Cryptoing through Europe
I was recently in London and Croatia for a few weeks, not for any cryptocurrency reasons, but it managed to seep into our trip in unexpected ways. For starters, I couldn’t find my ATM card when I left LA, but my boyfriend and his family were around me the first half of the trip. I still wanted some spending cash, so I posted a localbitcoins ad after I was settled into London.
Our first adventure was through the British Museum in London, where many objects plundered long-ago made their way into the national collection. Amongst the many exhibits was one on the history of Money, in room 68. We were all very surprised to see an entire case devoted to Bitcoin to represent current day. There was a USB U2 Antminer, a slightly crumpled printout of the Satoshi paper, a copy of Bitcoin Magazine, and a paper wallet. Further along to 2011 there was a Casascius coin. We were very surprised to see it.
By the way, the British Museum had 6.7 million visitors in 2013.
The next day, we made it out to Camden Market, where there’s a stand called Bitburger. Unfortunately, we got there late and I got distracted by amazingly futuristic cyberpunk clothes, so they were closing up by the time we found them. The burgers were steamed in bourbon, and I was disappointed at missing out on trying them. As I was using my iphone to take a picture of their sign, the owner noticed my case, which had little B’s epoxied to it. He wanted to take a picture of my phone, but his battery was dying and he had shattered it. We chatted a bit, and I bought a couple cold sodas with my dogecoin. He said that two other stands in the market accepted bitcoin after seeing him do it. One of them was a BBQ place. He listed off a few other places in London that took cryptocurrency, but it sounds like the city’s got a way to go for merchant acceptance. The visibility of his bitcoin sign engages people to talk to him to learn more about bitcoin, and he gets crypto customers often.
By this time, my localbitcoins ad had been answered, but I’d gotten my boyfriend to hit an ATM on my behalf a couple hours earlier, so cancelled the trade. It was nice to know that if I needed to, that would have worked out fine as a way to get British Pounds.
My friend Steve Tauber in Croatia was busy setting up a cryptocurrency meetup the following Wednesday, so I had an easy way to get local Kuna. In Croatia, exchanging money sounded difficult without an ATM card. I’d lost mine right before the trip, and was increasingly apprehensive about my week there.
When I got there, Steve ended up buying bitcoin directly from me, which set me up with enough local currency for the week. (Also it was his first bitcoin!) We went to the meetup, and met a handful of enthusiastic locals. The meetup was at a bar called Spunk, which had a nice outdoor patio and delicious drinks. The biggest news was that they were getting their first ATM machine installed that Monday at a spot called History Klub. If I recall correctly, it was a Robocoin. Ethereum is also an exciting topic there. I also sold a tiny bit more btc at the meetup, just to do it. Here’s their meetup page: http://www.meetup.com/Bitcoin-Group-Zagreb/
It was wonderful meeting crypto fans around the world, and seeing the same passion and drive in other countries. I absolutely recommend seeking out local bitcoin communities when you travel- it adds a unique social experience to understanding a culture.