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.”
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. Sadly, the machines in upstate NY closed down after that state’s implementation of strict bitcoin regulations. (They ARE the empire state, after all – recently ranking at a bottom-scraping number 50 in the “Freedom in the 50 States” study for 2016. NH ranked at number one!) As of this writing and for several months, Boston’s machines have either been removed or are shut down, according to user comments at CoinATMRadar.com, though one Boston machine on the map claims it’s starting this month.
Keene’s Shire Free Church have operated a BVM publicly since November of 2014. The Keene unit is a Lamassu and is located in libertarian-owned “Route 101 Local Goods”. The Manchester unit, a “General Bytes” brand, was placed in another libertarian-owned establishment, “Murphy’s Taproom” – a high-traffic location on the main street in Manch. Recently the Shire added a third public BVM. This one is in the North Country at libertarian-owned gas station, “Twin Mountain Country Store” in the White Mountains! New Hampshire is connected with bitcoin like nowhere else.
Matthew Ping, another early mover in the mass migration of liberty activists to NH, manages dozens of rental properties around Manchester and is accepting bitcoin for rent payments, as do countless other liberty-friendly landlords across NH. Matt says, “The number of people paying with bitcoin fluctuates monthly depending on the price, but in January, six out of 45 apartments paid in bitcoin. It doesn’t seem like a lot but that’s half of my free stater residents and I think that’s pretty awesome.”We even had a 2016 presidential candidate, Darryl W. Perry, who was the first candidate for president to accept bitcoin for campaign contributions. In fact, he refused contributions from anyone who wanted to give him fiat currency! Speaking of politics, there are several state legislators, many of whom are libertarians who’ve been elected as republicans or democrats who actively accept and support bitcoin. (Do you have state reps where you live that know and use bitcoin?)
Liberty migrants to “The Shire” are not only founding businesses and activist organizations, but also charities. One such project, “Fr33 Aid”, which provides medical services, was the world’s first charity to accept only bitcoin. Fr33 Aid’s Stephanie Murphy says, “New Hampshire is not only where I first heard about bitcoin, but also where I first saw it in action. From then on I was fascinated.” Another NH charity that accepts bitcoin is Shire Sharing, which provides Thanksgiving dinners to hundreds of families across New Hampshire each year.
New Hampshire’s liberty community isn’t exclusive to bitcoin, however. Some activists focus on the wider cryptocurrency world, like weekly cryptocurrency talk show, “Neocash Radio” hosted by liberty migrants Dr. Darren Tapp, JJ Schlessinger, and Randy Clemens.
I challenge you to find a more bitcoin-friendly community with the concentration that the pioneering libertarian migrants have already created here in New Hampshire. It will only get bigger as thousands more flow in from the Free State Project and Shire Society. Come join the fun! Seriously, what are you waiting for?