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Startup sees business in bitcoin, seeking to promote local uptake of digital currency

First came the switch off of the gold standard. Then checkbooks and credit cards started the shift away from cash — but to bitcoin advocates, not far enough.

As the anonymous digital currency gains favor with retailers such as and is welcomed by California and other states, some in Baltimore are trying to boost adoption locally. They argue that bitcoin is the next logical step beyond credit cards, offering greater security without transaction costs.

But they also acknowledge a sort of chicken-and-egg problem when it comes to getting consumers to adopt bitcoin and retailers to accept it. In Baltimore, some tech advocates, a few business owners and the...