Yes, I am homeless. Not housed. I’m not alone.
In the Netherlands there are 38,000 homeless people, which are increasing every day. It can happen to anyone. One day you have a job, a relationship, and a bed, and before you know it, you’re sleeping in coaches, walking the streets, and ending up on benches or worse.
I have been homeless since 2019. I arrived in Amsterdam 10 years ago as an au pair. When the family moved, I found myself without a job.
I was stuck in a bad relationship with big money debts. Then I had no money to pay for a room, nor a working bank account, only debts. When I worked, all the money automatically disappeared into my debts.
I ended up on the street.
Every day, I called friends to ask them if I could sleep at their place. It was very tiring and shameful. I spent a few nights with a friend, then I spent a few nights in an attic with an acquaintance.
When you’re young and on the street, it’s very intense. You are completely alone. Surviving every moment of the day is difficult. I had a lot of panic attacks and couldn’t plan for a future.
Always disturbing. Earn money, find shelter, food, electricity and free Wi-Fi.
To get help, there is a waiting list in Dutch organisations. They couldn’t help me, because I was too old or too young, not stable enough or not mentally ill enough. Not homeless enough but economically homeless. Help with my debt was impossible. I was always placed on endless lists.
I was desperate. I wanted nothing more than to have a roof over my head again. It was impossible for me to restore order in my life.
Bitcoin discovered me
A safe place for me was the airport. Before COVID-19, it was a place I could disappear to.
If you see me, you can’t see my problems. Even my cart with all my possessions is not moved. It was easy to ask for change, find food, toilets and rest.
My Bitcoin Lightning moment happened by chance.
I was playing on my phone and started talking to a girl next to me who was also playing. I asked him for change. She said she was sorry but she had no money. She asked me if I had heard of Bitcoin and Lightning.
She showed me how to download BlueWallet to my phone and sent me 10 satoshis, the smallest bitcoin unit. She also showed me this SaruTobi game she used to play to earn satoshis.
Now I am eternally grateful to him for showing me the way. But at that time I thought she was trying to scam me. Bitcoin is considered a scam in the Netherlands because many politicians view it as such.
She told me to find out more about Lightning; it might help me.
I didn’t believe her. I thanked her, deleted the game but kept the wallet. I do not know why. I think maybe because deep down I understood that the satoshis in the wallet were something.
bitcoin changed my life
I spent days at the public library; I remembered the girl and the wallet. At Twitter, I found people talking about this “Lightning”. There were people sending each other Lightning QR bills with satoshis.
I started by creating Lightning Invoices, going to Lightning Faucets, and learning more about Bitcoin. I had more sats from Bitcoin people online; they gave them.
In the end, I had 8,100 sats, almost 3 euros.
I couldn’t believe it. Money without banks, no Tikkies, no cash.
In the Netherlands it’s not even enough to buy coffee or toilet paper, but for me it was a lot. It was magical.
Then I tweeted:
This caused a storm of reactions.
Bitcoin folks started giving more sats. I started finding sats online. Do odd jobs online, walk for sats and play.
Someone helped me create my own tippin.me page. I received so much help online.
I was so grateful. It was amazing, so much kindness.
Before I knew it, I was staring at my phone until the battery was drained. Seeing people from all over the world sending me sats. Help me with more information about bitcoin. I learned more about bitcoin.
I am hardly banked in the Netherlands with only debt in my name and suddenly I was my own bank and saving money. It gave me more than hope; I saw a future for myself with satoshis.
It was so important to me. It gave me a sense of security and sometimes even self-confidence. Powerful feelings.
Suddenly I was someone, people saw me and helped me more than any civil servant. In 76 days, I reached a crazy moment: I had 1 million satoshis in my Lightning wallet. It was one of the most important moments of my life.
I’m still homeless and in a lot of trouble, but I’ve found hope, a sense of belonging to something better, and a way to save money for my future, see a way out .
I still don’t fully understand it. I’m still learning, but Bitcoin and Lightning are changing my daily life.
This is a guest post by Homeless Mokum. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.