Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Living On Bitcoin For A Week: Bitcoin Is The Internet Applied To Money (And I Survived It)

Day 7. Monday is the last day of Bitcoin living and it’s off to an exhausting start. My first night in the Bitcoin-paid hostel was not especially restful due to noise filtering in from Mission Street and my body’s usual skepticism about an unfamiliar bed. I have plans to meet with security researcher Dan Kaminsky in the Mission in the afternoon so it would be silly to head to the office. I’d love to go to a cafe to work but none in the area take Bitcoin. I don’t think I can take Bitcoin seriously as a currency until tech-forward San Francisco has at least one BTC-friendly coffee shop.

20 Mission has Wi-Fi. I place a Skype call to Pyry Lehdonvirta who is in Helsinki. He is the 29-year-old CEO of SC5, a Finnish HTML5 software developer that started paying 20 of its full-time employees partially in Bitcoin last October when Bitcoin was valued at $40 USD.
“The increase in [BTC’s] value has been bad for us,” says Lehdonvirta. “It has paralyzed our experiment. You can’t spend them because it’s changing around too rapidly. We haven’t stopped using it, but it’s turned into this currency game.”

Lehdonvirta traded most of his own Bitcoin when the price spiked to over $250 USD.

“We are willing to accept Bitcoin as payment. We want to be part of an ecosystem, but the fluctuating currency rates are a problem,” he says. The security of Bitcoin payments appeal to his company. “Banks and credit cards are not very secure. If someone steals someone’s credit card, it’s easy to use it and commit fraud. Fraud is much harder with Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin was on Lehdonvirta’s radar very early, in part because his economist brother, Vili Lehdonvirta, was fingered by the New Yorker as one of two people who might be the true identity behind Satoshi Nakamoto, the person(s) who invented Bitcoin. (Both brothers call the guess wildly incorrect.) - Read more here:

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Living On Bitcoin For A Week: The Bitcoin Diet - Day 3
Living On Bitcoin For A Week: Bitcoiners Are The New Vegans - Day 4
Living On Bitcoin For A Week: Birthday Bittycoins - Day 5
Living On Bitcoin For A Week: Can’t Pay The Rent - Day 6

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