Surviving on Ethereum for 24 hours
The practical applications are not there yet.
After seeing so many people sell their equities and invest in cryptocurrency, I began to consider the future and practical applications of cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin. It inspired me to carry out an experiment in which I lived for 24 hours exclusively on Ethereum.
Odds are you’ve heard about the Ethereum blockchain, whether or not you know what it is.
So, What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is a decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality.
Amongst cryptocurrencies, Ether is second only to Bitcoin in market capitalization.
It was founded in 2013 by programmer Vitalik Buterin.
One way to think about the Ethereum network is to imagine a giant, the global computer made up of thousands of individual computers all around the world, each running a copy of the Ethereum software.
At the time of writing this article (Nov 8th, 2021), the price of 1 Ether is $4731.10.
To give you an idea of how popular it has become if you bought 1 Eth a year ago, you would have made a 10x return on your investment.
I wanted to know what are the practical applications of Ethereum and whether it can currently replace cash and be used by average folks. I decided to conduct an experiment paying for all necessities such as meals, gas, and staying at a hotel with Ether.
1. Identifying places that accept Ether
Luckily, the city I live in (Los Angeles) has a lot of attractions and restaurants that accept Ether.
2. Buying Ether
The most known and trustworthy platform to buy crypto is Coinbase. So I bought $100 worth of Ethereum. One thing that surprised me was paying a $20 miner fee while transferring $99.86 to my Coinbase wallet. To be fair, the cost seemed excessive given the size of the transaction.
3: Paying for a meal with Eth
I discovered Le Petit Jardin, a modest French eatery. I contacted them the day before to inquire about their willingness to accept Ethereum and Bitcoin. The lady stated that they accept cryptocurrency with the caveat that you can only pay a maximum of $50. That’ll be alright, I said.
When I got to the restaurant, I ordered a sandwich, fries, and coffee. After finishing the lovely meal, I spoke with the restaurant’s owner about why she started to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
She told me that she was first introduced to cryptography by a computer engineer in Germany. Her elderly mother also purchased two bitcoins in 2016, but she has forgotten the complicated security codes they used to obtain access to their Bitcoin wallet. That’s a shame because those two bitcoins are today worth roughly $124,000.
Anyway, my bill was roughly $26, and I attempted to pay her with my Coinbase wallet. The transaction did not go through immediately, unlike Venmo other Cash applications, and it took an eternity to calculate the fee. I decided to give up after 20 minutes and informed her it wasn’t working. She advised me to wait another 20 minutes because she thought my experiment was intriguing. I waited another 20 minutes, but the fee calculation issue continued. Since I had to meet a friend, I had to pay using my debit card because the transaction didn’t go through.
4: Refueling my Tank with Eth
I caught up with a friend after leaving the restaurant and we were driving around when I realized I was running out of gas.
So we went to the closest gas station and located a Bitcoin ATM. It was my first experience with a Bitcoin ATM.
The quickest and easiest way to cash out your Ether is via a Bitcoin ATM.
However, not every Bitcoin ATM will work.
There are two conditions:
1. It must be a Bitcoin ATM that accepts Ethereum as well.
2. It must be a Bitcoin ATM that allows you to withdraw funds (almost 80% of ATMs in the US do not!).
The truth is that just 20% of Bitcoin ATMs allow you to withdraw money.
Instead, you can buy bitcoin (and a few other currencies) using cash, but the machines won’t let you withdraw cash,
They’re only one-way (unidirectional).
You’re not alone in thinking that if a machine doesn’t allow you to withdraw cash, it’s not an ATM.
It’s significantly more expensive to create and maintain a two-way (bidirectional) machine, 80 percent of self-proclaimed Bitcoin ATMs won’t let you withdraw cash.
More complex technology, more reliable software, greater manufacturing and repair expenses, and more armored vehicle services are all necessary.
I attempted to encourage the gas station staff to accept Ethereum as a form of payment via wallet transfer, but he had no idea what I was talking about.
As a result, I had to use my debit card to pay for gas.
5: Staying at a Hotel
This website was discovered through a simple Google search, and luckily it accepts most crypto.
Fortunately, they have a chain of hotels that accept Bitcoin, mostly at the pricier end of the spectrum.
I ended up booking a hotel near the airport, and I was amazed to learn how many cryptocurrencies they took at check-out.
My total came out to be 0.047929 Eth and the transaction finally went through. This time I paid ended up paying via Binance and the transaction went through.
My final total was 0.047929 Eth, and the transaction was completed.
This time, I paid using Binance, and the transaction went through.
To summarize, it will most likely take another year or two before we can fully embrace crypto for everyday transactions.
Also, I’m excited for the launch of Eth 2.0, which is expected to process over 100,000 transactions per second — but we’ll have to wait and see.
While most individuals are fine with paying $50 for a $10,000 transaction fee, it severely restricts the network’s capacity to attract use cases with low-value but high-volume transactions.