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[00:00:06] CK: What is up, Bitcoiners? It’s your boy, CK. Waiting for Pete Rizzo and Aleks Svetski to join. We’ll be taken over, but I’m just here to fill in the void. It looks like Pete just jumped in. While we’re waiting for everything to get settled here, just want to inform me all about the venue for Bitcoin 2022. I was actually just there yesterday and it is absolutely next level. If any of you were at Bitcoin 2021 this year, earlier this June in Miami, you know it was an incredible event.
with that, the event was a little bit oversold. There’s too many people in the venue and that will not be happening again this year. The guest experience is going to be absolutely A-plus topnotch. The Miami Beach Convention Center can scale up to 100,000 people, and it’s going to be absolutely fantastic. We have a enormous amount planned for all the Bitcoiners out there. Of course, like any big one conference, we respect your privacy, we respect what Bitcoiners respect. We are Bitcoiners.
This is an event put on by Bitcoiners for Bitcoiners. I think, all of you will be very pleased with the announcements that are soon to be coming. If you haven’t already purchased your ticket, you can get 10% off by using promo code satoshi. That is Bitcoin Magazine’s official promo code. Yeah, don’t hesitate. If you are traveling from abroad and unsure of whether or not you’ll be able to get into the states, still buy your tickets while they’re cheap. If you can’t come because of any legal restrictions, we will refund you. You will also probably be able to sell the ticket on a secondary market for a nice profit as well. this is not investment advice, but we’re trying to make it as risk-free and easy as possible to come to the event.
Bitcoin 2022 in Miami, April 6th through the 9th. It’s going to be absolutely game-changing. All right, that’s enough for me. I’m going to pass it over to Rizzo and Svetski.
[00:01:59] PR: Yeah, and I’ll also add, you can meet cool people there. It’s where I met Svetski last year. Also, networking a key component for the Bitcoin Conference.
[00:02:08] AS: Am I cool now? I thought I was toxic. Wait a minute. What’s going on here? I’m being reclassified.
[00:02:15] AS: I don’t know the difference there, but – I guess, we’ll get into it. How are you, man? Good to hear from you.
[00:02:20] AS: I’m good man. I’m good. I was just literally having a conversation with a special Bitcoiner, who is also in here. Pablo.
[00:02:28] PR: Nice.
[00:02:28] AS: Yeah. I’m doing very good. We had a incredible fucking week last night. I was on a series of pods, and we raised some money for Amber for some of the new really, really fucking cool shit that we’re going to be doing for Bitcoin.
[00:02:42] PR: Well, congrats, man.
[00:02:43] AS: Thank you.
[00:02:43] PR: Yeah. Definitely good to see the Bitcoin-only businesses do well. I guess, yeah. I mean, just to backtrack on our convo, I think this was more informal between me and you, right? I think that one of the things I was keen to catch up with you on is just, I think we’re both – we both have different dispositions to Bitcoin evangelism, I think, of say, I’m a bit more left with the bell curve maybe, or right about, whichever version of the bell curve it is.
but yeah. Just curious to get your take on the state of things and also, the recent article I published on Forbes, which was Against Cryptocurrency, the case for Bitcoin Maximalism. Definitely was inspired by your work as well. I viewed it a bit as a intelligent framing on the Bitcoin, not shitcoin argument that you wrote about as well.
I know that we have been talking about, as far back in May or April, where I think I was struggling to put forward maybe an argument that was more intellectually appealing for Bitcoiners, but still core to Bitcoin maximalism. Yeah, I guess, that’s what I was curious to just jump off that and maybe dive into that subject.
[00:03:47] AS: Yeah, man. I think, I mean, the conversation really, I remember it when we were sitting on the table with – it was with Russ and Francis and stuff. That’s who we’re actually having a conversation. Yeah, and we’ll try to dig into, okay, but why is Bitcoin-only so important? What’s the special ingredient? I think, I tried with that piece, with that I did the why Bitcoin not shitcoin, to elaborate on three core pillars, like the economic reasoning, the moral reasoning and think, it was the philosophical. It was those three. Then, I think Allen did something similarly, actually, in his really one piece, Only the Strong Survive, which I still haven’t read yet, because it was fucking war piece that –
[00:04:29] PR: Yeah. That one’s – that long.
[00:04:31] AS: Yeah. I was like, “Fuck you, Allen.” Because he was sending it to me beforehand. He was like, kept telling me, Oh, this is the DeFi piece,” in his little squirrel accent. he kept trying to get me to read it. I’m like, “Dude, I got a company to run, man. Give me a break.” He did a similar angle, and then your one was just obviously a more synced piece that was, I guess, more – I don’t know. We obviously have a very different writing style. Yours is I guess, more formal/objective?
[00:05:01] PR: Yeah. I think, it’s more deferential to the other – for the other side.
[00:05:05] AS: Yeah. That’s it. That’s it. They all say the same thing, I guess, differently. How would you sum up – Maybe, I feel like I’m throwing the question back at you. If you had to sum up what you said, because I know, what I did was try and blend – I went for the lead bullet approach. Bitcoin’s not different, because of a single silver bullet. It’s different because of a blend of things and that blend of things is impossible to recreate. what would you say was your sum-up, or summation for Bitcoin?
[00:05:36] PR: Yeah. I think I can take it from there. I think, one, I’ll start with just the why of Bitcoin maximalism. I think for a long time, I think, as people who support Bitcoin only, I don’t know, I felt that it’s hard to vocalize exactly – or I don’t know. I felt there was a missing piece for me where it was like, okay, why – It’s one thing to think that Bitcoin is the best of all alternatives, right? That is one classification, or the way to look at it. then, the other thing to say that you only support Bitcoin is just a completely different spectrum.
I think, I was really trying to wrestle with that, because I think, ultimately if you’re a Bitcoin maximalist, you have to believe that the only, or best option – actually, I would say, the only option is to support Bitcoin, so this theme of Bitcoin-only. I think, that’s what I was looking for, because I think what this piece, what I was trying to really tease apart was what actually separates Bitcoin maximalism from what I call crypto agnosticism, which is this idea that just any cryptocurrency is just satisfactory, because it’s a non-government cryptocurrency.
I think, that at the heart, I think, a lot of – some Bitcoin maximalist, I actually think are crypto agnostics. I’ll explain why, because I think at some point, some of the arguments we make for Bitcoin, you listen to some people talk about why they believe in Bitcoin maximalism. A lot of these arguments are I feel like, are constructed in such a way where if Bitcoin wasn’t the number one asset, they might just construct the same counter arguments for some other asset. I guess, what I mean by that is that I think crypto agnosticism is actually something that occurs within Bitcoin and then within cryptocurrency generally. I think that if you are a crypto agnostic, probably, what you believe is that there’s some comparative basis by which Bitcoin is the best by person.
Really, what you’re doing is you’re creating some sliding scale, where it’s possible for some other cryptocurrency to displace. I’ve talked to people who are Bitcoin maximalist and they’ll straight out, admit this framing. Where they’ll say like, “Oh, well. If something else was Bitcoin economically dominant, then Bitcoin would have would have failed or something like that.” Not everyone, but there are some people, I think, who believe this. Then I was trying to tease apart –
[00:07:46] AS: Can I capital on that thread just really quickly? Because I just want to point something out. one, I just wanted to say, I loved when you sent me the draft, crypto agnostic and Erik Voorhees got triggered by that. He’s like, “This framing is triggering.” I was just sitting there laughing with that, because – Dude, it’s such a good framing though, because that’s effectively what it is. I really just want to echo your sentiment there is, it reminds me of the same sentiment, or reminds me of the same type of argument, or counter argument that people use about the Bitcoin energy thing, is they step into the frame of who they’re arguing with, which is they say, “Oh, well. Bitcoin uses renewables.” It’s like, no.
[00:08:28] PR: Right, right. Exactly right. That’s a diminutive argument, because you’re accepting [inaudible 00:08:32].
[00:08:32] AS: Exactly. It’s the wrong frame. Bitcoin eliminates the wastage of a world in which economic consequences doesn’t exist. As a result, will make the world 99% more efficient. That is what Bitcoin thing is. You need to fuck about what the energy mix is. That’s like, you got to change the frame. What you’re doing here is, you’re changing the frame, which is Bitcoins in a different fucking category altogether. anyway, I just wanted to pull on that.
[00:08:56] PR: Yeah. I think, what you’re pointing out is what I struggled with for a while, where it’s like, a lot of arguments for Bitcoin seem like they’re passively accepting of the other frame. I think, the other frame is really what I needed to define to get out of this piece, so I’ll just restate it, where I think – again, crypto agnostics, I think seemingly, they seem to be fine with any version of a non-state government money and they seem to be deferential to the market to adjudicate claims to the status.
I think, immediately, one of the differentials that I feel I finally tease a part of a lot of thinking, I think, to be a Bitcoin maximalist, I think you have to believe that – the way I’m phrasing the pieces that the definition of a neutral, non-state monetary system is just something that exists in economics and computer science. That is just something, either satisfies that definition independently, or it doesn’t.
Whereas, the cryptocurrency agnostics, I think, one of the things that done, and I think, it took me a really long time to realize this is that offloaded this decision-making to the market. Again, this puts them in a position where – and this confounded me for a very long time, because it’s like, they’re looking for something else. They’re seemingly fine with any technology that meets some criteria. That’s essentially what they’re saying. Because they’re saying, one, this market is valid, we accepted the frame of the market. Two, whatever the market chooses, or elevates must therefore be good. then three, because we’re looking at the market, we believe in this data. We believe that it’s somehow meaningful.
Well, I think from the Bitcoin maximalist perspective, I don’t think that’s true. I don’t think we care about the data, and CoinMarketCap, or Masari, or any of these types of things at all. I just think, that data is completely irrelevant to us.
[00:10:31] AS: I was going to riff on that really quickly, is I think – That reminds me almost of the quote that I put in the [inaudible 00:10:37] article recently of Henry Ford, about if I asked people what they wanted, they would have said, “I want faster horse and carriage.” What Bitcoin is doing, what Bitcoin is doing is reinventing the basis upon which money and human action – the basis upon which human action can be measured. Reinvents money completely differently. I guess, the category is unlike anything else.
Whereas, what crypto is doing is it’s trying to take some of the technological elements of what Bitcoin is, but still apply them in the framework of the old world, and try and see how it can partner with the banks and the governments, and still live within that old frame. Whereas, Bitcoin is like, “No, no, no. We’re moving into a new land, into a new place.” and this means that all of these metrics and stupidities don’t actually mean anything.
It reminds me of the way Keynesian economics works in a sense. They create a metric to satisfy a particular thing that they want, and they build a model around that metric. then they keep adjusting the metrics to fit the model, instead of reality. It’s like, it is complete derangement. Whereas, I don’t know if that’s – if I’ve explained that well, but reinvention doesn’t rely on taking some meaningless metrics and looking at it through a lens of the existing world. Bitcoin is different.
[00:12:04] PR: I think, we’re saying the same thing. I think, what I’m saying is that a lot of the arguments where I was firstly, it was Bitcoin maximalist arguments is they seem deferential to those metrics. We’ll end up arguing that Bitcoin is the most decentralized and we’ll spend a lot of time – by the way, I think only the strong survive. I also think, is very guilty of this. It spends a lot of time accepting the frame of decentralized finance, arguing why conceptually decentralized finance works and then reconstructing – attempting to reconstruct the reader’s idea of why Bitcoin is more decentralized than other alternatives.
Immediately, what you’ve done is you’ve accepted that frame. your attempt then is to argue that Bitcoin is more decentralized based on some metric. What you’re seemingly saying, even though you’re arguing for Bitcoin from the crypto-agnostic perspective, and I think this is why they view a lot of our arguments as weaker than they are. They’re seeing that argument and they’re saying, “Oh, well. Okay. Then seemingly, you should be fine with any cryptocurrency as long as the most decentralized,” which also is true, right?
There’s properties to Bitcoin outside of decentralization. I mean, obviously, decentralization is very important to Bitcoin, but there are other properties. Like the 21-million-coin cap, or have nothing – They’re completely outside of that metrical comparison. I think that, I also struggled with that for a while, because I do agree with that. I think that there was a right criticism that was being put forward. I think, they’d become overly reliant on trying to prove that Bitcoin is the most decentralized, trying to establish some metric for that, or even economics, on the economic side.
We spend a lot of time also arguing that Bitcoin is the best form of money based on satisfying his property, so he spent a long time educating people about economics. ultimately, I just don’t know how much people on the other end really care about that.
[00:13:44] AS: I was going to say, I actually recall you and I hitting that point at that dinner, was we’re saying, we got so hung up on fixed supply of 21 million, fixed supply 21 million, sound money, hard money. then these fucking dweebs, the 25 and 30-year-old virgins over at Ethereum decided to do ultrasound money. It’s like, they use the marketing spin against us. Whereas, the better frame would have been an inability to change the cap. Or sorry, it was deflationary money, or whatever we call it. Deflation is good or whatever.
They jumped onto that. Whereas, what we need to lean into is where they can’t lean into, which is can you show me something out there that actually is in the same category of Bitcoin? Wherein, there isn’t a foundation, or a group, or design by committee kind of thing that exists, that is out there to try and compete in the marketplace as a product effectively. Bitcoin is different to that, again, it’s not a product that we’re trying to tinker with, so that we can sell it to people at the shop, or that we need to build a whole marketing campaign around.
We can’t, tomorrow, change Bitcoin supply issue and scheduled to go nowhere, ultra-ultrasound money. We can’t fucking do that. the very fact that Ethereum can change from world computer to ultrasound money is why it’s different to Bitcoin. anyway, I don’t know if I’m explaining that quite –
[00:15:19] PR: Yeah. I think, what you’re saying is correct also. The way that I think, I think I ultimately came to after that conversation, the thing that I wasn’t thinking about that I’ve tried to reincorporate in this article is that I do think from one perspective, Bitcoin is vastly superior to the others.
again, I think, again, people have been [inaudible 00:15:36] for a while, but is that Bitcoin protects user rights to a greater degree. I think that when you get into this, and you have this framing in your article on economic, philosophic, and moral. It’s like, I feel the moral argument is of these the strongest. It is the strongest case for Bitcoin. I think, if there’s anything that we could have done a better job, or could do a better job on is just trying to bend some of these arguments back to that point.
Some of these more complicated argumentations is like, you get lost, like, why does this matter? Why does it matter that Bitcoin has 21 million and you can make all these elaborate economic arguments for it? Or, I think, and ultimately, I think I phrase this in the article, and this is how I’ve – now I think, wants to start treating it as like, you have the right to unknown money supply, unknown, fixed, unchanging money supply in Bitcoin. therefore, any other cryptocurrency just simply does not offer you that. There’s just no condition under which that right will exist.
I ended up trying to flip these longer arguments into just really, what’s the point? If Bitcoin is the most decentralized, it’s like, well, why does that actually matter to you? I think, the ultimate answer is it’s because your rights have the greatest percentage chance of being insured in a system in which there is no control. Essentially, I think we’ve spent a lot of time arguing why Bitcoin is both decentralized, but we’re able to also argue why that’s meaningful to people.
I think, it’s just about bending it back in, where it’s, the reason that that matters is because then these other systems – and this was the other thing I got from the article as well in writing it is just, I think, what the other cryptocurrencies do by and large is that they just put the rights of the user and then they make them subjects to the market. I think, that was something that I’ve seen some people present some criticisms of that claim, and I’d be curious to your read on that. what I ultimately think they do is if you think about these cryptocurrencies as systems, where essentially, because they’re constructed in such a way where any majority, or organization, or political entities force their will on others, they’re essentially not much different than that the systems that they’re trying to replace, from the perspective of user rights. Somebody can take away your rights.
[00:17:46] AS: Yes, yes, yes, yes. I don’t know, see, if market is the right word there. What you described was basically, democracy. It’s like, okay, the majority want this, so now we’re going to do this. Whereas, if the majority of human beings didn’t like gravity, and they just decided to start jumping off a cliff, it wouldn’t work out very well for them. it’s a universal law, right? When I try and frame Bitcoin to people is not just better money. it’s not just the next iteration of money. I’m really going on a rampage and I was doing this with the [inaudible 00:18:17] is that there will be historically speaking, before Bitcoin and after Bitcoin.
Before Bitcoin was the era of humanity, in which human beings attempted to discover better means and better objects and better tools to represent this metaphysical thing called money and money is this metaphysical fabric that allows us to intersubjectively value time, energy and scarce resources. Money will always exist. It’s the object that we use to represent money will change.
Now, Bitcoin is actually perfect for that. as a result, we’re not going to go and build a better Bitcoin for [inaudible 00:18:59]. it’s the substrate. What this discovery means, the discovery of energy money for an intelligent sentient species, means that this thing called money, this metaphysical thing called money becomes information and becomes something that is out of the reach of all of us and lives in the realm of gravity, the speed of light, the second law of thermodynamics, etc. It’s out there, and none of us can go and change that.
All we can do is use it to our advantage. You go and build a fucking plane, you design aerodynamics to leverage gravity, so that you can fly. You don’t change fucking gravity. You don’t change the speed of light. that framing is something I’ve been trying to use.
[00:19:44] PR: I think, you’re ultimately talking about that Bitcoin is fixed and that it’s something that, because it is able to hold its guarantees to such a level, that is what gives it its properties. I’ve even seen this in response to the piece. Part of the reason I wrote this was to open source this conversation with the journalistic community, in saying like, “Look, this idea that you have that cryptocurrencies are neutral, just does not exist.”
from the perspective of user rights, these are very different systems. you should really try to stop thinking of them as just stocks and bonds that are just have no end relationship to the user. I think, to the people who have actually honestly intellectually engaged with that conversation, and messaged me privately, I’m still surprised by the extent to which the questions are dominated by what ifs. The questions that I’ve gotten in response are always like, “Are you saying there’s no chance that Bitcoin will ever change the 21 million hard cap?” Which, the obvious answer is, absolutely yes. That would invalidate most of the properties of Bitcoin.
they don’t seem to grok that. They’re still asking questions about, “Okay. Well, what happens if Bitcoin can’t support the fee market? Then are changes going to happen?” They’ve still seemingly, and again, this is coming from the perspective that I think we’re both trying to argue against is that there is this neutral cryptocurrency lens. Defusing that bomb seems to be strange, because you’re always – For some reason, the cryptocurrency market has been really good in becoming the central frame. therefore, you’re always met with questions that seemingly have to be – you have to actually argue against the entirety of the frame of the question, as opposed to answer it itself. Because again, it’s coming from such a different perspective.
[00:21:23] AS: A 100% agree with that. This framing thing, again, is really important. The fact that – how am I going to phrase this? I want to just tie back to user rights and what you said about market in majority, is that the way a functional market works is not by changing the rules that the players of the game – If the market is a game, effectively, being able to change the rules of the game, mid-play, is not actually a functional market. What it is, is you do that, and you argue that a majority of people wanted to change the rules of said game. You then impose the rules onto everybody else. I’m trying to think of an analogy here to Bitcoin, is that even if a bunch of people want to change the rules of the game, it’s like a universal law.
[00:22:15] PR: I think, the way that this has been phrased so far is Bitcoin is apolitical. I think, that’s the best argument that I’ve seen before, is that Bitcoin not only rejects political apparatuses, it removes your rights from being subject to the political apparatuses. Bitcoin is disrupted in such a way where political groups, even to the extent that they emerge, they can’t actually impact, or make any decision that affects you. I think, that’s a hard argument to get across.
I think, I’m intending to work on this a little bit more, because I do feel that’s one of the most powerful arguments with Bitcoin, is that it is a political, that in some ways, it is anti-democratic. It doesn’t function like democracy does. You can almost look at Bitcoin governance as an evolutionary step away from democracy. I think, that’s the conversation that I understand why people haven’t made that argument, but maybe it’s time, because, I don’t know. To me, I feel like, Bitcoin is post-democracy and somewhere.
[00:23:13] AS: Dude, I have 3,000 words to this article written at the moment literally. It’s called Bitcoin is Not Democratic. Bitcoin is apolitical. Literally you just fucking called on that right.
[00:23:23] PR: There you go.
[00:23:25] AS: that’ll be that’ll be the later this month, or November article to Bitcoin Magazine. It’s literally, you just nailed it. Bitcoin is totally post-democratic. It exists in a realm in which the masses can do whatever the fuck they want to do. my Bitcoin is my Bitcoin, and I enforce the rules that – It’s like, that right there is so foreign to the existing world, in which people believe that democracy is some panacea. Like you said, they can’t fucking grok it. They don’t understand it. I’m in Costa Rica at the moment. I’m down here with my girlfriend and we’ve been having friends and all these girls over and stuff like that. Long story. Anyway –
[00:24:06] PR: Hanging out with Mersha’s ghost as well?
[00:24:09] AS: Mersha’s ghost, basically. Literally, I’m recreating that now. anyway, they’re all feminine, and everyone ends up flowing into that whole like, oh, equality and all this stuff. I was actually having this discussion yesterday about why democracy is such a bad idea. I tried to use the idea of rule by committee. As an example, when deciding what a – let’s say, a household of 20 people would like to buy from the shopping center, or would like to eat. I said, “All right, there’s two ways. It’s either everyone works individually, takes their own individual money and goes to the shop and buys whatever the fuck they want. Or, they take their money, they put it in a pool, and then as a committee, they go and decide what everyone’s going to eat, because they’re going to pool the money together and buy what needs to be bought.”
there’s the 20 people, 11 vote for broccoli, three vote for meat and the remaining six vote for fucking salad, or some shit. then because, the committee, one, everyone’s going to eat broccoli. now, the people that voted for salad and meat, they got to eat fucking broccoli as well. then, they get pissed off about that. then, they start lobbying, wasting their time and energy lobbying to everyone that hey, meat is better than broccoli, so we should all eat broccoli. Sorry, we should all eat meat.
then, the next time the vote comes around, and they pool their money and everything, it was like, think about the amount of fucking time and energy we waste doing that. it’s trying to use that as a framing for why democracy is bad, because that’s a whole other rabbit hole. for me, realistically, I see democracy is the most insidious mechanism of theft that has ever existed. Socialism, communism is bad, but it’s overtly bad, and we know it’s bad. It collapses really quickly. Whereas, democracy is this method of leaching from the system, but allowing it to grow to the point where the leech, or the parasite get too big and ends up consuming itself.
