Transcription Episode 11

Hello everyone and welcome to Living on Blockchain. Today we are speaking to Joel. He is a freelance journalist.

He has been living, you know, off the edge and on simply crypto since 2016. He shut his bank account. He’s a part of the Free State Project.

It was a superb conversation that we had, kind of took me back as to why I started working in the blockchain space. It’s all about freedom and I hope this conversation kind of, you know, drives across this message that it doesn’t have to be that hard to actually go after what you truly believe in. Okay, so the recording has begun.

Hi Joel, thank you so much for taking out the time to speak to us today. How are you doing? I’m doing fantastic. How are you doing? I’m good.

Thank you so much for taking out the time. So could you tell us a little about, you know, yourself, your background? Yes, so I’m an independent journalist and content creator who has been focused heavily on the decentralization and cryptocurrency space for about the past seven or so years. Okay, and currently what are you working on? Yes, so my theory in all this is I sort of take a very practical approach to experimentation and for example, my first driving philosophy is of course the philosophy of freedom that I believe that the human race works much better when they’re free to basically do as they choose.

And most of the freedom movement, as it were, seems to center around politics and that’s something that I’m not at all interested in at this point. And so I was always seeking ways of finding ways to enable freedom in a much sooner and better kind of a context. And so that sort of led me to the concept of money and financial freedom and that led me to the concept of cryptocurrency.

And of course, after starting to believe in all this and think that this could be something that can really have a positive impact on millions, if not billions of people around the world, rather than just purely focus on talking about cryptocurrency, talking about blockchain technology, I thought it would be more responsible to make sure I actually knew what I was talking about. And the only way to know something for sure is to experience it. And so at the end of 2015, I decided to stop accepting payments in fiat currency and attempt to live entirely off of cryptocurrency.

And then in the middle of 2016, I also closed my bank account. And this is part of an ongoing experiment to see if this technology really works as advertised, so that I can speak with confidence when I try to educate the masses about it. Right.

And so how has your experience been so far? Because, you know, one of the criticisms is that this cannot be some, you know, just moving entirely to crypto is seen as a challenge, you know, vis-a-vis adoption. So because you have experienced it, how has your experience been so far? And what would you perhaps give as two cents to somebody who wants to follow your path? Yeah, so first, I believe that it’s much more doable than people seem to think. Even a few years ago, a few months ago, people would still say, well, I can’t believe that that’s possible today.

And it certainly has become much easier in recent times. But it’s, I think we’d be surprised to see just how far along the world came, especially with a little bit of ingenuity. A big part that I don’t think it’s significantly more challenging than for other unbanked persons.

Now, that’s the sort of the real eye opener is we kind of have this concept in our brains that if you have to have a bank account, and if you don’t, how do you operate? And there’s so many people around the world, I don’t know exact statistics on this. But I do know that, for example, in the United States, there’s somewhere around 10 or 11 undocumented immigrants. And that lack of documentation usually means a lack of banking.

And so there’s, at the very least, that portion of the population that does not have access to financial services today. And yet they find a way around things, they find a way to operate cash only, they find a friend to do things for them, they use certain intermediaries, such as check cashing places or bill pay services. And they managed to sort of get around this.

And, of course, it’s more challenging, there’s no denying that. But when you work off of cryptocurrency without a bank account, it’s about, it’s about the same, although I would argue in some ways, even easier. Now, the challenge for most people, in addition to that would probably be that price fluctuations.

And that isn’t on its own such a, you know, monumental problem, but it does require some planning and some discipline. And so for example, the equivalency I would like to give with that is being an entrepreneur and starting a small business, where your revenue stream month to month is not always constant, there’s some really good months, some bad months, and your bills or expenses tend to be more or less constant, they’re a little bit more flat. And so it basically forces people to live in a more entrepreneurial mindset or business owner mindset, where they basically save for tough months.

And when revenue is good, and they get rid of all their expenses that they they can at that time, and then they learn to live lean on the months when revenue is not so good. And so it’s the the management of income and savings over a long period of time, that really, it’s a skill that you need in order to live off of cryptocurrency today. Now, this kind of skill is also it’s not necessarily unique to cryptocurrency or even business.

