We now also accept Bitcoin donations (including from Lightning Network wallets). Thanks!!
What is bitcoin and how would anyone donate with it?
It’s a wonderful and beautiful question with a broad set of answers, for sure. I’ll be as simple as I can here…
Bitcoin is a store of value: It’s a digital, cyptographically secured digital property. Over 150 Million people from virtually all walks of life from Nigerian street merchants to people with lots of assets store a part of their wealth in Bitcoin – currently over $650 billion in assets.
Bitcoin separates money and state: Decentralized, censorship resistant, and able to be “carried” anywhere and sent across borders without being forced to pay absurd currency transfer costs and wire fees, no central government or central authority controls (or can control) this property. It is unique in human history.
Bitcoins are divisible: Unknown to many (for now) a single Bitcoin (currently around $34,000) is actually made up of 100 million SATs (Satoshis). It is in SATs that places like certain beaches in El Salvador and in other places that have terrible currencies exchange value with each other. You might pay 22000 SATs for a meal for example.
Outside traditional banking: The transaction can take place with VASTLY lower fees that traditional credit cards (not available in many countries). The Bitcoin Lightning Network is being used worldwide now – a family member working overseas, for example, can use the Bitcoin Lightning Network to send $500 back to their family in El Salvador and avoid up to 30% money transfer fees.
I have clients and community members around the world. Paypal, credit cards, etc., are not available everywhere. Indeed, 70% of El Salvador which in a few week is adopting Bitcoin as a country-wide accepted payment for goods, services, taxes, etc., have no banking relationship whatsoever. But most have cell phones.
Companies like Strike.me are helping make transfers like this easy. Someone could install this app on their phone, connect it to a debit card, and then send to others – including scanning the Lightning barcode the new donate button offers.
Admittedly, this is still early. Kinda like the iPhone 1, it works, it’s a breakthrough, and it’ll still be (I feel) 3-4 years before the adoption moves forward more completely.
Companies like Tesla and 100’s of others are starting to keep Bitcoin on their balance sheets for money they don’t need right now. That is growing. Countries are looking at adopting digital currencies as well.
What really strikes me is that I want to support, just as I support globally the separation of church and state, the increase in opportunity to earn and store value in ways that are separate from government printing. Because bitcoin is based on math and thermodynamics (physics), it has a predictable policy that help me feel more clear about its fundamental values and energy around it.
There’s a lot more, of course. For anyone interested in inflation or monetary policy or financial properties/assets, I believe Bitcoin would be a solid place to start to begin to understand how the internet and technology will transform money in the same way they have transformed movies, music, books, communication, education, etc.
Thanks for asking! I’m open to other questions, as well.
So if someone wanted to donate to you with Bitcoin how would you receive it, especially if a single Bit coin is worth $34,000? I did understand a little of what what you explained and it makes sense to get money out of the controls of countries for sure. I guess it will take time, as you said.
Just like Paypal has a digital wallet, the Bitcoin network has digital wallets. Thriving Now would receive the fractions of a Bitcoin in a digital wallet… just like we do when someone sends us a Paypal donation.
Since a single “bitcoin” can be divided into 100 million pieces (called Satoshis, or SATs), you can literally pay for a coffee in some places with SATs. 12,500 is around $5 right now. Just like if someone pays $7.11 USD for a Real Skills Workshop, but they are in Australia using Australian dollars, they pay “more Aussie dollars” because of the “exchange rate.” It’s the same with SATs.
Hope that helps explain it a bit.
ohh, so bitcoin’s currency is through SATs? if it also follows exchange rate from country to country, then what makes it different in terms of financial ease? is it cause there’s lesser bank regulations?
So if you think of a kilo of gold, something that a person could own that has value (that fluctuates), you could “slice” that kilo of gold into itsy-bitsy pieces. Indeed, gold miners used to talk about “specks” of gold! Take enough specks of gold, melt them down, and you get a kilo of gold.
Since bitcoin is digital, you can own it as property, too. There are at most 21 million bitcoin ever (mathematically-enforced scarcity). And, each also is designed to be divisible into 100 million pieces. Which looks like this: 0.00000001 – 8 decimal places. So 0.00000001 BTC is 1 SAT.
Just like any property/asset, you could own 1 TSLA (1 share of Tesla) and that would be worth at any moment a certain number of USD (US dollars) or EUR (Euro) or chickens! Yes, you could trade a share of Tesla for a bunch of chickens if you had the right buyer and seller. There’s ALWAYS an exchange rate when assets change hands.
Banks are for-profit businesses. And they’ve structured themselves to extract wealth from people – LOTS of extraction!
Paypal takes, off the top, 2.9% plus 30 cents. Then they also charge a “foreign exchange fee” which can be as high as 4%. In essence, 7% is “taken” by Paypal, or my bank, or Stripe (credit cards) – right off the top. $100 USD becomes $93 USD.
