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The Bitcoin Family: Still on the Road—After Three Years!

Decrypt | Adriana Hamacher | Sep 29, 2020

Bitcoin family - The Bitcoin Family: Still on the Road—After Three Years!

In 2017, Didi Taihuttu sold everything for Bitcoin, convinced he’d be a multi-millionaire by 2020. How’s that working out for him and his family? 

In brief

  • In 2017 a Dutch family of five sold all their possessions to invest in Bitcoin.
  • They embarked on a world tour, that’s now taken in 40 countries, to spread the word.
  • Their enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies remains, even though their adventure threatened to be derailed by the coronavirus crisis, and Bitcoin failed to make hoped-for gains.

Dutchman Didi Taihuttu made headlines around the world in 2017 when he sold his profitable business, his family house and cars, and even the children’s toys for Bitcoin, believing he’d be a multi-millionaire by 2020.

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With no bank accounts or possessions, and all their savings tied up in highly volatile cryptocurrencies, Taihuttu, 41, his wife and three children embarked on a world-wide adventure—a quest for a “decentralized, nomad, Bitcoin life,” as he described it to Decrypt on a recent call from their current base in Lagos, Portugal.

Their journey, trailed by the world’s media, has now taken in 40 countries. They’ve set up crypto-funded projects to help the poor; established their own Bitcoin Family brand and merchandise, and documented their journey, spreading the crypto gospel in over 200 YouTube videos.

But Bitcoin’s price has stubbornly refused to reach the giddy heights that Taihuttu predicted, and the coronavirus pandemic threatened to derail their glossy odyssey. Nevertheless, his enthusiasm for cryptocurrency remains undiminished. He told us why, and how his eldest daughter convinced him they should continue with their quest.

The challenges of crypto living

When they first started traveling, there was no app like CoinATMRadar, where you find places to withdraw funds, and they had to rely on word of mouth to find places that accepted cryptocurrencies.

“Mainly, in the beginning, the first two and a half years, it was really hard,” said Taihuttu.

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Arriving at the Turkish border, on one trip, they couldn’t buy a visa, and so had to stage an elaborate workaround, with a friend accepting their Bitcoin, and transferring the funds for a visa onto a Turkish pre-paid credit card. These days, they always carry a little cash, for emergencies or treats.

“Adoption in Asia is way ahead of Europe,” Taihuttu said. Most notably, he added, it’s happening faster in regions of the world where people haven’t had ready access to banking.

In the Moluccan Islands, where Taihuttu’s father was born, they met locals who didn’t know what a bank account was, and who were living on a mere dollar a day.

“We had been traveling with the kids through Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia—everywhere in the world, and we had the proof,” he said. “I saw the truth: Bitcoin and blockchain are the tools to change this monetary system.”

Taihuttu’s children get a daily allowance in Bitcoin. The family learned to use Bitcoin ATMs; they turned to apps such as ExcelTrip to arrange flights; they bought coupons that could be used in supermarkets, and they made ready use of crypto exchange marketplace, which puts users in touch with local dealers willing to exchange cash for cryptocurrencies. “It’s not that safe, and not that easy,” said Taihuttu.

They also began to ask hotels and shops whether they could pay with Bitcoin. (Bitcoin is accepted by half a dozen restaurants in one village on the Thai island of Koh Phangan, thanks to Taihuttu.)

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