There’s quite a few national currencies around the world that have severe inflation problems. And so for example, I have a few friends in Venezuela who deal with crypto crash type experiences just about every week, over and over again, and it never goes back up. And so you have to adjust your spending habits and things like that around that, because you know that the value of your money is literally rotting before your eyes.

And so in order to live like that, you have to manage it more correctly. But with cryptocurrency, if you manage to manage that, at some point, then you can be handsomely rewarded if you manage to, you know, not, not waste your money on the downturn on the upturn, then all of a sudden you have more possibilities. And I think that life tends to be like that more, you know, especially the closer we get to the natural world, the more life resembles that where you have good times and bad times, you have to survive and save for the bad times and all that.

And this, this concept of stability is sort of a human invention of society where you have a constant income, you have a constant payments on say, a vehicle, if you purchase a vehicle, you don’t purchase it with everything. It’s constant gradual payments. And it’s this concept of safety.

I think once people get used to the way people, I guess, used to live in having a risk, higher risk and higher reward in their daily lives, this sort of living won’t be as nearly as intimidating. And of course, if enough people start using it, then the fluctuations won’t be nearly as high. Yeah.

So obviously with mass adoption, the volatility as a problem kind of at least will go away to a certain extent. And that is something that I think I’m totally on board with. But, you know, as you said, you know, kind of analogy that you brought in that it is pretty much the same as somebody who is living without, say, a bank account.

And, you know, it’s actually exactly the same. But, you know, we kind of do not think of it like that. And although they are also finding a way to survive, I think, you know, people have a hang up in their head that would prefer to be much more difficult because I think because it’s completely new, but, you know, I would really like to know what kind of really was the tipping point for you? When did you decide, okay, you know, I want to shut off my bank account and I want to completely go off there? Well, it’s sort of, there’s a few key points that sort of moved me towards this direction.

First off was in 2013, I decided to move to New Hampshire for the Free State Project. Essentially, I, as I mentioned before, it’s always deeply about human freedom and was a little bit impatient at the kind of safe and old approaches to that of, well, let’s just try to have an impact in the national legislature and not really get much progress. And I heard of a group of people that were trying to focus their efforts in one small place where they could probably have an impact.

And so I decided to live that experiment. And on the way, on the trip out there, I heard about and seen some Bitcoin that year that went crazy. Of course, everyone started to pay attention to it.

And so during this point, I was always a fan of precious metals. I’d seen the purchasing power of, you know, the US dollar, which is supposedly one of the most stable and valuable currencies in the world, fall significantly compared to the price of gold. And so I, because of the ability to arbitrarily inflate it.

And so I was already on that, that kind of wavelength. And then, well, of course, when I heard that there’s this digital gold that you can actually spend and use much more easily, you know, it became very easy to start trying to play around with it. Now, it was in late 2015, where I had gotten, I told too many people about it.

And I, you know, I had said too many cool things about how this technology is going to change the world. Too much for my comfort level to, to, you know, I felt a feeling of responsibility of now I have to actually see if it can work like that. And that’s when I decided to embark on that experiment.

Now the bank, I did use the bank for a few months, whenever I needed to say, go in and out of cryptocurrency, or whenever I need this to sell some to pay rent or something like that. And it at that point, it was somewhere around the summer when one month, someone did a fraudulent charge in my name, and just completely cleaned out the account. And it was a few years later, they were, they were able to reverse everything.

And when I saw how the, I guess the thief had done it, they scribbled some random things on a piece of paper that didn’t even resemble my name. And just, it kind of sunk into me how this is not a good way to live where someone can just, you know, write something on a little piece of paper and then take everything you’re worth. And like that security model did not seem good at all.

And so there is one thing that I think a lot of people will, a lot of people who have lived on limited expenses or have ever, basically ever not been completely flush with money, have kind of felt that they will definitely appreciate about living off of money that they can, they control themselves, which is you always kind of know how much you have. You always, no one can take money in or out of your possession without your express permission. And sometimes you have volatility go up and down and the purchasing power of that money is not always the same, but at least the amount you have is always the same.

Now in the, the banking system, it’s kind of the opposite where everything works by people taking money out of your account. They get a number, they get a credit card number, account number or whatever, and then they just pull money out. And that’s without your consent.

