Show cover of What Bitcoin Did with Peter McCormack

What Bitcoin Did with Peter McCormack

With What Bitcoin Did, host Peter McCormack talks to experts in the world of Bitcoin, economics and politics. From developers to investors, journalists to authors, you will learn about everything in the world of Bitcoin.


The Debt Tsunami with Caitlin Long - WBD743
Caitlin Long is the Founder and CEO of Custodia bank. In this interview, we discuss the financial system's instability, the impact of COVID-19, and the role of the Federal Reserve. We talk about the different types of banks, the stability of the banking system, the history of debt reduction by US presidents and the role of interest rates. The podcast also covers the power of federal bank regulators, the divide among Americans on various social issues and the potential of Bitcoin. - - - - The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably shaken the financial world. The Federal Reserve played a crucial role in stabilizing the banking system during this period. As with many other central banks, the Fed printed large amounts of money. However, we are still dealing with the serious consequences of the measures taken: high inflation has been generated, long-term treasuries have seen historic sell-offs, and there are concerns over the impact on the US Dollar. In this podcast with the Wall Street veteran Caitlin Long, we discuss the banking system in the wake of the unprecedented economic events that occurred as a result of the pandemic. We cover the significance of the separation of banking and commerce, and the differentiation between community banks, regional banks, and global systemically important banks. Caitlin explains the interplay between counterparty credit risk, bank runs and banking insolvency. We discuss the price of borrowing money, which Caitlin views as being the most important price in the economy. It determines how capital is allocated across time and industries. However, A good price of capital is hard to determine, and this price is often manipulated. Further, there has been a recent shift in focus from making money to wealth preservation in light of the devastating effects of inflation on people's lives, which materially affects capital markets. We also cover Caitlin’s firm Custodia Bank and their Bitcoin custody platform. Despite concerns about the banking system, Caitlin explains that she is building a bank because she believes traditional finance and Bitcoin need to coexist. She discusses the need for a bridge between the two systems to ensure they don't harm each other, whilst marrying their respective attributes: the strong customer protections that come from being a bank with the best form of money. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
83:58 12/1/23
Bitcoin Mining Economics with Steve Barbour - WBD742
Steve Barbour is the president of the Bitcoin mining infrastructure company Upstream Data. In this interview, we discuss the intricacies of Bitcoin mining, the potential of off-grid Bitcoin mining for oil companies and the growing economic importance of Bitcoin mining. We also talk about the potential of integrating Bitcoin mining with power generation, the geopolitical implications of the shift in Bitcoin mining dominance from China to the US and the future of this sector. - - - - As the President of Upstream Data, Steve Barbour’s company specialises in building off-grid Bitcoin mining operations for the oil and gas industry looking to utilise otherwise flared or vented methane emissions. The company started by mining Bitcoin itself, but they have now shifted its focus to selling equipment and services to other companies and individuals interested in self-mining. The podcast covers a wide range of topics, beginning with the intricacies of Bitcoin mining economics. Steve explains the importance of the swings in hash rate and the hash price and the importance of forecasting for making sound business decisions. We also delve into the ongoing battle between two subsets of the Bitcoin economy: merchants and miners. While merchants prefer low fees to avoid congestion, miners favour high fees for increased revenue. The role of custodians in the Bitcoin ecosystem is also a critical topic: the importance of self-custody and holding your own keys is clear, but it is also recognized that not everyone will be able to achieve this. We discussed the importance of building a good reputation in the international mining industry. Upstream Data is also concerned about domestic issues as a Canadian company. We therefore talked about the challenges and frustrations faced by Canada, a resource-rich country that should be wealthy but isn't due to various factors. Steve set out his thoughts on the potential for change within the country. Finally, Steve set out his view on the future of Bitcoin mining and the important voice miners have in the Bitcoin community. There are potential technology advancements that could impact Bitcoin mining, including material science improvements for semiconductors, which could lead to improved efficiency and new applications. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
106:30 11/29/23
RFK Jr on Media, US Debt & Bitcoin - WBD741
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a 2024 US presidential candidate. In this interview, we discuss his decision to run independently, his plans to unify the country, and his concerns about the media's role in fueling division. Kennedy discusses the fairness doctrine, the chronic disease epidemic, and the state of the country. We also talk about concerns regarding CBDCs and the potential dangers of AI technologies. - - - - The Kennedy’s are one of the most significant political families in the history of the United States. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the latest in a long line of influential public figures coming from this unique dynasty. Following in the footsteps of his father and uncles, RFK Jr. aspires to run for high office. The podcast starts by discussing his decision to run as an independent presidential candidate, which he feels has enabled him to engage with a broader range of constituents. RFK Jr. set out his plans to unify the country by addressing the pervasive dishonesty by institutions that were once trustworthy. RFK Jr. shares the concerns of his father that the country has become a military-industrial complex, eroding democracy and leading to a corrupt merger of state and corporate power. RFK Jr. evokes his father's success in uniting people during a similarly divided time in the late 1960s by focusing on common values. Our conversation also covers the influence of the media, particularly in the context of the repeal of the fairness doctrine in the late 1980’s. RKF Jr. believes that this event had a detrimental impact on the state of the country and the media's role in it: the doctrine was put in place to ensure a well-educated public and prevent the control of media by a single entity; its repeal led to media consolidation and the loss of impartial news reporting. This conversation with RFK Jr. was a deep dive into the mind of a man who is not afraid to challenge the status quo and speak his truth. His commitment to honesty, unity, and the preservation of freedom is a refreshing perspective in today's political landscape. - Show notes:  This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
