Coworking spaces and the alternative bitcoin currency are perfect bedfellows. A “coworking space,” in case you need an introduction, is an office space whose inhabitants and cubicle mates don’t work for the same companies. They share the space itself, some of its hardware, infrastructure and probably the coffee machine, but a single coworking space may be home to a whole host of different companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers. Coworking space inhabitants come together not for a shared business goal but for the simpler shared need of a place to work.
An Introduction to Bitcoins in 40 Seconds
“Bitcoin,” meanwhile, is the online-only currency that’s slowly gaining both traction and credibility as a legitimate way to pay for goods and services. You can learn more about the currency and its progress by reading bitcoin news, but to summarize the currency in a nutshell, bitcoin seeks to usurp banks and federal currency regulatory systems in favor of a monetary system that is 100 percent grassroots. Instead of new bitcoins simply being printed the way a U.S. mint would print dollar bills, new bitcoins are “mined” by individuals processing bitcoin transactions. By putting in the time and energy to processing these transactions, individuals are rewarded with a fraction of a bitcoin. At the moment, a single, whole bitcoin is worth hundreds of U.S. dollars, making the “mining” process quite valuable. Mathematical formulas govern the production of new bitcoins so that the currency does not inflate or deflate too dramatically.
Why Bitcoins and Coworking Spaces Are Coming Together
Because both bitcoins and coworking spaces appeal to the independent-minded “alternative” crowd, it makes perfect sense that more and more coworking spaces are beginning to accept bitcoin as a valid form of payment. Which coworking spaces currently accept bitcoins? Here’s a list of four to check out.
1. Coworking Space Toronto
Coworking Space Toronto is exactly the kind of place you might expect a coworking space to be. A light-filled, loft-like space filled with desks that can be rented by the hour, day or month, Coworking Space Toronto comes with free coffee, free tea and free WiFi for its coworking inhabitants. Its desks are typically filled with freelancers and start-up companies.
2. The Yard
About eight hours from Coworking Space Toronto is The Yard in New York City. Another bitcoin-accepting coworking space, The Yard has several different office locations sprinkled throughout the city. Designed specifically with entrepreneurs and start-ups in mind, The Yard hosts businesses ranging from new architecture firms to tea importing companies.
Sarasota, Florida, might be a long way away, in terms of both distance and culture, from New York City, but it’s similar in that it’s home to a number of artists and freelancers. While The Yard focuses mostly on entrepreneurial types, HuB in Sarasota caters to creatives. HuB started accepting bitcoin as payment in November 2013.
Meanwhile, halfway across the world, LAUNCH/CO in Berlin has become the first European coworking space to accept bitcoins. In the case of LAUNCH/CO, the acceptance of bitcoin came in response to a PayPal problem. When overseas travelers would try to pay LAUNCH/CO using PayPal, the Internet payment system would assume their accounts were being hacked from abroad and freeze the accounts. To make it easier for guests to pay, LAUNCH/CO started accepting bitcoin.
Conclusion: “I Think This is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship”
Could these coworking spaces that accept bitcoin be, as Rick famously says to Louie in Casablanca, the beginning of a beautiful friendship? It certainly seems that coworking and bitcoin have some basic values in common: Both are built around an emerging 21st century economy that values mobility, freedom and flexibility. Both harness technology changes that would have made this mobility and flexibility impossible even just 20 years ago. Furthermore, both bitcoins and coworking seem ideal in a world where anyone can work from anywhere and everyone pays for everything online. It’s possible that these coworking spaces that accept bitcoins are just the beginning of a trend that stands to revolutionize our whole economy.
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