[00:26:03] PR: Yeah. I think, that’s a tough framing, because I think, most, especially intellectual people, and I’ll just interject that, because I do think that’s important. Have a favorable view of democracies as [inaudible 00:26:12] values. I do think there’s a long history of that. I understand what you’re saying. Being mostly true, I would say. I mean, I think if you look at the lineage of different governance structures in history, I think, you could probably argue that, especially when compared to communism, and monarchies and some of these other systems, democracy, just by its imperfections, has served us roughly pretty well.
I think, that’s why that’s one of the risks that I think, actually injecting this argument, or talking about it further. there’s also a lot of unrest about the markets right now. Particularly United States, I would say, that’s true.
[00:26:45] AS: There is. I think, this is too deep a rabbit hole to go now. I think, once I finished the actual article, and we’ve got some threads we can pull on, then we dive into that article. I think, suffice it to say, it’s Bitcoin, again, doesn’t suffer from the tragedy of the commons, that the world has essentially suffered from, irrespective of whether it was democracy, communism, socialism, fucking name your ism. It doesn’t matter. All of them end up suffering from the tragedy of the commons, because the rights can be changed by the majority.
Whereas, Bitcoin doesn’t exist in that realm. It is something in which the use of the individual, the owner of the Bitcoin hold something in which the property right is not subject to the whims of the group, the foundation, the majority.
[00:27:30] PR: Well, so let’s talk about tactics and a little bit. Because I think, me and you differ a little bit on approach. I would say that, one of the Lightning rods in this conversation has been, and I would say, conversation about Bitcoin maximalism is the shitcoing attitude, that everything that isn’t Bitcoin is shitcoin. We talk about them dismissively, sort of aggressively. I’m just wondering your thoughts on that. I know you’re a big, staunch proponent of the Bitcoin-shitcoin line.
I try not to use that phrase, but that’s for my own reasons. I’m just curious, how you’re thinking about that currently. Do you think that meme has served its time? Or do you think that’ll continue to be an important thing in conversations?
[00:28:06] AS: I think, it will continue to be an important thing. I’ll use what Ben Kaufman’s doing with Clown World Today, as an example. We need to ridicule what’s stupid. At this point, I used to get riled up and a lot more emotional about this stuff. I think, I would really, be a little bit more vicious about it. These days, I laugh about it ridicule it. I think, that that framing needs to continue, because that frame is actually one of the frames we can own. The Bitcoin not shitcoin frame is, there is no Ethereum not shitcoin frame. That doesn’t exist, right?
I think, that should continue. I think it’s hilarious. I think it’s funny. I think, one of my favorite things to see on Twitter is this emergence of names, genuinely of fucking players. I love Rob. The memes that came out of the fucking BitCloud thing were the funniest shit I’ve fucking ever seen in my life, man. it was great. I enjoy that. I think, that needs to continue and I think that is part of what Bitcoin’s spirit is. It is rough. It’s raw. It’s natural. It’s organic. It’s the fucking Wild, Wild West. by no means, are we anywhere out of the woods yet.
I made this argument yesterday to our marketing team that does some of the marketing for Amber. They were doing an article and they did the whole little adoption curve bullshit, and they got the button of UI here as somewhere in the middle of early majority. I was like, “What the fuck are you talking about?” We still in the early days of early adopters. We don’t touch early majority until one set equals one cent.
that’s when we start to move into “some mainstream success,” in a real parabolic move. when people stop thinking about Bitcoin and they start thinking about how many SATs they can accumulate, because 1 cent will buy you a single SAT. When people start to see one SAT, one Satoshi go from 1 cent to 2 cents in a day, which again, mark my word, that will happen this year. Sorry, not this year, but this decade. My bad. It would be nice to have [inaudible 00:30:12].
[00:30:13] PR: I was going to say, yeah. But what do you know?
[00:30:15] AS: Yeah. [Inaudible 00:30:17]. that’s when we start to move into next stage of Bitcoin adoption. Maybe at that point, the number and the saturation of people in around Bitcoin, like the memification, everything will drown out, but that core, I think, will always exist. There’s no, none of this, like there’s a time and a place for it. I think, it’s fucking beautiful. I think, it’s hilarious.
I think, one of the best things people like Murray Rothbard, and all that stuff did to the establishment was basically, ridicule them, but ridicule them intelligently. What I see in memes and the “toxicity” is a deep level of understanding of nuance and intelligent, that is compacted and presented in a fucking meme. it’s beautiful. It’s grand. It’s artwork. It is fucking hilarious. I think the Bitcoin shitcoin frame will continue, will subsist. I will definitely be waving the flag for that. I don’t give a shit about who I scare away in the process.
[00:31:12] PR: Yeah. I mean, I would just say – I think, I tolerate the shitcoin stuff more. I’m not against it. I think, my only qualm to that is that, I think, it needs to be balanced by argumentation that’s also empathetic. That’s the criticism towards Bitcoin maximalism. I’m also a big advocate of Bitcoin toxicity. I’m a big fan of [inaudible 00:31:32] as a whole. Again, I do think, maybe we need a bit more Bitcoin empathy, because in a lot of respects, it is hard to understand these arguments.
There is the original frame that many people are coming to cryptocurrency large is so polluted, and so difficult. You almost have to detox people from these arguments. Yeah, I think that aggression and derision can be a powerful tool. I don’t think that anyone’s going to argue better than that. I think, for me myself personally, I was faced with a lot of derision against my work over the years, especially during when I was an early journalist, I think that helps shaped my thought. I was able to come to that at face value, objectively asked whether my work was worthy of derision and ultimately, I’d say, a lot of the early stuff, yes, I mean, that was the case.
I don’t stand by that stuff now. I think, the extent that I was in a position to do journalism on cryptocurrencies, early on, I probably didn’t do great jobs. I do think a lot of people, they don’t engage with criticism as well. I mean, this is a society at large, like people don’t really engage. Humans are not great animals that engaging with criticism. I think, there does have to be some equal opposite approach. I think, if there’s anything I’d say to that, I just like to see it balance out some more, because I think –
[00:32:47] AS: I would just argue that it is balanced, like the horses for courses. I don’t know if you guys use this in America.
[00:32:54] PR: I’ve literally never heard that phrase.
[00:32:55] AS: Okay. We use that in in Australia. It just means, each to their own thing. Horses for courses means that there’s something for you, something for you, something for you, something for you. it’s like, most people will not see a lot of the Bitcoin toxicity. It’s like, you need to be in there. A lot of people just won’t get the memes, they won’t get the jokes and all that stuff. They may come in via one of Reid Love’s articles or something. Then, I’m further down the track with when you read one of my articles, like getting beaten over the head with a stick. It’s a little bit different.
I think, we speak to different audiences. I mean, I would argue that in many ways, it is balanced. I mean for example, my girlfriend, I did give her one of my older articles when she first started. Mind you, you look at my evolution. When you go back to my early, early writings about Bitcoin, so back in 2016-17, it was framing Bitcoin through anthropological lens and it was happy, happy, fucking Yuval Harare-inspired, money is a shit fiction, etc., and all this stuff. It’s very accessible. That article still to this day, converts people into Bitcoin in a nice way.
Fast forward three years and I’m like, “Fucking burn down the state. Fuck the masses.” All this shit. it’s much more violent. I’ve dug deeper. Now, my audience is no longer the top of the funnel, if we’re going to put it in that framing. I think, what that means is as the funnel inevitably gets larger, because more and more people, it’s not that they want Bitcoins that they fucking need it. The top of the funnel will always be a little bit more welcoming. There will always be content creators.
[00:34:37] PR: Are you saying that Bitcoin toxicity is bottom of the funnel?
[00:34:40] AS: It is. It really is. It really is. It’s like, the closer you get to enlightenment – and this actually is reminiscent of Zen of everything. when you come to a Zen master, the closer you get to the Zen master, the more he beats you over the head with a stick for no fucking reason, until you become enlightened and realize you didn’t need the [inaudible 00:34:59] in the first place that you were –
[00:35:00] PR: You’re saying, because you should know better at that point. Therefore, you’re penalized. You should be penalized, because you should know at that point.
[00:35:07] AS: It’s a wake-up call. Exactly. It’s a wake-up call. this is the case across all sorts of things like this, like masteries is processing. It gets more raw and real, the closer you come to the center. That’s the role that maximalism, or toxic, call it maximalism, or what I’m going to try and maybe I can create a term. I think, I’ll change mine to Svetski is a Bitcoin extremist, or something like that. I think, it’s part of the spectrum.
I don’t think it’s unbalanced in any way. I think, if anything, it’s the duty of people who are more, I guess, eloquent, and objective in their writing, in their speech like you, to reinforce what – let’s say, a meme says a 1,000 words, in this one fucking name that makes fun of someone and it’s hilarious, and it’s a dense piece of information, but 99.9% of people are not going to fucking understand what the hell’s going on. then, I would then go and write an article about it that beat people over the head with a stick, which elaborates on the meme. then, you would then write a piece that is more objective and accessible, that brings people into understand that, and then they go down the funnel. Again, I think that’s a beautiful process, and it’s emerged organically without committee. It’s fucking incredible.
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[00:38:28] PR: Let me give you a question. Let me give you a question I’m struggling with right now a little bit. I think, one of the things is that, let’s accept this frame that Bitcoin is the strongest technology we have for protecting user rights. Let’s say, people at the bottom of the funnel getting hit with your toxicity, they know that. Let’s just say, they engage in a known trade-off. They’re using some system that they know was weaker.
Let’s just say, there’s a lot of controversy about the systems being built on Bitcoin, especially when you get into things like stacks, or other liquid, things that are second layer Bitcoin things that maybe don’t qualify as Bitcoin. I think, what extent is then it okay for an individual knowledge, in your opinion to make that trade-off, if they do something knowingly?
I guess, the question is, is there ever a case where, let’s just assume the person isn’t being misrepresented. Let’s just assume the project on the other end is completely representing correctly, that they’re putting that user in a system where they have weaker rights than Bitcoin. Is it okay for you? Do you think those systems are good and holistic and adding to Bitcoin?
[00:39:28] AS: Okay, so can I rephrase it this way? I’m a Bitcoin maximalist, and I talk about property rights, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and then I turn around and use liquid BTC to perform something. Should I be attacked? Is that the question you’re asking? Or should I feel –
[00:39:45] PR: Yeah, exactly. To what extent are you – Again, this goes back to agency. I think most Bitcoiners would say, we’re trying to free people. We want them to be in a financial system where they have rights. In some cases, some of these systems seem to ask people to trade off those things. My question is, to the extent that they know that trade-off is happening, is that okay? Should we demonize these systems? Liquid is a great example. Liquid, I think, represents the products how it’s built. It’s a top tier system on Bitcoin. It’s a multisig contract with a federated network that controls the token. If you’re going to engage in that system willfully, is that a problem? Is that system a problem to you?
[00:40:26] AS: hell no. Hell no. Hell no. As much as I’m a rabid, fucking toxic, fucking extreme psychopathic, misogynistic, whatever. I’m trying to think of all the things people have called me. [Inaudible 00:40:36] spawn type of Bitcoiner, I think that’s perfectly fucking fine. It’s your Bitcoin, choose to do with it as you wish. It’s one of the beautiful things about Bitcoin. I actually know some really good, solid, fucking Bitcoiners, who to this day, they live out in the middle of fucking nowhere. They don’t talk to anybody. They don’t interact with the world. They’re not really on Bitcoin Twitter. what they do is they are really good traders and they trade shitcoins and they make more Bitcoin, and that’s the whole fucking game in life. That’s all they care about. power to them. They’re like, “No, I fucking hate Ethereum. I hate Vitalik. I hate what it stands for.”
[00:41:10] PR: they are still Bitcoiner. In your book, they still meet the definition of Bitcoiners.
[00:41:15] AS: Yeah. Now look, could they do something better with their lives? Sure, but should they go out and build a Bitcoin company and make a mess of it? Probably not. Because they’re probably better at sitting on a computer doing that, surfing and maybe jerking off on Pornhub. It’s up to them, whatever they want to do, but they get it.
Now, one could argue and I know data [inaudible 00:41:36] arguments, like trading shitcoins makes you a shitcoiner, because you’re giving them liquidity and you’re giving credence. Yes, I get that argument. it’s not my job to tell you not to do that. going out, for example, and saying you’re a Bitcoin maximalist, but then holding your wealth in Ethereum is a bit, how’s it going? That’s a bit hypocritical. Maybe flipping some Ethereum and stuff like that. I don’t know. That does get a little bit hard. If I pulled back just for a second, is like, to your liquid argument, is there will be products and services that emerge off the top of Bitcoin, that look like liquid, or that are abstractions, even of liquid, etc., that will exist, that offer a clear trade off, and that present themselves as what they are, where you as a individual can make an economic calculation on that trade off.
The reality of the world, and this is something that people like the Keynesian and the democracies of the world and all this shit, the status basically don’t understand is that there is trade-offs with decisions. the beauty of Bitcoin at least, is that when a trade-off is made, there’s no way to socialize out the backend, a mistake for the bad consequences of a trade-off. if you do go make a trade off, and you do get penalized, if you’re either unlucky or stupid, you have no way of being remade whole again by committee, or by the state being able to reproduce, or socialize your loss.
that’s what’s different about Bitcoin. I fully expect in the coming decade, there would be a lot of coin products, things being built on the Bitcoin stack, etc. In there, to be some bad apples, who misrepresent what they’re doing, or mismanage what they’re doing, and people will lose that. I expect it to be fucking, like a wild, wild west scenario, where some people lie about it. there will be honest companies that say, this is the trade off and people still do it and they still fucking lose their Bitcoin, etc.
the beauty of it is it’ll be natural wealth redistribution by the market, in the sense that the loser does not get made whole again, because they took a trade-off. then, those who didn’t make any trade-offs and just held the Bitcoin in cold storage and they never touched it, they’re sitting there laughing. They’re happy about it, and that’s the benefit of it. Then that maybe helps me identify, or at least, things like Ethereum, etc., etc., see, and liquid represents itself as this trade-off for usage, but allow security and custodianship for Bitcoin. Whereas, Ethereum is a completely different pitch. It’s like, “No, Bitcoin is shit. We’re better. Come and give us your money, and enrich us.” It’s in a different realm again. anyway, I’ll shut up there for a second, because I think you had a –
[00:44:22] PR: yeah. Maybe I’ll jump in and just say, I think this is something that I still think is confusing, even to me, as someone who’s been, I guess, in and around Bitcoin for a while. It does seem we have this weird, unwritten moral code. I think this is implied in a lot of our evangelism that we do divide such stark lines between Bitcoin and shitcoins and things like that. I’ve struggled with the question of, am I a Bitcoiner? I don’t actually know, or pretend to answer that question.
The way that I would look at that, I think, is that anyone is capable at any time of having their incentives put them in a situation where they’re not aligned with Bitcoin. I prefer to look at this question, I think, a lot more – just like, you don’t exist absolutely as a Bitcoiner. Or, it’s merely your place in that space and time. It’s like, are your actions aligned with Bitcoin? Or are they not aligned with Bitcoin?
The way that I prefer to look at that is currently, most of my work, or I’d say, a 100% of my work is dedicated right now to furthering Bitcoin, explaining Bitcoin. That’s Bitcoin Magazine, helping, cracking with their open source Bitcoin developments. I align my work towards Bitcoin. Does that make me a Bitcoiner? I don’t know.
This is where, I think, the absolute distinction of Bitcoin maximalist can be a little bit problematic, because I think, we’re already in this conversation referred to other situations, where it does seem situational, and that your decision at any moment could put you out of context with Bitcoin, and that doesn’t make you bad per se, but you might not be aligned with Bitcoin. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s how I prefer to look at it.
[00:45:45] AS: It does. For me personally, a little bit of history here. People don’t know this, but when I was first building Amber as a Bitcoin-only dollar cost averaging app, I had in the early days, not only did I have an opportunity to do a major ICO. I wanted to do a Binance style ICO in the beginning and all this shit. This was a moral question for me is, people know this part of the story, which is I went away. I took 20 white papers with me that had raised between one to a 100 million, and I went to Byron Bay for a weekend just to relax and rebase and glean the wisdom of people that raised a bunch of money.
I walked out of there, 30 fucking points of IQ less. I literally became stupid. I was like, “What in the fuck is this dribble? What is this?” I just can’t in fucking good conscience do this, because I actually care about what Bitcoin means to the world. That was still earlier on in my journey is that, I still really – I had a gut sense about what Bitcoin’s impact in the world would be, but not to the extent that I have today, by no means. Still, my gut was telling me, “Man, there’s easy money to be made here, but I can’t do this.” I want to be in it, or I think, Bitcoin is going to be here for a long time and blah, blah, blah. I wanted to not sell my soul.
Then later on, when we started building the product, like dude, I had the Dash Foundation offering me money, Litecoin, all these fucking shitcoin companies, they were offering me money to instead of the Bitcoin accumulation app to help people dollar cost average into their shitcoin, I turned on millions of dollars, whilst we were running out of money and I was out there fucking campaigning, selling a chunk of the fucking company for equity, selling equity in the company for fucking dollars. We barely scraped through after 20 hours a day, seven days a week for six months straight, fucking trying to raise in the doldrums of the bear market at the end of 2018, with people fucking waving millions of dollars in front of me saying, “It’s okay.”
I almost picture William Wallace getting gutted at the end. It’s like, “Just say mercy. Mercy.” Then, you free them. I think, it takes a particular type of character. Now, I could have easily sold my soul and done that, but I didn’t. I think, this is where in some senses, I relate to that. There is a bit of bitterness. I must admit, in some senses, I’m like, “Man, maybe I was the dumb shit. I could have fucking pulled a 20 million-dollar ICO. I could have got a bunch of money from all these dickheads and then I could have built a really nice product, because I’m still a product guy. I still know how to run a business.”
This is where maybe ties back into the moral argument about what is Bitcoin and what is a Bitcoiner. It’s like, someone who can refuse temptation and have a strong enough character to do the right thing, irrespective of the temptation that sits there right before you. That I guess, temperance maybe, and I don’t know how else to describe it, is rare in the world, and I think that is one of the attributes that I see in Bitcoin is tying it back to who you are as a person in particular circumstances and stuff like that.
It’s a tough one. Maybe what it does, the toxic maximalism is there and maybe it’s a helpful reminder for ourselves, because maybe if that wasn’t – honestly, maybe if that wasn’t there, in 2017-2018, maybe if that wasn’t there, maybe I would have just been convinced enough to go and take the temptation and say mercy, right? Maybe I would have. I saw that community and I saw what I was passionate about and I’ve started writing words on fucking paper, reinforcing what I believe. Maybe that together was a big part of the reason why I didn’t go and sold my soul to the shitcoin.
[00:49:32] PR: I think, you’re talking about toxic maximalism. It was like, the conscience of Bitcoin.
[00:49:36] AS: Yeah. It’s like a conscience. Yeah, exactly. It’s like the Dr. Dre and Eminem. sitting there, it’s like, I don’t know. Maybe there’s something there.
[00:49:47] PR: Well, let me ask another shitcoin-framing question, because I know again, talking about this divide of worldviews here, it’s like. Something I had to think about recently, to the extent that we can define Bitcoin, let’s just again accept the framing of the article that I put out on Forbes, that Bitcoin is the technology that best ensures user right, the money that best ensures the financial rights of individuals.
Now, let’s just say that there is this other market of other cryptocurrencies and we can define them as just a broad class of things that offer people with their rights. Let’s just cut it clean on the middle right there. Where do you fall politically on the spectrum of, do those things have a right to exist even poorly? I guess, to what extent do you personally – if governments decided to treat that class of cryptocurrencies differently, or come after them, is that something you support? Do you think about that at all? To what extent do you support free markets? Even if this whole class of cryptocurrencies is problematic?
[00:50:37] AS: I completely support anybody rolling their own – Sorry, I don’t support them. I support the freedom to go and roll your own shitcoin, and then I support the freedom to people to ridicule you into oblivion. Do I support governments going out with their henchmen and beating people over the head, because their monopoly is being threatened? Actually, no.
simultaneously, I do support the idea that Bitcoiners can laugh with the shitcoiners for that happening. The fact is, one monopolist is threatening – the upcoming monopolist, or want to be monopolist is threatening the existing monopolist. we can sit back with some popcorn and laugh at them, now shitting their pants for pissing off the older lion, I guess. In my mind, yeah, that’s how I look at it.
[00:51:24] PR: I guess, I would just say with that frame, I guess, yeah, it’s tough. There’s a trade-off, right? Because on one hand, we’ve talked a lot in this conversation about there being a frame of cryptocurrencies and that being the hardest thing to break, and then how do you actually break that? You can evangelize all you want, but at the end of the day, the default view of most people is just, “Oh, I’m on CoinMarketCap. Here’s this wall of cryptocurrency that are all seemingly the same.” Would something like a disclaimer, like hey, these other cryptocurrencies do not offer you the same rights as Bitcoin. does Bitcoin deserve greater protection?
Because I think, this is where it gets confusing, right? Because I think, the claim of the cryptocurrency advocates, or the agnostics, as I call them in the article, essentially seems to be that Bitcoin exists. Because Bitcoin is entitled to this designation as this decentralized commodity, we should be benefit from that distinction as well. There does seem to be this relationship happening here, where these other cryptocurrencies are – I think, I wrote this down on my notes somewhere, pretty recently, where I think that most non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies are really always trying to convince you about three things.
