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I Am Jack’s Ligtning Network Invoice

I listened to Jack Dorsey on The Joe Rogan Experience.  He’s the CEO of Twitter and Square which seem like two completely different companies at first glance.  Square is a financial services company that owns the Cash App which I wrote about in a previous post. It’s my favorite way to buy cryptocurrency because it’s easy and it also gives me the opportunity to send money to anyone, even in fiat.  I get my side hustle income directly deposited into the app which has a routing and checking account number.  Usually, that money goes straight to bitcoin… but the fact is, not everyone is as into bitcoin as I am. I have, however, met someone whom  uses the Cash App even though she has no interest in bitcoin. (I try not to use the no-coiner pejorative)   She uses it to collect rent from a couple tenants.  She is not interested in bitcoin at all, but the app conveniently lets her tenants transfer fiat into her account, and she transfers the fiat into her regular checking account from there.

That’s more powerful than I initially realized.  This app is a technological solution to a huge problem.  The Cash app is an easy way to bank people that have initially been locked out of the banking system because of bad credit, lower income, or just not knowing how to budget properly. Now these people can directly deposit their paychecks into the account and pay their rent to landlords, perhaps buy something online, or even build up savings.  Of course , there is no interest in the checking account, but traditional banks also don’t offer much in the way of interest these days.  A typical bank account pays 0.01% annually.  This translates to $1.00 every year for every thousand dollars of savings.  That doesn’t even beat inflation.  Instead of a savings account, it offers a bitcoin account.  You can save your money or a portion of your paycheck in a deflationary currency.

  Despite the aftermath of the previous bear market, bitcoin has still done exceptionally well compared to the standard savings account.  It was only about $1000 in February of 2016.  A $1000 in a savings account from 2016 would be worth about $1003.03 today.  A thousand dollars of bitcoin bought in 2016 would be worth $3400 today.  It is true that if you bought at $19,000 you would have lost a lot of money, but I like to dollar cost average bitcoin.  I put aside 1% of my income into this bitcoin savings account every month.  You lose some months and you gain some months, but over the long run this dollar cost averaging has served me well.

Jack Dorsey is really the CEO of two communication companies.  Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows anyone in the world to speak through its platform. They have some rules that are sometimes controversial, and he even admits that the platform is not without its problems, but it’s based on this idea that everyone has a right to speak. It’s a first amendment thing. In the United States, we have the right to speak freely.  Our country was founded on this principle.  Twitter gives anyone with a cell phone that same right…for the most part. The Cash App also gives rise to a new kind of communication and the choice of currency that just wasn’t possible before 2009.

Money is also a form of speech, a different kind of communication allows people to communicate value to each other.  Therefore, the Cash app is also a communication platform. It allows people to communicate value either by using fiat or bitcoin. That’s a pretty radical idea.

Recently, an anon on Crypto Twitter that goes by the name of @hodlonaut started something called the Lightning Network Trust Chain.  The idea is to paste a lightning network invoice to your twitter feed and someone will send you a certain amount of satosis. (the smallest unit of bitcoin) then that person will send it to another ln invoice.  It is up to almost 29 million satoshis which I think is about $340 give or take @Jack was one of the people who was handed the torch.  Imagine if it were possible to send someone value as easy as liking a tweet.  It will take some time to make it user friendly, but that’s totally possible.  What if one like =1 cent?  What if you could earn more from a single tweet than the interest in your traditional savings account? What if your microblogging could earn you a living?  That’s how revolutionary this bitcoin thing is.

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Welcome to Minimal Structure

The bitcoin protocol was released on  January 3, 2009. (I published this on the ten year anniversary) It is volatile the price reached about $20,000 a year ago and is about $3,800 at the time of this writing.   The price is the boring part, however.  The interesting thing is that it works.  It enables transactions to be sent without a trusted third party like a bank, credit card company, Paypal or Patreon.  Bitcoin is about freedom—Freedom from any  government or corporation. Bitcoin is a protocol for freedom. 

This is the bitcoin genesis block. It contains a headline from the day it was created "Jan/2009 Chancelor on brink of second bailout for banks."

