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Keep Crypto Fun! – Recollecting a Time When You Could Still Spend BTC on a Beer
If you can't buy a beer for bitcoin, easily book a hotel, buy a coffee, or tip your friends...what's the point? To save up your 'digital gold' and cash out to fiat? Sure, that's fine. More power to anyone making a killing, and I mean that. But we should never forget that without functionality in daily payments and micropayments – AND WITHOUT FUN – bitcoin is never going to supplant the shitty, inflationary, violent and oppressive fiat system we live under now.
I remember being in Tokyo the summer of 2016, having fun finding geocached bitcoin via a neat little app called "Takara" (the Japanese word for treasure). While I'm not sure what ever became off that app, it worked like a charm for me for years, and I even had some friendly conversations and interactions with the creator.
Basically, people could geocache bitcoins in any location, and when you got within range, the app would signal you to answer the dropper's question such as "what is the bar owner's name" or "what does the sign across the street say" to unlock the BTC. I collected a decent amount of satoshis this way, and even stashed some of my own BTC gems for my friends to find. Good fun, great advertising opportunities for businesses, and a great way to onboard new users.
A lot has changed since that fun 2016 trip, which took place while the bitcoin block size debate was still raging, before the BCH fork. Unregulated BTC ATMs, buying beer for bitcoin, and finding hidden treasure in the fascinating, sprawling Tokyo cityscape was a kind of excitement hard to describe. For me it felt like something new and fresh and truly groundbreaking was happening. And indeed, it was.
Giant billboards with J-celebrities advertising centralized exchanges, all those easy-to-use bitcoin ATMs ripped out, disabled, or collecting dust in shadowy corners behind the countertops of myriad shops and bars. It was as if the whole life force had been sucked out of the thing, and replaced by a stifling, robotic imitation, similar in name only.
Eventually tx fees became too high to buy a beer with BTC, the network too congested to use the Takara app. In short, it was no longer fun. Bitcoin core and crypto in general was becoming increasingly institutionalized: stifled by red tape, licensing rackets, and endlessly amorphous new rules and regulations. As a relative crypto newb, none of this was appealing to me. As a voluntaryist anarchist, it was downright gutting.
Luckily for me, it wasn't too, too long until the bitcoin cash community in Tokyo welcomed me into their circle as a sometimes visitor from out of town. Though the exhilarating promise of 2016 and prior – for BTC as peer-to-peer permissionless cash – had almost completely faded by then, here I found people trading, spending bitcoins on anything and everything, and talking very seriously about how to move things forward. But bitcoin was new now. It was BCH.
Mass hysteria about a mystery virus and economic clampdown notwithstanding, today I can still visit Tokyo, pay for my hotel in BCH, buy a beer for BCH, and trade directly with trusted friends if I please. It is, in a word, still fun. And fun is not just some hollow thrill for me, or a cheap feeling of momentary distraction. It can only truly happen when there is a purpose, a direction. When things are happening a mile-a-minute, exciting and fresh.
We're in a very dangerous place right now, where businesses are being shut down and honorably battling senseless restrictions. The freedom of human association so essential to money and free trade is being commandeered by political parasites. BCH can come to the rescue of many, but not without action, regardless of permission, by those who hold it.
So, in short. Spend that shit. Save that shit. Innovate that shit. And remember. The idea is to escape financial slavery. Not just to get rich and still be under the thumb of a violent, inflationary slave system. In fun, there is always freedom and innovation, and the corollary is also true: in freedom and innovation, there is always fun.
So visit those businesses however you can. Pay people however you want. And buy yourself a beer in BCH. Let's have some fun with this stuff.