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El Salvador Adopts Bitcoin As Legal Tender

Many have criticisms, but some Salvadorans enthusiastically embraced Bitcoin as an alternative to the US dollar.

Today El Salvador adopts Bitcoin as legal tender, beginning one of the biggest experiments in Bitcoin’s 12-year history. Their infamous Bitcoin Law took effect, making it the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. Although the US Dollar is also legal tender there, so there’s room for the market to decide. Honestly, I’m ambivalent about this development. Pragmatically, there are some serious advantages to El Salvador, and the entire bitcoin ecosystem.

Apparently you can now buy McDonalds and Pizza Hut with Bitcoin in El Salvador. If that goes well, maybe these international corporations will accept it elsewhere… not that I ever buy McDonalds or Pizza Hut with dollars in the US. But principally I have reservations. All laws are enforced, and force is not how I want to promote alternatives. But today we’re going to go over the facts, and hopefully have a few original thoughts of our own. And, since media literacy is life and death these days, I’ll be explaining a bit about identifying bad journalism. 

The criticisms were predictable. Bitcoin is highly volatile, and has high transaction fees. Concerns about money laundering and tax evasion quickly followed. The International Monetary Fund also had criticisms, seeing the potential for the move to decrease their influence. But no surprises there. That’s the basics.

What is El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law?

Here’s the text of the law if you’re curious. President Nayib Bukele proposed the law, and it passed 62 to 22 by the Legislative Assembly on 8 June 2021. Bukele made the announcement to the world at a Miami Bitcoin conference. He said he hoped it would provide financial inclusion to the 70% of unbanked Salvadorans. And it goes into effect today, on 7 September 2021. 

Article 1 of the law begins, “The purpose of this law is to regulate bitcoin…” And my hackles are already up. 

Article 2 affirms the exchange rate of Bitcoin will be determined by the market, which is good. Article 4 establishes that taxes can be paid with Bitcoin, which is… fine… I guess. 

Article 5 is particularly promising. It assures that Bitcoin profits will not be subject to capital gains taxes in El Salvador. In the US I needed multiple specialists to determine that I owed $2.17 in capital gains taxes because I bought Chinese food with Bitcoin. This detail alone could make El Salvador a tax haven to international Bitcoiners. 

Article 7 is the problem. It reads, “Every economic agent (meaning businesses) must accept Bitcoin as payment when offered…” Article 12 softens this somewhat. It excepts those who don’t have access to the necessary technology from the obligation to accept Bitcoin. But “provisional” means temporary. The law specifies that the government will promote the necessary training and mechanisms to remove these exclusions over time. 

As written, the law is a mixed bag.

Forcing Businesses to Accept Bitcoin is a Mistake

Obligating businesses to take Bitcoin is a problem. It means that existing business owners will have to implement some technically challenging changes in a hurry. According to a survey by the Central American University (UCA) only 4.8% of Salvadorans understood how to use Bitcoin. The risk of human error alone is serious. Bitcoin is a trustless peer-to-peer system, and a user who accidentally loses access to their holdings has no recourse. That Bitcoin is gone forever. 

It remains to be seen how businesses that refuse to comply will be penalized. But regardless, this is not the way to promote adoption. Part of the ultimate value proposition of Bitcoin is that it’s voluntarily adopted and transacted outside the prevailing regulatory regimes. In that regard, mandating its use is just as egregious as prohibiting its use. Bitcoin functions best without political meddling. 

Before the Bitcoin Law there was Bitcoin Beach

Present Nayib Bukele was promoting Bitcoin back in 2017 as mayor of San Salvador. Some have reported he’s been holding Bitcoin for years. But the real experiment began in the coastal village of El Zonte in 2018. 

Dubbed Bitcoin Beach, El Zonte is a surf town of about 3,000 residents. It was the first place in El Salvador to treat Bitcoin like legal tender. The program was backed by California donors that gave $50 in Bitcoin to every local family. They encouraged adoption by merchants, and paid for dozens of social projects, from lifeguarding to trash collection with Bitcoin. Residents could receive their salary, pay their bills and buy consumer goods with Bitcoin. 

The experiment met with mixed success. Crypto-savvy tourists breathed new life into El Zonte and led to a real-estate boom. But only about 10% of customers actually used Bitcoin to make purchases. Most business owners held the Bitcoin as an emergency fund rather than recirculating it. This is highly analogous to my own experience. When I first began accepting Bitcoin only about 1% of my customers and clients paid with it. I’ve always tried to recirculate it by making purchases (Like Chinese food), but mostly I have saved it for emergencies.

Admittedly, this has worked out great for me. I’ve gotten out of some tight spots by having a crypto safety net. In the long run that could be a windfall for a developing economy. But, deflationary currency like Bitcoin incentivizes saving, which can slow commerce in the short run. As Gresham’s law suggests, “bad money drives out good”. In a marketplace that uses Bitcoin and US dollars, the bad money gets spent, and the good money gets saved. 

El Salvador’s technical problems

More than 200 new Bitcoin ATMs were installed across the country to facilitate adoption. These enable residents to exchange US dollars for Bitcoin without commission, and vice versa.

