Keene’s Currency Goes Digital with itcoin
by Caroline Tremblay / Contributing Writer
If you’ve heard of Bitcoin but don’t know a lot about it, you’re not alone. Though the innovative payment system has been around for more than five years, many people are just beginning to dip their toes in the water. Bitcoin is a whole new kind of currency, a digital kind that countless people rely on globally. It has gained quite a bit of traction in its short lifespan and is even making its way to towns like Keene.
Bitcoins do not have any concrete form. People buy, earn, or “mine” them online and store them in digital wallets. The virtual payment system is based on a complex mathematical system, and no particular bank or organization manages it. Instead, it’s managed by people all over the world. When transactions take place, they’re entered into a “block,” a series of transactions that are chunked together. Several times an hour, new blocks are verified by savvy tech users through a process called “mining.” Miners solve challenging equations, earning Bitcoins as a reward. By solving the equations, they authenticate the transactions which are then added to a public ledger, otherwise known as the “block chain.”
Though the theory behind Bitcoin may sound quite complex, business owners, like Roberta Mastrogiovanni, think it’s actually pretty simple to use. She began accepting the currency at Corner News in Keene a little more than a year ago and says it wasn’t difficult to figure out. There are numerous ways to put it into action, but here’s a basic idea of how it works. A store that accepts Bitcoins can use one of many available websites to quickly translate the dollar amount of a sale into Bitcoins based on the current exchange rate. The buyer then accesses his or her digital wallet via a smartphone Continued on page 8
101 Deals Thrift Store on 661 Marlboro Rd., Keene, has a Bitcoin ATM available for customers. Photo by Michael Moore