Richard Ravenhawke is sitting across from me, on his Android phone, as I type this. He has a great energy about him, very relaxed. He wears a big claw around his neck, on a thick gold chain. His eyes are kind, and he’s been through a lot in his life on this earth.
We’re sitting in my living room, and he’s currently talking to me about how people pay him for his services.
“I went to your site and input my Visa number…” he says, out loud, reading an e-mail from a client. “Trusting, aren’t we? To just give over all this personal information to someone we don’t even really know?” he expresses to me. I nod.
Ravenhawke found me through a friend, and he wanted me to help show him how Bitcoin works and how to accept it as a form of payment. His interest in bitcoin came from a personal fascination with the deep web (where bitcoin is prominent) and the dark side of life, but the more he hears about it and learns about it, the more his interest grows into its other, non deep-web, applications. We agreed to meet so I could show him how to accept bitcoin for his services after he found out about the cost – or lack thereof – of doing so.
“I have clients all around the world, all across Canada, and in China… the Chinese just love me,” he says. In fact, Ravenhawke estimates 40 of his clients are international. He spent one year on Fairchild Radio, and was syndicated in 5 Asian countries with 3 million listeners tuning in to his show, which aired once a month. Ravenhawke also wrote a daily horoscope column, and it was, by his estimate, the most syndicated psychic column on the Internet in 2001/2002.
As such, Ravenhawke deals with international payments frequently and has had his fair share of frustrations with current payment options available to him and his clients.
“PayPal, which is, of course, Visa and Mastercard, is the most prominent way I get paid from international clients,” Ravenhawke discloses. “Transactions are smooth, but it takes 3-5 days for the money to download into my account. So, when you’re doing budgeting based on what’s coming in and what’s going out, it makes it harder when you have to add in the factor of what you’re waiting for.”
Settlement time is a big reason Ravenhawke prefers cash and Interac e-money transfers (only available between Canadian bank accounts, at a limit or $1000/day for a $1.50 CAD fee, with a 45-minute settlement time) over cheques and PayPal.
But it doesn’t stop there. Candidly, Ravenhawke explains his frustration when, after many failed attempts at logging into his former PayPal account, the company simply shut down his access to funds and he was never able to recover the money.
“They took $4,000 CAD from me a few years ago. I forgot my password, tried to log in a few times, and oops! Now I have to go through a gazillion steps to recover my account. I wrote in, and they got back to me and then one day they just stopped getting back to me. [PayPal] is obviously aware that cross-border lawsuits over $4,000 are not worth my time, and they just never gave [the money] back.”
Ever since that experience, Ravenhawke downloads all his PayPal money (after he waits 3-5 days) into his bank account to ensure this type of thing never happens again. He ensures I understand how frustrated he is with PayPal with a final statement: “the ONLY reason I use PayPal is become of clients overseas. There is no other way.”
Wire transfers are another option, but of course this requires in-person time, paperwork, a ton of information, and quite a hefty fee.
Bitcoin is the first option Ravenhawke has seen that saves time, saves money, is convenient, and allows him the potential to even make money on its value.
Knowing how perfect bitcoin would be for a business such as Ravenhawke’s, I jumped at the opportunity to trade my bitcoin consulting services for his psychic services.
How cool is that? I get to see a glimpse into my past, or future, by doing something I love: encouraging adoption of Bitcoin technology and setting up a wallet and a better payment option for someone who can benefit from it.
Ravenhawke is the first psychic I know of who accepts bitcoin. “Primarily, I am a psychic,” he explains. “I’m not a reader. Anyone can memorize meanings of cards. I am not an interpreter. When I read people, I don’t use anything. I tune into your energy, and I see visions about your life.”
My reading with Ravenhawke was interesting. He held a personal object of mine and went into a trance. “I get quiet sometimes when I do it,” he explains. “It’s like … talking to someone who is daydreaming. It’s like I am watching TV. I’m gone, but I’m still here. When I figure out what I’ve seen and what I want to say, I come back.”
Indeed, this was my experience, and it was really cool. He called my past out to a T and gave me some interesting insights into my future, like how I will be married in 6 summers. (my mother will be pleased to hear this!)
My friend also received a reading from him, and came out, stunned. “There’s no way he could have known all of that,” he said. “This guy is for real.” He was pretty shaken, but in a good way, he said.
“I never say anything unless I am absolutely, 100 sure it is what I want to say,” Ravenhawke adds, laughing. (My mom will like that, too.) He adds, “If everyone did that, the world would be a better place.”
Ravenhawke and I have discussed bitcoin in many meetings, and his interest is deepening quickly. It’s really not just a payment system for him: “I see [bitcoin] as the new revenue stream of the future. It’s young right now, but who knows. Maybe my son will be Prime Minister one day, but he’s still in grade 5. That’s how I see bitcoin. It’s still young; the potential is there.”
Ravenhawke sees society as becoming more and more high-tech, with less and less people carrying cash. He’s right – an estimated 95 of our money is digital. “You can’t rely on plastic,” he adds. “How many times have people gone to pay with their cards and seen a sign saying ‘Cash Only – System Down’? It’s funny. When the system is down, the web is still working on my phone.”
I set Ravenhawke up with my favorite wallet, Blockchain.info, linked his web wallet to his phone, and we did a test transaction. Then we updated his site with a big “Bitcoin Accepted Here!” sign and instructions for his international clients who wish to use bitcoin to pay him for his services.
Ravenhawke reads people from all walks of life, “from politicians right down to janitors”, he says.
“It will be interesting to see where bitcoin will go,” Ravenhawke concludes. “I think what it does for people’s finances will be much better than anything else we have in place now.”
You can request a reading from Richard Ravenhawke by going to his website: richardravenhawke.yolasite.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, of course, he accepts bitcoin.
Victoria is a partner at Bitcoin Strategy Group, and a contributor to Bitcoin Magazine, CoinDesk and CoinTelegraph. Victoria helps Bitcoin businesses with community development and marketing.