“Bitcoin: How It Works, How To Get It, Should You Care” was the title of last week’s fascinating presentation by Kevin Chambers from the McMinnville Noon Rotary Club. Kevin is with Headwater Investment Consulting, an independent wealth management company.
Kevin said the movement toward a digital cash system was originally started by “cypherpunks,” who were into freedom and lack of government regulation. He said Bitcoin specifically was started in 2008 by Satori Nakamoto– and what a story around that guy! Apparently that may not be his real name, he owns a huge amount of Bitcoin, and no one knows where he is now or if he is even alive.
The basic goal with Bitcoin, according to Kevin, is to use thousands of computers instead of institutions to verify transactions. “It is a public ledger system that takes out the middleman,” he said. “You can see all transactions and once made, they are unable to be changed.”
Bitcoin is accessed through a “key” system. Your private key is a long (64-digit) random number that provides anonymity and is very secure.
Mining serves two purposes: It provides a process to verify all transactions and it creates new Bitcoins. “You use your computer to check transactions,” said Kevin. “Mining is also being done by big server farms now.”
While third parties go against the founding concept of no middleman, you can pay a company for a “Wallet” to remember your 64-digit key for you. You can also use an “Exchange” to buy or sell Bitcoin.
Where can you spend Bitcoin? Kevin mentioned Subway, Overstock.com and some other companies. “It’s a medium of exchange, but not as easy to use as some others. ”
“People are willing to invest in Bicoin because they think there will be future value.” he said. “As an investment, you are betting that the price will go up. If you want to buy some Bitcoin, but you don’t want to mine, go to an exchange to buy.”Auction Chair Denise Bacon, who was still battling pneumonia, gave us an update on some possible changes in the auction for next year, including the venue. Due to rising costs at the Allison Inn, it is being proposed that the club hold the auction at the Chehalem Cultural Center instead. She said the ballroom (where our club currently meets) could be decorated in such a way as to be very appealing and upscale. She asked for club members with concerns or comments about such a change to email her at: email@example.com.
PDG Mike Caruso received acknowledgment from our Club for his getting the well-deserved Rotary International Distinguished Service Award for exemplary humanitarian service at the District Conference in Salem. Mike then told us about his recent trip to Lebanon to attend a Rotary conference, and the issues that a small country of 5 million people are having absorbing 1 1/2 million Syrian refugees. In strategizing with the Rotary Club in Tripoli on ways to help, it was decided to try a Peace Village camp, which teaches children conflict prevention and resolution skills. The camp is being scheduled for late Fall in Tripoli, and will utilize club funds normally used to support Peace Village Newberg, which is on hiatus this year. This will be the first international Peace Village.
Kim Abraham from Director’s Mortgage joined us for the second week in a row to check out our club. Welcome, Kim!
Tommy Sherwood from the McMinnville Club and Headwater attended to support our speaker.
Please be sure your calendar is marked and highlighted for Thursday, June 14. That’s the date of our annual Installation Dinner–always a nice affair at Methven Vineyards. 5:30pm – 9pm. Current President Todd Engle will turn over the reins to Om Sukheenai.
Painting of the club’s Rotary mural on the side of the Steve’s Auto Body building on Highway 99W began last Friday! Our four George Fox student artists are working collectively to design and paint it. Should be done by the end of June.
Come hear from Newberg Rotary’s international exchange student from Argentina. See you on Wednesday at the Cultural Center.