One, what they’re doing is not Bitcoin. Two, because they’re not Bitcoin, they should be able to take greater liberties of your rights. Then three, that the USD market for their coin validates that decision. I think, that has to be the thought process there. this is why I think, the cryptocurrency market itself has become so problematic, because again, I think most of the crypto-agnostics they say, “Oh. Well, this is okay, because the price of our coin is going up. If our price of our coin is going down, it wouldn’t be okay.”
I just don’t know how to deal with that moral framing, because it seems to be to me, something that seems very alien to me. I don’t know why you would – why you would be able to claim that a market is somehow an effective adjudicator of people’s rights, or that whether a decision was moral. If you don’t think a government can make a moral decision, I’m like, why do you think a market is capable of that?
[00:53:14] AS: That’s a big question. before I go into that, I just wanted to mention something about your three categories of what’s going through a shitcoiner’s mind when they want to – like, we’re different to Bitcoin, so we can take differently liberties and base the decision to Bitcoin, and is a justification. We’ve got a market cap. It’s really funny how all of a sudden, when governments start to say, “Oh, we’re going to start looking into it,” and they’re like, “Oh. No, no, no. We are like Bitcoin. Give us the same classification.”
To me, there’s a really interesting dynamic here is like, you’ll never see Bitcoiners change their narrative to say, “Oh. No, no, no. We’re more like Ethereum,” when it counts. Then, “No, we’re less like Ethereum when it doesn’t count.” It’s always like, “No, we are fucking unlike any of you.” Now, notwithstanding, like you said in the beginning of this discussion, it’s like, some people use a poor frame. They go into the cryptocurrency frame to substantiate why Bitcoin is superior.
fundamentally speaking, that Bitcoiner is one who understands that Bitcoin lives in different categories to the rest of these things. what shitcoin is and cryptocurrency and crypto-agnostic enthusiasts do is they flip-flop between, we’re like Bitcoin when someone is chasing us and wanting to enforce something, like the existing monopolist wants to do something, but we’re unlike Bitcoin if the existing monopolist is not peering into our affairs, which is that is very telling.
The other piece there is like, Bitcoiners aren’t really too concerned with again, what the government can and cannot do with Bitcoin. I think, the government, had they been able to do anything about Bitcoin, would have done something about it back in the days of Silk Road when Bitcoin was $10. We are well beyond their capacity to make a dent, or hurt Bitcoin. The only thing they can do is disable some individual’s capacity to acquire Bitcoin, which will only create a black market, so they’ll find another way to acquire it anyway.
It’s like, the government’s are in a catch 22 with respect to Bitcoin specifically, but they’re not in a catch 22 with respect to any other fucking cryptocurrency, because that whole space has an operational framework that exists in the old realm. Bitcoin doesn’t operate in this realm, so they lack the capacity to do anything about Bitcoin. They do not lack the capacity to come down on the rest of the shitcoiners, whether it’s from Ethereum, all the way down the fucking list. They can do whatever the fuck they want. that really, I think, is a nice indicator for the fact that these two things live in a different class. They’re different galaxies.
[00:55:50] PR: I think to what you were saying about the crypto market, that’s why I think you asked, well, what’s the state going to do in that situation? I think, it increasingly seemed obvious to me that you’ll take advantage of the cryptocurrency market, which is why I’ve been a bit keen recently to start probing Bitcoiners to start developing argumentation. Let’s just say, hypothetically, one day, Bitcoin is not number one on CoinMarketCap for whatever fucking reason. It doesn’t matter.
You assume that the CoinMarketCap doesn’t operate on logic anyway. You know what I mean? I feel a lot of Bitcoin mass was like, you log on CoinMarketCap and it feels good that Bitcoin is number one, right? in some way, it reinforces our belief. I think, my worry is that we’ve become addicted to that. I mean, I think, Pierre pushed back on me about that and he said, “Well, Bitcoin will always be the number one. It’s the most supreme.” I think, Rodolfo presented some criticism of this, where he’s like, “If Bitcoin fails to get liquidity, then it’s just failing.” To me, it’s like CoinMarketCap is such an absurd structure. It’s almost devoid of any logic, or reasoning. It’s just the big list of random coins, times by their price and gaining some market cap.
I don’t find it impossible to think there’ll be some situation someday, where Bitcoin is let’s just say, number two on that list for any reason. However illogical. I think, I worry about the current state of the Bitcoiner, because I think that – I don’t know if we’re psychologically prepared for that attack. To me, it’s like, that’s what I would do, obviously. If I were going to try to come after you, I would hit you where it hurts. I think for a lot of Bitcoiners, it is this idea that Bitcoin is number one, which is why the thing that I like about the user rights argument is that it removes that for an issue for me, I think. Well, if Bitcoin is number two, are you still a Bitcoin maximalist? The answer is yes. It’s still the best tool for ensuring financial rights.
[00:57:36] AS: Individual sovereignty. Yeah. Dude, you touched on such a good point there. I think, I was trying to say this on the panel during Bitcoin 2021. I was trying to draw the line between Slavecoin and Bitcoin. Maybe this is the new framing. Maybe we transcend Bitcoin shitcoin and go from –
[00:57:51] PR: I like Slavecoin. I’ll never –
[00:57:53] AS: Yeah. Bitcoin to Slavecoin. Well, because that’s basically what everything else represents, is – I did a pod with Pump straight off to the conference. In there, I laid the case for why Ethereum is actually the best possible opportunity for a state sponsored attack on Bitcoin.
[00:58:10] PR: Yeah. A 100%. Yeah.
[00:58:12] AS: Maybe that was triggered by a discussion with you and I or something. Here’s how the state will operate. They’ll be like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” They clued on to the fact that the content is fucking Bitcoin thing off. China took a fucking hammer, baseball bat to the fucking mining industry and slowed the blocks down for two weeks, and they did fucking nothing.
they’re trembling. They’re absolutely fucking shitting their pants. They’ve gone and bought a whole new set of brown pants, just so they can fucking manage the week, right? They can’t do anything about it. what do they do? They’re like, “Oh, we’ll talk about CBDCs, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” But they’re fucking incompetent. By the time they roll anything out that’s functional, that works, that will compete with the retail banks and all this stuff, they’ll have pushback and all this crap, what they’ll end up doing, and this is really good pitch, is they’ll go and sit down with Joe Lubin and friends, Vitalik, [inaudible 00:59:03] and all of that. they’ll be like, “Hey, boys. We have an idea. We’re going to partner together and deliver central bank digital currencies that are decentralized to the marketplace.”
then, Vitalik, Joe and friends, maybe Hoskinson will come back in there, they’ll have a decision to make, which is do we partner with this and share? Yeah, exactly. It’ll be literally a family reunion. Or, they might even compete. Maybe Hoskinson will say, “Look, I’ve got Cardano is better than Ethereum,” and he’ll try and do a better deal with Klaus. the game theory will change then. They’ll be like, okay, who can get the large customer? Because to them, the customer is not you and me. to them, the customer is the government and the World Economic Forum and the IMF. they’ll be like, “Oh, that’s how we can get from one to many.” Because they’re thinking about a fucking product to sell to people.
Whereas, Bitcoin is not thinking about that. Bitcoin is thinking about obsoleting the existing system and the infrastructure. These guys are going to try and partner with these guys. there’ll be a situation here is like, maybe Vitalik is innocently stupid and he’ll be like, “Oh, there are risks here, because we might create a surveillance coin.” Then Joe is going to sit there and say, “Hey, no, no, no. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to grow the Ethereum user base and spread this around the world, blah, blah, blah.”
at some point, there may be – let’s say there is some – because I have actually met some libertarian guys, who are totally anti-state, but still pro-Ethereum. Maybe they’ll put some brakes on, if you’re in quickly partnering with the World Economic Forum. Then, Hoskinson is going to put forward a submission, and then these guys will lean towards Hoskinson, and then Ethereum, Joe and stuff, they’re going to be like, “Look, we’re going to lose the fucking contract. We need to partner with them.”
let’s say, somehow, they need to decide. They’re like, “Maybe this is a bad decision.” Maybe their conscience actually comes and hits them. Then, IMF, World Economic Forum and friends would just turn around and say, “All right. Well, we know where you live. We know your family. how does Guantanamo Bay sound for the next 20 years, or perhaps North Korea or whatever.” All of a sudden, you’ll see them get in bed. it’s either going to happen by force, or by a [inaudible 01:01:13]. Exactly. In some way, shape, or form.
the future will be a partnership between one of the high market cap shitcoins, maybe a multiple, maybe a blend of the high market cap shitcoins to deliver a “decentralized central bank digital currency,” which is a fucking misnomer in the first place, but people are so fucking dumb that they’ll believe that shit. they will go and buy that and very likely, very likely from a market cap perspective, it may surpass Bitcoin, but it doesn’t fucking matter.
[01:01:47] PR: It matters to the extent that we’ve made so many economic arguments for Bitcoin. I think, if there’s something that worries me, I think there’s a couple things about the current generation of Bitcoiners. I think, one of them is we’ve weaned everybody on these economic arguments. Everybody’s promising hyper-Bitcoinization tomorrow.
again, there’s this weird contradiction. I was on [inaudible 01:02:03] podcast yesterday, where I was talking about this, where we talked about making low-time preference individuals, on the other hand, we’re seemingly pinning this idea that Bitcoin needs to keep going up exponentially. By the way, I mean, I agree that it will keep going up exponentially, because that appears to be what’s happening based on the data.
again, I worry about the expectations that we’re setting. The only thing that I think I’ve reasoned that we should do about it is I think, you have to start undercutting all these economic arguments by just not that the economic arguments are wrong. It’s just that the cryptocurrency market exists in such a way where it’s not even going to validate the claims correct. the whole system itself is so convoluted and non-functional, that I think that is what gets manipulated. The more that our feelings are attached to that system, I think the harder that it is to hurt.
[01:02:49] AS: I agree.
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[01:06:54] AS: This coming back to this argument is like, we need to stop waving the flag of Ethereum is Slavecoin. Cardano is Slavecoin. I think, we already won the economic frame. Now, the shitcoiners are going to chase the economic frame, and they’re going to tinker with the metrics, so that they can make it look like they won the economic frame.
[01:07:14] PR: I think, that is the big thing that will emerge after the cycle. I think, what will happen is that the halving will prove to be a sufficient motivator for the market. They finally have the end of the year. Your Ethereum, that situation, what are you supposed to do? I mean, you’ve been telling everyone for years that major superior technology was the – is the special sauce here. Now, and for all this investment, all that’s done, you mentioned all these other coins, it’s like, how do you justify that?
I think, the answer is it seems obvious to me and what the adjustment that you make is then, you start fiddling more aggressively with the economics, because you can. Then you find the argument on those grounds.
[01:07:47] AS: Exactly. then, what we need to do is we need to by the time they’re doing that, we need to then have moved into the frame of Bitcoin, not Slavecoin, and really frame these guys into Slavecoin and highlight the fact that they are now changing something, which defeats the purpose of why you would buy this Slavecoin in the first place.
[01:08:08] PR: I like Slavecoin. I feel like, Mersha would have liked Slavecoin. Let me say, it’s something else that I think worries me about the newer class of Bitcoiners. I do think that in our economic arguments and our arguments about stuff that we’re building on Bitcoin, I know you’re an entrepreneur in this space, I’m curious to ask this to you. What does it mean for you to build on Bitcoin?
I think, in some respects, this cycle, one of the things that I noticed that’s being here since 2013, I think people are a lot more reticent these days to build things on top of Bitcoin. They’re unsure of what it means. I’ll just give you an example that I do some work with Bitcoin Magazine and even inside the Slack right there, are people there who are newer. They don’t know anything about what sidechains are, and they don’t know about historical proposals for Bitcoinization.
I guess, to you, so what does it mean for you to build on Bitcoin that you worry about the culture that we’ve created that is in some ways, dismissive to people trying to build on top of Bitcoin? Or what’s your take on that?
[01:08:59] AS: I think, it’s again, it forces someone to really think about what they’re doing. I think, a culture in which you do have to sell – I’ll tell you what, if you come up with a business idea, and you get a yes straightaway from a VC, or you get a yes straight away from your first couple customers, you most likely build something shitty. If you keep getting told and told off and dismissed and all this stuff, it’ll actually force you to adjust it. me being an entrepreneur and fundamentally having been in the product space, is that I need to go out and effectively get feedback and adjust the mold and really hone in on what the value proposition of what I’m building is.
This is where I think much of that pressure, or deception in and around Bitcoin forces, not through coercion, but forces through market demand and need and desire to a Bitcoin company, or an entrepreneur to think a little bit more deeply about what they want to build. Again, once you’ve thought deeply about it, if you can reason and justify why you’re building something in the way you’re building, then how to? Like for example, I with Amber, again, I’ll come back to this always as an example, is we are a custodial Bitcoin on-ramp. that’s how we started. we’re still like that today. Over 70% of our users don’t have their own wallet. They keep their Bitcoin on Amber, because they are completely fucking brand-new to Bitcoin. They’re not ready yet.
what we do to manage them is we help educate and assist them on the journey, so that they can move onto self-custody. it is super easy to withdraw out of Amber. now with the new round, we’re going to enable white withdrawals. We’re going to do all sorts of other stuff. I adapt to the marketplace based on that feedback and that viewpoint. I can reason why I’ve done what I’ve done the way I’ve done it, as opposed to not having that pushback.
then, what are you going to do? You go and build a Coinbase. Coinbase completely dismisses that. They don’t give a fuck. Whereas, I take that onboard, because I care about what I’m doing, and I appreciate the opinion of Bitcoiners in the space. I think, something.
[01:11:11] PR: I guess, to propose a more specific definition there, I mean, to what extent do you think it’s important for companies building on top of Bitcoin to drive value to the 21 million coin supply? Because I feel like, this is where it gets – especially when you start getting into other protocols and people building more experimental things on Bitcoin? I feel like, you start getting the question whether tokens are okay and that seems to be the extent to going back to this question of what does it mean to build on Bitcoin?
It seems to me that there’s a lot of confusion about that issue. Some of which, we’ve – just by treating most other non-Bitcoin tokens as shitcoins, you’ve created this – I don’t know what the right answer is. It feels like we’re debating. I’m just curious on what your take is, if you’re building that type of structure, is the definition that we’re supposed to be building things that drive value to the coin supply? Or how do you define it?
[01:11:55] AS: I don’t know, man. That one is a little bit, because whilst we built the Bitcoin company, we’re not so far into messing around with abstracted layers with Bitcoin and doing things. That it’s not exactly in my wheelhouse, and I don’t know specifically some of the things that people have an issue with. I know, there’s been people with issues with liquid. People have had their say about Lightning and the other stuff. That’s really the extent to which I –
[01:12:23] PR: You boil it down to just to an extent, are you enabling sovereignty more, but you are giving the user the ability to exercise Bitcoin, or their rights to Bitcoin. That’s the split that you would use.
[01:12:33] AS: Yeah, for sure. because I would argue that again, Robinhood, for example, is a really good place to buy Bitcoin, because you’re not buying Bitcoin. You can’t control a fucking thing. Whereas, River Swan, Amber, stuff like that is a good place to buy Bitcoin, because you can buy and you can withdraw it. it still embodies what Bitcoin existed for. With liquid for example, if you’re going to use that, you can go from Bitcoin to LBTC, back again, that’s fine. That’s great. if you go into a product, when you swap your Bitcoin for name the representation of Bitcoin.
[01:13:03] PR: Well, I think, you’ve just demonstrated fairly well how [inaudible 01:13:06]. It’s like, the shitcoin in line has almost – and we’ve turned it inward, and I don’t know what that means. I almost don’t know if we’ve come to a conclusion on that.
[01:13:15] AS: I don’t know. If it serves the purpose of extra inquiry on behalf of the entrepreneur who’s building the thing, such that should the customer want self-custody once again, they can do it, then that’s a good thing. I’m sure, there’ll be collateral damage, which is some great entrepreneurs may have been deterred from building something really unique.
[01:13:37] PR: Well, but I guess, my point is we need to develop the Bitcoin economy. I mean, if we’re going to view Bitcoin as a financial system and get passed as digital gold narrative, we need to encourage people to do that in some way, right?
[01:13:48] AS: We do. I guess, that encouragement is there anyway, because people want to see cool shit being built. It’s happening, whether it’s pull the toy with saying, so what the guys are doing at Breeze. I’ve got something huge up my sleeve 2022, with Amber, which is my contribution to what we want to do and how I see Bitcoin evolving. It just crushes [inaudible 01:14:07].
[01:14:09] PR: Podcasts are a good time, if you wander.
[01:14:14] AS: I promise, that’s not people in the closet. I swear to God. I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m sure it’ll manage itself, because the market has a way of balancing itself.
[01:14:24] PR: Yeah. I definitely think it has [inaudible 01:14:25] with Lightning. I’m definitely seeing those structures emerge. I just feel like, it does seem a touchy line. there’s something I would say about the Bitcoin and shitcoins narrative is that, it’s added a bit of – its made it more opaque, like what we want to build on Bitcoin. I think, the early Bitcoiners would have a different definition of what the current Bitcoiners think should be built on Bitcoin. I think, there’s friction there. I’m not sure what to think of it. I don’t even know if the community has a real answer to that.
[01:14:52] AS: No. I guess, this is part of the emergent process of us answering these things and why we have these conversations. We are in a since, we’re all laughing, because this is live action, role-playing. We’re fucking figuring this shit out. We’re all wearing a random costume on Twitter and barking at each other. We’re essentially figuring it out. This is the free market utopia that libertarians and Austrian economists have been talking about. What’s really crazy about it is that, it does genuinely work itself out. It really does figure itself out, which is incredible.
[01:15:24] PR: Well, cool, man. I’ve done an hour, 20. I know you’ve got a hard stop in 10. If you want to close it out. We want to take up questions. We’re giving in.
[01:15:32] AS: I think, we can take a couple questions, man. See if there’s anyone who wants to say something. Yeah, then we can – I think, we can do it quickly.
[01:15:38] PR: I saw that [inaudible 01:15:38] was in here earlier, but seem to have left. let’s see. If anybody wants to ask some questions, we got some hands going up. I’ll try to bring people on stage. we’ve got Mr. Shinobi. Shinobi, I’ve been loving your Lightning articles, by the way, man. Have been really interesting. I don’t follow Lightning as closely as you, but appreciate you’re doing them.
[01:15:58] S: Alex, I just got to ask you. Do you really think that we can make a compelling argument calling Ethereum slave money? Or that, we’re just going to really alienates a fuck ton of people who are going to roll their eyes and does not take that seriously?
[01:16:14] AS: I think, this will be the funnel approach again. The main is slave money and then up the stack is we need to describe why Bitcoin is in a different category to Ethereum. Then, maybe a little bit further up the funnel is where someone like I’ve come into it and talk about why Bitcoin didn’t partake, etc. it represents free marketism. Whereas, something like Ethereum represents rule by a committee.
then, someone like Pete Rizzo, for example, described the nuance between Bitcoin being something that protects individual private property rights. Whereas, Ethereum is something that operates by the consensus of the majority. The ramifications of that are the potential of influence of the committee by other committees, such that it transforms that network into a conduit for control. That is a powerful argument, but it’s like, the question then is how do we at the different layers, present that argument? At the bottom layer, at the core layer, it is Slavecoin. At the top layer, it is this argument around rule by committee, versus private property rights of the individual.
[01:17:20] PR: Yeah. I don’t know. Shinobi, I’d answered that and say, maybe, I don’t know. Slavecoin’s a good one for the back-pocket. I don’t know if we should break it out too early. I will say, if you look at what’s going on in these cryptocurrencies, I mean, you look at what happened with comp recently, right? Where there’s a distribution of money to individuals. That distribution of money is deemed immoral. Then, the people who claim that money and then have that money rescinded from them.
You look at the mainstream journalistic articles on these, it’s never talked about that framing, where you really have, supposedly decentralized technology, like redistributing money and then somehow, redistributing it again, because they deemed that other action immoral. I don’t know. I feel like, you’re starting to see real-life examples of that, that just should be called out for being more ridiculous than they are. Because again, in any situation where someone’s rights are rescinded, you have to ask the question like, there seemingly was a choice made there, and by whom is the question?
I think, we were debating this a little bit earlier today. It’s like, my choice of words in the article has been to call it the market, the cryptocurrency market. That’s what I’ve termed in this, because I don’t know what – I feel like, we need to pin that down. It’s like, what is this thing that is happening, that is somehow invalidating this person’s right? Because if it is a decentralized cryptographic network, then no one should be able to rescind that individual’s money, right? Seemingly, that’s occurring.
I’ve actually gone to the comp Reddit recently. I’m trying to find an answer. I don’t actually even know how this is happening. There’s a deliberate obfuscation here about how these tools and system work. I don’t know if Slavecoin is the right way to go about it, but there’s certainly, like something happened here and these other cryptocurrencies where, how is this money changing hands? It’s like, we’re in situations where it would seem preposterous that it would do so.
[01:19:02] S: Yeah. Brian. What was what I said like, what do you think? What’s your feedback on that?
[01:19:06] B: I think, it’s a good meme for us. if your goal is to try to expand that understanding to a wider circle, they’re going to hear something like, slave money and just dismiss that as a completely hyperbolic statement, you know what I mean?
[01:19:23] PR: Maybe you could argue that that was possible in the shitcoins as well. I actually made the argument in this conversation as well.
[01:19:28] B: It was. We had to fight for that. We had to fight to make that a term that didn’t just immediately get that dismissal and people still dismiss it.
[01:19:38] PR: Well, to be honest, I’ve been shocked the cycle to what extent, the word altcoin has permeated within the mainstream media. I think, that’s actually really telling, and how far the arguments come. Because I think, four, or five years ago, I don’t think you saw altcoin being a term. If you think about, where does the term altcoin come from, it literally comes from alternative cryptocurrency, and it being a derogatory slang word against those things.
