†Bitcoin focus† Bitcoin weeks are completely different. One is calm, in the other there is a lot of news. Although the price has fluctuated between 27 and 32 thousand dollars for weeks, there is still plenty to tell in terms of news.
For example, there are new bitcoin notes, there are new charts from central banks and activists have something to say about bitcoin and more!
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You can read about everything that struck me in this (free) Friday edition of Bitcoin Focus. Deeper analysis? You will find it in Bitcoin Focus Premium, which you read on Tuesday about the bitcoin city in the Netherlands. And remember: Bitcoin Focus is not investment or investment advice.
Cash, education, activists, FED and more!
- Luxury Bitcoin paper money
- Central bank charging in bitcoin?
- PayPal also has good sites
- Anonymous payment card with bitcoin
- Bitcoin Academy
- Activists explain the importance of bitcoin
- Lightning grows like a madman, some statistics
Bitcoin on paper, but beautiful
You can store your bitcoin in many ways: on paper, remembering a few words or on a (hardware) wallet.
Basically, “keeping bitcoin” means nothing more than secure storage of a secret key. Bitcoins are not really in your wallet or on paper: they are in blockchain. The most important thing is that you have the secret key: with it you prove ownership and you can use bitcoin.
If you have a hardware wallet, you get the key as 12 (or 24) words. It’s a way to show keys. The keys can also be on paper.
For years, there have been sites like BitAddress.org where you can generate paper wallets (see warning below *). They make wallets that you can print with the secret key as a QR code. But it’s not pretty.
The people at Offline.Cash have nicer bills. They are printed like euros: on synthetic paper (so it does not tear just like that), with microtext and gravure printing, so you feel the height of the print.
There is also an NFC chip in the money with which you can check what is written on the note. You scan the note with your phone to check how it is.
By using a multisig, such a note can be safe. The banknote itself has a key (from the factory), and as a recipient you add a key that you generate yourself. These two keys together form a multisig, both keys are (until the banknote expires) both necessary to be able to withdraw and use bitcoin.
Expired? Yes: there is a kind of timer on it. As a recipient, you decide if it expires next week, in 2027 or when. As long as the timer has not expired, you must have both keys. Once the timer has expired, only one key is needed and you can claim the money simply by cutting the bill and reading the key from the chip.
Technically, it’s a good concept. The question is whether it is understandable enough for the users. The page is not very clear, I suspect a little help is still needed. In addition, the amounts on the banknotes are in mBTC (0.001 BTC). So if there are 10 on the banknote, it is 10 mBTC, i.e. 0.01 Bitcoin or 1 million satoshi.
* If you want to use websites as a bit address, think carefully about risks: maybe there is a virus on your computer that is sending your wallet on. Or do you use a wireless printer that can be tapped. Are you still using? Download bit address, use an offline computer, buy a printer with cable. And even then there are still risks …
Bitcoin as a unit of account
When people talk about bitcoin as money, it is often said that it should be (1) a medium of exchange, (2) a store of value and (3) a unit of account.
It’s easy to swap, especially with the Lightning network. It also acts as a storehouse of value in the long run. Bitcoin is still used a bit as a unit of account.
Although stores accept bitcoin, ticket prices are usually quoted in euros (or dollars) due to exchange rate fluctuations.
That’s how it will stay for a while, but something interesting is going on. Last week, one of the twelve local Federal Reserve banks in America posted a chart online where bitcoin is used as a unit of account.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has posted this chart online. It shows the price of eggs in bitcoin. A good step towards the use of bitcoin as a unit of account!
In yesterday’s Bitcoin Focus Premium you can read in detail how different central banks and politicians are currently looking at bitcoin!
PayPal makes a good move
I’m not a big fan of PayPal. For example, they share payment data with hundreds of companies and they block accounts on an ongoing basis. There are also regular reports of companies being blocked, including a company that managed Tor servers.
