This post is my entry to this contest by @coruscate, where participants should make a post about how crypto has changed their lives and given them more freedom. In my case, it hasn't quite yet, since I've just entered the crypto world recently. But I hope it will, and I'd like to use this post to talk about my impressions and expectations about cryptos so far.
Image source: Openclipart
I first heard of Bitcoin in 2013 when I saw an open source software project accepting donations in Bitcoin. I had gathered that it was virtual money, but it seemed complicated to get into, and I hadn't researched further. I only got really interested mid 2017 when Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies started appearing more in the mainstream media here in my country (Brazil). Only then I began reading up on cryptocurrencies and following a few specialized news sites.
A few things I found interesting about cryptocurrencies were that they are basically money generated (mined) by computer programs, that they are decentralized and people from anywhere in the world can trade them without depending on banks or other financial institutions, and that people from very poor countries are managing to use cryptocurrencies to improve their situations.
Since then, I've been dreaming of being able to use cryptocurrencies to pay bills and buy products in normal stores. One problem about cryptos is that they still aren't easy to get into. Different kinds of wallets, long strings of public and private keys/passwords, determining the ideal fees to pay the miners to confirm transactions (transactions in cryptos like Bitcoin may take a while to be confirmed depending on that), among other factors, make cryptocurrencies complicated for non-tech-savvy/non-crypto-enthusiasts to use.
Another entry barrier to the crypto world for me was that I couldn't find a way to earn some cryptocurrencies to get a feel for things. Mining is no longer an option for most people these days and requires expensive equipment, not to mention that electricity in Brazil is also very expensive. Cloud-mining sites require paying money and most of them are scams. Faucet sites seem to be a waste of time. In the end, I concluded that the most reliable way to get some cryptocurrencies would be to register at an exchange and purchase them with fiat money, but all this was very new to me and I was wary about sending my money to an exchange.
And then, I found Steemit. As I read up on the platform, I learned that it rewards authors with its own cryptocurrencies (which happen to have fast transaction confirmations and no fees), and I realized it was a way to get some crypto without having to pay (though paying is also an option). I browsed through some nice posts, the community seemed friendly, and I felt that Steemit was an inviting place. Though it was the community and the general atmosphere that succeeded in pulling me in, I don't think I'd have decided to sign up if I hadn't been interested in cryptocurrencies.
Since I'm not one for social network sites, I thought my initial enthusiasm about Steemit wouldn't last long, but it's been a fun ride, with interesting posts, discussions and people, and I surprisingly still manage to be active five months later, though this doesn't really translate into significant crypto earnings, and I'm not in a level to be able to pay any bills with my earnings just yet. All the enjoyment and new things I've learned make up for it, though, and are what most matter to me for now.
As for cryptos in general, I still haven't managed much in regards to being able to use them. My biggest progress was that this year I finally gathered the courage to register at a local exchange and buy a very small fraction of a Bitcoin, but that's about it. Aside from that, I've been mostly reading up on cryptos, learning more, following the news daily and preparing to go deeper into this new world.
In this preparation process, one thing that still confuses me is tax-reporting. I had never needed to report anything about crypto before. Here in Brazil, we currently don't require to report our cryptos if we have an amount below a certain value (R$1,000 BRL, around $260 USD at current prices). At the rate it's going, I kind of doubt I'll get anywhere near this value in STEEM or SBD anytime soon, but one never knows... I know there are capital gain taxes on profits if we sell cryptos in a month for more than R$35,000 BRL (around $9,200 USD at current prices), also unlikely to happen to me anytime soon. But paying the taxes and reporting the cryptos are two different beasts, and it's important to inform everything properly to avoid problems. There are things I'm still unsure how to report. For example, if I were to take the plunge and buy STEEM from an exchange, I'm not sure how to treat the STEEM I earned from posts at no cost VS. the STEEM bought from an exchange.
Anyway, I still have that dream of using crypto for normal purchases, like paying our bills, or buying a coffee or even a new computer, in a transparent way the sellers won't even need to know we are paying with crypto. I know that currently there are some debit cards that can be charged with crypto to be used that way, though there doesn't seem to be any of those available in Brazil at the moment.
On the other hand, here in Brazil there are a few services to make online boleto payments using crypto. Boleto is a Brazilian payment method often used for paying bills (including credit card bills), recharging mobile phones and paying for online purchases. Since so much can be paid using boletos, I believe these services to pay boletos with crypto may be quite handy. I'd like to try them out once I earn enough crypto.
I dream of a time when cryptocurrencies will be easier for the masses, and the crypto debit card services (or any other convenient forms of payment that may be developed along the way) become more common and readily available worldwide. I keep imagining how nice it would be to have some extra income in crypto (through Steemit for example) and casually use part of those earnings to buy lunch or something. This notion sounds really cool in my head, and hopefully it'll come true in a not so distant future.
Thank you for reading! Aside from Coruscate's contest mentioned above, this post is also participating in @qurator's Toss Up Thursday contest, whose prize is a month of bigger upvotes. If you are also a member of @qurator, and if you liked my post and would like to support me, please upvote the comment with my entry (only upvotes from Qurator members count). The vote value doesn't matter (it can even be a minimal 1% upvote as long as it's from a Qurator member). Thank you!