Of course, the idea is supposedly you give consent to the person to start doing that to begin with. But at that point, there could be a double charge. This happens very frequently.

There could be some fraudulent charge. There could be a mistake or whatever it is. You’d never quite know what your bank balance is going to be because someone could just deduct something without your consent at all.

And when you have more than enough, it’s very, it just kind of gets ignored. But when you’re living close to the bone, as it were, it’s, it becomes a source of anxiety and stress of, well, what happens if something charges me for a thing? Or like you put a, you put a, a, a test charge on your card in order to activate a service or something, and then it never gets canceled or someone double charges you for something and you could end up in a very bad position through no fault of your own. So that’s one stress that I have been very happy to not have in my life for the past four or so years.

Wow. Okay. You know, that, that is actually, now there are services that will remind you to sort of cancel a subscription, et cetera.

And obviously this is what goes on a larger scale, kind of, the system that is in place, obviously is not secure and it doesn’t really work out well. That is why there is a need for, you know, people like us who are working in crypto. And I totally get that, but, you know, I’m still curious about your day-to-day expenses.

How do you go about, you know, sort of going about doing the day-to-day expenses or transactions that you have to do in order to sort of just, you need a comfortable life considering you are off it. And there is not that much adoption of crypto. Well, I happen to be relatively blessed because I live in New Hampshire with a whole bunch of other crazy freedom loving people, such as myself.

And there’s tends to be a much higher adoption of cryptocurrencies, both in terms of public establishments, as well as private peer-to-peer trading than just about anywhere else in the world. And so, for example, there’s a farm up north that accepts cryptocurrency for everything. And so that I get most of my meat and produce from there.

There are quite a few services. For example, I trained martial arts and my jiu-jitsu school was around the corner. They accept cryptocurrency.

There’s a few cafes and bars close by here that I can go to that accept it. There’s a few different grocery stores and there’s a bread delivery service from a friend of ours that also accepts it. There’s enough in that peer-to-peer economy that allows you to kind of buy anything, to basically eat with no problem.

And there’s also quite a few places who, there’s quite a few, there’s at least one or two property groups that accept it for rent payments. One of them has 20 to 30 apartment units, as well as a bunch of in-person landlords. And of course, the question of how have I personally done that changes from year to year, depending on where I live or how I live, but it’s very doable.

And there has been all the in-between of whichever services you don’t get, there’s a few great tools. So for example, there’s quite a few services that allow you to buy Amazon gift cards or basically shop at with cryptocurrency. And at that point, that’s just about, that’s a staggering level of products that you can buy there.

That thing alone takes care of most things. There’s another service that I’m very much a fan of and a user of called BitRefill, which allows you to refill your phone or buy gift codes to just about anything, especially in the US, although the international selections are quite good as well these days. And a lot of times because of the seamlessness of the service, it’s almost as easy as using a fiat currency at one of these more like larger chains.

And so that kind of fills in a whole lot of different gaps. Also allows me to pay my phone bill. The only difficult part, I would say, the only part that I have to really get changes and I have to kind of worry about is bill pay specifically.

And this is also a unique problem more or less to me because, or not to me, but to where I live, because there’s quite a few services around the world. I forget the name of a few of them because I don’t use them, that allow you to pay your bills with cryptocurrency very easily. And it’s because of the US banking system is so antiquated and has a bunch of restrictions that this is more difficult here.

So in the past, either I’ve had like an all-in-one bill with the rent solution. So that hasn’t been an issue. Or a couple of times I’ve used a friend for a few times and just said, I will pay you cryptocurrency, you pay the bill.

And there was a service that was active until recently called Lamium that did exactly that, that basically allowed you to pay your bill and someone else wanting your cryptocurrency would then pay it for you. Sort of how the service, which is a work sort of like that with Amazon gift cards. It’s kind of an equivalent of that for bill paying.

And so I’d use that for a while. And there’ve been quite a few different things in between, but that’s been the most moving target or difficult solution, but it’s suffice to say that it has been possible. Okay.

Okay. Yeah. Okay.

