Keene Gets Third Cryptocurrency Vending Machine!

Thirsty Owl is the home for Keene's 3rd CVM.

Thirsty Owl is the home for Keene’s 3rd CVM.

Now that Keene’s original Bitcoin and DASH vending machine has been majorly upgraded to the top-of-the-line General Bytes brand, the Shire Free Church was able to move the popular and rock-solid Lamassu brand Cryptocurrency Vending Machine to a new location in Keene!

I’m excited to announce that Thirsty Owl, directly across Winchester St from Keene State College, immediately stepped up to take the Lamassu. Thirsty Owl, (formerly known as D’s Cafe) offers beer, wine, and liquor along with excellent and affordable food like sandwiches, tacos, burgers, and even breakfast all day. Owner Darren Humphrey began accepting cryptocurrency at the register in 2017, including Bitcoin Core (BTC) and DASH and was excited to host the area’s third public CVM.

Now, two of the area’s three CVM’s are open seven days a week in downtown Keene, with Thirsty Owl extending cryptocurrency availability into the late night in Keene, as it closes at 2am Thursday through Saturday and 11pm Sunday through Wednesday. You can see full location detail, machine info, and hours on the Thirsty Owl’s new Coin Radar entry here.

The cryptocurrency-accepting bar in Keene, Thirsty Owl, now features a CVM!

The cryptocurrency-accepting bar in Keene, Thirsty Owl, now features a CVM!

Thirsty Owl is also the destination for this week’s Keene Crypto Network Meetup group. We’ll be there at 2pm today (Sunday) so if you have questions about cryptocurrency, there’s no better place to go than our meetup. If you can’t make it, we have meetups every eight days.

This also means Keene continues to be the dominant cryptocurrency hotspot in the Northeast United States and one of the top on the planet. Not only do we have a high amount of cryptocurrency-accepting businesses per-capita (more than major cities worldwide), Keene also trounces bigger cities like New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Manchester on CVMs per-capita!

If you’re into cryptocurrency and you aren’t living in New Hampshire, especially the hotspots of Portsmouth and Keene, you’re missing out.

Keene’s Original Cryptocurrency Vending Machine Gets Major Upgrade

Keene's Original Cryptocurrency Vending Machine Gets Major Upgrade

Keene’s Original Cryptocurrency Vending Machine Gets Major Upgrade

In 2014, Keene’s first Bitcoin Vending Machine launched at what was then a thrift store at 661 Marlboro Rd (Rt. 101 across from Cheshire Oil). The machine is part of the Shire Free Church’s project to spread cryptocurrency in the region. In 2015, the machine was upgraded to the Lamassu brand – an excellent quality unit and a major improvement over the original Skyhook brand – which is long since out-of-business. (Lamassu was originally developed in New Hampshire!)

Now we’re proud to announce another major upgrade. As of today, Route 101 Local Goods will now be home to a top-of-the-line General Bytes brand Cryptocurrency Vending Machine selling both BTC and DASH. (You can check it out on the CoinATMRadar site here.) The new CVM is massive and attractive, with a huge touch screen interface and beautiful color-cycling LED lighting. General Bytes is the top CVM manufacturer in the world today and they’ve really earned that distinction.

Keene has also earned its distinction as a cryptocurrency hotspot, having the longest-operating CVM in the Northeast United States and one of the highest concentrations of cryptocurrency-accepting-businesses-per-capita in the world! For a while, our CVM was the only one northeast of New York City, until the Shire Free Church launched our machine in Manchester in 2016.

Route 101 Local Goods sells cool NH-made products and accepts crypto!

Route 101 Local Goods sells cool NH-made products and accepts crypto!

In the last several years, people have traveled from across the Northeast United States to use our machine. Its low price in comparison to other BVMs is worth the trip, plus the customer service from its location, Route 101 Local Goods, is unmatched. Store owner Chris Rietmann is a huge cryptocurrency advocate and even gives his customers 5% off any item in the store – if they pay with cryptocurrency – and Rt. 101 accepts a BUNCH of them.

