Texans are taking up Bitcoin in droves with 8% of adults already owning it, new data by Finder.com shows.
Kyle Murphy is among the Texans who currently own the most popular form of cryptocurrency. He made a recent move to Austin because of the potential he saw in the city’s Bitcoin scene, even founding an accelerator called Pleb Lab that aims to support Bitcoin-centered startups.
“I landed in Austin specifically because I believe there is nowhere on Earth at the moment that has a higher per capita population density for people who are Bitcoin focused.”
When it comes to cryptocurrency at large, Austin has come out as a leader in the Texas job market. Still, it falls behind other places like the Bay Area where there are sweeping crypto opportunities.
To Murphy, however, the Bay Area has “a bunch of crypto nonsense.”
“If you’re just looking for people who really kind of understand and get Bitcoin, especially the people who are Bitcoin developers, they’re all in Austin right now,” Murphy said. “And more of them are moving here every day.”
But there are some differences among various demographics who have Bitcoin.
Finder’s cryptocurrency editor, Keegan Francis, says young adults will drive crypto adoption this year.
Bitcoin ownership among people 18-34 could hit 17-18% by the end of the year, and Finder also expects to see growth in the 35-55 age group.
Crypto has generally been more popular among men, and Bitcoin is no exception.
“Men in Texas are much more likely to own Bitcoin than women—11% compared to 5%,” Francis said. “The difference between the number of men and women who own Bitcoin is expected to widen this year with slightly more men planning to become Bitcoin owners.”
When it comes to the growing adoption of Bitcoin, Murphy points to commerce as being overlooked. After a block party he put on in December, he noted places like the Tipsy Alchemist became part of the 33% of Rainey Street that started accepting Bitcoin. He also noted local ranchers who accept Bitcoin and how he’s in the process of getting a diesel mechanic on board to accept Bitcoin.
More businesses are starting to accept Bitcoin. (CC)
For Murphy, whose only form of finance is Bitcoin, he sees promise in more businesses accepting it as a form of payment and the public’s growing use of it. Finder estimates Texan Bitcoin owners could grow to 14% by the end of the year.
“If we’re talking about my worldview of Bitcoin, I would say generally, that I believe the last discovery that human beings came upon that was as big as the discovery of Bitcoin was probably fire.”
For the crypto curious, Finder recommends comparing exchanges, and if you need more tips, Austonia has a mini-guide on getting started with investing.
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By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.
What's new in Austin food & drink this week:
- Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
- Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
- Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
- Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
- Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
- Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
- The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
- Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
- P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.