You know, that actually makes a lot of sense. I think when, you know, we are all aware of these services that can kind of facilitate these transactions or get, you know, there are service providers who will accept crypto, but somehow we are not able to put it together in our head and see a larger picture. We still, at least my perception, you know, until, you know, I kind of spoke to you and, you know, you gave that beautiful analogy of how it’s not being not very different as being somebody, you know, who doesn’t have a bank account.

I also thought that perhaps moving completely to crypto is difficult. So, you know, for my day to day transactions, I still deal with fiat though the rest of my holdings are in, you know, different investment instruments. But, you know, as I spoken to you, I realized that there are services and, you know, it’s just about sort of perhaps taking the pain to put them together and realize what exactly are you going to be using a very good example that you gave for Amazon gift cards.

I think that is available almost in every country. It’s even there here in this continent. And that kind of opens up, you know, the entire world of options for you.

So yeah, this is very insightful. I think this is totally doable as I’m speaking to you and realizing it, because in my head, I think even had a hang up somewhere. So, you know, your LinkedIn profile talks about how you are a Dash Force partner, and you take your public outreach there.

Can you tell us a little about that? Yes. So that is more of a previous position at this point. Okay.

I worked for the Dash decentralized. Sorry, tripping over a word here. I worked for the DashDAO or Decentralized Autonomous Organization from 2016 through the end of 2019.

And I’m not sure exactly how familiar audience would be with how a DAO works, but basically it’s a leaderless organization that anyone is open to participation from anyone. So at the end of 2016, I was still living off cryptocurrency. And at that point, the Bitcoin transaction fees and time started to get too high to be usable.

So we’re talking about, you know, buying a lunch with it, for example, a few days, I had to skip lunch because the transaction didn’t go through in time, or I would have to be walking around the shopping mall for an hour or more waiting for a transaction to clear before I could do something. And that’s, I think many of us are familiar with what happened with at the end of 2017, where everything was extremely expensive and slow to move. But at the end of 2016, it was already at that point where for everyday digital cash, it just wasn’t feasible anymore.

So at that point, I decided to, I decided to, basically, I had to either abandon my experiment and tell everyone who I know that, hey, this didn’t work out, it turns out I was wrong, or I had to find a way to keep it going. And the only way I could keep it going, I was looking down the list of other top cryptocurrencies that were at all usable. The only one that was feasible at that point was Dash, because I believe Litecoin was a relatively abandoned project at that point.

This was a whole year before Bitcoin Cash existed. Ethereum was mostly being used for applications and not as money. And with recent fee issues now, that was a good idea.

And so that was literally my only choice. And that’s what I’ve been using for the past about four years. And the user experience has, contrary to Bitcoin, has actually gotten better over time.

Before it was simply a faster, cheaper Bitcoin. However, with a few recent innovations, now every single transaction is permanently settled in under two seconds. And that’s one of those things that really, when I was talking about some apps like BitRefill, making the experience of spending cryptocurrency at places that don’t accept it directly, a good experience.

So if you can buy a gift code to say, go out to a restaurant or a shopping mall or wherever, and you get the total for, let’s just say $41, you can open BitRefill and buy $41 worth of gift credit. And when you pay the invoice, with most cryptocurrencies, you have to wait for a single transaction, for a single confirmation, which could be two and a half to five minutes to 10 or more minutes. But with Dash, it gets confirmed instantly.

So you can do that while at the register. And it’s as fast, I would say, as say, pulling out your bank card from the bottom of your pocket. And so that’s one of those things that has been much easier.

I don’t think if I was using any different cryptocurrency, I would have had nearly as much success in kind of using it in a day-to-day setting. So basically all that to say, after living off of Dash for a few months, I decided to seek employment from Dash directly. And since there is no central entity that just, there is a development team, but there’s no central entity that just deals with all this kind of thing.

Myself and a couple of partners came up with a funding proposal and anyone can, it costs a five Dash anti-spam fee, which I haven’t looked at the price of this today, but it’s, you know, $250 or so. And of course, with the price going higher, that makes it more expensive to ask. And now you can ask for funding.

And as soon as that funding request is granted, then at the end of the month, you get your payment from what they call the super block, which is literally just new coins created every month. A portion of those go towards different contractors for the network. And so my salary came from the sky, essentially, it came from nowhere.