El Salvador launched a state sponsored digital wallet called “Chivo,” which is local slang for “cool”. The government incentivized downloads by pre-loading every wallet with $30 in Bitcoin. Free money. Sounds great. 

Unfortunately Salvadorans trying to download the Chivo digital wallet found it was unavailable in popular app stores. Bukele initially blamed the Apple, Google and Huawei app stores for the delay. Later he admitted the government had to temporarily pull it down to deal with unexpected demand. Early Tuesday he tweeted:

“Any data they try to enter at this time will give them an error.
This is a relatively straightforward problem, but it cannot be fixed
with the system connected.”

After the crash of the Obamacare website in 2013, this is just what I expect from any government roll out. Although the Chivo wallet is reportedly back on Huawei. 

Compounding these hurdles is the fact that nearly half the population has no internet access. Many more have only intermittent access. So, while these efforts are highly ambitious, they aren’t really ready for prime time. This wasn’t a launch of a functioning crypto economy. This was the beginning of the long and complex process of building one.

Bitcoin’s volatility problem

Many Bitcoin holders watched eagerly to see how El Salvador’s news changed the price. Today the price slipped from $53,000 to $43,000 and then bounced back to $47,000 in a few hours. That’s a wild swing, but nothing unusual. Last April it was $65,000. This is an expression of the psychology of the market, not the fundamentals. It’s too soon to have any idea what long term effect this will have on El Salvador’s economy. So this fluctuation really represents international gambling. And the El Salvador government is still betting on Bitcoin. They reportedly purchased 200 BTC before the law took effect, and another 150 after the price dipped. So from their perspective the price drop is just a clearance sale.

If the experiment fails we’ll likely see a long slump in the price as confidence wanes. But if it succeeds El Salvador’s national wealth could be 10 times what it is now in a year. That would pave the way for more countries to follow, starting with other South American countries. Gabriel Silva, a politician in Panama is already proposing his own “Crypto Law.” 

What about the Bitcoin protests?

Public backlash is one of the inevitable consequences of state adoption. 

Hundreds took to the street in San Salvador afraid that the government would begin paying their pensions in Bitcoin. Although the protests are piggybacking on a wider campaign to increase pension payments generally. The law recognizes both currencies, but the volatility may be more dangerous at this scale. It’s one thing for investors with a mixed portfolio to weather the wins and losses. It’s another for people on fixed incomes to manage such wild fluctuations.

Consumers will likely keep a mix of Bitcoin and US dollars based on their own risk calculations. It’s just like investors who keep a mixed portfolio of high and low risk investments. It’s a bit like the Titanic. The US dollar, like the ill fated ship, is functionally stable, but it fluctuates in one direction. Cryptocurrencies, like life rafts, are subject to the peaks and troughs of ocean currents, but they stay afloat. The question is when to abandon ship. None-the-less, imposing this decision on people is unconscionable. Consumers should be free to diversify their currency portfolio as they wish. 

So far, Bukele is reassuring Salvadorans that they are free not to use Bitcoin if they don’t want to. So long as they have that choice these protestors have nothing to worry about. They can continue using the US dollar as long as they like… Or at least as long as it remains afloat. 

Most people in El Salvador don’t want to adopt Bitcoin

The real problem is that the people of El Salvador don’t seem to want this law. They’re already agitating to repeal it. The Central American University (UCA) survey found 67.9% of respondents disagreed with using cryptocurrency as a legal tender. The survey also showed most Salvadorans think Bitcoin will mostly benefit the wealthy, the government, and foreign investors. And they’re probably right, simply because someone with expendable wealth to risk on crypto markets will see greater returns. Bitcoin could also benefit the countries substantial poor population. But if people want to ignore those opportunities because the rich might benefit more, that’s their prerogative.

Their president may be otherwise popular. Their legislature may have passed this law with their economic interests in mind. It doesn’t matter. Currency only works if people actually use it. And most of them simply don’t want to, and shouldn’t be forced to. 

Remittances are the real advantage

Remittances are sums of money sent internationally as payments or as gifts. For example, Salvadorans working outside the country frequently send money back to support family inside the country. In legacy systems this is done with bank transfers, or with wire transfer services like Western Union. These of course can carry heavy fees, and long delays.

Supporters argue that Bitcoin makes it cheaper and easier for migrants to send money home to El Salvador. That’s important given such remittances account for over 24% of the country’s gross domestic product, according to the World Bank. Bukele estimates that using Bitcoin could help Salvadorans save $400 million a year on commissions for remittances.

In the Bitcoin economy the concept of international transactions is technically non-existent. The distinction only exists where jurisdictions interface with local laws. The blockchain is a ledger that is proliferated across the internet without geographic distinction. There’s no difference in fees or confirmation times between sending Bitcoin across the world or to your neighbor. Using Bitcoin would make it faster and cheaper for Salvadorans to get remittances from anywhere in the world. It could free the indebted nation from the hold of legacy financial systems. 