49:00 11/27/23
Bitcoin on the Ballot with Vivek Ramaswamy - WBD740
Vivek Ramaswamy is a 2024 US presidential candidate. In this interview, we discuss Vivek’s decision to run for president, his experiences in the corporate world and his belief in American ideals like free speech and meritocracy. Vivek outlines his plans to reduce government size, address national debt and protect individual wealth. We also talk about the importance of constitutional principles and why he may be the most pro-Bitcoin candidate in American history. - - - - Vivek Ramaswamy has had a massive impact on the Republican primaries. A relative novice in a field of candidates dominated by Republican big hitters like DeSantis, Haley, Christie and Pence, Vivek has rapidly taken his place amongst the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination with a largely self-funded campaign. In some polls, Vivek has placed second behind Trump. A former biotech CEO, Vivek has decided to enter politics as a means to drive change. He states this decision came after witnessing a suffocating environment in corporate America. Vivek's journey into politics is not a conventional one. He is not a career politician, nor does he come from a high-profile business background. Instead, he believes he is an outsider with a unique set of attributes who can offer a viable alternative to the status quo. We discuss his belief that a strand of progressivism has been weaponized as a deflection tool by those in power to avoid accountability for their failures. Vivek emphasises that his critique of “woke” ideology is not specifically directed at the left, but is based on a reaction to the dangers posed by the merger of state, corporate, and institutional power. All the while, the critical issues being faced by the country, such as drug addiction and the neglect of cities, continue to exacerbate. Vivek outlines his plan to reduce the size of the federal government by 75% and suggests that the US president has the power to do so on day one. He believes in zero-based budgeting and illustrates the need to reassess the necessity of each budget item from the ground up. He also criticises the trillions of dollars spent on foreign wars and proposes a policy of not providing foreign aid to countries with lower national debt per capita than the United States. We also discuss the importance of protecting individual wealth and Vivek’s advocacy for Bitcoin. His comprehensive crypto policy includes restoring constitutional principles such as protecting the freedom to code, financial self-reliance and the freedom to innovate. And, for a community where signal is everything, it’s important to note that he’s the first Republican politician to enable Bitcoin lightning donations, and he could also be the first-ever presidential candidate to own Bitcoin. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
58:45 11/24/23
Milei's Argentine Revolution? With Stephan Livera - WBD739
Stephan Livera is the host of the Stephan Livera Podcast, and head of education at Swan Bitcoin. In this interview, we discuss Argentina’s newly elected Libertarian President, Javier Milei. We talk about his policies, dollarisation, abolition of the central bank and whether he can truly tame Argentina's inflation problem. - - - - A few days ago Javier Milei became the world's first anarcho-capitalist leader after his success in Argentina's recent elections. The win signals a big shift in the country's political ideology and economic ambition. His campaign promised to bring libertarian principles for a nation tired of economic troubles & ready for change. Milei ran his campaign on defunding and dismantling government bureaucracies, abolition of the central bank, and a mass privatisation of state enterprises and dollarization, in an attempt to stabilise Argentina's chronic high-inflation. While these are radical changes, radical may be exactly what Argentina needs and he struck a chord with voters desperate for a departure from perpetual economic crises. As perhaps the most well-known libertarian politician since Ron Paul, all eyes will be on Milei over the next four years. Can he bring economic stability to Argentina? Will he be able to navigate the political structures without becoming corrupted? Will he really follow through on dismantling the government? And, will this usher in a new wave of Libertarian politicians across the world? - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
72:49 11/22/23
Macro, Fed Pivot & Bitcoin with Steven McClurg - WBD738
Steven McClurg is a Co-Founder of Valkyrie Investments. In this interview, we discuss the North American Bitcoin Summit, speculation about SEC approval of Bitcoin ETFs, and the potential advantages of having the first approved ETF. The conversation also covers the US government's debt and its effect on the economy, the concept of inflation and its potential impact, the influence of BlackRock and state involvement in Bitcoin, and future Bitcoin adoption. - - - - One of the hot topics at the North American Bitcoin Summit was the speculation surrounding the approval of Bitcoin ETFs by the SEC. I was fortunate to be able to have a new interview with Valkyrie Investments CIO Steven McClurg, who provided insight into the SEC's decision-making process, how the SEC will likely batch the approval of ETFs, the role of BlackRock in changing the SEC's stance, and the impact of the speculation on Bitcoin’s price. Our conversation moved on to cover the US government's debt and its impact on the economy. The elephant in the room is the increasing pressure debt servicing applies to the US government finances, particularly in the wake of interest rate rises. Steve focused on the concern that the government seems to have little political incentives to solve the debt problem, as politicians are focused on getting reelected rather than addressing long-term issues. We discussed the compounding effect of inflation, and how even a small increase in inflation can have significant consequences over time. The rising costs of groceries, fuel, and housing, are materially affecting people's ability to invest and save. Whilst we are veterans of believing Bitcoin provides financial protection, it seems like prominent financiers such as Larry Fink, BlackRock’s CEO, are also considering Bitcoin as a solution to the current economic situation. The podcast concluded with a discussion on the potential for government investment in Bitcoin. We speculated on the amount of Bitcoin owned by El Salvador and its potential value. We touched on the seizure of Bitcoin by US police and how the government has dealt with these seizures. Finally, Steve and I talked about whether other countries are likely to be acquiring Bitcoin. It may be very soon that all countries realise that they don’t have enough! - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
63:16 11/20/23
Bitcoin for Banking Failures with Parker Lewis - WBD737
