Spurred by the global media publicity generated by Bitcoin Center NYC earlier this year, a network of physical bitcoin-focused co-working and public outreach spaces has sprouted in major cities around the globe, aiming to increase awareness of bitcoin and provide support to local ecosystems.
One of the more notable installations is La Maison du Bitcoin ('The House of Bitcoin'), a 220-square-metre space in Paris, France, that became the first of its kind in Europe upon its launch on 13th May.
Since then, co-founder Eric Larchevêque told CoinDesk that interest in the centre has been "tremendous", with dozens of people visiting the centre every day to discuss bitcoin. Most encouraging to Larchevêque is that many of these individuals are coming to the centre to learn about the digital currency for the first time.
View the gallery below:
La Maison du Bitcoin now hosts a free 'Bitcoin 101' seminar every month, with roughly 50 attendees present for its most recent meeting, Larchevêque said. More importantly, he added, is that these attendees are demonstrating a high level of engagement, denoted by the lengthy Q&A session that took place after the event.
Challenges to adoption
Larchevêque also discussed some of the challenges the centre is facing in France, noting that obstacles to consumer adoption there are similar to those the industry is facing elsewhere around the globe.
He said this uphill fight will also affect the centre's ability to serve new-to-bitcoin consumers, explaining:
Even so, Larchevêque is optimistic, given that the country's government that has recently taken steps to increase transparency in its nascent bitcoin industry.
Calling the developments "quite positive", Larchevêque noted that the decision to exempt bitcoin sales from value-added tax and to require exchanges to embrace know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) best practices are both in accordance with industry belief.
Have you recently attended an event or visited a notable digital currency destination? If so, why not send six-10 high-quality photos for possible publication on CoinDesk (email: email@example.com)?
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.