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This was originally published on CoinBuzz.

Family Puts Bitcoin to the Test by Touring the US With Only Bitcoin to Spend

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A Texas family of four is putting the Bitcoin ecosystem to the test by traveling down the Eastern seaboard of the United States using only bitcoin to pay their expenses.

John Bush, Catherine Bleish and their two children, ages 3 and 2 – the self-styled “Blush” family – are hosting educational Bitcoin events in New Hampshire, New York City, Asheville, NC, Pensacola, FL, and Houston as they drive back home in the Bitcoin Bus, a school bus turned RV.

“We want to work out the kinks from the system so that people new to Bitcoin don’t meet with hardship when they use it for the first time,” said Bush.

The family’s “Uncoinventional Bitcoin Bus Tour” is their third cross-country trip funded exclusively by bitcoin in the last two years.

“When we travel on bitcoin,” said Bleish, “we inspire others to spend theirs, we introduce new people to the currency, and we help bitcoin merchants overcome glitches in their systems. This strengthens the network for us all.”

The tour has already met with some “pain-in-the-neck moments,” said Bush while driving in New Hampshire, including lost hotel reservations and a failed gift card. “We are willing to inconvenience ourselves because we believe so strongly in the technology and the potential it has,” he said.

The “Blush” family is using Bitcoin services such asCheapAir.com for airplane tickets, the WageCan bitcoin debit card, the Airbitz mobile wallet and Bitcoin directory as well as the Gyft gift card service.

There are benefits to using bitcoin when traveling, Bush says. “The problem with using credit cards and debit cards is that you have to give up your address and social security number with your bank accounts and these can be hacked and people’s identities can be stolen and have their money taken. In order to set up a Bitcoin account, you don’t have to give any personally identifiable information, whatsoever.”

Purchasing gas presents a unique challenge for the roving family. “The tools have changed and it’s constantly evolving,” Bush said. A service they used on a previous tour went out of business but he is relying on the WageCan bitcoin debit card for gas purchases this time around.

The couple started using Bitcoin for political and privacy reasons but Bush had a “eureka moment” when he realized how much cheaper and easier to use Bitcoin was when compared to Western Union.

Get more information about the tour, including the schedule of meetups, at uncoinventional.com.

 

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Here is our schedule so far, subject to change:

Wednesday Bitcoin Happy Hour Meetup in Manchester, NH: https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=633007443498466

Wednesday Dinner Meetup in Manchester, NH: https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1606571686225048

Thursday Unschool Meetup on the beach NH: https://m.facebook.com/events/1657525367800419/1657525374467085/?refid=18&ref=m_notif&notif_t=group_comment

Thursday Portsmouth Liberty MeetUp. : https://m.facebook.com/events/811197642309436/?refid=18&ref=m_notif&notif_t=group_comment

Friday Dinner Meetup in NYC, TBD

Saturday drive to DC

Sunday brunch meetup in DC, drive toward Asheville

Monday drive toward Asheville

Monday or Tuesday Asheville Meetup

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This was originally posted on Let’s Talk Bitcoin.

Bumpy Start on The Uncoinventional Bitcoin Bus Tour

Published on April 12th, 2015 by Catherine Bleish

Yesterday was the first day of ourthird bitcoin-only cross country tour. This time, instead of traveling in our family minivan, we flew to the North East in order to pick up a converted school bus (basically, a bus turned into an RV for full time living and travel). John is getting ready for his speech on Freedom Cells at the Free Your Mind Conference, and our kiddos are sleeping in from the long night.

Below you can read my travel journal depicting our first day on the road (or should I say, “in the air”) and the issues we faced:

Saturday April 11

Just when I thought bitcoin-only travel had become easy (for us), today happened. Today is day one of our Bitcoin Bus Tour. We flew out to Philadelphia for the Free Your Mind Conference so John could give a talk on Freedom Cells (an innovative way to use blockchain technology to organize society from the bottom up). Here we are at 1 AM with no hotel, although we have paid for two. The situation is unraveling as I type this, so let me tell you about the start to our trip.

The first issue I had paying with BTC on this tour was during the planning phase. I went to Target to get some luggage for myself and the kids (in our previous tours we used big tubs to organize our gear in the back of our van). The first issue was my mistake, I put in the USD amount of $100 into my Airbitz wallet instead of copying the BTC amount requested by Gyft. Whoops. Even though I figured out the problem and sent more BTC, the Target gift card never showed up. Then, at the register I bought another gift card, which usually shows up instantly, but it had a ten minute delay.

