A GROUP devoted to crypto currencies such as Bitcoin has held its first public lunch.

Block: The Crypto Currency Lunch Club discusses experiences of trading in crypto currencies, as well as industry news and in-depth exploration of topics.

It meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month at e-commerce agency Media Lounge in Christchurch Road, Bournemouth.

Marcus Wincott, marketing manager at Media Lounge, said: “The idea is to create an informal and relaxed environment for like-minded people of all levels of experience and knowledge to come together and feel comfortable sharing their ideas and asking questions with something nice to eat.”

The first public lunch focused on the origins, mechanism and future of blockchain, the digital ledger which makes online currencies possible. Coins in such currencies are created by devoting computer power to ‘mining’ them by solving complex mathematical problems.

Mr Wincott said: “We were lucky enough to be joined by someone who has not only been investing in crypto currencies for a long time but also has extensive experience in mining Bitcoin so his knowledge and the insights he shared were fascinating.

“Twenty people from a variety of local businesses with varying degrees of experience in crypto currency came together and after the initial talk on blockchain technology, the questions flowed and the lunch could easily have gone on all day.

“A resource document has been created for the ‘community’ to share reading materials, industry news and for attendees to suggest topics of future lunch clubs.”

He said the group planned to grow the community and its knowledge base, with a series of guest speakers planned.

Subjects suggested include Getting Your Money Out, Trading Strategies and Experiences, and Tax Benefits.

The rise in digital currencies has proved controversial. Bitcoin has fallen sharply in value recently, although it is still worth five more than a year ago.

Virgin Money and Lloyds Banking Group have banned customers from buying the currencies with their credit cards, but Barclays has allowed its customers to buy crypto currencies legally.

Yves Mersch, executive board member at the European Central Bank, has called for a global clampdown on the currencies, arguing they threaten financial stability.

JP Morgan chairman Jamie Dimon has recently said he regrets calling Bitcoin a “fraud”. In his original criticism of crypto currencies last October, he said: “If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day.”

The 45-minute Block events are catered by Oli Perron of Lunch’d and the next is due to take place on Wednesday, February 21.

The events come with a disclaimer that information shared is not financial advice and individuals trade at their own risk.

Anyone interested can contact Mr Wincott on marcus@medialounge.co.uk or 01202 237370.