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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.

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?

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