I contacted gyft and they said they had made some changes that will temporarily delay btc processing for about 10 minutes. So John and I used that knowledge while planning our departure, and decided to not buy cards at the register during this trip, as we had on previous bitcoin-only trips. The last second purchases worked great in 2014, but we this time around we don’t want to risk holding up a line waiting for a gift card to land. We’ll go back to our on-the-fly shopping when gyft has switched back to the instant process times. I feel very blessed to have built a relationship with the company, giving us easy access to this sort of information, and allowing us to plan ahead.

The lessons of that situation? Use the BTC address given to pay, and buy your cards earlier than you think you’ll need them!

So we get our plane tickets via CheapAir, we take off from Austin, we land in Chicago for a 2 hour layover, and we decide to grab a bite to eat at an airport Chiles. We buy our gift card from gyft when we order so we know it will land in our gyft card wallet before its time to pay. How organized and on the ball we felt. Then we got our food. Yuck. Browning guacamole, wilted lettuce, oil pico de gallo. John sent his salad back and I started to feel the pressure of time. We finally eat and get our tab. We handed our waitress John’s phone with the gyft card for Chiles pulled up, and then we wait… and wait…. finally a manager comes back and says the card isn’t processing and that the problem is on Chiles’ end.

After much conversation, they told us the meal was on them and to catch our flight we were now urgently late for. We pulled out a paper wallet, paid the waitress $10 in bitcoin as a tip, then ran to our plane to find that everyone had already been boarded. Thankfully we made our flight. I felt like that was enough bitcoin payment drama for one day, and was excited to land and head to our hotel.

When we landed we messaged the friend who said he might be able to pick us up, but it was so late we decided to get a ride on lyft by purchasing a gift card on gyft. John opens his phone to discover that gyft no longer offers gift cards for lyft! That’s right, the ride share program we had planned to use for all of our airport shuffling is not longer listed as a gift card option on gyft. We then had no way to travel via car on bitcoin.

At this point we figure we are royally screwed. We search for bitcoin cab companies, we check egifter for other ride options, nothing. Then John has a brilliant idea – what if we rent our car a few days early? What if we find a car company that will let us use a debit card as a deposit, then allow us to pay the final bill with a bitcoin backed debit card that we will receive from WageCan later this week.

After calling 3 places, Enterprise says that will work for them. So we wait for 20 to 30 min for an Enterprise shuttle on the side of the airport sidewalk, we ride 10 minutes to the Enterprise office, and they say the debit cards won’t work since we want to return it out of state. Thankfully I wasn’t there to hear the news, I may have cried at that point! Natalie, the awesome woman helping us, made some calls and got us all set up with a car. Victory! Crisis avoided, although we had to use a non-btc debit card to make the hold (I think this could have been avoided if we already had our BTC backed debit card).

As we drove we book our hotel via CheapAir, we record our day 1 podcast, we were feeling good…. then we arrive at our hotel to find they did not get a reservation for us! Gah! Again! Our luggage, our meal, our rental car and now our hotel?

This starts an hour and a half process of figuring out where to stay. Thankfully, CheapAir has email support overnight and they will call you if you email your phone number. We tried booking a second hotel, expecting a refund on the first, but we booked after midnight east coast time and apparently that caused an error. So here I sit in the parking lot while John figures out where we will finally rest our head (literally when I typed that, John knocked on the window to let me know we are staying at the first hotel we tried!).

Day one complete. Hopefully day two is a bit more smooth!

Follow our Uncoinventional instagram feed for up to the minute photos! You can also follow our tour on twitter via @thebitmom.

CHECK OUT OUR TOUR SPONSORS!

WageCan – WageCan is a online and mobile wallet along with a debit card that can be loaded with bitcoin!

BitMain Tech – The #1 mining company in the industry, Bitmain is honest, reliable, efficient, and effective. For expert and novice alike, Bitmain is the best choice.

Liberty Radio Network – Check out the entertaining and informative shows on the Liberty Radio Network including Free Talk Like (the show that introduced Roger Ver to BTC!), Freedoms Phoenix w/ Ernest Hancock, and the SovereignBTC podcast.

CheapAir.com – The first service to offer flights for bitcoin, CheapAir.com doesn’t just accept bitcoin to make an extra buck, they are loud and proud about their support for crypto-currency. With their excellent customer service and easy to use platform, make them your go to source for traveling on bitcoin.

AirBitz – AirBitz is a mobile wallet that doubles a bitcoin directory, using GPS to show you bitcoin friendly merchants in your area.

SOVEREIGNBTC SPONSORS

GRCooling.com/bitcoin – Green Revolution Cooling liquid submersion cooling – the most effective solution for Bitcoin mining data centers!

Gem – Bitcoin API and multi-signature wallet to help programmers develop simple and secure bitcoin applications. Try their platform for free today at GEM.CO.

Veldt Gold – Recognized and trusted in the Bitcoin community, Veldt Gold is your leader in sound money solutions. Veldt Gold has fast shipping and the ability to send and receive encrypted messages. They also will buy your gold and silver in exchange for bitcoin!

