[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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Bitcoin – The Currency of the Internet

Probably the most unpopular post here

Okay so I'm gonna try to keep it short.

I'm all pro bitcoin and about holding it and waiting for the price to go up. But can we please stop promoting that as if that's what the purpose of BTC is. Bitcoin was made to be a currency and to be used as a currency not some get rich quick scheme, not something you never use.

I get the logic of, "Hey it dropped back to 6K I'd rather wait until 8K and then use it" but the only logic seems to be,"Hey let's hodl until the world ends"

If bitcoin isn't used then it's not gonna go anywhere, it's not going to gain any value because what the value in it? It's not a collectors item.

I get a lot of people missed out on it when it was under a penny, when it was a couple bucks, a couple hubdred, even a thousand. But even if you have $ 500 in btc right now and it jumps up to 60K in the next 10 years you will have 5K. Yeah it's money, a good return but YOU WON'T BE A MILLIONAIRE.

Please stop spreading this nonsense around and let's all start trying to get people to use BTC in everyday lives. Talk to a local shop or business about the ease of use, the low transaction fees, and the control. Talk to others about USING it, not hoarding it waiting to make a million.

That's why the banks and other corporations are stepping in, that's why it's being treated like a stock/bond whatever, because no one is using the thing to buy stuff.

Keep some of your BTC in the long run for when it does hit 60K, 420K and so on, but actually use the currency too.

Thanks for the downvotes ahead of time

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Bitcoin – The Currency of the Internet

Back here, last week in Venezuela LocalBitcoin traded 597 BTC for a total amount 11,884,027,816,113 Bolivares. Inflation is still rising, gov increased minimum wage from 3,000,000 to 5,000,000 Bs per month. 1 USD in the black market is between 3,500,000 and 4,000,000 Bs.

Hi guys, I was off some weeks, had several problems with the internet (the payment I made each month is almost zero so no maintenance), people are stealing copper wires from ADSL or power and selling them in the back market.

Government wanted to shave off 3 zeroes from the currency but had to delay that because there were no new bills, now they are thinking in shaving off 6 zeroes.

Inflation has continued increasing, while minimum wage per month is 5,000,000 Bs, one kilo of meat is around 8,000,000 Bs. One month ago was 5,000,000 Bs.

By the way, gasoline is free here in some service stations they don't require you to pay, you just fill the tank and go. One liter is 6Bs. which is 1.714285714285714e-6 USD.

One BTC trades around 25,000,000,000 Bolivares.

While government doesn't recognize officially the 3,500,000 / 4,000,000 black market exchange, they gave the authorization of Zoom (that works with Western Union) of do the exchange at 2,500,000 Bs. per USD.

You can read this articles (i recommend these sites)

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2018/07/16/zulia-seeks-a-blaze-of-light-during-power-cut-collapse/

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2018/07/17/the-not-so-silent-shakedown-of-venezuelan-radio-broadcasting/

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2018/07/18/venezuelan-nurses-strike-sparks-the-streets-of-caracas/

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2018/07/18/corruption-and-kleptocracy-keep-the-government-going/

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2018/07/13/caraquenos-trade-food-for-water-during-shortage/

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2018/07/13/getting-an-apostille-for-your-documents-might-land-you-in-jail/

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2018/07/10/sand-and-negligence-consume-whats-left-of-paraguana-peninsula/

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2018/07/01/some-classes-struggle-more-than-others/

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2018/07/02/culture-and-art-resist-the-dictatorship/

BTW, some people asked me about some Venezuelan bills, here is it illegal to ship them (maybe if you send one bill inside a book nothing will happen) but shipping anything more than that will get me in jail. I have one friend that lives in the states, he had some bills in his backpack when he left (no more than 20 bills), with his help maybe I can ship some bills, of course the main idea is to pay shipping cost and get something extra (remember, 100000 satoshis here can get me a kilo of meat, rice, pasta and beans). I already shipped with my friend some bills to https://www.reddit.com/user/Lord_Saren PM if you want to know more.

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Bitcoin – The Currency of the Internet