It was coins with no transaction history. It’s sort of like mining in the way when you run a cryptocurrency miner and you discover a block, you get paid from newly created coins. It’s the same way.

And I think that people have really been underestimating the value of a system like that in providing an actual censorship resistant economy, because in a lot of other situations, you can, for example, let’s say a governmental situation, you can all vote for a budget allocation. And then you still have to trust the people who hold that money to go through with their wishes of the people. But in this case, as soon as there’s a vote tallied on the network, on the blockchain vote, as it were, and when the vote speaks, it speaks and then you get paid.

And that’s something that could be extremely empowering for a public accountability kind of a setting. In fact, in the future, I really hope that all governments kind of work on a decentralized autonomous organization level, where voters have actual real written in the code, not just the law, which you expect someone to enforce the law, a self enforcing law that kind of carries out the wishes of the people. I think that would be a massive innovation on par with the innovation of creating the decentralized financial system.

Yeah, I think, you know, what you said about how, you know, it’s about interacting with essentially a network, and it is not about trust. So it is about creating a trustless system or a trustless network where you don’t have to just sort of believe that a particular transaction will be executed, it will be executed, because that’s the algorithm. So I think, you know, that that kind of again, puts it very beautifully.

And you know, you mentioned about the high Ethereum, you know, the fees on the Ethereum network high transaction fees that are going on, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous what is happening there. What is your take on this entire DeFi boom that is going on? And there’s a lot of noise nowadays about DeFi. Yes, well, it’s difficult to quite pinpoint on it.

I think that there’s a lot of fantastic, here’s my basic, again, this is my opinion, if I’m come off relatively uneducated about that, I’m sorry, it’s just my opinion. So I believe that the Ethereum, specifically Ethereum, but a lot of crypto space, the Ethereum idea flow model comes up with a come up with a an idea that sounds good. And that has the potential to help a lot of people that are currently struggling, you come out with that idea, you implement it in a way that doesn’t necessarily make sense for those goals.

And then people figure out people in, you know, I would say largely the first world figure out they can make money off of this, just playing this game rather than actually participating in a system that’s helping people solve real problems. And then it becomes a kind of casino effect where you have a bunch of people jumping on board, hoping to make a quick, quick buck out of this. And then it gets overloaded and then crashes.

So my basic, I do think that the concept of decentralized finance is, you know, world changing. And of course, where I would start with decentralized finance is peer to peer digital cash. That’s the thing that exists in a few different forms, but is not widely used.

And I would probably focus primarily on getting that out there. Now, as far as other decentralized finance kind of issues, the challenge when you’re making self-executing kinds of things, especially as they become complex is there’s always unintended risks and consequences. So for example, say you have a stable coin with a liquidity pool.

At some point you could, you know, risk collapsing the system with a large enough shock that just kind of goes through that. There’s always a way of overloading a system. And that’s the thing is, I think that that’s just like in my own personal life, I decided to test if cryptocurrency is something one could viably live on.

I do think that a lot of systems should be much more wary of being broken because whether it’s just the natural pressures and stresses of the world, or it’s just some kids somewhere who likes trying to break things because it’s fun, which, you know, don’t underestimate how many of things that is. I think we can quickly find that we’ve run into some issues where something gets overloaded and then nothing works. And so, for example, with everyone thought it was a good idea to build their tokens or project tokens for whatever reason on Ethereum.

And for example, one of these sites I publish on is called Publish0x. And it’s a blog that basically has a pool of tips, mostly Ethereum tokens, that users can use to tip other authors. And they get a portion of the tips as well.

And then the author gets the rest. And it’s a good way of incentivizing good content as well as promoting whatever tokens end up being donated to the platform. And there’s, of course, a lot of people in the developing world or elsewhere who end up participating and using this as sort of a source of income where they’re able to sort of self-publish, to blog, to do whatever, and make a small and modest income, which could be more significant depending on where in the world they live.

But all those tokens running on Ethereum, now you have exorbitant transaction fees. So now it’s very difficult to be able to actually make a living off of that. So now you have people who were negatively affected because of this.