Fox Business offers a one-sided debate

Fox’s coverage focused on quotes from Mark Mobius and Broke Pierce pulled from the coverage of other networks. Kinda lazy. But worse, although their headline promises debate, they admit that Pierce and Mobius don’t really disagree. They both just parrot the obvious criticisms with no serious analysis. Worse still, the end of the article prompts readers to click forward to the article, “Trump warns crypto ‘potentially a disaster waiting to happen’” Real Fair and Balanced. Frankly, I don’t give a bit what Trump thinks about crypto. The man barely understands addition. Why would I expect him to offer meaningful criticism of encryption? But the motivation is clear. Fox is using news coverage to funnel readers toward bad arguments against crypto that appeal to their patriotism. In other words, they’re shilling for the US dollar.

Read Also: Bitcoin Can Help Afghanistan Under the Taliban

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Bitcoin Can Help Afghanistan Under the Taliban

Women in Afghanistan learn about Bitcoin from the Digital Citizen Fund

Every news outlet in the world is flush with the same unsettling photos from Afghanistan. As the Taliban took over, hundreds of civilians flooded the Kabul International Airport, clinging to planes with whatever they could carry. 640 Afghans packed into a US military cargo plane. countless others were left behind. This mayhem represents the culmination of a disastrous bipartisan occupation overseen by four American presidents. So, what’s going on here? And how can Bitcoin help Afghanistan under the Taliban?

After 9/11, President George W. Bush authorized military intervention in Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban. President Obama enacted a troop surge of more than 90,000 soldiers and conducted countless drone strikes to little effect. In 2020, President Trump bypassed the elected Afghan government and struck a deal directly with the Taliban. He agreed to release Taliban leaders in US custody, and to withdraw US forces in his second term. But he didn’t win a second term. President. Biden viewed the war as an unwanted inheritance, and even opposed Obama’s troop surge as vice president. So, in August Biden finally withdrew US forces from Afghanistan, but the tumult didn’t stop there.

The Rise Of The Taliban

The Taliban came to prominence during the decade-long civil war that followed the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989. So seizing power after a protracted occupation is kind of their wheelhouse. In the 90s they imposed a brutal religiously conservative regime against the more moderate values of the population. They oppressed religious and ethnic minorities, rolled back civil rights (especially for women). They enforced their extremist vision with public punishments, torture and mass executions.

Since 2001 Taliban leaders have been on the run, dodging drone strikes. Then they retook Kabul with a speed that shocked international observers, and they didn’t even really have to fight. The Afghan army surrendered and they just took over. Even the elected Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani fled the country before the Taliban sacked the capital. Now they’re posturing as more benevolent, but the prevailing fear is that they intend to govern as ruthlessly as before.

Photos of the high-stakes evacuation in Kabul were shocking, but there was another panicked crowd in Kabul. Hundreds crowded outside the New Kabul Bank, trying in vain to withdraw their money amid considerable economic uncertainty. Many Afghans are now facing financial ruin due to cash shortages, bank closures, the suspension of international money transfers.

Afghanistan Has Some Financial Problems

Whenever I see financial instability coupled with authoritarian political structures, I see a fertile flowerbed for Bitcoin. Those that invested in Bitcoin before escaping will find their wealth waiting for them on the blockchain wherever they settle. In the coming months Bitcoin could easily function as a hedge against hyperinflation. It could also serve as a borderless payment processor as legacy payment channels collapse. Afghanistan is now a perfect test case for the utility of Bitcoin.

The country is mostly a cash economy. According to the World Bank, 85% of the population doesn’t have a bank account. The infrastructure doesn’t exist for the crypto economy to put food on people’s table. But it could easily protect people’s savings from seizure by the Taliban. It could also keep their wealth safe from the devaluation of the local currency. There are hurdles to initiating Afghanistan into the crypto economy, but there’s no better time to get started.

The Taliban government is going to face numerous financial problems as they attempt to govern. The elected government funded 75% of public funding with foreign aid. Now that’s gone. The World Bank responded to the takeover by halting all funding for projects in Afghanistan. The IMF is withholding roughly $460 million in emergency relief funds. In addition, approximately $9 billion of the country’s financial assets held in US banks was frozen by the US.

Many bank branches in Afghanistan shuttered over cash shortages. Devaluation of the currency is already causing prices to skyrocket. In addition, popular remittance providers like MoneyGram and Western Union have suspended all service to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is being cut off from the global economy, but Bitcoin can solve these problems. Bitcoin plugs individuals directly into the global economy.

Internet Access Is Essential

Widespread adoption of Bitcoin in Afghanistan hinges entirely on internet access. In the 90s there was no internet in Afghanistan, but since 2001 telecommunications services like South Africa’s MTN Group and the United Arab Emirates’ Etisalat Group have moved in. Today fiber optic cables connect Afghanistan to the internet through Tajikistan, Pakistan and Iran. They’ve erected cell towers across the country. Internet access is still mostly in urban centers, but it’s allowed for the emergence of a fledgling digital economy.

The World Bank estimates that only 13.5% of Afghan households currently have access. Alternatively DataReportal.com places the figure at 22%, which still sounds dire. But they also report that 68.7% of the population has access to a mobile phone, which is more promising.

