Bitcoin Core developer Jimmy Song has caused controversy by suggesting that bitcoin enthusiasts would be better off using credit cards as a means of payment. He described this strategy as being “more rational and convenient” than making multiple onchain transactions. His advice flies in the face of the rationale behind Bitcoin and has provoked a strong response.
Jimmy Song Sings the Praises of Fiat Currency
Bitcoin Core developers are expected to advocate the use of the cryptocurrency protocol they help to maintain. Jimmy Song’s invocation to use credit cards, where possible, has thus been greeted with incredulity in some quarters. “If you want to use bitcoin as a method of payment,” he began his tweet, implying that there was something odd about wanting to make payments with a cryptocurrency whose whitepaper is titled “a peer-to-peer electronic cash system.”
Song went on to describe his proposal for using credit cards to fund day-to-day payments and then paying off monthly bills in bitcoin. The justification for doing so was that such a mechanism would entail performing a single onchain transaction, rather than multiple ones for each purchase. Song’s tweet, liked by various Bitcoin Core developers and assorted cheerleaders, is not uncharacteristic. Blockstream CSO Samson Mow has previously opined that bitcoin “isn’t for people that live on less than $2 a day,” and asserted that such individuals may not even be computer literate enough to safely transact with cryptocurrencies.
If you want to use Bitcoin as a method of payment, this strategy is more rational and convenient than doing lots of on-chain tx's:
1. Spend with your credit card with no debt on it.
2. When your credit card bill comes, sell just enough bitcoin to pay the bill.
— Jimmy Song (송재준) (@jimmysong) October 8, 2018
Core Developers Dissuade Daily Use of Bitcoin
A number of Bitcoin Core developers have voiced similar opinions to Song, including urging members of a meetup not to use their BTC to pay for dinner. The notion that the bitcoin ledger is sacrosanct, and that users should avoid sullying it with trifling transactions for everyday purchases, is an odd one to espouse, especially by figures who effectively serve as ambassadors for BTC adoption.
For those who discovered bitcoin early, bought cheap coins, and then watched their wealth skyrocket once the rest of the world caught on, the “store of value” narrative must be appealing. Such early adopters, especially those living in Western lands, have little incentive to spend their precious coins. For the rest of the world, however, seeking refuge from corrupt and permissioned fiat systems, bitcoin can be a lifeline.
Those earning under $2 a day don’t have the luxury of making purchases on credit cards before paying it off later in BTC. Moreover, as long as people are encouraged to prop up corrupt credit card cartels, bitcoin will change nothing. Criticism for Jimmy Song’s stance came in thick and fast and from all quarters:
Jimmy Song – For everything else there's MasterCard. pic.twitter.com/Mx9WjzyRE4
— Genghis (@TECHNSAVE) October 9, 2018
Andreas Brekken may have put it best, though: “Get paid in bitcoin and convince your suppliers to accept bitcoin. That’s how you escape fiat. As a bonus you won’t be fueling the unwinnable war on drugs/terrorism.”
What are your thoughts on Jimmy Song’s tweet? Do you think onchain transactions should be minimized? Let us know in the comments section below.
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