When we jump outside of our perspective bubbles, it can be both refreshing and alarming. I recently added up my best estimate of what my experiment in cryptocurrency has yielded for me, and honestly I wasn't that impressed with myself. The overall dollar amounts were pretty small, and I am still slowly and dumbly trying to figure out the 2,318 crypto exchange platforms and wallets it seems to require as an American to chase down the "100x hidden gems." I think I am getting there, but every time I am about ready to "set phasers to kill" and rock out some soaring new investment, I make a mistake, or don't have the correct trading pair, or don't feel like giving away my financial and personal identity to some mysterious trading platform, or gas and fees murder me a little, or I get concerned about the implications for my US Federal taxes.
There is a lot about my experience of crypto that feels very American. The Know Your Customer hostage standoff, the ease of getting onto the ETH blockchain and the difficulty getting onto the BSC, the regulatory and tax uncertainty, and even the way that the media covers crypto. Almost none of the articles on crypto that come across my many feeds have any content whatsoever related to how you would use crypto. It is mostly speculation, FOMO, astronomical NFT sale prices, and 100x this and 1000% that and "BTW, it is all bullshit and will be worth nothing in 10 minutes."
In contrast, when I spend enough time on noise.cash, I enjoy seeing that there are many, many folks posting from Philippines, Indonesia, and many countries in South America, the Middle East, and Africa. A lot of their posts are demonstrating what being able to earn a little BitCoin Cash (BCH) and to actually be able to spend it truly means. While cryptocurrency is a compelling investment, ideally it becomes a currency and we don't have to be stalked and sold by Facebook, Amazon, Google, PayPal, and every bank under the sun anymore.
Having .01 BCH can pay an entire month's mobile bill in Turkey, according to one "Noiser." Where here in the US that same amount of BCH could buy the cheapest meal pack at most fast food joints, you know the drill...fried up factory-raised zombie clone mutant animal smashed up and laced with chemicals, plus the side order of your favorite fried other thing, and a bubbly cup full of artificial dyes, flavors, preservatives, and sugar. I enjoyed learning about some of the differences in what .01 BCH can buy around the world, and welcome similar comments on that topic below!
But what if we took this exercise further and asked "What if everything was priced in BitCoin, the big daddy of crypto?" I decided to take a crack at this idea and will present my middle class American lifestyle to you, in BitCoin! Each of us creates our own lifestyles with our loved ones, and while there are ways we could live differently, we have worked hard on COVID-era budgeting already. So, judge if you must whether our lifestyle is a poor use of our money or whether we live like hillbillies compared to you, but it is what it is.
Now you probably have never heard that BitCoin is volatile (haha), but it is, especially recently. So, for convenience sake I will peg 1 BitCoin at $55,000 for this article.
First, let's start with Monthly Expenses
Housing, plus all energy and water utilities: .034545 BTC
Internet and Phone for 4 people: .007636 BTC
Monthly contribution to health insurance: .032727 BTC
Wine and Beer (don't judge!): .003091 BTC
Household items: .002727 BTC
Dining Out/Delivery/Entertainment: .002182 BTC
Car Payment: .010182 BTC
Yikes! That adds up to .100364 BTC that we spend every month. I feel a little defensive about that. We are not extravagant by any means. We drive our cars until they are paid for, then drive them until they fall apart. We don't have a boat or stupidass jetski. We don't have vacation property. We hardly ever eat out. We drink cheap wine and decent beer and not too much. We make most of our meals from real ingredients and not frozen or prepared foods. We should be doing OK, but, well... .01 BTC every single frigging month. That's expensive no matter how you look at it.
Now we can look at what other costs we are likely to see in a typical year. I call these Predictable Non-Monthly Expenses, and each is presented in per-month amortization regardless of when we pay them.
Semi-annual auto insurance: .006061 BTC
Road Trips to See Family (~1400km driving): .002727 BTC
Clothes: .000909 BTC
Haircut and Salon Stuff: .001061 BTC
Random Medical Costs and Co-Pays (yes, even though we pay a ton of money, and our employers pay a ton of money for health insurance, it still does not cover everything. USA!): .000303 BTC
Auto Repairs: .002727 BTC
The total from this category is .013788 BTC. Those expenses probably won't make or break us, and we spend less than the average for Americans on all of them, I think. Maybe we pay more for auto insurance because we have teenage drivers.
Speaking of teenage drivers, we will be sending two of them to University, which in the United States means we will be going bankrupt despite saving for most of our lives - just not enough I guess. So, here is the big boot up our asses:
1 Year of University Tuition, Fees, Room and Board, Out of State (California): .093939 BTC
Just University for 1 kid for 1 year adds up to 1.127273 BTC! You might say we should force our kid to go to a cheaper university, and you might be right, but it does not look like that will happen. Our kid got into a pretty elite university that will increase substantially his chances of making a great living doing what he loves, and that is hard to argue with in my book of priorities. Suck it we must.
Lucky for us, in 2 years, our other kid goes to University. Throw another BitCoin on the education bonfire. Anyway, because we will incur University expenses before this year is out, I will include the expense for this exercise, but just for one kid.
So, what does it cost to live a Middle Class lifestyle in the US for one year?
2.497091 Bit Freaking Coin
Is it any wonder that I am stressed out all the time? haha Funny, not funny.
Do I have an extra 2.5 BTC lying around the house? No. Definitely not.
But, one of the reasons why I am so grateful to PublishOx and so many of the talented, interesting writers here is that most everyone is kind and helpful about making a cryptocurrency focused lifestyle achievable. I am regularly doing things in Cryptoworld that I literally did not know existed just a few months ago. It's a great community, and once all our fiat has been drained from every last account for University, I am somewhat optimistic that there will be a growing Crypto Nest Egg to get us back on our feet again
That being said, if your heart is breaking for me and my expensive kids, feel free to tip, use my referral links, or even just send me Banano directly. I promise it will go to a good home hahaha!
If you have 2.497091 BTC just lying around, you should feel pretty happy knowing that the little block of code is enough for a Middle Class American lifestyle. Well done you!!
How, you ask, am I going to raise 2.5 BTC per year? Well, it certainly won't be free faucets, but they can't hurt either! I am recommending these if you, like me, appreciate a little free crypto in your diet:
And if you really want to go deep into the Cryptoverse, you could try tipping me some Banano here ban_16udp8635what7k4yfqr89hzzeh7wd9cub7dhxj8ztapj9hkehriqg646w6b
I don't know if it will work, and I don't know if BAN will be worth anything but it is a wacky, fun project that I'm happy to promote!