People In Crypto: Blockchain In The Burgh Meetup

Meet Rebecca White, the co-host of Blockchain In The Burgh Meetup, the leading crypto community gathering in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. She is also a coordinator for Crypto Campfire Podcast and a Litecoin Foundation volunteer.

Blockchain In The Burgh Meetup is a relatively new spot on the global crypto map, having had its first ever event in September 2019.

Hi Rebecca, tell us more about the Pittsburgh crypto community and how Blockchain in the Burgh was actually born?

I got into the crypto world via my son in 2015. For several years, I didn’t realize that Pittsburgh had a crypto community. The “Pittsburgh Po’Boy” food truck was the only business that I knew in Pittsburgh that accepted crypto as payment. It didn’t make sense to me because Pittsburgh is full of technology companies like Google, UBER, Microsoft, etc. but I never connected with other crypto people in Pittsburgh until “Blockchain in the Burgh” began.

In the spring of 2019, Laura Taylor reached out to me on Twitter to tell me she was moving to Pittsburgh in the summer and that she wanted to meet me. She saw my livestream on Twitter from 2018 which is me talking about using Litecoin to buy food at the Po’Boy truck. We met for lunch along with her niece Katie and friend Val. Laura hosted a meetup in North Carolina and asked me if I’d be interested in co-hosting a meetup in Pittsburgh. I immediately said yes. It was like all of the stars aligned that day. At the first meetup we met Josh McIntyre and he offered to help us. The three of us make a great team.

What is it like to be a Bitcoin meetup organizer?

The great part about working with Laura and Josh is we each have unique skills. Josh is a technology guru, Laura is a math professor and a leader in the Digibyte Core Team, and I love networking and am a Litecoin enthusiast. When we brainstorm we come up with great speakers and ideas to keep the meetup fresh. We have over 180 members some of which have projects they are working on. We invite them to share their projects and help them network as well. Our meetup is located in a cool technology center on the Northside of Pittsburgh. We always grab a bite to eat or an adult beverage afterwards so we all get to know each other as well. It is a really great time.

Earlier this year Blockchain in the Burgh’s team was one of the guests at Flint Bitcoin Meetup, with Andreas M. Antonopoulos making a somewhat unexpected visit as well. What has actually happened then, because it doesn’t happen every day that celebrities of that caliber come to smaller events in person?

Indeed, Andreas made an appearance at our friends’ meetup in Flint, Michigan. He saw a post by Chad, one of the Flint Bitcoin Meetup founders, and reached out to him. Andreas was going to be near Flint and offered to come to their meetup. He didn’t want it to be known publicly so he asked that he could be a surprise guest. My friend JMack told me about the meetup. I didn’t believe him at first. But once he gave me the scoop I knew I had to be there. Of course I told Laura and Josh as well. Laura and I were able to go and we got to see a lot of our Twitter friends and meet Andreas. I still smile when I think about it. It was a really special night.

The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted plenty of activities in the crypto space. Still, after a while Blockchain In The Burgh Meetup joined the overall trend and hosted its first virtual event. Will you tell more about that?

I have to thank Jerome at Bits and Tokens for reaching out to me and offering to host the meetup in May. He hosts a variety of mixed reality events out of the Bitcoin Center in Miami. The meetup was in Virtual Reality and also viewable in 2-D. I don’t have VR equipment so I joined via YouTube. It was fun to see our speaker, Rich Sanders of CipherBlade, and other attendees as avatars. I want to buy an Oculus now but they are not in stock.

If you share your first impressions, what were the advantages and disadvantages of going online?

The advantage of going online was simply the act of congregating again with our meetup members. I really miss seeing them in person. Jerome made it very easy. He provided me the link to the VR room and a link to YouTube once the meetup started. Another advantage was having people who aren’t from Pittsburgh being able to join in as well. We had a wider audience.

The disadvantage was not seeing people in person and not being able to chat about what they have been up to since the last time we saw each other. I enjoy the camaraderie of being together and meeting new people. I can’t wait until we can all meet in person again.

What’s next on the agenda for Blockchain in the Burgh?

On June 27 we are having a Virtual Meetup with Josh InTheCity from Potcoin. Bits and Tokens is hosting the event for us again. Beyond that, Laura and I have been chatting about pulling together a day long blockchain conference in Pittsburgh that is affordable so everyone can attend. Laura found an amazing venue. When we can all gather again in person I hope to be able to turn the vision into reality.

We at CryptoEvents want to take an opportunity to thank Rebecca White for talking to us and to wish Blockchain In The Burgh Meetup all the best in the coming months and years.