I've been struggling with the following.
We all want Bitcoin to be used more and hopefully replace FIAT at some point in a distant future. We try to onboard merchants to accept Bitcoin as well as orange pill more users to buy Bitcoin and then subsequently spend it. We try to hodl and then preach do not hodl, spend and replace This by itself is already quite tough to convince people of this behavior since most just hope for increase in price, that is why hodl is so popular.
That is not what I want to talk about though. There is another even bigger hurdle which keeps people from using bitcoin.
For most normal people in western economies, spending bitcoin has time consuming consequences and probably a moral/psychological barrier. Let me explain.
If someone were to spend bitcoin for a coffee on a regular basis and they did everything by the book, they'd have to calculate how much gain/loss was produced by the spent bitcoin. And let's face it, nobody is going to do that. That kind of bookkeeping is just retarded. Spending Bitcoin should be seemless, fast, and not add another headache. This is not going to work.
Assuming, nobody can be bothered with doing their own accounting based on their daily expenditure in Bitcoin, so one could argue that by asking people to spend bitcoin, we are basically asking them to peform an illegal activity (to break the law).
And this is the issue. Only minority of people are going to dismiss the legal consequences that could arise from spending bitcoin and not reporting it. You have to be pretty deep down the rabbit hole in order for you to say fuck it, I'll just use it and fuck the gov. Normal person will not do that and we cannot expect them to do that.
I know that many of us here, do not bother with this and we all know what @DarthCoin thinks :), however, the sad reality we are fighting here is what I have described above.
I am not saying that orange pilling more and more people is a lost cause, on the contrary, that is the only way to prevail. Plus we are still very early in the Bitcoin age and I am sure this won't be an issue when majority of the world is orange pilled. I just wanted to voice this concern that is not being discussed that much and I feel is being dismissed by a lot of the bitcoin community. Thanks for reading.
Remember you are writing it on StackerNews, where people say fuck it by earning and/or spending bitcoin/sats. And SN is expanding... ;)
I mean, ask normal people to post here, and after that - ask if they will report incoming sats from this activity ;)
This is exactly the place to write this imho, because we are the ones that want the change and do the orange pilling. But we are just a few. In order for bitcoin to be accepted globally and stay accepted globally, we need the normal people to get on board.
If you can stay off the grid with incoming sats and spending sats, then there is no problem of course, but a normal person will not have any incoming sats from their activity (not just yet anyway).
normal person can write some really fresh post here and have this way first incoming sats. I do expect them, they won't report it as TaXabLE EvEnT - because they are normal ;)
I'd assume so :)
People in the "West" don't have a spine anymore. I have become convinced of that since the "pandemic" fiasco. They are going to get royally screwed, and they will be happy.
"But I cannot spend bitcoin because it's a TaXabLE EvEnT." Well, if you are so scared of paying for a coffee with bitcoin from your non-KYC'd UTXOs (which you should have already), what are you going to do when/if the government bans bitcoin?
On the other hand, I expect that with persistent two- or three-digit inflation, the masses will quickly overcome that "moral/psychological" barrier you mention. But do what you have to do, regardless of what the masses think or do. Don't wait for the masses.
Thanks for the reply.
I was not talking about myself, but normal people that might have or not some bitcoin and their spending habits of bitcoin. This is the challenge.
You cannot tell a normal person, just go buy yourself some non-KYC'd bitcoin. A very good chance is that their onboarding will happen on an exchange which will require KYC.
That's the point I am trying to convey. Instead of waiting for the normies and the politicians to "do something", do something yourself and arrange your affairs so that you are less affected by what the normies and politicians do. Then you will feel less sad or frustrated about how slow bitcoin adoption is going.
And, yes, you can tell normal people that they can buy bitcoin at a local meetup or with vouchers from azte.co or whatever. Most of them won't do it, but some might.
Westerners (especially Americans and Britons) have been conditioned from birth to obey the Authorities, and to view anything other than blind, unquestioning allegiance to the State as unpatriotic. Ironically, Americans persist in believing that they are free and independent, when the opposite is true.
You can sell them some peer-to-peer bitcoin yourself, though, after having them set up an initial self-custody wallet.
Well, you are moving towards the root behind all our problems.
Which is not fiat. It's coward people who lack critical thinking and the rebellious spirit to not be submissive to the state. No amount of Bitcoin and innovation will save us from people behaving in such way.
But there is still hope. Because Bitcoin creates incentives for people to wake up and stand up. I would bet must of us around here used to be obedient normies, and then Bitcoin turned us into anarchist wackos. I guess the question is: will we manage to be enough?
