Austin Craig and his soon-to-be wife Beccy Bingham have decided to live off of bitcoins for a full 90 days – that means not touching cash or credit for any form of payment whatsoever.
The couple, based out of Provo, Utah, posted a Kickstarter campaign about their mission on June 10. At the time of this writing, they've earned almost $4,500 in pledges toward their goal of $70,000, which must be reached by July 11 for the campaign to be considered a success. Austin and Beccy are also accepting bitcoin donations on their website – lifeonbitcoin.com – which has so far raised over 51 BTC (approximately $5,691 at current value).
“Yesterday was a media firestorm,” said Austin over Skype. “It's been really crazy.”
All of the proceeds that Austin and Beccy raise from Kickstarter and their BTC donations will go toward funding a full-length documentary film about their project. That includes the costs of hiring a full-time camera crew to follow them around, pre- and post-production costs, marketing and distribution.
Austin says the idea of living off of bitcoins came from a friend of his.
“He got super into Bitcoin and was just consuming everything he could find out about it," he says. "The question arose, 'What if you try do do all of your transactions on it?' ”
Austin says he was a better candidate for the experiment than his friend because, unlike his friend, Austin doesn't have a wife, kids, mortgage and small business to take care of. Basically, Austin doesn't have a whole lot to lose.
Although he is getting married soon, and the experiment will begin immediately after he and Beccy return from their honeymoon, Austin says his fiance didn't need much convincing.
“Even though she's not terribly familiar with with Bitcoin, she just said, 'Let's do it,' ” he recalls.
Beccy's boss didn't need much convincing either. She's a design/marketing professional at a local technology center, and ran the idea by her employers.
“They loved the idea and said they would do everything they could to even pay her salary in bitcoin,” Austin says.
The couple has decided to start the experiment off cold, without taking any advance contingency measures. Whatever they currently have in their cupboards, whatever gas is left in the car's tank ... that is what they will start with.
That could make life interesting from the start, especially considering that the only place in Austin's town that currently accepts bitcoins is a sandwich shop.
“If we don't want to get sick of sandwiches after the first week, we're going to have to talk to a lot of different merchants and tell them about Bitcoin – persuade them that they can do this, here are the benefits, and that we can make this painless,” Austin says.
He's even ready to offer businesses a premium -- 150 percent of the normal price -- if that's what it takes to get them on board with accepting BTC as payment. The hope is that, by the end of the experiment, bitcoins will have become a mainstream and accepted currency in Provo ... providing a bit of a boost to the currency as a whole.
The couple says that, if they receive enough donations, they'll take the documentary on the road to see if they can travel to a few other locations using only bitcoins.
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