This past Friday, it was hard not to feel like a superhero on a quest to free the world. On December 1, 2017, the Free State Blockchain Digital Assets Conference (FSBDAC) took place in downtown Portsmouth, NH. While the conference name is a mouthful that probably needs fixing for 2018–I’m partial to BlockchainNH–I was impressed.
This exclusive conference brought together the financial sector, commentators, researchers, financial innovators and other blockchain enthusiasts to explore the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for a future of tokenized assets.
I was expecting to know everyone in attendance. Not by a mile. When you attend a brand new conference with the name of the organization where you have worked for more than 8 years in its title, and can honestly say you only knew 30-40% of the people there, it’s revelatory in the same way the whole blockchain industry is. Assuming the rest of the attendees weren’t all Alphabet Agencies accidentally monitoring each other, this dynamic growth bodes well for the future of crypto in New Hampshire.
The conference was the brainchild of Bruce Fenton, one of the Free State Project’s most recent movers. Bruce has been a speaker at Liberty Forum and PorcFest in the past. A few years ago, Bruce said: “I signed up with the Free State Project because I want to be the change I want to see in the world.”
Why New Hampshire?
#1 NH is Home to the Free State Project
We are building the freest place on earth right here in New Hampshire, and crypto plays an integral role in this liberation. Thousands of activists have moved, with more arriving weekly. Free Staters are heavily invested in and involved with crypto, from brick and mortar businesses like Route 101 Local Goods in Keene and the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe in Portsmouth, to podcasts like Neocash Radio. Free Staters work for and invest in companies and technologies like Zcash, Dash, LBRY, and SwarmCity.
#2 Legendary Bitcoiners are Free Staters
Roger Ver, Erik Voorhees, and Bruce Fenton are Free Staters. Bitcoin evangelicals like Overstock’s CEO Patrick Byrne, Liberty.me’s Jeffrey Tucker, and BitInstant founder Charlie Shrem have spoken at FSP events. Lyn Ulbricht, mother of Silk Road founder and political prisoner Ross Ulbricht, is an FSP signer. Pioneers and pirates, what’s not to love?
#3 Longest Running Crypto Meetup in the World
Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city, is home to the longest running crypto meetup in the world. Every week, crypto enthusiasts meet at a local saloon to socialize, trade, swap tips, start businesses, and strategize. Live free and mine!
#4 World’s First BTC ATM Built by Free Staters
Back in February 2013, Lamassu was cofounded by Free Stater brothers Josh and Zach Harvey in Manchester, NH. Their goal is to harness the technological supremacy of cryptocurrencies and provide this experience to those who’ve never had access to basic financial services in the past.
#5 Early Crypto Adopters
The FSP has been accepting Bitcoin (and now other cryptocurrencies) for event tickets, sponsorships, and donations since 2011. The FSP hosts two annual events that highlight crypto: the upcoming Liberty Forum (February 8-10, 2018) and the Porcupine Freedom Festival (aka PorcFest, June 19-24, 2018). Buy your tickets for Liberty Forum today.
Local and national political candidates have also been accepting crypto donations since 2011. In 2016, Darryl Perry became the first presidential candidate to accept cryptocurrencies for his campaign. After the Libertarian National Convention, he formed Liberty Lobby LLC, a crowd-funded lobbying firm, to lobby the New Hampshire Legislature in support of individual rights, minimal government, and maximum freedom. The New Hampshire Liberty Alliance and the Foundation for NH Independence also accept crypto donations.
In New Hampshire, you can even rent an apartment or buy a car with crypto!
#6 Build Your Crypto Empire in the Free State
In 2017, the New Hampshire Legislature became the only state to pass a law exempting persons using virtual currency from registering as money transmitters. HB436 was signed into law by Governor Sununu in June, and took effect in August. What are you waiting for?
A few highlights from the conference
Jeremy Kauffman for LBRY: A free, open, and community-run digital marketplace. You own your data. You control the network. Indeed, you are the network. Hollywood films, college lessons, amazing streamers and more are on the first media network ruled by you. In 2016, LBRY was responsible for heroically saving the academic work of 20,000 University of Berkeley college lectures and making them permanently available for free via LBRY.
Matt Carano for SwarmCity: A decentralized commerce platform based on personal reputation. In this world, being a dick is going to cost you.
Dr. Darren Tapp: Honestly, I didn’t understand much of this technical talk, but the audience seemed to grok it. I do now know that a Merkle tree and root have nothing to do with a dame in Germany.
As I listened to the speakers, the Ron Paul “IT’S HAPPENING!” gif kept running through my mind. We have moved beyond the realm of dreams into reality. The speakers were pitching companies that apply decentralized free market principles, and provide products and services with real-world applications.
I’m reminded of the adage, “If you build it, they will come.” We’re building it, people are coming, and we’re creating the right regulatory environment to see an exceptional evolution in the human condition, one free of fraud, free of inflationary monetary policies, free of government interference and theft. We are building a localized world–New Hampshire–based on voluntary interactions. A world of peace and prosperity.
When I bought my first Bitcoin at $6, I had no idea what the future would hold. Now I do, and now I delight in what tomorrow will bring. Come join the fun, and be the change you want to see!
Carla Gericke (JD, MFA) is an advocate of liberty specializing in localized voluntarism, internet freedom, self-determination, and how responsible human action can lead to peace and prosperity. She is president emeritus of the Free State Project, and lives in New Hampshire with thousands of fellow activists. In 2014, Carla won a landmark case affirming the 1st Amendment right to film police encounters. She now serves as president of the Foundation for NH Independence, a 501c3 educational nonprofit. Carla is writing a memoir about her pursuit of a principled, purpose-driven life in the Free State of New Hampshire. [Photo credit: Kristine Brooks]