Bitcoin resistance: How the Lebanese people are using bitcoin to overcome the economic crisis.
“Only when a central bank manipulates the money supply and interest rate does it become possible for large-scale failures across entire sectors of the economy to happen at the same time, causing waves of mass layoffs in entire industries”-Saifedean Ammous author of The Bitcoin Standard.
The great fall of the Lebanese economy
Since 2019 the government’s excessive failure mismanagement started to appear and the economic crisis began while creating huge consequences. Debt, Excessive printing of money, Political conflicts, and much more obstacles initiated by the government lead to huge violations in economic freedom. Hyperinflation along with bank restrictions and banning the withdrawal of the US Dollars was a huge blow to most Lebanese citizens who were not able to use their money and what they have has become worthless. Storing money in the bank has become like putting your money into a black hole that sucks them to disappear eventually. Also, transactions have become very hard to do as they undergo many restrictions and, in most cases, cannot work. Explaining what goes on in-depth will take a lot of time and surrendering to the situation means that we have become slaves to the state. The Lebanese people have adopted many ways to escape this awful situation or at least make it easier for them and one of them is Adopting bitcoin which has been laughed at before by most Lebanese and seen as not beneficial at all. So how did it start? How is it helping the Lebanese people? I will be getting you into the world of the Lebanese Bitcoin Community.
What makes Bitcoin stand out?
Disclaimer: it is important to clarify that bitcoin is completely different than other cryptocurrencies which are called alt-coins as many are confusing bitcoin with other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, Montero, and many other coins and it is important to know that the structure is completely different and that Bitcoin is currently dominating the market by far.
For those who are new to it, Bitcoin might seem to be a bad investment as its structure is different than government-issued currency, no regulations set it to it, untraceable, and most importantly not taken seriously because it lacks physical structure.
If you are concerned about all these that means you did not really understand the structure of this digital medium of exchange and what made the medium of exchange become successful throughout history from seashells, leaves, silver, gold, government-issued papers, and finally bitcoin which transferred exchange purely to the digital world. Explaining money structure would take some time however ill summarize it in this list.
Suitable Physical structure and ease of transferring: This is the first thing to consider when having a medium of exchange it must be physically strong and in the case of bitcoin blockchain technology made it stronger than ever by securing it and taking control over and would be well secured in the Bitcoin wallet which can be hardware or digital.
When it comes to transactions it is done in a very secure and free manner as it is very safe and strictly peer to peer. Bitcoin wallets have a secret piece of data called a Private key, in which transactions are signed, it is basically mathematical proof that they have come from the original source. This mark or signature prevents the transaction from being taken by anybody once it has been issued. Transactions usually get around 20–30 minutes to take place.
More on the technicalities of bitcoin here
Limited / Controlled availability:
Like any strong medium of exchange, Bitcoin has a limited number that this released and can be divisible endlessly to accommodate the needs of. The number of Bitcoins is 21 million and can never be increased at all which makes its scarcity powerful. Bitcoin's smaller unit is satoshis and it also can be bought in fractions and not necessarily as a single coin.
Bitcoin can be considered to be digital gold in which instead of regular mines the mining for bitcoin goes through bitcoin miner hardware that crunch numbers 24/7 in order to get bitcoin and the process gets harder the more they find bitcoins, which makes it virtually scarce and have a stable flow like gold.
A value of the medium of exchange in its importance physically and when it also comes to how people value it in the case of bitcoin technologically it is very secure and valuable and as for the perception it is proving to be more valuable as it is standing out especially in countries that are having monetary issues such as Venezuela, Iran, Turkey, and Lebanon. Today Bitcoin is the strongest currency in the world as its structure is well thought off and is flexible even in the harshest economies.
A valuable currency that is untraceable and isn’t controlled by the central bank in which people can use freely for their transactions and payments it is the ticket to freedom in a time where the money is restricted severely by the banking and legal system.
Meet the Bitcoin Community in Lebanon
Had the chance to interview Marcel Younes the founder of Lebanon’s Bitcoin community “Bitcoin Du Liban” and “BTC Market Place” which both have hundreds of members and have assisted many Lebanese people to join the global Bitcoin Hype.
How did the Bitcoin Du Liban community start and where is it today?
It started around the beginning of the October 17 revolution as a group for discussions on economics (Austrian School) and had 100 members however I wanted to talk about something else and decided to turn in into a bitcoin education group as bitcoin is much needed today and is suitable for our current situation. Today we have around 900 members and have a group on telegram to guarantee safety for all members also we are on all social media outlets and we started to create educational content on bitcoin and we have become the largest group on bitcoin education in Lebanon.
What is the aim of the community?
We are strictly focused on raising awareness of the global economic situation and monetary system. Monetary systems around the world that are issued by governments have shown failure in many areas such as the excessive money printing in the U.S. today so we redirect our community members to education and learning more about it and trying to correlate it with our situation. It's important to clarify that we aren’t an investment group, we don’t talk about prices, and have never encouraged anyone to buy bitcoin but rather learn about it.
How is Bitcoin helping people in the community overcome the challenges of the economic crisis?
