The Windy City Looks to Capitalize on Bitcoin
On Tuesday January 7th, Chicago residents gathered at the Atlas Brewing Company to discuss their city’s take on bitcoin. 40 people met up for the event, a fine turnout considering the blistering cold whether. However, Chicago bitcoin enthusiasts weren’t going to let anything stop them, and feel that the city’s population of over two and a half million people would add to bitcoins’ growing economy.
The Chicago Sun-Times will soon test a new paywall system that allows for bitcoin payments. They will become the largest US-based newspaper to try out the digital currency.
Beginning on February 1st, for 24 hours only, the newspaper will allow users to pass its paywall by making a bitcoin donation. This will be done in part with BitWall, a San-Francisco sanctioned company, and will help to test the new technology.
Jonathan Solomon, 28, is the founder of Chicago Mint. He said, “We are becoming a tech-savvy city. But it wasn’t always this way.” Solomon has set his sights on getting more Chicago based businesses on board with bitcoin. Solomon’s company allows for small businesses to conduct bitcoin payments using companies such as Coinbase and BitPay. In a conversation over Skype, Solomon tells Coinbase that:
“Businesses may have heard of bitcoin, but aren’t ready to take the leap themselves. I see myself as giving them the final push.”
Although Chicago may not have the tech reputation San Francisco and New York do, tech startup investment in Chicago is growing increasingly, with the city’s startups raising $1 billion dollars in 2013, a boost of 169% from 2012, according to Built in Chicago. In 2012, Chicago startups were founded every day.
Solomon is currently enrolled in Chicago’s Starter School, a college for training eager students of bitcoin. Solomon’s main mission is to win over business owners and increase the city’s understanding of the new technology.
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