Bitcoin adoption is still a big problem in Belgium. Ghent offers a vibrant environment with a rich culture, education through the University of Ghent and so much more. Plenty of reasons why Ghent would be an interesting breeding ground for Bitcoin adoption.
Culture, community, history and environment are important, and we will need to combine this with pleasant and educational experiences, while trying to remain non-intrusive. But first, there has to be an initial interest in Bitcoin.
The Netherlands has seen a boom in Bitcoin adoption because of all their different initiatives. Compare this to Belgium, where there is really not much to show besides two ATMs and Pizza.be. We need to try and change that.
On the one hand, you have the bitcoin users. Merchants have an incentive to accept bitcoin because of cheaper transaction costs. Students can learn about new technology and they are the future of Bitcoin. Last but not least, the city itself plays an important role, because of the possibility for events and such.
The first step is bringing groups together and align their interests. Practical applications need to be found, such as a cultural city walk or a pub crawl. Education about buying and spending Bitcoins needs to be casual, positive and educational.
Not too many options are in place yet, but in Ghent , there is an initiative to start convincing merchants. Starting to work with another new technology to accept money is a burden on the merchants. Stressing the free services exchanging Bitcoin payments into Euros would be a point we need to focus on.
The biggest problem is still educating people on Bitcoin. It is so much more than a virtual currency, but people need to be convinced in a very short time (5 minutes tops). Plans include creating an introductory package giving them the information they need. Why you should accept Bitcoin is one of the questions that needs to be answered properly.
Lots of brainstorming, session will be resumed on November 1st.