Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bitcoin Center Opens Up Next to NYSE

About a week ago, I went down to 40 Broad Street, to the new Bitcoin info center. It was an afternoon well spent. Bitcoin, this rambunctious disruptive libertarian currency, seemed to be coming of age right before my eyes. 

Here we were, my Bitcoin activist friend and I, on a rainy day in old New York, just south of Wall Street. Steven was visiting from out West, so I pointed out that what's called Wall Street was actually once a real wall. The original New Amsterdam Dutch built a security perimeter to keep out the Lenape natives, and the British. 

Across the street, at Wall and Broad, is JP Morgan's old bank. Morgan of course was that ultra-powerful financier who was one of the heavies who helped ram through the Federal Reserve system in 1913. 

I was reminded then of a scene in the trailer for an upcoming documentary on Bitcoin. 

“End the Fed?” says a jolly Bitcoiner in, “The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin”. “Nah, you’re never going to end the Fed. But you can bypass the Fed!”

Bitcoin has the audacity to suggest the people can take the power to mint currency out of the hands of the government. No one regulates it, and its value is based on market discipline, supply and demand. Over $50 million in transactions is already being done per month. 

If you see the connection between over-printing paper money, to fund an out-of-control empire and war machine, you are on your way to a radical conclusion. Digital currency is a radical path of peace and nonviolence.

So we kept going. Not far down the road, just two doors south of the New York Stock Exchange, was a bright white storefront, announcing something completely different than the banking status quo: the new Bitcoin center. I had to step back and start taking photos. I couldn't believe the location. Two blocks away had been Occupy. Now, something different, but not completely dissimilar, had taken space in the hood. And they were paying rent. 

A sign outside invited the locals and the tourists in to learn about the problems of the economy, and one possible future for money. Inside, the smartly dressed Deputy Director Cole Ippoliti welcomed us. We sat down in the back, in a  large white on white presentation hall, where a lively former real estate broker Matt Manhattan gave a good presentation on Bitcoin, to a modest crowd of 20.

I took a look at the new "y Bitcoin" Magazine. Despite its awkward title, the mag is quite good, delivering one solid article after another about what Bitcoin is, and why it was a future.

 Calli Bailey the publisher, says, 

Cryptocurrency’s promise as an emerging technology [is] capable of profoundly benefiting people around the world. Yes, Bitcoin has many hurdles yet to cross, but like the early days of the internet, its true potential and power has yet to be understood or appreciated. Our goal is to advance the dialogue by introducing Bitcoin to Main Street and provide a tool for the Bitcoin community to help facilitate their conversations with family, friends and favorite merchants.

One of the most notable things about this debut issue of "y Bitcoin" is that it's coming out of Huntsville, Alabama, that small city of under 200,000 in the Deep South. For a slick, professional magazine to come out of Alabama of all places shows the power of desktop publishing. Bitcoin is universal, and its world-changing potential is masive.

Let's focus a little bit on what Bailey means when she points to Bitcoin's ability to "benefit people around the world." Let me share a few notes I made at the Bitcoin conference in Silicon Valley, CA, last Spring.

Here are some key pieces of inspiring information on Bitcoin's social impact. A guy at said:
“With Bitcoin, I can send money to relief efforts in countries we are bombing, while people in those countries can donate to our antiwar efforts here.” At, Bitcoin’s low processing fees make it possible for donors to give any amount. Even 35 cents won’t be chipped away at by the overhead of Big Credit Card Processing. brought in $800 in new in donations in the first 48 hours it started accepting Bitcoin.
Roger Ver, a charismatic Bitcoin investor known informally as “Bitcoin Jesus”  recently told the LeWeb 2013 conference, “One of the things governments around the world do currently is they finance their wars and the things that they do through inflation. They just print money for whatever it is that they want to spend it on. If the world were using Bitcoin that would no longer be a possibility. If you’re opposed to governments inflating money to pay for wars around the world, Bitcoin should be something you’re interested in.”

According to an early Bitcoin investor, who is now independently wealthy, “Bitcoin will be the liberator for the world’s poor giving them access to the global marketplace on a scale never seen before. If Bitcoin can give market access to that many people the entire planet will experience an upswing comparable to the industrial revolution, only stronger.” 

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