Empty Crypto Gestures
A friend of mine owes another friend $200 dollars.
The person who’s owed the money has decided that they won’t do any more business in $ USD. This person won’t accept any payment in $ USD, nor pay for services in $ USD.
In fact, this person wants to be paid the $200 owed in the equivalent share of Bitcoin.
“How does this person pay rent?” I ask.
“What the fuck?”
“This is 2014, I guess you can do that.”
Fair enough. And yet I feel angry about this, somehow.
“How does this person pay for food? Or a train fare?” I ask. “Does this person accept € EUR?”
“No, this person has opted out of the international monetary system. And will only accept Bitcoin.”
“So you really need to pay the amount you owe in Bitcoin?” I ask, incredulous.
“Yes, that’s why I’m asking your help.”
“You can’t wire the amount in an alternative currency, or cut a check in like ¥ Yen or something?”
“No, they’ll only accept cryptocurrency.”
“But that’s ridiculous! You agreed on payment of $200 USD, not 2 BTC! This is like a tax on people who don’t use Bitcoin…”
“What do you want me to do?”
“I don’t know,” I admit. “But on principle, I don’t think I want to facilitate or be party to this transaction. I just can’t encourage this behavior. I’m sorry. But I can help you get a Bitcoin wallet set up.”
“Well, thanks for your help. I’ll figure something out.”
Several minutes pass. Then I write this email:
“I have reconsidered. I will facilitate a transaction for this person to receive $200 of cryptocurrency outside of the purview of the international monetary system.
However, I have made an ethical decision to use only Dogecoin and not any other cryptocurrencies. Thank you for your understanding.”
5 minutes later, I receive this response:
“Thank you for trying to reach me.
I have made an ethical decision to not use emails anymore.
I only accept communications by traveling pigeons.
Please make an effort to convey your message to me that way.
Thank you for your cooperation.”