Well put. Orange pilling one crazy rebel at a time. :)
Greedy normies that want more dollars enter from one side, anarco capitalists with a big interest in the fall of the state exit from the other side. The funny thing is that, if each fresh rebel spreads the virus to two normies, the growth becomes exponential. And then you would see all sorts of people in different countries, cultures and languages coming to the same ideas... which is what I've been seeing recently.
Some maxis shit on the obsession for NgU, but the truth is that's the bait to get the normies to step out of Matrix. If Bitcoin wasn't hardcapped and thus promised tremendous financial reward to those who enter it, I think it would have 0 chance of going mainstream.
Pack your bags and move to El Salvador. I'm only half kidding. I assume you're a US citizen. The tax laws differ in other countries. In fact, I'm considering a move out of the US myself for many reasons.
Hehe. If I was single without committments, I'd seriously consider it.
It is not just the US. Most countries in the western world have a similar type of law when it comes to taxing bitcoin. Of course, there are some differences, but the underlying idea that you report gains and losses is there.
I was shocked to discover that my wife is on board. She brings it up more than me now!
Consider yourself lucky :). It goes over mine's head, however, I keep mentioning it here and there, and perhaps one day :).
Calculating gains and losses when spending bitcoin is incredibly impractical, especially if spending Lightning, even more if spending from a non-custodial Lightning service. You would have to figure out the cost basis for the Bitcoin at the time you opened the channel, any difference in exchange price at the time of spending, and total this up for all your dozens or hundreds of little transactions. As you say, it's a bookkeeping burden none of us are prepared or equipped to manage, even with the most sophisticated software. The more people who say fuck it the better.
This is my approach plus what’s the worst that can happen IRS nails you. Sell some of your corn and pay move on with life. Or don’t pay go to court and see if you draw the right judge and win. This scare of the tax man is ridiculous besides the irs only knows if someone reports you.
I couldn't have said it better.
This is a well put question/topic. I am curious if anyone knows the ramifications of bitcoin being deemed legal tender in El Salvador when it comes to spending elsewhere. For example, I don't think spending euros in the US is a taxable event.
Very interesting. Have not thought about it like that.
I seem to remember that Ben De Waal reported his expenses under the foreign currency "El Salvadoran Bitcoin" or smth, and he wasn't taxed in Germany.
If we are talking about small amounts, I think most people will dismiss the legal consequences. For example, people pay each other under the table all the time and don't report it.
I think people in this thread work with layman law from spending time in online echo chamber.
Small transactions are not illegal in most countries in the world. If this was the case then every Craigslist or Facebook market place second hand and fleamarket would be illegal.
And even more so for Bitcoin which isn't even considered money or a security in most countries. It isn't even illegal to barter some eggs for some bananas with your neighbor.
According to the USA IRS, "It's important to keep good records of all barter transactions, including the fair market value of the goods or services exchanged, as well as any related expenses. This information will be needed when preparing your tax return. If you have any specific questions or concerns about the tax implications of bartering, it's recommended that you consult a tax professional or the IRS directly." :/
That is true. But we do not want bitcoin to be only used under the table for petty change.
The so-called west is actually a minority of the population and I would even dare say real workforce.
Yes, it's important, and the dollar makes it worse, but it's not everything. MSM makes it so that it seems everyone cares about Europe or US. People in Asia care very little about the troubles US brings to itself, as well as further down South in America (the continent!) and Africa.
I am neither taxed nor need to report my bitcoin spending or hodling in any of the three jurisdictions I live. So I do exactly that, spend it.
Yep, it's a real problem and as someone who regularly spends BTC I can say the time I spend doing this accounting is a "tax" I'd rather not pay but I do it because I like spending BTC and want to support the BTC economy. As you point out though, this is not how most people think and we cannot rely on this motivation to spread adoption. I think widespread realization of this is one of the motivating factors (in addition to the block size limit and scaling debate) that led many Bitcoiners to pivot from "BTC as currency" to "BTC as investment". Investments are typically buy and hold and people are used to doing infrequent accounting regarding sales of investment assets, and they receive paperwork from their investment managers that make the accounting easier.
If you want to support spending BTC you can call your political representative and ask them to support this bill, or a bill like it in your jurisdiction: https://www.coincenter.org/congress-takes-a-step-toward-a-de-minimis-exemption-for-everyday-cryptocurrency-transactions-2022/
Well, what could be done, is as a local community organizer (and I'm of the belief that your orange pilling efforts are best spent in grassroots community organizing) you could create a wallet which calculates the tax burdens, has an API to an exchange so that all accounting could be done internally, has an option to send some Bitcoin (which may seem like an optional increased fee) which puts some extra sats on top of the purchase into another wallet hidden behind settings which can be used to pay for accounting services at the end of the year, which would then be refunded to the user what was not used to pay for those services automatically probably on the 15th of April.