Parker Lewis is a Bitcoin writer and educator and Head of Business Development at Zaprite. In this interview, we discuss the 2023 North American Blockchain Summit in Fort Worth, the benefits and challenges of Bitcoin payments, and the potential of Bitcoin becoming a critical rail for global payments. We also talk about the risks of the traditional banking system, the urgency needed to fix the current monetary system, and how Bitcoin's fixed supply could potentially help. - - - - This is another podcast I have made in the shadow of the impressive North American Blockchain Summit 2023 in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with some of the best minds within Bitcoin such as the amazing Parker Lewis! We got quickly into the weeds of Bitcoin payments and the challenges of managing multiple lightning wallets for different purposes. Parker set out how the product he’s helping develop, Zaprite, aims to resolve this problem by providing a seamless payment experience, allowing funds to be directed to different lightning wallets or accounts. We also touched on the importance of creating a unified experience between fiat and Bitcoin payments to encourage adoption. Our discussion delved into the risks and challenges associated with traditional banking systems and the importance of Bitcoin as a solution. The system needs resilience, which Bitcoin provides. Further, the speed and simplicity of Bitcoin stands in stark contrast to the inefficiencies and delays involved in traditional banking. Parker explained that Bitcoin also serves as insurance at an individual level for currency failure and as an insurance policy for businesses. We explored the concept of the 21 million fixed supply of Bitcoin, and that by understanding why Bitcoin solves the problem of purchasing power, people can then understand how it can also solve other problems, such as the risk of banks failing, the fragility of the legacy payment system and providing an actual solution to inflation. Parker believes there is an urgent need to fix the current monetary system, comparing it to a flood requiring immediate attention. He believes that those who understand Bitcoin should prioritise working on it rather than other projects. This podcast is therefore a call to arms for those who value the importance of Bitcoin in today's digital age. Bitcoin has the potential to not only revolutionise traditional banking but to save the monetary system as a whole. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
96:15 11/18/23
Ensuring Bitcoin Wins with Lee Bratcher - WBD736
Lee Bratcher is the President of the Texas Blockchain Council. In this interview, we discuss Bitcoin mining in Texas, the North American Blockchain Summit 2023 and the regulatory challenges miners face. We also talk about the potential impact of politicians embracing Bitcoin, the importance of mainstream media presence at the upcoming conference, and efforts to attract professionals to Bitcoin events. - - - - This podcast was made before the start of the Texas Bitcoin Summit in Fort Worth, which started yesterday and runs through until Friday. The summit is expected to be the biggest one yet, with over a thousand attendees and a focus on mining. And this year the Texas Blockchain Council has excelled at attracting some major political figures, including RFK, Vivek Ramaswamy, Ted Cruz, Cynthia Lummis, Andrew Yang and Warren Davidson. Texas seems to understand Bitcoin better than other states, which is attributable in part to the independent thinking and educational efforts in the state. The Texas Bitcoin mining industry is a catalyst for Bitcoin mining across the world, leading the way in developing use cases such as demand response grid balancing services and the incentivisation for the build-out of renewable energy. However, the path to wider acceptance of mining in Texas has not been foregone, and the future is still uncertain. The challenges the industry has faced have been significant. For example, Senate Bill 1751 in Texas sought to ban miners from the very same ancillary services that have benefitted ERCOT’s grid balancing objectives. These efforts have been pushed by traditional legacy industries in Texas aided by their strategy of regulatory capture. Traditional industries such as steel mills and petrochemical refineries have been frustrated by Bitcoin miners bidding down the price for demand response services (which in turn has benefits consumers). The bill passed unanimously in the Senate. The fact the bill was ultimately killed in the House was thanks in large part to the efforts of the Texas Blockchain Council under Lee Bratcher’s presidency. The issue highlights the problem of getting a political consensus on Bitcoin. Elizabeth Warren, for one, makes it difficult for Democrats to openly support Bitcoin. However, a few Democrats are showing a more practical and nuanced understanding. And, being anti-Bitcoin will become a risky position to take in the future due to generational-led shifts in opinions. Until then, it’s up to bodies like the Texas Blockchain Council to continue to fight for Bitcoin. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
68:19 11/16/23
Life Liberty & the Pursuit of Bitcoin with Robert Breedlove - WBD735
Robert Breedlove is a philosopher and podcaster within the Bitcoin space. In this interview, we discuss the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) conference, the anti-woke movement, cultural Marxism, and the origins of certain ideologies. We also delve into the impact of COVID-19, the role of politics in societal change, the influence of taxation and inflation on the economy, and the potential of Bitcoin as a solution to many of these issues. - - - - Normative behaviour in society at any one time may be codified such that it appears to be a natural law: behaviour, dress, language, and demeanour are perceived to be as fixed as biological traits. However, culture is merely a template for expectations in a social group. Acceptable conduct is malleable. The history of civilisation is full of profound shifts in cultural social behaviour and societal norms. It is not uncommon for marginal groups within society to test the paradigm. However, we do appear to be at a rare inflection point. Society is split between two equally powerful ideologies, both of which lay claim to the cultural elite mantle. Wokeism, whilst being criticised by some as being a lazy pejorative for a wide range of progressive liberal opinions, does have roots in an understandable backlash against the promotion of identity politics and cancel culture. Robert Breedlove however views wokeism as another form of cultural Marxism funded by the state. In this podcast, he suggested that it is a divide-and-conquer strategy to create a demand for stronger governance. We discussed whether the development of these ideologies is organic or intentional. Robert leaned towards the latter, comparing it to the romantic lies told throughout history to justify theft. Robert explained his perspective on the influence of Marxism on the social institutions of the West. He believes that Marxism seeks to abolish private property, which he sees as the foundation of civilization and justice. He also connects the rise of cultural Marxism with the increasing violation of private property rights. When asked about the solution to these issues, Robert proposed that making property harder to violate is crucial. He sees Bitcoin as a potential solution, as it provides inviolable private property rights. With a Bitcoin standard, the state's ability to print money would be limited, reducing their revenue source and potentially leading to a more peaceful and prosperous world by creating less incentive for people to politic and more incentive for them to produce. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
