Two-way Bitcoin ATMs Will Save the Homeless

Back in April, I came up with an idea that could rock the world - an attempt to help the homeless with Bitcoin. I am not looking to help the homeless in the same way that the good folks at Sean's Outpost does; I am looking to put Bitcoin directly in the hands of the needy. I hope that one day the less fortunate will have their own Bitcoin wallet as a replacement for a bank account. 

We all know that opening up a bank account is damn near impossible without proper documentation, branch manager approvals, and the most difficult of them all - money. So how could a homeless person hold "digital money" without a bank account? Bitcoin.T

here are no requirements to own a Bitcoin wallet. All you need is an address and its respective private key. The problem is, without access to a computer connected to the internet, the financially challenged would be left in the dust during the Bitcoin movement. 

The future that I envision is a world where panhandlers would replace their change-filled paper cups with a sign with a QR code printed on it. People passing by the panhandler wouldn't need to have any change on them, they could simply scan the code with their Bitcoin wallet app on their mobile device and send a few bits to the panhandler's Bitcoin wallet. After a long day of digital panhandling, the homeless/needy/hungry person would find a restaurant that accepts Bitcoin and buy a hot meal. They could find a hostel that accepts Bitcoin in exchange for a room for the night. Or they might even save their Bitcoin for a rainy day.

The reality is that the Bitcoin community has a lot of work to do before it is commonplace for Bitcoin to be accepted. That being said, the homeless guy holding a Bitcoin wallet worth a few bucks technically has nothing if he cannot spend it.

Now, think about the latest technology in Bitcoin ATMs. You can trade your fiat for Bitcoin in all of these machines, but the two-way ATMs are going to be the savior for our world's poor epidemic. Imagine a machine in which the less fortunate could exchange their bits for cash. At that point they could spend their cash wherever they need to. They no longer need a computer or a bank account, they simply need a Bitcoin wallet to hold their digital money.

I would love to hear any thoughts on this. Most of all, if anybody would like to help lead this movement with us, please reach out to us. Remember, we are not looking for donations, we are looking for manpower.

Come see us at the San Francisco Bitcoin Meetup on April 29, 2014

Great news, has been approved as a vendor at the prestigious San Francisco Bitcoin Meetup at 20Mission! We will be selling shirts, taking pre-orders, and giving away Bitsoaps, courtesy of The Original Bitsoaps!

Come early if you are planning to buy a shirt, because they are selling out quickly! We will be offering a discount to pre-orders of shirts that are placed in-person at this event as well. If you would like to reserve a shirt to be picked up at the event (no shipping costs), please contact us to make arrangements.

We are looking forward to seeing you all there next week.

Bitcoins for Those Who Need Them Most

Today we reached out to The Coalition On Homelessness (CoH) in San Francisco. We want to work with them to help put Bitcoins into the digital wallets of homeless folks. If digital currency is truly going to level out the playing field in this money-driven world, we need to start from the bottom of the totem pole. I know that it sounds a little ridiculous to assume someone who doesn't have a home can own Bitcoins, but hear us out; we have an idea that will shake the world- or at least downtown San Francisco.

Every day, homeless folks flock to the streets of San Francisco with "Street Sheets," a newspaper which focuses on the problems of homeless people in the city and on issues of poverty and housing. It was founded in 1989 and currently has the largest circulation of a street newspaper with 32,000 papers distributed monthly[1]. CoH gives needy (but ambitious) people a stack of Street Sheets to "sell". Income from these sales are what they use to pay for food and shelter. It is essentially the Street Sheet vendors' jobs to sell these newspapers, so we are hardly suggesting to support poverty with handouts. These donations go to hardworking people just like you and I.

Now, think about the last time you carried cash on you; what about change (coins)? In this day and age, the average person hates to carry cash and we don't even need to save our change for parking meters anymore. So what effect do you suppose this would have on our poor Street Sheet vendors? They sure as hell aren't going to carry around a credit card terminal to process your donations! Even if they did, they would get charged more for each transaction than they could afford.

Introducing Bitcoin. We can solve this problem easily and TFPB envisions a program to get your digital coins into the wallets of the people that need them the most.

  • Each Street Sheet vendor will be given a Bitcoin address.
  • A QR code for their unique public address will be printed on appropriate signage sporting the Bitcoin logo.
  • If a patron decides to donate, they will simply scan the QR code with their mobile wallet to send a donation of any amount.
  • The Street Sheet vendor can choose to cash out their donations at anytime for USD at the current market rate.

We want to be clear that we are not looking to profit from this in any way. We don't suggest charging a percentage for converting Bitcoins to cash; we are simply looking for a way to get Bitcoins in the hands of the poor.

What are your thoughts on this idea? Would you like to help out?

Our first batch of "It's Time for Plan B" shirts have been shipped!

Thank you to all who ordered shirts and and especially big thank you to all who pre-ordered. Without the pre-orders, we would not have known if these shirts would sell, but we are extremely excited to find that they are flying off the shelves! We've sent shipments to Portugal, Germany, Brazil, and all over the U.S. so far and are excited to get our message across the globe. Thank you all again for supporting the cause! Keep fighting the good fight!

We have plenty of "It's Time for Plan B" shirts in stock now and are getting ready to produce the "Bitcoin and Crossbones" shirts at the end of this month. Place your orders now!

THIS is why we need Bitcoin. $6 Billion of taxpayer money goes missing from the US State Department. More than the entire market cap of Bitcoin.


The State Department has no idea what happened to $6 billion used to pay its contractors.

In a special “management alert” made public Thursday, the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick warned “significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted dollars over the last six years.