When you're doing community organizing, you see the people you're orange pilling much much more often than a 5 minute speech you'd normally get to orange pill randoms. As such, you can warn people about shitcoin scams, create customized wallet solutions and all kinds of stuff your community might need.
To read more about community organizing, you should read the Bitcoin Beach whitepaper: https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/5f46d2bb7cca38461c7b8e13/62e049dd5f62fb5c824f1e34_bitcoinbeach.pdf
This is the way. Local support and automation.
That is a big concern, and I think that most merchants have taxes as the biggest concern. Hard to get around.
The good thing is, if you buy something directly in BTC (ie, I buy a proverbial coffee by sending sats to the merchant w/o a conversion to dollars) that is not considered a taxable event in the US (beyond sales tax).
At first when trying to orange pill people in my community I tried spreading it to as many merchants as possible. Did not work. But after a lot of study and experience I've found that the best option is helping a small, interconnected group of people become convinced of Bitcoin, and then spread it slowly through social networks.
You raise an interesting point. I was under the impression that your coffee example above would be a taxable event, unless you, say, purchase some btc on cash app and then immediately pay the coffee vendor with it. I you buy btc you have been hodling, on the other hand, you would owe the gain on the transaction regardless of whether you pay in btc or fiat. I'm not a tax expert, and I could be wrong about this.
Yeah, I got it wrong, apparently that is technically a taxable event. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/040515/are-there-taxes-bitcoins.asp
If you receive sats as payment it counts as income, which makes sense. But if you buy something they also count that as capital gains, which is stupid and probably a nightmare to figure out.
As capital gains you are OK up to $89K or so... that's a lot of coffee IMHO :-)
Oh, didn't notice that lol.
Also, bold of you to assume I'm not buying 3 BTC worth of coffee :P
lol... I stand corrected :-)
Exactly, from a simple person's view, the laws are dumb in this regard. It makes no sense. I feel like the state is stealing from me if they want me to pay tax on spending bitcoin.
Of course you feel like the state is stealing from you. They are, in fact, stealing from you several times. They tax you when you earn, when you save, when you invest, and when you spend. In their eyes, why should they give away such power? They see bitcoin as a tiny thing. If they change their minds at some point, it won't be out of benevolence, but because they won't have a better choice.
You're not wrong, but there's a lot of things that are technically illegal in the USA that are pretty much accepted. For example, undocumented aliens powering the farms that grow our food, or service workers being tipped in cash and not being scrutinized too much as to what gets declared.
I think the best thing to do it to just keep going on all fronts - p2p payments, business payments, individual and institutional hodling, and things will work out in the end one way or another.
Spending bitcoin is simply cash. That's it. Who is considering other thing is just a moron. There' no gains/loss is simply a method of cash. In all your damn accounting you treat it like cash.
That means majority of people are morons. Sad, but probably true hehe
That's just sad.
There is a oretty good tool to keep track of earnings & spendings:
For a german guy who got into btc just one month ago my biggest challenge is to find trustworthy people i can change fiat into bitcoin.
In europe all ramps into btc are at least light kyc so you need to have a bank account so they can track who you are of being the account owner.
If you don‘t hold for at least one year all transactions over 600€ get taxed on Germany and if you don‘t keep track and buy kyc from exchanges you will get in trouble.
People also do not realize how important it is to use wallet that have a good utxo management implemented and allow mixing. Therefore you need to habe enough time beside your fiat job to teach yourself those important privacy techniques.
As a newbie i can tell you that its not really easy to dig deeper into all these topics. Its a very confusing and huge soace that need to be explored. For non technical or older people like my parents its hard to understand. Not onky from the technical standpoint but you also need to understand economics. Its a true journey.
Thanks for bringing this topic for discussion!
Nah. It's a means of exchange elevated by fucking magic. I have bought everything under the sun with BTC and it's not really known what those things are. HODL Plus Quality of Life/HODL+QOL. No sense holding on for dear fucking life if you can't eat what you want, fuck who you want and do what the fucking fuck you want. Self actualize and flex on these hoes. Peace.
Do you track all the cash you spent and how? Bitcoin (esp. lightning) is cash.
It should be. However, try explaining that to the tax office:). Normies do not wantt to go against what the tax office says.
Not using bitcoin has spiritual consequences.
Very underappreciated response 🧘
At first I spent time creating pseudonyms and trying only to spend from those fake identities. Then once I realized how liberating it was, I began spending directly from my real KYC sats. I now spend real sats directly tied to me every single day. If the gov't wants to waste their time coming after me for my $25 Uber giftcards, paid for using Bitcoin (lightning, ofc) at Bitrefill, they can go right ahead.