People still are resistant to the idea of bitcoin, but that’s changing since many reputable companies are finally onboarding with bitcoin and aligning with the hardest money narrative that is truly trustless and decentralized
Some Lebanese are taking advantage of this system, by being paid in bitcoin and as well as performing freelancing jobs for bitcoin. Many people ask us how to invest if they don’t have USD but they forget that they can earn it by building websites and providing various online services.
There are some who send money to their families in Lebanon using bitcoin, in a matter of hours any amount of money can be transferred from anywhere in the world, so you aren’t restricted by working hours or long lines at a bank.
How do you see the future of Bitcoin? and what do you advise new investors?
Bitcoin inevitable, whether you see it or not, it already crossed a point of no return, all major banks and countries are recognizing the value proposition of the hardest money known to humans. The game theory is playing out, and it’s better to be with bitcoin than against it, you don’t have to believe in it yet but don’t miss out on an opportunity to be part of this revolutionary system.
However, to be clear bitcoin is not an investment but a savings technology, it’s toxic to think it will make you rich quickly but it will protect you from fiat currencies that are devaluating and steal your wealth, Bitcoin is to USD what USD is to LBP. My best advice is to invest in yourself, in your financial awareness, and get pulled into thousands of projects that claim to have a use case, or that are better-faster-cheaper than bitcoin, because the next Bitcoin is Bitcoin.
Marcel also told us about the 6Ds of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is tracking the 6 Ds perfectly. Let me explain (im not the author of this but came across it and thought its the best way to explain bitcoin)👇
DIGITIZED: Bitcoin is digitized money — it is a global, purely digital currency. Every bitcoin is traded, earned, sold, exchanged and bought in cyberspace. For this reason, it is living on Moore’s law and hopping on the exponential curve.
DECEPTIVE: Bitcoin software was released to the public in 2009 & grew in its deceptive phase. Few heard about it, few used it & accepted it. But with countless crypto startups offering universal wallets & digitized assets in recent years, Bitcoin is more accessible than ever.
DISRUPTIVE: Bitcoin is in its disruptive phase, where both its acceptance & value are exploding. The 3 largest cryptocurrency exchanges globally (Binance, Huobi Global, & Coinbase) have tens of millions of users & hundreds of billions of dollars in trading volume combined.
DEMATERIALIZING: Bitcoin is removing, or dematerializing, the use of physical money (bills and coins), and even credit cards. But more than that, it is also dematerializing (read: eliminating) the need for central banks, lawyers, and currency exchanges.
DEMONETIZING: Bitcoin eliminates middlemen (banks, lawyers, exchanges) and demonetizes the cost of transactions. Lower fees. It makes it cheaper to use, spread, and share money.
DEMOCRATIZING: Bitcoin makes access to capital available to everyone, where there are no banks, no ATMs, and no credit card suppliers. Ultimately, as we move to a world of 8 billion digitally connected humans, Bitcoin makes currency available to anyone with an internet connection.
Testimonials of Lebanese Bitcoin users
I interviewed some Lebanese bitcoiners to see what they think of bitcoin and how it helped them overcome the crisis.
Thomas Semaan, Bitcoin Enthusaist
I got introduced to it in 2016 after I got introduced to it by my professor Dr. Saifedean and started saving in bitcoin a year later after reasearching the journey had its up and downs. I was constantly investing and learning more and then came the economic crisis in lebanon in 2019 and realized it was the best decision ever. Eventually i started a blog and wrote articles to raise awareness on the matter and recently i started a podcast under the name Al3a Podcast to talk about bitcoin and related topics. Bitcoin gave me a guarantteed my financial security in this crisis and i see it has a birght future.
Giorgio Abou Gebrael, Freelance Graphic designer
I got familiar with it at its early stages and thought it was simply a way to get rich and never knew how to buy it however I kept researching about it. As transfers were hard in the country, once I had a job to design a book for a client in America and it took 4 months to get the money from the western union due to the crisis since then i decided to get into it. So I started offering my services online in return for bitcoin and have invested what I get from local jobs also in bitcoin and I'm currently using it as an investment and a method of saving. In conclusion, Bitcoin gave me hope after my money was limited and the crisis took away job opportunities from me.
Mohsen Al Amine, Bitcoin investor
During the beginning of the economic crisis, I had to withdraw all my money and invest them in bitcoin which is really safe these days as banks wouldn’t guarantee their stability, and having a safe would be risky therefore bitcoin is easy to have, well protected and my money would be with me anywhere without having to be stuck to deal with a bank.
Chantal Khoury, Lebanese Student in Paris
I had fewer expenses since I invest most of my money in bitcoin as I believe it is a great thing to invest in and made me aware of the low time preference. It motivated me to get more into anarchy when it comes to political and economic thought. As a matter of fact, my parents had to send me money through bitcoin several times so I can get by here in france.
Conclusion: Bitcoin saved many Lebanese from government failure.
Bitcoin has provided an escape for many in Lebanon and has saved them from government monopoly on currency-issuing and restricted banking system. The community is getting bigger by the day as the crisis is getting worse Lebanon and other country’s that are facing a monetary crisis will show which currency stands out
Some book recommendations to get to know more about bitcoin and related economic thought:
The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous
Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos.
What has the government done to our money? by Murray N. Rothbard
End the Fed by Ron Paul