Magdalena Isbrandt, the founder of the “House of Nakamoto,” called the Bitcoin Store in Vienna explains, what you can buy in the store, and why Vienna was a better place for the project than Berlin.
The story how the Berlin-born Magdalena Isbrandt discovered Bitcoin, sounds a bit like a Chinese fairytale. But maybe it is typical:
“I studied in Beijing, and after graduation, I worked at a German producer of jewellery in China. Some day my boss showed me a room full of processors. It was loud and hot. Then he told me that he mines bitcoin.”
Shortly later a colleague from the Philippines told her, how expensive it was to send money home to her family.
“In this moment it ‘clicked,’ and I knew, that bitcoin can be a solution.”
Back in Berlin, she got to know Mathias Roch, discovered he was also interested in Bitcoin, and co-founded BIT-Trust Services, a consultancy for Bitcoin and the Blockchain. With the foundation of the Austrian company BIT-Trust store, the firm gained more attention.
“Our House of Nakamoto is the first Bitcoin Store in Vienna, maybe in the whole world,” Isbrandt says, “the store has a size of 350 square meters and is on two floors. On the ground is the area for customers, above a lecture room and our offices.”
The store, which mistakenly has been called a ‘Bitcoin Bank’ by some media, is located in the center of Mariahilfer Street. One month after it opened its doors, there are still 80-100 customers, who visit the store daily and sometimes buy something. The attractions of the House of Nakamoto consists of a Bitcoin ATM, where you can buy bitcoin with euro or the other way round. Furthermore, there are hardware wallets from Ledger and books to purchase.
Isbrandt is especially proud of the products her company created on its own. One is the gift cards with the portraits of prominent representatives of the Austrian School of Economics, which can be redeemed online for bitcoin. The platform was developed with the community.
Another special product of the store is a “paper asset, similar to old security certificates. We created a private key, printed it out and sealed the cover. The key was made in a closed room, with dices for a better entropy, and printed with offline printers. The whole process was achieved in the presence of a notary, who testifies that the private keys have not been copied or saved.”
For newbies, the store offers a “starter kit” with an introducing booklet, a hardware wallet and a gift card for bitcoin worth €15. “With this, you can immediately start with Bitcoin. All you need is a computer and internet. Like plug ’n’ play,” Isbrandt enthuses. For the future she plans to add more products, “We want to offer everything which is available around Bitcoin. More hardware wallets, more books, T-Shirts, arts and more.”
The founder chose Vienna as the home of the store not just because of the famous charm of the city and its inhabitants. The primary reason revolves around regulatory issues:
“In Austria, Bitcoin is seen as a ‘digital good,’ while in Germany it is considered a ‘unit of account.’ The result is that in Germany you need a license to trade bitcoin, and in Austria, you do not need it; this makes many things easier for us.”