Empty Crypto Gestures

A friend of mine owes another friend $200 dollars.

The person who’s owed the money has decided that they won’t do any more business in $ USD. This person won’t accept any payment in $ USD, nor pay for services in $ USD.

In fact, this person wants to be paid the $200 owed in the equivalent share of Bitcoin.

“How does this person pay rent?” I ask.


“What the fuck?”

“This is 2014, I guess you can do that.”

Fair enough. And yet I feel angry about this, somehow.

“How does this person pay for food? Or a train fare?” I ask. “Does this person accept € EUR?”

“No, this person has opted out of the international monetary system. And will only accept Bitcoin.”

“So you really need to pay the amount you owe in Bitcoin?” I ask, incredulous.

“Yes, that’s why I’m asking your help.”

“You can’t wire the amount in an alternative currency, or cut a check in like ¥ Yen or something?”

“No, they’ll only accept cryptocurrency.”

“But that’s ridiculous! You agreed on payment of $200 USD, not 2 BTC! This is like a tax on people who don’t use Bitcoin…”

“What do you want me to do?”

“I don’t know,” I admit. “But on principle, I don’t think I want to facilitate or be party to this transaction. I just can’t encourage this behavior. I’m sorry. But I can help you get a Bitcoin wallet set up.”

“Well, thanks for your help. I’ll figure something out.”

Several minutes pass. Then I write this email:

“I have reconsidered. I will facilitate a transaction for this person to receive $200 of cryptocurrency outside of the purview of the international monetary system.

However, I have made an ethical decision to use only Dogecoin and not any other cryptocurrencies. Thank you for your understanding.”

5 minutes later, I receive this response:

“Thank you for trying to reach me.

I have made an ethical decision to not use emails anymore.

I only accept communications by traveling pigeons.

Please make an effort to convey your message to me that way.

Thank you for your cooperation.”

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