I pulled the fuck it switch, and pulled it hard.
Bitcoin is worth fighting for.
I will fight for Bitcoin. Bitcoin is fuck you money, and my BTC address is 1FUCkyoUg2yEncsvLCr2o4SqBssQTzK8zk
Well said. I came to the same conclusion.
I think it comes down to the motivations, in many African countries USD is not legal tender, but people are still trading it, be it physical or digital because they're local currency is hot garbage. Sure governments can come out and state bitcoin is illegal or limit it for purchases etc but this is assuming they can enforce it, informal economies will always pop up to supply the demand because when a man has to eat what his government says doesn't matter
it's only when governments are not failing the man on the street that there is an incentive to listen.Maybe those in the West see it like you do, but round my parts civil disobedience is baked into the pie
I think the more your currency gets clobbered the more legalities hold less weight
Thanks for sharing and you are right.
As frustrating as it might be, Bitcoin doesn't have to primarily benefit Americans. It's fine if other parts of the world are the main beneficiaries, for the time being, and if innovations in Bitcoin are primarily serving them. A huge part of the case for Bitcoin is this sort of global arbitrage.
Another thought I had while reading this, is that presumably someone could develop an app that tracks the capital gains for you and even selectively uses the units with the lowest tax burden for transactions.
I also think you're overstating how much the "normal" person cares about legality. Everyone speeds, after all, and there's always an enormous shortfall in tax receipts by the IRS. If social norms form around spending bitcoin "under the table", people will go with it.
I think speeding is not comparable. You have a pretty high chance you will not get caught if u speed and the punishment is trivial. With taxes it could get expensive, gov't can see your finances + it is just time consuming. However, who knows:). Let's keep jugging along. I feel better after posting this.
From what I know about tax enforcement, I would argue that speeding is not a terrible analogy. Aside from politically motivated audits, the IRS seldom comes after people unless they think there is a very large sum of money to be extracted. It would be a huge pain for them to prove what you owe on the particular Bitcoin used in a transaction, particularly on lightning transactions.
You are probably right.
Just one thing, it is not the tax office that needs to prove it. The tax payer needs to prove if tax office says you owe.
We might be talking past each other, a bit. The IRS pursues cases where they can easily gather revenue. Cases that either involve small sums or could lead to messy legal challenges are typically avoided. The later is why they would care about being able to prove what the capital gains are on a transaction.
You are right. They could care less about sats here and there.
I was just saying that if they say you owe capital gains tax, it is up to u to either pay it or prove you do not owe. So the burden of proof lies with the tax payer.
Except that if you challenge their claim, the burden of proof would switch. I'm a little out of my depth on the technicalities of the LN, but my understanding is that it would be ambiguous what the actual buy and sell prices are for the bitcoin that ultimately gets used to settle a transaction.
You might argue the capital gains were lower than the IRS is claiming, by identifying different monetary units as the ones that were used and the IRS would then have to demonstrate that your claim is false.
Even if I have some of the details wrong, that's the kind of messiness I'm talking about.
This whole argument is a false premise.
There is no convincing reason to spend bitcoin.
It's a myth that we "need to spend it" to create some future economic utopia.
So we don't "all want bitcoin to be used more" as you say. I DGAF how anybody else uses bitcoin and don't think any of you should be telling people how to use it either.
Ok., interesting point of view. So, if it does not get spent, what is it for?
Seriously? what is it for?
That's for you to figure out........for yourself. And nobody else. I've figured it out for myself. And somehow I've refrained from proselytizing about it.
It's like you going up to your neighbor on the frontier and saying, "hey, you know what, you really should SPEND some of your 10 acres because we need....uh.....some VELOCITY with this raw land thing."
This is just a problem in the US, where most of the people are cucks apparently. In LatAm nobody gives a shit.
I don't think there is anything explaining the lack of Bitcoin spending other than Gresham's law. The more people save in Bitcoin, the more they will eventually need to spend it or at least convert that Bitcoin into fiat for spending that.
side note: https://stacker.news/items/128857
If someone does everything by the book, bitcoin is not for them, because bitcoin is the very thing that will fuck their book up and then burn it to the ground.
