Stop speculating on crypto and just start using it

Currencies without gate keepers are important for a number of reasons. I would argue anyone of means has a moral responsibility to promote "freedom money".

A young Kenyan from a seaside town outside Mombasa contacted me a number of months ago. He had studied maritime management and was looking for someone who could help him secure employment in a ship broker or shipping company (and my interactions have led me to believe he is exactly who he says he is - a young man very interested in shipping).

I made a post to help him, but months later, he still hadn’t found anything. So I offered to let him help me work on a new feature by gathering some hard to find historical data from dry bulk shipping companies and putting it in spreadsheets.

For the first week of work, I paid him with PayPal. The transaction was initially blocked, but allowed once I called. The second week, his account appeared to be blocked. Other than PayPal, we tried a few other services, and ran into problems like this one:

Having used Western Union before, I know the fees are enormous and the process extremely inconvenient. So I suggested Bitcoin.

He would be responsible for figuring out how to use Bitcoin within Kenya, but the problem of transferring value from A to B without a gate keeper would be solved.

An epiphany on money

As wealthy westerners, we frequently take the convenience we enjoy in for granted. Our brokerage systems are rather seamless, we can go in and out of assets traded all over the world. At least in the United States, people are pretty free to send and receive as much money as they please with whoever they want to.

But - that’s changing - and without commenting on the specific draconian banking and regulatory changes that have come over the years, done in the name of preventing money laundering, drug dealing, and terrorism financing, I can tell you that little by little, America is looking a lot less like America and a lot more like somewhere much less pleasant, and much more Orwellian.

Financial gate keeping is the road to serfdom. It keeps billions of people around the world in poverty. It puts people in desperate situations. In the West we tell ourselves these financial controls are for our own good - to keep us safe.

Famed Jurist Wiliam Blackstone once ruled, “the law holds that it is better that 10 guilty persons escape, than that 1 innocent suffer.” The United States Supreme Court upheld this idea in 1895: “it is better to let the crime of a guilty person go unpunished than to condemn the innocent.”

When we speak of imprisoning and gate keeping money, we speak of stripping people of the right to transact value amongst themselves, we take from them something as fundamental as breath. We punish the innocent masses to stop the very few who may commit crimes.

A Honduran man stands in a line for hours at a Western Union office who will take a day of his work in commissions to send money to his family while his wife waits in another line with a crying infant to receive it. A mother in a war zone needs the money to leave - and immediately - it’s life or death. A man is asked for paperwork and notarization from his bank substantiating a small loan to a friend. A greedy official reviewing local financial transactions demand a bribe (or else). Want to know which countries have seen the highest rates of Bitcoin adoption? The places that are the most broken - where crime, poverty, inflation, and corruption have eroded the fabric of society to the point of collapse - countries like Venezuela and Afghanistan.

The politicians say the war on cash and crypto is to stop people from buying drugs, from evading taxes, from funding terrorism - but the only things I’ve ever used crypto for are to simplify cross border payments and once - to settle a real estate transaction where the seller was outside the country and wanted to be paid and direct her agent to sign the moment the sale was ready to be notarized (escrow was not an option as the seller did not have a bank account in the country). In El Salvador, where bitcoin has been made legal tender and promoted by the government, people are using it for every day transactions (and I highly recommend this video).

Whether or not El Salvador’s bitcoin purchases at a much higher price will bankrupt the country is another question - but the important thing is that people - every day people - for every day things - are using it. You can pay your rent, pay for food, get a haircut, buy gas - and in El Salvador - even pay your taxes - all in Bitcoin. There are some problems, it’s not accepted everywhere, but at least in one place - El Zonte (Bitcoin Beach) - everybody uses it, from the most humble street vendor to the most elegant hotel.

Now, I’m not saying Bitcoin should replace cash - I would even argue that cash is in many ways superior - especially when backed by a hard currency under a Bretton woods type monetary system and used to conduct offline transactions - but Bitcoin is supremely useful when it comes to making cross border payments. The importance of remittances (i.e. sending money back home to the family) as an economic function cannot be understated. The gate keepers are siphoning away billions of dollars from the world’s most vulnerable, and at the very least, making life less convenient for the rest of us.

Chart: The Countries Who Depend On Remittances The Most | Statista

How I will promote crypto usage

I owe a lot to Bitcoin. It was one of the first investments I made as a young man, and while I did sell most in 2017 and sell the rest by 2019, Bitcoin was a big factor on my personal road to financial freedom. However, I never really used it - I just speculated. After two very real examples in my day to day life this year where crypto solved a logistical issue, the realization of its important for freedom and global human rights, and owing to where I am today due to the success of crypto, I feel a moral responsibility to do my part to promote its usage.

For that reason, I have made the decision to announce that for all of the businesses I am involved in - which span real estate, maritime/trade data and research, manufacturing, and telecom, I will work towards accepting and offering crypto as a form of payment.

In the immediate time period, for my real estate business and my shipping data service, I will provide any of my many thousands of customers who wishes to pay in Bitcoin a 10% discount, and I will provide any contractor, affiliate, or employee a 10% bonus for receiving payment in Bitcoin. If you want to vacation in Panama, pay your rent, or receive timely and profitable maritime data and trade ideas, you can now pay for those things in Bitcoin.

I will of course, continue to pay any applicable taxes and make all appropriate financial filings with the appropriate entities.

I have optimized my life for freedom and lower tax obligations, and my decision to do this comes from a sense of civic duty to my fellow man - who deserves free and open trade as equally as he deserves the air he breathes.  As they say, “freedom ain’t free”, and I view this change as paying a tax for freedom.

Every currency in the end is based on faith - a belief that the instrument used to exchange value will be accepted by someone else. After all, currencies are useless without the economic participants who exchange goods and services for them. I believe that my idea - to offer a premium for acceptance and a discount for payment when transacted in crypto - is a powerful, world moving idea, and I encourage you to consider offering the same to those in your sphere of influence. Whether at the farmer’s market or the car dealership, consider offering a premium for those who will accept crypto.

Our current financial model is not sustainable. Politicians and gate keepers extract more and more value as they increase their stranglehold on the population. We must not become like China. A civilization built on greed, fear, and control is an empire doomed to fail. We must build our civilization on honor, trust, and liberty. We must create a culture where people make virtuous decisions voluntarily - not because they are forced to do so by coercive bureaucrats.

The future

Beyond cross border payments and atomic transactions, crypto currencies offer another truly useful feature that threatens the entire legacy financial system. In short - the meta layer. Every transaction has meta information associated with it that is freely accessible. This meta layer allows for a standardization of financial data on a free and open standard. Imagine being able to see the entire ownership chain for a security and who was buying and selling (even if anonymous). Imagine being able to distribute dividends in real time, instantly and without an intermediary. Imagine financial filings that followed a standardized format across all financial markets.

This sort of innovation in financial data is why banks and governments are both excited and terrified of the innovations coming from blockchains - and why every central government in the world is working on its own central bank digital currency (CBDC). We can either choose a world where we build those standards and the invisible hand of the market guides the development of money - or we can accept a totalitarian world where the same gate keepers who have caused so much pain and suffering for so many people decide in real time who is allowed to transact with who. If we don’t want them to have the power to cancel us in real time - we need to choose freedom money.