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How far can you go with digital currencies in Italy?
A couple of years ago, “Life in Bitcoin” showed us how to survive by using Bitcoin as the only payment method. The greatest part of documentary was filmed in the US., where in certain cities you can live using only Bitcoin for payments. But how about other parts of the world?
Let’s travel to Italy, to see how far you can go with digital currencies there.
Italy is known for pizza, spaghetti and, unfortunately, for its mafia. All the money received from illegal activities has to be laundered and it seems that the mafia has started to use Bitcoin for this task. At least the Italian Senator from the Democratic Party (Pd), Lucrezia Ricchiuti, suggested it recently.
Blockchain is no stranger to Italian politics. Some time ago, the Five Stars popular movement leader Beppe Grillo has found a new application for the distributed ledger.
But overall, at the moment Italy has only about 10 BTMs, a very small number, considering how many Bitcoin machines you can find in other countries.
We’ve checked Italian BTMs in Turin at Sella Lab (via Maria Vittoria 38), in Milan at Talent Garden (via Merano 16), in Florence - in the city center and in a Rovereto coffee bar.
Also, the Italian android app called Qui Bitcoin and Coinatmradar indicates a few other BTMs in Trento, Genova and Reggio Emilia.
Of course, there are a wide range of online shops that accept Bitcoin and altcoins payments but only a few of them are Italian-based.
One of those is called My Btc Store, something similar to Ebay because it allows people to buy and sell items with Bitcoin, litecoin and dash. It is 100 percent Italian and fees are as low as 0.001 percent.
Inbitcoin is the first Italian company to allow merchants accepting Bitcoin in their store, both for B2B and B2C activities. Inbitcoin mainly operates in Trento, Rovereto, Pordenone and Milan but also works with innovative companies based in England, Luxemburg, Malta and Holland.
Trentino Alto Adige is one of the most active regions that recently started to use Bitcoin and many shops based there accept Bitcoin thanks to the Inbitcoin company.
Inbitcoin founder, Marco Amadori, explains:
“Since 2014, citizens here are experimenting what Bitcoin is and they started to use it to pay goods and services in physical places. So they took away their money from the traditional financial system to put them into this new form of digital gold.”
The success stories of these early pioneers, regular people and merchants, outside the circle of the first "cypherpunks" have had a quick cycle, thanks to the Bitcoin growth during the last two years. This way, who tried to withdraw 50 EUR from a BTM located in a Rovereto bar found himself, after a few weeks and some drinks, with 60 EUR or more. Even if Bitcoin is trustless and with a few months of researches you can be convinced of its strength, it is easier to use if your cousin uses it to buy you a beer, or if your friend buys us cigarettes with Bitcoin. This is the word of mouth. Like many radical innovations, Bitcoin is easier to use than to explain.”
Based in Rome for the greatest part, Blockchain Education Network Italia is an Italian association that aims at spreading the word of Blockchain technology through meetups, conferences and the development of new projects and startups based on the distributed ledger.
It was born back in 2014 and now has more than 200+ associated within the whole country.
"At the moment you can join BEN Italia only if you are a university member but soon enough the possibility to enter into this group will be extended to anyone interested in Bitcoin."
BlockchainLAB was the first Italian effort that decided to gather the best Blockchain expertise within the Italian country with the main goal of doing research and organizing events related to the tech.
"Each week, BlockchainLab, in fact, organizes interesting meetups with some of the brightest minds in the industry. These events are held in Milan and open to the public."
It also publishes insightful researches and analysis related to the Blockchain world, allowing an easier access to new products and it also participates directly in venture investments in startups.
BlockchainLab members include entrepreneurs and developers that work on their own startups and companies as well, including Ethernity Wall, GreenAddress, HelperBit, HolyTransaction and more.
A few initiatives related to Bitcoin are also present in Puglia, South Italy.
Earlier this year the first master class about cryptocurrencies was held in Bari, organized by the Bitcoin foundation Puglia and the local Università degli studi Aldo Moro.
This foundation was created last year thanks to a few Bitcoin enthusiasts including, among the others, Giuseppe Grisorio and Alessandro Ricciuti.
Another interesting reality is the “Bitcoin Italia Foundation” created six years ago by several Bitcoin early adopters including Franco Cimatti.
Through their channels, Bitcoin Italia tries to spread the word about digital currencies from a technical point of view. Also, it develops and funds new Blockchain-related projects and startups.
You can join their Facebook group here, and start talking with more than 5000 Italians who are into Bitcoin.
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