Old-fashioned bartering and new sharing technologies are together carving a disruptive niche in our economy. Yahoo is collecting first-person accounts from Americans who are sharing, lending and bartering their way through everyday activities. Here’s one story.
FIRST PERSON | I did something pretty amazing recently. I built a high-end computer, with brand new parts, and I didn’t pay a single dollar for any component. This sounds like the beginning of a sales pitch, right? Well, in certain respects it is. But I will not profit from you adapting my strategy. But you will. We are at a unique time where technology offers people virtually unlimited options in the realm of earning money through either bartering, or trading of goods and services.
The method that I use daily is centered around Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency. I visit most of the countless sites that offer free Bitcoins (obviously very small increments of a whole coin). There are also sites that allow you to work online and complete various tasks for Bitcoin, like Coinworker . In addition, an online, crowd-funded, Bitcoin lending service called BTCjam , allows me to loan users Bitcoin and get paid back with interest. The risk is carried by many users and I can contribute a very small amount, or a very large amount to the loan. Just like any standard loan, the borrower has to pay users back within the given time frame.
Now, once you receive loan payments back, and have been paid for the work you have done online, the barter begins. Anyone can sell their Bitcoins through Coinbase and have dollars put directly into your checking account. But bartering is much more profitable. Using the Gyft iphone app, I wait until the price rises significantly and I purchase Amazon gift cards using my Bitcoins.
Without a single dollar changing hands, I was able to purchase every component to build my new PC. Coming in at well over $1,000 for the parts alone, technology made this new style of bartering for the digital age possible. And it is not just for one-off projects like the PC build. Using the Blockchain app and other bartering services, I use Bitcoin daily to buy everything I possibly can. Recently, a $100 Visa gift card that I use for gas. The $100 worth of Bitcoin I used was originally obtained for around $5. Sure, I still use my paper dollars…when I have to. The bodega across the street from my house in Bridgeport, CT takes cash only. So every once in a while I buy cigarettes with cash instead of trading them for Bitcoin locally. Interestingly enough, technology is helping to pair up people to locally barter for Bitcoins as well.