I see continually, it’s like, I think I even saw Bloomberg pretty recently that there was an article that just use the term altcoins pretty liberally. I don’t know. Maybe pushing it. Maybe the reaction to the mainstream from cheering shitcoin was the pullback into something like altcoin, and then you could argue that that actually wasn’t that formal.
[01:20:22] AS: yeah, we moved the overton window in that case. I wanted to say something to Brian’s last point, is that yes, I think internally, the Slavecoin meme is strong. Actually, we have one interesting ace up our sleeve, which is the categorical fucking madness that’s happening in the world around us today.
I’ve been on a series of non-Bitcoin podcasts. I’ve got a friend of mine, Pete Evans, who was a – he was a celebrity chef in Australia, and he got censored on Facebook and then his account deleted, and same thing on Instagram, because he came out a couple years ago promoting paleo. Literally, this is how his career fucking disappeared. He became a paleo fucking chef. The Australian Heart Foundation and all this stuff vilified him as promoting dangerous diets. Eating sweet potato and meat is potentially dangerous. You should eat bread, apparently.
anyway, that’s where his career started to go down. then in 2020, he was a Trump maximalist, because he became – really moved in the health spheres. He’s a little bit of a weirdo, but his heart’s in the right place. Now, I’ve done a 12-part fucking series on his podcast, taking them down the rabbit hole. in the beginning, I mean, it’s always been discussion about Bitcoin and I’ve always sprinkled in the difference between Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
I know that he is one of those people who is ignorant about the difference between Bitcoin and these other things. he ended up with buying some Cardano and fucking Ethereum and all this stuff, thinking that that’s a way to get some upside. in the last three or four episodes, I’ve really double down on what people like him in his community think about, which is what’s happening with the government and lockdowns and the mandates, and all this other shit is a function of the fact that they have a monopoly on money, and they can perpetuate an economic forum. They can do all this stuff. that moving into “cryptocurrency” is jumping from the fire into the fucking fry pan, because all we’re doing is we’re swapping out the old white men and lizards behind the curtain, for example, for a bunch of fucking nerds and dweebs, who never had their dicks wet. That’s what we’re doing. We’re just swapping them out, but it’s the same fucking infrastructure.
I give the analogy of what I said earlier about Ethereum and all these guys partnering with the people that we’re supposed to be fighting for. I think, that there’s a strong narrative there to get a big class of people who are becoming slowly anti-state, anti-government, anti-central bank, to view cryptocurrencies in the same way as they view those guys. Because if we can successfully change that frame, and frame Ethereum as a IMF CBDC, and no different to that, we actually start to separate ourselves from them again, and we take the high moral ground once again. But we need to do it eloquently as a main and in multiple capacities.
[01:23:12] PR: I think we’re out of time.
[01:23:15] B: Come on. One more question, guys.
[01:23:17] PR: We’re going to do one more. Okay. We’ll get one more.
[01:23:20] B: I’m just going to come in from being fairly new into the crypto space this year. I want to say, as an investor, your point you raised earlier about not looking at it like a stock or a bond as Bitcoin, is very excellent point. It’s still something that I’m trying to wrap my brain around, exactly what is Bitcoin? I mean, really, from a critical thinking standpoint. I do think we’re making a false comparison when we call it a cryptocurrency.
I think, it’s something different. It’s not even meant to be compared to what these other things are. I think, that’s the point you guys are trying to make. I do think there’s going to be opportunity in that cryptocurrency space is what you’re calling shitcoins or whatever. There’s opportunity to make money. at the end of the day, we got to sort out why we own this. for me, this is my question. I own Bitcoin, because I’m using it as a hedge of central banks just losing control. I’d love to get your feedback on that.
[01:24:14] PR: Yeah. I mean, I think you have to be very careful with what you view Bitcoin as being. I think, that’s something where I would definitely encourage you to do research on that. I think, what you’re advocating for is viewing Bitcoin from a portfolio perspective, right? I think, that can make a lot of sense. I would also say, though, that there is a deeper framing, right? Bitcoin is money. It’s a economic good that emerged spontaneously out of nothing to acquire the values of money. From that point of view as an invention in history, it’s very novel. I would say, I would probably try to come at it from a couple of frames.
one, I think, I don’t have a problem with your particular frame of Bitcoin as being ahead. I think, that you should also as someone who is researching the space, try to realize that Bitcoin is an invention. It is an economic entity that hasn’t existed before. therefore, it is novel. It is something new that we’re trying to understand. You look at the past as an example. I think, we have failed to understand Bitcoin in some ways. I think, the cryptocurrency asset class, if you want to call that, beyond Bitcoin is proof of that. A lot of people applying probably poor concepts to this new invention.
again, yeah, I don’t have a particular problem with the way you’re looking at it. I would just encourage you to broaden that perspective a bit, because I think, ultimately, viewing Bitcoin as a part of a portfolio really doesn’t even get close, in my opinion, to what Bitcoin is. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you looking at it that way. I just don’t think it really gets the truth of the matter of what it is, the Bitcoin is, and how it’s interacting with the world.
[01:25:45] B: that’s the point that my question. I have to say, it’s hard to wrap your brain when you come from our traditional viewpoints of the cult that we’ve all been raised in. It’s hard to wrap your brain to this new freedom and what exactly Bitcoin is doing. It does take a bit to really think through. It’s definitely something completely new. Like, you say, an invention. It’s something completely new. Fascinating.
[01:26:08] AS: It really is. to that point, actually, just because we’re, we’re short on time, I’m going to show two things quickly. The reason Orange Pill Podcast that I did with Max and Stacy, we really dug into a macro view of Bitcoin. I don’t say macro in the economic sense. I mean, macro in the fucking history of humanity and existence sense, like what the fuck does it mean for an intelligent sentience species to discover energy money? What impact will that have on the world? I did that with Max and Stacy.
I also did a podcast with Princey for 21ism. in that one, that one was a little bit longer. I think, we went for an hour and a half, and I really dug into that shit there. It’s like, what does it mean for an intelligence sentient space to discover energy money? It’s like, there is a time before that, in which we’ve, as I said earlier, it’s like, we’ve tried to figure out better forms of money and interacting. Because money is the tool that enables the intersubjective valuation of energy, resources and time. That’s what it is.
It’s like, we’ve had poor versions of that. we’ve had low-fidelity transmission of that energy, or up until now, and it’s post-Bitcoin, the world looks completely fucking different. what the ramifications of that are, I think, none of us can imagine at this point. That’s something I would recommend for anyone who wants to listen, it’s like, I posit more questions than answers in that. I’d love to hear some feedback and thoughts and all that stuff.
it’s the recent Orange Pill Pod with Max and the 21ism interview that I did with Princey, really diving into these ideas, like what does this actually mean on a grand scale? Not as a fucking economic inclusion into – sorry, as an inclusion into your fucking portfolio? What does this actually do to the fucking world? I think that’s a much bigger question. That’s a frame that we can start to move into, as opposed to just arguing about a supply cap.
[01:28:03] PR: Well, appreciate the question. Appreciate everybody’s time and attention. Svetski, appreciate you joining. You want to let people know we’re going to check out more of your work and I’ll do the same?
[01:28:12] AS: yeah. For sure, brother. Find me here on Twitter. This is much easier than Clubhouse. By the way, I just want to say, it’s [inaudible 01:28:18] to Andreessen Horowitz. I hope Clubhouse goes in the toilet. That’s fucking hilarious. I love [inaudible 01:28:22]. Anyway, that aside, Twitter. My blog has moved from my personal blog on Medium over to Bitcoin Magazine, and I’m doing all of my much deeper, more thoughtful pieces there. Then, I also do The Wake Up Podcast, which is me and really good Bitcoiners. People just from all sorts of walks of life.
I’ve had Zubi on there. I’ve had Shaun Baker on there. Carnivore. I’ve had John Francois Giropay, who wrote what I think is one of the best books probably since Darwin wrote his piece on biology and stuff. It’s much broader topics and discussions, if you want to have a listen to that. Then, obviously, my fucking business, [Inaudible 01:29:00] US, which she’s doing Bitcoin stuff.
[01:29:05] PR: I remember that. We’ll be back later today with another spaces for Bitcoin Magazine. again, appreciate y’all joining and we’ll be back later. I think, Dylan LeClair, market analyst at Bitcoin Magazine. I think, [inaudible 01:29:17] Trader, I think you’d might get some more value out of that. He’ll be speaking to Bitcoin as a macro asset and Bitcoin as a financial position. appreciate everyone joining. I’ll see you soon.
[01:29:27] CK: Thanks, everyone. Thanks, Rizzo.
Discussing what makes bitcoin different from other cryptocurrencies.
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In this episode of “The Center Cannot Hold,” host Alex McShane was joined by Pete Rizzo to discuss his latest article in Forbes, “Against Cryptocurrency: The Ethical Argument For Bitcoin Maximalism.”
They explored how bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that truly protects users’ rights, the various disagreements between crypto agnostics and Bitcoin maximalists, why it’s important to distinguish bitcoin from crypto for new people coming into the space, and much more.
“Do you have the right to your money absolutely, in any case where you would disagree with anyone?” Rizzo asked. “In Bitcoin, I think we have the highest degree of assurances that it is providing that.”
The pair also discussed how Bitcoin is the only system of money that protects minority users’ rights, Bitcoin’s immaculate conception and why this makes Bitcoin different and why Bitcoin isn’t “old technology” and can’t just be replaced by some new system.
“In Bitcoin, you had a period where bitcoin was worth nothing,” Rizzo said. “And then Bitcoin monetized. It was almost like the spontaneous creation of life. You have data that was valueless, and then Bitcoin crossed that chasm. It became life, it became value.”
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[00:00:07] CK: Before we like really get into it, maybe just give the background on why addressing this topic is important.
[00:00:15] Rizzo: Yeah, sure. Hey, everybody. So yeah, my background, I’ve been a cryptocurrency journalist, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency journalist since about 2013. So yeah, I’ve had a lot of time to look over some of these questions. I was Editor-in-Chief at Coindesk for five or six years, now editor at Bitcoin magazine and Editor-at-Large over at kraken. And yeah, I feel like this article was really kind of came out of the process of being troubled by some things, right? I think one of the main troubles I’ve had for a while is that it seems like there’s this popular opinion that it’s okay to be neutral or agnostic to cryptocurrencies so that you can just sort of have a neutral view or that all cryptocurrencies are the same.
I think you particularly kind of see this with the mainstream journalism approach to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies where they sort of just treat them like a market, right? They’re sort of all the same, and there’s not really like a specific consideration given for the designs of these systems or even acknowledgement that they are financial systems or that the users in these systems might be engaging with these systems in ways that they don’t really quite understand. So I think that was the first point.
And then I think you know the second point really would be that there’s also like different attitudes to the market itself, right? So I think as you spend more time with people who are Bitcoin maximalists and then if you spend any time with people who are more kind of agnostic to cryptocurrencies, you can kind of see that they have different attitudes for the cryptocurrency market. They think it’s doing different things, right? So in some cases Bitcoin maximalists might not check coin mark cap at all. Like you might go a whole month without looking at this website, and then other people in the kind of the crypto agnostic group, they’re checking Missouri or coin marker cap like every day, right? And they think that this like means something or that this information is telling them something.
And yeah, so I think it was really boring out of those two things, right? This idea that there’s some neutrality and the idea that this market is like an effective mediator of things. And then also I would just say that over the years I’ve just been pushed more and more I feel like into the camp of feeling like Bitcoin has a pretty foundational value proposition that it’s actually delivering against and that I haven’t really seen similar things in the cryptocurrency space. And yeah, I guess that was the inspiration of that, if that helps.
[00:02:18] CK: Anything. No. I think that that’s a great backdrop and you gave Pierre just enough time to join us on stage.
[00:02:25] Rizzo: [inaudible 00:02:25].
[00:02:27] CK: Really quick. Before we dive fully into this conversation, I just want to tell you guys about the Bitcoin Conference, Bitcoin 2022 next year, in Miami, April 6th through the 9th. Come meet all of your favorite Bitcoiners including my man Pete Rizzo and many, many others. It’s going to be the biggest Bitcoin event in history by a long shot breaking the record that we currently hold for Bitcoin 2021. And, yeah, I can’t recommend it enough. So use promo code satoshi. Save yourself 10% off. Go get your tickets. Tickets will be going up pretty much once a month between now and April. So get them while they’re cheap. See you in Miami.
But let’s get back into this conversation. Again, you can see pinned to the top here is Rizzo’s tweet with his article embedded in it kind of going over this at length. Highly recommend that you go over it. But we have Pierre as well as Rizzo here. So I will shut my mouth and hand it back to them.
[00:03:27] Rizzo: Yeah, appreciate it. Pierre, can you hear me?
[00:03:29] Pierre: Yes, I can. Yes, I can. And actually, I want to respond to the topic that you were talking about when I joined, which was about checking CoinMarketCap. And it extends further to not only do a lot of Bitcoin maximalist not check CoinMarketCap in a relative sense to the other cryptos, but also just with regards to Bitcoin’s exchange rate with the dollar or with fiat currencies. And I hear it rather frequently both from let’s call them Bitcoin community members, but also from Bitcoin protocol developers and researchers that they have zero concern about Bitcoin’s exchange rate. And their development work their protocol engineering and how they think about Bitcoin is not to pump your bags essentially. And that I find to be jarring to folks who come in the space as fiat maximalist.
[00:04:28] Rizzo: Yeah, I definitely would echo that and say like just introduce this conversation. So Pierre has kind of helped me I guess edit this article a bit or at least I feel like you’ve seen so many versions of this article, Pierre, that I thought it’d be fun to have a conversation. And I appreciate CK and then Bitcoin Magazine for accommodating us on short notice. But yeah, Pierre, I think it was more just like I thought you’ve seen different stages of this. I feel like you’ve heard what I’ve been trying to get across and some of the frustrations and thought it might be fun to pick your brain about what I was able to get across.
And it sounds like you agree that maybe something in the article does well is at least kind of setting up that, again, like starting to parse like what is it that actually differentiates Bitcoin maximalists. And I guess like what I ended up labeling as other cryptocurrency people, I kind of want them in a bucket called crypto agnostics, right? So I guess we can debate that definition as well. But trying to figure out, okay, there’re definitely some different attitudes here. And these attitudes, they really extend beyond like any specific coin, right? Like these are attitudes towards rights and values or just like general proclivities to like human institutions that again like have nothing really to do with like whether you think Tron is good or anything like that or that smart contracts are a thing or what have you or [inaudible 00:05:35], right? So I guess I was trying to pull out those strings and come up with an interesting way to sort of partition those groups.
[00:05:42] Pierre: So one of the challenges that I saw as this piece developed is the intersection between technical engineering concepts like hard fork versus soft fork and their political governance implications and how the philosophy of it. There’s just a lot of debate there. How did you see navigating that intersection, which is rather complex?
[00:06:06] Rizzo: Yeah, I think this is one of the reasons why this issue doesn’t get talked about more, right? So I think part of it was just trying to find a better explanation for it since I think that there’s been this disconnect for a while where I feel like there’s really some fundamental divides in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency space, but they just haven’t really resonated for whatever reason, which is why I think you still sort of have this thing where – And again, I think this is really where we have to kind of start thinking about this argument, because I do think the popular press and like investors, it’s like they still treat these things as like all the same, right? And they have this tendency to like dismiss the pretty significant distinctions between how these systems are created. So I think it’s like sort of a failure of argument to like they’ve been sort of allowed to slip this argument by where it’s like look at how Bloomberg covers the cryptocurrency market, right? They are doing the same thing that everybody else is doing. They’re logging on to Messari or CoinMarketCap and they’re sort of looking at the prices of these various coins and they’re deriving some like meaning or value from those, right?
So I think it started with that, which is at least trying to identify that. But I guess peel it back a little bit, you realize that the reason that they don’t understand these distinctions is just that, yes, they are quite technical, but are they really, right? So I think I spent a lot of time trying to figure out like how to frame hard forks for it and soft works and whether to even use that terminology, because I feel like ultimately you sort of end up with this idea of like, okay, you can frame them technically or you can frame them in terms of how they affect the user, right? And in terms of technical definition, the hard work of cryptocurrency, you’re essentially introducing a new rule to the system that everybody hasn’t agreed to. You’re saying that in order to upgrade to this new system you have to agree to that rule. And then if enough people kind of switch over, you’ll essentially end up in a situation where anyone who’s on that minority fork, they have to either choose to bear the cost of creating a new cryptocurrency or they have to do what the majority says, right?
So I think you ultimately have to kind of frame that situation as one of user rights and like rights tolerance. And I think this is really one of the actual fundamental divides between Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies. And I ultimately sort of framed it as this, is like in Bitcoin you have the right to dissent, right? You have the right to do something that the majority does not want. And I actually think this is like a really, really stark dividing line between Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and other cryptocurrencies. Like you very rarely, if never, see that there’s some community or sub-community within these coins that is running anything other than like the latest software that like everybody else has sort of deemed like they want to run, right? Like if you’re running the original Ethereum software, well, you’re on Ethereum classifier. You’re on some wholly different chain.
And again I think all this stuff can get really quite technical if you look at it from a technical perspective, which is why I think I really kind of struggled with it for so long. And I think I ended up with this framework that I actually really liked, which is that I think what other cryptocurrencies have done really well is that they have successfully won this argument where it’s like you have the right to use money however you want. So like all these cryptocurrencies and the market are providing that. And that’s good. You should feel like that’s good, right?
So the cryptocurrency market is like this big arcade. You’ve got all these kind of shiny games and there’s this sort of narrative that all these things are your choice, your rights to use any of these systems, right? And then there’s no sort of equal argument of like what you’re giving up, right? So I do think that it is true that the cryptocurrency market and the optionality they’re in, it like does give the right to use your money in a lot of different ways.
But in the Bitcoin system, by being more restrictive, I think you have a couple second order rights that don’t get enough dialogue. One, it’s like you have the right to a known supply an issue and schedule, right? So you know how much money there is and how much everyone else has, right? We often frame that as like Bitcoin economics or superior or make some sort of esoteric argument like that. When really it’s like you have the right to know how much money there is in the supply, right? It is fixed and it is finite and that’s also important too, but you know you have a right to that information. And Bitcoin provides you that, right? The ability to kind of check that and audit that. And I think you’ve banged the drum on that a lot, right?
And the other one is you have this right to dissent. Like you can choose not to run Taproot if you want and you still hold Bitcoin, right? And I think that you know when you kind of strip it down, it’s like you have these other kind of rights or that Bitcoin protects. I think a lot of it was trying to say, “Okay, can we elevate, discuss these things? Like do they actually exist?” And I think the answer is yes. I think Bitcoin protects user rights to a higher level. And I think you have rights within the Bitcoin system that you don’t have elsewhere. And I don’t really know what that means, right? Like I can’t tell you what to make of that information. I think right now all I’ve figured out is that it’s just the more that I think about it, it seems true, if that makes sense.
[00:10:37] Pierre: Yes. So there’s part of it that is challenging, because we’re saying that this system is decentralized. And so if we take that seriously, then that means that nobody controls it, and yet it’s a human system. So somebody has to be controlling it, right? How do you see that?
[00:10:56] Rizzo: You mean the idea that somebody has to be controlling it or there has to be some mechanism?
[00:10:59] Pierre: Well, let’s take the absurd argument that I sometimes hear from some coroners that Adam Beck controls Bitcoin, right? And so they want to find somebody who controls it.
[00:11:11] Rizzo: Yeah, I think that’s interesting, right? And I think this has actually come up in a lot of the criticism from people within the Bitcoin crowd who like feel like this piece didn’t go far enough, right? So I think one of the criticisms I heard from people is that they like sort of the positioning of being pro Bitcoin maximalism, but they felt like – And I did end up consolidating on this phrase, which is I think you can charitably say – And I use the word charitably. I think you could charitably say a lot of other cryptocurrencies use sort of a rule by majority type decision making apparatus. And I think in a lot of DeFi coins or like decentralized applications, I think that’s like pretty explicit, right? They’re not even really shy about that. That’s just like how they function, right? And some of them you can just straight up vote for things. And if you’re in the majority, that’s great. And if not, you sort of get pushed aside, right?
So I think that some people wanted, I think, to call out more that, really, if they are ruled by majority systems, well, in a lot of cases there isn’t that much of a majority, right? Like as we saw, I was actually just thinking before this call, there was that funny situation in like 2019 where I think it was Steemit or something, Justin Sun bought that decentralized articles content platform and then he took over all the votes behind the scenes and then ended up sort of ringing the election in his favor in order to like return the votes to Tron. So there are these like situations in the past of cryptocurrencies through where it’s like even if you consider them rule by majority type structures, that ends up being like a pretty terrible definition, because, look, at the end of the day like cryptocurrencies are all networks, right? Somebody has to be running a software. And I think we’ve figured out in Bitcoin, the definition of user is someone who’s running on software.
So I guess all that said, the management of it becomes sort of like, well, there is that need to feel like who’s in control. And Bitcoin, the answer is quite clearly nobody, right? Like nobody’s running it. And I think sort of what we figured out is like the alternative to like no one being in control of a thing is that you have to sort of rely on starting to build these like new types of – Or not even new. You just have to start relying on old types of governance structures where there has to be some thing making the decision, right?
And in a lot of cases I think how the sort of crypto agnostic people sort of rationalize this is they let the market be the judge, right? I think like this is the probably most famous in the Ethereum and Ethereum Classic split where you had a choice where essentially the market was asked to decide whether someone who behaved a certain way still had access to their money, and the market chose that they did not, right? They chose to rescind that right to that individual.