The real question now is how this might change under Taliban rule. In the 90s they banned the internet, along with television, radio, music and pretty much anything fun. Many, especially journalists, are concerned that once they consolidate power they will shut off the internet again. The Taliban has already started to intermittently turn the internet off and on in different parts of Kabul.

The Taliban claims that they want to increase internet access, but can we trust them? MTN has already announced that it would be leaving the Afghan market and Etisalat has not made any public statements. One piece of promising news is that the Taliban met with officials from the Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) to discuss maintaining internet access in the country. Of course this comes only shortly after the Taliban destroyed 28 cell towers. One clue to unravelling this apparent contradiction comes from Mohammad Najeeb Azizi, a former chairman of the ATRA. He said the Taliban is “eager to use the internet in their own favor.”

The Taliban Have Embraced The Internet

It turns out that throttling access, and destroying cell towers was an integral part of their strategy to take over. Keep in mind that the average age of Taliban members is only 25. That means, on average, this is literally not the same Taliban that banned the internet in the 90s. Many weren’t even born yet. This is a new tech-savvy generation, sometimes jokingly referred to as Taliban 2.0. The new Taliban has embraced social media as a propaganda tool. They’ve used thousands of Twitter accounts and WhatsApp channels to try and rebrand themselves as legitimate leaders.

This is a new tool for them, but not a new strategy. In the 90s they focused on propaganda methods that could be spread in rural areas. They distributed audio cassettes to a largely illiterate population. Now they release videos designed reassuring ethnic and religious minorities, and women that their rights will be protected. They use these tools to push a message of peace and unity, while also using them to threaten and cajole people strategically.

Specifically, they flooded social media channels to exaggerate their power level, while cutting off the communication of the elected government. Their message was a mix of amnesty and intimidation designed to create a sense that their victory was inevitable. This allowed them to sweep across the country with little resistance. In short, they’re keeping the internet, because they’re using it to secure power. They’re using it to do what the US military never could; to win hearts and minds. They recognized that to take the country they had to control the narrative. While the Afghan army was learning jumping jacks from US forces, the Taliban was learning social media tactics used by the Arab Spring to organize and rally.

Bitcoin Can Help

The real threat is not that the Taliban will ban the internet. It’s that they won’t be able to pay the bill. They may be good marching around looking intimidating. That doesn’t mean they’re good at actual municipal functions. They’ve seized power, but can they wield it effectively? With their assets frozen and foreign aid halted, can they even keep the lights on?

Assuming Afghanistan stays online, the decentralized and censorship resistant nature of Bitcoin offers many protections to Afghan civilians. In fact, I believe this is the main value proposition of Bitcoin. If the Taliban starts looting the assets of the Afghan people, Bitcoin users could hide their wealth on the blockchain. With remittance services abandoning the country, Bitcoin users can or securely send and receive funds abroad without permission. Those who invest in Bitcoin will also be safe from the rapid currency depreciation that has already begun. Whenever I see waxing dissatisfaction with a failing legacy banking system, and waning confidence in a failing government monetary system, I see an opportunity for massive adoption of Bitcoin.

It’s Already Begun

Exact numbers for adoption are difficult to estimate. But there are some promising indicators. Google Trends shows that searches in Afghanistan for ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘Crypto’ spiked dramatically just weeks before the coup. Chainalysis, a blockchain research group, publishes the Global Crypto Adoption Index. In 2021 they ranked Afghanistan 20th out 154 countries assessed in the report. This represents unprecedented growth compared to their 2020 report where Afghanistan didn’t even make the list. So an enthusiastic crypto community exists, it just needs infrastructure.

The crypto community in Afghanistan is small, and if they’re smart they’re staying hidden. But there are a handful of courageous activists there. In 2018 Janey Gak, who goes by Bibi Janey online, set up a Facebook page to help encourage Bitcoin adoption. She has relevant Bitcoin articles translated into Pasto and Dari. She recently tweeted, “In order to be a truly sovereign state, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan must: not join the UN nor allow their agencies to operate in the country; never borrow money; adopt a bitcoin standard.”

Follow Bibi Janey on Twitter (@janeygak) for insights on Bitcoin in Afghanistan

For her, Bitcoin is not just about her own financial freedom; it’s about financially liberating her homeland. She endorsed Bitrefill.com, where customers can purchase gift cards with Bitcoin. That could close infrastructure gap between Bitcoin and the consumer economy. She also aims to open her own Bitcoin exchange shop in Kabul so residents can trade crypto for local fiat.

Multiple crypto exchanges already service Afghanistan. With over 2 million users, Coinmama is the most popular in Afghanistan. They offer debit and credit card purchases for a 5% fee, and International Wire Transfer (SWIFT) purchases for free. Although, recent events have caused interruptions in those systems. Person-to-person services, such as Paxful and LocalBitcoins also service Afghanistan.

A Bright Future for Afghanistan

To me, the most exciting crypto project in Afghanistan is one I covered in 2014 called the The Women’s Annex Foundation. Now they go by the Digital Citizen Fund. The first time the Taliban took power, they severely curtailed women’s rights in the region, and many now fear a return to those practices. The Digital Citizen Fund is the antithesis of that ambition, educating and empowering women through digital literacy. Digital Citizen Fund is an NGO that helps women and girls in developing countries, primarily Afghanistan, gain access to technology, and virtually connect to the outside world.

