Raising a glass to Satoshi’s Place and the challenge of running Bitcoin businesses


Cointelegraph headed to Satoshi’s Place, the Bitcoin (BTC) hub in Greater Manchester, on Friday. Named after the anonymous creator of the world’s largest and most widely accepted cryptocurrency, the bar and workspace offers workshops, co-working spaces and bitcoin-inspired cocktails for local businesses.

Founder Adam (who chose not to give his last name) first heard about Bitcoin in 2012 and has spent the past 10 years experimenting with how to educate people about the amazing internet currency. He told Cointelegraph (paid by bitcoin over the Lightning Network) over a beer that it was the first of many attempts at a bitcoin business.

Everything in the space—absolutely everything—is Bitcoin-themed or Bitcoin-branded. From orange as the predominant color, to the rare Bitcoin artwork adorning the walls, to the hand dryer in the toilet, which generates heat—you guessed it—the Bitcoin miner plugged in upstairs.

“Gold Rush” was the most popular cocktail of the night.

Adam explained that for the past four years, he has focused his efforts on Bitcoin merchant adoption, which is a growing trend in the UK. Satoshi’s Place started out as a coffee shop, then in 2018, a pizzeria. At first, customers could buy coffee with bitcoin and even buy and sell bitcoin using bitcoin ATMs, “back when it was legal,” he joked.

“People are depositing £20,000 worth of cash into ATMs a month. From teenagers to the oldest I think is 93.”

In March, the Financial Conduct Authority forced the closure of Bitcoin ATMs. Adam explained that while everything was going according to plan – “literally a complete transaction system” – banks made life difficult.

As part of a broader trend, bitcoin businesses in the UK are plagued by banks. Adam’s experience was no different: he ran into issues with Barclays while running a UK cryptocurrency festival called CoinFest, and despite his best efforts to conduct business with integrity, his bank accounts were blocked and emails ignored .

Satoshi’s Place is his third attempt to create a book space for Bitcoin enthusiasts and pre-minters to meet and learn what a currency is and why it might be a better currency. Thanks to the Lightning Network, a Layer 2 Bitcoin solution, payments are now almost instant, frictionless and essentially free. On Friday, many punters, bitcoin enthusiasts and even newbies bought burgers and drinks with bitcoin in bars.

The bar uses solutions from two Isle of Man bitcoin companies, Fast Bitcoins and CoinCorner. The team at CoinCorner crossed the Irish Sea on Friday to communicate and hosted a Bitcoin workshop the following day.

Elsewhere, Nathan Day, “Pleb at Large” and contributor BTCMap.Org, an open-source map showing where bitcoin users can spend Satoshis, showcases bitcoin-themed games. Jordan Walker, CEO of the Bitcoin Collective, the group behind the UK Bitcoin Conference, was educated at Sats-Man’s Son of Day (same as Pac-Man, but with Satoshis).

Related: UK’s ‘Bitcoin Adventure’ Shows BTC is a Family Matter

The workshops at Satoshi’s Place will be as close as possible to free and open to everyone: after all, Bitcoin is a non-discriminatory currency. Workshops in the front office workspace cover “everything from lightning education to kids bitcoin, bitcoin development, all different types. So far, I’ve found about 16 hosts who want to run workshops.”

It has been more than a decade since Satoshi Nakamoto withdrew from public participation in the blockchain community. It makes you wonder what they’ll think of a space like this after all these years.