So I think in some cases like you end up with an even weirder situation where maybe there’s no one control and maybe there’s some nodes running the software. But in the end of the day they’re just sort of deviating to the market, right? Like you’re actually just in the place of there being someone making a decision to run software. There is a market that is like cumulatively making that decision and that market is choosing to rescind the rights of the individual. And I think what’s weird about that is that the people who seem to think that that is okay also don’t seem to think that there’s anything wrong with that, right? Like they seem to sort of think that it is okay to take away someone’s rights to something if enough people agree, right? And I think that’s sort of a strange viewpoint. I don’t know how to feel about it exactly. I haven’t spent enough time to really sit with it. But I think that – I don’t know. It’s definitely a new sort of moral choice, right? If you have this idea where fiat currencies are sort of ruled by government, there’s at least this facade that we’re electing officials and these officials are making decisions, and that their decisions represent our interests. And the cryptocurrency system, it seems like what has happened is there’s this offloading of that responsibility like not to the actual individual and the individual’s choice but to the market itself, right? But the market should be what makes these decisions and the arbiter of everything up to and including making or justifying choices that you in other contexts maybe think immoral.
[00:14:59] Pierre: Right. And I’ve certainly heard conversations where abstract arguments over whether something is decentralized or not then get cut by somebody saying look the price of this has doubled in sats terms and so who are you to argue with the market, right? That this kind of relativism, nihilism maybe, driven by the market.
[00:15:26] Rizzo: I think that’s why what you’re saying is interesting, because like Bitcoin didn’t grow up with the market, right? Like you do have this period of about a year in Bitcoin’s development history where the market does not exist, right? Like Satoshi never priced Bitcoin and he never sold Bitcoin. There was really no concept that the market was an actor within the world of Bitcoin, right? So Bitcoin is invented. It exists.
And this is where I really I think spent a lot of time thinking about it where I think you have to start viewing the cryptocurrency market as like it’s almost like an invention that’s so omnipresent to us that like we don’t think about it at all, right? It’s something that it’s like a frame on the industry that we’ve all accepted like very unconsciously and it is something that like especially from the people who are coming from the outside world, I would argue that like most of them still continue to look at the industry through that frame, right? They are looking at CoinMarketCap every day. They are looking at Missari every day. They are sort of looking at this market, like this random prices of random numbers and they’re trying to derive the meaning from that. But in the early days of Bitcoin, like that was completely absent. That machine hadn’t been created. There was no utility for such a thing. So you have to kind of start asking like, “Well, why is it that that machine was created? How did it emerge and like what function did it serve?” right? It’s like on one hand it’s like, yes, it is true that people did begin trading Bitcoin and then people created a market for Bitcoin. But over time this changed greatly, right? Originally, you had alternative cryptocurrencies. So versions of Bitcoin software that claim to do new things.
But I would argue that sort of in the mid-2010s you sort of have this phenomenon where the market sort of started to become like more of an arbiter of decisions, right? And I evoke one of the arguments from Vitalik that essentially says this in the article where one of the reasons I think he was able to sort of walk away from the Ethereum fork like sort of thinking that he did or acted in a way that like was right, was that he essentially let the market make a choice, right? And this is like what he advocated for, is that cryptocurrencies should be market-driven and how they make choices, right? And I think that’s like a really interesting thing if you sit with that long enough, because you’re sort of arguing that like at the end of the day whatever the market decides to do is okay.
And, I think, in the instance of, again, going back to the DAO hacker, but again, this is sort of like kind of ancient history at this point, but it’s a relevant example, where you had a case where someone’s right to money was rescinded, right? The majority as determined by the market made some choice to rescind someone’s access to money, right? This man had money and then the Ethereum blockchain or this person, and then this group of people as represented by the market made that money no longer exist.
Anyway, I think that’s like an interesting frame not for the minutia, but if you just really focus on the user relationship to the financial system itself and like what guarantees you have. And I think if you look at it from that like binary lens and just really kind of cut a line, it’s that I think you can say that the cryptocurrency ecosystem broadly beyond Bitcoin, they’re a group of financial systems in which there are weaker guarantees, and in a lot of respects, like decision making, I would say up to and including how decisions are made over people’s rights are left to the determination of the market. And I just think that that makes them different, right? Like that is a different characteristic and I don’t think that that is true in Bitcoin anymore, right? We’ve made the decision to continue to, I guess, as far as we can technically pursue software changes that people can opt into, we’re going to continue to have this environment where people have the option to dissent, right? You don’t have to run SegWit, you don’t have to run Taproot, and you still hold Bitcoin, right? And I think that, again, speaking of like from a rights perspective, it’s very clear that that right does not exist elsewhere. So I think maybe to back it like way up, I think there’s a lot of arguments that have been put forth for Bitcoin maximalism. I think you have your economic arguments that Bitcoin is the best money and it satisfies the properties of money and a lot of people here, who I see listening, have just written really great stuff about that. And I’m not trying to dismiss those arguments.
I think you know there’s also the network argument Bitcoin is the most decentralized. It does lowest cost of entry. You can run a node in a cheaper way than you can on other networks. And then you have the launch argument, which is that Bitcoin had this immaculate conception and they’ll never be another group of currency that’s able to spontaneously monetize from nothing. And I think those are all interesting arguments. But I think we may have like kind of reached the limitation of those being things that are broadly useful, because, again, I really question whether they actually get to the heart of things, right? I mean the economic argument, obviously, that’s a huge differentiator, right? Bitcoin, you have the finite limit on the economy and then the cryptocurrency system you have the professional inflation of more cryptocurrencies. Obviously, red line difference there. But does that argument relate to a lot of people? I don’t know. I feel like you know this is something that’s come up a lot lately is how relatable are the Bitcoin maximalist arguments. And I think, certainly, again, that doesn’t invalidate them. That doesn’t make them bad. But I think as evangelist for things, you should be trying to kind of figure out new ways to relate to people. And I guess all I’m trying to introduce here – And I actually really question whether I really do a lot new here. It’s just that if you look at cryptocurrencies as financial systems and you use the grading system of, “Okay, well, how well do they ensure the rights of those participants?” I think it’s pretty clear that you end up defining Bitcoin as a system in which you have more different types of rights to your money than you do in other cryptocurrencies or the entire market for those cryptocurrencies at large, if that makes sense.
[00:20:56] Pierre: Yes. So we’ve heard you bring up a lot of historical examples as ways of verifying the substance of these guarantees. Do they actually exist? Is it just marketing? Are these rights real or are they ephemeral and do they collapse under pressure? And so it seems like a lot of the way that you can prove your argument is through historical examples, which I think is great, but it also carries with it a lot of danger. And you see people bring up like, “Oh!” Well, there was the what about-ism, right? Well, what about when this happened with Bitcoin, et cetera.
But also from kind of a first principles perspective, why is looking at the history more legitimate than looking at the market? And maybe Vitalik’s view would be that looking at the market is more socially scalable than people studying the history in order to derive some political philosophy and verify it.
[00:21:53] Rizzo: Yeah, I guess that’s interesting. I think like the history – Well, I mean, if you accept that Bitcoin is an invention, that’s sort of the frame that I’ve come to over the years to look at Bitcoin, then you sort of accept that Bitcoin is a system that we still don’t know much about, right? And that’s why probably more than most people, I do take a bit more of a lenient view towards like the cryptocurrency builders, because I honestly don’t know if – There’s a lot of naivete when it comes to something new, right? And there are a lot of ideas that we’re pursuing in the cryptocurrency space and like certainly we know they don’t work now, and maybe that’s worth something for something, right?
So I would say to the history question, one, it’s understanding that this is something new and it’s understanding that the participants in the system might not always be aware of like what they’re doing to the highest degree, right? Like that is the lesson of history, right? Why do we go back and like study history, right? You’ll go back and you’ll find that just in certain time periods there were just like hugely different attitudes toward things, right? And in some cases those attitudes are much different now. But I do think with cryptocurrencies is worth keeping that in mind, because I think if you take that lens, you can sort of come up with new ways to look at it. So when we were talking about the market, like when does the market become something that is relevant in the Bitcoin story? I do think that you actually have this interesting phenomenon where the people who are in Bitcoin early, they sort of fall into different groups, right? They’re sort of open source advocates. There’re developers, and there’s these sort of libertarian government type people, right? A lot of the early people were sort of Ron Paul type supporters, right? So you do have this influx of libertarianism where there is more of an attitude towards absolute freedom towards the market should decide.
And I think it’s interesting considering like, “Okay, well how did that actually affect cryptocurrency?” Well, it seems like one of the side effects of that is that the influx of the people who felt that way, they redirected the industry in some way like over to that viewpoint. Prior to them entering the way they did, you actually didn’t see people making decisions and deference to a market at all or that concept. And then when you have an influx of people who are more U.S. style libertarian type thinkers, and that’s not to say everybody who fell into that camp immediately embraced this, but you do see those people start to defer to the market. And I think that obviously sort of impacted things, right?
So I think to your question, like why doesn’t the market matter? Well, I don’t know. I think that at some point the crypto market – I don’t know if this is controversial, but like you have to sort of wonder how rational it is, right? And I think Bitcoin maximalists, like I think we certainly have a weird relationship to that, right? Like it feels good to like log in every day. And I guess if you look at CoinMarketCap, to like see Bitcoin as number one. But does that mean anything? Like are we deriving value from that? Like it seems so, because it feels good and it’s something we use in arguments against other coins, right? We sort of say like, “Oh, well, other cryptocurrencies, they’ll never overtake Bitcoin. They haven’t overtaken Bitcoin. Therefore, Bitcoin’s the best.”
I don’t know. I know we’ve had private conversations about this as well, right? I would like kind of push back on that, right? I think you either sort of view the cryptocurrency market as a bad indicator and don’t think it’s capable of producing information, which is that the market participants don’t know enough to make rational choices and for that market to be valid, or you think it’s valid, right? In which case, I don’t know how you really begin to explain the activity there, right? And I do think Bitcoin maximalists by and large like do have different attitudes to the market, right? I wouldn’t say that all of them discard it. I mean, I think that, certainly, most would agree that it’s problematic, right? But I don’t know, right? I mean, look at something like Dogecoin, right? How many people are running the Dogecoin software? So, there, and you have like an interesting question about how functional the crypto market is. And I’m sure you know that already and are trying to just parse some argument out of me.
So I guess to sum up that question about the history of things. One, I think history is a powerful teacher. We can learn things. And I think that, likely, when all is said and done in the Bitcoin history, we’ll go back to earlier periods and the find we just had huge biases that we didn’t quite understand. And you probably don’t tell that so much later. And then with the cryptocurrency market itself, I think everybody has to decide how rational you think it is. If you don’t think it’s rational, how relevant is it that Bitcoin is the largest there. And is that a valid argument for Bitcoin maximalism, right?
I would say that the argument that Bitcoin is the number one cryptocurrency like by economic demand within the cryptocurrency market is probably a pretty weak reason to be a Bitcoin maximalist, because I personally don’t derive much from that.
[00:26:29] Pierre: Fair. So I feel like you’ve straw manned my view. So I’m going to defend myself even though I know you haven’t. So I think the market is effective at reflecting what people think. So I don’t think that Bitcoin is number one despite everyone hating it. I think that it sits about where people as a whole think. And then we could argue about whether those people are rational or not. They certainly are not in my book, but that’s fine.
The history part, I loved your piece about the P2SH governance debate, because history repeated itself. And so we can think that, well, it certainly repeated itself with SegWit. And then I think that people learned the Bitcoin protocol. Researchers learned enough from SegWit activation to have history not repeat itself with Taproot activation. And so there’s history repeating itself, but people also learning. So perhaps in terms of pressure testing these rights, pressure testing these guarantees of these systems and finding the flaws that that will continue to happen over and over and the people will learn from that. But on the other hand, there are new people washing up on the shores of our crypto land every day and the process starts over. Is there any hope that the median crypto investor is going to have his views evolve, or are we just going to keep repeating history?
[00:27:57] Rizzo: Well, I guess I would say, like, I mean, I think we can do more, which is one of the reasons why I tried to workshop this argument and then present it. Which is I think that if you view Bitcoin as a system, a financial system, and a financial system that ensures some rights, and we can get into like why that’s a reasonable position. One, I would say that the entire basis for Bitcoin, and you can go back to Satoshi, is we wanted to create a money system that did not rely on central banking, right? Immediately, you have that context in which it was established as an alternative, right? So you have some historical basis for Bitcoin being an alternative to the fiat system. That’s why we’re here, right? It wasn’t that there was no digital money, right? Like money was moving digitally through computers. Their entire financial markets that were running on numbers like moving over tubes and wires, right? Really, you sort of have Bitcoin sort of emerge from that, right?
So I think that you have to then sort of define, “Okay, well, then Bitcoin is an alternative to the current fiat money system,” right? And I think if you look at the sort of rights argument, it sort of gets interjected there, right? So like why was it needed for Bitcoin to exist? Well, Satoshi believed that he could create a system, I think, that better insured the users rights to money, right? One, that they were able to kind of cryptographically prove that they held money. And then two, that they were able to have the right to audit that financial system via running a node. And then three, that there was a known issuance in supply, right? Like he wanted, I think, on some level to give that ability to people, right? And I guess this is where you get the really fuzzy gray area of like what’s a feature versus what is it right. And like those two words actually even have any difference?
I think that if you define them as rights, you start to really get at what I think has been a really great argument for Bitcoin, which is the moral argument for Bitcoin, right? I sort of reference this to the top of the piece that I think some of the most powerful arguments that have been put forward recently are Alex Gladstein’s talking about Bitcoin in developing countries, and Jimmy Song’s moral case for Bitcoin, which is actually kind of where I ended up down this whole rabbit hole was, “Okay. Well, what’s interesting about those arguments that make moral cases for Bitcoin, the Bitcoin is a right or just financial system, is they often don’t make the counter argument that other cryptocurrencies are somehow unjust or weaker than that,” right?
So a lot of the arguments that Alex Gladstein makes I think are great, but there are arguments for Bitcoin within the context of fiat money, and they don’t actually really go much into like discussing that Alex do this in his tweets why other cryptocurrencies don’t ensure those rights that well. So therefore, you sort of have this idea where on some level we have to believe that, because I think we’ve all sort of gravitated to those narratives where we find them appealing. There’s some inherent pull two thinking that Bitcoin is inherently moral, or that is a better system, or that it ensures rights, right? So that it seems like we have some relationships with that. Yet, there wasn’t really anyone who was kind of like extrapolating it, right? So I think we know now why Bitcoin is a better system than fiat, right? I think there’s been enough intellectual work that has been done to like answer that argument, right?
So then the next level argument is, “Okay. Well, then how is Bitcoin somehow more moral or how does it guarantee the financial rights of users more than other cryptocurrencies?” I think that’s the question where I don’t honestly think we’ve been as good at like finding an answer there. I don’t even know if this article is in itself like a great answer to that. I think it’s starting to try to define that right by saying, “Okay, if we really all do believe that Bitcoin is a system that ensures financial rights and that ensures financial rights greater than the fiat system, does it also ensure rights to a greater degree than the cryptocurrency system?”
And I think the answer to that is yes, because I think that you can see, by using historical examples as you noted, that Bitcoin does seem to offer rights that other systems don’t have. And you can look at instances where the decision making within the cryptocurrency market, in many cases, they’re letting the market decide the rights of the user. And that is just a fundamentally different relationship, right? An Bitcoin, Satoshi allowed you to choose to run software, giving you the right to money, giving the right to audit them financial supply, and then the right to a known supply and issuance. And then in cryptocurrencies in the cryptocurrency market, it’s like, yes, you have the right to now use your money however you want, right? You can turn your value into any number of things, but that comes with a tradeoff, right? And the tradeoff is, in the cryptocurrency system, it’s you no longer have that right to a known supply issuance. You no longer have that right to a known schedule or total money supply, right? So, yes, I think we’ve identified that argument.
And I think another one on top of that, again, is this right to dissent, because I think that is something that I’ve tried to express for a while that I really haven’t been able to get down, which is just that in most other cryptocurrency systems it appears that you just do not have the right to dissent from the majority, right? If the majority declares that something should happen, in most cases on most cryptocurrencies, it occurs. And there’s very few of no instances where there’s some case where that didn’t happen, right? So again, like I think this is where you start getting these differences and these differences start to feel important, and they start to feel like something where, “Okay, if Bitcoin is a financial system and it’s a financial system that secures rights, then why can we not apply that same ones cryptocurrencies, right? Like why are they not held to the same standard?
And if it is true that they ensure rights differently, how are they not then different? And I think that’s kind of the real question that I would lay down here as like sort of something I think we have to think about next, is that, again, like if cryptocurrencies ensure rights differently than Bitcoin, how is it that they are not a different class of thing. Like what is it that they are then? Because they’re clearly not Bitcoin at that point, because Bitcoin has properties that they don’t have, right? So you got to start a stronger argument for a delineation, which again is itself an argument that the traditional lens of agnosticism is wrong, right? So I don’t know. I don’t know how that argument elevates, but I think that it’s possible. I don’t know. I hope so. I hope that answers your questions in some way.
[00:34:06] Pierre: And if it didn’t, I’ll let the audience complain. You mentioned features. And you’ll hear people say, “Well, look, this blockchain offers, for example, the right to issue your own asset, you’re on token. You have the right to trade it in a decentralized manner. You have the right to get leveraged up or down with it. And you have the right to have a Tamagotchi artwork on here. And so, clearly, this has more rights than Bitcoin does.”
[00:34:36] Rizzo: Well, I think that’s all the same right. Like it is true that the cryptocurrency world like allows you to use your crypto money, for lack of a better term, in more ways than you want, which again is why I think it was so immediately like appealing to people and why if you look back on the past with some empathy, like you can start to understand like, “Well, why would people have wanted a system like that?” If it is the case that cryptocurrency ecosystem large exists to kind of satisfy this veneer of like ultimate freedom, well, then who would have introduced that and who would it have appealed to?
And I think the answer to that is that you do have the split in early Bitcoin between the FOSS open source developers like who felt very strongly, I think, that they were creating something that was open source like for the good of the world, right? And then these sort of early libertarian types who came into the industry and I think in a lot of respects like wanted a system where the market was in charge. Like that was something that was innately appealing to them. In many cases they had already sort of like personally decided that like that was their problem with society, is that society didn’t allow free markets and didn’t allow this thing where that you could just have this infinite exchange, right?
So like it was also a prior idea, like it also exists, but it also starts to seem like when you parse it out like that like very different from Bitcoin, right? Yeah. I don’t know if that – Did that answer your question?
[00:35:59] Pierre: Sort of. I mean, I think that it’s something that people keep coming back to, is that the freedom you have on these other blockchains is greater.
[00:36:09] Rizzo: Yeah. Well, I think it’s – Again, like it’s greater within the definition, right? The ability to use something in different ways I think. I think it comes down to it being like one type of freedom, right? I haven’t thought about this enough. I do think you can sort of distill it down to the ability to use value in however you want and however the market will allow starts to feel like one specific type of freedom, whereas the other types of freedoms that Bitcoin provides where it’s like, yes, you have the right to your money and, yes, you have this right to this auditing and this like known supply and this right to dissent, where you have the right to your money and then to disagree with the majority. Those feel like different classes of rights. I haven’t really like gone down this path far enough yet.
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[00:38:47] Pierre: I don’t think that the semantic issue of rights is particular to cryptocurrencies when we know people are saying you have a right to health care and you have a right to education and all this that you get into political philosophy of negative versus positive rights. So to what extent do you think that the market is just reflective of different political ideologies rather than economics per se?
[00:39:09] Rizzo: Yeah, I think a good amount, but I think I’ve really just tried to in this piece like carve out a description of the crypto market like itself as a system, right? Because if you start to think that like within other cryptocurrencies that there’s this idea of the market as a mediator, it sort of starts to feel like less like there are distinct cryptocurrencies. Really there’s like sort of an overall uniting philosophy behind it, right? You start to get these things that like unite these things like more generally. So I guess like, always, when you try to classify things, you look for the similarities and differences, right? And I think the attitude to the market on the sort of crypto agnostic side is much more that that is a valid rational market. It’s much more that the market is giving some data about what’s going on. But I think that’s really interesting, right? Because I think you see each of those subgroups also push back against that, right? Like you see the Ethereum supporters push back against Solana, right? Like they’ll argue that Solana actually isn’t that competitive against Ethereum. So even on one hand where they’re very differential to the market even on matters of like adjudicating user rights, they also like will appear dismissive of that market, right? Which is it, I guess, is like sort of becomes like kind of the end question, right?
Do you think the cryptocurrency market has some broader value? If you don’t then, I would argue that you know you probably shouldn’t leave someone’s right to money or their right to use some system up to that market, right? I mean, again, I can’t really answer that question. And I don’t even know if I can answer the question they originally asked other than just saying I think they start to feel like different things, right?
And I think within Bitcoin, it’s like, yes, there have been instances where we’ve looked to the market for guidance. There have been futures markets that have tried to tell us like which different features to add. But so far at least like there’s never been a case where somebody who didn’t want to upgrade to what the majority wanted has been disenfranchised. Again, that just starts to feel like a lot more fundamental. And I think you can sort of broadly refer to the other cryptocurrencies as are they systems where people are okay with the market disenfranchising people? And if they are, well, that’s fine. I mean, I guess you could argue that that outlook might be good. And I sort of end this piece really by just stating it as well. It’s like maybe there is an argument that this idea that the authority of the market should dictate people’s rights to money. Like maybe that is something new, right?
Like in Bitcoin, like you running the software gave you rights to money and that was new. And cryptocurrency at large, it seems like there’s this attitude of, “Well, it is the market’s recognition of you doing that that gives you the rights.” And I would just say that that’s like a very big difference actually. And why it’s a big difference is because if you’re relying on someone to recognize your rights or some group, I don’t know, it feels very different, right?
In Bitcoin, we have this assurance that we’re going to have absolutely always have the right to that money. So the assurance that I have the right to my money only so long as the market will tolerate me having access to that money starts to feel like a weaker assurance. So I kind of feel like you have to sort of start splitting the blocks or just like splitting the peas and carrots on the plate there, because that starts to feel like a very – You’re starting to like articulate two very different types of things.
