Author Topic: Puerto Rico disaster - crypto vs precious metals vs barter - how did each work?  (Read 581 times)

Offline iam4liberty

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Good interview on how each performed in this extreme disaster:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GjzeFOKUR04

Offline Alan Georges

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Interesting stuff.  Cash, PMs, barter all worked.  Credit cards no, and forget about bitcoin.  That jibes with what happened here after Katrina, sans the bitcoin part of course.  No electricity, no working credit cards.  However... with the new cellphone swiper dongles, if there's a cell connection, maybe cards would work after all.  But 12 years ago, you'd better have had cash.  Things came back together fast enough here that serious barter never really got going.

Strangely, I had no problem writing a check on a local bank to a contractor for some quick-and-dirty roof work.  None of the regular bills were coming in, but a couple of weeks later when they did, checks functioned normally.

It's not a money item, but the part at the 5 minute mark about FEMA tracking down people with clean water sources first thing on getting there was pretty creepy.  There are a several of ways to read this – public health concerns, facilitating distribution, or regulatory clampdown? – but from the way the interviewee talked, it sounded like the last one.

Artes sunt magis quam instrumenta.

Offline osubuckeye4

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Interesting, but not all that surprising.



The more I follow these situations (Venezuela, Puerto Rico, etc) the more I'm realizing the importance of having cash/credit on hand and easily accessible to put to use BEFORE the imminent tragedy strikes. I'm also learning the important of having friends outside of your immediate location that you can call on.


It's still very important to have a somewhat self-sustainable setup for unplanned events like earthquakes or unexpected grid outages that force a 'bug in'. It's also very important to have friends within your community that you can turn too (and who can turn to you) for assistance. The more useful skills you and those friends know, the better.


That said... I'm finding it's maybe more important to have access to cash/credit/PM's to put to use before an expected disaster... like a hurricane or governmental collapse that is imminent.

The people in PR who are the best off (outside of the "ruling class", who had to stay) are the ones who had the means to hop on an airplane before Irma/Maria decimated the island. On top of that, those who had friends/family stateside or at whatever location they bugged out too needed less resources at their disposal for hotels, because they could lean on those friends/family.


I don't know.. just stuff I'm keeping an eye on and trying to incorporate into my survival philosophy.

Offline armymars

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WOW!  It's good to know that a mix is the way to go. I have a friend who is one of the 50 hams sent to PR. He is one of Region 5 Mars Ops. He told us that 4 repeaters are now set up and are the only island wide coms at the time he phoned us by satellite.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Making a mental note to keep a Square card reader in my preps.  If I'm the one dude who can process credit cards, I could charge a premium on whatever people wanted...
It's psychologically easier to swipe a card than to count out large cash bills. 

Offline iam4liberty

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Making a mental note to keep a Square card reader in my preps.  If I'm the one dude who can process credit cards, I could charge a premium on whatever people wanted...
It's psychologically easier to swipe a card than to count out large cash bills.

That is an interesting thought!  Funny, just the other day I saw our local handyman using a credit card swiper at the neighbors.  He had just finished winterizing their windows.  Electronic transactions have come a long way in the last few years. Never thought of them as a possible prep.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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That is an interesting thought!  Funny, just the other day I saw our local handyman using a credit card swiper at the neighbors.  He had just finished winterizing their windows.  Electronic transactions have come a long way in the last few years. Never thought of them as a possible prep.

This of course assumes that the Square app/service will eventually reconcile with your bank account and deposit the charged funds. 

A couple years ago the Boy Scout troops began using them for their popcorn sales. It was a massive boost, as the excuse "sorry I don't have any cash" was made moot ;)

Online Carl

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  I think it would be better to NOT become a businessman/target of aggression during the duress of an emergency ituation.You always win the fight you avoid.
Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

If you had only one year,one month,or one day...Would you live your life differently?

Online David in MN

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In my woodworking side-hustle I have, for 5-ish years, put out a sign that I give a 20% discount for gold, silver, or Bitcoin. I'm a libertarian and I promote non-government money. And for people buying bowls, picture frames, cutting boards, and vases that can run up to $200 easily, 20% is quite the coupon. But it's never happened. I get cash, checks, and credit cards. And the people who know what Bitcoin is (very few) have never actually used it in commerce.

I am dubious that a Bitcoin denominated market could spontaneously emerge. Gold and silver seem to have anchored as valuable though not currency. We all know what 30 pieces of silver did to Jesus and we know that the Nazis were willing to extract gold from Jewish teeth. We have movies about men being driven mad in the hunt of silver and gold. Many have family who went to California in search of gold. You might be wearing Levi's right now...

What I'm getting at is that gold and silver are baked in to our zeitgeist. They have value because they live in our stories and legends. Maybe crypto will get there someday.
Livin on a thin line, tell me now what are we supposed to do?

Offline Smurf Hunter

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What I'm getting at is that gold and silver are baked in to our zeitgeist. They have value because they live in our stories and legends. Maybe crypto will get there someday.

A few years back when a major e-commerce company I worked at announced they would accept BitCoin I was very intrigued.  This same company had a rather large FX treasury team, and I naively thought BTC would be yet another exchange currency they'd manage just as Euros, Yen, etc. These guys make a lot of money pulling the FX levers at the right time.  They earn revenue in several currencies, but deciding how much and when to convert between them is a fascinating black art to me.

Anyhow, that's not how they planned to use BTC.  What the implementation involved was redirecting to CoinBase, which immediately cashed out into USD.  In terms of system architecture, it was no different than redirecting to/from PayPal.

It would have been a strong endorsement of BTC if the company was willing to hold it longer than 200 milliseconds.  :(