Living on Bitcoin: Interview With Beccy & Austin Craig
A few weeks ago we previewed the upcoming Bitcoin documentary, ‘Life on Bitcoin’ about one couple’s 90-day journey to live solely on Bitcoins. Well, we had a chance to catch up with the stars of the show, Beccy and Austin Craig and get to know a little more about them.
From the answers they gave us, one thing is certain: we need more people with their outlook on Bitcoins and cryptocurrency in general. And of course, we can’t wait to see the film!
What was the motivating factor to begin the ‘Life on Bitcoin’ project?
Austin: I’ve been interested in bitcoin for years, but don’t have the technical skills to be involved in a meaningful way. I’m not a cryptographer, programmer, or economist. My background is in video production. This project addressed some meaningful questions (is bitcoin usable today? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the ecosystem?) and we didn’t see anybody else making a film like this.
Beccy: The little I had heard of bitcoin was very confusing and weird. This seemed like a fun adventure with Austin, and I would get to learn about crytpo-currency along the way.
What caused you to become a Bitcoin believer?
Austin: I’d been reading about it for a couple years. I’m generally a techno-optimist, and while I don’t understand bitcoin at a programmatic level, the concept was fascinating. After the “bubble” of early 2013, bitcoin’s price came down, but it survived. It was clear to me that bitcoin was here to stay.
Beccy: Living on it. At times, I hated it, because it was very hard, and very limiting. I had many moments during our experiment where I really felt like I caught the vision. Its a powerful protocol, and its very exciting to consider its implications. The bitcoin community is tight and it was so fun to be a part of it.
With Bitcoin starting to become mainstream, which Bitcoin site(s) do you find yourself spending the most time on?
Austin: We read Coindesk a lot. We use Coinbase and recommend BitPay to merchants. We love Overstock’s selection.
Beccy: Gyft is a great way for anyone to incorporate bitcoin into their spending habits
What was the most challenging part of the project?
Austin: Figuring out the major legs in our travel actually wasn’t that hard. It was the first and last miles that proved difficult. Getting from the airport to our hotel was challenging more than once. And getting gas, in our hometown and during travel, was one of the most challenging parts of the whole project.
Beccy: How limiting everything was. We could eat, but only at a couple of restaurants. We could live, but not as comfortably or as varied as I was used to.
What was the easiest or pleasantly surprising part of living your life on Bitcoin?
Austin: Everybody asked if we were going to starve to death, and we worried just a little about the same thing. But food proved to be one of the easiest things to find payable in bitcoin. Mom and pop shops and local restaurants were simple because we could talk directly to the business owner, who happened to be the person behind the register. We also found a local CSA farm that sold us produce directly, so we always had fresh fruits and vegetables.
Beccy: The community. We were welcomed with open arms and met some amazing people. It also took us outside of our comfort zone, which ended up being awesome when we traveled. In Berlin we had our tintype portraits done by Tin Type Berlin, and were his first bitcoin paying customers! That was something we probably wouldn’t have done, and we met some amazing people in the process.
Beccy and Austin visited a Utah farmer’s market during their journey, check out the video below to see how they managed on Bitcoin alone:
Where do you see Bitcoin in 5 years from now?
Austin: I’ve wondered about this, and I think I agree with Tony Gallippi. In five years, people will be using bitcoin every day, but they might not even know it. The Blockchain is an incredible piece of technology for transferring value, and I think it will become the back end for many transactions that begin and end in dollars or other more traditional currencies. I also see bitcoin as a hedge against the failure of traditional currencies, and we will see an increase in usage, adoption, and awareness every time there is a currency crisis in any developed country.
Beccy: To the moon? Haha, that’s what I hope. I expect that bitcoin will be a little more widely used, but I expect that the peer-to-peer aspect of bitcoin is what will gain the widest adoption. Hopefully any kind of financial institution will be using this, and fees for money transfer will be a thing of the past!
How has the acceptance of Bitcoin in the United States changed since you started filming?
Austin: It’s changed dramatically since we started filming. When we were crowdfunding, most people had never heard of bitcoin. When we started filming, public awareness was rising. By the time we finished filming, bitcoin was entering the media frenzy that produced a bubble at the end of 2013. Many more merchants now accept bitcoin. Where many institutions ignorantly dismissed bitcoin when we started, I think the value and strength of blockchain technology is taken very seriously now by anybody willing to actually understand it.
Beccy: When we first started, NO ONE had heard of bitcoin. Now we talk about it and people nod knowingly. Its much more understood and accepted. People don’t question it and contort their face in confusion when we mention bitcoin.
What comes after ‘Life on Bitcoin’ for Mr. and Mrs. Craig?
Austin: We’ve continued to live our regular lives. The film was exciting to make, and we were newlyweds while filming, so it was an exciting time of life anyway. Beccy has her job, and I’m working on several startup ventures, like commercial video production and hosting a small film festival in our home town.
Beccy: We’re pretty excited to have the movie out, to get to tour a bit with it and meet up with the bitcoin community. I’m busy with my job, starting a new business, and growing an existing company. We accept bitcoin, but I want to see people paying in BTC!
Stay up to date with Beccy & Austin and get updates about ‘Life on Bitcoin’ from their Twitter account: @lifeonbitcoin