The future belongs to digital marketplaces that run on private digital cash. Anarkio explains why he built Bitejo and why he is into Monero.
Why are you here? What do you like about Monero?
Monero means private digital cash. Send, receive and save money without third parties – no bank account, government ID or corporate permission required. This liberating currency is a stark difference to the dangers of surveilled and censored CBDCs or even the current gatekept banking system.
Why did you build Bitejo?
To get the most out of a private and censorship-resistant currency, we need private and censorship-resistant marketplaces for products and services. Bitejo.com is one of these.
The idea for Bitejo began in September 2018, after a sudden wave of KYC regulations caused closures or exclusion from existing platforms, freelance websites and exchanges. What was needed was a free marketplace, not only to exchange crypto and fiat, but to use crypto as Satoshi intended: a permissionless, pseudonymous currency for peer-to-peer commerce.
Why are Know Your Customer rules such a big problem?
Government ID KYC is the state's monopoly on identity. In the mainstream economy, most daily necessities – from jobs, apartment rentals and healthcare to receiving mail, online shopping and buying a sim card – require government ID. Not only does this shut out the millions of people who can't get government ID (if the state refuses to print ID, there are no appeals nor NGOs who can help), but also surveils the general population and tracks individuals' every action – including employment, education, earnings, purchases, medical history, home address, phone calls and even internet history. From the basic right to participate in the economy for stateless and undocumented people, to personal safety for victims of abuse and activists, to everyday privacy for the Average Joe, access to KYC-free services is necessary. And that is why Bitejo, the free Monero marketplace, was born.
What do you hope Bitejo will be used for in the future?
Bitejo aims to bring back peer-to-peer commerce. Trade with your friends, neighbors and communities, instead of relying on faceless corporations. Cut out middlemen, avoid red tape, and negotiate fair deals, fair prices and fair working conditions. Enjoy individualized service, where customers and small businesses matter.
How does Bitejo compare to older legacy web2 platforms that people are already used to?
Bitejo was launched in May 2021 as a crypto-friendly alternative to Craigslist and Ebay. Members can buy and sell products, jobs, fundraisers and exchanges, and accept Monero, Bitcoin or physical cash. Reviews and reputations help with trust, and a multisig escrow feature is under development. Additionally, members will soon be able to create public or private groups, which include group-only listings and a forum – such as a local New York City group, a book club or a web design studio. Bitejo was designed from scratch to be easy-to-use, and of course, is 100% KYC-free.
What is Bitejo currently used for?
Members are already listing electronics, remote jobs, artwork and more, pioneering the Monero circular economy and building a free and fair market for all.
Are there similar platforms to Bitejo?
Bitejo isn't the only tool for the Monero circular economy. Indeed, the hope is to have as many diverse marketplaces, merchants, online stores, points-of-sale, meetups and communities as possible. Bitvendo, an upcoming open source marketplace, aims to make it easier for people to launch online stores, multi-vendor marketplaces and points-of-sale in one click, without technical knowledge. Bitvendo will offer all the features of Bitejo, plus a variety of themes, plugins, monetization options and a federation feature, where merchants can efficiently advertise their listings in a global shopping network and customers can use a single account to seamlessly shop from all federated stores. Bitejo.com will remain active as a member of the Bitvendo federated shopping network.
In addition to Bitejo and Bitvendo, the Monero community enjoys diverse merchant adoption, which makes it possible to live on a Monero standard. Some examples include AcceptedHere, Cryptwerk and Monerica, which list hundreds of Monero-friendly online and brick-and-mortar stores; CoinCards, which sells gift cards for groceries, restaurants, taxis, hotels and more; ProxyStore and Sovereign Stack Rerouter, which make it possible to buy from any online store with Monero; a Monero-friendly alternative to GoFundMe and Kickstarter; Monero peer-to-peer marketplaces, Reddit and Telegram groups; MoneroIntegrations and BTCPayServer, which help you to easily accept Monero in your business; and Bitcoin merchants such as Silent.link's anonymous e-sims and CoinDebit's anonymous Visa gift cards, which can be conveniently accessed via FixedFloat's swap service.
What is the end goal from your perspective? Why should we build a circular Monero economy?
The dream is a free market for free people, where everyone can get what they need for fair prices and without censorship. The dream is to create a space outside of the state's harmful restrictions and apart from corporate greed and hierarchies. Earn your salary in Monero, rent from a Monero-friendly landlord and buy food from a local Monero convenience store. It may even be closer than you think. Free markets don't need mainstream adoption, state acceptance or corporate funding – as agorism shows us, parallel economies can thrive in a decentralized, peer-to-peer fashion for the people who need them. The tools are there, ready for us to use.
How can people get started?
List a product that you want to buy or sell in Bitejo, browse Monero-friendly merchants in Monerica, or join the Monero community in Matrix, Reddit or Telegram. Think about asking your favorite businesses if they could accept Monero, or if you own a business, consider to accept Monero payments. Despite the increasing authoritarianism in the world, the war on cash and financial deplatforming, Monero offers hope for authentic peer-to-peer trade, true economic freedom and a better future. Monero is private digital cash for everyone, and you can get started today.