The organization has 11 tech centers in Herat and another two in Kabul where they teach women everything from basic computer literacy to complex blockchain technology. Creating a crypto wallet is a basic part of their curriculum, which leaves me wondering how many women in Afghanistan have been sitting on modest crypto fortunes since 2014, when the price of Bitcoin was around $700. Unfortunately, classes were temporarily suspended after the coup.

Things may look dire in Afghanistan right now, but the seeds of positive change are already there if only they were properly nurtured. With low fees, potential anonymity, and no borders, building up the Afghan economy with Bitcoin is a no-brainer.

Further Reading

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Nobody Cares Which Crypto You Vote For

It’s Presidential election season again, and as always Nobody is going to end the wars, Nobody is going to fix the economy, and Nobody cares about you. So, once again, Bitcoin Not Bombs is endorsing Nobody for president. In addition, polls now show that Nobody cares which cryptocurrency you vote for. So, you can stop asking us what we think about Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash, because now we’re giving the opportunity to vote with your crypto. If you’re going to vote, vote with your wallet, and if you’re going to vote with your wallet, make it a crypto wallet. That ratty old leather bill fold you’re hanging on to is just sooo… 2016.

For most, the Great Debate began on Armistice Day, 2017, but here at Bitcoin Not Bombs we never saw any reason to take a side. The reason is simple, whether you’re a Bitcoin Maximalist, or a BitcoinCash Minarchist, or even a Dogecoin Dominionist, if you’re not using War Dollars, you’re not funding the war machine. Money is money because both parties agree to the medium of exchange, not because Uncle Vader takes a cut. Meaning, if you’re using any state-free currency, you’re not supporting government forced fiat and the violence that backs it. Here at Bitcoin Not Bombs we say, let a million cryptocurrencies bloom. A truly free market economy is decentralized, and free to take a different direction at any time. Let every individual make their own decision what kind of money they want and why. In the open-source world of cryptocurrency, a fork is a feature, not a bug.  

But that’s not the goal of our Cyber Monday campaign. In fact, this may be The Most Important Election In Cryptocurrency History™.  With your help we can finally answer the most important question facing the cryptocurrency community today: What color is Bitcoin anyway? 

From now until Bitcoin Black Friday (November 27, 2020) the Bitcoin Not Bombs store is offering our new 2020 Bomber design, for the first time, in both Orange and Green. That way you can cast your ballots, and let us know which color you support. At midnight on Bitcoin Black Friday we will tally the votes, and the payment methods used, certify the results, and announce the official winner of the 2020 crypto wallet election. Once the winning color is sworn in, we’ll be launching a variety of exclusive new products, available only in the color elect. The inauguration will be on Cyber Monday (November 30, 2020), with the launch of the new products. 

Your participation in our crypto demockery is more vital than ever as we fly the world’s first decentralized aircraft into the future. 

Crypto Details and shop specifics.

Update: 10/21 The shirts are now shipping internationally to Most of Europe, Australia, Mexico, Canada and Japan.

While the campaign shirts are currently only for sale in the US, we are looking into international shipping options and intend to make this one of many firsts in the realm of international voting.

The Bitcoin Not Bombs shop currently accepts Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and War Dollars in the form of major credit cards, but we look forward to providing more options in the future. 

So, vote early, and vote often, because Nobody cares which crypto you vote for.

Orange Vs. Green
Orange Vs. Green, Vote with your crypto, shop now.

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The Art of Sedition, Antiwar.com Contest. Ends May 31st.

