[AMA] Randy Brito here from BitcoinVenezuela.com, what we’ve been doing and why we might need your help

Hello all here, I am Randy Brito (aka @btcven), a Venezuelan whose family moved to Spain in 2004 due to the worsening situation and persecution on the middle class.

I learned about Bitcoin in 2011 and read a lot about it here and at Bitcointalk.org (and learned about Libertarianism too through it), in 2012 founded https://www.BitcoinVenezuela.com as a non-profit organization dedicated to educate about Bitcoin and basic economics.

Started collaborating with Electrum developers, translated it into Spanish (along with Hive Wallet, MacWallet, and some others). At Electrum also helped as manager of translations, website, social media, support.

Co-founded another local non-profit education group in Spain and gave talks about Bitcoin around the country, mostly in high schools to get the young people started before they even learned how to use a bank account. Also co-founded a Classic Liberal – Anarchocapitalist group in Seville, Spain where I was part of the team which hosted the Free Market Road Show three years in a row.

In 2014 joined Support at Coinbase as one of the two first employees outside the US, when it was still only serving US customers, and worked there for 3.5 years. Joined MetaMask-ConsenSys a few months ago as Customer Support.

Tried to open a Bitcoin<->Bolivar exchange between 2014-2015, we got stopped and the other local exchange there got shut down completely.

I’ve been educating about Bitcoin in Venezuela since 2012, in our website, in social media, with collaborators in the country who gave talks, supporting local groups teaching about Bitcoin there, running campaigns, giving interviews, podcasts. Besides trying to educate about economics, fighting Socialism both in Venezuela and Spain, and more.

For more than two years now I’ve been collecting donations in cryptocurrencies through our humanitarian aid project 'Bitcoin For Venezuela Initiative' to help feed people, buy medicines and help those in need. We started doing a monthly activity to cook food for 400-500 people. Today we help feed 2000+ people daily, by buying food for a soup kitchen where 1600+ people go to eat daily, probably the only meal they have in a whole day. Also cook meals for two orphanages, an elderly center, a kids hospital, and an old people’s hospital. This is the last activity we did: https://twitter.com/btcven/status/1028743266739662849?s=21

We are now also helping another soup kitchen and an elderly center in a small town, and also managing donations to restore a farm school, so it can produce food again for the towns around it, and also teach young people to work in the farm. Donations come mostly from private donators giving us cryptocurrencies, not many donations come from our public addresses (we take Bitcoin Lightning Network donations too!) because we keep most of the pictures and videos taken private because of the persecution in the country of those who do humanitarian aid, and for the safety of collaborators on the ground.

For the past months I’ve been working on speeding up Bitcoin adoption in Venezuela ( checkout these 4 tweets https://twitter.com/randybrito/status/1023679503862824962?s=21 ) through a few steps:

  • Get funds to develop a very simple UI to make it easy to start using Bitcoin as a medium of exchange using Electrum for Android. Adapt censorship resistant tools being developed so they work for Electrum users too.

  • Teach people how to use it and let them know about the different ways of turning Bitcoin to other currencies as store of value (like Dollars, stablecoins, or any synthetic USD) and also use Dollars as unit of account so they can completely stop using Bolivars.

  • Develop a DIY cheap device to make a mesh network in Venezuela that could be used not only for secure communications, but more importantly for transacting with Bitcoin even if/when all communications (3G, SMS, calls, cable-internet) stop working (as it has been happening these past weeks). Small router-like nodes with medium WiFi range to connect to others, bigger ones with radio antennas attached to them to connect larger distances, a few of them in the borders with Internet connection and Electrum servers adapted to serve users through the mesh directly. We’ll have a working prototype in ~1 month.

  • Continue adapting and developing the needed tools for Venezuelans (also Iran and Turkey are now in/towards a similar situation) to be able to actually use Bitcoin for everyday censorship resulting payments through this mesh privately and securely.

  • Research, adapt, collaborate, and promote second layer solutions like the Lightning Network that will let millions of users transact with each other once an important percentage of for example the people of Venezuela use Bitcoin payments every day. This research for example has let us understand that the mesh network devices could have a LN node routing payments through the mesh and make those hosting the mesh devices earn a bit of the fees collected, and even host an IPFS node too.

This project-effort is called Locha

https://twitter.com/Locha_io

We need your help and support to make this happen.

Ask Me Anything 🙂

Randy Brito contacto@BitcoinVenezuela.com

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