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(want to read about the bitcoin conference in Singapore?)

Just a few days ago on the friday that has passed (1st of November), the Craig couple (or bitcoin couple) have spent the past 100 days, crossing continents, countries, sovereigns, jurisdictions without spending dollars or fiat. They’ve made their way from Utah, America to Stockholm, Sweden to Berlin, Germany to Singapore, Singapore.

The bitcoin couple’s blog: http://lifeonbitcoin.com/blog/

The kickstarter was to pay for the film crew, where they will be handling the documentary of their pretty incredible journey. Proof of concept that traveling the world with just bitcoin is possibly doable ;D

Before that, they had done several interviews at the Artistry cafe (singapore’s first brick and mortar as well as f&b to accept bitcoin), one with Joyce Hooi for Business times (the local financial times, bloomberg, wsj equivalent/counterpart) and republished for WoBao (the local chinese-english paper), David Moskowitz of Coinrepublic and Mediacorp Channel 8 (the local chinese channel)

Joyce Hooi

From Utah to Singapore – one couple’s Bitcoin odyssey

It gets some spot on the front page! Below Carson Block and China PMI

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/utah-singapore-one-couples-bitcoin-odyssey-20131102

businesstimesbitcoin2 businesstimesbitcoin1

It can also be found on wobao mypaper

Have Bitcoin, will travel

http://mypaper.sg/news/have-bitcoin-will-travel-20131104

Excerpts:

NEWLYWEDS Austin Craig and Beccy Bingham-Craig are sitting in a Wendy’s outlet in Lavender Street, a long way from home in Provo, Utah. In the last three months, the travelling American couple have not directly spent a single red, government-backed cent to get here: they have paid for everything in Bitcoin, the virtual currency used by a few and understood by even fewer.

On Friday, in this corner of Singapore, the pair ended the final and 102nd day of their experiment called Life on Bitcoin, after having made pit stops in Berlin and Stockholm to meet fellow Bitcoiners.

In an interview on Thursday, Beccy told BT: “We’ve had people ask us, ‘You’ve cheated, right?’ But we haven’t cheated at all.”

In their hometown, the couple persuaded a family-owned grocery store to take Bitcoin. To pay for petrol, they found a kindred Bitcoin spirit, an employee at a petrol station known to them only as Furb. They had to drive 80km from their home for the petrol, though.

Then came the time to start their travel. In the last three weeks, the couple have driven cross-country to New York City, from where they visited Stockholm, Berlin and then Singapore.

Austin said: “I was curious about how to become involved in Bitcoin because neither of us is a cryptographer, programmer or an economist. As a concept, Bitcoin is really interesting.”

Their trip has been equal parts madcap and careful planning. Their flights and hotel accommodation were arranged though Simply Travel, an online travel agency that accepts Bitcoin.

“Beccy is the happy new owner of a henna-tattooed arm,” Austin told BT in an e-mail update.

Somewhere in Little India sits a mildly bemused owner of what might just be a piece of the future.

A very nice part is the short chinese translations such as 比特币 for bitcoin, and cryptographer (for those of you out there learning chinese)

You can see that the local financial press has taken a very balanced view towards this very interesting phenomenon. (c.f. the mainstream press http://business.asiaone.com/news/bitcoin-users-beware-mas) (though they are owned by the same entity)

比特币 is also quite interesting a translation, in some parts phonetic “bi3 te4” but also in its component entities. bi3 refers to comparison, a comparison to competing fiat currencies out there in the world? te4 refers to special or unique, which is a pretty nice extra to have. I wonder who in China coined this translation.

David’s video interview is available here

Channel 8 blurb:

