Rotary Club of New Berlin, New Berlin Rotary, what is Bitcoin, Should I invest in Bitcoin
Bitcoin and blockchain technology offer a hint at what is to come
Bitcoin has been in the news quite a bit lately. As the most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has drawn attention from private citizens to government agencies. Included are reports of people losing large sums of money investing in Bitcoin. Which is why an overview of Bitcoin was most timely. Tom Portz, a financial adviser and frequent speaker on the topic, visited us on Sept. 11.
The concept behind Bitcoin was introduced to the world in 2008 through an essay published online. The author was Shatoshi Nakomto, but, Portz says, no one knows who that person is. Or if it is a person, an organization, or nothing at all. A true enigma. 
All transactions take place on a peer-to-peer basis; there is no banking or credit card system. A host of computers around the world authenticate and store the transactions. A sophisticated algorithm, developed by the National Security Agency, helps protect the data. Successful transactions are stored permanently in the computers in what are known as blocks. Those blocks form the foundation of blockchain technology.
The first retail transaction involving Bitcoin occurred on May 22, 2010. A person in Jacksonville, Fla., purchased two pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoin, or about $40.00, Portz says.
Bitcoin has been in the news recently due to its widely fluctuating value. (Current value is approximately $6,400 per Bitcoin.) Some purchasers have lost millions of dollars' worth of Bitcoin. Portz, a Certified Financial Planner with more than 30 years in the business, advises against investing in Bitcoin at this time.
But his firm, Sterling Capital Management, Inc., in Waukesha, Wis.,  tracks Bitcoin because they see opportunities for indirect investment. Educated at Cambridge and Oxford, Portz has studied businesses and economies in dozens of countries. He sees value in the blockchain technology.
Approximately 2.5 billion people are "unbanked," meaning they don't have access to a bank, ATM or other method to drawn cash. However, many people have smartphones. With the proper app they can buy and sell goods and services.
Blockchain technology could be valuable in numerous industries and processes,  including health care, shipping, and warehousing. During a recall, for example, investigators could find the specific item in a container of goods without having to destroy the entire shipment. 
Your entire health records would be accessible by your smart phone. No need for one clinic to send your records or X-rays to another facility. Just show up with your phone (or even smart watch).
Cautions abound with Bitcoin. In addition to its market volatility, Bitcoin owners must make sure never to lose or forget their password. If that happens, there is no way to access their "wallet." And no way to retrieve the password. Those individuals lose all the Bitcoin they've purchased.
Yet Portz noted that the blockchain technology has merit. It remains to be seen how that evolves and is employed throughout the world.
New Berlin Rotary, Rotary Club of New Berlin, New Berlin Food Pantry
Rotarians Dianne Moore (left) and Pat McLaughlin (center)
31,000 lbs. of help for needy families
"You load 16 tons, what do you get...." 
If song writer Merle Travis were around today, he might tweak that famous line to say, "a full house at New Berlin Food Pantry."
Mother Nature threatened with a storm on May 12, but that didn't stop dozens of volunteers from coming out for the annual U.S. Postal Service food drive. Included in that helpful crew were five New Berlin Rotarians.
All told, some 31,000 lbs. of food and other products were donated, said the food pantry's Barb Jacobs. 
Most of the sorting tables were inside the garage in case of rain. Upon arrival, the bags of food were first loaded into large carts for weighing. Then the individual bags are ripped open and the items are sorted. There were crates for peas, green beans, tuna, peanut butter...the entire gamut of food items. Other containers held personal hygiene and other nonfood products.
New Berlin residents assisted postal employees in picking up bags of groceries. The result was a steady stream of vehicles starting at about 11:00 a.m. The event "ran a lot smoother than last year," Jacobs said. Among the volunteers were members of New Berlin Eisenhower's football team.
Rotarians present included Dianne Moore, Pat McLaughlin, Carmelita Stehr, Tom Fuszard and Jeremy Rynders.
The canned food, which comprised the lion's share of donations, should last the rest of the year, Jacobs said.
The New Berlin Food Pantry serves needy families in Brookfield, Elm Grove and New Berlin. The pantry is open only on Wednesdays. Food donations are accepted from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. (Please do not donate expired food. It must be discarded.) Needy families may collect their food items from noon to 5:15 p.m. Any questions, call the food pantry on Wednesdays at 262-789-8040. You can also email to
Rotary: Doing good all around the world

The Rotary Foundation supports ongoing efforts to eradicate polio (now found in just three countries in the world!), bring clean water and sanitation services to impoverished communities, and build schools and other structures, to name just a few.
This video offers just a glimpse of the important work Rotary International does for the needy everywhere.
Club Information

Welcome to Rotary Club of New Berlin!

New Berlin Rotary Club

2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m.
New Berlin Community Center
14750 W Cleveland Ave
New Berlin, WI  53151
United States
District Site
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The Four-Way Test
Of the things we think,
say or do:
1)    Is it the TRUTH?
2)    Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3)    Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4)    Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
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To contact any of our directors, click on the person's name. That will launch the contact form.
Articles discussing our past meetings and events can be found by clicking on the Archive tab above.
The Rotary District 6270 website has information about our district, as well as a list of other Rotary clubs in the district.
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If you are a speaker and have a topic you think would be of interest to our members, contact president Pat McLaughlin. You can reach him through the link above.

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Do your deals benefit all parties involved? 

Adhering to high business ethics not just right, it's also good business practice.
Rotary clubs follow the Four-Way Test, which is shown on the left side of this page. For more on the value of incorporating the Four-Way Test in your business, read this article from the BizTimes of Milwaukee: