Bitcoin was not designed to be a speculative currency. Born after the subprime disaster in 2009, bitcoin was designed to restore financial freedom to citizens. The subprimes exposed the duplicity of the banks and the corruption of the system. A large number of people in the world need a reliable and decentralized monetary system: some yearn for financial freedom, others simply do not have access to banks.
While it is true that a number of people in our over-banked countries only see bitcoin (BTC) as a way to speculate, that has never been 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.
Following this global financial crisis, bitcoin (BTC) was born. Little by little beautiful solidarity stories have emerged, thanks to this decentralized currency. Here is one, found by chance during my reading. The initiator, Hermann Vivier, alias vryfokkenou, has built other great stories thanks to Bitcoin (BTC).
Health crisis and stoppage of tourism
Many people around the world live from tourism and the health crisis has plunged them into precariousness. The luckiest have family abroad, but sending money from one country to another is sometimes very expensive, complicated and even dangerous (traveling to an exchange office, transporting cash …). Early bitcoiner communities have found the solution to help their fellow citizens on the other side of the world: the Lightning Network.
Bitcoin (BTC): a currency?
Yes, bitcoin is a currency. It can be used (almost) like any FIAT currency (euros, dollars etc…). It is a global currency, no conversion is necessary. Another advantage of bitcoin is that now with the Lightning Network the sending costs are very low. Sending the equivalent of one euro to the other side of the world is possible: fast and inexpensive, each donation can be vital. Many generous people are sometimes scandalized by the operating costs of certain humanitarian structures (which are nevertheless necessary), with bitcoin (BTC) you help whoever you want directly. According to the World Bank more than half of the population of Mozambique 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 cost 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 does not have a bank account, but 70% has a smartphone. Jorge then used Bitrefill to buy phone credits which he resold in the local currency. Today, tourist flows are resuming and it continues to accept bitcoin as a means of payment.
Hermann Vivier has initiated other solidarity initiatives inspired by Bitcoin Beach, but this time in South Africa. These solidarity economy experiments driven by bitcoin are Bitcoin Ekasi as well as the surfer kids. This solidarity bitcoiner also has a very nice website website (in English). If you would like to make a donation to Jorge or to the surfer kids, click on the donation pages that you will find on the twitter feeds. Even if you don’t send much, it will be much appreciated and you will practice using the lightning network.
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Subprimes, financial crises, galloping inflation, tax havens… Bitcoin was designed for more transparency and perhaps finally change the situation. I try to understand this new environment and try to explain it myself. The road is undoubtedly long, but it is worth it.