You may have heard of the term „TechNomad“ – people who are jetting around the globe, just bringing along their laptop and some hand luggage, working from almost everywhere as long as they have an internet connection, hanging out in backpacker hostels or hackerspaces and working as coders, designers or translators for clients from all over the world – and accepting payments for their work in bitcoin.
I am actually one of them: some years ago, after reading the book „Life Nomadic“ by Tynan about how to start a life as a technomad, i took a leap of faith, sold almost all my belongings and left Europe. My idea was to try the minimalistapproach and travel as light as possible, working for clients who pay me in bitcoin and find or create ways to use bitcoin for daily expenses or cash out in the local currency on the way. I do that now since 3 years and have lived in Japan and Taiwan using bitcoins wherever possible.
Here is why I think that Taiwan has much to offer and should be on your list if you are coming to Asia and are looking for some easy ways to cash out your bitcoins.
Taiwan is a beautiful island
First of all, the weather and the scenery is absolutely fantastic, the weather is great
almost the whole year, there are beautiful beaches everywhere and it is no surprise that the Portuguese once called this island „Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Island)“. The locals are very friendly to foreigners and live a very laid-back and refreshingly different and interesting lifestyle. If you are afraid of experiencing a culture shock have a look at those 11 interesting things about Taiwan foreigners rarely know listed by Taiwanese bitcoin fan and digital nomad Vivien Chen.
Taiwan is convenient
If you would have to describe Taiwan with just one word i would choose „convenient“, because there are thousands of convenience stores like familymart or 7-eleven available who provide food and snacks around the clock – so you could literally walk in any direction and you will find the next shop to buy drinks and snacks within the next 100 meters. Try this in Europe or elsewhere in the world!
You can buy bitcoin in more than 3000 convenience stores all over the country!
Unlike as in other countries who have familymart or 7-eleven as well, you can do actually one really cool thing in Taiwan: you can just walk into any of those shops and buy bitcoins: just bringing some cash and a phone with internet connection and a bitcoin wallet. Here is a step by step instructions and a video walk through by Jason L. Gatewood:
You can for instance buy vouchers on a website called bitoex and print those vouchers at one of the Famiport terminals and use them to buy drinks and snacks for cash values of 100 to 200 Taiwan Dollars. Here is a step by step tutorial by blogger and bitcoin fan Mario Dian.
So that means there are more than 3000 shops all over Taiwan where you could use bitcoin! Show me any other country on this planet where this is possible.
You can book a room or outdoor trips in Taiwan with bitcoins
If you check coinmap.org you find more than 35 entries of businesses or individuals who already accept bitcoins for their services. There are for instance some backpackers hostels like the Bitcoin House Taiwan who offer cheap accommodation in the downtown of Kaohsiung or Hualien Outdoors, a company who is specializing in trips and activities in the uniquely beautiful Hualien County and Taroko Gorge areas.
Since the Taiwanese government is not actively supporting the idea of Bitcoin ATMs in the country you will have to find some other ways to exchange your bitcoins. Usually, there are always a few bitcoin users in town who are willing to exchange bitcoins in the local currency. You can get in touch with them via localbitcoins.com to exchange your bitcoins online or meet them in person to do a transaction in a local bar or cafe. If they have time for a chat you can also ask about places who accept bitcoin or the local bitcoin scene.
You can hang out with other bitcoin fans
Last but not least, you can always try to find a local meetup group and meet other bitcoiners to socialize or join events like the occasional bitcoin conferences.
I recommend to join the Taipei Bitcoin Meetup Group if you are in Taipei, who are meeting regularly in various locations. If you are in Kaohsiung sign up with the Kaohsiung Bitcoiners who are organizing regular events in a bitcoin-friendly bar called Black Dog Pub. Local meetups are usually the best way to find someone if you have bitcoin specific questions or want to make contacts with other bitcoin fans.
If you love traveling and bitcoins come and check out Taiwan!