I gave up trying to buy a BitCoin. I got a wallet instead; and I’m glad, even though it is empty. Welcome to the land of cryptocurrencies where of course you need a cryptowallet for your cryptocoins. Cryptocurrencies are intriguing. They are financial creatures that have evolved fit a niche in online ecosystems. I watch trends and this is a trend that has more reasons to grow rather than diminish. Academic debates are fun, but sometimes the best way to understand something is to try it. During a cumbersome attempt at finding funds to buy a Bitcoin I stumbled upon a cheaper and better idea. I got a Bitcoin wallet. I have decided to accept Bitcoins for my business.
This is as much a business decision as it is an exploration of alternatives. Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, gets most of the attention because it is the biggest and the first. That doesn’t mean it is the best. But I run a business that deals primarily with innovative and creative people who consider alternatives, challenge convention, and champion causes. Cryptocurrencies exist to provide an alternative to conventional currencies. Bitcoin was designed to provide a currency that wasn’t tied to the regular banking system, isn’t based on debt, and protects privacy. The recent financial crises, worldwide debt, and ubiquitous surveillance certainly were inspirational. I understand a lot of that, and I do appreciate diversification even in currencies, but today’s decision was based on providing goods and services in exchange for value. Why not accept Bitcoins for business? If I need a special wallet for Canadian currency, I’d get one of those too.
If you still aren’t aware of Bitcoins, except for a vague recollection of the scandal of a few months ago, don’t worry about it. Even as the biggest cryptocurrency, it is only worth about $8 billion. “There was approximately $1.28 trillion in circulation as of May 14, 2014, of which $1.23 trillion was in Federal Reserve notes.” – US Federal Reserve Bitcoin isn’t challenging the US currency. The bigger threat to US currency is the way the US currency is managed, but that’s an entire bookshelf if digressions.
Cryptocoins are, however, providing alternatives to communities that may feel underserved or misrepresented by conventional currencies. The Lakota Nation now accepts MazaCoins. Iceland, the country that actually threw bankers in jail, issued everyone AuroraCoins. There are dozens of cryptocurrencies out here. Some are scams. Buyer beware. Many are championing causes. Think there should be more people using solar power? SolarCoin has some incentives for you. Need a bank for a product that’s legal in your state but that the Federal Government has restricted? How about PotCoin? Think the whole idea of cryptocurrencies is laughable? Okay. Dogecoin; and as I’ve been corrected it is not doje coin but more like doggie coin. Their claim to fame? “… favored by Shiba Inus worldwide.” Bitcoin aimed for the high ground with a familiar sentiment; “Currency of the people, by the people, for the people.”
As I wrote about earlier, the US Dollar didn’t become the standard currency until 1863. Communities, banks, companies, organizations had their own currencies. Within a community a currency makes sense, but runs into difficulty when it meets with another currency. That’s where money changers come in. That’s also where a longer post would include the story of Jesus in the Temple and the origin of the word bankrupt. 150 years later the concept of community has borders drawn along lines that have less to do with geography. Moneychanging is much more mechanical. Business has become much more international.
For weeks I’ve been researching alternative currencies, and cryptocurrencies particularly. With the introduction of Bitcoin, communities are reasserting themselves and their values, or their separation from convention. The only way to truly learn more was to buy a coin, or a fraction of one, and see what it was like. For a lot of folks that would be an easy experiment. I think one restaurant on this island called Whidbey actually accetps Bitcoins. Buy enough Bitcoins to buy a dinner, and enjoy a culinary learning experience. In almost every other post I’m describing my personal financial recovery, which at this point remains uncertain – much better than last year, and with great potential for the future – but without enough spare cash for the research.
Today I decided to commit a small but risky sum because I believe that cryptocurrencies will become a much larger part of our lives and I’d rather learn more sooner rather than later. I also was encouraged when I saw a tweet from a Kris Krug (@KK), a phenomenal photographer and technology pioneer who I’ve met a few times. He’s just decided to accept Bitcoins for his photos. As I brought up a site or two to do a bit more research I saw a key term Kris used. He got a wallet. I’ve been concentrating so much on buying coins that I forgot about the wallet. And there it was on the Bitcoin web site: “Wallet – your first step is a click away“. A few minutes later I had a wallet. It was empty, but I’d opened a door.
Kris may be selling photos for Bitcoins. I’ve got online galleries already (custom photos of Whidbey at Fine Balance Imaging
and conventional printing at ) that only accept US dollars, for now. In the meantime, I can offer my services for Bitcoins, and maybe other coins if there enough demand. Alternative, innovative, creative currencies for alternative, innovative, creative clients. I truly enjoy helping people get things done, help them make decisions, strategize, and plan. The number of people using Bitcoins makes for a large community, but the number of businesses serving them is remarkably small. I may not supply goods for a while, but maybe I can supply a service that meets a bit of a demand, as long as it is legal and acceptable to me, of course.
So, I’m open for business. I’ve been open for business for over 15 years, but now I’m open to a business in a new way. That may be something that’s increasingly true for more of us.
Now, let’s see what it takes to get something into this wallet. At least I don’t have to worry about making change. I think.
Oh yeah, and tips are accepted. Here’s the address for those who know what to do with it.
(I think the QR code does the same, but I’ll post that after I check.)