Regarding laws, I see that there are 3 types of laws. One, universal laws, such as gravity; laws no human can defy. Two, social laws, such as don't lie, don't cheat, don't steal; these laws grow from the grassroots, from bottom up, and are generally accepted by most humans. There is a general consensus regarding social laws and those people break these laws are generally despised upon and punished by the society as a whole. Even if people could get away with breaking these laws, they generally don't want to break them, because people could feel guilt, remorse, and/or regret when breaking them; it just doesn't feel good. Three, government laws, such as tax laws, border laws, etc. These laws are written by individuals working in the government, and are enforced by force / coerced through violence or the threat of violence (police, military). Many of these laws generally do not have wide acceptance or consensus throughout society, and are top down centrally planned laws that select few individuals working in the government think are good ideas.
I don't have a problem breaking government laws as long as I know or I feel that I won't get caught, and I believe many people do the same. That is why many people (I'm not saying everyone, but many do) go over the speed limit when they drive or do not report cash income. Personally, I feel that the majority of people actually don't want to do everything by the book and are intelligent individuals who know how to think for themselves. They probably just pretend to do everything by the book in fear of being found breaking government laws (remember the consequence is violence), but they break these laws all the time when they know or think they won't get caught.
As such, I think the orange pill is actually easier to swallow than you think. It takes education, it takes time, and it takes work to really understand bitcoin. But once someone understands bitcoin, the incentive is aligned with the individual to accumulate it and use it, regardless of what government laws say. Being inviolable personal property and allowing complete freedom of transaction, bitcoin provides the best incentive for people to adopt and use it; especially in this day and age of ever growing government surveillance and coercion.
People are not using bitcoin yet because they do not understand it. Education is key, my friend. Keep orange pilling.
Really good food for thought.
This is a matter of education, which is difficult to broach in short order. Normal people don't know that
It isn't surprising to me that a lot of bitcoiners have thrown the book out altogether when it comes to spending sats. Also, bitcoin is a new paradigm in that it regulates itself via consensus rules, and that takes a long time to wrap one's head around like what I listed above. This is what happens when our financial system is obfuscated from the general public.
I'm not concerned about mass adoption, though. The masses will come when they have no other choice, but bear in mind that I am deep in the rabbit hole and I am solidly convinced that all fiat currencies will go to zero
Mathematics and physics are above the fictitious, perverted creations that are man-made laws. They would laugh at it if they cared, but they don't. Man-made law has to either adjust to the magnificence of Bitcoin or die.
I like to think of myself as a “normal person” who used to not use bitcoin but who now says fuck it.
The point is to bring down the cantillionairs
People don't need to be orange pilled. Price will tell them where to move. Even in a manipulated monetary system they can't supress prices forever. And it's happening right now. When there is enough holders and stock/flow increases everyone will have to move to bitcoin until its too late. The laggards will pay with their time for being backwards Market signals
Are you saying there is a difference? There has to be.) Everyone does what they want to do))))
It's a good point. As with all things though, people need to crawl before they walk before they run. Getting normies hodling is a good start - the quicker we convert fiat into bitcoin, the faster it monetizes and the faster jurisdictional game theory will unfold that removes the types of impediments you're highlighting and ushers in the next monetary phases like broad medium of exchange. Jurisdictional game theory can also happen at more granular levels than entire countries (e.g. imagine Florida or Wyoming or Texas making it legal tender as a US-based example) - and people "voting with their feet" even on the margin makes a big difference too economies.
Wtf are you talking about? Using Bitcoin isn't illegal almost anywhere in the world, if this was the case then every craigslist sell would be illegal. Your premise is wrong.
I'm reading this while my s9j miner is warming up my room
This is likely naive, but when bitcoin becomes the official currency of just one country, it seemed that by international norms it should be considered by all countries as forex (foreign exchange), which isn't taxed. That would certainly be handy.
Trade with KYC Bitcoin Spend with Non-KYC Bitcoin
This feels like a problem that could be solved by technology. It could be easily built into wallets. As long as the cost basis is known for the Bitcoin when it's added to the wallet, calculating the gain/loss at the time it's spent would be pretty straightforward.
I know this comes with other issues that aren't aligned with the Bitcoin ethos. But as long as we live in a world where the government forces us to pay our taxes in fiat then solutions like these will be needed during the transition.
I am pretty new to bitcoin, I’ve always kind of paid attention, and I’ve always had a serious problem with the FED and paper currency. I have only just started to purchase bitcoin. I’m not trading yet, I’m still feeling it out. It’s reads like this that keep me moving forward. I wouldn’t have known what orange pilling was if not for this, so thank you for that. I do really wish everyone would just jump down the fucking hole and say fuck the government already though!!!
With this mindset is better you don't touch Bitcoin and stay in FIAT. Bitcoin is permissionless
Install Valet on android, put there fixed amount of sats into Fiat channel to spend in a week, month or quarter and forget about the prices or gains and losses.
Theyll never know