a hopefully-viral phenomenon.  The vandals, whatever the hate they carry in their hearts, probably weren’t expecting these benches to turn into a movement!

The Shire Free Church is joining in solidarity with the UCC and all those who support love over hate, so I went out with Renee Kate and Jazzy the Studio Dog for a photo shoot this afternoon.  Remember to tag your bench selfies with #onthebench on your social media posts.

Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest on this controversy. Last year it was chalk causing controversy, this year it’s rainbows!

Hate Won’t Hurt Heroin

The War on Drugs is a failure.

The War on Drugs is a failure.

There’s a new page on facebook called “Save NH – Keene Hates Heroin“. Surely the group’s creators have the best of intentions, but hate only hurts the hater. It won’t hurt heroin. Only love will solve the heroin problem. These folks should reconsider their beliefs.

Ending the war on drugs is a good first step to removing a major barrier (fear of arrest) to addicts getting help. Let’s start by treating addicts with compassion. Hatred is not helping.

Church of the Invisible Hand founder and Shire Free Church minister Rich Paul wrote an excellent blog post on the matter while he was behind bars. He was jailed for a year for selling cannabis flowers – the cops and FBI even let a heroin dealer go free so they could bust Rich.

Rich’s blog is titled, “Reducing the Incidence and Impact of Heroin Abuse” – don’t miss it.

-Posted today to the Shire Free Church facebook page.

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