A nomadic man in Spain is living off bitcoin, an Android tablet and a solar charger. The man, who wanted to be known only by his first name, Justas, is documenting his eighth year of homelessness, which he stresses is a deliberate choice, on reddit, YouTube and at his website.
When contacted by CoinDesk, 27-year-old Justas said bitcoin has overcome a major obstacle to his nomadic way of life: the ability to open a bank account.
The two most common ways of obtaining bitcoin are to trade it for fiat currency through an exchange, or to mine it with increasingly powerful computers. Both these methods present problems for someone without a permanent address.
When asked how he had obtained his bitcoin, Justas said he was paid in the cryptocurrency for freelance work as a programmer and designer.
Justas said his technology requirements are fulfilled by a Toshiba laptop and bq Curie tablet, which runs Android Jelly Bean.
He keeps his devices powered up with a portable solar charger. He said he bought his tablet with bitcoin and pays for his website’s hosting and domain registration services with the digital currency as well.
Redditors have even tipped him with the reddit bitcoin tipping bot after reading about his experiences. Justas projects a zany, carefree but philosophical persona through his online material. For example, he blogged on 6th December:
“Freedom is why I am homeless… feeding myself from trash/wilderness is lots of fun. I cannot even imagine going through the tedious and disgusting process of shopping.”
His YouTube videos often feature detailed footage of street cats, but also include tutorials on scavenging for food in a city, programming and logo design. The itinerant redditor says that he scavenges to survive and refuses to beg. He posted on reddit:
“I never beg and would feel very evil to do so.”
Justas discovered bitcoin through the very forum where he currently posts about his experiences. He said:
“I got into bitcoin through reddit. I first heard about it from the Piratebay creators, but as far as I understood back in 2009, it was something to pay for movies and such so I didn’t investigate it more. I ventured to the bitcoin subreddit and my mind was blown away… banks were a pain in the ass for a homeless person, so I immediately embraced bitcoin!”
The bitcoin community on reddit appears to be embracing him back. Besides receiving bitcoin tips from the tipping bot, redditors have written in support of Justas’ nomadic lifestyle. One redditor wrote:
“Anyhow, just live your life however you want man, rock on.”
Justas said he is publicly documenting his experiences online to create a community of “pioneers” who would adopt a nomadic way of life as he has. He created the r/homelesstribe subreddit for that purpose.
Bitcoin has impacted the homeless elsewhere as well. In Florida, a homeless charity named Sean’s Outpost is thriving after it started accepting bitcoin.
Justas said he is planning to travel to Tahiti to indulge in his hobby of free-diving. Free-diving requires the diver to hold his or her breath underwater until resurfacing. No breathing apparatus is used.
Justas claims he can free-dive for up to four minutes. The current free-diving record, in terms of time, is 10 minutes and five seconds, according to Wikipedia.
“[Tahiti] has perfect weather, not too many people and excellent diving conditions,” he said in a Skype chat.