100 years ago, during World War I, the U.S. Congress passed the Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1918. Wartime censorship was broadly applied and anything that cast the government or the war effort in a negative light or interfered with the sale of government bonds could land you in jail for years.
The act was repealed on December 13, 1920, but not before thousands of people were convicted and jailed for what we consider free speech and freedom of expression. In recognition of this muting of free speech we’re holding an art contest encouraging all antiwar activists to freely express their thoughts and images about diplomacy, foreign policy, and how we get to a more peaceful future.
We are looking for the best Pro Peace/ Antiwar expressions out there to help grow a movement of people working towards a more peaceful future. Can you help answer the question “How do we get there?”
Over $1500 in Prizes
3 First place prizes; $300 in BitcoinCash (sponsored by Bitcoin.com)
3 Second place prizes; 7.0 ZEN (sponsored by ZenCash.com) and a Wry Guys tee shirt (sponsored by WryGuys.com)
3 Third place prizes; 1oz Silver Card plus Peace Now tee shirt (sponsored by Roberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc. RRBI.co)
Runner Up prize; written category; Peace Flag and a selection of Libertarian books (sponsored by Free Press Publications FPP.cc)
Runner Up prizes; visual and musical categories; Signed copy of Fool’s Errand (sponsored by Scott Horton FoolsErrand.us) and Coffee Mug (sponsored by LibertyMugs.com)
Honorable Mention prizes; Tee shirt (sponsored by SFL StudentsForLiberty.org) and custom antiwar button set (sponsored by Buttonsfreshdaily.com)
How To Enter
Contest runs to May 31st 2018, with submissions due by 9pm pacific standard time. Winners will be contacted on or before June 15, with details about how to claim their prize. Winners will also be posted on Antiwar.me June 16, 2018.
There are 3 entry categories:
VISUAL ART- original illustration, painting, collage, meme, photography, poster art
WRITTEN COMPOSITION- original short essays, poetry, slogans (500 words max)
MUSICAL ART- original songs, jingles, hip hop, musical composition
Each category will be judged separately and awarded first, second, third prizes and honorable mentions. Runner up prizes will cross categories.
ENTRY GUIDELINES:
To Enter, email to contest (at) antiwar (dot) me
Put your full name (for attribution) and email address in the body of the email
Label your file with your name and attach to your email
Post/tweet your art along with #NoMoreWar and include a link to your post in the email.
File types to submit: doc, pdf, jpg, png, gif, mp3, mp4 (Please no large files/ large file services).
By submitting your entry you are giving Antiwar.me/Antiwar.com permission to post, promote and reproduce your art with attribution on our websites, social media channels, and promotional materials and we may deem appropriate. You will also be invited to opt into our new PeaceNow call to action email which will keep you up to date on the contest and our other pro peace activities.
Enter as often as you wish but each entry must be submitted separately per the entry submission guidelines above. Have a great time!
Special thanks to Christina Babb for the original art, Let Peace Begin With Me
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Armistice Day, then and now 100 years later.

This past Armistice day, November 11th 2017 Antiwar.com lunched its end of year fundraising campaign in a big way with $20,000 of Crypto Currency matching funds from Bitcoin.com and the addition of of BItcoinCash, Dash and Zcash to its accepted digital currency’s. This marks only the beginning of our efforts to remember Armistice day as next year is the 100th anniversary of the Day that originally commemorated the armistice that ended the First World War on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year in 1918.

Here is a recap of a number of articles written on the topic this year.

Veterans Day: ‘Appropriate Homage’

by Thomas Knapp Antiwar.com

Bring Back Armistice Day and Honor the Real Heroes

by Arnold Oliver Antiwar.com

Armistice Day

by Anthony Gregory The Independent institute, independent.org

How and why politicians exploit Veterans Day

Why politicians hated Armistice Day but love Veterans Day

By Perry Willis DownsizeDC.org

Perry Willis wrote a number of posts related to war this past month, including;

Render your verdict on four early U.S. wars.

How Teddy Roosevelt started the chain of events that led to Pearl Harbor.

Was U.S. participation in WW1 the worst mistake ever?

Did U.S. policies play a role in creating the communist threat?

Was Adolf Hitler Woodrow Wilson’s “love child?

Veterans for Peace.

Veteran for peace have for several years run campaigns around Armistice day with the hashtag #ReclaimArmisticeDay Armistice and this year focused around Diplomacy Not War in North Korea.

We also held and social media giveaway and will be posting the winners next week, if you would like to get more involved in the the conversation and get active for peace, please join our facebook discussion group here.

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Social media giveaway #WhyIamAntiwar

Leading up to Armistice day Antiwar.me held a social media giveaway on twitter and Instagram. The rules where simple. Post or tweet a short message of peace with the hashtag #WhyIamAntiwar and that was it. We had a number of great post and it was wonderful to see so many people participate, below are the winners of a few Peace now shirts and Red Poppy lapel pins from Antiwar.me and some crypto currency stickers from BTCemporium.store.

Instagram user @metalhedrey

Governments send young men and women to fight for them, to fight for their greed. Your sons, daughters, cousins, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers sacrificed for what? For freedom? For security? So you can wait hours at some bearucratic office just to have your assets taken away but hey at least we’re not being bombed! We’re doing the bombing and that’s creating nothing but resentment towards us from around the world! They also dream up boogeymen and imminent threats to national security all while indiscriminately taking innocent civilian lives around the world. All with our hard earned money via tax dollars. I love my fellow countrymen deeply because we’re all being used but I also love the rest of mankind. That is why I feel this way. That is why my heart beats the way it does. That is #WhyIamAntiWar!

Instagram user @anarchypie

War as policy leaves us all scarred and broken, unable to heal.

#whyIamantiwar

Thank you to everyone who participated, you don’t need to stop posting about #WhyIamAntiwar just because we don’t have a current giveaway or contest. Please follow @antiwarcom on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we also have a new Facebook group (Search Antiwar.me) if you would like to share your thoughts and get involved in the conversations, join us in that group here.

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Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Sarasota FL

As the people of Houston rebuild after the devastating Hurricane the people of Florida are preparing for a category 5 hurricanes heading in to the state right now. Hurricane Irma is just making land fall and expected to pummel the area on Sunday and Monday. Area residence are boarding up houses and hunkering down with all the supplies they have been able to gather. Many area resident have left the state for higher ground and as is the case in many natural disasters it is the poor and lower income people who can’t afford to leave and must do their best to weather the storm.

