A Story About Bitcoin and Art
In 2014 I discovered bitcoin. Yeaaa yea I know I’m a bit late and that train has passed, it peaked at over $1000 per digital coin, and crashed hard. NASCAR: Scary as hell to be in the car while flipping and burning, wondering if you’re gonna come out of the whole thing with your shoes on and life intact; awe-inspiringly breathtaking as a spectator. I stumbled upon a community of people, completely untapped by a very large percentage of the world. The crash scared all the front runners and fly by night investors away, and what remained was a supportive group over 200k strong who are still holding onto that dream of a new way of living, universal digital currency.
It started with somebody looking for some promo paintings and artwork for their website header. Normally my go-to solution for online payment is Paypal. Not this job. He was unable to sign up for paypal for some reason unbeknownst to me. “Do you accept Bitcoin?”
“Of course I accept Bitcoin.”
The way I look at it, anything can be worth what people are willing to pay for it. This goes for everything and anything that can be exchanged for whatever your heart desires. Had he wanted to pay me in head of cattle for the job I probably would’ve declined, but let’s take this time to ask ourselves why we put the values on the things that we do. Who is to say that a cow can be traded for 2 lambs and a goat? Nobody but the trading parties involved. We give the same seemingly arbitrary values to the paper currency and the gold that backs it. Things are valued for the usefulness they possess, as soon as something stops being useful, it’s no longer valued. Just ask all the VCRs, CD players, and soon to be Cable Companies.
That being said,(At the time of typing this) One Bitcoin is trading for 236.11 US Dollars. Clearly they are giving it enough worth to keep things afloat. That’s for the investors though, for the small businessman it’s a whole different game. Prior to that website artwork I had done, I was catering to only one form of payment. I was competing with the entire field of graphic designers, but as soon as he said “Do you accept Bitcoin?” I was only competing with the other Artists who also accepted it. Like the 49’ers of old, I had stumbled upon what appeared to be an untouched goldmine. I feel like I don’t have to go toe to toe with the big players out there, and the same goes for any other business. The people within the Bitcoin community want to see it prosper and do well more than anybody. For this reason alone, they are far more accepting to creative types and the little guy. For every person they guide into Bitcoin, the more worth they have, the better it is for everybody in the long run.
New things however, take a lot longer to get around to the big dogs. The companies who are sucking up all of your would-be customers and profits, you know who they are. I think Bitcoin can provide an excellent head start to earn clients and build your business before they catch wind of it and move on in. The other aspect of tossing your business into the mix are the digital possibilities. My mind continues to be blown by the generosity of people on the internet.
You’re walking down the street and there they are. Singing slightly out of tune and playing a few chords on their shabby guitar with their bandanna-wearing husky in tow. Every now and then you toss em something (life sucks sometimes, I get it.) Most of the time you walk right by, averting all eye contact so you can carry on with the day and pay off your student loans. Then there’s the people who look at them with complete and utter disdain. “Get a job!” “Get a haircut!” “Take a Shower and get a job!” and they walk right on by. The world can be pretty cruel sometimes.
Had that same ruffian sang the song, recorded it, and posted it among the Bitcoin community, I’m sure you would get a similar effect, minus the biases based on appearance. As impersonal as it sounds, the same song gains so much more attention and value by being recorded and archived for all of humanity to stumble upon and go back to it later on in their day. What would normally amount to being a passing tune for a couple minutes and lost into oblivion, is now a reusable tool to make somebody’s day a little bit better whenever they want. Not that live music doesn’t have a place in my heart, I’m always joyed when I see excellent musicians playing in public places, but the tipping economy and payment options Bitcoin provides lets you play for tips to a lot bigger of an audience.
The internet is one massive city
Bitcoin allows people like myself to set up a digital easel, and start busking for virtual tips with what’s the equivalent of a chalk drawing in the park; People walk by, see a cool picture and toss a few bucks into your hat, for brightening up their day. This just lets you stumble around the park on your phone while you’re stuck in a meeting.