DONATE TO THE UNCOINVENTIONAL TOUR TODAY, YOUR CRYPTO WILL BE USED TO GROW THE BITCOIN ECOSYSTEM!

BTC: 1HJ3WRuEEapWgEFNTDCxpTxzWoJCZ8YZQc

LTC: Ld35jZQhkJrpRPKtnfRw1r37KuazzgAiQS

DOGE: DLpxS6j6DA38kZzkGAUNtR6tCtCHckaW7k

NXT: NXT-9VGC-DBUT-NDJP-2A6DP

LTBC: 1HbAwvkKyD6vbZbgCUqikRLhoL4rQkBmxR

PayPal: donttreadoncat@gmail.com

Post on Reddit Share this Post Tweet this Post +1 this Post

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By plane, by car, and finally by bus, the Blush family will live on bitcoin only until they return to Texas. The family departed this weekend on their third “Uncoinventional” bitcoin-only cross country tour.

They arrived in Philadelphia by plane for the Free Your Mind Conference, then will drive in a rental car to New Hampshire where they will pick up their new home on wheels, The Bitcoin Bus.

Upon their return, the family will take over their new family business, Brave New Books. The Austin based “underground” bookstore was founded by Harlan Dietrich in 2006 and is the first brick and mortar in Texas, and possibly the South, to accept bitcoin.

The Blush Family is using services like Cheap Air and BTC Trip to book their flights and hotels with bitcoin. Food is purchased directly with bitcoin at establishments listed in the Airbitz bitcoin directory, and via giftcard at restaurants available through Gyft. They do their organic grocery shopping at Whole Foods with a gyft card.

For other purchases like gasoline and miscelaneous expenses, the family is excited to try WageCan, a brand new bitcoin wallet and DebitCard that allows you to make purchases with the card at any establishment that accepts MasterCard.

John Bush, the Father and Captain of The Bitcoin Bus, is looking forward to using the new service. “For the longest time, Bitcoin has needed a tool to bridge the gap between bitcoin and merchants everywhere”, said John. “While its been tried before with little to no success by other companies, we’re pumped to take WageCan’s bitcoin debit card for a test drive. It will make purchases that used to be impossible, (like gasoline) a breeze!”

In 2014 John Bush, Catherine Bleish, and their two children traveled through 26 states and spent only bitcoin for food, gasoline and housing.

Their only non-bitcoin expense was a toll road in the North East that they were unprepared for.

Nearly one year after their initial bitcoin roadtrip departure, they are upping the anti and paving the way for bitcoin only travel with the Uncoinventional Bitcoin Bus Tour.

Their mission is to test the limits of the bitcoin ecosystem and empower individuals to use the currency in their daily lives. Catherine Bleish explains, “When we travel on bitcoin we inspire others to spend theirs, we introduce new people to the currency, and we help bitcoin merchants overcome glitches in their systems. This strengthens the network for us all!”

You can follow their daily SovereignBTC podcast feed on the Lets Talk Bitcoin Network. They are also keeping a photo journal on Instagram @uncoinventional.

Their first podcast can be found here: https://letstalkbitcoin.com/blog/post/introducing-the-uncoinventional-bitcoin-bus-tour

The family will be hosting events in New Hampshire, New York City, Asheville, Pensacola, and Houston as they drive back home.

CHECK OUT OUR TOUR SPONSORS!

WageCan – WageCan is a online and mobile wallet along with a debit card that can be loaded with bitcoin!

BitMain Tech – The #1 mining company in the industry, Bitmain is honest, reliable, efficient, and effective. For expert and novice alike, Bitmain is the best choice.

Liberty Radio Network – Check out the entertaining and informative shows on the Liberty Radio Network including Free Talk Like (the show that introduced Roger Ver to BTC!), Freedoms Phoenix w/ Ernest Hancock, and the SovereignBTC podcast.

CheapAir.com – The first service to offer flights for bitcoin, CheapAir.com doesn’t just accept bitcoin to make an extra buck, they are loud and proud about their support for crypto-currency. With their excellent customer service and easy to use platform, make them your go to source for traveling on bitcoin.

AirBitz – AirBitz is a mobile wallet that doubles a bitcoin directory, using GPS to show you bitcoin friendly merchants in your area.

****Logos are being applied to the bus next week, there is still time to sponsor!****

SOVEREIGNBTC SPONSORS

GRCooling.com/bitcoin – Green Revolution Cooling liquid submersion cooling – the most effective solution for Bitcoin mining data centers!

Gem – Bitcoin API and multi-signature wallet to help programmers develop simple and secure bitcoin applications. Try their platform for free today at GEM.CO.