[00:42:33] Pierre: All right. So I’m going to be a little bit devil’s advocate here, and I’m ready for Mr. Hoddle to accuse me of being a shitcoiner. But you brought up Ethereum and Solana. And couldn’t an argument be made that the rights the assurances, the guarantees, they are the result of time, of ossification and that Ethereum is trending towards having the same level of assurances that Bitcoin does. It’s just a matter of time and that you’re judging younger systems by the standards of a mature system, let’s say.
[00:43:09] Rizzo: Yeah. I think I don’t know if I can really answer that question, other than I just feel like the market will eventually. Eventually, we’ll see some data about that, I think, right? So yeah, and I think you’re right, right? I think the argument of the Ethereum system certainly to be respectful to how they’ve positioned, it was always that it was a beta project. The roadmap which they laid out in the beginning was quite expensive and that they’ve been moving along and they’ve sort of made the argument that they should be treated more as a beta product and until they get to their end vision. I mean, certainly I think you could be deferential to that in some degree. I think the problem sort of becomes like, “Well, there’s not a guarantee of that, right?” So equally it remains possible. Let’s just like play out a hypothetical situation. There’s some period where Ethereum sort of reaches like peak maturity and then they move to a platform of like allowing people to doing most of their changes by softworks, and therefore allowing people to write to dissent within that system. Like it’s theoretically possible I suppose. I just think you end up sort of in – One of the original divides here was is there a moral hazard like in managing these choices? So Ethereum will likely always continue to be a system in which a choice was made to invalidate someone’s right to money. And maybe in the future that is not the case or stops being the case. But I don’t know. You certainly have past precedent there, right? And I don’t know. These systems can be running for quite some time.
And I think one of the things that you start to think about is – Look, I’m certainly not one of those people who thinks Ethereum is going to blow up in the short term or anything like that. I think that what’s more likely to happen is that there’re just things that we don’t understand about these systems that accrue over time and they become very big before we really understand them. And there’s some sort of fundamental issue. And I see Hudson down there. So I’ll just cage this by saying like I’ve also felt that in the Ethereum community over the years of interacting at the conferences and things like that. You saw a lot of like early reluctance within that project for the price to increase like very rapidly like before they were far along the road map, right? There are just things that you can’t really guard against, right? So you start to maybe arrive at arguments where, I think, to your question, like nobody can answer that other than time will eventually answer that.
[00:45:22] Pierre: Well, I can answer it. I can answer it, right? And if I look at the immediate future and what they are doing with the Ethereum II project, I see them as becoming less ossified, right? That this is the biggest, most dramatic departure from Ethereum’s original protocol rules in its entire history. And so in my mind, the trend towards ossifying like Bitcoin has not begun yet. Maybe it’ll begin after they ship Ethereum 2. Or Ethereum 3 is next and it will once again completely change the underlying engineering of this system.
[00:46:02] Rizzo: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s totally like a valid concern, right? Again, I think that’s where these systems seem to attract people with similar mentality sort of things. And once you’ve done something a certain way, I mean, that’s sort of the argument of just the moral slipping, right? Like you excuse one thing one time, becomes easier to excuse another thing another time. And maybe eventually there are parties that exploit that for whatever reason who are not part of that initial group but then choose to knowing the past trajectory of the thing, like they just exploit that for their own gain, right? And I think that’s what makes it sort of a security hole.
But again, I think a lot of these arguments are sort of well-worn. I just think that they haven’t really resonated to your original point, right? It is still viewed as like a technical argument. And that’s why I was sort of key to like hone in on, “Okay, well –” Again, like there’s only so many different ways to compare different cryptocurrency systems, right? Like you can make economic arguments, you can make arguments about the decentralization of their networks, you can make arguments about their launch and that. I think the rights argument perhaps like could be one that is stronger because we have such scene, such an uptick to it, right? Like I think everybody here would probably agree that that has been one of the most powerful narratives for Bitcoin, right? I just don’t think we’ve maybe thought about enough or extrapolated enough to make the argument of why the other cryptocurrencies also don’t fit that distinction, right? Because I think for a lot of people, like it’s just not immediately clear, right? You could almost – Again, this is not being dismissive of the work, but like you could take an Alex Gladstein article. You could replace the word Bitcoin with Ethereum. And I think in a lot of cases like the article would read pretty similarly, right? So I think it gets to this idea that I think people at least at this point like sort of understand that cryptocurrencies achieve something broadly, right? I just don’t think that they’ve maybe even kind of crossed the chasm of like, “Okay, well what is it that –” I don’t know, it’s just such a tough argument, right? That they’re not all the same, right? Because that feels very much like where we’re at, and I feel this the most in the groups like I’m part of some journalism groups like in the space, in the cryptocurrency space, right? Again, it is always the cryptocurrency space. It is always there covering the cryptocurrency market. You just see that this is like kind of inherent lens has like cast over the industry.
And look, I don’t know if we can break that lens, but I mean that lens is like very much the default view. So if you can make an argument of like why – And again, this is sort of what I set out to do, which is like why is there no neutrality? And I don’t think there is neutrality in cryptocurrencies. Ultimately, these systems like have some tradeoffs. They just inherently do. So if you start to view these things as competing financial systems, then it’s sort of the question I think this is like the right question to emphasize is what is your attitude towards those rights? Like are you completely indifferent to them or do you care about them? And I think that’s perhaps something that could maybe be effective. Because, again, like if the current state is neutrality, if it’s just all these things are the same, well then likely like we have to sort of do something to like chip away that or challenge that. And again, maybe we have done all that already in different ways, but maybe in a way that like kind of feels more immediate to people, because I do think that like – I don’t know. There definitely is this idea of neutrality that cryptocurrencies are all the same, but this is a market, these are all stocks and bonds. One of these numbers, like the Dogecoin is not different than the Bitcoin or whatever. That to me just it feels like we should be beyond that at this point, right? That argument feels like I don’t even know how we have ended up there other than through just that people continue to still be confused about this.
[00:49:35] Pierre: Well, it seems to me that that one of the ways that folks have tried to break out of that neutrality to date is digital gold versus world computer and using metaphorical narratives in order to disabuse people of the neutrality. And I see a lot of overlap with your approach. It’s just very different words and concepts. But really –
[00:50:00] Rizzo: Well, I mean like the digital gold argument, I mean, I think is an interesting one, because I don’t like to consider Bitcoin as digital gold. I understand politically why that is an attractive framing for Bitcoin both as a sort of Trojan horse narrative and also as just something that conceptually does actually describe the technology in some ways. But I don’t know. I think you know it is also a financial system, right? Like that is I think a true characterization of what Bitcoin is. Otherwise, why are we building Lightning? Why does Taproot exist, right? We are sort of coming to the point where I think the financial system and the larger Bitcoin economy is hopefully the work of everyone here going to become more obvious hopefully. So then I don’t know how useful that becomes, right?
And I think it is useful today, right? I think, certainly, conceiving a Bitcoin as a digital gold has been helpful, but I think it’s also aided this idea that like, “Okay, well, Bitcoin is digital gold. So all these other things, like they must be different things. They have to be different because Bitcoin is gold. Like it’s a gold, and all these other things are different things.”
Again, I don’t know how true that is, right? Certainly a lot of the stuff that has been built on Ethereum today like was originally built on Bitcoin. Top layer protocols that sit on top of the blockchain where first appeared on Bitcoin. Not fungible tokens first appeared on Bitcoin. A lot of this stuff has precedent. And it feels like we’re still working on those things and that they’re not going away and that we want to in some ways accommodate them again. So I guess not entirely sure what people’s feelings are on that, but that sort of feels like the way that it’s going.
Well, in that case, like if Bitcoin is a financial system, it sort of becomes I think – You sort of have to start describing, “Okay, well, what separates the Bitcoin financial system from the crypto financial system?” And again, I think you sort of arrive at these like fundamental things, which is that both groups have pretty radically different attitudes towards user rights and they seem to both have different attitudes towards the crypto market. And then I don’t know how much more about those differences we’re going find out, but it certainly seems like they’re starting to appear.
[00:52:10] Pierre: All right. Well, we could try to take some questions from the audience.
[00:52:13] Rizzo: Yeah, I think we’ve had some people that had requests for a bit. So I think that’s cool with me if anybody wants to raise their hand and chat about anything. Just going to add some people.
[00:52:24] Pierre: I do have one more question for you as well.
[00:52:27] Rizzo: Yeah, sure.
[00:52:28] Pierre: How does the toxicity fit into this, right? That you’ve driven away all the innovation with these very disagreeable Bitcoin maximalists and that’s why people are not building on top of Bitcoin. It’s just a hostile – A developer unfriendly environment.
[00:52:47] Rizzo: Yeah. Well, I mean, how do you explain the Lightning network then I guess is sort of becomes the equal argument, right? It certainly seems that in a lot of ways the Bitcoin developer ecosystems much healthier than it’s been in past years by a good amount of good percentages, right? So I think that’s how you start answering that, right? I mean, it just becomes clear that the “toxicity” isn’t actually really discouraging. It’s just sort of self-selecting people who meet a certain ideology, right? I don’t know. Look, I think the toxicity thing, you hear it a lot. Certainly, people react to it. I’ve had different reactions to it over the years. I was someone who took the burden of a lot of toxicity early on. I’m sure a lot of people here like have yelled at me at various times for various things. Just looking at the audience, that seems very true, right?
But like you, still as a person, like have the agency to react to that, right? So I think what always confused me was I was like, “Okay, well, that’s interesting.” When I publish something about these cryptocurrencies, there’s a certain reaction. And then I publish something about Bitcoin, I get another reaction, right? So you sort of have to just, I think, extrapolate that and go from there, right? Certainly, I don’t think all the criticism I received over the years was within the context of my job like Warren said, right? But you have to understand that’s like how people are looking at it, right? So you’re starting to get to other questions here about like what is the role of the press and like what are they supposed to be doing?
It was a really tough conversation with the cryptocurrency journalism group the other day where people were sort of starting to talk about how congress like doesn’t understand cryptocurrencies and then, yeah, the journalists don’t understand the cryptocurrencies who are recovering them. And like, well, are the cryptocurrency journalists like – You’re just writing stories. You’re just there to get the next story, right? So there’s just like inherent business model limitations to these things. I think I’m rambling a little bit. Again, I think you can choose to react to things differently, right? So anyone who’s going to get criticism and then not try to address it personally in some way, that is a character thing, right? That is that people are going to react. I mean, some people are just going to do that and other people will take that criticism and they’ll internalize it and they’ll make some determination to change what they’re doing or to understand what they did originally that upset that person in whatever way, right? So I don’t know. I’ve never looked at toxicity as negative. I’ve benefited pretty substantially from it over the years just in terms of being personally intellectually challenged about a lot of things.
And even just this argument or this idea that Bitcoin is a system of different financial rights for the user, I don’t know, it’s taken me a really long time and internalize this argument, right? I don’t think I’m the one who created this. I think that most of the developers seem to believe something similar to this. I’m not sure that they’ve articulated maybe something as robust, right? But it seems like a general attitude that I’ve developed or I’ve detected over the years.
Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, certainly, Bitcoin like is something we’re all learning about and certain people are going to go to more lengths to like try to figure out what they don’t understand about something, right? I mean, I often sit around and wonder whether I’ve done that too much and whether I completely don’t understand it and will never understand it and whether I just completely give up like in terms of writing anything. But I don’t know. Again, it comes down to like the personal decision of like how you react to something like that, right?
So I got some new faces up here. Any of the speakers want to say anything or –
[00:56:07] CK: Yeah. Wait. So we have Reggie and we have D++. Let’s try to keep these serious questions regarding or comments regarding this conversation. Reggie, why don’t you start?
[00:56:18] Reggie: Okay. Thank you. Hello, everybody. It’s more of a comment than a question. I think it’s obvious that development has been relatively slack in Bitcoin and referring to the Lightning network as a rebuttal to the argument of chasing a developer’s way. It just doesn’t seem like a strong argument. Look at the Lightning network compared to all the development and activity on Ethereum, which has been predated by Bitcoin. It’s not even close. And the Lightning network is growing quickly now, but still relatively slow. And it was built upon patented technology. So there’s just not a lot of development growth or intellectual capital growth in the Bitcoin space, whether it’s from Bitcoin maximalism and toxicity –
[00:57:03] Speaker: Reggie, how are you not in jail right now? That’s what I want to know. How are you not locked up?
[00:57:08] Reggie: Okay. So we’re going to go there. Why should I be in jail?
[00:57:13] Speaker: No. I mean, if it’s up to me, you wouldn’t be in jail. None of these scams would be in jail. I’m just curious how you’re not locked up right now. Last I heard you were going to court and you had a whole thing going on.
[00:57:23] Reggie: Right. And so – Wait, wait, wait. If he makes an allegation, it should be addressed, okay?
[00:57:29] Speaker: I’m just asking a question. I’m just asking a question.
[00:57:32] Reggie: Okay. And I’m giving you the answer if you give me the opportunity to speak. Thank you. Okay. So that’s unethical, number one, okay?
[00:57:39] Speaker: Yeah, I’m not very ethical.
[00:57:41] Reggie: Okay. So as I was saying, right? I’ve been adjudicated of no scams, okay? I have never said I committed a scam. What you see is the aggression of a regulatory body going after many people in the space, but for some reason you find the need to segregate me and be derogatory.
[00:58:02] Speaker: I promise you’re not special here. I promise you. I treat all you the same.
[00:58:06] Reggie: Okay. I’m sorry. I thought you were – Rizzo, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Pete. I thought I can’t tell who was speaking. So I’m going to try and ignore that. I addressed it. There’s no reason for me to be in jail because I did nothing criminal, and I didn’t commit any scams, etc. So now to address Bitcoin and the development race and how far it’s coming, my comment is development has been slack in the Bitcoin space, okay?
[00:58:32] Rizzo: Well, I mean, Reggie, I’ll just give you an example, right? So this came up early. I think it sounds like you’re someone who kind of believes in the crypto asset theory that there are many cryptocurrencies and they’re doing many different things, right? Look, I understand that lens, and I understand that viewpoint, but you can look at the arguments that were made there, right? There was many attempts to try to sort of build systems that would measure how these different cryptocurrencies were developing. A great example of this argument that you’re making about developers is that Zcash had many developers. There’re many developers working on Zcash. There’re all these developers working on Zcash. By every metric they had more than most of these other crypto assets and things. Nothing really ever came of that it seems, right? Like there was nothing or anything built there. So just because you’re attracting developers like doesn’t really mean that you’re really building anything, right? And I think in a lot of cases it’s – Again, this sort of goes down to the core of what we’re talking about is that, within Bitcoin, we’ve built Lightning is an entirely different system. I mean, you’re literally moving Bitcoin into an entirely – Removing it from the consensus limitations of Bitcoin into an entirely different system in which it operates by entirely different rules, yet that economic activity actually enhances the overall Bitcoin economy while still respecting the limitations of the 21 million coin supply. Which is, again, like going back to kind of the rights of users in Bitcoin, you have the right to your money, and you have the right to know how much money there is, you have the right to audit that money supply, right?
Again, in Bitcoin, we built this entire structure that like removes Bitcoin or any of these limitations while still respecting the rights of the users to the highest degree that it was originally enacted. And if you look at what happened in a lot of these other cryptocurrencies, and you’re referencing Ethereum specifically, sure, there are more developers building more things there and they’re offering you the ability to do more things with your money potentially, right? But again, they’re not building within the same constraints that Bitcoin is. Bitcoin is building with a greater guarantee towards the rights of the user than these other systems.
And again, if you look at all the development activity, just because you have development activity that doesn’t really mean that anything useful is going to be created. There’s no guarantee that any of the systems that these people are building are going to do what they say they’re going to do or they’re going to work as they say they’re going to do whether the market is going to want or need them at all. I mean, [inaudible 01:00:50], a person who’s built many cryptocurrency projects. What is the utility of those projects? I don’t know. What has been built on them? What have they achieved that other things have not achieved? So I would just encourage you to start asking like maybe some questions about this.
I understand that the investor viewpoint on cryptocurrencies has like largely been shaped by looking at the activity developers. But on some level, you might want to start thinking about that these developers might not have any more answers than you do about like what they’re doing or why they’re doing it or what they’re trying to achieve. And no one’s guaranteeing that they’re going to achieve anything. Bitcoin’s been a system that’s been running for 12 years. And because of Lightning, over the last four years now, operates an entirely different way and it solves a lot of the issues that we’ve been working on for years in a way where nobody actually had to like take any reduction in use of rights. Nobody was disenfranchised through that development path. So I don’t know. Pierre, I don’t know if you want to answer that.
[01:01:40] Pierre: Well. I also think that there’s a spectrum you know we use the word developer and it’s an all-encompassing word, when really there’s a lot more to unpack there. So if we look at fundamental protocol research, and I would put Taproot in that category, it raises the question of first of all is Taproot from an engineering protocol research perspective “more advanced” than anything going on any other chain? And I would argue that, yes, it is.
And we’ve heard the argument made that these other blockchains, these other cryptocurrencies are something that we can draw inspiration from and learn from and bring the innovation into Bitcoin, and yet Taproot came from Bitcoin protocol researchers, people who’ve been working on Bitcoin for the better part of a decade, some of them longer than a decade at this juncture. And so I think that it’s really easy to look at the surface level and say, “Hey, look, there’re people who are deploying smart contracts onto this chain and there’s a lot of them, and there’s this activity going on. But then if it’s completely unscalable and on top of that, the economics of it are completely unsustainable. And it’s basically something that’s being subsidized by senior edge and marketing,” then it doesn’t persuade me that there’s a lot of “developer activity”, or maybe there is a lot of it but there’s a trade-off there with the quality of it.
And that if we think about it long term, I think that it would have been too soon for application developers to build on top of the Bitcoin protocol before Taproot, and that I anticipate the amount of application development on top of Bitcoin to accelerate with the activation of Taproot whether it’s with smart contracts, DLCs, with oracles or with more advanced functionality on the Lightning network. And yeah, I don’t see that as being where we should be racing with each other to get low quality applications developed.
[01:03:47] Rizzo: Yeah. I mean, I think to maybe just bounce off that. I mean, the activity has to be evaluated within the constraints, right? Like within Ethereum and these other systems, this is where it becomes helpful to start looking at behaviors in aggregate, right? So Ethereum offered the developers the ability to build whole new systems, launch new coins within the systems and then essentially within a push of a couple buttons set up new – Essentially change the economics of the Ethereum system, right? So in Bitcoin, the developers built to a higher standard, right? They built to the higher standard of respecting the rights of users not just to the money, not just to the private keys for their money, but to the ability for those users to have the right to have a known supply and to know the issuance and to know what the Bitcoin economy is, right?
Again, I think if you look at from that perspective, not only has Bitcoin achieved a lot even just putting Lightning in a box, but they’ve also done it to a higher degree of engineering and that they actually have found a way to accommodate this activity without invalidating or removing some other benefit that was there previously. Again, I think that you have to sort of look at that.
Again, this is why I think like it’s sort of misleading to kind of look at the cryptocurrency system as this like great enabler of freedoms, because the freedom is kind of fairly limited to like you being able to trade or move value through all these different types of coins. And like, ultimately – I don’t know. I don’t think we know that that is actually going to be behavior that is impactful or matters in the long term. I mean, you certainly saw this with Ethereum at the point that they were kind of three layers deep within their system during the DeFi summer period, right? You had multi-token protocols being launched on Ethereum and then you had application level tokens that were bundling these primitives or whatever kind of things they were calling them. And the economic relationships between these things started to break down, right?
So yeah, there’s been a lot of activity on Ethereum. But in some cases I’m amazed by like how both groups are still kind of playing in the similar sandboxes, right? I mean, Ethereum is still trying to stand up some of these layer two systems. Bitcoin is getting there, and in some cases like in El Salvador, it’s certainly already live, right?
I think, Ethereum, when you saw these systems really getting stacked up on each other, the economics of the systems just started to not work like with Wi-Fi and YAMs and all these types of things, right? So I don’t know. Again, like activity is not really an indicator of anything. You have to kind of keep in mind what you’re building.
[01:06:11] Speaker: I find this whole question so bizarre, because as someone who’s been developer, who’s been trying to follow Bitcoin for a long time, the amount of development going on has gotten so vast, I can’t even follow it anymore. Try going to the Bitcoin mailing list and just reading every single post there keeping up with it, it’s a full-time job. I mean, the idea that Bitcoin development has slowed, just totally absurd. And just I think it’s somebody who is not looking at where development’s happening and they’re pretending it’s not there. It’s like putting your head in the sand and being like, “Oh, why is there no sky?”
[01:06:39] Pierre: Shout out to the Bitcoin Optech newsletter. Go subscribe to their newsletter. It’ll give you a chance of maybe keeping up with the tip of the iceberg. But you’re right, that it is impossible to keep up with all of the development activity going on in the Bitcoin ecosystem.
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[01:10:59] Speaker: Hi, guys. Can I speak?
[01:11:01] Pierre: Sure.
[01:11:02] Gideon: Okay. Well, just to answer the implied question on the topic against crypto why Bitcoin only. I’d suggest to say that there’s a learning curve with all cryptocurrencies. And even with Bitcoin, I think it took me a while to appreciate the depth and the revolution that it offers just, one, the custody of your own currency; two, anonymity. I’m not so sure how that works or to what extent it’s anonymous. And then the third, the decentralized ledger.
And when Rizzo was speaking, it’s true. Just sort of like been this question implied about toxicity and whatnot. And I was just thinking currency in general, not just crypto. It’s a social construct, right? I mean, the only reason why currency has utility is as far as we can use it in our society to trade things for value, or storing things of value, or just exchanging stuff.
