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FutureMoneyTrends.com: All right, greetings and thank you for joining us at FutureMoneyTrends.com . I’m here at the Los Vegas BitCoin conference with Austin Craig. He is the producer and star of Life on BitCoin. It’s hopefully coming out this spring. It’s going to be an amazing documentary. You went a 101 days on just BitCoin?
Austin Craig: Yeah.
FutureMoneyTrends.com: Wow, that’s amazing. What was one of the biggest obstacles you faced? I mean, you talked about driving. How do you get gas?
Austin Craig: Driving was really hard. Gas was one of the hardest things, maybe the most difficult thing. We went in to this thinking “oh, we’re going to have a hard time finding food, we’ll be living out of our pantry for a few weeks until we can find somebody to sell us food.” Food was the easiest thing to come by. Local mom and pop shops are easy to set up to get on BitCoin, and they have the autonomy, the authority, to make that decision for their business. Large chains, especially an oil company, every gas station is owned by a large oil company, its impossible to get in touch with the decision maker there. So buying gas proved to be extremely difficult.
FutureMoneyTrends.com: Now did you count using your BitCoins to get like, debit card as living on it?
Austin Craig: No, we tried to make all the transactions as direct as possible, right? Because that’s sort of the beauty of BitCoin, there’s no trusted 3rd party, it’s me and you. So we tried to always do that, as much as possible with the merchant. But sometimes it was impossible, and sometimes we had to go the lowest common denominator of like… for my cell phone plan, we could not find a cell phone carrier to accept BitCoin. So what we ended up doing, and we had to do this a handful of times, was rely on a member of the community. They would buy a plan, I would buy it from them. We did that with gas on our raod trip. But for gas in our hometown, we actually found a merchant. There was a gas station 50 minutes north of us, west of salt lake international airport, in the middle of the salt flats desert, where there was a clerk there who works graveyards on the weekends who said “I’ll sell you BitCoins out of my store.” So for weeks my wife and I were driving 50 minutes North of our house to buy gas in the middle of the night on the weekend, because that was the only way we could.
FutureMoneyTrends.com: What did people think when you would go and want to purchase something and maybe they had never heard about BitCoin?
Austin Craig: We got a variety of reactions. Miraculously some people had heard about it and were really open to the conversation. We even had one person to say, “oh yeah, I was thinking about accepting BitCoin. I was about to set that up like, this week.” This one merchant that said that and they were light years ahead of everybody else. Most folks were confused, some people had heard of it, some people reprimanded us, saying like “you’re not, what are you trading like beanie babies or something? What is this?” There was a cab driver who was just scolding me like a disappointed grandmother that we had started traveling without any credit cards or cash, saying “this is very foolish. You need to think about what you’re doing.” And I think they were giving voice to what a lot of people thought, but most people wouldn’t say.
FutureMoneyTrends.com: How many states and countries during these 101 days did you visit only using BitCoin?
Austin Craig: We drove from our home in Utah to New York and stopped at various cities along the way. Denver, Kansas City, Chicago, Pittsburgh and then in to New York. We met with BitCoiners all along the way. From New York we flew to Stockholm, Sweden. We visited with KNC Miner who’s been extremely supportive of the project. We saw their operation and visited with the company and kind of found out their whole genesis, how that company came to be, and the things that they’ve accomplished. And then we flew to Berlin, in Kroitsberg its a neighborhood of Berlin. There’s a lot of merchants there that accept BitCoin. We wanted to see what it’s like when merchants were already used to accepting BitCoin, when that was part of their regular commerce. From there we flew to Singapore, a global financial hub. We wanted to see what traditional finance people thought of this new concept of money. It was three weeks driving across the U.S. , then to Europe then to Asia, and back. I don’t think we would have been able to take much more time off of our regular day jobs because continued to do normal work.
FutureMoneyTrends.com: Any days you were denied access to food because of your comitment?
Austin Craig: It happened a handful of times. In Stockholm, we went from famine to feast. We showed up, landed in the afternoon and were very jet-lagged and tired and immediately fell asleep. And when we woke up that evening we’d realised we’d missed lunch and dinner, we didn’t know any merchants in the area that accepted BitCoin. We went out and tried to find a handful, there was a language barrier to try to get passed that prevented it from hapenning. We tried to buy a gift card online using BitCoin, and then use that at a fast food chain, but it was denominated in U.S dollars so they didn’t have a way to enter it in to the machine. We tried approaching a young couple about our age, who spoke perfect English, and we even made a conncetion where we had a mutual friend. We started chatting with them and we said “we’re from Utah,” and they said, “oh, do you know this person?” |Yes, actually we do. How crazy is that?| And then we explained our project to them and asked them if they would be able to buy us a meal and we would be able to pay them in BitCoin. And they said “you’re making a documentary? Where’s your film crew?” I’m like “oh, they’re back at the hotel. We were just hungry and just came out looking for food.” And I’m sure they thought we were scammers. They just said good luck, see you later. So we just had to wait it out. We just sat watching the clock until the hotel breakfast the next morning.
FutureMoneyTrends.com: So, when will this production be released? Will it be released in the theatres or YouTube?
Austin Craig: Right now we’re in post production, cutting down the 200 hours or so of footage we have. We’re also getting additional interviews. Distribution is something we’re looking at and trying to figure out right now. So hopefully we’ll be able to take it to film festivals, hopefully we’ll be able to take it to theatres. But ultimately it will certainly be available online, via probably Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, YouTube, and I would love to be able to make this available via BitCoin. It seems only just that it shouold be so.
FutureMoneyTrends.com: And where can people get updates?
Austin Craig: You can follow us on lifeonbitcoin.com . We have a blog that we keep there, but also we’re very engaged in social media. So Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, we upload a lot of original content to our YouTUbe channel. Just search life on bitcoin, you’ll find us.
FutureMoneyTrends.com: You know, it’s interesting because when did you guys do the 101 days? When you started?
Austin Craig: we started on July 22nd, right when we landed back from our honey moon, and we went to I believe Novermber 1st or 2nd.
FutureMoneyTrends.com: Because it’s fair to say that, Imean BitPay was probably at 1200 vendors back then and now they have 1500 vendors. So if you did the same thing next year, it’s probably going to get easier, a lot easier.
Austin Craig: Yeah, I’ll imagine it will get… we couldn’t have done this any earlier. And if we had done it any later it wouldn’t have been that compelling. You know, maybe our kids will watch this and be like “so what’s the big deal? You lived on money. What’s so hard about that?”
FutureMoneyTrends.com: Very interesting. It was a pleasure meeting you, and good luck to you in your documentary.
Austin Craig: Thank Yours truly,
FutureMoneyTrends.com: You have a good one.