I found it interesting that in the early days of bitcoin, people gave this magic internet money away and even set up bitcoin faucets for that purpose. Roger Ver was one of the first to do so and — from what I can tell — was very generous in giving away bitcoin. So was Gavin Andresen. Regardless of how the Bitcoin community feels about these two now, giving away bitcoin was vital to growing the network in the early days and we’re deeply indebted to them for doing so.
I contend that bitcoin faucets are equally, if not more important today, no matter the price! Why? Because it gets people off zero. If you believe, as I do, that bitcoin is a lifeboat, we want as many people who can transact in satoshis as possible to do so. Faucets can be found in online games today and other inane uses but I could not find any that serve the purpose I propose.
So my question to the bitcoin community is this: Why don’t more bitcoiners set up bitcoin faucets that support causes and people that they value? Problems in our world don’t fix themselves. Invest in what you value most.
For example, I was an impact investor who supported small farmers many years before I made any investment in bitcoin. About five years ago, my family made a sizable donation to Slow Money which supports small farmers in Colorado. Unfortunately, we donated the melting ice cube of U.S. dollars.
My thinking was and still is this: That small farmers and gardeners are the unsung heroes in our health care system. Invest in what you value most in your community. In my case, I value health above wealth. I value clean air, clean soil, clean water, clean food — nutrient dense and toxin free — clean energy and clean ecosystems. Those happen to be things that our fiat monetary system does not value! If anything, fiat is hostile and harmful to all of them. If that is true, then I must put my money where my mouth is and do it now. The problem of depleted soil and nutritionally bankrupt food will not fix itself and it's rapidly getting worse. Money that venerates consumption over restoration and resilience does great harm to every ecosystem humans need to thrive.
According to Dr. Max Gerson who pioneered the Gerson Protocol which reverses cancer and other illnesses with nutrient dense organic food: The soil is our external metabolism. As bad as our knowledge gaps are around money, the knowledge gaps we have around soil health in our culture are even worse. And soil health will directly impact community health. We’ve all heard the phrase food is medicine; well, take it a step further to: “soil is medicine.” Healthy soil begets healthy food which begets healthy immune systems.
With all that as context you may wonder: “How hard would it be to set up a soil guardian bitcoin faucet?” I don’t know, but I’m not waiting around for someone to start one. Instead, a young urban farmer based in Lakewood, CO came to me looking to raise U.S. dollars from investors and instead I offered to put bitcoin on his balance sheet. He accepted immediately, but he knew nothing about bitcoin at the time I made the offer. Once he did his homework, he was very excited by the offer. No orange pill needed. We’ve since met in person, I’ve toured his farm and we’ve got him using Opendime (many thanks to Nic Carter for the idea from watching his podcast with Lex Fridman) to hold the private keys to his bitcoin and an agreement to not touch it for at least one year. One more Bitcoiner added to the network. And a community health care hero to boot. And I wasn’t bashful about telling him I considered him and others who practice restorative agriculture to be health care heroes of the most valuable kind.
In addition, I’ve asked him to think about which of his peers might we do this with next? He is going to think about it and we’ll do the next one together. We will go through the same process with the next small farmer restoring soil in our community. And once that is done, the three of us will select the fourth recipient and so forth. Peer to peer. Rinse and repeat until every small farmer in Colorado has bitcoin on their balance sheet. Now, that is something that I’d love to see go viral.
My passion for helping small farmers springs from my involvement in Slow Money. One of the big ideas I heard attending my first Slow Money Gathering in 2013 was: “If you’re working on a project that can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough!” Instead of adopt-a-highway, why not adopt-a-small-farmer in your community? Put bitcoin on his or her balance sheet. I don’t know if we’ll do this for every small farmer in my lifetime, but the way is clear. The health benefits to our community are 100x better than lobbying the government for subsidies.
For those of you interested in starting a soil guardian faucet in your community, please contact me at and I’ll share what I know and how I did it. I don’t know how many peer-to-peer soil guardian faucets will be needed to support the small farmers in Colorado but I’m willing to be one of them. My only hope is we start thousands of them in every state. The impact on our health by supporting thousands of small farmers can never be overstated!
Instead of donating U.S. dollars that tend to promote debt slavery and overconsumption, why not donate bitcoin and promote freedom and resilience? I’m all for HODLing and I expect that to be the predominant mindset for most Bitcoiners. However, for the Boomers with wealth and those who operate from abundance, I issue this challenge: why wait to begin to address structural problems like soil depletion, living water, nutritionally bankrupt food and a host of other problems that will only get worse if we wait?
The old adage applies here: if not now, when? If not you, who? I stand ready to assist anyone who is willing to join me on this journey. Bitcoiners can transform our disease care system into a health care system. All it takes is ten thousand bitcoin faucets of all types.
This is a guest post by Mark Maraia. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.