Ama-gi is a Sumerian word that is generally translated as “freedom” by means of being “debt free.” Your financial life is a major component of your ability to live sovereignly. It is harder to control your own destiny if you are beholden to debtors like banks, credit card companies or governments. Crypto-currency is an important tool to help you maintain financial sovereignty in the city.
As an agorist, I prefer to engage as little as possible with the state-run economy. This means using the U.S. Dollar, aka Federal Reserve Note, as little as possible. Unfortunately, that is pretty difficult, especially when you live in a metropolis.
Well, it WAS difficult until the invention and adoption of cryptocurrency.
10 years ago when bitcoin was born, it was almost impossible to find commercial enterprises accepting crypto-currency as payment. Today, however, especially in major cities, you can find plenty of merchants who not only accept crypto but prefer crypto payments.
Before we get into how, let’s quickly address why:
Essentially, agorism is a radical counter economic philosophy that seeks to create a society free of institutional violence and coercion by using black and gray markets in the underground or “illegal” economy, to siphon power away from the state. (For a more in-depth look at agorism read this.)
Why siphon power from the state? Everything the state does is through violence or the threat of violence. For example; when the state wants to feed the poor, it taxes your income. If you don’t want to contribute to the poor, the IRS seizes your bank accounts, comes to your house with guns and puts you in a cage or kills you if you resist. The state then takes the lions-share of this confiscated wealth to buy weapons that they ultimately use to confiscate property from the people of other countries. Then, government agencies offer a pittance to help the poor just enough that we continue “believing in the system,” and allowing the ruling class to avoid revolution.
How do we achieve a more peaceful world? We stop participating in violent and coercive systems like government. We starve the state of revenue.
“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
Jesus is quoted as saying this, after being asked about paying taxes. Many Christians interpret that to mean it is a moral obligation to pay taxes, I take that to mean… if you are going to use Cesar’s money then you will be obligated to pay his taxes.
What if you just refuse to use the state’s money? Opt-out. Now I know the IRS considers bitcoin a taxable asset, but if you are buying privately from individuals or institutions who are NOT subjecting themselves to “Know Your Customer” regulations, then it’s near impossible to prove crypto assets. It’s literally digital cash.
You can live with a clear conscience knowing that every time you use crypto you are denying the state resources that would be used to kill children abroad.
Another movement is using crypto-currency to bring banking services to those without access to traditional banking either because of geographic location, extreme poverty, or lack of “credit worthiness.”
Anyone who is unbanked can create a bitcoin wallet and transfer money internationally via the internet or even use bitcoin debit cards, which work like any VISA debit card.
Venezuela is a great current example of how crypto-currency is helping people get access to essential goods that they wouldn’t have possibly had access to otherwise, because of high inflation and devaluation of the local currency.
These are some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past few years applying Agorist theory in the crypto-currency space.
There are several options available for paying for goods and services with crypto. The quickest, easiest way to get started today is by using the Gyft app. Gyft allows you to purchase giftcards to hundreds of retailers using bitcoin. The drawback to this is you can only shop from major chain retailers which excludes local small businesses. Another option is e-Gifter which works the same way as Gyft, however e-Gifter sells VISA gift cards that can be used anywhere VISA is accepted, this opens up your options, although you are still providing revenue to “the system” by patronizing VISA.
One popular way of living off a crypto-currency is the use of debit cards that allow users of these cards to purchase things wherever Visa or Mastercard is accepted. There are crypto-infused debit cards provided by companies like Wagecan, Bitpay, Shift (Coinbase), Wirex, and many more. Most of these cards support many of the most popular crypto-currencies, and when using them, users can pay for bills or shop virtually anywhere. (BestBitcoinCard.com provides some comparisons and pro v con analysis of the different crypto debit cards on the market, its worth checking out.)
These debit cards are currently the best way to use crypto to pay for things like your cell phone bill, electricity and other utility bills. Bill Pay For Coins is a service that lets you pay your utility bills with crypto.
What about my rent or mortgage? I still pay my rent in Federal Reserve Notes because I couldn’t talk my landlord into taking Crypto payments, and im not currently aware of any banks that accept crypto for mortgage payments.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
It’s important to remember that you probably won’t be able to get completely off the financial grid while living in a major city, but this isn’t an all or nothing game. Every penny you deny the state is a win. If you can reduce your dependance on the financial grid even by 10-20% that is a huge win especially when aggregated over time.
When it comes to products and services we strongly encourage buying from small, local businesses as much as possible. Finding local businesses who accept crypto-currencies can be challenging.
There are online maps where you can find businesses local to you that accept crypto. Coinmap is one such directory. Bitcoin cash fans can utilize the ‘Accept Bitcoin Cash Initiative,’ which is a curated list of merchants who accept BCH directly. There are also merchant directories for dash, monero, and bitcoin.
If you can’t find local businesses that are currently taking crypto, then you can become a “bitcoin evangelist.”
Have a favorite restaurant, cafe or specialty store? Develop a relationship with the owner/managers and talk to them about the advantages of accepting crypto-currencies. Help them set up a wallet and offer to pay them in crypto. Encourage them to advertise that they accept crypto-currency and then other crypto enthusiasts in your neighborhood will come out of the woodwork. You will have planted the seed that will grow into an Agorist trade network! Congratulations! You are a counter economic revolutionary who is subverting the state every time you buy a latte!