In this installment of the NexChange Interview Series, NexChange’s Olga Yaroshevsky chats with the Bitcoin Family’s Didi Taihuttu onboard the CoinsBank Blockchain Cruise. Taihuttu and his family sold all their belongings – house, cars, motorcycles, and clothes – two and half years ago to bet it all on bitcoin. They’ve been traveling ever since, enjoying life and educating people “on the real fundamentals of blockchain and bitcoin.”
Olga Yaroshevsky: Wow, Didi, how did you get here?
Didi Taihuttu: It’s a long story, I’ll keep it short. The longer version you’ll have to google.
Two and a half years ago we as a family decided to sell everything we have. Our house, our cars, our motorcycles, kid’s clothes, my clothes, toys, everything. And to go all on Bitcoin. So we sold everything, went all on Bitcoin and started travelling the world as a Bitcoin family, because media bombed us as a Bitcoin family. And we live solely on cryptocurrency already, well, almost 3 years now.
OY: Citizens of the world – so you just travel, you’re not based anywhere?
DT: Yeah, we don’t own anything. Just 4-5 backpacks full of clothes. And we just travel. From conference to conference, from beach to mountains, to valleys, and just enjoy life and try to educate everybody about real fundamentals of blockchain and Bitcoin. And it’s not about mooning and lamborghinis, but it’s being included and excluded into this monetary system. About teaching them how to use this beautiful tool of blockchain and bitcoin – to be included into the monetary system.
OY: I’m sure there are a lot of challenges in your life when it comes to spending crypto, as not all countries accept it. Well, you can now go to a Starbucks cafe and buy a cup of coffee there for a part of Bitcoin. What was the toughest place that you’ve been to?
DT: It was the toughest time, about two and a half years ago. There were no debit cards supporting crypto, now it’s becoming a little bit more easy. Though we try to focus on finding those places that really accept direct payment of cryptocurrency, because we want to support them.
OY: So you do your research beforehand?
DT: We do, and we travel by that. We search where is the most Bitcoin ATMs, where is the most Bitcoin adoption, and we try to travel there and support these people. From there we travel to places that are not supporting crypto, and try to stimulate them to start accepting crypto. If you can’t accept Bitcoin directly, we use this Wirex card, which exchanges my Bitcoin to euro, or Thai baht, or whatever, where I need to pay. I think the most difficult place now was the Maluku islands, where my root lies, it’s in Indonesia. We went there to show the kids the roots of our family. You have to understand that 99.9% of people on that island, they don’t even use bank accounts, don’t know what crypto is. So we couldn’t spend our crypto there. We did convince them to install a few Bitcoin wallets on their cheap phones they all own over there, so we can now send 5 euros, 10 euros to them to support their lifestyle. The problem now for them is they have this Bitcoin wallet, they get their 5 euros – how can we use it? And this is how we trying to create – if you studied economics, there is a pull strategy and there is a push strategy – we create a pull strategy. They have their Bitcoins now, they will find a solution to spend it. Maybe they will send it in their village, and see if there is a value just in between people. You have fish, I have Bitcoin – we can google value on our phones – so much Bitcoin for your fish. And then it becomes a small economical system in this village, which maybe evolve into a bigger one.
OY: Pretty much, looks like an engine foe mass adoption.
DT: I think, every country needs an engine for mass adoption. In Italy there is Rovereto, a beautiful traditional city, where more than 60 shops accept direct crypto payment. They have one engine, and this company is providing all of the tools, the education to stores that want to accept Bitcoin. Even a small village like Rovereto in Italy can do that – I believe that every town in the world can do that.
OY: Is there a place where you would eventually stay?
DT: At the moment? Definitely not on the cruise! I want to live this life day by day, and just enjoy. We don’t even plan. We all got aboard in Rome, and then we will fly to Netherlands, we don’t even know what we are going to do then. The next plan we have is driving around the world, with a car. We want to visit all these charities. We want to show the world that there is more to Bitcoin and blockchain than mooning and lamborghinis. We are the Bitcoin family, and we want to create that huge Bitcoin family of people that believe that sharing and caring for others is important as well instead of accumulating wealth.
OY: What about your wife and kids? Did it take you a lot of time to convince them to do that?
DT: It was not easy. I told my wife: that’s what I’m thinking about…
OY: It’s a big decision for a family.
DT: It was. We agreed as a family that we’ve been spoiling our kids. I was the most materialistic guy you could ever meet. We’ve been spoiling the kids, they had their own quad, iPads, they had everything. We agreed as wife and husband that we were doing the wrong thing. We need to educate our kids that they can be happy without that luxury stuff, by being minimalist lifestyle. You can be happy just by life, just by living, just by waking up, by building a sandcastle.
OY:… and seeing the world.
DT: And seeing the world, and you don’t need money for this. That made the choice a little bit more easy for the wife, to sell all her 70 pairs of shoes and dresses, and invest it all in Bitcoin.
OY: That’s a bold statement, I would like to speak to your wife later. So do you only use Bitcoin, what about other currencies?
DT: Of course I use other currencies as well. I’m a Bitcoin maximalist in a way that I believe that Bitcoin will be there at the end. But of course, if I can stimulate adoption and mass adoption by using other currencies, because translation fees are lower – I will use it, of course. And I trade, because you need to trade to earn a living.
OY: You have financial background?
DT: No, not at all. A little bit. I studied higher economics, and that’s all. I quickly realised I was not born to work for a boss. I was an entrepreneur, found several companies, which I sold as well to go all in.
OY: I wish you good luck! I wish you maybe eventually find a perfect crypto place to stay.
DT: If anyone is listening, and you have this Bitcoin village, text me!