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Homeless, Unemployed, and Surviving On Bitcoins

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the when-does-money-become-money dept.

Bitcoin 403

An anonymous reader writes "Wired profiles a homeless man who's supporting himself primarily through Bitcoin. Jesse Angle, a former network engineer, earns small amounts throughout the day by visiting various websites that pay him to look at ads. He then converts it to gift certificates and uses the certificates to buy food. '"It's a lot less embarrassing," he says. "You don't have to put yourself out there." And unlike panhandling in Pensacola, using an app like Bitcoin Tapper won't put him on the wrong side of the law. This past May, Pensacola — where Angle has lived since April — passed an ordinance that bans not only panhandling but camping on city property.' Angle learned about Bitcoin from a charity organization called Sean's Outpost that wanted something better than PayPal for accepting donations over the internet. The organization has even opened an outreach center paid for solely with Bitcoins. Founder Jason King said, 'Bitcoin beats the s#!% out of regular money, We've resonated so well with people because it's direct action. There's no chaff between donation and helping people.'"

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403 comments

What's the word (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44902945)

eHobo?

Re:What's the word (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44902967)

No there's an app for that called iHobo.

Re:What's the word (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903483)

Who knows if this story is true or not, it just doesn't seem to add up. Thanks to Jimmy Kimmel you can't trust ANYTHING you see on the internet anymore. The internet's best days are behind it.

Oh my god (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44902959)

We've reached peak hipster.

is it a failure of the US social safety net that this man has to do this?

Re:Oh my god (4, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#44903145)

Probably more of a failure in our mental health system. Also, young men are last on the list when shelters are overcrowded.

Re:Oh my god (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 6 months ago | (#44903147)

is it a failure of the US social safety net that this man has to do this?

Maybe, or maybe not. If he has to do this, because he's unable to obtain any other employment even with heavy searching, then yes. If he prefers this to any other position or hasn't tried to find such a position, then no.

The biggest problem in charity is telling the difference between the two.

Re:Oh my god (1)

slim (1652) | about 6 months ago | (#44903235)

Surely if he has the computer skills to maintain a BC wallet, he's capable of doing something that pays more than clicking linkfarms.

Re:Oh my god (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 6 months ago | (#44903491)

There's a major difference between being capable of doing a job, and being able to hold the job. Mental illness isn't often evident in a quick interview, but after a few months on the job it may be obvious. He could then be fired for "poor attitude" or similar reason, especially if the employer doesn't understand the illness. After a few such events, his job history is full of short jobs that ended with him being fired, and that effectively ends his career.

IT specifically is a field full of outcasts. We have disproportionately high rates of several mental illnesses, especially on the autism spectrum. The people who never fit in anywhere else? They still don't fit in here, but it's okay because the rest of us don't, either.

Re:Oh my god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903533)

Dunno where you're at, but in my experience and those of friends a person lacking "experience" linked to previous employers on a resume doesn't count when it comes to the human resources department. It really sucks, but in this current socioeconomic situation skills and talent often tend to mean nothing. Unfortunately nobody seems to care enough to remedy the situation, so there's a lot of wasted productivity among people boxed into doing minimum wage jobs when they really should be doing other things.

Only exception might be really small companies where the boss personally does the hiring and firing. But such small companies tend to give jobs to friends and family first despite qualifications (or lack thereof), or they'll use temp agencies in which case the potential employee is back to dealing with the H.R. bullshit brickwall again.

need to improve schooling as well (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 6 months ago | (#44903675)

need to improve schooling as well. As alot of people with autism spectrum don't do well in a collage setting but do a lot better in a smaller tech / trade school setting or even learning of the job.

Re:Oh my god (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 6 months ago | (#44903565)

I think you over-estimate how difficult it is to use Bitcoin. Here's what they have to do:

1) Install app on phone (perhaps a charity case, or perhaps one they had before they lost their home)

2) Retype Bitcoin address from screen to laptop when receiving money for "microwork tasks" like spamming YouTube

3) There is no step 3.

Alternatively, step 2 can be "show someone the qrcode on your screen to receive money in person". Anyone can do it.

