In our new series of interviews “Bitcoin-Economy Frankfurt/Rhein-Main” we are going to introduce pioneers of the Bitcoin movement in our region that accept Bitcoins for their products and services.
The first interview of our series is with Aleksander Winter (24) operator of the LibertyStore which since February 2013 sells “Libertarian Propaganda” to mostly Anarcho-capitalist and Libertarian sympathizers.
Since the begining of June 2013 LibertyStore accepts Bitcoin as a payment method. Alex is active in spreading the use of Bitcoin in and around the bank metropolis “the capital of the old financial system”.
Bitcoin Frankfurt: Hello Alex! To start the question of all questions – How and when did you find out about Bitcoin?
Alex: Hey! Before I bought my first Bitcoins for about 9 Euros about a year ago I only knew that there was some kind of internet currency out there called “Bitcoin”. I really paid more attention when a friend of mine at university told me about how he was making a little bit of money with arbitrage and trading. I also took part a little and sold my Bitcoins that I earned from trading in January for 10,50€ each. I thought that was a high course. Even though I knew about Bitcoins I had not fully realized the revolutionary potential.
Bitcoin Frankfurt: You just mentioned it , at what point did you realize what disruptive potential Bitcoin has? Or was this more of a gradual process?
Alex: That would have to be sometime earlier this year during the bubble. Then I bought a bunch of Bitcoins and was looking for ways to integrate Bitcoins as a payment method in my online shop. The topic was going around the libertarian scene and that is why I decided to take a closer look. I read lots of articles and watched a lot of videos. Then there was no doubt: Bitcoin is much bigger than I thought.
Bitcoin Frankfurt: You are one of the founders of the local Bitcoin-Community in Frankfurt/Rhein-Main. How did you get involved and what motivation is behind it? What are you responsible for in the community?
Alex: The impulse to start a local group came from Dominik. We saw that there were Bitcoin user groups popping up all over Germany but in Frankfurt there was no group. We quickly agreed that we need to start a Bitcoin Frankfurt group. I made a flyer for the first meetup and created a simple website. Domink got a lot of people together through Bitcointalk. Today I am responsible for our website and social media as well as internal communication.
Bitcoin Frankfurt: From your point of view how have things gone so far? Are you surprised or disappointed so far? What things would you like to do in the community?
Alex: I was really suprised at just how many people were at the first meetup, which we can thank Dominik for. I think how the community is organized excellent. Self employed, companies, libertarians – nobody wants to make too many rules or requirements. This rebel spirit is important in the future promotion of a stateless currency.
Bitcoin Frankfurt: What is your main motivation to actively promote Bitcoin?
Alex: As a libertarian the idea that a virtual currency could rip the control away from the state and the bank cartels gives me goose bumps. Even better if I can help this to happen.
Bitcoin Frankfurt: Lets get back to your business activities. At the begining of the year you started “LibertyStore” and you have been able to grow quickly and become an established part of the libertarian scene. When did you get the idea to start the store and what is the story behind it? What do you think of your progress so far?
Alex: Somewhere I heard the saying once “if you´re good at something , don´t do it for free”. As a hobby graphic artist I got the idea to start a project that I could continually work on and earn a little bit of Euro and later Bitcoin. So that I don´t lose motivation I have to have a connection to what I am doing. Something that comes from my heart and that is freedom. In February the start of the onlineshop exceeded my expectations.
Bitcoin Frankfurt: What moved you to start accepting Bitcoins as a payment option at your online shop in June? What has been your experience so far?
Alex: Bitcoin is in the core a liberating technology and automatically a libertarian opportunity. There was no question that I have to be prepared to accept Bitcoin. I desperately looked for a possibility to integrate Bitcoin into my shop system and I didn’t find anything. I had to change my shop system which cost me about one sleepless night. Even though I offer 20% discount for using Bitcoin only one out of every ten orders is paid with Bitcoin, and we are talking about libertarian circles. It looks like we have a long way to go, but the momentum is growing.
Bitcoin Frankfurt: On 29.11 there is another Bitcoin-Friday. Are you going to have any promotions to spread the popularity of Bitcoin?
Bitcoin Frankfurt: Could you imagine starting more projects (commercial or non-profit) having to do with Bitcoin in the future.
Alex: Definitely, maybe within our community a few commercial ideas will develop. I have a few concepts in my head already.
Bitcoin Frankfurt: Where do you see Bitcoin in 5 years? Jörg Krämer the head economist at Commerzbank said that he doesn’t see Bitcoin play a role in the future since he can pay for his coffee with Euro.
Alex: Sooner or later Commerzbank won´t play a role anymore.
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