Cryptocurrency in Bushwick: Who’s Doing What

Katy Golvala


It seems like the entire planet is crypto crazy right now. Bushwick is no exception.

We talked to a few of Bushwick’s most active cryptocurrency investors to find out what they’re investing in, how much they’ve made, and what advice they have for the rest of us.

Jorge Lopez, an engineer who lives in Bushwick, started investing in bitcoin three or four years ago and has made over $60,000 on the cryptocurrency boom. He’s used his engineering chops to do more than just invest. Years ago, he and his friends actually created a cryptocurrency of their own: TotallyLegitCoin.

“One dude bought a meatball with a legitcoin, so the official exchange rate is one meatball to one legitcoin,” explains Jorge.

Thomas Veale, a blockchain engineer and Bushwick resident, has also been watching cryptocurrency since its early days. In 2009, he was mining bitcoin in his parents’ attic. When Ethereum was at 15 cents a coin, he urged his boss at the time to buy some. It’s now worth around $1,000 per coin.

Thomas moved to New York just a few months ago, but it took him no time at all to find a cryptocurrency community in Bushwick that welcomed him with open arms.

During his first couple days here, he walked into Bushwick Public House and struck up a conversation with two people at the bar, both of whom happened to be working on cryptocurrency projects. He says the coffee shop has become something of a gathering spot for people who are active in the crypto world. Even the bartenders invest.

He has some advice for people who are looking to hop on the crypto train.

“There is a lot of bad crypto out there … don’t invest money you don’t have to invest,” he says.

Jake Protell spends a ton of time researching altcoins (crypto that’s not bitcoin), and he’s got the same advice.

“There are cryptocurrencies out there that are complete garbage, and it does take quite a bit of time to determine what’s a viable project,” explains Jake.

He says the best way to approach investing in altcoins is to figure out what you actually want to do with the coin. For example, if you want to send money around the world, invest in a coin that has quick transaction times.

If you pay attention, there are physical signs of the cryptocurrency boom around the neighborhood. The Big Boy Deli on Myrtle Avenue and Broadway has a bitcoin ATM. Just a block away, Sprout Market has a sign saying that they accept bitcoin. A few more blocks down Broadway, there’s another bitcoin ATM at the Looking Glass.

Unbeknownst to many residents, Bushwick is also home to the headquarters for a major player in the arena of blockchain startups. ConsenSys, a blockchain technology software company that supports the expansion of the Ethereum blockchain, is headquartered at 49 Bogart.

ConsenSys was founded by Joe Lubin. Lubin also co-founded the Ethereum blockchain, the third-largest blockchain by public value. The company has almost 500 employees worldwide, and about 100 of them work out of the Bushwick HQ.

The entrance to their offices is unassuming, with no indication that there’s a massive startup inside. The company has purposefully kept a low profile to avoid disrupting the neighborhood, and they plan to keep it that way.

“We have no intention of making this place like a mini-Facebook headquarters in Bushwick,” says Kara Miley, a public relations rep for the company.

If all this crypto talk has you itching to get involved, we’ve got good news. There’s a Bushwick Crypto Club that meets regularly to discuss the latest and greatest in the world of cryptocurrency. The next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at House of Kava in Bushwick.

Cover image courtesy of Andre Francois on Unsplash

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