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Arnhem's Bitcoin Revolution: Building a Circular Economy with Patrick van der Meijde

Mar 13, 2024

Arnhem's Bitcoin Revolution: Building a Circular Economy with Patrick van der Meijde

Arnhem's Bitcoin Revolution: Building a Circular Economy with Patrick van der Meijde

Key Takeaways

In the Stephan Livera podcast episode featuring Patrick van der Meijde, the founder of BitKassa and co-founder of Arnhem Bitcoin City, a fascinating and historical perspective on Bitcoin adoption was explored. The conversation shed light on the earliest attempts at creating a Bitcoin circular economy, predating the well-known Bitcoin Beach in El Salvador. Patrick's journey began in 2012 when he was introduced to Bitcoin, leading to the establishment of Arnhem Bitcoin City in the Netherlands by 2014, which arguably became the first Bitcoin circular economy.

The discussion touched on the evolving narratives of Bitcoin, from its early focus on remittance and merchant acceptance to the current emphasis on hodling and Bitcoin as a store of value. Patrick emphasized the importance of being able to use Bitcoin for everyday transactions to avoid a scenario where everyone is waiting to convert back to fiat currency, thus diminishing Bitcoin's utility and value.

The technical challenges of early Bitcoin transactions, such as the lack of the Lightning Network and the associated risks of double-spending, were also explored. Patrick detailed how they navigated these challenges by implementing various checks and taking calculated risks to ensure merchants received their payments.

The podcast also provided insights into the local context of Arnhem City, with over 60 merchants accepting Bitcoin, primarily through the Lightning Network. Patrick highlighted the importance of local community involvement in driving Bitcoin adoption and the challenges of sustaining merchant participation due to factors like business turnover and regulatory changes.

The upcoming "Adopting Bitcoin Arnhem" conference was introduced as a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Arnhem Bitcoin City, aiming to showcase the practical uses of Bitcoin and foster community engagement.

Best Quotes

  1. "If everybody is only hodling Bitcoin and at one point people just want to get out and get fiat money again, then we're all just looking at each other. Okay, who's going to be the first one to step out of this and then use fiat money again?" Context: Patrick explains the potential pitfalls of a Bitcoin economy where everyone is only hodling and the importance of being able to spend Bitcoin in everyday life.
  2. "We could just go ahead and do this." Context: Referring to the lack of regulatory interference in the Netherlands during the early days, which allowed for the growth of the Bitcoin circular economy in Arnhem without significant government intervention.
  3. "It's like a beautiful surfer village, incomparable to me." Context: Patrick describing the atmosphere of El Zonte (Bitcoin Beach) in El Salvador and contrasting it with Arnhem, highlighting the unique community impact Bitcoin has had in El Zonte.
  4. "Local adoption is very important." Context: Emphasizing the necessity of having a dedicated local community to drive Bitcoin adoption in any given area.
  5. "Let's just see how this happens. And if we find out that we do get double spent, then, yeah, of course, we need to close it down and see how to resolve it then." Context: Discussing the experimental nature of accepting Bitcoin payments without the Lightning Network and the willingness to learn from real-world experiences.


The podcast episode with Patrick van der Meijde provides a captivating look back at the early days of Bitcoin adoption and the creation of one of the first Bitcoin circular economies. The conversation highlighted the importance of being able to spend Bitcoin in real-life scenarios, not just hodling it. It also underscored the challenges that were faced without the advancements of the Lightning Network and the role of local communities in fostering sustainable Bitcoin ecosystems.

The episode also set the stage for the "Adopting Bitcoin Arnhem" conference, celebrating a decade of Arnhem Bitcoin City and continuing the mission to showcase Bitcoin's real-world utility. Patrick's insights serve as a reminder of the resilience and innovation within the Bitcoin community and the ongoing journey toward broader acceptance and use of Bitcoin.

In summary, the podcast not only offers a look at the historical context of Bitcoin adoption but also provokes thought on the future of Bitcoin economies and the role of community-driven initiatives in shaping the landscape of Bitcoin.


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