And if they had all used, I would say, possibly separate chains, it’d be easier to, for example, rely on a different chain. And it’s funny because there’s this one game that came out recently called Lightbringer, which runs with all the actions running on the Litecoin network. And the Litecoin network has at least tripled in transaction volume, if not more, over the past week or week or two weeks.

And something like that, if something like that happens, it overloads the Litecoin network and it costs several dollars to move any transaction. You can still switch to something else. But if all your tokens are based on the same overarching network, then we run into some serious problems, especially when people are playing, lack of a better term, DeFi games.

And you look at the top hundred tokens, about half of them are Ethereum based, like half the top cryptocurrency. So half of the space essentially runs on Ethereum. And if Ethereum has a problem, everything has a problem.

And from a security standpoint, that’s not really very good. Yeah. I think that’s actually, again, a very good perspective to have on this because amidst all this noise, people tend to forget that ultimately it’s all on one network.

And people are building, you know, there are some people who are doing a really good job. They’re trying to really solve problems. But again, as you said, that it has kind of become like a game for people to kind of make a quick buck.

And obviously, some caution needs to be in order. But then, again, a really good insight, because I think this word of caution is very necessary. When, you know, there is too much FOMO and there is so much noise, it’s good to have these cautionary words kind of make sure that people know both the sides and they understand.

That is why it’s very important to sort of, you know, do your own research and then get into this. I would love to, you know, for you to elaborate a little bit about the Free State Project, because this is something that sounds really interesting from whatever little I have seen until now. Could you tell us a little about it? Yeah, absolutely.

So basically, when you’re talking about politics in, I would say, any country, but especially in the U.S., where it’s relatively restricted to the two-party system, there’s a lot of essentially what I believe to be, it’s kind of more of a four-part axis rather, with the right and the left being on opposite horizontal sides and liberty and tyranny on the vertical sides. And where essentially that’s like a four, you could be, you know, you want freedom on one side, you want a heavy-handed government on the other side. And the right and the left each have a mix, kind of like yin and yang, they have a different mix of those in their own flavors.

But essentially people who want either of those two, which hopefully they would all want freedom, are sort of left out of the equation. And there have been a few political, a few efforts on getting a libertarian party moving, or even there’s a green party, which is kind of a, one could call more libertarian left, but that’s a different discussion. There’s been some efforts trying to get third-party representation, but they’ve been a very difficult uphill battle.

And it’s very difficult to get any kind of traction in a good in a good direction. Now, of course, in a free market environment, you’re free to try whatever you want and the best solution wins out. And so if you start small, but are successful, you can grow big and essentially everyone can get on board in the end.

But with a political system, you have to win in order to get your ideas implemented. And so the idea was, there’s more than enough people that know about the ideas of freedom that want to live in a freer world. There’s more than enough people, just not enough in, in any given place.

So what would happen if the entire, if we got, let’s just say a critical mass of about 20,000 people to move to a relatively small population state that already has a very pro-freedom bent, and then see where that ends up. And so that was kind of the, that was, that’s essentially the Free State Project in a nutshell. They picked the state of New Hampshire and then went for it.

And I believe the initial idea, although it was intentionally open-ended of move and then advance freedom in whatever ways you see maximize your utility. It’s coming again, trying to maximize freedom by allowing freedom to do it in whichever way you want. I believe the initial idea was more of an electoral kind of an idea of where you move to one spot, and then there’s more voters and specifically political activists that can have a higher participation in the legislature and start to enact more pro-freedom measures, which then has a, an effect of raising the health, wealth, and prosperity of the state, and then kind of causes more states to take notice and eventually have a domino effect.

And then the world starts to emulate a freer model because of a good example. Now, since then, it’s been, there’s been a diversification of approaches towards freedom in New Hampshire. Now, there is a strong contingent of political people, of people running for office, of, you know, all that, and there has been a lot of progress in that area.

However, there’s been, I would argue, even more progress in other areas. For example, cryptocurrency being one of the largest tools for freedom around here, and you can actually go to, I wouldn’t even, not even a major city, but a minor town, and then another one, and another one, and find several places where you can spend it in a real world environment, just like digital cash. And that’s something that you don’t really see almost anywhere else in the world, definitely not to that extent.

