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.”
The ridesharing laws of Portsmouth and Manchester will soon be voided by HB 1697, which provides ‘light touch’ regulation of ridesharing at the state level.
This is good news both for Uber and new competitors like Arcade City.
Arcade City grew out of the Free Uber campaign. Our core team realized that while we were defending consumer choice in Portsmouth, Uber was busy lobbying Concord to restrict that choice by attempting to rig New Hampshire’s ridesharing market exclusively in their favor.
Uber’s lobbyists spent fifteen months trying to get Uber’s business model encoded into law statewide. It’s the “Uber model legislation” they are ramming through legislatures across the country, mostly successfully.
After the NH House passed Uber’s version of the bill on first reading last month, a small handful of Arcade City drivers worked with the commerce committee. We informed them of our different business model and provided feedback to help remove the Uber-specific provisions of the bill. They were very receptive to our arguments and did not need much convincing.
Speaking before the vote, the bill’s lead sponsor told the chamber that all of our concerns were addressed:
“Those organizations and entities that sent memos and emails out expressing those concerns, we were able to address all of them. For insurance, we were able to lower the insurance from $1 million to $300,000. We have actually de-Uberized this bill. We have now taken out those things that made [this unique to Uber]. For instance if you want to start a TNC — thanks to you folks it’s only $500 — and thanks to you folks, we have also now made sure that they can do other things Uber doesn’t do. For instance, they can take cash.”
Uber tried to rig New Hampshire’s TNC market in their favor. Arcade City successfully pushed back. On our new website launching next week, we’ll share ideas and techniques to help AC drivers around the world push back against Uber’s attempts to use the force of government to erect barriers to competition.
Apparently Uber is afraid of a level playing field. Arcade City is not.
Since the Summer of 2015, multiple UBER drivers in Portsmouth have been regularly committing civil disobedience by driving without jumping through the city’s arbitrary hoops. Effectively the city outlawed UBER by creating ridiculous regulations designed to protect the cab companies from much-needed competition. Despite this, UBER’s app has continued to work, so drivers like “UBER Grandma” Stephanie Franz have continued to take passengers where they want to go.
Franz has been rewarded with several $500-$1,000 tickets from police for her good deeds. Despite facing financial ruin at the hands of the city, she has heroically continued to drive – much to the disgust of the awful cab drivers who have continued a campaign of intimidation against her. She’s had her tail light smashed in previously, has been boxed in by cabbies multiple times, and just today posted this to facebook:
Interesting night in Portsmouth. Taxi drivers are all pumped up over Portsmouth’s temporary threat to “sting” uber drivers. What polite and “manly” men they are. It started last night with a pick up at the Moose. As my riders were entering my car out of the bar walks, the pillar of manhood, cigarette hanging out of his mouth, crabby cabbie [Anchor Taxi owner Merle White]. He sees me picking up my ride and endearing words were yelled “there’s that fucking Uber grandma”. My ride was so ticked off that he started yelling back at him. As the night progressed the rest of the chosen few made their statements too.
Angry Seacoast Cabbies Hate Competition – Photo Courtesy Seacoast Online
They would pull up next to my car, stop or slow down and stare at me as I was waiting for my next ride. Whoever that handsome hunk of manhood , with the well kept gray beard, Beautiful glaring eyes, and tooth was, I hope you got your eyes full as you stared at me from your taxi van.
To the Three Musketeers who stood by their vans at the bus stop on Market Square; Butts hanging out of your mouths, extending those well defined cannons for arms and pointing at me as I would leave my parking position at the end of Pleasant Street to go pick up riders. They guarded my spot four or five times as I would leave and come back. Oh, almost forgot they spoke fluent mumble. Thank you Portsmouth taxis for your enjoyable evening.
The threat of a sting operation that she’s referring to is coming from Portsmouth police chief David Mara who this week announced a coming crackdown against UBER drivers. Assistant mayor Jim Splaine says he supports a crackdown as unregistered drivers should not, “exploit the system”. They are spurred on by cab company owner John Palreiro who claims UBER drivers are “stealing” from him, as though he owns every rider in town. Check out this Seacoast Online article to read the full ridiculousness of this protection racket’s scheming to destroy the innovators in the transport market.
Recorded February 16th, 2016
Christopher David, super activist and start-up entrepreneur joins us in studio this week on the eve of Liberty Forum. Topics this week include Chris’s decentralized competitor to Uber called Arcade City, a status update on Chris’s legal issues surrounding his Free Uber activism and an update on Uber Grandma, Ethereum and the impact it will have on governments, Ann’s desire for driverless cars, updates on The Rebel Mistress and Chris running for state rep, the FSP hitting 20K, The Rebel Mistress with Flaming Freedom hosting the Hallowkeene Dance Party, and the Rebel Love Show’s latest psychonaut journey. The Rebel Love Show will also be recording at Liberty Forum Saturday February 20th 2-4pm from the Radisson in Manchester NH. The Rebel Love Show airs every Tuesday night 10pm-12am EST on LRN.FM and RebelLoveShow.com/live.
Christopher David is a busy man. Within six months, he’s gone from a civil disobedience driver for UBER to the founder of a concept that could be UBER’s (and Lyft’s) downfall: Arcade City.
