Bitcoin was not designed to be a speculative currency. Born after the subprime disaster in 2009, bitcoin was designed to return financial freedom to citizens. The subprimes revealed the doubling of the banks and the corruption of the system. A large number of people around the world want a reliable decentralized monetary system: some want financial freedom, others don’t have access to the banks.
While it is true that some people in our overbanked countries only see bitcoin (BTC) as a way to speculate, that was never its raison d’être. If you don’t know what the subprime crisis is, I invite you to watch the award-winning film 99 Homes.
After this global financial crisis, bitcoin (BTC) was born. Little by little, beautiful stories of solidarity emerged, thanks to this decentralized currency. This is one that was found by chance during my readings. The promoter, Hermann Vivier, alias vryfokkenou, took other big stories thanks to Bitcoin (BTC).
Health crisis and stop tourism
Many people around the world make a living from tourism and the health crisis has pushed them into uncertainty. The luckiest people have family abroad, but sometimes sending money from country to country is very expensive, complicated and even dangerous (travelling to an exchange office, carrying cash…). Early bitcoiner communities found the solution to help their fellow citizens on the other side of the world: the Lightning Network.
Bitcoin (BTC): currency?
Yes, bitcoin is a currency. It can be used (almost) as any FIAT currency (euro, dollar etc…). It is a global currency, no conversion required. Another advantage of bitcoin is that the launch costs are now very low with the Lightning Network. One euro equivalent can be sent to the other side of the world: fast and cheap, every donation can be vital. Sometimes many generous people are scandalized by the operating costs of certain humanitarian structures (which is nevertheless necessary), with bitcoin (BTC) you help whoever you want directly. According to the World Bank more than half of the Mozambican population lives on less than 2 dollars a day. And precisely our story takes place in Mozambique.
Jorge discovers bitcoin lightning
Jorge lives in Bomba, Mozambique. He and our bitcoiner vryfokkenou worked together, welcoming tourists who came to surf. Then came the health crisis. Jorge no longer had any income. The first money transfer to help Jorge costs a 10% fee.
Jorge didn’t know bitcoin and didn’t see the point of it. A year later, he downloaded the muun lightning wallet on his phone. In Mozambique 70% of the population do not have a bank account, but 70% have a smartphone. Jorge then used Bitrefill to buy phone credits which he resold in local currency. Today, the flow of tourism is starting again and continues to accept bitcoin as a means of payment.
Hermann Vivier started another solidarity initiative inspired by Bitcoin Beach, but this time in South Africa. These solidarity economy experiments are being driven by bitcoin Ekasi Bitcoin as well as the surfer kids. This solidarity bitcoiner also has a very nice website (in English). If you want to donate to Jorge or the surfing kids, click on the donation pages you will find on the twitter feeds. Even if you don’t send much, it will be greatly appreciated and you will practice using the lightning network.
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Subprime, financial crises, galloping inflation, tax havens… Bitcoin was designed for more transparency and maybe finally change the situation. I try to understand this new environment and I try to explain it to myself. The road is undoubtedly long, but it is worth it.