And I must confess that, personally, I’ve been struggling to keep up with what we’d say are the Bitcoin maximals. And I don’t want to say they’re just toxic for no reason. But in the extent that we try to think about crypto or even Bitcoin in our society, right? Let’s think about the coin exchanges. How many people get onboarded onto Bitcoin? Because back in 209, you could get Bitcoin by mining through your PC. And these days I’m not so sure how feasible that is. You probably just like need like ASIC machines and stuff. So what? You need a coin exchange and you need to buy Bitcoin. But then this exists on top of the existing fiat currency system, right? And we are offering Bitcoin as sort of like this alternative.
But the truth is it’s an alternative, yes, but there’s some relationship there. And governments, apart from the fact that they have no control over Bitcoin, they are concerned over money laundering and even as far as we want to use Bitcoin as a store value, as an asset class, or as a currency, this is issue of taxation. And this is why I just want to have, let’s call it a safe space, to discuss the ambitions that we want for Bitcoin and to sort of like square that with a reality. Is it really possible to have something that’s an asset or a currency that ignores its interoperability with like other systems for either tax collection or just like know your client protocols just so that we don’t have terrorist shifting money in between. And I just find myself in conflict there because I am really for the great advantages that Bitcoin possesses, but I just don’t see how we can have mass adoption if we don’t sort of like address those issues. And sometimes I enter into spaces with Bitcoin maxies and people talked me down so much. They tell me, “Hey, Gideon, why don’t you go research about what Bitcoin –”
[01:13:50] CK: Hey. Well, let’s not use this space as a space to complain about people talking down, but I do think that that’s an interesting question. Rizzo or Pierre, do you want to address the comment?
[01:14:02] Pierre: Yeah, I feel talked down to right now. But I think that you’re –
[01:14:06] Gideon: Sorry.
[01:14:06] Pierre: No. You’re fine. I’m kidding. You make a point, sir. Ultimately, I think that the toxic response to the concerns you raised is that the government can try, right? They can try to add KYC. They can try to add tax compliance on top of Bitcoin, but we’re not going to do it for them, and they have to get us to adopt their software, and that’s just not going to happen. And so just structurally, there isn’t really anything that can be done with regards to the Bitcoin protocol in terms of connecting it into the fiat world in that way and that it really is the fiat world itself that will have to adapt and governments will have to find a way to make a living without stealing people’s money.
[01:14:52] D++: Yeah, if I may just chime in here some interesting questions. I think if we kind of look at the history of humanity for thousands upon thousands of years, people have transacted privately with other folks without being surveilled. The idea that our financial activity is surveilled is quite new. I believe it was only in the 70s that this started, and of course it has continued to increase. So the idea of KYC being your customer, it might seem like we’re doing things like protecting folks from terrorism and that kind of thing. And if that were the case, I would be all for it. But the problem is it actually breeds terrorism. And here’s why.
So with the KYC laws, as they are, there are actually billions of people as a result that are shut out of financial services. So they are either unbanked, meaning they can’t have a bank account at all, or they’re underbanked, meaning they have very limited access to financial services. And if these folks are the victims of totalitarian regimes, what that means is they have no way out. They have no way of saving. They have no way of leaving, and they’re stuck. So those folks, as I’m sure you can probably imagine, often turn to violence. So if we actually can remove these totalitarian laws, it’ll actually decrease and not increase violence worldwide.
And that said, the question is about taxing. I think El Salvador is a really great case study for that, because El Salvador has made Bitcoin legal tender, Bitcoin is just the money. So you don’t have to pay taxes on your money just as money because that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. And so that’s the way I see Bitcoin and that’s why I think it doesn’t make sense to tax Bitcoin itself.
[01:16:36] CK: Hey, just real quick in terms of etiquette. After people make their comment or question, I am removing you. There’re a lot of people requesting to get on stage. So just trying to maintain civility on stage. So [inaudible 01:16:49] requesting. I think you’ve had your question. Same with you, Reggie. D++, what are your thoughts or comments regarding this conversation in general?
[01:16:59] D++: Oh yeah, you can feel free to move me back to the audience if you need to make some space. I was just here to talk about Bitcoin versus crypto.
[01:17:06] CK: No. Yeah, let’s switch back to that, right? So in terms of this conversation, I do really love the thought that Rizzo kind of highlights that like Bitcoin is very unique than all other crypto, because it’s about the user flat out, like no question. I think there’s been a lot of ways that Bitcoiners have tried to articulate this. The man in the coma can wake up and his keys are still his keys. There’s a lot of different ways that Bitcoins are trying to articulate this idea. But I feel like Rizzo and this paper has really articulated it very cleanly on this differentiator of why Bitcoin is special and of its own thing. I’m curious if you have any comments on that. Or if Dustin, Tomer, Mike have any comments.
[01:17:48] Tomer: I mean, I’m happy to say something. Pete and I did exchange a couple of direct messages earlier today on his really interesting article. And I think he’s hit the nail largely on the head. So not to disagree. I thought he was a little bit generous to the camp that is crypto agnostic insofar as there was a painting of it as those systems are majority rule systems I think is what the article said a couple of times. And in fact, it’s hard to know what a majority is in many of these systems because the identities of cryptographic keys. Anyone can spin up a hundred million votes if the votes are how many identities or how many addresses you have. So we don’t have that as a way of determining what the majority is.
Again, even before I just – I would say I don’t think that majority rules is a fair system. It is the majority exploiting the minority. So the whole point of rights is they protect minorities, right? Not that they are different ways for majorities to exploit minorities. But what we actually end up seeing is not even that there’s a majority rule in a lot of these other cryptos. What we end up with are different governance mechanisms, which may be hiding under some kind of majority. So with Ethereum, when they voted, and I’m making air quotes on rolling back the DAO, there were just a handful of votes, and it was deemed to be democratic. But when they recently had these accidental hard forks, it wasn’t that they went with the chain that had the most number of people voting for it. You would say, “Well, maybe they went with the chain that had the most mining on it. But my understanding is if that wasn’t the case either even, they ended up going with the chain that the developers said was the right new reference client.” So it’s a very small subset of people who are actually the ones with the votes are the majority. And in the case – I think in the case of Ethereum, often, we actually have a majority of the Vitaliks. So if the one Vitalik says this is the way we’re going, that’s the way everybody ends up being taken ultimately.
[01:19:51] Rizzo: I mean, I’ll take it from there. I mean, I 100% agree with you. And I think I led by saying I do agree with the criticism that this was very charitable. But one of the interesting things about making an argument where you sort of give the counter view like a very charitable deference is I think like you end up sort of seeing that let’s just even assume that these other cryptocurrencies essentially function the by majority rule. Like how do you not end up with the types of systems that are essentially we’re trying to avoid, right? So sort of three camps here being you sort of end up with some system of governance. And Bitcoin, your right to money is an absolute right. Like it exists entirely and can never be revoked. As soon as you’re in some other system where your right can be revoked by someone, like this is where the crypto system and the fiat system start to seem very similar, right?
And I think the issue here that I think both groups I think should rightly have, like from the fiat perspective, like they’re saying – And I call this out in the piece. Like the fiat perspective is pretty simple to understand, right? They just don’t think the private market should issue money. And they think that democratic states should be able to manage money in the public interest, right? Because you can follow the train of thought there by saying elected officials represent users, elected officials make decisions, and therefore the majority’s opinion about what should happen in fiat currency is sort of what’s enacted. And I think why I actually like that comparison is because, I agree with you, that in most cases on these other cryptocurrency systems, it is absolutely not the case where there’s a significant majority that is making these decisions. It’s probably a small collusive minority.
But even in instances where it was like a large majority, you’re still dealing with a system where the majority of some group can take away your rights. I think the issue here is that the cryptocurrency people – And this is the thing that I feel like they’ve kind of slipped under the rug, is that they feel like it’s okay for the market to rescind the users rights but not okay for the government to rescind user rights. And that’s where it gets like really confusing, because there’s a weird moral conundrum there [inaudible 01:21:56] actually rescinding someone’s rights or imposing the cost that they start an entirely new cryptocurrency or use another cryptocurrency in order to redeem those rights or to recognize their rights, right? So I think that’s where it sort of starts to be like, “Okay, well, clearly there’s something here with these other cryptocurrencies where they’re doing something that isn’t Bitcoin. Because in Bitcoin, we do have this right to dissent.” Like you do not have to agree to the majority’s rules. Like you do not have to upgrade to Taproot like if you do not want to. And no one is going to rescind your rights to Bitcoin.
Again, like that just something that does not seem to exist at all in these other places. And so I guess this is – I think you have to start with the charitable argument, because even the charitable argument is weak. If at best all you’ve done is reconstruct democratic style majority governance of over money, but you’ve actually removed all the public oversight, that happens in the current system today, and just kind of handed that over to the market to decide, then what does that say about your moral choices? And I feel like the answer is it says a lot. Like it says a lot about your attitude towards things.
[01:23:09] Tomer: Yeah. So I’m in complete agreement with you. I just will wrap up with a quick one on leave the stage. I think Bitcoin was this advancement. It was a step forward. They did exactly what you just described, which is it guarantees the rights that are promised in it to every individual irrevocably. That was the advance, right? And anything that no longer does that isn’t a new advancement. It’s a regression back to what we’ve had before. Like I think that really encapsulates for me when I look at all these other projects to say, “Oh, I’ve seen that before. That’s the fiat money system. Or that’s the corrupt system.”
[01:23:44] Rizzo: Well, I mean, to be honest, I think my worry is that we’re going to find out these systems are even worse. My real big worry I think is you’re going to see the mass scale migration to these systems before we even understand the problems. And this is why like my – Privately, I’ve talked about this a bit with different people, is like my worry about Ethereum and these other type systems is they get very large, like much larger before they start to see any real type failure conditions, because the kind of things that you’re talking about with the problems are if they’re fundamentally weaker on user rights, like if it is true that these systems like from the standpoint of user rights offer no greater guarantees than we have with government monies but then replace the government with some organization that is like even less accountable, that’s where it sort of starts to get feeling like, “Okay, we all sort of understand there’s something wrong with what’s going on in the alternative cryptocurrencies even if some of us like can’t really quite define it yet.”
[01:24:36] Tomer: So can I just ask a question then, Pete, because I think –
[01:24:39] CK: Hey, really quick. We do have a hard stop in 10 minutes. So Tomer, if we keep this one brief and then [inaudible 01:24:45].
[01:24:45] Tomer: Very brief question. Very brief question. Well, I’ll ask the question and I’ll leave the stage when I ask it. I’ll stick around for the answer. Do you think that the people who are coming into these systems that are poorly governed aren’t aware of the poor governance but have made the choice?
[01:24:58] Rizzo: Oh yeah, Absolutely no idea. There’s no way they have any idea, because they’re not even viewing it like that. They’re just picking a random number on the charts. It’s like if you walked into a horse race and you bet on lucky seven because it was your favorite number or like they had a green harness or something. Yeah, I really don’t think that there’s – But that’s sort of the problem, right? And I think this is where if you’re starting to argue against neutrality, if this this default view of like all these systems are the same, you have to sort of start with like, “Okay, well, why are they different?” And I think the strongest difference between Bitcoin and these other systems is not really the economics. It’s not the decentralization of the network. It’s not even really like the immaculate conception launch type things. I mean, I agree that these are all great fundamental differences. Again, I feel like the user rights perspective, it’s like there’s some things to that argument, right? I just feel like it’s very appealing. And I think it kind of strikes to why we’re all here.
I understand why it’s been difficult to articulate. And I’ll even kind of like open the conversation with – I think one of the reasons why people have been like kind of afraid to like put this out maybe is that there is sort of a technical concern. Like maybe we do reach a point where we do have to hard fork with Bitcoin for some reason, right? So I feel like there’s been a reticence to like kind of talk about this like right to dissent like we have because we can currently advance Bitcoin and soft forks. But even there’s like the kind of this little thing in the back of people’s heads, which is like, “Oh, maybe this isn’t absolute. Like maybe for some reason somewhere down the line we find out we need to do this for some reason.” And let’s just say it’s like an end of days type scenario.
So I feel like that’s why people are kind of scared to talk about it. And I think I finally had a comfort level with this where I started to think about it of like, “Okay, well, if ultimately Bitcoin is like only the best system we’ve ever created to ensure user financial rights, then maybe it exists sort of as this ideal,” right? Where it’s like it’s sort of asking like – So Erik Voorhees who reviewed the piece. He like sort of brought up that question, like, “What would happen if Bitcoin had to hard fork? Like what if there is the doomsday scenario?” And I think the answer to that is it’s sort of like asking what happens if democracy is threatened and like the United States is invaded and you need to appoint a dictator. Does democracy still exist?
And I think, yes, it is enough for an ideal to exist, and it is enough to aspire to an ideal, and it is enough to work like every day to carry out that ideal even if under certain kinds of conditions that might not exist, because I don’t know how that’s different from any other human aspirational system. Like democracy is the exact same way. There’s like no guarantee that democracy will exist forever. There’s no ultimate guarantee of it. And I think maybe I think where I hit with that argument is that if that is the case with Bitcoin like where maybe this argument that we can protect user rights the greatest extent, maybe let’s just even say there’s that scenario where we can’t actually still enable that. I don’t know. Then at least it’s the greater thing to aspire to even if it’s not absolute.
[01:27:48] Speaker: Yeah. I just want to add to the do Ethereum people know what they’re investing in? And I think what you see is a classic example of it is that Bitcoiners, a lot of them will steal man better arguments for these Ethereum other people better than themselves. Like, “All right. The argument doesn’t make any sense. Let’s pretend it made sense and argue against that.” And you see the opposite with Ethereum.
Like one of the common narrative you hear from Ethereum these days is that the Lightning network is centralized and wrap Bitcoin is not, which is factually exactly the opposite. So it’s one of those things where if the other side is willing to lie and cheat and you take them out their word, they’re always going to sound like they’re better.
[01:28:22] CK: All right. So, hey, really quick. I want to keep this one tight. We’re going to need to take two more comments. I’m going to go with Matt, and then let’s go with Donna. And then let’s treat these like rapid fires.
[01:28:32] Speaker: Okay, great. Let’s finish them out.
[01:28:34] Pierre: Mike, Don. Or let’s go Matt, Donna, Mike, rapid fire questions for Mr. Rizzo.
[01:28:39] Matt: I’ll make it quick. Thanks. Thoughts on SOVRYN. I saw Eden Yago is making the YouTube rounds again. He’s already done Pomp’s podcast like twice. The SOVRYN, the “side chain of Bitcoin”, but yet they insist that they need an ERC token, I guess, for governance. But your thoughts please.
[01:28:58] Rizzo: Yeah. Honestly, I haven’t looked into it enough to have any real opinion. The stacks is like a similar thing that I also would say like I don’t have a significant opinion on. I mean, look, I certainly understand why people – Again, if you sort of look at it from a user right perspective, you’re sort of undermining right to the known money supply, the right that Bitcoin provides. But look, I don’t know. I mean, I think this sort of gets into like where do you see the Bitcoin economy developing. And is there a zero tolerance policy to these other types of coins? Pierre might be able to answer that better than I can.
I mean, I still think – I guess I would say that without having looked at any of these systems at all, I understand why people are upset about them, because they do seem to undermine one of the guarantees of Bitcoin that other systems have built around and respected.
[01:29:47] Pierre: Yeah, zero tolerance, those are scams.
[01:29:49] CK: All right, let’s go Don now.
[01:29:51] Donna: Hi. thank you so much for inviting me up. So in the onslaught that we’re seeing of regulatory limelight, what do you worry most about for Bitcoin potential regulation? I asked that so that we could concentrate our efforts in trying to kind of scale that back with the regulatory ecosystem. Let’s focus on the U.S., because it’s too big to focus globally.
[01:30:18] Rizzo: Yeah. I mean, to be honest, like I don’t really think about the regulatory stuff too much. I know that’s a shitty answer, but I’ve really struggled to continue to care about it over the years. So I just feel like it’s just so behind from where things are at, right? Like if you think that dealing with the cryptocurrency journalists are getting [inaudible 01:30:33] is bad. I mean, the politicians, like it might be even worse. I mean, I’ve been encouraged by how many of the like smaller politicians are now backing Bitcoin and supporting it. And I think that’s really encouraging.
I mean, again, I think the issue continues to become like it’s like do we let everybody continue thinking that cryptocurrencies are all one group of things, right? Like is it – And that there’s no difference between these systems? I think like my wish would be that financial regulators like understand that the rights that you have within the Bitcoin system are arguably greater than you have in any other cryptocurrency, like full stop. Start from there. Start from like the actual thing that is different. And then whatever they want to make of that distinction, like I don’t care. But if you prove that there are two things instead of one thing, then, I don’t know, my attitude is sort of let the world make what they will of that. But let’s at least agree that these are separate things. I don’t know what like you should classify a lot of these cryptocurrency things as. But I know that they are not Bitcoin and I know that they are two different classes of things. And I don’t know. That should be enough for those people to carry on with some greater degree of understanding, I think. I don’t know. Pierre?
[01:31:43] Pierre: Yeah. I think that governments don’t have a great track record themselves with regards to the rights of their or of these citizens, the people. So they don’t really have a leg to stand on. And I also think that the dynamics are going to be such that in the U.S., where I’m most familiar with deregulatory environment, I think that Gary Gensler and the SEC and whatnot, they might technically be correct that some of these things are securities. But ultimately, people want them. And they’re seeing this with their XRP litigation with Ripple. It could end up being the case that this backfires and that the SED finds itself on the defensive and that they do not succeed at even going after things that are DINO, right, decentralized in name only, because there is just a wide swath of the population that has bags, for lack of a better word. And these other cryptocurrencies end up being very useful as a way of shielding anything close to a hostile regulatory action against Bitcoin in the United States.
I mean, I know that in China, the Chinese, the communist party, they kicked all the Bitcoin miners out and all that. So that’s a different story. And I’m sure that Europe is somewhere in between communist China and the United States. So we’ll see how that goes.
[01:33:14] CK: All right, y’all. So this about hits the time. Rizzo, I want to give you a shot at a last word and let’s close this one out.
[01:33:20] Rizzo: Yeah, appreciate the questions, appreciate the time to speak, Pierre. Thanks for asking some good stuff. Hope you guys check out the article on Forbes. It’s called Against Cryptocurrency: The Ethical Argument for Bitcoin Maximalism. And again, just trying to get it out there that I think Bitcoin is stronger on user rights than other cryptocurrency systems. I think it’s an argument we should make more, because, look, I think at the end of the day, like most people want to support the rights of others. And if we can articulate as we have done why Bitcoin is more kind of ethical or moral than the fiat system, I think we can get to the bottom of how to do it against the cryptocurrencies as well, because certainly they’ve been great at obfuscating and equating what they’re doing with Bitcoin. And there’s a whole apparatus industries that are seeking to forward that equation. Anyway, yeah, appreciate the forum and thanks everyone who checked in.
[01:34:09] CK: Yeah, I love your work, man. Thanks for putting out there.
[01:34:11] Rizzo: Thanks bud, appreciate it.
[01:34:14] CK: We need more Rizzo. But this one’s a great one. A lot of digest here. Read it on Forbes. And y’all can find this, a recording of this entire conversation on Bitcoin Magazine YouTube and in your podcast player at Bitcoin Spaces Live. So check that out. And with that, let’s close it out.
Hint: Beyond Bitcoin, it’s ALL shitcoin.
I often get asked about “which crypto” is a good one to invest in. Of course, my answer is always bitcoin. Period.
In this article I’d like to lay out the rationale from three angles:
They all weave into and build on top of each other. If you’re a Bitcoiner, I hope this reminds you of why we’re here. If you’re a no- or multi-coiner, I hope this helps you along the path and also to realize why Bitcoiners are so adamant about it.
It’s not close-mindedness, but an arrival to a point of truth. We have one chance to take down the Goliath. Wasting time on distractions doesn’t help you, me or anybody else for that matter.
On a long enough time frame, every single government issued money, cryptocurrency, stock, bond, property or asset of any kind will trend toward zero when priced in the hardest, most liquid, sound money that’s ever emerged.
And it won’t happen by the fiat decree of some organization or institution. It will happen by pure economic natural selection, or what I like to call “Economic Darwinism.”
It’s how we store and exchange the product of our labor, and subjectively measure our individual inputs into society. It’s the fabric that binds us. It enables us to cooperate across time and space, both at scale and in greater degrees of complexity. Money has and always will exist. The only thing that changes and evolved over time is what we use as money.
We’ve now arrived at a point where money can be represented perfectly.
There is no larger segment of the global market. Not energy, not food, not transport, not government, entertainment, healthcare or anything else.
Money is larger than all of them, because it represents all of them, combined.
Today, because we have broken money, many of us hold different assets with different attributes in order to store value and protect our wealth. But, with the emergence of a perfect money, that is immune to confiscation, inflation and corruption, that can be taken anywhere, anytime and sent or received by anyone for any reason, without requiring permission, we will see the monetary premium being stored in these other goods or assets diminish.
As Bitcoin transforms into a unit of account, through which all other goods, services and anything of value is measured, the purchasing power of a full bitcoin will trend toward heights that few could today fathom.
My friend Knut Svanholm dubbed it most accurately:
Everything there is, divided by 21 million.
As more people realize that the product of their labor (i.e., their wealth, their savings and their money) is constantly being eroded, they are going to seek to store it in something that cannot be diluted. Bitcoin is the best possible option. It is accessible all around the world, and can be stored as pure, unadulterated, unconfiscatable information.
Whether you’re rich or poor, left or right, employer or employee, storing your wealth somewhere safe is only getting more important.
In the same way you would not work all week only to accept salt from your employer as payment, as more time passes, less and less people are going to accept inferior government issued, or random-developer issued fiat money as payment for any of their goods and services.
In fact, future generations will look back on us today and wonder how, in the name of all that is sane, did we believe that measuring our wealth in a currency or money issued by some overlord, that devalued over time, ever made sense. It’s antithetical to the notion of progress and freedom.