66:22 11/14/23
Is the Bull Market Back? With Alex Thorn - WBD734
Alex Thorn is the Head of Firmwide Research at Galaxy. In this interview, we discuss a range of topics including Galaxy’s sponsorship of Real Bedford FC, the growing trend of Bitcoin sponsorship in sports and the current state of the hip-hop music industry. We also talk about Bitcoin, including factors influencing its price, the potential approval of a Bitcoin spot price ETF(s), the importance of Bitcoin ownership and its role as a medium of exchange. - - - - Full disclosure, Galaxy became the first official sponsor of Real Bedford Ladies FC in the summer, allowing them to have professional coaching and for players to get paid for the first time. This has boosted the team: they are currently top of their league having won all their matches, and this Sunday they play in the first round of the world-famous FA Cup. I talked about this and the growing trend of Bitcoin sponsorship in sports with Alex Thorn. We also talked about Bitcoin and the potential factors influencing its price action: for example, there is a correlation between Bitcoin price and US economic policy. We discussed the impact of the upcoming halving event, for which there is growing anticipation. And we pondered the question of when to sell Bitcoin in the context of other investment opportunities; now might not be the right time to sell Bitcoin due to its potential for growth. The podcast covered the recent SEC amendments regarding Bitcoin spot price ETFs, involving additional risk disclosures for investors, possibly indicating a shift in SEC behaviour towards Bitcoin. We touched on the potential impact of a Bitcoin spot price ETF, with increased adoption and price growth tempered by concerns about institutionalization. We also considered the impact on Grayscale's business model, noting that lower fees in ETFs could affect their profitability. Finally, the discussion emphasized the importance of educating others about Bitcoin's value and fundamental features. Widespread understanding and adoption of the underlying principles of Bitcoin are crucial for its long-term success. Alex encourages Bitcoin enthusiasts to continue spreading awareness and discussing its values with friends, family, and potential investors. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
70:09 11/10/23
Bitcoin’s Full Potential Value with Jesse Myers - WBD733
Jesse Myers is co-founder and COO of Onramp Bitcoin. In this interview, we discuss Bitcoin’s potential growth, adoption and valuation, and the implications of Bitcoin’s price accelerating. We also talk about the risks associated with bonds, the concept of money, and the hurdle of convincing people to buy Bitcoin. Jesse also introduces ‘Onramp’, a Bitcoin asset management platform built on multi-institution custody. - - - - Many investors are still bullish on Bitcoin's transparent and rigid monetary policy: its increasing scarcity will attract more value to it, potentially making it a better store of value than gold. Some are expecting a transfer of wealth out of bonds into Bitcoin, as Bitcoin slowly becomes considered a lower-risk asset; this is in the context of bonds continuing to show significant signs of stress due to burgeoning sovereign debt and inflationary headwinds. It is in the context of this expected inflow of capital into Bitcoin by individuals and organisations that aren’t prepared or willing to secure private keys, that Jesse Myers co-founded Onramp Bitcoin, a trust-minimized form of custody. Their multi-institution custody eliminates counterparty risk without requiring individuals to hold their own keys. In the podcast, Jesse explained the multiplier effect of capital inflows into Bitcoin and how it could impact its valuation, whilst emphasizing the importance of remaining grounded in the total global asset landscape and not assuming unrealistic valuations for Bitcoin. We also discussed how Bitcoin can shift value back to ‘good money’, and further how it starts to become a dominant form of currency. We discussed how the path of Bitcoin adoption will manifest i.e. whether its growth is likely to be gradual or exponential. We discussed the implications in the interim period of governments continuing to print money to pay off debt, and the potential redistribution of wealth to Bitcoiners who have planned differently. We also considered the possibility and implications of fiat currencies failing and the world finally turning to Bitcoin as a solution. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
69:22 11/8/23
Bitcoin vs the Infinite Money Printer with Luke Gromen - WBD732
Luke Gromen is the Founder and President of Forest for the Trees (FFTT). In this interview, we discuss the state of the economy, government borrowing and the bond market. We explore the implications of increased US government borrowing and spending on debt and taxes. We also talk about cycles of quantitative easing, a comparison of the economies of Argentina and the US, the impacts of inflation on different groups and investment strategies during a recession. - - - - Luke Gromen has been praised by former clients and colleagues as having a "unique ability to connect the dots". Well, there are lots of dots at the moment, and none of them are static. The economy still seems like it’s in a perilous state with debt levels seemingly out of control. We discussed whether there is a limit to how much money the Treasury can borrow, and how the bond market might be signalling that the Fed needs to restrict borrowing. We talked about how debt has ballooned as a result of the reliance on quantitative easing (QE) as a means to bring down interest rates. As Luke explained, this tool results in inflation, the need to raise interest rates again, then rinse and repeat. This cycle has been ongoing since 2014 when global central banks stopped growing their holdings of reserves. The issue is who will buy the US’s burgeoning debt? Many expect the US to follow Japan’s model if the Fed starts buying bonds. However, Luke stated that the US risks mirroring Argentina’s economic situation as US government debt is financed mostly by foreign entities. This significantly hinders the US government's flexibility: it constrains money printing, adds upside risk to bond rates and makes containing a spiralling debt burden much more difficult. The economic system's evolution over the past 30 years has contributed to growing wealth inequality and unrest. We discussed how these issues are manifesting in the US, suggesting that it is likely to be due to the hollowing out of the middle and working classes by successive governments from both sides of the aisle. The result is a more comprehensive welfare budget, which increases the tax burden. But, given that GDP growth lags behind inflation and consumer spending is down, increased government spending requires more debt. Money printing for entitlements only adds more fuel to the inflationary fire. It is little surprise that Luke remains bullish on Bitcoin. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
