The flood came close

The last big flood around here was in 2005. Back then I lived in Schwyz and worked in Unterägeri. I could not go to work for three days because all the roads were closed due to floods and mud slides. During this event, the apartment complex that we have been living in for the last ten and a half years was still in construction. While it was not finished, the basement and parking was completely flooded.

So when nearby lake Lucerne reached the critical height of the most severe warning level again this week, our neighbors along with us worried that this could happen again. The management of the building did nothing to prevent it, while nearby buildings were much better prepared. My mother told me, that the car insurance might refuse to pay if it was predictable. So I placed my car outside for a few days. Paying for redundant parking was still less of a hassle than all the trouble that could have resulted otherwise.

Next to the house we currently live, flows a small stream that ends up in the lake. In the past week as the level of the lake rose, so did this little stream. Essentially, the lake extended back into the streams and rivers feeding it. Multiple times a day we checked the height of the water. By my guess, after another 15 centimeters more, the road would have been flooded as have many others in the village. If this happened, the water would float directly into our parking and basement.

We started fetching the most valuable stuff from the basement. But soon we decided to fetch most of the stuff. Since we are going to move house in three weeks, we just packaged up or disposed as much as we could.

My wive and hence also the kids were worried that the water could also reach our apartment. But that would have required the level of the lake to rise another 30 cm. This didn’t really worry me, as it would have extended the surface area of the lake tremendously, which would be massive amounts of additional water.

My wive now also appreciates the hillside location of our future home even more. Not much can happen up there in regards of natural dangers.

After a couple of days, the water started to recede, and the weather turned better. As I write this, the water level is already more than 10 cm lower than at its highest. To my knowledge there were no big damages around here. So our thoughts are with the People of the regions in Germany that were really badly affected by the floods.

No internet at the Dolder Grand

Today was our wedding anniversary. We usually celebrate this with a meal in a nice restaurant. Last year we went to the Swiss Chalet in Merlischachen. It was very nice and delicious. The reason we went there was that they accept payments in Bitcoin. So I decided to make this a tradition. Thing is, The Swiss Chalet was already so nice, it would be hard to top. I know most restaurants in our vincinity that accept BTC. But only last week, I was reminded that this is the case for the Dolder in Zürich. It is one of the fanciest places in Switzerland, and I was a bit worried that it would be super expensive. But if I can pay with BTC, I’m usually willing to spend a bit more. Their booking website had temporary technical difficulties, but we went anyway.
The place really looks super nice. The meal was delicious and the service was very good, even the prices were reasonable. On top of that, I could also charge the car. When I told the waiter that I’d like to pay with bitcoin, he had to get the device from another of the restaurants. In the meantime, I tried to get Internet on my notebook. Since there is still no usable Bitcoin wallet for Mobian nor for UBPorts, I mostly use my mobile computer for paying. The waiter advised me to use the open WiFi, and opt for “Tagesgast” (visitor) in the captive portal. Unfortunately, this portal had a bad day. I was unable to create an account. Neither with eMail nor with OAuth. All I got were error messages like “Beim Erstellen des Gastbenutzerkontos ist ein Problem aufgetreten. Wenden Sie sich an Ihren Netzwerkadministrator (Database query error (1b77a6f1))“. The waiter tried to help, and even wanted to use his account. But all he could tell was, that usually it would work. And no I couldn’t create a hotspot on my phone, as I have no mobile data plan. Well, I’m not your average consumer 😉
It happened to me before, that I went to a restaurant, because they advertised to accept BTC, and it didn’t work. Usually, the software was not properly set up. But that I was not even able to get internet was the first time. And this time was especially disappointing, because of the bigger than usuall bill, and the longer trip to get there.

a decade of accepting Bitcoin for paragliding

Today marks the 10th anniversary of an important blog post. It was the announcement that I started accepting Bitcoin for paragliding tandem flights. I had interest in the nascent internet currency for a couple of months prior to that. And I felt that what was missing were places where people could spend their coins.

Only very few people came to me and wanted to pay a flight with BTC. But since I went full in on BTC for my paragliding hobby, I convinced a couple of customers to send me BTC instead of a bank transfer. For some of them it was the first time. It’s cool in this regard, that you can buy BTC on every train ticket machine. Unfortunately nobody paid with Lightning so far, despite announcing a special in 2019.

Many things have happened in the last decade. In the meantime lots of people call it digital gold, and being mainly for investing. While for me it is still primarily the best, most reliable, censorship resistant, easy to use form of money. I never really liked credit cards, but seeing how much more secure and reliable BTC is for payments, I cancelled my last credit card seven years ago, and I never looked back.

Through Bitcoin I learned so much about the nature of money, and the shortcomings of our current financial system. And a year ago I started as Blockchain Engineer at SEBA Bank, turning my longtime hobby into my job.

Every time I buy something, I check out where I can pay with Bitcoin. While still not as abundant as I would like, the number of places that accept BTC have grown tremendously over the years. Some of these purchases, I would not have been able to afford, without the value of BTC raising in an unprecedented manner. But I still value the freedom and self-determination that BTC gives more than the wealth.

  • Gold is the money of kings
  • Silver is the money of gentlemen
  • Barter is the money of peasants
  • Dept is the money of slaves
  • Bitcoin is the money of sovereign people