How everyday people are taking advantage of the Bitcoin craze
Cryptocurrency not just for techies
KPRC – Tree-lined streets with rose bushes in the yards and squirrels on the lawn is the all-American-type of town Kingwood soccer mom Kym Morgan lives in.
She has three children, and her regular job is at MD Anderson, but a select few also know her as "Lady Bitcoin."
"I know on Twitter I changed my handle to lady*bitcoin since, you know, I'm trying to increase my presence as a lady, you know, more sophisticated," Morgan said.
The stereotype is much different. It's a techie mining for Bitcoin in mom's basement. But that's not the reality.
Everyday people like Morgan are on the cutting edge of the cryptocurrency.
"I've paid my bills with it. I've used it to buy groceries," Morgan said when asked what she's used Bitcoin for aside from taking a trip.
Bitcoin is the financial buzzword right now.
How to Get Started: www.bitcoin.com/getting-started
"It's another way to buy goods and services, so you can use it as a currency," Morgan said.
When Morgan joined a Bitcoin meetup group in Houston in 2014, it was just a few people hanging out. Now at her meetup, and others like it across the country, it's standing room only.
"Fifty, 100 -- I've seen 200 people at the meetup before," she said. "I mean, it's grown exponentially."
Places that accept bitcoin: spendbitcoins.com/places/
The first widely publicized Bitcoin transaction was in 2010 when 10,000 Bitcoin were traded for two pizzas.
Recently, one Bitcoin equaled about $8,000, and it's constantly changing based on the open market for the currency.
Check Bitcoin's current price: charts.bitcoin.com/chart/price | https://www.coindesk.com/
Anyone can buy Bitcoin through an online exchange. Or you can buy and sell Bitcoin and check the balance using an ATM, like at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.
Morgan also uses a Bitcoin debit card, and she said she treats Bitcoin like an investment. She's constantly putting away dollars into Bitcoin.
"My hope is to continue to pay for college for my children, to be honest with you," Morgan said.
"It's a little more mainstream than you even realize," said Cynthia Blanchard, president of AnthemGold.
Blanchard grew up in Orange, Texas, but now she and her husband travel the world talking about Bitcoin.
"My husband will actually go into a restaurant, or, in fact, he does it every single time -- he's like, 'Do you accept Bitcoin?'" Blanchard said.
Find Places to Spend Bitcoin: http://spendbitcoins.com/places/
Their next adventure together is a new business.
"In very simplistic terms, (it's) a marriage with Bitcoin and gold," Blanchard said.
Skeptics of the Bitcoin buzz are concerned about its recent rollercoaster value, but Blanchard wants to bring more security by tying it to solid gold. They're creating a new token.
"It has the stability of gold, which is thousands of years old, and it has the flexibility and fluidity of Bitcoin," Blanchard said.
They're bringing all that gold to small-town Montgomery, Texas. The local residents KPRC2 spoke with had never heard of Bitcoin. They also didn't know the Blanchards will store their gold for the token in a high-security nuclear bunker right off of Highway 105 called the Westland Bunker.
"It's one of the coolest places in the world," Blanchard said.
The Bunker is so top secret, KPRC Channel 2's cameras weren't allowed into the vault.
"The Bunker has perhaps the most interesting history of any data center ever built," the website says. "Originally constructed in 1982 by Louis Kung (Nephew of Madam Chang Kai Shek), the mysterious complex was supposedly intended as the headquarters for his company, Westland Oil. The construction was shrouded in secrecy and protected by armed guards, and most local residents were unaware that he also built a 40,000 square foot nuclear bomb shelter next to the office building. Now known locally as simply “The Bunker”, it was designed to house Mr. Kung’s family, employees, and their families in the event of a nuclear attack or a complete breakdown of civilization.
"The bunker was designed to protect 350 adults for up to three months, and was a totally self-contained structure with it’s own diesel generators, multi-chamber chemical/biological/radiation (CBR) air filtration system, two water wells, decontamination showers, jail cells, and a full surgical suite. The entrance tunnel blockhouses (disguised as pagodas) concealed numerous gun ports and had rooftop-mounted machine gun nests. The adjacent office building includes many of the same massive reinforced concrete construction techniques as the bunker, with five-layer bullet-resistant glass, its own generators, water wells, and numerous security features.
"Today the 40,000 square foot nuclear bomb shelter is a state-of-the-art data center that provides colocation of critical IT operations, while the 100,000 square foot, four story office building serves as a business continuity and disaster recovery center. We are confident that we have the ability to meet or exceed any requirements for colocation, business continuity, or managed services.
"The last eight years have seen a strong commitment to growth, starting with fiber networks, generators, chillers, enhanced security and additional 107,000 square foot state of the art data center, making the The Bunker campus one of the premier technology centers in the nation. We are extremely proud of our zero-downtime performance during hurricane Ike. That trial-by-fire has allowed us to attract many additional Fortune 500 companies and government agencies that demand exceptional results and quality service. The Bunker is a financially sound private company, structured as a limited partnership and directed by a forward thinking team of highly skilled professionals with a passion for this business and a commitment for excellence."
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