https://www.facebook.com/ch8news/posts/689738277711158

10月31日 《网上热爆》最近网上盛行一种虚拟货币”比特币”Bitcoin。记者蓝丽婷采访奥斯丁和贝奇这对新婚夫妇,他们在过去三个月就单靠比特币,到斯德哥尔摩、柏林等地度蜜月,而新加坡是他们的最终一站。只靠虚拟货币,不用真金白银,真能环游世界?请锁定本周六10点《晚间新闻》的《网上热爆》。
On October 31 the prevalence of hot blast Internet online a virtual currency “coins” Bitcoin.Press interview Lan Liting and Becky Austin newlywed couple, they rely solely on coins in the past three months, Stockholm, Berlin and other places to honeymoon, while Singapore is the ultimate one stop. Virtual currency alone, without real money, I can travel around the world?
Please lock this week, 610 points of the evening news of the hot blast online. (Translated by Bing)
Life on Bitcoin getting interviewed by Channel 8. Watch it on Saturday 10PM or on Youtube on Monday
waiting to see if the news footage will hit youtube
My Own Experience:
(my recollection may be quite a bit sketchy)
As for myself, I managed to rush over to the Bitcoin meeting with the Life on Bitcoin couple. At first when I reached the place, Lowercase at the School of the Arts, I was totally lost, with no idea of what was going on.
But before long a few other half-lost people streamed in too and the people were all very friendly. In quick succession I met people from both locally in Singapore as well as pretty much around the world, the first few I met came from Malaysia, China and France. Singapore is sure living up to its reputation as a global hub.
The bar accepted bitcoins, so one could pay for their beer and drinks with bitcoins. David Moskowitz and a few others were there offering to trade dollars for bitcoins at cost. Tomas was the one who set up the payments system at the place, and a strong advocate of bitcoin locally persuading many of the early adopters. Luv Khemani of the local singapore exchange fybsg was also there, as well as the pilot of the popular techinasia article who quit his pilot job to help Luv expand fyb in sweden. Christian was there with his family, I think he was the one who liaised with the bitcoin couple from Utah.
The meetup begin with Tomas introducing the speakers as well as the itinerary, and then there was Alexis of Seedcoin and the Bitcoinference (http://www.bitcoinsingapore2013.com)
bitcoinference
And then we finally had the Craig Couple to talk about their journeys as well as their Q&A.
bitcoincouple

They were asked rather often about the challenges they faced, which was not surprising.

They talked about their difficulties in getting gasoline, because while you may find a counterparty to trade you gas at your start points (well they had to drive a long way for even that too) it may well run out somewhere along the way in which you could well be stuck. At some point they had to get gas cans from a hardware shop and lug it to their car.

A lot of difficulties also appeared when they first reached a country, when communication and linking up with the local community would take some time.

When they reached Stockholm, they were tired and hungry and couldn’t get dinner at all because no one wanted to accept bitcoins. They just couldn’t get any food. The next day they met the British guy who remarked that they seemed far less enthusiastic than they were when they first started. In his mind Austin was thinking “I’m tired, I’m hungry, of course I am less enthusiastic, much less go around with you to persuade hotels to take us in”. But the British delivered, and they had a happy ending to their Stockholm leg, ending up in a boutique hotel fed with food, living on bitcoin. It was a particularly nice boutique hotel compared to the previous hostel that was smaller than his college dorm.

Beccy: Oh now he will know what you think of him!

Austin: Sorry about that! He will be seeing this in the video documentary!

A severe limitation of bitcoin also reared its head when they landed over here in Singapore: They had no internet. This is a natural limitation of a virtual currency, and not easily remedied by Casascius Bitcoins and especially in the current infrastructure infancy. But that was resolved and the Singapore contact got them a prepaid data card, and they were back in business. They managed to go Little India and get their Henna tattoo (by persuading the lady that they would be paying more “her eyes glistened when we said pay more”) They used the analogy of emailing money, which I think is probably a lot more intuitive than other explanations.

At the end of this leg, they could finally swap out of their bitcoins and offered to trade theirs for the local currency (so they could go back to Little India and try the stalls that could not be persuaded to take bitcoins) and a few people did take them up on the offer

How did they start?

Austin was the first to be introduced to bitcoin, and he was excited and all ready to get set running his own rig before he was dissuaded by a person he asked. Later he saw the bitcoin price rocket all the way. The audience (one of them) asked him if it was too late to be getting into bitcoin, and this was his response that “don’t be me then”. Eventually he decided he had to start and managed to persuade Beccy, and one thing led to another with them going onto their bitcoin world tour. He does freelance marketing projects, while Beccy has a day job and managed to get paid in bitcoins.

On Singapore Bitcoiners

Austin: Don’t underestimate what you have here, there are more people at this Singapore meetup than they had at their American one.

People around the world have banded together, and in each place there are a few people who really get things out and make things work. The entire bitcoin community around the world have been incredibly supportive.

There was probably a lot more stuff I forgot, but they stayed to chat around for a little while more before leaving later.

bitcoinfilmcrew

The film crew and the guest photographer.

Talking to the other people at the meetup:

Choice Quotes: “the best time to plant a tree is yesterday, the next best time is today

China has really spiced things up” (paraphrased)

Luv Khemani: “everytime I’m finishing my API, MAS (the local monetary regulator) sends me a letter with new regulations” “you know, there are price discrepancies here and there, you may be able to arbitrage something

David Moskovitz: “I’m trading bitcoin… like trading sugar

And that’s about it! Unless I remember other stuff. Let me know if I need to remove stuff too.

(As of writing bitcoin is rocketing it seems, wonder why)

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