Veldt Gold – Recognized and trusted in the Bitcoin community, Veldt Gold is your leader in sound money solutions. Veldt Gold has fast shipping and the ability to send and receive encrypted messages. They also will buy your gold and silver in exchange for bitcoin!

DONATE TO THE UNCOINVENTIONAL TOUR TODAY, YOUR CRYPTO WILL BE USED TO GROW THE BITCOIN ECOSYSTEM!

BTC: 1HJ3WRuEEapWgEFNTDCxpTxzWoJCZ8YZQc

LTC: Ld35jZQhkJrpRPKtnfRw1r37KuazzgAiQS

DOGE: DLpxS6j6DA38kZzkGAUNtR6tCtCHckaW7k

NXT: NXT-9VGC-DBUT-NDJP-2A6DP

LTBC: 1HbAwvkKyD6vbZbgCUqikRLhoL4rQkBmxR

PayPal: donttreadoncat@gmail.com

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I know nothing about trading. Basically zip. Whenever I think of people playing the market, I think either they are degenerate gamblers, or masters of some trickery I want in on with hopes of high returns. Luckily, I met some people at Coinarch during my travels in Australia, and I got some personal lessons with their CEO. I have been trading a bit ever since, and even though I use small potatoes in terms of investments, it’s pretty interesting to get some familiarity. That’s one of the cool things about crypto, that I learn about things I would never normally care about. And it’s actually fun. Here is my interview, I have the step by step coming out soon :)

 

www.Coinarch.com

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Hey guys!  I went down to the beach yesterday and did an episode of Anarchast with Jeff Berwick who is hosting the first ever Anarchapulco event in Acapulco Mexico Feb 24-March 1.  If you want to join me, Angel Clark, Roger Ver, Cody Wilson, Luke Rudkowski and more, use the coupon code “tatianacoin” to save 10% on your ticket!  Find out more about my thoughts on liberty, anarchy, my new album, my travels, and of course bitcoin and Tatiana Coin here!

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Hey guys, I had such an awesome time with Zhoe using the Coinjar swipe card in Melbourne.  I wish we had this in the states!  Check out her blog below, and if you are ever in Australia, they have made it incredibly easy to use your coin anywhere ;)

https://blog.coinjar.com/2014/12/22/a-bitcoin-night-out-with-tatiana-moroz/

When Tatiana dropped by Melbourne for The Bitcoin Address in November, it was a great excuse for a girls’ night out – but with bitcoin!

I met Tatiana right outside Grumpy’s Green, a charming, bitcoin-friendly pub familiar to the local Melbourne music scene. She bounces out of her cab with a cheery smile, laughs about her public transport mishap and settles in for the night out to explore Melbourne with us.

20141121_5558

While we browsed the secondhand bookstores and thrift shops along Brunswick Street, I chatted to Tatiana about her experience as an international singer/songwriter and a bitcoin advocate in the New York artist community. It’s clear how passionate she is about cryptocurrency and what it means for musicians. It’s not a surprise, after all, she started the very first musical artist coin – Tatiana Coin – which owners can use to exclusively access Tatiana’s music, memorabilia, merchandise and gigs.

“It’s about being innovative use of the blockchain. Bitcoin can do so much for everyone, but for artists, there are so many opportunities. I know that bitcoin has some really solid support and interest in the community, but I also know that just like in the states, there will be plenty of people who don’t know about it yet!  In between hiking, swimming, and checking out the sites, I hope to have many opportunities to share how bitcoin has improved so many lives around the wall and is a truly international phenomena. “

For Tatiana, music is a powerful platform to communicate the power of bitcoin to people because it’s a universal language. And for this very same reason, she wrote the ‘Bitcoin Jingle’, a song about why she started using bitcoin. My favourite line from the song reveals Tatiana’s strong anti-war stance in her bitcoin campaign, ‘I didn’t want to give any of my money to a nation based on war. I wanted to be free, nothing holding me back from where I want to go.’

“The ‘Bitcoin Jingle’ started out as a way to sell a concept but the more that I became familiar with how this technology could impact society, the more it inspired my creative spirit.”

We had Tatiana perform and sing the ‘Bitcoin Jingle’ for The Bitcoin Address Melbourne and Sydney and it was a hit! When Sam (our Marketing Lead) and I were organising #TBA14, we wanted it to be special, and it was important that we used different forms of communication, and Tatiana really took it home for us. More on the event here, including bitcoin expert Andreas M. Antonopoulos’ address on the potential of the blockchain and what it means for the unbanked.

