This is how cryptocurrency could revolutionize ‘spare changing’

Terracoin logo

Terracoin logo Illustration by Zach Williams

Have you ever stopped and thought about how our increasingly cashless society has affected the homeless population?

According to recent research from Capital One, more Americans carry cash for emergencies than they do for the purpose of actually making everyday purchases. Of course, any time a credit card is used to pay for goods or services, there is no change to spare for the homeless.

A couple quarters or dollar bills may not seem like much, but for a homeless person the disappearance of spare change is devastating. With the number of Americans no longer carrying cash continuing to rise, the writing is on the wall.

Accepting credit card donations would be impossible for most homeless due to what would be required of them. Cryptocurrency, however, opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

With cryptocurrency, anyone can accept payment – even if they do not have a computer, smartphone or bank account – and then redeem the cryptocurrency for actual cash, products or services.

So, how would this work in the real world of New York City?

All a homeless person needs is a pen, paper and someone to create a crypto address for them along with the private key to unlock the ability to spend any cryptocurrency received. From there, pedestrians could simply use their smartphone to send cryptocurrency quickly and efficiently to the homeless person’s crypto address. Once the crypto is sent to the address, the homeless individual can then spend their cryptocurrency wherever it is accepted. With a QR code printed on the piece of paper, this process would be even easier, since it would only take a quick scan to copy the address from the paper to their smartphone.

The only problem with the scenario above is that cryptocurrency adoption among merchants is still relatively small.

The community of people behind Terracoin (a.k.a. TRC), a longstanding cryptocurrency established in 2012, has not only come up with a solution to this problem, but also created a way to reward shelters and businesses for helping homeless people redeem Terracoin for cash, products and services. It’s just one way they aim to further their community-shared vision to “help the world.”

Let’s walk through the whole process with a hypothetical person named Joe.

Joe learns from his local shelter how easy it is to start accepting Terracoin and picks up a piece of paper that’s being provided, so he can have his own crypto address and a QR code to use on the streets. He adds “Crypto Accepted” to the sign he holds up near Times Square. A pedestrian with no cash but who holds Terracoin sees Joe’s sign and is intrigued. After a short chat, Joe shows his paper wallet address and the pedestrian simply scans the QR code with his smartphone, enters the amount he wishes to send (the TRCpay app shows the fiat currency value in real time, either in U.S. dollar denomination or 150-plus other currencies an international traveler could be using), and then clicks the send button.

To receive cash for the Terracoin just received, Joe goes back to the shelter later that night. The shelter will then unload his wallet and give him cash for the Terracoin he received from pedestrians. The shelter can then contact one of the multiple Terracoin users who are willing to exchange cash for Terracoin or use an online exchange to trade it on the open market. It really is that simple.

To take this hypothetical situation another step further, the shelter could start putting the Terracoin received towards setting up a masternode for continual service rewards that could be used to provide ongoing funding for their operation. What is a masternode? It’s an always-on server that supports the cryptocurrency network.

Without getting too technical, running a masternode is like running a mining rig to receive a continual stream of income in the form of crypto, but only using a fraction of the energy required for bitcoin mining. In other words, the shelter can start getting nearly daily payouts in Terracoin and then “sell” the rewarded Terracoin for cash resources or directly buy goods and services from businesses that start accepting Terracoin in the area. It’s never been easier to set up a masternode and there are always community members willing to help set it up if there are any challenges.

The sharp increase in cryptocurrency adoption coincides perfectly with declining use of cash for the homeless community. To learn how individuals, businesses and non-profits can directly help the homeless with Terracoin, reach out to the Terracoin community via one of the engagement options listed on the website at or email