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ROSC 14: The Bitcoin House


It’s been a strange but recurring theme in my life that when a cluster of bad things hit, something good follows close behind. Often, I learn later that the good thing was initiating just as the bad things struck.

But whatever that is and however it works, it happened to me again. There is currently so much going on that I barely know where to begin.

Creative Commerce

Chester Cruz, as it turns out, chose his friends very well. The sanitarium, we learned, was actually owned by a land trust, and the trustee, now quite elderly, is still a member of Chester’s old law firm. The group that opposed young Esther had contacted this man, wanting to kick Esther, Stanley, Sophie, and two others out of the sanitarium. The trustee and lawyer, a Mr. Medansky, explained to them that he would not do that, but if they were entirely serious about the matter, he could arrange to sell the property and distribute the proceeds to everyone living there.

And so the sale began. But after Esther and the others were notified of the upcoming sale by Mr. Medansky, they put together a new plan: to buy the trust themselves, and of course the sanitarium with it. The lawyer cleverly worked out all the details for them (which allowed them to keep all the sanitarium’s legal advantages), but it would require a cash payment.

This is where we all thanked God for the rise of Bitcoin. While none of our group (so far as I know) had a huge number of bitcoins, they had all accumulated some back when the price was low, and now (the price is hitting $8,000 as I write this) that translates to a lot of dollars… and so they’re buying the trust and property outright. The offended group will get their payout and go live wherever they wish, and the others will get to move back in. (They moved out once the sale was forced and are currently living in an Airbnb.)

The question then was what to do with the property. And that’s where things get really interesting.

First of all, the group will give the building a facelift. Being that no one is currently living there, this is a good time. But there’s more than that. The last month at the sanitarium was pretty ugly, and the group that forced the sale had been getting pretty dark anyway. More or less everyone agreed that the place needed a fresh start.

Now here’s the fun part:

As I discussed the remodeling with the group at Jay’s one day, I told the story of the very first agriculturalists of Europe and how they burned out their houses upon leaving them, even when giving them to new occupants[1]You can find more detail on this is FMP #73.. We can’t use actual fire these days of course, but they liked the idea, and last week they came up with a cool version of it.

Adam’s youngest brother is in a band and knows a lot of other poor, young musicians. The group decided to let them have free run of the sanitarium during the remodeling, provided of course that they don’t damage the structure, don’t bother the neighbors (rather hard to do anyway, as their closest neighbors are a factory and a parking lot), and don’t interfere with the remodeling crews.

And so the sanitarium is now being “burned out” by members of four different bands, who are living there, rehearsing there, and entertaining there, and often all three at the same time. They’ll probably have only a month or two, but they’re already having a great time and have been respectful to all involved.

Enter the Swedes

“Synchronicity,” as we used to say way back when, “happens.” And it still happens. Just as our group had to make long-term plans on using the sanitarium, I got an email from a group we’re now calling “the Swedes.”

I ran into the Swedes at a cryptoanarchist conference in Europe a year ago, and they intrigued me. They’re actually two families from Stockholm who are traveling around the world, visiting “Bitcoin Houses.” How they can afford to do this, I didn’t ask (it’s really none of my business), but both families have young children and they’re educating them as they go. They had taken up residence in central Europe for a while, had been in Japan for some time prior, and were on their way to a Bitcoin place in India next. I was surprised that they had so many actual places to stay, each dedicated to cryptocurrency.

“It’s not just here in Europe,” they had assured me last year. “These places are springing up everywhere.” And lately I have seen others forming.

As I say, these people intrigued me, even though I didn’t have much time to spend with them. I couldn’t help feeling that a century ago they would have been Christian missionaries, traveling the world and “bringing light” in a somewhat different way.

Now, as it happens, they want to come to the Central US. Not to the glittering coastal cities, but to someplace where Americans still do productive work. And so, beginning in two months, they’ll take up residence on the second floor of the sanitarium, their purpose being to turn it into a functioning Bitcoin House. (Esther and company will use the top floor.) They’ll stay for six months at least, and they’ll have access to the sanitarium’s front room and rather large basement for any kinds of meetings and gatherings they wish to arrange. The backyard too, once spring hits.

This should be fascinating. More next time.

* * * * *

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

References   [ + ]

1. You can find more detail on this is FMP #73.
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