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”.The new Bitcoin Vending Machine in Concord is the fifth publicly operating unit in the state. New Hampshire continues to dominate all of New England for accessibility to bitcoin. While Boston recently added four machines, there’s nowhere else in all of MA, ME, VT, CT, RI, and Northern NY to buy bitcoin in person. Not only do we have more machines than anywhere else in New England, but ours are better dispersed geographically. There are BVMs in across Southern NH in Keene, Manchester, Portsmouth, and Concord plus one all the way up in the North Country in Twin Mountain.
While the two machines in Manchester and Keene are operated by the Shire Free Church, the other three are each owned and operated independently, meaning ownership of the machines is now more diverse. Though we’re all technically in competition, we have united under the “Shire Bitcoin” banner. The website Shire Bitcoin has launched for 2017, linking directly to information about which local businesses across NH accept bitcoin. The site operator says that it will soon be update to include where the various bitcoin meetups are happening statewide, and the locations of the Bitcoin Vending Machines. It’s a brand new site, but is already a resource for bitcoin use and community in the Shire. I’m excited to see it grow.