Re:Oh my god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903273)

When there's still more than three job seekers for every opening (in the northeast, anyway [ny.gov]. Haven't seen anyone else turn JOLTS into a nice graph), chances are better than 50:50 that any given petitioner isn't able to obtain employment. Bring back your snobbery when we get to two job seekers for every opening, then you might be on par with a coin toss.

Re:Oh my god (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 months ago | (#44903323)

He's in Florida. Please pull your head out of your ass, the whole world doesn't revolve around New York.

Re:Oh my god (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903369)

He's in Florida. Please pull your head out of your ass, the whole world doesn't revolve around Jew York.

FTFY.

Re:Oh my god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903371)

Then go somewhere else. Please pull your head out of your ass. If you're homeless it's not exactly as if you're bound to any one location.

Re:Oh my god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903479)

How? Walk?

Re:Oh my god (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 months ago | (#44903289)

Social safety net? The man is working although in an unconventional way. He should by all rights be excluded from the statistics.

Re:Oh my god (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#44903365)

is it a failure of the US social safety net that this man has to do this?

Of course not. He is earning a living. Why would it be better if he was on the dole? The safety net should be for people that can't work, not those who just don't want to.

Re:Oh my god (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903449)

He's homeless, I'd be hard pressed to call that a living.

Re:Oh my god (0)

blue trane (110704) | about 6 months ago | (#44903585)

The safety net should be a basic income, giving each of us a choice whether we want to enter the greedy, sociopathic, mendacious, morally hazardous world of perverse incentives that is the free market.

Re:Oh my god (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 months ago | (#44903395)

The Right says No you can't have that (well the government won't pay for it)
The Left says you can have that but you need to jump threw so many hoops to get it.

Re:Oh my god (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 6 months ago | (#44903603)

No... the real left is thinking that a basic income guarantee is becoming very close to feasible. Perhaps not yet, but we are getting close to the point where the labor generated by people who work for either self fulfillment or access to luxury goods and services can produce enough wealth to provide every household with a basic income capable of covering rent, food and basic utilities.

Re:Oh my god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903703)

It's a failure of the economic system, more specifically the economic system not keeping up with the times. The majority of people are no longer in a position to produce any of life's necessities - food, shelter, clothing - and exchange these for other necessities. All they can do is produce money, any which way they can. This guy sells his time looking at ads, another makes money off day-trading, etc. None of these people produce anything substantial, just money. And when one money-making scheme stops working, all they can do is find some other way to make money.

Just wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44902989)

Just wait until the tax man tries and shut him down, enforced by overzealous cops and a few tasers

Why bitcoin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44902993)

What exactly has bitcoin to do with getting paid for looking at ads? Why not in regular dollars?

Re:Why bitcoin? (3, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 6 months ago | (#44903077)

Bitcoin has extra marketing value. People can donate Bitcoins rather than dollars, and they feel like they're somehow working outside "the system", as though the US government couldn't see or track what's going on. Really, the government can't track cash, either, but cash is old and familiar, where Bitcoin is new and exciting.

Re:Why bitcoin? (4, Funny)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 6 months ago | (#44903155)

Plus, sending cash doesn't tend to work well over the internet. It keeps clogging up my ethernet ports.

Re:Why bitcoin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903283)

I am not very knowledgable about how the US works, but don't you guys have normal bank accounts with which you can transfer money?

Re:Why bitcoin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903735)

That's not cash (and certainly monitored by the government).

Re:Why bitcoin? (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 months ago | (#44903431)

So lets put you charity spending in a place where you cannot get tax deductions for it. Smart, way to stick it to the man!

Re:Why bitcoin? (3, Insightful)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 6 months ago | (#44903287)

Those who are paying him are using fradulent methods to inflate view counters, so they want to stay anonymous.

Homeless? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#44903001)

Homeless guys drinking Monster energy drinks? That crap is very expensive.

Re:Homeless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903115)

Better than drinking a 40 out of a paper bag. Paper bags are expensive.

Re:Homeless? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903139)

Indeed. This isn't a real homeless person -- the type who not only doesn't have a job, but doesn't have much chance of getting a job (any job). This is merely a person who refuses to work "beneath himself". We all know he could have a job at Wal-Mart, 7-11, or McDonald's within a few hours. He just refuses to do it.