Bitcoin is superior to all other forms of money because it perfectly embodies every attribute of the meta-idea that is money. It’s open source; always on; not just fixed, but known in supply; verifiable by anyone; voluntary; permissionless; digital and directly rooted in the second law of thermodynamics. As a result, it performs the functions of money flawlessly.
I can measure all other goods and services in sats and as the purchasing power grows, it’s pure digital nature means we can continue to sub-divide the units to measure smaller and more fractional goods and services, forever.
The best money always wins.
There is no outcome where Bitcoin loses, because the best money always wins by the sheer force of natural selection and survival.
Gold and silver emerged victorious over millennia of monetary war. Gold-backed promissory notes then crushed silver. Gold was then defeated by its leviathan: nation-state fiat.
Now, bitcoin emerges, as the alpha-omega of money, and it will strip all assets of their monetary premium.
It’s been happening for 12 years straight already. Go ahead and measure any asset in the world against bitcoin, and you’ll find that it’s down anywhere between 90% to 99% since its inception, when priced in bitcoin.
And this is only the beginning. Bitcoin hasn’t started sucking the air out of the larger asset classes yet.
The longer the chart, the worse it looks for the USD.
This is a log chart, so the fall doesn’t look as drastic, but you can see USD has devalued many order of magnitude against bitcoin
See the full chart and data here:
2,879 sats (this website is a live view of the price of the USD in satoshis).
Money, like language, has a convergent network effect, meaning that it’s most useful when on a common standard.
In fact, transport, transmission and communication media all converge around particular standards in order to optimize for efficiency.
You see it everywhere:
Money is the grandest, oldest language and energy transmission medium of all. It’s how we measure, store and transact human action and it has been with us since the beginning of time.
As a result, money is a winner-take-all game.
Because it’s the most important language of all, and because each individual wants to naturally select that which performs each function of money best, the hardest, soundest, most powerful money comes out on top.
Today, the USD reigns supreme not through merit, but because it is enforced by a kabal. Bitcoin will be the global standard, not because of some fiat decree or the force of the nation state, but through natural, market selection.
That’s what makes it so powerful.
The economic case for bitcoin stems from the philosophy of Bitcoin and the principles it embodies.Bitcoin is about a move away from “rulers” and toward “rules.”
It does this because of a series of market-selected attributes it has, and because it has emerged organically in a path-dependent order. The three core innovations of Bitcoin are:
These are the result of the zero-to-one moment that occurred on January 3, 2009, with the Bitcoin genesis block.
The immaculate conception has occurred and the path that Bitcoin has followed since can no longer be repeated. It was a once-in-history genesis and series of path-dependent events.
We now have a perfect money and a perfect monetary network that anyone, anywhere can use and/or build on.
This is the future, and what follows are elements of the Bitcoin philosophy which make it unique.
The word “decentralized” gets thrown around a lot, but it doesn’t mean much outside of the context of actual control or cheap verifiability at the level of the individual.
In 2017, we had the block-size wars with a faction of Bitcoiners who believed that transactional throughput on the base layer was more important than ensuring the network was as cheaply verifiable as possible.
Multiple forks of Bitcoin split from the main chain, and there was even an attempt by miners and large-scale exchanges to coerce the network into doubling the block size as part of some “reasonable middle ground.”
It too failed, showing not only the resilience of the network to attack (whether internal or external), but the decentralized nature inherent in Bitcoin. The citizens of the network, the node operators, rejected the corporate and overlord versions of bitcoin, and the HODLers put their money where their mouths were and backed Bitcoin, not some knock-off version.
Today, it is cheaper than ever to run your own node, and as such, Bitcoin’s network topography is ever more decentralized. In fact, it’s the only network on which you can be a first-class citizen that enforces the Bitcoin consensus rules for less than $100!
Ethereum, for example, is so bloated that YOU CANNOT download the blockchain and run a node. In fact, it’s about to get a whole lot worse because once it moves to proof of stake, the 32 ETH required to be a validator will price 99.9% of people out. In other words, Ethereum will be run by those with all of the ETH. Sounds just like modern central banking to me.
The BCashers,BSVers are in the same boat. They chose to scale their base layer linearly, by increasing the block size. Empty blocks aside (i.e., nobody is using these things), this has resulted in a bloated blockchain with a single group of validators (only miners). There are no node operators on these networks and the larger their blockchain grows, and the more junk they throw on it, the more it will require data-center-level operators to not just mine but actually store their blockchains, leading toward complete centralization.
They’re there already. BSV is basically run by one company: CoinGeek. Bcash is run by Roger Ver. So much for decentralization.
The trade-offs made by Bitcoiners and the Bitcoin network have been naturally selected to ensure maximum decentralization and, as such, maximum aversion to change of any kind. Therein lies its strength as a standard.
Nic Carter wrote a brilliant piece on Bitcoin’s trade-offs here: “Bitcoin Bites The Bullet.”
Nature scales in layers. Engineering scales in layers. All human cooperation scales in layers. Communication networks, energy transmission media and all other networks we’re aware of scale in layers.
The Bitcoin network’s layered approach is in line with what works.
It’s not only impossible to make a single layer do everything, but it’s an absolutely ridiculous pursuit.
Everything you add begins to impact another element. What some people fail to realize (much like central planners and bureaucrats) is that every action has a reaction and every decision has a cost or a consequence.
In the prior example, I noted that by trying to cram more transactions and data onto the base layer, you make it more expensive for people to run a node, thereby impacting the network’s decentralization.
The same goes for attempting to make the base layer private. The cost of doing this is the sacrifice of verifiability and auditability of the base chain. That’s not a price we need to pay, especially when we can abstract privacy to a higher layer.
One of Bitcoin’s greatest strengths is its native scripting language, which enables the codification of simple contracts. This allows the abstraction of things like transaction throughput, multiparty authorization and privacy without having an impact on the security, decentralization and immutability of the base layer.
In fact, it allows Bitcoin to scale across multiple dimensions exponentially. With Lightning, for example, anyone can be a node for transactions, which means throughput can scale geometrically.
This is so incredibly important, but seems to be lost on linear thinkers.
Finally, the layered nature of Bitcoin means that not only do the network effects get stronger and compound on themselves, but the network becomes more and more decentralized. We introduce new layers to the network, each with their own skin in the game, making it ever more difficult for any participant, group or layer to have influence over another.
It’s engineering perfection.
When people talk about decentralization, they fail to realize that this is actually a means to a more important end.
That end is the network’s resistance to change or censorship.
This is categorically the most important attribute for a global digital money. Something whose supply cannot be altered, whose medium of exchange function cannot be censored and whose rules cannot be directed by anyone.
And how does Bitcoin achieve this?
Bitcoin transforms raw energy, via computational work (something that cannot be forged or faked) into monetary energy, giving us a thermodynamic guarantee of truth. This is further enhanced by the spread of full node operators, Bitcoin HODLers, second layer operators and infrastructure players all around the world.
There is no amount of money available or coordination possible to try and co-opt the network. The cat is out of the bag.
To learn more about immutability and security as functions of COST (i.e., proof of work), not “blockchain,” see the initial chapters of The Bitcoin Times, “Edition One” and “Breaking The Blockchain.”
As mentioned in the decentralization section, one of Bitcoin’s core value propositions is that anybody, anywhere can verify the rules and status of the network, at any point in time.
Furthermore, anybody who does so is actually the one enforcing the rules of the network at the local level.
Cheap, simple, quick, easy verifiability is at the core of what makes Bitcoin not only robust, but extraordinarily decentralized.
This is practical, economic, real decentralization. Not some theoretic bullshit pushed by some academics who built a “model” on their computer and are now claiming some “decentralization coefficient.”
The progression is as follows:
Verifiability → Decentralization → Censorship Resistance
Bitcoin is not democratic. It’s purely anarchic.
It is enforced at the level of the individual. When I run my node, I enforce the Bitcoin rules for me. I just happen to be in alignment (or consensus) with millions of others who are running the Bitcoin rules for themselves too.
We’re not forced to agree. We’re not “told” by anyone. We’re not organized by some central authority. We run it locally, and we achieve consensus globally.
This is free market perfection in action. In fact, it’s the agorist, voluntarist, libertarian and anarcho-capitalist’s dream.
It’s a network with rules, which we enforce as individuals and is made up of others who agree and enforce the same rules
Unlike the corrupt collectivist models under which we live, where my opinion has an impact on somebody else’s life, liberty or property and likewise theirs on mine, Bitcoin is pure voluntary individualism.
My decisions have no bearing on you, nor yours on me. In fact, this is a key to Bitcoin’s immutability. Anyone is free to go and make up their own Bitcoin rules or change them should they wish to. It has no impact on me and the rest of the Bitcoiners who’ve adopted and are enforcing the Bitcoin consensus rules for ourselves. They who change the rules will just “fork off” onto their own network, by themselves. The rest of us continue on like nothing ever happened.
Bitcoin’s defense is in its complete openness. There’s nothing anyone can do to change Bitcoin for me. You can only change it for you.
Bitcoin is a force of nature that emerges in a vacuum of force and coercion. Bitcoin doesn’t “make” you do anything. It cares not whether you buy it, hold it, spend it, save it, send it or receive it. Bitcoin just is, and what you do with it is up to you.
Governments and central banks, on the other hand force you, at barrel of a gun and threat of imprisonment, to use their money. If their money was so good, why all the hostility? Why the legal tender laws? What are they afraid of? And what about the double standards?
Why is it perfectly legal for them to print and create it from thin air, but if you do it, you’re either thrown in jail or you’re suffocated by a knee to the throat from some cop?
Anytime you’re forced to use and accept something, know that it’s inferior. Know that you’re the product.
Bitcoin is winning not by coercion, but through sheer natural selection.
Despite the force, despite the threats, despite the so-called “might and promise of the governments of the world,” bitcoin continues to gain market share. It continues to suck the air out of the room for all the fake government toilet paper they try to pass off as money.
Over the past 12 years, Bitcoin started from $0, and since then, every single national currency that is forced down our throats by government bureaucrats is down 99% against it. And this is only the beginning.
See usdsat.com and casebitcoin.com to get a clear, empirical view of Bitcoin’s statistics since the start.
Something that happened with Bitcoin, that will never be replicated because it was a one-time, path-dependent event, is the disappearance of Satoshi. Let’s recap:
There was a time to kill Bitcoin, and that was somewhere in its first few years of its life. But instead, it was laughed at. The cat is now well and truly out of the bag.
Unlike Ethereum or any other shitcoin out there, which if the government wants to co-opt or shutdown, it can just call the head office, Bitcoin is impossible to turn off. There is no kill switch. There is no “off” button. Bitcoin will survive the internet, the electricity grid and it will survive all of us. In the same way you cannot kill an idea, you cannot turn off information. Information lives on in us, through us and around us. This is the gift Satoshi gave us when he disappeared.
For this, he will go down in history as the greatest hero of all time.
The moral case stems from the philosophy of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s raison d’être is the elimination of rulers who can make arbitrary mandates that benefit one group at the expense of another.
It’s a common monetary standard, built on rules voluntarily enforced by each individual who is a part of the network. Bitcoin stands against fiat of any kind, whether issued by the government, some private individual or a group of crypto nerds who aspire to be our future overlords.
This is why Bitcoin is widely hated by statists, central bankers, bureaucrats, blockchainers, crapto enthusiasts, fintech people, traders, macro analysts and social justice warriors of all kinds.
They all want you to be subservient to them.
Bitcoin enables you to stand up straight with your shoulders back, to treat yourself like someone you care about, and to be subservient to nobody.
Bitcoin is a tool for maximum personal sovereignty and freedom, and Bitcoiners are your brothers and sisters in arms, who want the best for themselves and encourage you to want the best for you.
Bitcoin is the most economically powerful tool, designed to bring down the corrupt legacy financial system that’s destroyed families, the environment, education, morals, resources and time. Bitcoiners are the peaceful warriors who stand by this vision and will not flinch.
This is why I am a Bitcoiner. There is a huge difference between us and the rest of the “crapto” industry. The following screenshot sums it up nicely:
You can always tell a crypto or legacy finance person by the irrational fear they have of just letting go and allowing people to decide for themselves, or their incessant need to want to control everything and their desire to be the ruler.
It’s actually quite pathetic and must stem some from a deep-seated insecurity in their own psyche. Because they don’t have any personal discipline, they need to validate themselves by projecting control upon others.
You’ll also learn the difference between Bitcoiners and the rest of the people in finance and crapto by why they’re here.
Bitcoiners will lock up their bitcoin in cold storage and never touch it. They will work their asses off to generate more value in society so that they can store their new wealth in bitcoin, too. In doing so, they are not only saving for the long term and lowering their personal consumption, but they are net producers that are ripping their economic input out of the legacy financial system. They are starving the beast.
Shitcoiners and traders on the other hand will attempt to gamble their way to fiat riches. Instead of working on things that are meaningful, they’re hell bent on wasting time trying to get rich quick, reading the tea leaves on charts. They add zero value to society. This gambling is one of the diseases of modern society, and something Bitcoin fundamentally stands against.
One of the most brilliant articles on how Bitcoin will de-financialize the world was written by Parker Lewis of Unchained Capital: “Bitcoin Is The Great Definancialization.”
Bitcoin is a transformation of money and finance in which we replace rulers with verifiable, transparent rules that anyone can voluntarily opt into. Crypto, by its very nature, is just a replication of the legacy financial system, in which one set of rulers is replaced with another.
Instead of Jerome Powell and Christine Laggarde, we’re getting Vitalik Buterin and Charles Hoskisson. Out with one group of megalomaniacs and in with another.
This is neither interesting nor desirable.
Just because Ethereum and Cardano share some digital similarities with Bitcoin does not mean they’re anything like Bitcoin. They have an issuer, they have a foundation, they have a core group of operators who decide what the rules are. They have their own plunge protection teams, boards and “key personnel.” The philosophical foundations upon which their technologies are built are no different to modern nation state government and central banking.
All their talk about “governance” and the hero worship of their respective creators makes this so evident that you’d need to be wilfully ignorant to not see it.
The world doesn’t need new rulers.
The world needs a money and monetary network that nobody can benefit from at the expense of another. The world needs skin in the game, social mobility and an equality of monetary opportunity where the productive can ascend no matter who they are or where they come from.
Bitcoiners are called toxic, assholes, bigots, intolerant, amoebas and every other name under the sun, by everyone. We adopt each of those names and transform them into memes. We’re like insult-recycling machines. The ultimate in an antifragile community.
You won’t find this anywhere else. It’s truly a white-blood-cell-type immune system.
We do this because we know Bitcoin is the one shot that we have. Bitcoiners are the most gallant, selfless, courageous and forthright people you will meet because they could very easily sell their souls to some shitcoin organizations and shill you some garbage because they’ve been around long enough and can earn a commission on it, but they won’t.
It’s the only community that gains nothing at an individual level when you buy bitcoin. Unless you’re personally buying billions of dollars’ in bitcoin, you have no bearing on the bitcoin price and on my personal wealth. Bitcoin has no marketing department that pays me to tell you to buy it.
All the other shitcoins are different. They literally pay people to sell their wares, which means you are the sucker buying it.
We stand guard at the gates and call this behavior out. We’ve been doing it from day one, and despite the flack we get, we continue, because we know why we’re here.
We are mission driven. And that mission is to fundamentally save the world.
We’re here to save the lifeblood of humanity, it’s time, energy and resources not by some decree, but by encouraging each and every one of you to become a responsible, sovereign individual who owns the product of their labor.
We’re playing the long game.
Bitcoiners recognize that the greatest plague to humankind is waste. Waste in terms of the natural resources and energy we use, and the time spent using them.
At a fundamental level, money represents three things:
Fiat money is the most wasteful creation on the planet because it does not accurately measure any of these. In fact, by willy-nilly creating it out of thin air and squandering it, the price “the system” pays is a complete devastation and irreversible loss of each.
When a government creates a bunch of money out of thin air, it filters through the economy, is used to transform scarce resources into some plastic junk we don’t need, so it can be blindly consumed by someone whose personal time preference has been deranged.
I wrote about this at length in this piece which I encourage you to read, “Fiat, Fascism And Communism.”
Crypto, fiat and the rest of these legacy machinations exist not to eliminate waste from the system, but to create more waste and more confusion, while a few new overlords get rich at your expense.
It’s madness. And the problem is people are so hell bent on trying to make it through and “win” the fiat zero-sum game that they will throw caution to the wind and burn through any amount of reputation, resources, time and energy just to “make a quick buck.”
It’s a sad, nihilistic state of affairs, and one which Bitcoin changes at the core — but will take time.
This is why it’s about time you stood up for what’s right. It’s about time you joined us and actually made a difference, by putting your money, your blood, sweat and tears, where it counts.
There is nothing on earth today that’s going to have a more positive, long-term impact because nothing else changes the base incentives of the individual (and as such, their behavior) as Bitcoin does.
The sooner you become a part of that change, the better not just for you, but for the world. For more on why, read the Jordan Peterson series on Bitcoin here: “Bitcoin, Hierarchy And Territory.”
Bitcoin is profound and unique, not for any single reason listed above (notice I barely even touched on the technological reasons), but because it is all of them combined.
It’s a complex, emergent system that has developed path dependently, in an adversarial environment from day 1.
This cannot be replicated no matter how hard anybody tries. It’s as close to immaculate conception as we will ever come.
But….Despite everything I’ve said, many of you will continue on with either your no-coining or shitcoining. You will say, “It’s ok, I can beat Bitcoin,” or, “I don’t need it,” or, “It can’t be that important.”
And while those statements couldn’t be further from the truth, I’ll leave you with one more harsh, but important truth:
Bitcoin doesn’t need you. You need Bitcoin.
I wrote a short, brutal piece about this last year, which if you’re in the shit- or no-coiner camp, I dedicated to you: https://medium.datadriveninvestor.com/do-not-buy-bitcoin-75da73226530
It matters not if you’re an individual, a community, an organization or a nation, you will only ignore Bitcoin at your own peril. The decisions you make today will ensure you’re either a footnote, or a maker of history. So choose wisely.
The idea that the world is going to run on a bunch of different monies, issued by a million different people, is like assuming we’re all going to speak English to each other with a different number of vowels and consonants.
It’s not only inefficient, but a categorically broken method of energy transmission that’s simply a remnant of a fiat money world. Will there be new forms of fiat that sprout up all over the place along the way? Yes, of course, but each of them will trend toward their moral value (zero) because any sucker that supports a new overlord will only impoverish themselves in the process, while their overlords and shitcoin heroes buy bitcoin, knowing it cannot be beaten.
Bitcoin is stronger than ever today and its influence, economic mass and gravitas will only continue to grow.
Bitcoin or shitcoin.
The choice is yours to make.
This is a guest post by Aleks Svetski. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.
The Miami Bitcoin 2021 conference officially kicks off on June 4 and with it has resurfaced controversy over crypto tribalism involving some of the industry’s leading figures.
Organizers expect attendance exceeding 50,000 for the Mana Wynwood Convention Center hosted conference. Among the attendees in Miami this year is the founder of Quantum Economics and a former Senior Market Analyst at eToro Mati Greenspan.
Writing today, Greenspan highlighted a growing rift in the crypto community in what he described as a ‘toxic problem’. The financial advisor had inadvertently ignited a social media storm with the innocuous comment that Bitcoin 2021 would be “Biggest crypto conference ever!”
Greenspan was told in no uncertain terms that it was a “Bitcoin conference” intended only for BTC enthusiasts. Bitcoin Magazine editor Pete Rizzo set him straight:
“It’s a Bitcoin conference, about Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the subject and hence why it’s used as an adjective,”
Greenspan replied that “Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency sir”, however, it only served to fuel the tirade from Bitcoin maximalists claiming exclusivity on the event.
This really is a shitshow. pic.twitter.com/vrAVxiko0p
— Mati Greenspan (tweets ≠ financial advice) (@MatiGreenspan) June 3, 2021
The Miami Bitcoin 2021 conference will run until June 5 and play host to a vast pool of industry luminaries ranging from former congressman Ron Paul, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, the Winklevoss twins, and Morgan Creek Digital partner Anthony Pompliano. To be fair to the organizers they have been crystal clear that it’s a Bitcoin Only Event/No Altcoins Allowed in the Telegram channel:
“This is a Bitcoin only conference. Please stay focused and on topic at the event. Save conversations about other protocols and cryptocurrencies for outside the conference.”
A clearly disappointed Greenspan retorted that there was clearly a lot of insecurity among the Bitcoin crowd, and eventually tired of the debate exclaiming: “This really is a shitshow.”
Bitcoin maxis sounding so insecure in this thread. Name calling and even threats, just for using inclusive verbage. WTF?!
You don’t own Bitcoin and crypto isn’t after your lunch. So chill the F out. https://t.co/I31S4vWoCE
— Mati Greenspan (tweets ≠ financial advice) (@MatiGreenspan) June 3, 2021
In his newsletter today he clarified his thoughts on the topic:
“Now, obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and they can call me whatever names they like, but the one thing I want to say about all this is that these so-called Maxis don’t own the Bitcoin network. I am a Bitcoiner too, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.”
Greenspan said that “zealotry” was unproductive and urged the community to “focus our energy toward a common enemy and not spend our time and efforts on infighting. It doesn’t help.”
The Bitcoin-only vibe extended beyond Greenspan with some questioning why Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin had made an appearance after various photos of him surfaced including one with Miami’s pro-crypto Mayor Francis Suarez. Buterin actually unveiled Ethereum at the Bitcoin Miami 2014 event.
DeFiPulse co-founder Scott Lewis saw the funny side of things:
lolol bitcoin maxis are gonna try to go 2 days without talking about ethereum.
i just can’t see it. pic.twitter.com/zX9aLL1qyo
— Ξ (@scott_lew_is) May 28, 2021