68:44 11/6/23
The Fight for Bitcoin Against CBDCs with Mark Moss - WBD731
Mark Moss is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker and host of The Mark Moss Show. In this interview, we discuss Bitcoin, the challenges of building in a bear market, the convergence of political, financial, and tech cycles, the concept of generational theory, the current political landscape, and the influence of tech on society. We also talk about the impact of AI on business and jobs, the relationship between religion and morality, and the future of global currencies. - - - - Mark Moss is a regular and popular guest, and we had an engaging conversation that spanned a variety of topics. We started by discussing a subject Mark is well known for focusing on - the concept of cycles. Political, financial, and technological revolutions have converged at pivotal moments in human history. Mark believes that we’re living through such a convergence now and that by understanding these cycles we can better comprehend the state of the world. We discussed the concept of generational theory and how it relates to human nature, referencing a book called "The Pendulum" that explores the idea of swings between centralization and decentralization through history. We also delved into the current political climate and the potential for a material ‘regime change’, in the context of a continuing growth in scale and capacity of the administrative state where non-elected officials hold significant power. The discussion covered how technology has changed the way people communicate and organize. We mentioned that the current form of government is no longer compatible with the world we are entering, as it was designed to manage large corporations and treat people as collectives rather than as individuals. Today, information is being liberated through technology; this resultant access to information is problematic for authority figures. Mark explained his perspective on the impact of technology, specifically AI, on business, industry, and jobs. He mentioned his experience in internet businesses in witnessing the evolution of technology. Mark believes that AI is a continuation of the technological revolution that started with the internet, which democratized and commoditized technical workers, leading to the availability of skilled workers from different countries at lower costs. Finally, we discussed the potential future of global currencies. In particular, the growing influence of BRICS nations and the expectation they will launch a new gold-backed currency. And, we discussed the potential impact of CBDCs on global trade and control. On the flip side, stablecoins are growing in popularity and allow countries like Argentina to access the dollar market. We discussed stablecoins' potential impact and the control that comes with them. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
97:07 11/3/23
How Bitcoin Fights Tyranny with Erik Cason - WBD730
Erik Cason is a cypherpunk and author of Cryptosovereignty: The Encrypted Political Philosophy of Bitcoin. In this interview, we discuss his book, philosophy, censorship in academia, and Erik's personal journey from socialism to anarchism. We also talk about technology’s use for state control and violence, the potential of Bitcoin to decentralize power, the philosophical implications of Bitcoin, the potential of living in a virtual world and the nature of consciousness. - - - - Erik Cason is a philosopher, cypherpunk, crypto-anarchist, educator and author. He has just published a book exploring the intersection of Bitcoin, sovereignty, and cryptography in the 21st century. The book’s basis was a series of essays Eric has produced over the years that have focused on the philosophical and sociological aspects of cryptography and Bitcoin. Eric shared his journey from the Occupy Wall Street movement to discovering Bitcoin and embracing anarchism. His experience of being beaten by the police during a protest led to his realization that the state cannot be relied upon for help. We also discussed the accountability of police officers when they use their firearms, comparing the UK to the US. Our discussion touched on the dangers of a monopoly on violence by the state, mentioning historical genocides and the efficiency of the current Chinese Uighur genocide in eradicating a people's culture. We talked about the normalization of weapons of mass destruction and the potential for a nuclear holocaust. We debated whether Bitcoin can end wars versus the concept of an "infinity war" perpetuated by the state. Eric suggested that Bitcoin represents a return to truth in a world that has become nihilistic and devoid of values. He talked about how through advanced mathematics and cryptography, Bitcoin allows for a monetary system that enables true accountability. Bitcoin is a radical way of regaining control over money and limiting the overbearing nature of governments, allowing individuals to make ethical choices even in the face of destruction. Eric fundamentally believes that Satoshi Nakamoto opened up a new frontier for warfare on the internet and provided a space for rebellion movements to operate against oppressive states. That tool still relies on humans who believe in freedom, taking agency: it is vitally important for everyone to take responsibility for addressing societal issues to ensure a better future for our children. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
94:13 11/1/23
The Economics of AI & Bitcoin Mining with Daniel Roberts - WBD729
Daniel Roberts is the co-founder of Iris Energy. In this interview, we discuss misconceptions about energy consumption in Bitcoin mining and the resultant impact on the value and perception of Bitcoin. We also talk about Iris Energy's commitment to using 100% renewable energy, Bitcoin mining stabilizing the energy grid in Texas, the downside protection of low-cost Bitcoin mining, the challenges of scaling Bitcoin mining, and the correlation between Bitcoin mining and AI. - - - - Iris Energy is Australia’s largest homegrown Bitcoin miner, and full disclosure, the lead sponsor of What Bitcoin Did. It is an unabashed advocate of decarbonisation, with a commitment to power its operations using 100% renewable energy. It is one of the market leaders in targeting under-utilised renewable energy sources. And, whilst its core business is Bitcoin mining, the company is expanding its next-generation data centres to target the generative AI market. Despite the proven positive contribution to supporting energy grids, mitigating climate change and supporting communities with well-paying professional jobs, Bitcoin mining FUD is still affecting the perception of the industry within influential groups. With Iris Energy’s co-founder Daniel Roberts, we discuss the common misconceptions of Bitcoin mining’s energy consumption, and why these misunderstandings still gain traction in the media. We talked about the challenges of scaling Bitcoin mining: mining companies like Iris have to manage the physical limitations of increasing power consumption and the difficulty of developing large-scale energy infrastructure. They also have to hedge against price volatility. However, Daniel explains how low-cost miners have a unique downside protection that further incentivises the drive to exploit cheap energy sources. The podcast also covers Iris’s expansion into supporting demand for AI computation. Daniel explains the correlation between the needs for Bitcoin mining and AI, and how their approach is not solely focused on Bitcoin mining but rather on building power-dense data centres optimized for various digital demand drivers. This means the competitive advantage in the industry has shifted from chip manufacturers to those who can build large-scale infrastructure businesses. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