Tatiana at The Bitcoin Address with bitcoin law expert, Pamela Morgan. I used my CoinJar Swipe for most of the night and it was especially helpful once we started moving around. Tatiana thought it was incredibly useful because it allowed anyone to spend bitcoin anywhere that accepts EFTPOS. She was using the Airbitz App and while Melbourne does have its fair share of bitcoin-accepting businesses, the Swipe card made it much easier to live a bitcoin-lifestyle. She wanted one straightaway! I am counting down the days till Swipe is available to the public.

We covered a lot of ground in our girls’ night out, from our backgrounds, our travelling adventures to being women in tech. Tatiana formed part of our speaker dream team for The Bitcoin Address, but she was also great company while we were on the road.

If you have any questions for Tatiana, follow her on Twitter at@queentatianaofoz.

20141121_5637Setting Tatiana up with a CoinJar account

20141121_5672Paying for our drinks at Grumpy’s Green…

20141121_5776
That right there, is gelato bought with bitcoin!

20141121_5746
Showing off my Swipe card to Tatiana! And right before we had a lengthy discussion with our cab driver about bitcoin. It was fun to have someone to partake in my bitcoin rant with me!

20141124_1206Thank you to our dream speaker team for The Bitcoin Address – Tatiana (and her guitar with QR code!), Pamela Morgan and Andreas M. Antonopoulos. It was the Australian bitcoin community’s highlight event of the year! 

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This article was originally posted on TechCrunch.

By: Kevin Cruz

TechCrunch Editor’s note: Contributor Kevin Cruz writes for BitcoinMagazine and so he knows a few things about Bitcoin. But with the help of a BTC to cash service he tried to live for weeks using only bitcoin.

I write for a living and sometimes people pay me in bitcoins.  I’m aware that I’m being paid in a currency that hasn’t reached mainstream adoption, but I keep collecting them to see what happens.

Last month, while writing a book review late in the night, I got a phone call from an unknown number. It was a guy named Cyril Houri from a Bitcoin company calledBrawker.

He had a proposition that blew me away: he would help me to live solely on bitcoins for a month. I was going to be his guinea pig.

Brawker allows people to buy and spend bitcoins by matching a bitcoin holder with a credit card holder; The credit card holder pays for a good/service and receives the bitcoins in return. Effectively, this provides a platform for  people to buy bitcoins.

More important for you to know while reading this story: the platform  allows people to use bitcoins anywhere, with a considerable discount.

I didn’t know where I would spend them,  or where this journey would end, but I accepted. This was an opportunity I could not turn down. It was time to make some magic.

I used Brawker to buy most of the things on this journey, and I’ve indicated the instances in which I used another method.

Week 1

I was living at my aunt’s apartment in New York City where I paid no rent or electricity, and travelled using public transportation (no need to buy gas).

The first thing was to take care of me my cell phone bill. I went online and purchased a refill card for my cell phone company. This was done by creating an order on Brawker, posting it, and having someone fulfill it. Within an hour, I got a pin number in an email and paid my cellular provider.

Next was food, which is one of the larger expenses. To eat, I purchased a Whole Foods gift card and restocked the whole fridge with organic food.

One of the bigger mistakes I made in life was going to college without knowing what I wanted to study. All I got out of it was debt. It’s a mistake I pay for to this day. Every first of the month, money is taken out of my checking account. But  this time around, I processed my loan payment a little differently. Using Brawker, I sent someone  my bitcoin and they paid Sallie Mae or whoever it is now with their credit card.

I had officially finished paying all of my monthly expenses. I still had a considerable amount of  money leftover after paying my loan, so I decided to get creative.

I’ve always loved creating music. Luckily, we live in an age where we can make quality sounds with small, mobile devices. I bought a MIDI keyboard and have been jamming since.

Another one of my dreams was having some farmland. The previous month while on a road trip,  I visited  a friend’s farm in Ann Arbor Michigan  that runs on bitcoins. This patch of farmland is the first of its kind. While there,  the idea of leasing land in bitcoins seemed unreal to me. I had the BTC so decided to do it, and now my crops are currently being taken care of by interns.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 8.54.24 AM
While online one night several nights later, I found a dentist in New York City that accepts bitcoin. I made an appointment for a basic cleaning. When I got to her office, the dentist promptly began cleaning. Suddenly, after several minutes, she  told me that she was worried for me. “What is it doc”, I asked. “Am I losing my teeth?”

“No, but your wisdom teeth need to be urgently removed. They’re growing sideways.”

Recalling terrifying stories my friends had told me about their wisdom teeth removal, I kindly refused the wisdom teeth extraction.  She finished up the cleaning, and I paid for the cleaning with my smartphone’s bitcoin wallet by scanning a QR code on a slip of paper handed to me and inputting a dollar amount. I pressed “Confirm”, then I was off.
Getting my teeth cleaned In NYC

I now had a million-dollar smile. The following night, while walking to a bitcoin meetup, and I met a beautiful girl on the streets of the Big Apple. I was in a rush to get to my meeting, but we had a brief conversation in which I jotted down her email. After texting and learning about each other for a few days, we went on a romantic date at a wonderful Italian restaurant, Aperitivo.

