Tag Archives: Portsmouth

Portsmouth: New Hampshire’s Digital Currency Hotspot

New Hampshire has become home to an impressive number of cryptocurrency-accepting businesses, with several businesses embracing the decentralized benefits of cryptocurrency by offering common payment options such as Dash, Bitcoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

You can find the hub of this movement in the town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which is described as “Bitcoin Village.” A significant feature of this village is the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe, a store attracting customers from high-traffic tourist areas nearby with their unique crypto-related and liberty-centric goods. However, tourists quickly learn that they can’t purchase anything in the store with cash, which provides an opportunity for the proprietors of the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe to step in and educate newcomers.

The shop founders, Derrick J. Freeman and Steven Zeiler, have a mission to “change the money that people use.” In a Q&A with the Free State Project, Freeman said that “if customers come in, set up a free wallet on their phone, and leave, I’m happy that they took a step toward greater financial freedom. Success is people using cryptocurrency at stores other than our shop.”

Zeiler has also developed a system for local businesses to accept various cryptocurrencies as payment. AnyPay.global is a new POS system spreading quickly and flourishing in the Portsmouth area.

“Like most people who use cryptocurrency, Steven and I have long dreamt of a physical retail shop that accepts cryptocurrency exclusively,” Freeman noted in the Q&A. “So, in a sense, this idea has been brewing for almost a decade. After years of waiting, we decided that if no one was going to do it, then it would have to be us. After deciding to open a crypto-only shop, the implementation was almost immediate.”

Freeman also discussed in the Q&A how the shop helps introduce new users and facilitate sustained use of crypto:

“In under five minutes, we help them (customers) download a digital wallet on their phone, turn their cash into crypto, and take payment. Everyone leaves feeling good. Most people have long been waiting to try bitcoin, but they’ve never had someone hold their hand while they do it. Those who don’t want to either don’t have the time or the interest. That’s to be expected. Not everyone wants bitcoin. Some people are perfectly happy with a money that funds wars and loses purchasing power every year.”


Freeman and Zeiler have had nearby businesses inquiring how to accept cryptocurrency. The Free State Bitcoin Shoppe provides a directory that lists a number of merchants accepting cryptocurrencies in the city, even specifying which forms of cryptocurrencies are accepted.

New Hampshire’s vibrant cryptocurrency community can be thanked in large part to the Free State Project, a liberty-minded movement of individuals looking to explore and work toward a free society. The movement has led to one of the most cryptocurrency-friendly places in the world, with a high acceptance and use of cryptocurrency among the Free State community of 4,352.

The New Hampshire cryptocurrency community played a critical role in the passing of a state law that exempts digital currency from the state’s money transmission licensing. Even though state regulators showed opposition, the bill passed due to strong grassroots support. The crypto supportive policy has attracted startup companies such as LBRY as well as Anypay.

A popular cryptocurrency to highlight within Portsmouth is Dash, which bears support from local businesses. According to DiscoverDash, there are 22 locations in the town accepting Dash. The entire state of New Hampshire has roughly 1.3 million inhabitants and features 54 Dash-accepting businesses, supporting a strong and active Dash-friendly micro-economy.

Joël Valenzuela, editor of Dash Force News, was recently featured on CNN illustrating living a cash-free life. Valenzuela is paid in Dash and is able to make nearly all his purchases with Dash, including primary living expenses like bills and rent.

However, CNN appeared unaware that Portsmouth is only the beginning of cryptocurrency adoption and more experiences like Valenzuela’s are likely to come about. Unlike local currencies like “Berkshares” and “Equal Dollars” which only hold value within their communities, cryptocurrencies like Dash hold value across the globe.

Editor’s note: Dash Digital Cash is the exclusive sponsor of Reality Check and the Truth in Media project.

City Taxi Commissioner: Abolish Taxi Commission, Regulations to Level Playing Field for Uber, Taxis

In cities across the United States, rideshare services have exploded to prominence, offering cheap rides to those in need of transportation and decent paying jobs to individuals struggling to find work. However, the business models behind providers like Uber and Lyft frequently come into conflict with antiquated livery regulations, resulting in political fights between taxi drivers and rideshare companies, with taxi drivers complaining that rideshare services are sidestepping the fees and regulatory costs that they have to pay. The political infighting has resulted in extreme outcomes in some cases, such as cities threatening to arrest or fine rideshare drivers if providers do not reshape their business models to fit regulations designed before mobile app based businesses could have even been imagined.

According to Seacoast Online, the Portsmouth, NH Taxi Commission decided at a Wednesday meeting to approach this problem in a new way by ditching its existing livery regulatory scheme entirely and replacing it with a new one aimed at evening the playing field between taxi drivers and rideshare providers. In fact, not only did the Taxi Commission vote to send a memo recommending that the City Council abandon its taxi medallion system, inspections, and fare regulations, but the commissioner offering the proposal, Larry Cataldo, recommended that the Taxi Commission itself be disbanded entirely six months after the changes go into effect.

Instead, the commission suggested that the City Council adopt a new, simpler regulatory system to accommodate the disparate business models of taxi and rideshare companies. The new rules would require all drivers to register with the city and provide proof that they are carrying at least $300,000 worth of commercial insurance coverage. Registered drivers would also have to sign a code of conduct agreement and face criminal background checks, for which they would be charged a fee. Uber drivers would be offered a grace period, during which time they could continue working, to give them an opportunity to acclimate to the new regulations. The above-embedded video contains footage, provided by the City of Portsmouth, of a prior January 14 meeting of the Taxi Commission at which commissioners listened to debates between taxi and Uber drivers before coming up with Wednesday’s proposal.

Some local taxi drivers are angry about the proposed changes and are calling for Uber to be banned. Portsmouth taxi operator Merle White said in protest at Wednesday’s Taxi Commission meeting, “Maybe it’ll take a lawsuit to make you do your job and maybe I’ll be the moron to do it.” Other taxi drivers at the meeting also protested — John Palreiro offered to sign on to Merle White’s lawsuit, and Scott Gerrato called for Taxi Commissioner Larry Cataldo to resign. Seacoast Online reported today that taxi driver John Palreiro has made good on his promise by retaining attorney Joe Plaia and plans to file suit against the city if it does not serve a cease-and-desist order to Uber drivers.

Taxi Commissioner Larry Cataldo said that Uber is needed in town because it encourages its drivers to make themselves available during peak hours when taxis can not handle the existing demand for rides. Cataldo also pointed out the fact that rideshare services support the public’s interest by helping inebriated bar patrons arrive home safely. Commissioners at the meeting said that deregulating taxi fares would give consumers more choices. Cataldo hopes that the new regulatory system will be up and running by summertime.

The proposal was tabled until the City Council’s next meeting, at which the regulatory changes are expected to face a vote. If the proposal were to pass, City Attorney Robert Sullivan would be tasked with rewriting the city’s taxi rules accordingly, which would be presented at a subsequent public hearing.