Raising a glass to Satoshi’s Place and the challenge of running Bitcoin businesses
Cointelegraph took a trip to Satoshi’s Place on Friday, a Bitcoin (BTC) hub in Greater Manchester. Named after the anonymous creator of the world’s largest and most recognized cryptocurrency, the bar and workspace offers workshops, coworking space for local businesses and Bitcoin-inspired cocktails.
Adam, the founder (who chose not to share his surname), first heard about Bitcoin in 2012 and has spent the past 10 years experimenting with ways to educate people about the magic of Internet money. He told Cointelegraph over a beer — paid for in bitcoins through the Lightning Network — that it was a first for a bitcoin business.
Everything in the space — absolutely everything — is Bitcoin-themed or Bitcoin-branded. From orange being the dominant color to rare bitcoin art adorning the walls to Lowes’ hand dryers, which generate heat from — you guessed it — a bitcoin miner plugged into the top floor.
Adam explained that over the past four years, he has focused his efforts on Bitcoin merchant adoption, which is a growing trend in the UK. Satoshi’s Place started life as a coffee shop and then a pizzeria in 2018 At first, customers could use a Bitcoin ATM to buy coffee with Bitcoin and even buy and sell Bitcoin, “when it was legal,” he joked.
“People were putting £20,000 worth of cash into an ATM a month. From teenagers to I think the oldest was 93 years old.”
Bitcoin ATMs were forced to shut down by the Financial Conduct Authority in March this year. Adam explained that despite doing everything by the book — “a whole exchange system literally in minutes,” — the banks made life difficult.
In one example that is part of a wider trend, Bitcoin businesses in the United Kingdom are being disrupted by banks. Adam’s experience is no different: he ran into problems with Barclays while running a UK-based crypto festival called Coinfest, and bank accounts were blocked and emails ignored despite his best efforts to trade above board.
Satoshi’s Place is his third attempt at creating a by-the-book space for Bitcoin enthusiasts and precoiners to meet and learn about what money is and why Bitcoin can be a good one. Thanks to the Lightning Network, a layer-2 Bitcoin solution, payments are now near-instant, frictionless and essentially free. Many punters, Bitcoin enthusiasts and even first timers bought burgers and drinks with Bitcoin at the bar on Friday.
One of the youngest of the Satoshi Place crew is buying drinks! @theboltcard @CoinCorner #SPTIM #Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/o2uQdfJTEc
— Satoshi’s Place® – a UK based Bitcoin Hub (@SatoshisPlaceUK) September 17, 2022
Barty uses solutions from FastBitcoin and Coincorner, two Bitcoin companies based in the Isle of Man. CoinCorner’s team traveled across the Irish Sea to mingle on Friday and host a Bitcoin workshop the following day.
Elsewhere, Nathan Day, “Pleb at Large” and contributors BTCMap.Org, an open-source map showing where bitcoiners can spend satoshis, featured bitcoin-themed games. Jordan Walker, CEO of Bitcoin Collective, the group behind the UK Bitcoin Conference, attended the day’s man sats-man (like Pac-Man but like Satoshis) school.
Related: UK ‘Bitcoin Adventure’ Shows BTC Is a Family Affair
— ⚡ BTC Map ⚡ (@BTCMapDotOrg) September 19, 2022
The workshops at Satoshi’s place will be as close to free as possible and open to everyone: Bitcoin currencies don’t discriminate, after all. Workshops in the front room workspace cover “everything from lightning education for kids to bitcoin, bitcoin development, a variety of things. I’ve got about 16 hosts so far who want to do the workshop.”
It’s been over a decade since Satoshi Nakamoto stepped away from public involvement in the blockchain community. It makes you wonder what they would think of such a place after all these years.