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Against the IFP

Centralizing control over a currency’s infrastructure is a seemingly obvious mistake.

One would think any Austro-libertarian worth their salt would be able to see thru such a charade. Yet here we are, again. Face to face with economic illiteracy. Not garden variety lefist economic illiteracy, but one far more stinging and painful - one which comes from within our own community, rather than from without. 

First, Bitcoiners faced the economic illiteracy of maximalism and small blockers. Attempts to masquerade money’s primary function as value storage (Ammous) or rejecting Menger’s Regression Theorem altogether (Szabo) are luckily demonstrably false. Nevertheless, the shock of our fellow Bitcoiners illiteracy was like an unexpected slap in the face. Suddenly, we were forced to confront the fact that the ignorance of our allies in the fight for sound money, had led them astray. Yet, thru BCH we were thankfully able to keep Satoshi’s dream of peer to peer cash intact. 
Well, crypto anarch…

Becoming Your Own Bank: Bitcoin for Beginners








Traditionally, in order to successfully exchange goods with an individual or firm not physically present, one must utilize a third party. With online shopping, the most obvious example - this third party usually takes the form of a credit card company, bank, or other payment processor such as PayPal. This third party is neither a buyer nor a seller. In the context of the exchange, the third party's sole function is to verify both the transmission & receipt of funds. For this service, they will of course collect a small fee.

Unfortunately, our enemy, the state, has discovered that by exercising control over a small number of the most popular third parties, they can succesfully interject themselves into our financial affairs. Thus, banks are used to rob us via inflation. Taxes are extorted at the point of sale. Black market products are prohibited from exchange. Etcetera.

The advent of Bitcoin in 2008 provided sufficient disintermediation to alleviate all of these concerns entirely. This article will attempt to show newcomers how they can use Bitcoin to maximize their freedom and minimize the state's impact on their life.


Step 1: Understanding Bitcoin

The underlying technology which makes Bitcoin possible is the blockchain. There are many definitions out there, but I believe blockchains are best understood analogously:

Individual Bitcoin transactions are compiled into “blocks” much like a stack of checks. Once the miners confirm the validity of all the checks within a given block, it becomes chained to the previous block, and so on.



(For more on the basic structure of blockchains, check out these two episodes of The Agora - Blockchain Mechanics I & II with Abdullah Tansel, Professor of Computer Science at CUNY Manhattan.)

In Bitcoin’s original design, the amount of data that could be stored in a given block was capped at 1 MB. This meant that as the network became more widely used, it became increasingly slower & bogged down. Transactions costs skyrocketed. People had to wait lengthy amounts of time for miners to validate their transactions. It was clear that Bitcoin in it’s original form couldn’t scale sufficiently to become a global monetary standard.

Several solutions were proposed, but ultimately today, we're left with three competing versions of the Bitcoin blockchain.

Bitcoin (BTC) attempts to alleviate this problem by using the lightning network, which moves the majority of transactions off-chain into direct payment channels. The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community has increased the block size limit to 8-32 MB. This has made transactions relatively free & instant. Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) contains huge blocks of 2000 MB. Blocks of this size allow us to store movies and albums on the blockchain where they can live forever. It also allows bad actors to store child porn & other illicit material miners will not be comfortable storing on their servers.

In my personal opinion, Bitcoin Cash is best suited to provide the sort of financial freedom described in the previous section & most closely adheres to the initial vision laid out in the White Paper.



Step 2: Acquiring It

There are several platforms, or exchanges, that allow individuals to purchase as much or as little Bitcoin as they’d like. The most popular exchange available is Coinbase. Creating an account with Coinbase is a relatively simple process, and if purchases are completed using a debit card rather than a bank account, your funds will be available immediately. Other choices include CashApp and Robinhood, but all of these platforms are heavily steeped in Know Your Customer (KYC) laws and will feed your data back to the cockroaches infesting the IRS.

For private, anonymous purchases, consider using a p2p exchange. My personal favorite is local.bitcoin.com, but other options include localcryptos.com, localcoinswap.com, localbitcoincash.org, and localbitcoins.com.



Check out this tutorial of the local.bitcoin exchange, provided by Roger Ver


Step 3: Storing It

You can't deposit your Bitcoin at a bank yet. Nor is it a good idea to keep a significant amount of cryptocurrency on an exchange. Primarily, because doing so gives the exchange control of your funds, but also because exchanges make such great targets for hackers.

The most secure method of storing your newly acquired Bitcoin is to transfer it to a wallet which you, and you alone can control. I like the bitcoin.com wallet available in the app store or for desktop. 

Once you've selected the wallet you'll be using, back it up by writing down the private keys. The bitcoin.com wallet prompts you do so and guides you through the process. Note: This is an absolutely crucial step, as losing your private keys can ultimately result in a complete loss of funds. Remember, increases in freedom are necessarily accompanied by increases in personal responsibility. 

If you're seeking an even more secure option, consider cold storage. Cold storage wallets are hardware devices that allow you to keep your cryptocurrency offline, in a physical device that can be stored in a safe or other secure location. My two favorite options for hardware wallets are Trezor and KeepKey


When it comes to storing Bitcoin safely, the key takeaway you want to remember is this: If you don't own the keys, you don't own the crypto. 


Step 4: Spending It

The easiest way to spend Bitcoin is to sign up for the BitPay card which is a prepaid card that can be loaded with Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Ethereum (ETH). BitPay is accepted anywhere VISA is, and for all intents and purposes, normalizes the spending experience.

If you prefer to spend your Bitcoin directly; from Microsoft to Overstock and beyond, an increasing number of websites & online shops are accepting crypto payments. Also, Bitcoin.com provides this handy map of physical locations accepting Bitcoin Cash.

Remember, since Bitcoin is a p2p e-cash that doesn't require third party intermediaries, you're purchases are no longer restricted to the white market. For example, using Bitcoin you can now buy cannabis from deep web markets like you'd buy a product from Amazon. By that I mean, buyers can take into account factors such as seller ratings, product reviews, testimonials, etc. All of this minimizes the inherent dangers of black market activity.

Finally, once your Bitcoin has been spent, remember to buy more. You can even have your paycheck, or a portion of it, direct deposited using BitWage.


Final Thoughts

As I've hopefully made clear, there's no longer any need for individuals to subject themselves to the fraudulent banking system which feeds our hard earned money into the welfare/warfare machine. There's no longer any need to abide by the trade restrictions politicians subject us to. There's no loner any need to use their monopoly money & fund their lavish lifestyles through theft and extortion. To continue doing so in the presence of solutions such as Bitcoin, is to make oneself an accomplice to the horrors of the state.

Using Bitcoin in the manner described here, will not only release you from the financial death grip of corrupt politicians, but will also help secure a more free and prosperous future for coming generations.

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