77:45 10/30/23
The Economic Impact of AI with Matthew Pines & Chester Ney - WBD728
Matthew Pines is the Director of Intelligence at Krebs Stamos Group and a Fellow at Bitcoin Policy Institute. Chester Ney is IT Director for environmental consulting firm ALL4. In this interview, we discuss the disruptive impact of AI technology on various industries, the potential risks it poses and the geopolitical implications of AI development. We also talk about the use of AI in cybersecurity and its potential use as a tool to communicate with non-human intelligence. - - - - ChatGPT, the AI chatbot built on top of OpenAI's developing large language models (LLMs), was launched in November 2022. It was a realisation of a theoretical advancement that some had imagined would forever remain elusively out of reach. The software was debatedly the most explicit illustration of Arthur C Clarke’s famous quote that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The response to the launch went inevitably viral. However, the awe and wonder were quickly replaced by concerns about the real-world impacts. In terms of coding, ChatGPT could automate and improve on numerous human-based coding tasks. With the upcoming release of the GPT-5 LLM, and competitor products, there is the potential that human software developers could be replaced entirely. And this is just the impact on coding. In reality, AI is and will increasingly have massively disruptive impacts on all jobs. Job roles in the future may still have the same titles, but the day-to-day tasks involved in their fulfilment are likely to be radically different. AI will enable a tighter feedback loop between ideation, testing, and generation, such that development cycles will see rapid acceleration with huge resultant gains in productivity. Jobs may shift towards designing products and user interfaces. Plus, there will be new jobs involved in curating and securing AI systems. The jury is out on whether AI may not pose a world-ending risk. It is more probable that AI will lead to problematic socioeconomic and cybersecurity issues. It will undoubtedly increase volatility in the labour market, and, improve tools for malign actors in the digital space. Nevertheless, it is hard to predict the impact of the expected advance of AI systems becoming capable of self-improvement. This could lead to a utopian takeoff or an existential crisis. Then there are the known unknowns: it is inevitable that AI will enable civilisation to do incredible things in the future and at increasingly rapid speed. This will then lead to the unknown unknowns: the unimaginable impacts of the race towards a singularity. What will the impact be on society? Will AI intersect with a disclosure of non-human intelligence? Will AI enable us to communicate with such entities? Will AI fundamentally change what it is to be human? Sleep well!!! - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
114:18 10/27/23
Bitcoin Financial Advice with Pierre & Morgen Rochard - WBD727
Pierre Rochard is a VP of Research at Riot Platforms and Morgen Rochard is the founder and lead financial planner of Origin Wealth Advisers LLC. In this interview, we discuss the potential of Bitcoin, its growing legitimacy, the importance of using it responsibly and the misconceptions surrounding it. We also discuss the potential impact of a Bitcoin ETF, the role of stablecoins, and the state of the global economy. - - - - Pierre & Morgen Rochard have expertise across both the technical and financial aspects of Bitcoin. It was therefore an opportune moment to take a deep dive into where we currently are in relation to Bitcoin’s purpose, its security and susceptibility to attack, its role as part of an investment portfolio, and its fundamental role as a new form of money. We discussed Pierre’s evolved perspective on the interaction of transaction fees, energy use and security. Fundamentally, does the brilliance of Bitcoin’s original design and the game theory behind a 51% attack, mean that it is unlikely to be attacked? Therefore, is the effort in trying to ensure transaction fees are high enough to increase security becomes moot? Further, we talk about the importance of using Bitcoin responsibly and in a way that can make the world a better place. Should the freedom provided by Bitcoin be used to make positive choices and improve the world, rather than for non-essential purposes like putting jpegs on the blockchain? If blockspace is a scarce and valuable commodity, should there be a moral consensus on how it is used? Morgan shared her perspective on investing in Bitcoin and the general advice to consider it as a long-term savings asset. Morgan advises against using leverage and suggests a 30-50% allocation as being appropriate for most people. We also discussed the topic of adoption and whether it needs to be at a slow pace to enable the rebalancing of portfolios. This is important as people realize that Bitcoin is a backup plan in case the fiat economy fails. We discussed the growing legitimacy of Bitcoin within important groups. This reinforces the importance of investing in education and public policy to fight misconceptions and ensure that the truth about Bitcoin is being shared. We also touched on the potential impact of a Bitcoin ETF, highlighting the limitations of ETFs, and the importance of encouraging individuals to own Bitcoin outright and holding their own keys. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
90:04 10/25/23
Scaling Bitcoin with Christian Decker - WBD726