It’s worse for someone who is “unbanked” or where Paypal doesn’t serve them. If someone in El Salvador works in the United States and wants to send $100 back home to support their family, the $100 USD can end up as $70 before it reaches the family in cash they can spend. Right now about 25% of all money spent by El Salvadorian families comes from remittances sent from overseas by relatives and friends. And up to 30% of that is “taken” by wealthy middlemen.
How does Bitcoin change this? Because I can send someone $100 USD anywhere in the world and they would get… $99.98. A penny or two for the cost of the Bitcoin Lightning network to deliver the resource directly to their phone. El Salvador has decided, first country so far, to make Bitcoin legal tender, and so that person who has $99.98 instead of $70 will be able to spend those SATs and exchange them for chicken, coffee, and transport.
There’s more to it, of course. And, you can tell that when it comes to freedom and inclusivity, the energy of this feels different than having to go through companies that extract WAY more money than the service they provide needs to in the digital age.
Wow @Rick thats a whole new perspective for me! I don’t learn much about this on my own about Bitcoin cause it doesn’t exactly interest me. So all my information is merely from hear-say (word of mouth). I always though that Bitcoin is a bad market due to its volatility and high levels of speculation due to having “no” regulations from the governmental bodies. So I guess the downside from all these benefits is the risk of such volatility (?). But yeah, I can see the potential freedom in that!! but who knows? What if the government manages to take hold of Bitcoin currency and make it an official currency to be regulated? Then isn’t that back to square one
For a Bitcoin to be taken over would require shutting down the internet. And even the internet isn’t REQUIRED for Bitcoin transactions to be made.
I know, it is hard to comprehend. The inventor of Bitcoin solved something that has been a struggle for mathematicians and strategists for thousands of years. While nothing it perfect, Bitcoin has qualities that – in my view – far surpass Gold (except for in prettiness). But these are not obvious on the surface.
Economist Paul Krugman (who has been wrong about so much I am appalled he’s still considered an expert on anything financial) felt that the internet would have almost no impact. In 1997 one thng was UTTERLY clear to me – the internet changes EVERYTHING! Digital is eating the world. Anything that can be digitized is, and is being stored in a globally connected way.
And of course, he’s has been repeatedly wrong about Bitcoin, too.
In the earlier days of cell phones and the internet, there was a lot of technical complexity and volatility and speculation. But along with that were clearly graphable “adoption curves” showing that real people in real places were choosing to use those technologies and make them a bigger and bigger part of their lives.
The Bitcoin adoption, globally, is growing on an adoption curve that is faster than the one for the internet. Interesting, eh? And while price volatility is a thing, and no one should invest in Bitcoin I believe with less than a 4-5 year holding period envisioned, from the standpoint of technology AND freedom, I believe it is a wonderful educational opportunity.
That’s great perspective @Rick ! And yes, we don’t know what the future holds with Bitcoin despite its volatility now!
I do think it is sensible to expect that money will continue to move towards more and more digitalization. Also, there is a need for stores of our energy (work product in the form of “money”) that is resistant to threats that have historically been with us for thousands of years – through all of humanity.
State-based currencies have always been debased, going back to Roman times and every currency since then. It makes me smile to imagine a currency that cannot be debased by any state, even if they try to thwart it. Humans have taken over every single ecosystem on the planet in ways no other animal has. Bitcoin has, too.
Bitcoin has even been to the moon.
This is all so interesting. If someone sent me $100 by bitcoin (I may not be asking this quite right) how would I be able to use it to pay a bill?
So there are companies (growing in number) who accept bitcoin payments through their websites. So if you had a wallet that held your bitcoin you received, you would authorize the payment using that wallet to any business or person accepting bitcoin. That can be done through the thriving now site, as well as many others (many thousands and soon even more).
You could also use a service like Coinbase to sell your BTC and convert it to dollars at the then-currect exchange rate, and then move that into your checking account (or I think Coinbase may have a debit card, too).
There are other ways, too.
I would have to sell my bitcoin before I could convert it to dollars? So if I got paid $100 and the going rate was $50, that is all I would get? Would it be better then to wait and sell later when the going rate was higher?
You’d have to sell your house before converting it to dollars, too. Or… get a loan against it.
There are services like Celsius that let you borrow against your crypto. Also, Paypal allows you to buy crypto like Bitcoin and in the US you can “pay with Crypto” and they essentially convert from Bitcoin to dollars when they pay the merchant for you.
I’ve been through drops in value in my Tesla stock, for example, of 50%. So it is the same if I bought $100 in Tesla and it dropped and I needed to sell at that point, I’d have a loss of $50. But I didn’t sell, and it went back and more. It’s historically been that way with bitcoin as well.
If you earn $100 USD today, and you wait 5 years, that $100 will buy less than what it can buy today. That’s inflation. If you buy $100 in BTC today, it is highly likely that in 5 years you’d be able to buy at least what you could buy today with that $100. Maybe quite a bit more. That’s the operating premise of a technology, that you can get more value for the same “work” over time.