We shared smiles, intriguing conversation, fine wine, and luxurious cuisine at a candle-lit table. After we finished eating, I whipped out my smartphone.

I  opened up my bitcoin wallet, and scanned a QR code on an employee’s cell phone. By pressing “Confirm” on my phone I paid for the meal, tipping generously. Before I could leave, however, another patron, who had witnessed my bill-paying tour de force, asserted that he would not be convinced that Bitcoin was real until he saw more people using it, like me. He had a good point.

I dropped my date at the train station and kissed her goodbye.

Week 2

After a week into this experiment, I began to notice that my supplemented income was causing stomach pudge. Frequent visits to my packed refrigerator were causing me to packing on pounds.

I wanted to do some yoga. After looking online for a while I found a Bikram Yoga studio close to home in Harlem. For every day of the next week, I  spent 90 minutes a day in a hot room doing challenging body positions and sweating my ass off.

Week 3

Being a fairly simple fellow, and having treated myself quite well already, I ran out of ideas.

I thought about everything from visiting a gun range to going skydiving.  I kept thinking back to the dentist office. “What would be worse?” I asked myself. “Botched extraction or sideways molars that could crush all of my other teeth together?”

After a brief deliberation, I made an appointment at the dentist, and got my wisdom teeth surgically removed. I regretted the decision immediately. Although the surgeon did a what seemed like a reasonable job, the pain was excruciating. Shortly afterward, my cheeks inflated and I was in horrible discomfort (I found out bitcoins would not cover the prescribed pain meds, which I would have refused anyhow).

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 8.53.11 AM

I was extremely irritated and it was all Bitcoin’s fault. It seemed like I had signed myself up for a special kind of psychological torture. For an entire week I couldn’t eat any of the food in the fridge or attend yoga classes. With my facial deformity, I pushed aside the thought of finding another date.

While strolling along Times Square, I saw a glittering sign promoting Aladdin: The Musical on Broadway. A strange impulse told me I had to see it, so I bought a ticket. The show was unforgettable. I was amazed at the fact that such a talented group of individuals could come together to create such an incredible spectacle.

That night, I got home quite late. I was exhausted. Laying in bed, I got an email from Jeremy Gardner, Executive Director of the College Cryptocurrency Network. Always up to something interesting, I knew to open the email immediately. “Yo K. Cruz,” he wrote me, “I’m hosting the first ever Bitcoin conference in Disney World tomorrow called Coins in the Kingdom and I’ve got a ticket for you. Come through.”

There are worse ways to spend bitcoin than on a last-minute trip to Orlando. So I booked a flight and flew across many cumulus clouds to Disney World to spend a week in my home state.

That is when I had my eureka moment.

I jumped in the air.  “This is Bitcoin! It’s special because of the community that this technology has created!”

A huge part of Bitcoin that is overlooked is the network effect. The media constantly reports the failure of centralized Bitcoin exchanges, drug busts, and ponzi schemes while ignoring the fact that humans are being brought together because of this computer program, and they are using their potential to try to change the financial landscape of the world. This is an unprecedented social phenomenon.

Week 4

I spent time at the conference listening to fascinating speakers and having thought-provoking conversations. I also enjoyed tacos by the poolside bar. Everywhere I went, however, I could not avoid Aladdin.

This caused me to think about his story. He is a boy born both poor but clever, who finds a wish-granting genie that transforms his life. By wishing for things that he believed would make him happy, he frees himself from the vicious cycle of poverty that he had always been stuck in. In hindsight, Aladdin’s genie reminds me of how this technology that everyone around me was discussing, Bitcoin, has allowed me to do the very same as this Disney character.

If “money,” whatever that means, is a verifiable record that can be exchanged for goods and services, then by all means, bitcoin is real money. But paradoxically, I consider bitcoin to be more than that. It’s kind of magical.

The magic of the technology exists in what it facilitates and in the multitude of problems that it solves.Writing about it has provided an alternative revenue stream, and all I need is the internet. From my personal experience, Bitcoin did more than just buy me goods and services. Similar to the magic of love itself,  it led to both great pleasure and great pain. It’s allowed me to acquire things that I had only dreamed of three years ago, when it seemed like I had nothing.

A very special thanks goes out to the kind folks at Brawker for helping on my unique one-month Bitcoin journey.  Their generosity allowed me to experience what it’s like having a personal genie that used bitcoins to grant my wishes, regardless of whether the merchants accepted bitcoins or not. The extraordinary opportunity Brawker provided through Bitcoin has opened the door for more incredible opportunities, eye-opening experiences, and has since then catapulted me to many cities around the world.