Re:Homeless? (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about 6 months ago | (#44903301)

That would play havoc w/ his work history on his resume

Re:Homeless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903353)

What makes you think he needs to put it on his resume?

Re:Homeless? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903683)

Not really. He sounds creative and clever enough to spin it correctly. Just like how you can spin playing D&D as a kid while smoking cigarettes as "Mentoring at risk youth" or running a MMO Guild as "Operating manager of a group of 25(40, 10, whatever) individuals" though I am sure you could word either of those better. Just write this off as some fancy sounding research. If he is keeping accurate enough records claim it is a "self-study project in the sociological evolution of e-homelessness" and try to publish (either traditionally or as a documentary) in the same way Morgan Sporlock got famous for eating at McDonald's daily for a month.

Re:Homeless? (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#44903333)

I would have through drugs or alcohol are preventing him from holding down any job but you may be right too. I'm a very social, user-friendly IT manager that also does field work so I'd make one of the best car salesmen ever let alone someone selling TVs and computers and Best Buy or something. I totally don't want to do that though but if I got fired (for posting on Slashdot all day, loooool) I'd probably hop on that pretty quick.

Normally it is drugs or mental issues (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 6 months ago | (#44903543)

Generally to actually wind up without a place to live, one of those two things come in to play. With mental issues it is fairly easy to understand: The person is crazy, does not perceive reality, and makes choice most find very strange. Also, even if help is available (which it quite often isn't in the US), they don't want it since a sad part of many mental illnesses is to make you not think you are ill. After all they are a problem with the brain and your brain is what you use to tell if you have problems.

Drugs, including alcohol, are the much more common problem. You get addicts who are so deep in to their addiction that nothing else matters to them. Not only can they not hold down a job, but they end up alienating all their family and friends. People give them chances but they keep abusing it and finally they kick them out. Eventually, they are out of people to go to.

Re:Homeless? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 6 months ago | (#44903721)

Best Buy does not want people who know what they are doing they want people who can sell and sell rip off geek squad stuff and useless protection plans

Re:Homeless? (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about 6 months ago | (#44903433)

You sure? Unemployment rate seems to be around 7% in the USA [bls.gov] and from what I've read around those numbers don't actually count the number of people that aren't employed, just the ones that are registered in welfare (or something like it, I forget). Two, he can't really move from where he is, so he can't move to where jobs may be. And considering the numbers, I doubt anybody outside of his city would be willing to pay him to move.

So, tell me where would he be able to find a job where many others have failed? You probably heard of not being accepted by being overqualifies, or because h1b, or culture, or many other reasons discussed here in slashdot.

And how does a McJob prevent homelessness? (3, Interesting)

Fencepost (107992) | about 6 months ago | (#44903445)

We all know he could have a job at Wal-Mart, 7-11, or McDonald's within a few hours.

It's quite possible that he could get such a job, though I don't know what the job market is like in Pensacola (I believe that's where the article indicated he was). That doesn't mean that he could afford rent somewhere - from the article, the main person being discussed became homeless initially after a multi-roommate apartment fell apart, and has bounced in and out of being able to afford a place since.

The more interesting part of the article is that some homeless are now starting to use Bitcoin as a way to get around not having a bank account (hard to do when you have no fixed address, I believe). This ties in well with many low-income folks having (disproportionally?) good smartphones - they can do it because that's the Internet access they can afford, and if they actually have a contract they may be getting decent phones because they can manage the installments.

Re:And how does a McJob prevent homelessness? (4, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 6 months ago | (#44903653)

It's worse than that. Yes, you need some kind of an address to get a bank account thanks to stricter AML laws passed in the PATRIOT Act.

However, if you spend a while in the cash economy, when you do get back on your feet many banks will refuse to take your cash as a deposit. Because they don't know how you got that cash, they are afraid of being considered money launderers by allowing you to deposit it. So once people fall out of the banking system it can be hard to get back in, which then in turn keeps these people down (and more likely to be criminals). All in the name of fighting the terrorists.

By the way, the US government knows the power of being evicted from the financial system full well. That's why they're starting to enforce US law internationally even though they can't jail people outside their borders. Instead of jail the punishment they use is being blacklisted from the financial system and having all your bank accounts closed. If you're a middle class guy with a home, a mortgage, kids etc and one day banks stop wanting to deal with you because you pissed off the US, then you could find yourself on the street faster than you might think. After all, what are you going to do when your bank accounts get closed - take out your life savings and pension as cash?