Christian Decker is a researcher and developer at Blockstream. In this interview, we discuss the evolution of the Lightning Network and the challenges of making it more user-friendly. Decker introduces Blockstream’s new service, Greenlight, which simplifies the management and security of running a Lightning node. We also discuss the concept of covenants in Bitcoin and how they can be used to restrict the spending of funds. - - - - I first interviewed Christian Decker about the Lightning Network in April 2019. Over the past four and a half years, the Lightning Network has made significant strides in terms of its technical development, to the satisfaction of many of those working on it. However, the challenge of making the Lightning Network more accessible to non-technical users remains as the potential means to accelerate wider adoption. The current situation is that users require a deep understanding of Bitcoin and Lightning, which can obviously be off-putting for many. This led to the development by Christian of Blockstream’s new product, Greenlight, which aims to simplify the management and security burdens of running a Lightning node. It aims to provide a non-custodial Lightning-as-a-service, predicated on Blockstream's commitment to transparency and user empowerment. Greenlight was born out of the need to bridge the gap between custodial and non-custodial solutions. It provides a user-friendly onboarding experience, allowing users to have their own Lightning node while Blockstream's servers handle the operational processes. The keys remain on the user's device, ensuring security. It has been designed as a tool for all users: from end users who need assistance with managing their funds and channels on the Lightning Network, to app developers who struggle with integrating Lightning into their applications. However, whilst Greenlight makes the Lightning Network more accessible, it doesn't necessarily make it more decentralized. There is still a level of centralisation in infrastructure and traffic monitoring. The goal is to educate users and empower them to run their own nodes, thus increasing their self-sovereignty on the Lightning Network. Our conversation was a deep dive into the evolution of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network and the exciting future that lies ahead with services like Greenlight. As the community continues to explore and innovate, the goal remains the same: to make these technologies more accessible and empower users to take control of their financial future. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
71:20 10/23/23
Are Central Banks Losing Control? With Lyn Alden & Natalie Smolenski - WBD725
Lyn Alden is a macroeconomist and investment strategist, and Natalie Smolenski founded and leads the Texas Bitcoin Foundation. In this interview, we discuss the impact of digital currencies on government control, the breakdown of the US system of checks and balances, and the increasing influence of central governments. We also talk about the complexity of the monetary system, the current state of the financial system, and the future of Bitcoin. - - - - Lyn Alden and Natalue Smolenski are both acclaimed as peer leaders within their respective fields. I feel this is because they can provide engaging clarity to complex issues. However, I also feel that it is their ability to be authoritative, honest and calm, within an industry full of noise, miss truths and hidden agendas, that has led to them developing loyal followings. It was an honour to have these two heavyweights of the community coming together on the show. Our conversation began with a discussion on the concept called the "narrow corridor of liberty," which Natalie explained as a theory describing the balance between the state and society in terms of technological advancements, and the race for liberty to stay ahead of tyranny. We then talked about how this applies to the race between Bitcoin and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). The conversation took a turn towards the challenges of explaining the upcoming financial challenges to friends and family, in the context of the need to rethink governance in a digital world to prevent excessive government control. The system of checks and balances in the United States has broken down, with laws now being made through federal agencies instead of Congress. These agencies are often not accountable to the American people. Lyn talked about the correlation between the breakdown of the financial system and Increased government control. She emphasized the complexity and opacity of the money system, which fuels political polarization and distracts people from focusing on the real issues. Those in power may want to divert attention from the money system, whilst corporate interests have an undue influence on government decisions. The need for reforms is readily apparent e.g. lobbyists' influence, Congress members trading stocks and the lack of term limits. But, the fundamental issue is the risks resulting from a concentration of power. Decentralisation is a bedrock of Bitcoin’s development, so there is real excitement that those pushing for change finally have a powerful tool with which to enact real and meaningful change. That is why Bitcoin has people of the calibre of Lyn and Natalie. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
65:57 10/21/23
Here Comes Bitcoin with Steve Lee & Haley Berkoe - WBD724
In this episode, we are joined by Steve Lee, the Lead at Spiral, Haley Berkoe, PM at Spiral and… Bitcoin. We discuss whether Bitcoin has a branding issue, and how we can step outside of our little bubble and reach the next wave of bitcoiners. - - - -  Understanding Bitcoin takes proof-of-work. It's a paradigm shift in conceptualizing money - a fundamental rethinking of what constitutes value, security, and freedom. It challenges the status quo, urging a questioning of the trust we place in institutions and the way we perceive economic power structures. Bitcoiners can be an intimidating group of people. They represent a necessary defense mechanism; guarding the sanctity of the protocol, protecting it from dilution or corruption. This resilience forms a crucible that forges steadfastness against external pressures, preserving the revolutionary aspects of Bitcoin against all attempts to co-opt or unduly influence them. However, while the guardianship of this culture is paramount, there lies an equally crucial need to open the gates to broader understanding and adoption. To truly realize its revolutionary potential, Bitcoin must be demystified and made accessible to the masses. This is exactly what Spiral's "," aims to achieve. They have adopted a lighter, more humorous approach to educational content. By meeting people where they are at and, hopefully, ushering in a new wave of bitcoiners. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
63:00 10/19/23
Bitcoin Mining: Adapt or Die with Nick Hansen & Matthew Williams - WBD723
Today we have two representatives of the Bitcoin mining firm Luxor Technologies: Nick Hansen, CEO, and Matthew Williams, Head of Derivatives. In this interview, we discuss derivative trading, the potential impact of the BlackRock ETF on the market, the challenges Bitcoin miners face, the political and economic situation in Argentina, and the importance of hedging in business operations. - - - - Bitcoin’s price has been relatively stable for well over a year. Whilst prices have recovered from the cycle lows seen in November 2022, the rapid price swings, which have been a feature of the market since its launch, have subsided. Nevertheless, a series of events are aligning that raise the prospect of a renewed period of volatility in the near future: the approval of a spot ETF, the Bitcoin halving, and further macro shocks. The issue for capital investment in the Bitcoin mining space is that such volatility distorts and stresses normal business management practices. There have been numerous mining companies that have suffered existential crises because they have over-extended at the wrong time, or, they have had ineffective hedging strategies. Luxor aims to help improve the cost of capital for Bitcoin miners through the introduction of new derivative products. Luxor’s strategy is predicated on hashrate being treated as an asset class; miners are able to sell their hashrate forward, guaranteeing a return. The contracts are determined by an agreed hashprice, which is a function of various variables: the block subsidy, transaction fees, network difficulty, and bitcoin price. These contracts are then tradable as derivatives, which enables investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin mining without needing to be physically involved. Luxor is also working on additional financial products, including what will be a controversial yield instrument. There is still significant hesitancy in the community around such markets, and it will take time to build liquidity. Perhaps a new approach can renew demand for lending. And, if anyone can pull this off, who better than a diversified company that weathered a brutal bear market that aggressively showed who was naked when the tide went out? - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
