Bitcoin utility continues to expand around the globe. In Europe, Germany in particular stands out as an area for much growth and potential for the Bitcoin community. On Saturday, June 29, Platoon Kunsthalle, will launch a Bitcoin Exchange in Berlin, Germany. Localbitcoins.com has joined forces with Platoon Kunsthalle to reach out to the Bitcoin community in Berlin, Europe, and around the world.
The event will begin at 4:30 pm CET with an introductory talk about the Bitcoin currency. Following the discussion of Bitcoin and opportunities within the community, attendees will have an opportunity to sell and purchase Bitcoins with one another. Bitcoin Exchange Berlin was founded by Aaron Koenig, Bitcoin Mount Knox blog. Bitcoin Magazine had a chance to interview Aaron Koenig and learn more about why he chose to spearhead Bitcoin Exchange Berlin and his involvement in the Bitcoin currency.
Bitcoin Magazine: When did you first get involved in the Bitcoin currency?
Aaron Koenig: I first read and blogged about it in the summer of 2011. In the autumn of 2011 we accepted Bitcoin as payment for our libertarian magazine BLINK which also covered Bitcoin. In 2012 we produced an animated film for Bitcoin Germany.
BM: What was it about Bitcoin that you found interesting?
AK: I had studied the Austrian School of economics and their criticism of the Fiat Money system before, and when I stumbled across Bitcoin I thought: this is it! This is what Friedrich August von Hayek meant when he talked about the denationalization of money and the free competition of currencies.
BM: When did you start to develop the plan for Bitcoin Exchange Berlin?
AK: I met Joshua Rossi at the Bitcoin Conference in California in May, and I was fascinated about the live exchange he organizes in New York. So I asked him if we may organize a similar thing in Berlin, and he immediately agreed. We do some things differently, for instance we don’t do it open air, but in a closed venue, which makes sense in the rather rainy weather of Germany. We are very happy with our venue Platoon, which is an art space made out of cargo containers. They have an established base of followers, which makes it much easier for us to spread the word.
BM: Where do you see Bitcoin Exchange Berlin going in a year?
AK: We don’t plan so far ahead. We definitely want to see more events of this kind in all major cities, so that Bitcoins become easily available everywhere. So hopefully BXB will be just one node of a huge network of live exchanges.
BM: What makes Bitcoin Exchange Berlin stand out in comparison to other products within the Bitcoin community?
AK: You can’t compare BXB to an online exchange, it is not a business, more of a fun event to make Bitcoin accessible to everyone. We play a lot with old fashioned props. Our sellers write their prices with chalk on small blackboards and they wear bowler hats, City of London style.
BM: What is the overarching goal and purpose of Bitcoin Exchange Berlin?
AK: We want to lower the entry barrier, so that normal people, who would not use an online exchange, get in touch with Bitcoin easily. Once they get familiar with it, they might want to use a service like Localbitcoins.com, too, where they can make individual appointments with traders.
BM: What are your recommendations for individuals looking to get involved in projects similar to yours?
AK: Just do it. Bitcoin is great, it should be used everywhere and for every purpose. The more Bitcoin projects there are, the better.
BM: Can you highlight the development of the Bitcoin community in Berlin and Germany as a whole?
AK: More and more people in Germany know that the Euro system will inevitably collapse, so they want to be prepared for what comes next. Germans are especially sensitive, as we went through two major monetary disasters in the last century, and the Euro will surely be the next one. So many people now think about getting their savings into gold, silver and Bitcoin.
Platoon Kunsthalle is an ideal site for the Bitcoin Exchange Berlin as it serves as a communication consultancy specializing in mobilizing cultural movements and community events. Platoon Kunsthalle has a facility in Berlin and one in Seoul to foster relationships between artistic and creative subcultures and brands. Individuals can join the Platoon Network to utilize the Platoon Kunsthalle experimental space to host workshops, display art projects, and present creative initiatives which often clash with more traditional art institutions but highlight development of global movements. The Bitcoin currency is certainly a global movement centered upon ingenuity and peer to peer interaction.
Bitcoin Magazine encourages you to attend the launch of the first Bitcoin Exchange Berlin (BXB) in Saturday, June 29! If you are interested in further event details, you can visit BXB’s Facebook page.
Elizabeth serves on the Bitcoin Foundation Board of Directors and as Secretary of the Board. She also serves Account Manager for BitPay, Bitcoin’s lead payment processor where she focuses on bringing charities, political candidates and non profits into the Bitcoin ecosystem. Elizabeth previously served as Director of Operations and Outreach for Bitcoin Magazine and as the Scheduler and Policy Assistant for a US Member of Congress. She has a background in public policy, grassroots activism, and a keen desire to promote decentralization and individual liberties. Elizabeth holds a BA in Political Science from Wheaton College (IL).