Chris has blown past his original goal of signing up 100 drivers for Arcade City by the end of the month, with now over 1,100 drivers signed up internationally! All 1,100+ are highly-rated UBER or Lyft drivers, which means they’ve already passed background checks and driving record checks. The growth has been unexpected and tremendous. Arcade City has clearly touched a nerve with frustrated UBER and Lyft drivers who are sharing recruiting links all over social media.
The press has taken notice and Arcade City is again in the headlines in NH and elsewhere:
Uber & Lyft Drivers Flock to New Rideshare Startup ‘Arcade City’ After Rate Cuts
Volume of driver signups crashes server; Arcade City app launches February 14th; Uber called a “rolling sweatshop”
PORTSMOUTH, NH — More than 600 Uber and Lyft drivers signed up for new ridesharing startup Arcade City this week in the aftermath of dramatic rate cuts by the two rideshare companies.
“Drivers are angry and rightfully so,” said Arcade City founder Christopher David. “Their take-home pay was just slashed up to 40% by some nerds in San Francisco who don’t even drive. Arcade City is here to do things differently.”
Arcade City is a ridesharing mobile app releasing officially for Android and iOS on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. Riders can schedule rides in advance or at the tap of a button on a “pay what you think is fair” basis.
Arcade City had a successful soft launch on New Years Eve in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. More than 100 passengers were transported safely in donation-based rides by ten drivers, most of them current or former Uber drivers.
“Our goal for January was to sign up 100 drivers by the end of the month to help us test the app,” said David. “Since the rate cuts we’ve been signing up 100 drivers every single day and the signup rate keeps increasing. It’s overwhelming.”
On Friday the Arcade City website crashed under heavy demand of driver signups, forcing server upgrades. More than 30 drivers are now being trained as regional leaders to recruit drivers and riders, with most of the U.S. covered, including Hawaii and as far away as Australia.
“The Achilles’ heel of Uber and Lyft is their centralized management of pricing. This week’s uproar by drivers — and their willingness to join an alternative — shows the failure of that approach,” said David. “You cannot build a sustainable long-term relationship with drivers if you take away their ability to set their own pricing. Arcade City will decentralize those decisions to the level of the driver and their customers.”
David is a former Uber driver and founder of the Free Uber activism campaign centered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In November he was arrested by Portsmouth police on felony wiretapping charges for posting a YouTube video [included below] recorded while driving illegally for Uber in Portsmouth. Last week the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor after a police review found it was misclassified as a felony, but David continues to face up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Arcade City will launch globally on February 14th.
“Uber has said repeatedly that it likes to ‘experiment’ with fares. In reality, they are experimenting with livelihoods. They are experimenting with the ability of some people to put food on their table and to pay their rent/mortgage. That is unacceptable. Lyft just doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to them either. Arcade City does. I am joining Arcade City because I want to see the rideshare industry truly be about drivers and passengers, not executives hellbent on forcing workers into servitude just to discard them when they have no need for them.” –Mason J., Raleigh, NC
“Uber is a rolling sweatshop – and they make us provide the shop! Lyft is better, but heading down that terrible path with growing speed! Arcade City is built on driver experience and geared toward a fair and worthwhile model. With all these drivers from other services we can avoid the pitfalls of Uber and the like. I have a 4.9 rating from 7 months with Uber, 14 months with Lyft and i am ready for an alternative with a conscience!” –Keith Hale, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
“I’m excited to work with Arcade City. They will allow customers to tip through the app, unlike Uber. With Uber they cut our fares by over 40% and they didn’t even give us a warning.” —Philip Heath, Maui, HI
“On Uber’s platform I’m rated as a 4.9. At first I loved it, but their recruiting efforts have caused supersaturation in the market place. There’s just too many drivers here in Denver. In response they cut rates so low that they hurt the driver’s bottom line. It’s hard to make any money with Uber anymore. Having a rideshare service founded by drivers is awesome! We have a direct say in how we do business. Arcade City is providing the means to change the industry.” —Aaron B., Denver, CO
“Arcade City is not about pleasing Wall Street like other ridesharing companies. It provides a platform that empowers both the driver and passenger from a foundation of trust that creates the ultimate transportation experience.” —Michael G. Johnson, Atlanta, GA
“In a market that was ripe for ride share advertising, Uber never seemed to pay attention to the driver’s suggestions and essentially left building the customer base to us. They seemed more interested in over-saturating the market with drivers, and then they cut all of our rates. I’m ecstatic to help build the Arcade City service. One that cares about everyone’s success, not just the pockets of shareholders.” —Jake, 4.83 Uber rating, Wichita, KS
“Rideshare drivers everywhere need to look towards Arcade City. Uber’s blatant disregard for and disrespect of its drivers is beyond reprehensible. It borders on criminal. Arcade City is designed to empower drivers. They are aware that it is the drivers who are the front line and the ambassadors of the company. Drivers deserve to feel appreciated by the company they choose to give their dedication! Join the Arcade City Revolution and be part of a kinder, gentler rideshare experience.” —Scott Goldstein, Philadelphia, PA