The feel-good hits of the week are these: A homeless man finds The Lightning Network and is suddenly banked. An art dealer buys and sells using Bitcoin. Plus, the Bitcoin Smiles campaign gets coverage in a major magazine. We’re going around the world for this one, Netherlands, Nigeria, and El Salvador. All in the name of feeling good. Bitcoin is changing the world for the better and we’ll do our part to highlight the little stories that make the big picture.
Even though Bitcoin’s main use case is in developing economies, there are unbanked people in the so-called first world. The subject of our main story is a perfect example of that, the person known as Homeless Mokum. We learn a lot about the Netherlands by reading the article “How I became homeless and unbanked in Amsterdam and then became Bitcoin millionaire.”
Feel-Good #1: Suddenly Banked
For example, when a mysterious woman tells Homeless Mokum about Bitcoin, this is the reaction.
“Now I am forever grateful to her for showing the way. But at that time I even thought she was trying to scam me. Bitcoin is considered a scam in the Netherlands because it says so in the papers.”
Wow! So, that’s why adoption in Europe feels slow. Besides the fact that there’s not a real need, there’s media manipulation mixed in. However, that’s not Homeless Mokum’s case. How did this person end up in his situation?
“I was stuck in a bad relationship with big money debts. Then I had no money to pay for a room, nor a working bank account, only debt. When I worked all the money automatically disappeared in my debts. I ended up on the street.”
Homeless Mokum tried to get help from Dutch organizations, but they would just place Mokum on a list and forget about it. “Because I was too old or too young. Not stable enough, or not mentally ill enough. Not homeless enough but economic homeless.” This is just an example of how normal people can find themselves unbanked in the first world. Luckily, Bitcoin fixes this.
The angel in this story is a woman on a bench at the airport
“She showed me how to download a Blue lightning wallet on my phone and send me 10 satoshi, the smallest bit of Bitcoin. She also showed me this Sarutobi game she played to earn satoshis.”
BTC price chart on Bitbay | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
Enter Bitcoin, Mokum Finds The Light-ning
Even though Mokum thought it was a scam at first, there was something real there. He had satoshis. That was a fact.
“I spent days at the public library, I remembered the girl and the wallet. On Twitter I found people talking about this Lightning. There were people sending Lightning QR invoices to each other with satoshis. I started with making lightning invoices, going to lightning faucets and reading more on Bitcoin. I got more sats from Bitcoin people online, they were giving them away.”
— HomelessAmsterdam ⚡️ (@HomelessMokum) August 24, 2021
Of course, the Bitcoin community came to the rescue. That’s what the Bitcoin community does. “I got so much help online. I was so thankful. It was unbelievable, so much kindness.” And here comes the realization, Mokum figured out that he was his own bank.
“I am practically unbanked in the Netherlands with only debt to my name and suddenly I was my own bank and saving money. It gave me more than hope, I saw a future for myself with satoshi. This was so important to me. It gave me a feeling of security and even sometimes self-confidence. Powerful feelings.”
Is there a more revealing feel-good story than this one? So many things that the Bitcoin community discusses in abstract form are at display here. And right in the middle of the so-called first world. Moluk finishes with the hope we need, “I am still unhoused and have a lot of problems but I have found hope, a sense of belonging to something better and a way of saving money for my future, seeing a way out.”
Donate to Homeless Moluk:
Feel-Good #2: Bitcoin For Art
The second feel-good story is about Joseph Ebuka from Lagos, Nigeria. An art collector and dealer on the rise, “I’ve just started my journey into the art collection and I have about four artworks in my gallery already.” And we’re not just talking digital art:
“My recent purchase was a physical painting, so I went to the artist’s studio. He also owns a Paxful Wallet, which made the transaction easier and faster. All I did was ask for his wallet address and send him my BTC payment. Since it was an internal transfer, I was charged with 0 fees and the artist received my payment instantly.”
That same process is the norm with any Lightning Network wallet. Except for Chivo, that is. This feel-good story ends with recommendations and ideas for people with similar interests.
“Joseph also attends art auctions on Telegram, where he connects with international and local artists selling their works on blockchain platforms. He spreads the word about Bitcoin and blockchain technology with others who aren’t very familiar with it, whenever possible.”
Feel-Good 3: Bitcoin Smiles At Forbes
We’ve covered the Bitcoin Smiles campaign in our “News From The Salvador” feature. More than once. But a specialized publication like us is one thing, a legacy publication that the masses trust publishing a feel-good story about them is another altogether. What did Forbes say about Bitcoin Smiles?
“Local dentist Enrique Berrios has been waiving fees at his practice and traveling to isolated, rural patients ever since he arrived in the town 17 years ago. After crossing paths with the bitcoin community that set up shop in El Zonte, his good deeds have now won international backing.”
And then, for maximum feel-good effect, they highlight the incredible generosity of the Bitcoin community:
“In less than five months, Bitcoin Smiles has blasted through its fundraising target to reach a total of 1.88239BTC, as of 19:10 GMT on Friday, December 31, 2021. The bonus funds will help Berrios afford the portable equipment he needs to reach patients who can’t make the journey to his practice themselves.”
Learn more, donate, and see the fruit of Bitcoin Smile’s labor at their website.
Featured Image: Homeless Mokum's tent from his post | Charts by TradingView