A new cryptocurrency nonprofit has recently emerged in the Tampa Bay area, founded by three professionals dedicated to fostering community engagement and education in the realm of digital currencies. Bitcoin Bay, as the nonprofit is aptly named, initially began as a platform for local Bitcoin developers to host meetups. The group’s objective was to not only discuss Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies but also to delve into the fundamental questions surrounding the nature of money and the problems that Bitcoin was designed to address.
A key aspect of Bitcoin Bay’s mission is to create an inclusive environment that welcomes individuals from all walks of life to participate in discussions and exchange ideas about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. The organization hosts free weekly gatherings, providing opportunities for both newcomers and seasoned “Bitdevs” to network, share insights, and stay informed about the latest developments in the rapidly evolving crypto landscape, including workshops and expert presentations.
Wesley Schlemmer, the president of Bitcoin Bay, emphasized the friendly and open nature of the group, stating, “Most of our members are normal individuals who work jobs and have kids and haven’t considered this stuff before. Everyone is friendly and very open to helping the newcomers make sense of what the heck we’re saying at the front of the room sometimes.”
Furthermore, Bitcoin Bay is actively engaged in initiatives aimed at educating various demographics about cryptocurrency. This includes collaborating with the Bitcoin Club at the University of Tampa to provide guest lectures and internship opportunities. The nonprofit also plans to host financial education camps for middle and high schoolers, as well as workshops for business owners and entrepreneurs to showcase the tools available for transacting and operating on Bitcoin.
One of the ambitious goals outlined by Schlemmer is to create a circular economy around Bitcoin within the Tampa Bay area while positioning it as a vacation destination where visitors can pay for their expenses using cryptocurrency. This vision aligns with the nonprofit’s broader aspiration to stimulate local business adoption of Bitcoin and establish the region as a prominent hub for crypto-based transactions and activities.
While Bitcoin Bay has been informally organizing the weekly meetups for some time, the decision was made to formalize the group into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Their inaugural fundraising gala, scheduled for Saturday night at The Vault in Tampa, aims to rally support for Bitcoin Bay’s future endeavors, including forging new partnerships, expanding educational workshops, and undertaking community service projects focused on food security and accessibility.
Schlemmer emphasized that while Bitcoin plays a central role in their activities, the primary focus is on building community, prosperity, and resilience, with Bitcoin being viewed as a tool to facilitate these objectives rather than an end in itself.
Bitcoin Bay’s inaugural fundraising gala is set to be a pivotal event, propelling the nonprofit into a new phase of growth and impact within the Tampa Bay community, and beyond.