Re:Homeless? (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 6 months ago | (#44903663)

How can people refuse to take some menial job that can easily be automated (self-service checkout, roomba...)? How dare they choose not to do what benefits me by satisfying my need to control others' choices? By Jove, I must find some excuse to compel them ... how about economics? Of course I know by the Modigliani-Miller theorem that debt doesn't matter, but I'll cynically use it as an emotional ploy to reassert my divine right to force others to behave according to my whims!1

they may not hire some with even 3 years IT to wor (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 6 months ago | (#44903705)

they may not hire some with even 3 years IT to work min wage and even if they do get the job it may be 5-10-20 hours a week.

Re:Homeless? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903201)

Have a heart, they're homeless sysadmins. Caffeine is more important than such mundane things as clothing and shelter.

Pathetic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903253)

Have you compared the price of those energy drinks with a bag of apples or coffee?

It's a pretty sad situation in this country when shit food costs less than good food. A lot of that has to do with our fucked up agricultural subsidies that end up in the pockets of Monsanto and Cargill via the farmers. And people wonder why we have an obesity epidemic.

And it's also fucking sad that this guy who's resourceful, creative and talented is on the fucking streets but yet, we have assholes in Silicon Valley bitching about the "lack of talent". I would NEVER have thought of doing what he's doing. I bet if you gave this guy a programming/systems problem, he'd figure it out and come up with a unique solution. Remember that SV asshole when you're working on your next dipshit social networking or push advertising (disguised as showing folks "what they will be interested in") or some other lame-o app that offers no value to society.

Even though this guy is "old" at 42, he's using the cutting edge of not only technology of payment systems, but he is the cutting edge of what is going to happen to most of us. He's the on the edge of our spiral down to the bottom.

Just think of that when you see some CEO getting 60 million dollars just because she's a cute blond who happened to be at the right place at the right time or some asshole who fucked up a company and then talked a bigger one to buy it out.

Re:Pathetic (5, Informative)

DogDude (805747) | about 6 months ago | (#44903319)

Have you compared the price of those energy drinks with a bag of apples or coffee?

I wouldn't call coffee nutritious in any way, but I know that I can get about 5 pounds of bananas, 1 pound of beans, or 2 pounds of rice for the price of one of those "energy drinks".

Re:Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903719)

I don't agree with drinking energy drinks, but how's he going to cook beans or rice without a stove? I don't think any stores will let him use an outlet for a portable hot plate.

Re:Pathetic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903727)

"Have you compared the price of those energy drinks with a bag of apples or coffee?

It's a pretty sad situation in this country when shit food costs less than good food."

Seriously I'm sick of this fallacy, it's the biggest lie ever told. Really let's look at bottled water I can get 384 ounces of bottled water for $10, 384 ounces of Monster energy drink costs me $48.50. I could get a McDonald's meal for 5+ dollars or I could get a pound of ground beef for 9 and make a bunch of bugers. I could buy an 18 count pack of eggs for $2 or an egg McMuffin.

Also a 5 pound bag of fuji apples is 7 bucks or 3.5 cans of monster.

What a douchbag (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903027)

Seriously, fuck that guy.

Re:What a douchbag (-1, Flamebait)

gooner666 (2612117) | about 6 months ago | (#44903101)

You need to be beaten close to death.

Re:What a douchbag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903255)

Homophobe. Maybe he just thinks he's hot.

Re:What a douchbag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903269)

Well that escalated quickly

Seems dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903029)

I like the idea of bitcoins as currency, but to sit around clicking ads all day for pennies doesn't make sense to me. Why not just work a minimum wage job and make a couple hundred dollars a week if you're that desperate..

Smells Like Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903049)

This whole thing reads like an Onion story. Is this what slashdot has come down to?

Re:Smells Like Bullshit (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 6 months ago | (#44903133)

A few dollars' worth of free food coupons a day is not the same as rent and car and gas and $4000/year property tax because your heart beats.

If Bitcoin gets too big, expect a clampdown to get taxes from it, though it will be couched in verbiage of For The People they will demand government scrutiny and regulation. But it's about money. It always is.

