Thomas Pacchia is a Bitcoin entrepreneur and the co-owner of Pubkey, a Bitcoin bar in New York City. In this interview, we discuss how a desire to revive a local bar after Covid inspired the establishment of Pubkey, its importance as a focal point for Bitcoin in New York City, and how its success could inspire more Pubkeys in more cities.
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The leisure industry has taken a battering during Covid, and many businesses have fallen by the wayside. These places are hugely undervalued: bars in particular are relaxed locations that can cement neighbourhoods, providing spaces for people to interact outside of the pressures of work and family. And once they’re gone, that’s usually it.
However, bars don’t only work for localised communities, they can act as a haven for disparate communities bonded by a shared passion, heritage or sexual orientation. Heavy metal bars, sports bars, Irish bars, gay bars: these can be vital meeting places for those seeking like-minded people, particularly in an atomised international city. Well, now you can add Bitcoin bar to the list.
Whilst many of us were slowly trying to make sense of the post-Covid world, Thomas and his wife decided to be the change they wanted to see. They saw a chance to take on a local dive bar and create a haven for Bitcoiners in New York. In a few short months, they have turned that pipe dream into a reality. It is now the go-to venue for Bitcoiners in the Big Apple.
Built from the principle that it must first and foremost win its reputation for service, food and ambience, it has also forged a strong and unique Bitcoin-centred character. It hosts regular BitDevs, mining and Lightning meetups. It also hosts events such as live podcast shows! As a result, it has become a very popular haunt. And there are plans for other Pubkeys in other cities.
So, what’s the secret sauce? As a regular punter put it in a recent Bloomberg article about Pubkey “I like drinking and I like Bitcoin”. Simples.