Back to the Future: A Bitcoiner’s Pilgrimage to the City of Hope Michael Atwood, the Oshi App, and localizing the Bitcoin community in Austin, Texas

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The City of Hope

If Bitcoin is hope, then Austin is the City of Hope. Rooted in its weirdness, Austin stands for openness (to all sorts of ideas and people), fairness (in the sense that if you want something you have the chance to go for it without restraint), and community (in the deepest sense of the word). It should come as no surprise then that the kindred spirit of the city exudes Entrepreneurial energy and in the same breath continues to attract people with an undeniable sense of purpose. People typically come to Austin with a mission in mind. A plan to pursue something great. This article shows one example of many of how people are moving to Austin for one reason: Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin Bat-signal sits in Austin, Texas. Who is coming next?

Marty McFly (aka Michael Atwood), a Mazda, and a Man on a Mission If you close your eyes and take a deep breath, you may be able to smell the gasoline coming from the idling Blue Mazda sitting in his driveway in Redding, California. It was not quite Marty McFly’s DeLorean, but if you had been passing through Redding on that September day you may have been forced to take a second look just to be sure.

Michael Atwood, previously a healthcare worker and now a full-time bitcoiner, managed to fit most of his life in the confines of his car in preparations for his ensuing journey south - a twenty-nine-hour drive to Austin, Texas. He had his clothes, his dog, and a bitcoin full node - what else does a man need? What he failed to manage to fit in his car he fit in his heart alongside his mission to bring the Oshi app to the Bitcoin Capital of the United States: Austin, Texas.

The sacrifice of making the move to Austin is not lost on Michael, after all, he left his job as an ICU travel nurse in order to move his plan into motion. Michael made some substantial and admirable trade-offs, however, the weight of the decision does not appear to fluster Michael as he seemingly knows his heart sits in a place of courage, absent of doubt, regret, and fear. He has grasped on to something he feels truly compelled to do and in Austin, he is not alone. There is a sense of destiny in his destination. As he journeyed the 1,900 miles through four states, his mission became real. As his gas gauge moved towards empty, his excitement never moved from full.

The Mission is Bitcoin. The City is Austin. The Time is Now.

Put simply, the convergence of intellectual energy in Austin centered around Bitcoin is overflowing - in the best way possible. Look no further than the Austin Bitcoin Club, Bit Devs Meet Up Group, or the Bitcoin Block Party thrown just last month - the excitement around Bitcoin in Austin operates on a different frequency.

The crossroads between the virtual, digital currency world and a “man in flesh” community certainly played a major factor in getting Michael to commit to Austin. Coming from Redding, where he made up a large portion of the Bitcoin community, Michael felt drawn to a place with multiple companies and thousands of individuals focused on Bitcoin. But, it did not stop there for Michael. Inspired by his time spent at Bitcoin Beach in El Salvador and his time working on building a Bitcoin community in Redding through his Oshi App, Michael had a different appreciation for the power of community. He understood the value held in the person-to-person elements of progressing the Bitcoin ecosystems forward in a localized and meaningful way. The appreciation and perspective he developed in El Salvador is a key asset for the Bitcoin community in Austin and his vision for Oshi to serve as a tool in facilitating the growth of the Bitcoin community across the small business ecosystem in Austin.

The Oshi App - Bitcoin is for Everyone

The Oshi App is the product of Michael and his co-founder, JP. The application serves to provide loyal customers with the opportunity to earn rewards in Bitcoin as they pay for local products, food, or services, and the restaurants in turn receive access to the Bitcoin network as both a marketing vehicle, savings tool, settlement layer and method of last resort if needed. Michael and JP started working on the app nearly 3 years ago. At the time, Michael still worked full-time and his co-founder JP was located in Lubbock. The Oshi app beta-tested in Redding, CA, where Michael had managed to onboard 16 restaurants and stores onto the platform (fun fact: Redding, California has the most bitcoin-accepting businesses per capita than anywhere else in the US!). For comparison, Oshi onboarded 16 businesses in just a few short weeks in Austin! The experience in Redding served its purpose, but the Oshi team felt the draw to a city with more collective conviction around the adoption of Bitcoin. With Austin as the chosen city, Michael and the Oshi team found a new home with an abundance of opportunities.

With roughly 42,000 businesses calling Austin home, the city is a booming blend of technology, art & music, healthcare, and entertainment. Not to mention, the city has nearly 1,200 food trucks and 207 restaurants per 100,000 people, which speaks to the city’s vibrant food scene. As the Oshi team gets to work on bringing new businesses onto the app, the team has already gotten its first whiff of success via the Bitcoin Block Party. The team managed to onboard 16 businesses ahead of the block party, 10 of which are located on historic Rainey Street, translating to 400 unique users using the Oshi App to conduct over 650 purchases that evening, unlocking 4.3M sats given back as rewards. Oh, and they are just getting started!

With the core of the Oshi Apps mission centered around supporting small businesses and creating a more integrated community around Bitcoin, the value is powerful. The Bitcoin community in Austin can harness a focused, localized vision for making Austin the City of Hope. As a first step, the community can steer the adoption of Bitcoin in Austin using the Oshi App as a tool to facilitate the transformation. An integrated, localized adoption of Bitcoin in Austin can serve as a model for other cities to get behind, similar to how Bitcoin Beach inspired Michael to focus on the community benefits of spreading the gift of sound money. As it turns out, the most trustless monetary network on the face of earth happens to require a little trust and community at the local level.

Thankfully, the Texas bitcoin community and local Austin bitcoin community is already vibrant and growing with the likes of

Unchained Capital,

Pleb Lab,


and many individual thought leaders as well, such as

Parker Lewis,

Jimmy Song,

Tim Draper,

Marty Bent, and

Kyle Murphy.

The bitcoin community is expanding into new areas and applications as well, such as
Texas Slim and the Beef Initiative, which fortifies the connection between bitcoin and high-quality beef. The future looks bright for Austin, especially if the cowboy-spirit of the city continues to attract developers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders, collectively seeking to uphold the values and promise of bitcoin as the future monetary network of sovereign individuals.

Stay tuned for an article on the Beef Initiative and the importance of connecting bitcoin and beef.