In late 2017, we added DASH (aka “Digital Cash”) to the machine, making it the region’s first Cryptocurrency Vending Machine! In fact, both DASH and BTC are accepted by multiple businesses in the Keene area. More announcements about that will be coming soon, so stay tuned here to the Free Keene blog for the latest on the cryptocurrency evolution happening here in New Hampshire.

By the way, you haven’t seen the last of the Lamassu. It’s still an excellent unit and in great shape after serving customers day-after-day. It’s staying in Keene, but I can’t announce the new location yet. Soon!

NHPR’s Feature Piece on Free State Project (& Free Keene) + Full Interview Audio

New Hampshire Public Radio Logo

New Hampshire Public Radio Posts Feature on NH Freedom Migration

Thanks to New Hampshire Public Radio reporter Taylor Quimby (originally from the Keene area) for his detailed and well-researched report on the Free State Project, which delves into the history of the project, the diversity of opinions of its movers, their effectiveness and impact in New Hampshire, including plenty of focus on Free Keene – one of the top blogs in NH that chronicles the NH Freedom Migration, focusing on Keene.

The audio version of the report is excellent, with audio that doesn’t appear in the printed version. Both editions are lengthy, so settle in for a good long read or listen.

Besides a few minor quibbles, Taylor’s reporting is fair and the audio version is quite entertaining. I laughed out loud a few times.

In case you were curious, I’ve uploaded the full hourlong interview Taylor did with me where we discussed the Keene 420s, how I found the Free State Project and its early history, the start of Free Talk Live, my early discovery of libertarianism, Robin Hooding, the NH freedom migration, Shire Society, Forkfest and schisms in the movement, the Shire Free Church, Porcfest, cryptocurrency in NH, the FSP-FTL breakup, decentralization, and the (in my opinion) success of the Free State Project:

One of the quibbles I have with the NHPR report is the audio used as evidence of the Robin Hooders‘ supposed bad behavior is actually audio of hater Rev. David Berman when he was haranguing Robin Hooder Graham Colson. To my knowledge no Robin Hooder ever behaved like Berman and purposefully invaded the Parking Enforcers’ personal space (and the Enforcers under oath in the case never said the Hooders ever did such a thing). (more…)

Libertarians Counterprotest Anti-Gun Event in Keene

This weekend there were nationwide anti-gun protests across the United States and one of them happened in Keene’s Central Square on Saturday morning. Nationally syndicated talk radio program “Free Talk Live” co-host Chris Rietmann came out with a sign announcing he was an AR-15 owner and inviting people to talk to him. Another talk show host, Vincent Freeman from “Questioning Authority” was there to document:

Also appearing in favor of freedom in the video is Robert from Vermont, a regular Free Talk Live caller. For all the people in NH who want to ban guns, they should just move to Massachusetts and they’ll instantly attain their goals.

Rietmann is a regular Thursday night co-host on Free Talk Live and Vincent’s show is live on Saturday nights. Both shows are streamed live now on Twitch in HD and of course are available in audio form via streaming and satellite on LRN.FM.

Massive Bitcoin Vending Machine Expansion Hits NH: Manchester, Nashua, Salem

NH's Newest BVM at Manchester's "Mall of NH"

NH’s Newest BVM at Manchester’s “Mall of NH”

In 2014, the Shire Free Church launched its first Bitcoin Vending Machine in Keene eventually upgrading that unit, and later helping launch a BVM in Manchester in 2016. Other liberty-loving activists followed suit and launched BVMs in Portsmouth and Concord. News coverage in mainstream media has been front page in print and on television. You can scroll back through the Bitcoin category here at Free Keene to see some of it.

In 2017, an out-of-state (but also freedom-loving) company called Blackfrog placed machines in Manchester and Keene, making them the first two NH markets with competing BVMs! 2017 also saw rollouts of other cryptocurrencies being sold at most machines around the state, like Litecoin and DASH. This turned the Bitcoin Vending Machines into Cryptocurrency Vending Machines!

