picture of the Bitcoin Meetup in Newport Beach, CA

You Can Hodl Your Bitcoin And Spend It Too: How I Buy Things With Bitcoin From A Checking Account

picture of the Bitcoin Meetup in Newport Beach, CA
This is a photo from the OC Bitcoin Meetup in Newport Beach, CA on 4/25/2021

There’s been a big debate in the bitcoin community between those who HODL, or save bitcoin versus those that want to spend bitcoin to create a circular economy. Those on team Hodl believe in NGU technology(number go up) They argue Bitcoin is designed to pump forever. To them bitcoin is a technological marshmallow test. If you spend one bitcoin now worth about $55,000 you’ll be sorry when that Bitcoin is worth $5,000,000.

“The fact that people are reluctant to use bitcoin for everything but a few, very important transactions is a clue to bitcoin’s monetary superiority rather than a sign of anything else. So forget about coffee, forget about whether your local franchise burger joint accepts bitcoin or not and start focusing on what you can use this tool for.” Knut Svanholm, Independence Re-imagined

I use to complain about this a lot, but now I don’t need to. It is now possible to Hodl your Bitcoin and spend it too. It took me longer than I would like to admit, but it is now possible to earn more bitcoin on things you were going to buy anyway? I’ve been doing this a lot lately, but I recently did it in person.This may seem unbelievable since most investments do not achieve 1000x gains, but it’s not unheard of. Warren Buffet ‘s company, Berkshire Hathaway, grew over one thousand fold in 35 years. Warren Buffet doesn’t like Bitcoin. He doesn’t understand it. I doubt he has ever paid for a Cola with it. And yes, maybe $5,000,000 is an impossible number. If you think about it, however, that’s only five cents per satoshi. Is the ability to transfer a money anywhere in the world, a money which the value of cannot be inflated away or be interfered with in the midst of a civil war, worth five cents?This may seem unbelievable since most investments do not achieve 1000x gains, but it’s not unheard of. Warren Buffet ‘s company, Berkshire Hathaway, grew over one thousand fold in 35 years. Warren Buffet doesn’t like Bitcoin. He doesn’t understand it. I doubt he has ever paid for a Cola with it. And yes, maybe $5,000,000 is an impossible number. If you think about it, however, that’s only five cents per satoshi. Is the ability to transfer a money anywhere in the world, a money which the value of cannot be inflated away or be interfered with in the midst of a civil war, worth five cents?

According to Clark Moody’s Dashboard, In 4 years, 95% of all the bitcoin which will ever be mined will have been mined. At that point, there will only be about 105,000 Bitcoin left. on December 25th, 2047, 99.9% of all bitcoin will be mined, leaving less than 21,000 bitcoin left. That’s not very much. There was a man who planned on walking around the earth on foot. The entire journey happened to be 21,000 miles. 2047 seems like a long time from now, but it’s a mere 26 years. If every Hodler took self custody and Held on to these coins for the next 26 years, those last 21,000 coins would be very rare and millions if not billions of people would like to have them. (I’ll probably buy a house without a mortgage by then) This is the driving force behind NGU technology and why so many of us believe that Bitcoin is designed to pump forever.

I recently attended my first bitcoin meetup at Nexx burger*** in Newport beach California. The event was hosted by the Orange County Meetup Group. I transferred $100 into my Strike app* in the parking lot. The money was available by the time I opened the door to my wife’s minivan and smelled the salted mist of ocean air. There was music and several vendors accepting Bitcoin using BTCPayServer*** like BTC Pins***, Bitcoinis.com***, and Shamory***, a card Game that teaches people how the blockchain works. Nexx Burger also accepts bitcoin,but they still price their food in dollars. The Bitcoin Is booth was run by a couple people not old enough to officially agree with the Facebook terms and Services. These cute children priced there wares in sats. This hat only cost me 20,000 sats. That ten bucks I spent today might be worth $1,000 by the time these kids graduate high school.

Picture of a hat that reads Don't Trust, Verify on a stylized representation of an opendime.
You can buy this hat from https://www.bitcoinis.com

Other bit coiners think NGU is nice, but we should spend to develop a circular economy. In this world, we pay for groceries with bitcoin, pay our rent, and support businesses that accept bitcoin. This is a nice idea. If we could convince enough people to use bitcoin we can totally eliminate the need for banks and the need for banks too big to fail and their fractional reserve schemes. These banks use fractional reserve banking to inflate the money supply, making the rich richer and those without assets poorer. Circumventing the banks makes for a much fairer society. A society that is not under the thumb of regulators that require banks to collect all our information and show where every transaction leads. Of course, the banks can use this information to entice people to spend money they don’t have at corporations armed with the same information as governments. Your bank knows every cup of coffee you bought, as well as every political donation you made, every bullet you bought, and even every sex toy too.

We went inside and ordered our food at the counter and I asked if I could pay for Bitcoin. The cashier said “yes. ” I’ve asked this question many times over the years. Most of the time, I received a look of bewilderment and the question, “What’s that?”

This time was different. “Would you like to pay with Lightning or On Chain?” asked the cashier.

“I’ll pay with lightning, ” I said.

