When The Dollar Vigilante Jeff Berwick setup a fund to help Acapulco recover from a recent flood-disaster in which eastern regions of the historic city were badly damaged, if not nearly destroyed, I felt implored to send a little bit of my digital cash reserves to aid in the effort. I wasn’t the only one.
I had been chewing on the notion as of late that, in a peer-to-peer economy, such as what Bitcoin represents, the users themselves represented the “social safety net.”
This is similar to how the social safety net works in the dominant money system, minus the third-party arbiter known as government. I would have to, event-by-event, determine how much safety net I deemed necessary. This is but one of the many great responsibilities which comes along with Bitcoin.
In other words, since Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer open-source community, there would be no government to automatically debit my net worth annually in order to, in an expensive and roundabout manner, do “good.”
The impetus was on me to do this for Acapulco, and Jeff had given bitcoiners the mechanism by which to do so.
If you’d like to donate via bitcoin just contact us at the above email address. We will commit to using all the funds on helping whoever we can in most need in this entire regions recent flooding… and there are plenty of places not just the one I spoke about.
I myself am not overly comfortable monetarily. I am a hard-working twenty-something who is getting his feet underneath him, still. But, I knew I was not merely throwing money into the ether. Not only would I feel good to have donated a little bit of help, I also believe that “what goes around comes around,” and, in a decentralized digital currency environment, this “what goes around comes around” nature of reality could prove central to the whole Bitcoin experiment. I believe that “charity” or “philanthropy” will be central to the Bitcoin ecosystem in the coming months and years. As Jeff writes about “charity”:
I am not big, at all, on large charities but I am big on helping whenever there is a dire emergency or something important that I can help friends or family with (although I always try to call it a loan, not charity… although I rarely have the expectation to get the money back, I do want to implant the capitalist (and not welfare) mindset in as many as possible.
In the end these were mostly poor people who I wish I could help by relaying how to make money and be an entrepreneur… but now is not the time for that. And, also, I wouldn’t want to raise funds to, say, rebuild houses in a flood zone. That is also giving the wrong incentive (paying people for living in areas that are at risk of disasters like this) but what they mostly need is basic emergency needs like food, water, clothing and other basic help. For that I am more than happy to help personally and to see if the community of readers we have wants to give. Even $10 or $20 goes a long way out here. The total amount of supplies I brought in (which was all the food, water and medical supplies) which really seemed to help today was about $400. The work is all voluntary and there are many ready and willing to help if they have the supplies.
So, in Jeff’s mind, I’ve really just given these strangers in a remote region of Mexico a loan. But, is it really a loan if there is no possibility of it ever being repaid? Like Jeff, I think so. It’s just not your traditional kind of loan.
Since there are no governments to redistribute wealth nor banks to give loans in the Bitcoin eco-system, only individual users can fulfill this role (for now at least). This is a novel arrangement, but not one that is Bitcoin-specific, for peer-to-peer lending is a concept that is gaining popularity.
As Wikipedia defines P2P lending:
Peer-to-peer lending (also known as person-to-person lending, peer-to-peer investing, and social lending; abbreviated frequently as P2P lending) is the practice of lendingmoney to unrelated individuals, or “peers”, without going through a traditional financial intermediary such as a bank or other traditional financial institution. This lending takes place online on peer-to-peer lending companies’ websites using various different lending platforms and credit checking tools.
I believe I’ve given the collective a loan. I’ve helped all of mankind along by giving, even if it was a scarce amount. And with the help of Bitcoin, it has never been easier. I didn’t have to fumble around with a credit card nor did I have to login to PayPa nor drive anywhere to drop off cash.
Now, I don’t expect that whomever gets the medicine or food I’ve donated towards will pay me back. And that is 100% okay with me, because I personally believe in something greater than just getting back my money. I believe – and this is certainly helped along by the public ledger – that my good deed will go recognized. I might even actually get that loan back by someone else who sees what I’ve done on the block chain with some of my funds. Or, in the future, someone might help me out with a “loan” should I ever need one. If the right systems were setup, maybe my donation could even work in favor of my p2p credit score.
In the case of the Acapulco fund, we are sparing our brothers and sisters some of the misery they might otherwise be enduring. We are providing a service not only to these exact individuals, but to mankind altogether. Simply by virtue of reducing suffering, we are doing mankind a favor.
It is this behavior that Bitcoin depends upon, for the future of the “social safety net” will be what’s known as “philanthropy” and not “taxation.”
Learn Something New: 1AUwPbY54vKAAAGMitLajmooVG6CVF4xki