Saturday, February 15, 2014

The best thing Gavin ever bought with bitcoins

[Michele]  After Fox Glacier we headed over the Haast Pass to Wanaka.  Being in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps gave us a very welcomed break from sand flies!  It is amazing the amount of itch produced by such a small bug.  Another benefit of the rain shadow is gorgeous mountain scenery without pesky vegetation in the way.

First on our agenda in Wanaka was an eco-tour white water rafting trip with Pioneer Rafting. We were looking forward to learning about the ecology of the region while enjoying a raft down the Clutha Mata-Au river.  The operator and guide, Finn, did not disappoint.  Rafting down the unbelievably clear waterway we learned about eddy systems in the river, the history of the South Island, the trees along the banks, conservation efforts in the region etc.  It was awesome!

While learning of these things and more, Finn occasionally made comments about recent banking crises.  We took it all in.  At our break time, we went to shore to have some Tea Tree tea and biscuits.  At some point in the tea making, Finn remarked that he thought that bitcoins could by a way to bypass unfair practices by credit cards.   Wait, hold up! Did he just say bitcoins?    Our river guide knows about Gavin's make pretend money project?

At this point Gavin told Finn that he is the lead developer of Bitcoin and well.. you can guess what the primary topic of conversation was from that point on.  We swooped over large boulders in the river, splashed through holes and swirled in eddies talking about the ways that Bitcoin might serve to benefit communities that are currently taxed by credit card companies and bank currency transaction fees.

Towards the end of the trip we offered to pay for the trip in bitcoins and we were excited to be Finn's first bitcoin transaction.  Gavin also now has an awesome answer the the question "What is the best thing you ever bought with bitcoins?".
Gavin and Finn at the end of the trip. Yes, the water really was that blue!

The story might have ended there.  After the trip Gavin posted about the trip on the Bitcoin subreddit and tweeted a link to the reddit story.  With over 10,000 twitter followers, Gavin's post generated some reaction within the bit coin community.  Finn was contacted by all sorts of people about bitcoins and the New Zealand Herald (the biggest newspaper in NZ) ran an article about bitcoin that led with the story of Finn rafting with the lead developer .  We are very excited that our happenstance trip with Pioneer Rafting led to meeting Finn.  He was an awesome guide and we look forward to rafting with him again.  Maybe next time more of our vacation can be paid with bitcoins.

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