And at the same time, you have a few pro, a few cryptocurrency startups up here. For example, the Library Decentralized Content Platform is, was born and, born and raised in New Hampshire, so to speak. And that’s basically providing a censorship-resistant platform for content creators, journalists, et cetera, mainly targeting itself as a YouTube competitor.

But the, the protocol is, you know, basically able to be used for almost anything. In fact, I, I publish a lot of articles on that, that platform as well. And so there’s a big explosion in cryptocurrency, and there’s also a large movement towards sustainable, local, localized farming and localized trade to basically create a, a, a self-sustaining micro-economy, even though there’s a lot of people that still use, you know, larger, larger scale economic elements, such as grocery stores and things like that.

There’s a, there’s, there are people who live almost entirely off of a smaller scale, farmers markets, things like that. And like, I would probably call myself a 50-50, about half of the things I buy are local and from, you know, from small business owners and not, not, I would, by small, I would say not even like a storefront, like go to a small market, go from a friend. And about half of it would be from actual brick and mortar businesses.

So there’s also movement towards homeschooling and other ways of educating children with more freedom rather than through the, the government systems. And so it’s, it’s one of those things where if you weren’t paying attention, you would wonder, Hey, what happened to the, with the Free State project? I heard about that many years ago. But if you look with more granularity, you can start to see that some, you know, amazing efforts have been successful from the ground up.

Wow. Okay. You know, it sounds really wonderful.

Again, you know, these are, these are things that, you know, you kind of think in a very idealistic manner that, you know, perhaps that, that only in an ideal situation, would a situation or would a community like that be able to exist and thrive? But, you know, that’s not necessarily the case. And you said, if you’re not paying attention, you might not even notice, but obviously, you know, there are people like you who are a part of it and it’s working out well for you. And it kind of, again, you do kind of reinstates my belief in the fact that this is totally doable.

And somehow we are sold onto the beliefs that this is hard just because it’s, it’s something away from the usual. Yeah, exactly. It’s, I think it’s something that’s a much easier way of, of forming your life.

And that’s one other thing that I think kind of gets underestimated is the power of a community and the power of living a fulfilling life. A lot of people, we have very few years on this earth when we think about it. And a lot of people get caught up into either mindless idealism where they don’t, they don’t pay attention to their own personal life and fulfillment or the opposite, where they care about causes that could make their, their lives and the lives of others move in a much more positive direction that they’re too caught up in the day to day, living a happy life to, you know, take a risk on that.

And that’s why I think this kind of, this movement turned out to be something much better is because rather than just, you know, angrily yell at people who don’t agree with you all day long and get on the politics, you have a, you can actually not be personally isolated. You can have a community of people where if you’re all socializing and you, you don’t get weird looks by, you know, saying something about that. You don’t agree with either major party candidate, or, you know, you don’t have to hear constant sort of, you know, depressing conversation about, you know, this guy’s terrible.

This guy’s even worse and all that. You get to actually live your life at the same time. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s a very beautiful area with four seasons and it’s extremely safe and very high standards of living, et cetera.

That’s a place you’d actually want to live even if you didn’t care about a cause. And so I think that’s part of what makes it really work is you don’t have to, it’s not like a battle front. You don’t have to go to war every single day.

You can just move and start living free today. And over time with enough people doing that, then the whole world, especially this microcosm of the world moves forward in that way. Yeah.

That’s, that’s you know, that’s, that’s a wonderful way to sort of put it that, you know, it’s just, you don’t, it doesn’t have to be a battle every day. Like you don’t have to kind of consume all the negative news and the content that keeps going around and get into all of these arguments every day. Because as you said, you know, one candidate is worse than the other, you know, you hear 10 more things about the other one.

And that kind of, it doesn’t have to be like that as life is short and, you know, we can kind of perhaps make conscious choices to live better. And that is exactly what you’re doing. So yeah, more, you know, kudos to you.

It sounds like a very, probably, you know, the kind of Adobe, I would imagine it an ideal way of living, because it’s very centered. It’s about freedom, ultimately. And that is something that I think that I value highly as well.