Yes, there are volatility issues with bitcoin as a currency. It’s not currently the easiest thing to use. But the fact this is the first invention of it’s kind and it still has value is a feat in itself (1 BTC= 350 USD  as I’m writing this). Services like Brawker are making using it on a day to day basis a feasible task.

Sometimes, the thought of bitcoin leads me to daydream of the eyes of the beautiful woman that I dated, the delicious food that I savored, the flights that I took, and  the work that I’ve done. And whenever I wake up and think it was all a dream, I just look in the bathroom mirror and open my mouth wide. The wisdom teeth are gone.

But mostly, when I think of Bitcoin, I think of the opportunity. I envision the sort of technological innovations it will lead to. I imagine the positive disruption it will create for a broken financial system. And I know, that while not everyone may have bitcoin genies allow them to live their fantasies, this technology has the capacity to positively impact the world. And that is something everyone can get behind.

I successfully lived on bitcoins. I changed my life, and hopefully have provided some insight into how this technology works in the real world. Spoiler alert: sometimes it’s like magic.

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‘I Would Like to Meet Ross Ulbricht as a Free Man’ – Tatiana Moroz
http://cointelegraph.com/news/113138/i-would-like-to-meet-ross-ulbricht-as-a-free-man-tatiana-moroz
by Tone Vays @ 2014-12-18 03:04 PM

Coming off a powerful speech and singing performance to close out the Bitcoin South Conference in gorgeous Queenstown, New Zealand, Tatiana Moroz is solidifying her stature as a sought after presence at Cryptocurrency and Liberty events.

She is one of the rare examples of what a person can do if they just believe in changing the system for the better. And without a background in Programming, Finance or Law, she has done as much to promote Bitcoin as anyone that was not an early adopter.

While everyone is out there trying to create the killer app or looking for a way to dodge the regulatory hammer, she is the friendly face that will spend whatever time requires for new comers to understand the importance of the Blockchain.

Tatiana is the reason why at least one recording studio in the heart of New York City now accepts Bitcoin, and she’s just getting started.

Tatiana Moroz

CoinTelegraph caught up with the talented Tatiana Moroz for a few exclusive questions.

CoinTelegraph: You have now been traveling using Bitcoin through Australia and New Zealand for about a month, what has the journey been like?

Tatiana Moroz: I will try to keep this short, but that may be tricky with all the action! At the community co-working space called the “Melbourne Bitcoin Technology Center,” I did a launch event, talk, and celebration there with Andreas Antonopoulos. Later that evening, we had a Coinjar, Bitcoin Association of Australia, and the College Crypto Network sponsored talk/party with Andreas and Pamela Morgan. Pam and I had never shared a stage together, it was really impromptu, but it worked so well that we did the same in Sydney at Atlassian.

Plus, speaking is still relatively new for me, but I think we were all really engaging, informative, and covered a variety of topics with 200-300 people per event. I went for a girl’s night out with Zhoe from Coinjar and we used their swipe credit card. So easy! I really wish we had that in the states! Other times using Bitcoin wasn’t as easy, but we did have Airbitz to help locate Bitcoin businesses and Cheap Air for some flights.

When in Bitcoin South, we all went up in the 1st helicopter ride in NZ paid for in Bitcoin. It was wonderful meeting all the people, especially when Fran from Brave New Coin opened his home to the speakers and some guests for a beautiful dinner. We got a lot of video footage for my traveling with music and Bitcoin lifestyle based series, so I am eager to get to editing. It’s tough on a tight budget, but that’s why we have awesome sponsors and donations, so we can keep creating content geared for larger audiences.

There are so many innovative businesses here, and the community is thriving, though I don’t think enough VCs have seen the potential of this market yet. There are senate hearings going on right now. There’s a thriving tech industry here, and with all the solar power, so much opportunity. We will see what happens, but I know the speakers were really impressed with Australia and New Zealand and will be back next year!

CT: How did you first hear about Bitcoin and what made you decide to get involved?

TM: I first heard about Bitcoin back in August of 2012, when BitPay sponsored me at a Ron Paul event down in Tampa for the Republican National Convention. As you know, Tony is a brilliant communicator, but despite his best efforts, I didn’t really understand why I should care about some weird internet money. I had been singing anti-war and freedom themed music for all of 2012, so I suppose that’s why he felt I would be a good target for his Bitcoin evangelizing.

“This technology was created without asking for permission, and it encompassed all of mankind’s brilliant unstoppable spirit.”
On my end, I always felt that music had a critical role in shaping the world around us, and wanted my music to make a difference. I was very discouraged with the political route, especially after seeing all the cheating and corruption in the US voting system during the election season. I kept on trying to get the message out, but the crowds of people you saw during 2012 weren’t showing up anymore.