She showed me the invoice on a tablet, like the kind places use Square with. $44.52. I opened my app, clicked the pay button, and scanned the green BTCpayServer QR code. The App read the invoice and converted my USD to sats and Nexx Burger received it within seconds. We filled out cups with craft soda and we got our food a few minutes later. I’m not sure if my payment method biased my opinion, but it was better than Five Guy’s and In & Out. My wife said the chicken tenders were really good too and she’s not a hardcore Bitcoiner like me.

I paid in fiat, using Strike, the Hamburger stand recieved Bitcoin on the lightning network

Let me reiterate the importance of this event. I paid for bitcoin in dollars at the same time I spent them. Someone who does not yet realize the importance of this new mathematically provable scarce money, sold some sats on an exchange. The Strike app took my fiat and exchanged it with one of these traders who panic sold because of capital gains increase rumors or something. Meanwhile , I bought and sent bitcoin to Nexx Burger with no taxable event. Strike used fiat to transfer a little bitcoin off an exchange and into the coffers of Nexx Burger. I didn’t have to dig my keys from under Mt. Everest to spend it either. I just clicked a button. In fact, Strike had a promotion that day. I got back 20% in fiat. I instantaneously took those savings and sent it to my lightning wallet. I got to stack more bitcoin for purchasing Burgers I was going to buy anyway. You can now have your Hodl stack and spend bitcoin too. Do you want to accept Bitcoin at your business? Talk to Brian Harrington.*** He helps businesses accept Bitcoin payments

This also benefits the store owner since he or she gets the money in seconds. The legacy system takes at least a month. They also subtract fraudulent transactions called charge-backs restaurants need to eat(pun intended) Banks charge a fee for each of these transactions too. How do you think they can afford all those frequent flyer miles? I used to think I was screwing the banks by exploiting these points, but I now realize these points are paid by the vendor which the cost of is ultimately passed onto the consumer. Now businesses can choose which payment services they prefer and it looks like bitcoin over the lightning network is way cheaper. Nexx Burger also gets to keep bitcoin, a money, as I’ve already explained, they keep making less over time. I suspect the owners of this bitcoin will keep it off the exchange and Hodl for a long time.

With each business that accepts bitcoin, hyper bitcoinization gets a little bit closer. Strike and BTCpayServer are making this easier. Brian Harrington is also helping retailers on board onto this new system. The incentives are aligned correctly. Why would a customer pay with a credit card to get a few miles when the customer could get 20% cash back instead? Why would a business prefer to pay Visa fees instead of using Strike for basically free transactions? It’s just a matter of time before people start learning these benefits.

I also use Strike* to buy gift cards for Amazon and InstaCart on Bitrefill, one of the sponsers at the Nexx Burgers Opening Party. I pay for my groceries with Strike using bitcoin on the lightning network and get 5% back. Guess where I send those rewards? I also get rewards from Bitrefill** too. There are more stores as well. It’s possible to buy groceries from Ralph’s, Walmart, REI and even Starbucks. Why would you ever want to buy coffee at Startbucks with your bitcoin when you can buy coffee gift cards with Bitrefill using Strike and stack more bitcoin instead of spending your stack?

You do not want to do this. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way. Back in 2015, I used to use Coinbase. (I don’t recommend them now, for reasons I might go into at another time) They offered a Shift Card that let users spend their Bitcoin using a Visa Card. I thought I was such a cool tech nerd with my green Visa Card that spent bitcoin instead of fiat. I wasn’t cool. I was an idiot! The merchants never got bitcoin. Instead, Coinbase market sold my bitcoin for dollars and paid those companies with the proceeds of my bitcoin sales. Everytime I bought a soda at the minimart, or some piece of plastic on Amazon that is burried in some landfill right now—I sold sats at a $400.00 bitcoin price point. Selling any bitcoin is one of my greatest regrets. Don’t spend your own sats! Spend the sats Jack Mallers gets off the exchanges with his Strike app.

You can learn from my mistakes though and vow to never use a green card that sells your sats. Make it a win-win-win situation. Instead: spend your dirty fiat, support bitcoin businesses, and get sats back for your HODL stack. This is good for Bitcoin. It’s good for the business, and it’s good for you, but I think this Strike app is something way bigger. This was a story about how I use Strike to pay for things that I need and want, but if you read between the lines: Notice how I don’t even need an exchange like coinbase. Instead of buying bitcoin on an exchange, I can stack to myself. My bank just sees a transfer to Strike. Jack Mallers company doesn’t really know if I sent the money to myself or somebody selling trinkets in Zimbabwe. This is not perfect privacy, but it’s better than using an exchange and at least I’m not giving my information to the credit card and bank data mines.

The speed of these transactions will probably provide some interesting arbitrage opportunities between exchanges. In the future, it might even present arbitrage opportunities in the Forex market. When Strike is set up in 200 different countries things are really going to get interesting.

*When you sign up with Strike using my referral link, we both get $5.00 I use that money to buy more bitcoin, but I would promote Strike anyway.

**When you sign up for Bitrefill using this link, I earn a little bitcoin. I would promote them anyway, but it’s nice to make some sats of them. They are a great company and they even sponsored the event.

*** I don’t earn any bitcoin from these companies, but I promote them anyway because I want to promote a circular bitcoin economy.

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