And yeah, I think now, you know, after talking to you, I think I should be taking more steps to do something about it, rather than just, you know, sort of thinking that it might be the harder way to go about doing things, because it’s doable. And it’s, it’s perhaps not hard at all. It’s just about sort of making that choice, and then continue, you know, kind of making it day in and day out.

So yeah, I think you just need to be more conscious about it. Okay. So this, this is, this has been such a wonderful conversation.

I can, I think I can keep talking to you about all this. But you know, we are short on time. And I would love for you to give us some recommendations to our listeners who, you know, for books or for thought leaders that you know, you think people should follow or listen to in this space? Yes.

So that’s kind of a little bit of a difficult question, because there’s a lot of thought leaders, etc, that I have kind of veered away from, because again, this lack of practicality. Yeah. But for my own part, what I’ve been doing is I’ve been making a video series called how to live on crypto.

And it’s on YouTube and on library, And if you just look at into those actual, those exact search terms, you’d come up with it. And currently, I’m doing it as far as just how do you receive and spend cryptocurrency in your day to day life, but I do want to expand it in to include how do you make a living online as a, for example, a content creator or other kind of business like that? Like, how do you take care of that side of things? And that’s a, I would say that’s a great place to start. I would follow two projects, the Free State Project, of course, and you know, whether Twitter is, of course, in my view, like the best way to sort of follow a lot of these things, because it’s the, you know, the format is good.

It’s a very sort of public square kind of vibe to it. But there’s other networks. So I’d follow the Free State Project.

And I would also follow library, lbry, because they send, they tend to be on the forefront of the sort of content freedom wars and stuff. And that’s another, that’s another kind of beyond just money, as far as how you can live free financially, it’s how you can live with free speech. And, you know, over time, you know, those, those two things become some of the more important kind of issues of our time.

So those are the ones I would recommend you specifically look into. And it’s, I would just say that living free is absolutely a choice. And it’s a relatively easy choice to make.

There’s a lot of, in today’s day, there’s a lot of different ways you can actually take back your, your privacy, your security, your freedom, in small ways. You can use an encrypted messenger, like Signal, so you don’t get spied on, you can use Linux. Now, of course, a lot of people using Windows or Mac operating systems might be scared.

I use Ubuntu. And it’s been, I love Ubuntu. Yeah, yes.

And it works. It like it works extremely easily for 95% of situations, as long as you have someone who knows more than you, in case you run into a problem. There’s no reason you can’t really switch to that.

Of course, I use the brave browser, which lets which protects your privacy. I use a search engine called pre search, which essentially protects your privacy as well. There’s a few different things you can do.

Of course, I use a VP app. Now, just all that together is just like the tech package of freedom. But then you start thinking, okay, well, why don’t I have a small garden out on my patio? Why don’t I see who’s selling local produce or other things? Let’s see who what what things I can actually spend cryptocurrency on, even if it’s only 10% of what I spend every month? What if I can I just buy one thing regularly? Can I pay one bill with it? And then before you know it, you could be living a much freer life and not realize how difficult and insurmountable it seems before you start just taking these small, small steps.

And I have to say the user experience of living free, whether it’s technological experience or an infrastructural experience, such as where do you buy things? Or who do you interact with? Or just the physical experience of where do you have to live physically? It’s gone way higher in recent years to where you don’t have to suffer to live for you don’t have to compromise use an inferior product to be free. In fact, a lot of times you get a superior life. Okay, you know, this kind of, you know, you’ve answered my last question, which I usually ask people, how do you how would you recommend people start living on blockchain? So you know, with the tech package, and with those new ideas that I think, you know, you’ve put forward, people should be able to reclaim their freedom, if they make conscious decision to do that.

So wonderful. This is this has been a really great conversation. I had a wonderful time.

Any last thoughts, Joel? Yes, the only way you can ever, you can ever be sure about anything is by experiencing it. And the only way to ever start is to actually start and take a small risk. Life is life is full of risk and reward.

And if you don’t, if you don’t know how to manage risks, you’re going to limit your rewards. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, that’s, that’s a wonderful way to end this conversation.

Thank you so much for taking out the time. It has been absolutely lovely talking to you. It was really insightful for me.

I hope it was for listeners as well. Thank you so much. Yeah, thank you for having me.

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