We were defeated in some ways. However, when I attended Jeffrey Tucker’s crypto currency convention in Atlanta (I was performing at BitPay’s party), I recognized hope once again. I loved the rebellious innovative nature of it, and the refusal of humanity to eternally submit to the banking cartels, endless war, and oppression. This technology was created without asking for permission, and it encompassed all of mankind’s brilliant unstoppable spirit. How could I resist, once I saw the possibilities?

Tatiana Moroz

CT: How does it feel to be one of the non-technical voices in this space?

TM: Sometimes it can be intimidating, but on the other hand, I think it can be an advantage. You need different perspectives in the community. I have an original voice by not only being a woman, but also a musician. So I feel that I am unique and can offer something fresh. We need that diversity, and it also allows me to reach people within the community and beyond. It’s very rewarding.

“I would like to meet Ross [Ulbricht] as a free man.”
CT: Which personalities in this space have you not yet met but want to?

TM: I would really like to spend a bit more time talking anti-war with Roger Ver. He is always so outspoken in that regard, which I admire and of course agree with. Plus, he is a big supporter of Ross Ulbricht. Actually, THAT’S the person I would want to meet the most. I would like to meet Ross as a free man. I have been lucky enough to get to know his mother and sister, and they are such wonderful people. Truly kind, courageous, and strong. Their story, even with its darkness, has so much to teach us. They are an inspiration.

On my 3rd album (out in Spring 2015), I have a song called “The Silk Road.” It isn’t about Ross per se, as he is only allegedly DPR; it’s about so much more. The war on drugs affects millions of people. It makes criminals out of those who perhaps need some counseling, or maybe we need to look at why specific drugs are illegal as a larger framework for viewing the world’s problems. It is one of the most prevalent reasons for putting people in cages, often for victimless crimes. The governments help create drug cartels with their prohibition, which is what can make the drug trade so violent.

The Silk Road wasn’t ONLY used for illicit drugs, and it actually made drug use safer. I am pretty sure people didn’t stop using drugs when they shut it down. They just went back to the alley deals with dodgy characters and product that can be poor quality and therefore more dangerous. I am really proud of the song, because I put a lot of heart into my message about that controversial topic.

I really hope that my small contribution can get people to think differently, raise awareness, or at least offer some comfort to those affected. I also hope CoinTelegraph readers will consider contributing to Ross’s defense fund and spreading the word about his case: freeross.org

CT: Do you think it’s getting a little easier to explain Bitcoin to your friends and family or is it still a major struggle for you?

TM: I think it’s a learning process for all of us. I know I can get intimidated about explaining Bitcoin, because I want people to love it as much as I do! I really want to nail the perfect delivery. When I attend conferences, I like to try and pinpoint how different people explain it, and see if it resonates with me.

“The Bitcoiners need a voice, and luckily, we have a lot of content being created to communicate that message through articles, videos, art, and music.”
However, I think what will make it easier is the news surrounding cryptocurrencies. When people hear about MtGox, they are already predisposed to rejecting Bitcoin, no matter how I phrase it. They think it’s a scam. When they hear about Microsoft accepting it, or how the United Way or Greenpeace are using it to help people, that’s when they are more willing to listen.

This illustrates the importance of having and supporting our own media. The Bitcoiners need a voice, and luckily, we have a lot of content being created to communicate that message through articles, videos, art, and music.

CT: You live in NYC, so I’m sure you are well aware of the Bitlicense proposal, how would that have affected the release of Tatiana Coin?

TM: I think of Tatiana Coin as an experiment, a way to help artists connect and engage with their fans long term while still being able to record and pay rent. We learned a lot with its creation, which was the goal. It wasn’t some huge money making opportunity, although it did allow me to fund at least part of my album and I’m grateful for the community’s continued support.

I have applied some of those lessons with the planned re-launch in January by making it easier to get directly from my website thanks to the guys at Vennd.io. So I don’t worry about Bitlicense. I can’t imagine that an artist’s cryptocurrency would be high on the priority list of regulators, because who doesn’t like music?

On the other hand, they need to keep in mind that by over regulating, they will simply drive the Bitcoin companies elsewhere. We need to keep as many jobs in the US as possible with the current economic crisis. We’re already seeing entrepreneurs being forced to move to other countries where it’s easier to do business. I know there are a lot of revisions underway, so I hope they listen to the people who understand the possibilities in this fantastic new technology.

More information:

www.TatianaMoroz.com
www.Twitter.com/QueenTatiana
www.Facebook.com/TatianaMorozMusic

https://www.changetip.com/tipme/tatiana

Bitcoin Address: 1K36BLsYGf2go8x9nmUgrxCJxA47QQSu8u