A group of Chicago entrepreneurs and investors have launched the city's first bitcoin and blockchain hub.

Opening today at Chicago's 1871 – an entrepreneurial centre home to 325 early-stage digital startups – Chicago's Bitcoin Center will provide a co-working space, mentorship, public relations and government affairs services to blockchain-focused startups.

Matthew Roszak, CEO of the Chicago Bitcoin Center and founding partner of VC firm Tally Capital, said in a statement:

"Chicago has a rich history and DNA in financial technology, and the blockchain has the potential to provide a new, open-source rail for FinTech innovation."

The Center's inaugural companies include Bloq, a blockchain company; Glidera, a digital currency merchant services provider; Red Leaf, a bitcoin ATM operator; and OasisCoin, a bitcoin remittances company.

The incubator's advisory board comprises prominent entrepreneurs including Andrew Filipowski – chairman of the centre and another founding partner of Tally Capital; Don Wilson, founder and CEO of DRW Trading; Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core developer and Luke Sully, director of advisory services at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Alongside the launch, 1871 announced it will accept bitcoin payments, enabling its tenants to pay their rent with the cryptocurrency.

Chicago image via Shutterstock

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