This is how Satoshi Nakamoto described bitcoin in the abstract of the white paper:
“A peer-to-peer version of electronic cash system payments   to   be   sent   directly   from   one   party   to   another   without   going   through   a financial institution. “

That’s all bitcoin is.  It can be complex to explain how it works just as it can be complex to explain how a secure credit card transaction works or how the chip on your debit card uses cryptography to try and protect the money in your bank account.  Bitcoin is a form of electronic cash.  People hardly use cash anymore. Maybe you remember a time when you went to a grocery store and handed the cashier a few dollars to purchase a magazine.  The cashier gave you a receipt and some change and then you went home.  No one needed to know your name, your address, social security number, location of where you went after you purchased the magazine, what gas station you bought some gas at before you entered the store, the 1000 most common products you purchase, or which stores you opted to earn cash back from. The store did not care about your politics, what you wrote, spoke, or did on the Internet.

It did not care about your identity.

I understand that stores did care about your identity at one time.  It used to matter for things like where you sit on the bus, where you could get a drink of water, swim in a pool, or a bite to eat, what blacklists you were on, but those were the bad times.   Your identity is not supposed to matter anymore, but it does. You can’t hardly buy bitcoin anymore without sharing your identity and having it traced.  Some places that allow you to buy bitcoin can refuse to serve you, but no one can stop the transaction once it’s been sent.  Bitcoin is just a protocol like the Internet, a kind of software.  According to Tim May, in The Cyphermonicon, wrote “Code is speech and cypherpunks write code.”  It’s sort of the cypherpunk motto. If your identity is a problem, bitcoin is open source and someone can write code to fix that problem.

The freedom of speech is the foundation of western style democracy. It is the first right granted by the United States constitution in the Bill of Rights.  According to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, the freedom of speech is the only way to correct human stupidity.  Dr. Peterson is leaving Patreon because of the recent exodus of many supporters who do not agree with the patreon decision.  A lot of us donate money to content creators because we want to avoid censorship.  We are paying for uncensored speech, but Patreon doesn’t offer that any longer.  Peterson as well as many others have lost a lot of money because the people paying for uncensored speech have left in droves.  This stems from a controversial decision to de-monetize a Youtuber named Sargon of Akkod said the n-word. Although I dislike this word, he used it as an argument against the racists he was talking to on another youtube channel.  In other words he was trying to use the word to correct human stupidity. Regardless about how you feel about Sargon of Akkod, other content creators that did not use that word are suffering.  The decisions of a centralized third party have affected the income of all of the other content creators on Patreon. This may have been an unintended consequence of Patreon’s decision, but it’s a consequence, nonetheless.

The issue is that the right to the freedom of speech is being threatened by corporations and political activists.  You might say that corporations are not government, so they don’t have to follow our bill of rights, corporations are people, they have the freedom of speech and are allowed to use the language of money however they want… but it’s a moot point.  Code is speech, cyperpunks write code. Satoshi Nakamoto wrote bitcoin; therefore, bitcoin is speech and speech really is money.  Rather than be protected by the U.S. 1st amendment, however, it is protected by cryptography.  Bitcoin is direct speech between one party to another–In other words, peer-to-peer. That is why it is revolutionary. It is decentralized.  There is no CEO of bitcoin, no trust and safety committee, and no terms and services agreement, and no one to stop payments to and from. In the bitcoin community, this is known as censorship resistance. You like this blog and you can tip me a little bitcoin directly on blockchain or on a sidechain like the lightning network.   No one can stop me because I say a bad word.  I can speak freely.  My income is not dependent on a corporation or government art fund, but on the free market and the generosity of people.

I used Patreon.  It’s easy and I like contributing to content creators. Rather than get involved in this huge debate about how artists and creators are being punished by the blah blah blah blah blah about Patreon, I figured I should write about something I find way more interesting—Using Bitcoin.  Hopefully I can teach others to use it to.  It probably took me about 6 months to understand…kind of, but I want to create a guide that can simplify the process.  I want to help other people learn how to use it as quickly and easy as possible.  The people who let Patreon should and do have another option.

Thanks for reading.