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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.

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. “

Bitcoin is just a ledger nerds like me download, the same way you might download your favorite song using bittorrent, only downoading songs is illegal and believe it or not, downloading the bitcoin blockchain is legal.

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.

Thanks for reading.