Re:Smells Like Bullshit (4, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 6 months ago | (#44903361)

expect a clampdown to get taxes from it, though it will be couched in verbiage of For The People they will demand government scrutiny and regulation.

It doesn't need to be. Americans are already legally obligated to report capital gains from trading in Bitcoins, and any income measured in Bitcoins must be reported as income, converted to dollars. If people aren't reporting such details, they're actually engaging in tax evasion, and can be caught just like any other evaders.

Having gone through the investigation process myself, it turns out it's not really that big of a deal. The IRS sends you a letter with a phone number, which you can call and talk to an agent about it. Being willing to correct mistakes is a big factor in resolving the issue quickly. If someone doesn't report Bitcoins because they don't realize they have to, they can just file an amendment to their return that reflects the correct figures, and send in a check to cover the difference. The IRS will check the return again, and determine whether they believe it or not. Repeat as necessary. Again, the key is to not be hostile towards the IRS. Believe it or not, they're people, too.

In my case, I got a notice saying the IRS thought I owed a few thousand dollars. I rechecked my paperwork, found that I owed about $400, and sent in an amendment and a check. They responded saying they didn't accept a certain deduction for which I had no verifiable paperwork. I sent in a signed letter attesting that it was valid. They then sent me a notice saying that they owed me a few hundred dollars, along with a check. The numbers all finally matched, so that was the end of it.

Re:Smells Like Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903633)

Agreed. I've had to deal with the IRS on a few occasions, including one in which they said I owed a very large sum of money and I was close to panic. Being open and honest with the agents is the best way to go, and they're incredibly helpful, which surprised the crap out of me. One year I had a $21k tax bill turn into a $200 tax bill, and the agent was the one who helped me get it the whole way down, because I was willing to admit where I'd (really, an accountant, and an online trading company) messed up. They weren't trying to toss me in jail at any point, and helped me find a deduction I'd missed, too, incidentally. Same process as you -- I sent in more forms and a check, they came back on something else (charitable deduction), I sent in a form and proof, and then it was all over.

The only people I've known who have had problems with the IRS on a personal level were people doing shady things or who were arseholes talking to the (supposedly lowly paid) people who take calls their. Now, business level, that's a whole other story -- I've seen the IRS go crazy nasty against businesses for no good damned reason.

Re:Smells Like Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903451)

*sigh* If you truly cannot afford (coverage costs >8% of your income) health insurance, you can get an exemption from the health care requirement. So, if you really are poor, the law won't affect you.

On the other hand, if you were gaming the system by only waiting until you needed very expensive care, before getting insurance, and thus sticking the cost onto everyone else, then yes, you will be hit with a $4k tax. In which case, I have little sympathy.

If you don't like the explicit tax, an alternative would be a implicit tax by providing a subsidy for everyone to buy coverage (along with price regulation). Or, we could have a single payer system. Or, we could, as a society, agree that it is acceptable to let people go broke or/anddie because they are not able to afford the necessary health care. Or, we could do nothing an pretend that it isn't a problem while living in our fantasy world.

At some point (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#44903059)

At some point the city library will want to save money by switching off the external sockets - or charging a nominal amount. This will close him down

Re:At some point (1)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about 6 months ago | (#44903161)

The amount of money they would probably save would be at most a couple dollars per year. Charging cell phones and even laptops every day or two uses a minimal amount of energy compared to keeping a room lit up

Re:At some point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903439)

It is about politics, not money saved. A local story about "bums making cash from taxpayer paid resources" will likely inflame the locals enough that the outlets get turned off. Even if the total cost is about $10 a year.

Re:At some point (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 6 months ago | (#44903521)

Politics. Why is panhandling banned? Because a lot of people don't want to see it. Why is camping banned? Because then the homeless will have to move and become Someone Else's Problem. If supplying free power eventually leads to a small 'homeless camp' appearing for a few hours a day as they all charge their phones, you can be sure the city would find some way to put an end do it.

Homelessness (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903073)

This past May, Pensacola — where Angle has lived since April — passed an ordinance that bans not only panhandling but camping on city property.