The alert was just the latest example of the federal government’s continued struggle with oversight over its outside contractors.

Related: Government Blatantly Wastes $30 Billion This Year

The lack of oversight “exposes the department to significant financial risk,” the auditor said. “It creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file. It impairs the ability of the Department to take effective and timely action to protect its interests, and, in tum, those of taxpayers.”

- See more at:

The future of Bitcoin in an increasingly restricted world

Bitcoin won't die. It will merely become the doom of the statist system as it always was intended to be.

By now, I'm sure you've all read this article titled Bitcoin’s Demise: A Reminder Of How Not Free We Are.

I reread the article yesterday, and I have thought a bit about its message. Here are my conclusions, which you are free to disagree with:

I don't think Bitcoin is going to be dead, but rather that its usage may revert to the original purpose it was invented for.

What I am trying to say is that the real value proposition, the killer app of Bitcoin, the one intended by Satoshi himself, isn't low fees, nor speed of transactions, nor decentralized trust, but rather it is an engineering solution to a social problem. The problem is malevolent organized intervention attempts against people, who freely and consensually use their own money, according to their own criteria. The solution is to paralyze and bypass said intervention, decentralized trust being integral to that solution. What an evildoer can't see, he can't attack. Bitcoin delivers that killer app, like any other cypherpunk / cryptoanarchist technology (SSL, GPG, Bitmessage, Open Transactions) in the same category.

So how do I think Bitcoin usage will change? Well, to be able to predict what may happen with Bitcoin in the future, let's look at who wins and loses given this killer app, and their likely behaviors.

Let's start with the losers first.

Quite obviously, rulers of nations (defined here as people believed to have the exclusive power to make up rules for everyone else, to adjudicate the rules, and to enforce them) understand that people gaining control of their own money and paralyzing ruler intervention is a grave threat. In other words: such private control of money means they lose control over the money of their subjects.

We part-time slacker students of history also happen to know how they react to such systemic threats of loss of control, because we have seen what they have tried to do covertly (sabotage, rule violation) and overtly (rule making, rule bending) to subvert prior cypherpunk tech that affords more control to the end user, like SSL and PGP.

Now, comparing PGP to Bitcoin, Bitcoin is obviously more subversive a technology -- heck, it's not just stateless communications, it's stateless money -- so I expect these people to try sabotaging Bitcoin even more frantically.

I predict they will prescribe new, ever-more-restrictive orders against Bitcoin, until any and all use of Bitcoin will trigger a punishment, or at least be heavily surveiled to keep everyone "in the farm" so to speak. Most subjects will elect to "stay in the farm", abandon Bitcoin, and comply with the rulers.

OK, we've analyzed the losers. They lose. Now let's look at who wins.

It's a no-brainer that, if you know someone is spying on your Web browsing, and you are made aware of SSL, your use of SSL will likely go up, not down.

It's the same with money: facing increasing demands of control over how you may use your money or how much of it may you keep -- your use of a technology that protects your money from others taking it / spending it against your will, is likely to go up, not down.

In other words: I expect to see increased use of Bitcoin in the future, that is explicitly intended to disobey orders from rulers.

Bitcoin will undergo a process of evaporative cooling, where the mainstream speculators and obedient actors exit the market, leaving agorists, members of blue markets, people who intend to conduct business in flagrant disobedience while resisting attempts of punishment. Protected by already-known advances in anonymity (like stealth addresses), these many Bitcoin users will remain relatively safe from rulers' attacks against their prosperity and well-being. They will "step out of the farm", if you will.

Of course, this remaining group includes both bad actors (e.g. fraudsters) and good actors (people running honest businesses). This problem will be resolved by increased research in stateless reputation systems to protect everyone against fraudsters (which happened to work very well in the Silk Road, according to users' reports in the /r/SilkRoad subreddit).

In short, this leads me to believe that Bitcoin in the future will be primarily used by two groups of people:

  • People living in nations where organized sabotage against Bitcoin has not yet happened, and Bitcoin trade proceeds freely.
  • People living in the rest of the nations, who do not mind exercising agorism with caution, thereby (at least partially) deliberately seceding from the "official economy". Think Silk Road for any and all goods and services.

In other words: rather than the future of "mainstream acceptance" that mainstream Bitcoin users envisioned, Bitcoin's future is increasingly looking like the mainstream's absolute worst nightmare: a niche independence tool for widespread yet invisible economic defiance and self-defense against the very orders that the mainstream can't even conceive to disobey. To take an example I have witnessed personally: if you sell copies of DVDs in the streets of Guayaquil, this tech is literally the difference between losing all your capital and your profits, versus only losing a few DVDs, at the hands of the street cops blatantly stealing your stuff.

You may think this is provincial. It really isn't. Given that the blue markets rival the "official economy" in size, and given that Bitcoin may offer a chance to secede quietly, safely, and privately to participate in the blue markets, the potential for Bitcoin and allied technologies like Open Transactions is enormous.

Of course, it could also be the case that the rulers succeed in putting the cat back in the bag, and manage to eliminate Bitcoin completely, or subvert it altogether. I will believe that is possible when they have eliminated BitTorrent. But, so far, I have only seen them act all keystone kops, stealing a few DVDs from street vendors, and the first world equivalent thereof (ruining middle class people).

Satoshi famously said: Bitcoin alone will not solve the problem of financial oligopoly, but I hope Bitcoin would buy us all some time in that struggle for freedom. I, for one, am stocking up on popcorn, to enjoy the slo-mo clash of these two worlds of ideas in the years to come. Heck, it is already very entertaining to witness today.


Subscribe to Front page feed