Todd Dennison is the chairman of the Sarasota country Libertarian Party and is already preparing to take to the streets after Irma passes to clear roads and downed trees with chain saws. He has offered to help with supplies like water, toiletries and food and just yesterday put out a call to action on facebook for people to donate to his efforts. Todd has a track record of helping his community with crypto donations and a few years back did some homeless out reach with bitcoin under the banner Dogecoin Not bombs. You can see some of the photos from this project on twitter and facebook.

We have set up a multi-sig wallet with Todd and this blog post will serve as a log for photos of his efforts and a call for more donations, if you can help your neighbor in this time of need please help Todd with the resources needed to make a positive impact.

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Todd is armed with the Gyft app to buy supplies at Target, Home depot and Walmart and should be able to cash out some bitcoin to his bank with his coinbase account if needed. He has pledged 100% of funds donated to this effort to go to helping his community and is willing to share his bank statement and receipts for complete transparency.

On Sunday Night right as the storm was passing his location Todd interview with The Crypto Show to talk about his plans for out reach efforts. The hour long interview can be found on Lets talk bitcoin here. During the show it was announced that Bitcoin.com would be donating in Bitcoin Cash. A wallet has been set up and secured.

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Bitcoin Cash Address: 17vp8USriFvL7DvfqRsKdSm1CAJPHqVZF1

Day 1: Monday September 11th, the storm passes.

Todd gave a first look at the damages this morning on the Ernest Hancock radio show, Audio and Video here. Todd has already been clearing roads and is getting ready to travel to near by Naples FL. This post will be updated with photos as they become available.

Day 2: Sept 12th.

Communication with Todd is sparse, internet communication such as Facebook messenger seams to be working better than SMS messages. Todd has acquired more chain saws with our fist bitcoin donations and has been clearing trees from roads and neighbors yards. Todd is still with out power, ice is no where to be found and in very high demand.

Day 3: Sept 13th

Todd is coordinating with other members of the libertarian party of Florida and his friend Steve is gearing up to head down to the Keys with his 4×6 trailer, we will be sending him some of the donated bitcoin to help with supplies. The Gyft app is proving to be the fastest way to spend bitcoin in the real world but we may call on others to help buy some of the Bitcoin Cash we revived from Bitcoin.com to convert to paypal dollars or cash in hand. If you are in the area and can help in this way please reach out. Todd will be heading to the inner city tomorrow to check out the damages and see where he can help the most.

Day 4: Sept 14th

Todd has been working in Sarasota clearing trees but in the background has been networking with other groups and coalitions working in the are including the Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief and Evacuees Of The Keys.

This post from Todd’s Facebook page DogecoinNotBopmbs.

We rolled through Central Cocoanut, Gillespie Park, and Newtown and fired up the saws for a bit. It’s a big mess in our lower income communities and they’re very grateful for any help.
I’ve contacted local food banks and they’re flush with supplies.
Sarasota County is still at 26% without power, and of course my house is in that 26%.
We’re still looking into Highlands County to see if we can assist with anything.
We’re also going to help stock some Keys residents who evacuated with relief supplies for their trip home.

If you know of any low income or elderly neighbors who do not have the ability or resources to trim or remove fallen trees which are obstructing accessibility to their property or are blocking roads please let us know and we will do what we can to help.

Day 5: Sept 15th.

Steven has loaded up at Home depot and Walmart with the Gyft.com app and is ready to head down to the Florida keys tomorrow. Thank you all for donating, this is what you have helped Steven purchase.

We have blankets, bleach, dish soap, garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towels, shirts, socks and underwear, hand sanitizer, bug spray, isopropyl alcohol, bandages, plates, eating utensils, baby wipes, tarps, bleach, duct tape, and more

Day 6: Sept 16th.

A quiet day, Steven is in rute to the Florida Keys and Todd prepairs for a trip down south to Immokalee.

Day 7: Sept 17th.

We were requested to head to Immokalee instead of Naples and I’m very glad we did.
Immokalee looks crushed.
That community needs all the help they can get.
We dropped supplies at PACE Center for Girls Collier and they are working with the Friendship Baptist Church doing outreach and helping the community recovery the best they can.
I’ll leave a few links to the above organizations and some news coverage of the damage in the area.

 

Day 8: Sept 18th.

Todd on Declare your independence with Ernest Hancock.

 

Week two and Three, I have been travailing last week and it looks like Todd has had to get back to his Day job as well. Below are some photos from this past Sunday the 24th where Todd took a load of supplies back down to Immokalee, Todd described this low income area as devastated and has been working with the Peace center for Girls to help.

A good start for our trip to the Friendship Baptist Church in Immokalee. We’ll be leaving supplies for Pace Center for Girls, the church, and those in need in their community.
Lots of medical and hygiene stuff, lots of non perishable foods, hundreds of diapers, and baby care stuffs, and lots of bottled water.
Thanks to everyone who donated and helped us get to Immokalee!

 

 

Todd loading up with supplies to head down South to Immokalee.

Stevens Trip to Home depot and Walmart, September 15th.

 

Todd clearing downed trees in Sarasota. September 14th.

Preparation Photos. Sept 9th.

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Bitcoin Black Friday @ Bitcoin Not Bombs!