They can pass all the laws they want, but until they do something about unemployment, mental illness, and drug abuse, people will continue begging for money and "camping" on city property. You can put them in jail (which, for some, would be a step up in living conditions), but then you'll spend a lot of money while doing nothing to address the actual problem.

Re:Homelessness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903381)

You can put them in jail (which, for some, would be a step up in living conditions), but then you'll spend a lot of money while doing nothing to address the actual problem.

Well, what if you make panhandling and camping capital offenses?

Re:Homelessness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903387)

Extermination camps could fix it

Good news! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903083)

My sister's husband's nephew is homeless but makes $4,500 a month just looking at Internet ads!!! You can too!!!

For more information go here:
http://www.makemoneywhilelivingunderthebridge.com

Re:Good news! (3, Funny)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about 6 months ago | (#44903175)

Not sure if spam or genuine comment

Re:Good news! (2)

cdrudge (68377) | about 6 months ago | (#44903429)

Since makemoneywhilelivingunderthebridge.com isn't registered, it would be a pretty ineffectual spam message. But then again, a good portion of the spam messages I get have broken, malformed, or incomprehensible links so I guess it's still probably unclear.

Its otherwise correct spelling and grammar with the exception of multiple exclamation points makes me think it's a genuine comment, and above par for most Slashdot comments to boot.

Wow the US sure has well off homeless (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903153)

I saw large screen laptops, a smart phone, monster energy drink, bottled water, etc. in the articles photos. However, he was bummed out he lost power while playing a game on said large screen laptop. I guess it does suck being destitute in the US. Imagine your CoD game cut short. I will call BS on the poor homeless pity me routine.

Re:Wow the US sure has well off homeless (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903215)

And 2 packs of cigarettes, that like $8 right there. Like many who do the boohoo routine about being poor, they can't control their own spending and spend on the most frivolous things all the while saying "I can't live." What bullshit.

Re:Wow the US sure has well off homeless (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 6 months ago | (#44903679)

I suppose the way it can work is this - after a reasonable if not rich life style, they lose a job and lose the apartment. They now get food stamps, but it's not quite enough to live off each months, so they end up living on the street. Due to the lack of rent payments, they now have enough money from social security to buy OK food and drinks. They still have laptop and phone from before things went south, even though they might not be able to afford a new one.

Internet Advertising (3, Interesting)

beernutmark (1274132) | about 6 months ago | (#44903187)

Yet another reason that internet advertising isn't the great value it is said to be. Those of us who are targeted by the ads are using abp and the ads are being watched by people doing so only for the cash.

Not bitcoins. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903309)

earns small amounts throughout the day by visiting various websites that pay him to look at ads.

He's not "surviving on bitcoins", he's surviving off ad viewing.
This has been around long before bitcoin, and will be around long after.
What currency he chooses to get paid in really isn't important, but hey, you need people to click your damn story.

Not as embarrassing (1)

inking (2869053) | about 6 months ago | (#44903345)

Surely it would be even less embarrassing for him if he actually did something productive. What kind of homeless person walks around with a laptop and a smartphone anyway?

Well that's new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903389)

"Go away or I will replace your very small click fraud shell script with a fat hobo."

This is stupid and makes no sense. If you have a laptop, internet access, and can deal with the dumb stuff you need to use bitcoin securely, you must have some skill that is worth more than fractions of a dollar a day.

And when he does odd jobs for people around Pensacola — here in the physical world — he still gets paid in bitcoin, just because it’s easier and safer.

What kind of people are these? If you're hard on cash, why limit yourself to the infinitesimal intersection of people who both have an odd job they want doing, and is willing to pay you in bitcoin?
Why not take cash, which is easier for all parties involved, and keep it where you keep your laptop and phone?

Shouldn't this story run on April 1? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 6 months ago | (#44903419)

>he still gets paid in bitcoin, just because it’s easier and safer. He doesn’t have to worry as much about getting robbed.

Unless...someone steals his laptop.

>> Angle used to work as a network engineer and a computer repair technician — as well as a carpenter and a pool cleaning guy, among other jobs — but the work eventually petered out.

...and now I'm buying him food stamps and energy drinks so he can help marketing departments game search engines? Awesome.

Re:Shouldn't this story run on April 1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903625)

The 1st of April is for fake stories meant to amuse and titillate. This is a fake story meant to attract clicks and hype bitcoins. Totally different things.

