The Cryptonomist interviewed Feliz Chelou, founder of The Real Bitcoin Club, who has lived spending only crypto for 2 years now.
When did you start to live only using crypto?
In 2015 my bank account was illegally closed by a German bank without giving me notice, I realized that when I was using an ATM in Spain. I expected that this would happened as all my transactions were bitcoin related trades, in the beginning of bitcoin that happened to many.
So from that day on I didn’t have any bank account any more as I was already paying my office rent in Barcelona in cash since 2014. At that time bitcoin was not really useful for small transactions because we already had the issue with the 1mb block size manipulation, so I still had to use a lot of cash.
When BCH finally started in late 2017 I was immediately convinced that now would be the time to finally educate the grocery merchants about bitcoin. So I founded The Real Bitcoin Club put up a website in late 2017 under the domain therealbitcoin.club (which is now offline as the philosophical approach to bitcoin is not shared by many) and came up with a service called Bitcoinmap.world back then.
In April 2018 the Android App Local Bitcoin Map was first released in an event in Barcelona with nearly 50 guests, where we kicked off The Real Bitcoin Club with three members while I was the only active one, except for the president “Chili”, she is always working the hardest.
So from that date on April 2018 I decided to not use any paper money anymore, no credit card and no bank account. Because I was so strict with that proposal the shops in my neighborhood took me seriously and adapted to my needs.
After 3 months I had helped 30-40 places in the neighborhood Vila de Gracia of Barcelona which is the anarchist/libertarian/humane center of Catalunya to understand why bitcoin cash is useful and how important the philosophy behind that movement is.
The economic incentive was very little and I always was very open with that issue but I was able to deliver the right information to make them at least respect my decision that I would not want to support the fake money system anymore which is the foundation of their own occupation and dependence on Spain.
Do you use stablecoins?
Stablecoins do not exist, I have never seen a stable coin. Have you? The only thing that exists from my observation are pegged coins, while most of them are pegged to the USD, some are pegged to EUR, YEN, gold or any other asset. The only pegged coin I am currently interested in & which I am holding is DAI & yes we can use that coin to buy pharmaceuticals and groceries in 3 big supermarkets in Caracas, Venezuela, called Farmarket.
They are using the Panda X POS. That is my experience with pegged coins. I did never hold any other pegged coin. I would prefer that coins which are pegged would not only be pegged to a single national currency, which makes no sense in my opinion as national currencies are destined to go down every few decades. But as the USD/EUR/YEN are currently still being perceived as valuable assets, it is a good compromise to open the door for those who are not totally educated on the risks of national currencies. I expect pegged coins to be pegged to a mix of cryptocurrencies in the future.
What’s the greatest advantage of using only crypto?
Absolute freedom & Peace of mind for me led to much more happiness. Not having the urge to be spending or investing the currency to fight against the inflation gives me a lot of free time which I can use on things that really matter to me.
Bitcoin allows me to relax and focus on lowering my cost of living instead of having to grow my income all the time. It helps me to spend my savings only when it is really necessary and not just for fun, I can not even use bitcoin at most places as most places are still not trading with bitcoin but if I really want something, I have always achieved to help the business owner to understand the importance of that decision.
Living 100% bitcoin without pegged coins speculation creates a psychological chain reaction nobody would expect without practicing it. It connects a person with the cause 100% which might be a very extreme & tough experience at some point but I would still recommend trying it for a short period of time to experience the effects. Obviously it makes more sense to trade here and there for pegged coins to acquire more bitcoin in the long run. To answer your question: The advantage is the experience of a lifestyle that might be much more natural & peaceful.
When did you start to track all the shops that accept crypto as a payment method? Can you reveal some statistics about it?
In April 2018 we had about 5 shops, in May it was about 15 and in June or July 2018 we had about 30-40 places in “Barrio Bitcoin” in Barcelona, Catalunya, Europe. There should also be a presentation of that time available on the TRBC YouTube channel. The map was first focused on BCH, then on BCH & DASH and today it promotes BTC, BCH, DASH, BSV, BNB, ETH, DAI places, whatever coin might be relevant to someone and helps us become free of the fake money system. Today we have 1000+ VERIFIED places and we have about 1200 active monthly users worldwide. Bitcoinmap.cash focuses on having verified places that are also listed on Google Maps, this is the big value proposition, as nobody else offers that and most of the data found on other maps is outdated or fake.