Either way, since September 2021, PayPal users in some countries will be able to buy bitcoin. Unfortunately, the Netherlands is not yet involved, but I thought at the time it was good news that more people can get exposure to bitcoin.
What I did not like at the time: Users bought bitcoin there, but that bitcoin was to remain on PayPal’s form of play. You could not use bitcoin and keep it under your own management.
That was the opinion of several users. Being allowed to send Bitcoin FROM the account was one of the most requested improvements and they listened.
Since this week, users can actually withdraw bitcoin from the platform. It is therefore possible to buy “real” bitcoin. This instantly makes PayPal a trading platform!
Not Your Keys, Not Your Coins is an important statement among bitcoiners. It has gone wrong often enough: someone else (such as a trading platform) manages your bitcoin keys, something goes wrong on the trading platform, and your bitcoin is gone.
Real bitcoiners prefer to keep bitcoin themselves: their own responsibility. No, I still would not even buy via PayPal, but PayPal has now taken a good step in the right direction.
Anonymous bitcoin payment card
Anonymity is important for payments. If records are kept of which books someone buys, people no longer dare to buy books that go against the status quo. And if you protest (Hong Kong as a ‘good’ example) it is useful to be able to use cash so that the state does not know that you are protesting.
The current financial system is increasingly moving towards KYC: Know Your Customer. If you have an account or a credit card, you may have noticed: you need to send your ID card.
Fanatic bitcoiners also see the importance of being able to pay anonymously. The Bitcoin banknotes above are a good example: you can pass these banknotes on (like euro banknotes) without losing privacy.
Since Wednesday, Patriot Bank has also launched a debit card where you are free to enter a fake name. It is a MasterCard that can be used by US customers.
Exactly how it works is pretty unclear. They say that (so) no real name is needed. But the page does not work properly, and when ordering you still have to enter an address where the card should go …
The initiative is fine, but I’m excited about whether it succeeds. I doubt MasterCard will accept that kind of private card on their payment network …
Bitcoin Academy by Jay-Z and Twitter founder Jack
Education is power, according to a mission statement from The Bitcoin Academy. The new bitcoin school started this week with the idea of spreading bitcoin knowledge.
The founders are Jack Dorsey, who we know as the founder of Twitter and the Cash App, and Jay-Z, one of the most successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs in America. His wife’s name is Beyoncé.
The academy will teach real classrooms, distribute hardware to people who need it (for example, for internet access) and also organize Crypto Kids Camps for children ages 5 to 17.
For the time being, they focus on Marcy Houses (social rental housing that once housed Dutch wind turbines) and where thousands of people live.
I think explaining bitcoin is some of the best thing you can do as a bitcoin, it’s also one of the reasons I write Bitcoin Focus weekly. Giving more people access to better money is what this academy also wants.
Of course, children also understand bitcoin better than older people, who encounter fewer digital assets in everyday life. Kids buy things in games (think Fortnite, for example), which makes them understand that something that is purely digital can also have value.
Do you want to learn more yourself? Check out Bitcoin Focus Premium!
Bitcoin means something to the world
There are voices in America to ban bitcoin. Besides that it is not possible, it is also very unwise.
The people who PROHIBIT! shout, do it mainly from a luxurious position. They have never experienced strong inflation, have never had to flee or send money back to relatives in another country.
This week, 21 activists in a letter try to explain why bitcoin is important. In the letter, they give many examples of why bitcoin is useful:
The horrors of monetary colonialism, misogynistic fiscal policies, frozen bank accounts, exploitative money transfer companies, and inability to connect to the global economy can be distant ideas. For most of us and our society – and for the majority of people around the world – it is the daily reality.
To me, it’s clear: the people who are against bitcoin do not understand what problems bitcoin wants to solve. Alex Gladstein, head of strategy at the Human Rights Foundation, once summed it up well in the play “Check Your Financial Privilege.” Highly recommended!
How are lightning fast payments going? Some statistics:
I will continue to follow the Lightning network for you and you can also read all about Lightning on the bitcoin magazine!