Re:Shouldn't this story run on April 1? (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 6 months ago | (#44903709)

He doesn't have to worry as much about getting robbed.

Unless...someone steals his laptop.

Actually, if the wallet is deterministic and encrypted with a passphrase—the default for the Electrum client, among others—and he either memorized the seed or recorded it somewhere safe, then even that wouldn't be a problem. Of course, he'd still be out the cost of replacing the laptop, but he wouldn't lose his bitcoins.

Physical theft of the device is less of a threat these days than malware. Malicious software running on your device has a better chance of being able to access your private keys.

Bravo Sierra (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#44903453)

Nope.

Not buying it.

He might be suplimenting his income by clicking on bitcoin ads all day long (or having a script do it), but he's not panhandling enough in just Bitcoins to do that. Getting paid in uBTC is tedious at best. You couldn't ge a single pack of the cigarette's he's smoking that way.

Homeless, unemeployed.... but (2)

tekrat (242117) | about 6 months ago | (#44903505)

But with a laptop, smartphone and internet access? Seriously?
What this guy needs to do is get the hell out of Florida and into a state with an economy where he can get a job. Probably the only reason he's unemployed is Florida. Maybe he just wants to surf all day rather than spend time in the office. Somehow I'm doubting that a homeless man has all these digital toys, yet, didn't give those up to avoid being "homeless".

Someone's being scammed here, and it's us Slashdot readers for even believing ONE WORD in this story. What's next, this homeless man gets his own reality TV series?

how does bitcoin get rid of the "chaff"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903511)

I don't understand how bitcoin gets rid of the chaff. You still have to pay out bitcoin exchanges, of which there are fewer and fewer. Furthermore, you have to deal with the extreme fluctuation of value, fraudulent exchanges and other nefarious activity in the bitcoin market. I love bitcoin as a concept, but i don't think we should be banking our most extremely destitute on its success and integration into everyday use.

i tried those faucets sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903551)

but I only got like 0.003 bitcoins in one month. Jesse Angle must've been lucky. sounds like the poor guy doesn't have any money in his savings account to rent an apartment or pay his bills. i guess he visits websites at a public internet cafe and uses blockchain wallet.

What's the problem? Free market at its finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903647)

The free market (Bitcoin and all those ad companies) is able to provide for this guy. The alternative would be for him to sit on his ass collecting government (which as TFA noted food stamps wasn't enough for him)

Jobs don't fall off trees you know, it's not like government can just magically create a job for him, let alone one which utilize his skills.

The private sector has deemed that they only need him for small jobs like watching ads, and paid him accordingly. He gets paid, ad companies get a service they want. Everybody wins.

And it's such an easy job almost anybody can do it. It's not like the bad old days of working on the farm.

The libertarians are right, and this is just the beginning. In a libertarian paradise, almost everybody will do what these guys are doing. Imagine all the things you can afford at your job right now, but instead of having to do your job to afford all that, you go on youtube (or slashdot) all day and look at cat pictures

"Homeless" (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#44903655)

When I was younger - early teens to late teens, my father would volunteer with food banks, homeless shelters and with the handicapped (these would frequently overlap with the same people). This meant that I too would volunteer (whether I wanted to or not). Anyways, I would hear the same story a lot of the time about how through no fault of their own these people would lose their job, their house and cars and would have nowhere to go. They wanted help in the form of food, place to stay, etc..

In my experience maybe 1/10 of these people were genuinely down on their luck and looking for help to start over. They would do what it took to get back on their feet. The other 9 merely paid lip service to this. They actually preferred to live on the street and continue the lifestyle of not being a part of "normal" society. We'd help these people get into a program where they have food/shelter and a step by step system to start managing their lives and getting a job - they'd leave the next day because they cant' handle or don't want structure in their lives. They want to be "free" and "independent" but at the same time don't want to have to make an equal contribution to society to pay back these resources they use.

I look at this guy lounging outside a library with his laptop, drinking monster energy drinks and eating chicken pot pies. He's taking food stamps to support himself and yet he buys shitty unhealthy food that's way too expensive for someone on a restricted income. I got one thing to say to this guy and his friends, "Go fuck yourself!".

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