Bitcoin Debit Card: All You Need to Survive on Digital Money

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About a month ago I wrote about my decision to take the plunge and ditch my bank account to go all Bitcoin. I got a bunch of responses, mostly either telling me I’m crazy or wishing they were hardcore enough to quit banking cold-turkey like I did. Among the dozens of questions I received was the big one, likely the very issue holding back cryptocurrency lovers and central banking haters alike from dumping the banks for good: how do you pay for stuff if very few places take Bitcoin these days?

Now, there are some places that take Bitcoin directly, especially in New Hampshire. Purse.io allows you to buy anything off of Amazon.com for 5% or more off with Bitcoin, which covers an enormous spectrum of stuff, including some groceries and gas cards, meaning you can fill your car up on Bitcoin. For most of the rest there are gift card services that take Bitcoin for instant gift cards you can use at chains all over the country. For everything else there’s Bitcoin debit cards. [Read more…]

Why I Closed My Bank Account and Went All Bitcoin

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A negative balance? Just when I was about to withdraw rent money?

Yes, it appeared that someone had attempted to steal from me. And, in the short term, they had succeeded. Someone had written a check in my name for a couple thousand dollars to try to buy a car. Now, mind you, I can’t remember ever using a check in my eight-plus years since opening that bank account. I barely used the account at all since I had started making all my money in Bitcoin. The only reason I was using it this time was to liquidate some cryptocurrency for rent, since I had procrastinated about selling it for cash. But that one small interaction with the banking system was all it took to somehow make me feel its worst inefficiencies. I called the number provided on the website, was on placed on hold for a half-hour, then transferred to another number and another half-hour hold time, until at last I was sent to the third and final banking representative… complete with another 30-minute hold. They agreed to reverse the charge, but said it would take until the end of the business day. After the bank closed, of course.

To summarize: Someone tried to buy a car by scribbling something on a piece of paper I never touched, said it meant that my money was behind it, and some bank just went and gave them more of my money than I had in my account. And I spent almost 100 minutes on the phone and had to wait until the next day to get it reversed. For $12 per month. When I was already using cryptocurrency and getting more functionality than a bank for free. [Read more…]