Now, in just the first quarter of 2018, an explosion of competition has hit the Manchester area. Two national Bitcoin Vending Machine operators have entered the NH market and added several machines. One company called Coinsource dropped three BVMs into Manchester back in late January and within a month, a Nevada-based company Coincloud placed a BVM one block north of the original CVM at Murphy’s Taproom in Manch at a vape shop called Vaporamas.

Manchester's CVM Explosion, as of March 2018

Manchester’s CVM Explosion, as of March 2018

That same company has also placed units in brand new New Hampshire markets, also at vape shops in Nashua and Salem! Finally, New Hampshire’s newest BVM just went online about a week ago in Manchester’s Mall of New Hampshire in the food court. It’s a smart location – people sitting around eating have more time to get curious about the machine and maybe check it out. The operator of the mall unit is the brand new “Simple BTC LLC”.

That’s a total of 13 Cryptocurrency Vending Machines (though the units from Coincloud, Coinsource, and Simple BTC are BTC-only at this time) in and across Southern New Hampshire. Sadly, the Twin Mountain BVM in the North Country closed when the gas station housing it went out of business last year. Compare NH to Massachusetts, where according to the excellent website “Coin ATM Radar” there are 24 CVMs for 6.79 million people, which is one machine for every 283,101 people. In NH it’s 13 CVMs for 1.35 million people, which is one for every 103,846 people. New Hampshire is crushing Massachusetts with more affordable rates at its machines and nearly three times more CVMs-per-capita! NH even beats out NY, CA, and FL ranking at #5 nationwide for CVMs-per-capita, with almost ten machines per one million population (using 2015 numbers and data from Coin ATM Radar). You can see where your state ranks on this spreadsheet. (more…)

Keene School Deliberative Session. Lowest attendance on record

Coverage of the Keene school district’s First Session held February 10th, 2018, filmed and produced by CheshireTV.

Here is a write-up by the Keene Sentinel:

After a sparsely attended deliberative session Saturday, two petition warrant articles will go onto the Keene School District’s ballot with significant amendments.

A range of other proposals, including a collective bargaining agreement for principals and supervisors and appropriations for building maintenance and special education reserve funds, will appear on the ballot as proposed.

Though 77 registered voters attended the session — about 0.4 percent of the district’s 17,855 registered voters — a few vocal individuals seemed to dominate discussion Saturday morning.

Early in the meeting, two amendments to the district’s $66,661,091 operating budget were proposed, but ultimately voted down. The proposed budget is up 0.6 percent from the $66,150,293 budget voters approved last year.

The first amendment, proposed by Keene resident and former Keene High football coach John Luopa, would have added $311,425 to the operating budget, with the funds intended for step increases for teachers.

The Keene Board of Education and the teachers union failed to reach a new contract agreement this year, and in the absence of a new agreement, the previous teachers contract reached four years ago will remain in effect beyond its set expiration, on June 30.

A few board members, including Kris Roberts, George Downing and Susan Hay, opposed the amendment, noting that any potential step increase should ideally be reached through a collective bargaining process.

Downing also clarified that though voters have the power to add funds to the proposed budget at the deliberative session, they don’t have the power to restrict what those funds would be used for.

On a secret ballot vote, the amendment failed, 40-18.

A second amendment to the operating budget was proposed by Conan Salada, a Keene resident and former candidate for state representative and Keene City Council, to decrease the operating budget by $410,796, to match the previous operating budget. Salada argued that the district’s spending per student is too high.

“It shouldn’t cost that much to educate our youth for what is basically daycare. The amount of money being spent, a quarter million dollars for the life of a kid, we should be turning out engineers, rocket scientists, doctors,” Salada said. “And yet half of these kids probably couldn’t pass an entrance exam in the local college.” (more…)