Bitcoin Not Bombs has a Bazaar holiday special for you. Check out our Bitcoin lapel pins, patches, stickers, key chains, and Antiwar shirts in our OpenBazaar store and save on shipping! Download the software client from OpenBazaar.org and experience truly decentralized trade. This year from our OpenBazaar store we are offering free shipping on most items to anywhere in North America. For international only pay a one time shipping fee on as many items as you like and receive free gifts including the one and only bitcoin fork!

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Looking for our awesome T-Shirts? They are now sold at The Bitcoin Store and are also available in their OpenBazaar shop.

The Bitcoin Store sells shirts, stickers, fine art, hardware wallets, and more from a number of partners in the bitcoin community. Sign up for the email newsletter to get specials and keep up to date: https://store.bitcoin.com/pages/newsletter

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But wait there’s more… after you have downloaded the Open Bazaar client head over to CryptoBooks to snag Andreas Antonopoulos’ new book The Internet of Money for the special #BitcoinBlackFriday price of only $8 plus shipping! The Internet of Money explores the why of Bitcoin through Andreas’ timeless talks at conferences around the world. Give it to someone who doesn’t “get it” for an inspiring intro to crypto. You can also pick up his classic work Mastering Bitcoin that delves into the more technical aspects of how Bitcoin works. Support the bitcoin ecosystem by paying for bitcoin books in bitcoin!

 

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Open Bazaar is a special project in the bitcoin community and this is the network’s first time participating in Bitcoin Black Friday. If you have still never looked into Open Bazaar and feel like doing some shopping this weekend this is a great opportunity to find some of the awesome merchants who make up the network. All of the open Bazaar Bitcoin Black Friday Deals can be found on the front page of DuoSearch. | https://duosear.ch/@bitcoinnotbombs

We would also like to thank AgoristHosting.com who keeps our OpenBazaar Shops online 24/7, They also host many other great shops on the network including Superhero Printing and Graphics, Freedom Fridge, Freedoms Phoenix, Freedom Feens, Crypto Books and The Bitcoin Store. You can catch a bunch of other awesome deals on OpenBazaar’s blog.

I was recently interviewed by Open Bazaar about my experience managing Andreas Antonopoulos shop. I can’t wait to see how Open Bazaar continues to expand and improve, such a cool platform!

And Drew was also interviewed about his experience managing the BNB shop.

 

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I’m already against the next war

Shoot first and ask questions later.
It seems that the Land of the Free has retooled its foreign policy to mirror this B-movie dialogue. Perhaps this is an expected outcome after decades of standoff with the USSR and the ever escalating war technology. During the cold war, the visible antiwar movement lost its momentum. The U.S. was building the bombs but it wasn’t dropping them on anyone. The war technology kept ramping up as a “deterrent” and we learned that, as treaties increasingly called on the U.S. to be the defender of allies and the police force in “problem” places in the world, the U.S. could stand on the neck of almost anyone and bring them into submission. This isn’t right or righteous, this is tyranny.

You reap what you sow.
20 years ago, a small group of people recognized this growing post cold war pattern. Antiwar.com was born to collect and curate news and information that exposed this growing predilection for U.S. aggressive action in foreign land. Today we are harvesting the bitter fruit of this policy with increased terrorism, suitcase bombs, increased paranoia and burdensome security measures, loss of privacy, warrantless phone taps and other infringements of our rights here at home.

I’m Already Against the Next War
Right now, Antiwar.com is sounding an urgent call to action. Foreign activity is high and we don’t see an outcome where any new President will alter the current course. We need a loud and persistent voice that says, “I’m Already Against the Next War”. A few weeks ago, Antiwar.com launched a brand new activity site: Antiwar.me. Here you can find tools and techniques for being a part of that persistent voice. You can join their social media Thunderclap, download free social media images and get great premium gifts for your financial pledge. Antiwar.com is a very lean organization and relies on contributions from readers and supporters to fund their original journalism and commentary and now the activity site. Even a $20 donation is much appreciated and earns you a limited edition red poppy pin.

The days of large peaceful sit-ins are gone. Now we can express our protest in a different way. After less than a month, the Antiwar.me thunderclap has already achieved over 500,000 in reach. Let’s reach millions while sending a strong message to the President- “I’m Already Against the Next War”. Please visit Antiwar.me and join the free Thunderclap and consider a poppy pin or pledge a different amount so Antiwar.com can continue its efforts.

The bipartisan consensus for reckless and dangerous foreign policy requires constant alertness. Antiwar.com’s original content coupled with links to the best foreign policy writings around the world provides a one-stop site for keeping abreast of the violent inhumane policies which endanger the very principles upon which the United States was founded. Please donate today so they can continue to deliver the most comprehensive news and opinions that track the latest moves of the War Party.

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And the winners are… #AntiwarHaiku

Tune in for a special winners announcement podcast form You me and BTC: http://ymb.tc/e104

Please be sure to check out all the wonderful sponsors who made this contest possible.

Thank you all again fro supporting Antiwar.com and the cause of peace. We will be contacting all of you after the holiday. But the winners are…

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