This is in the East Midlands suburbs in the UK.
Not Wall Street.
Not Canary Wharf.
Not some uber cool innovation hub that can be found “coming soon to a major city near you”.
It’s a corner shop; convenience store; run by everyday people. It represents a shift in culture; of community. And it’s why crypto is here to stay and will truly change the world.
Less than a year ago I began searching. I had left the big corporate paycheque, pursuing the freelance life, working in a blockchain start-up and developing my network. But, although amazed by the power of blockchain and digital identity to disrupt business, I wasn’t “feeling” the world of crypto currency.
It started with a Meetup in Birmingham; I saw the crypto glint in their eye. I was talking about the permissioned blockchain world; they were talking about changing the world. I got a speaking gig at a blockchain summit in Olympia and heard someone whisper “don’t go to that corporate evening event, man, go to the Meetup in the pub down the road; that’s where the true cryptos are”. So, I went.
Making a new friend, from the East Midlands, larger than life. A lively group; a diversity of backgrounds; a myriad of accents. So many ideas and such drive for the future built on decentralised crypto currency. I was still not completely sure. Enter the serial entrepreneur from South Africa, just in time for last orders, a man with years of experience in the city and several successful start-ups: “I was with my banker today; kept telling him I want to go long in Bitcoin; I think he’s finally getting it”.
"I was with my banker today; kept telling him I want to go long in Bitcoin; I think he’s finally getting it."
I got invited to the “Powwows” the WhatsApp groups on Bitcoin, Ethereum, ICOs, regulation, utilities. The stream of consciousness is never ending and 24/7; go to bed and wake to 242 new messages.
I thirst for news. Yes, I read the blogs, the whitepapers, Coindesk, Coin Telegraph, Consensus. I immerse myself in ICOs, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Altcoins, Hyperledger, Ripple, IOTA, Hardforks, Segwit. I follow the exchanges, government sentiments; regulation and the SEC.
But the heartbeat, the soul—it’s not found there.
This is not just about technology, although without the rockstar coders it can’t happen; it’s not about businesses, governments, or markets. This is about a culture—it’s about community and people inspired by the magic that technology has placed in their hands.
Don’t look for the uber cool innovation hub. Instead, look for the pub, the Whatsapp group, the corner shop … this is where the heartbeat and soul reside, coming soon to a community near you.
And so, to Derby. The network in operation. Coffee. Sharing thoughts. Networking. “Keep hold of that Bitcoin you have – it will be your pension in 10 years’ time”. I believe it.