Maybe it was an attempt to recapture the spirit of old-school Bitcoin meetup and pay for drinks with QR codes, or maybe it’s a safe space for BCH fans. But Tokyo tonight held the world’s first Bitcoin Cash Meetup — devoted entirely to the big green B.
There wasn’t a segregated witness in sight as over 70 Bitcoin fans and newcomers crammed into the basement-level Pink Cow bar — a venue designed to hold about 40 people max. The green “rising sun” Bitcoin Cash T-shirts were popular, but available only as a giveaway to patrons who bought dinner with BCH. Some were seen paying and foregoing the food, just to get the shirt.
Organizers and attendees both told Bitsonline that “being able to buy a drink with bitcoin again” was their main reason for coming. And they did. The only real difference between those old-time Bitcoin Meetups and this forked version was the number of people — this one had a lot more.
“I’m still a big Bitcoin fan,” said Traci Consoli, owner and operator of the Pink Cow. “We were the first retail establishment to accept bitcoin in Japan … but it’s just gotten so big, and heavy and expensive now, it’s just not very practical for retailers and venues to accept bitcoin.”
Aaron, who organized the inaugural meetup with sponsor The Bitcoin Cash Fund, said his own business had suffered recently from Bitcoin’s high transaction fees.
“Starting a Bitcoin Cash meetup specifically… we could’ve tried to hijack the existing meetup but obviously there’s people there with different points of view, and it’s not right for us to dictate to them how to be. And from my perspective I don’t want to end up in that debate every time.”
The Tokyo Bitcoin Meetup, founded by Ken Shishido and Roger Ver in 2012, has always attracted newcomers curious to find out more about the cryptocurrency they heard about on TV. Tonight was no exception, only this time old-timers had the double challenge of explaining Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash simultaneously.
It’s not an easy task, but it’s something you need to get right — not only is the entire BTC/BCH affair politically and emotionally charged, there are pitfalls for newcomers who could easily get the two mixed up, and lose money.
The Bitcoin Cash Meetup will be held monthly. The original Tokyo Bitcoin Meetup group still gathers every Thursday night. It’ll be interesting to see who attends one, or both. Given that a lot of conversation at the meetings revolves around ICOs and Ethereum anyway, it’s unlikely to matter much.
Tokyo, where Ver’s Bitcoin.com has a development office, has led the way in lobbying for Bitcoin Cash adoption. It’s already possible to have a decent night out in the city using only BCH — from sushi to whisky.
Of note, however, the BCH price hasn’t budged much recently compared to its glamorous parent — while bitcoin itself has piled thousand upon thousand in value in just a few weeks, Cash has hovered around the $1,400 mark.
While respectable for a cryptocoin that “isn’t bitcoin”, it’s not exactly the value-flippening takeover its fans are hoping for.
Ironically (or appropriately) the Pink Cow, which has hosted the regular Tokyo Bitcoin Meetup since 2012, has itself “forked”.
Its original owner and staff have moved to a new venue, while the old one continues under new management — with the same name. Which one will be more successful in the long run?
Does Bitcoin Cash need its own meetup groups? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
Images via Jon Southurst
The ‘Bitcoin Cash’ section at Bitsonline is sponsored by Bitcoin Cash. In hopes of bringing cryptocurrency to the masses, Bitcoin Cash has set out to provide a digital currency with on-chain scalability, so everyone can use the blockchain affordably. Learn more at BitcoinCash.org and join the official Telegram Group.