101:27 10/17/23
The Debt Spiral with Preston Pysh & James Lavish - WBD722
Preston Pysh is a co-founder of The Investor Podcast Network and James Lavish is a macro analyst. In this interview, we discuss the US’s increasing debt and its impact on the economy, as well as the cycle of debt and inflation that many people find themselves trapped in. We also talk about the challenges of promoting Bitcoin adoption in economically unstable countries and the need for stable currencies in those countries. - - - - US national debt has increased over 80 times in the last 100 years, rising from $404bn in 1923 to $33.17tn in 2023. In the 1920’s the US was paying off debt used to finance the country’s involvement in WW1 that had resulted in its debt to GDP ratio surging to 33% by 1919; by 1923 this ratio had been reduced to around 25%. Today, debt to GDP is over 120%, higher than after WW2. The current issue is a result of two main structural economic problems that have manifested since the 1970s. Firstly, debt increased rapidly, from just under $3tn in 1971, to over $10tn in 2000, and to $20tn in 2010. However, GDP grew at a much slower rate over this period. Central Banks have therefore had to let inflation rise to cover the gap, with interest rates being the tool they use to control inflationary pressures. Inflation is effectively a tax that disproportionately affects the poorest people in society. As vining costs rise, personal debt climbs: people struggle to keep up with their expenses due to inflation and resort to using credit cards. Increasing interest rates only worsens their financial situation. As their credit deteriorates, they are offered even higher interest rates, creating a vicious cycle that often leads to bankruptcy. Many people are trapped. The real problem is that the national debt, believed by many to have reached unsustainable levels, doesn’t look set to be reduced anytime soon. For example, there has been a staggering increase in the national debt over the past two weeks amounting to $500bn. This debt is used to pay for government activities and funding numerous programs. But increasingly, it is needed to also pay the interest on that debt that is expected to be $663bn this year and $1.4tn by 2033. Credible people on Wall Street are discussing the debt spiral. Corporate earnings are expected to decrease due to the lagging effect of the Fed raising rates. Private investors are also starting to wake up to the fact that debt and inflation will have an increasingly erosive impact on wealth. Owning assets like gold, silver, and Bitcoin can help protect against it. It is more important than ever to understand the situation that is evolving. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
69:19 10/13/23
Building the Global Financial System with David Marcus - WBD721
David Marcus is CEO & co-founder of Lightspark, a Lightning Network payments protocol. In this interview, we discuss his career in the payments industry and former role as head of Facebook's Libra project, his frustration with the current financial system, how Lightspark is focusing on addressing the challenges of the Lightning Network, the potential impact of real-time payment systems and the scalability of Bitcoin. - - - - David Marcus' journey into the payments industry began at the age of 23 when he started his first company after working at a bank. He built a successful telco company in Switzerland and later started another company focused on mobile payments. His journey took him to Silicon Valley, where his company was eventually acquired by PayPal. Despite his success, Marcus feels frustrated with the state of payments and the lack of an open and interoperable protocol for money on the internet. He believes that money is an important aspect of people's lives and how they measure success. He sees a lot of injustice in the current financial system and feels passionate about improving it. Our conversation covers David’s role in heading Facebook's involvement in the payments space, particularly with the development of Libra, a payment system designed to reach billions of people. We talked about the challenges and pushback the project faced, and how the Libra project was a significant part of Marcus' journey in building his current company, Lightspark. David has come to the conviction that Bitcoin is the only form of neutral internet money, which stems from his experience trying to build a technology that could scale and provide a stable form of digital money. He believes that a real-time global payment systems, similar to sending an email or text message, combined with the decentralization and liquidity of Bitcoin, can unleash a significant increase in global GDP. Scaling issues will be a major challenge as adoption increases. Lightspark seeks to help address these limitations by focusing on the usability and operational challenges of the Lightning network, such as liquidity management and route finding. They have developed technology to simplify Lightning's channel-based system, making it easier to spin up and maintain Lightning Network nodes, allowing for faster and cheaper bitcoin movement. There are also other potential innovations that could greatly enhance Bitcoin’s use as a payments rail. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
85:36 10/11/23
How the Federal Reserve Works with Joseph Wang - WBD720
Joseph Wang is a former senior treasury trader at the Fed who now runs, a research blog on financial markets. In this interview, we discuss his experience working on the Fed's treasury trading desk, the role of central banks and how this has expanded over time, the relationship between the Fed and the Treasury, quantitative easing, deficit spending, the growing national debt, and the benefits of decentralisation. - - - - The Federal Reserve is the United States Central Bank. Established in 1913 after a series of banking panics, its primary purpose was to provide a more stable and reliable banking system by regulating financial institutions, providing banking services to the government, and promoting financial stability. However, the Fed’s role has expanded over time to encompass market interventions in response to economic fluctuations and financial crises. One crucial aspect of the Fed's remit is the implementation of monetary policy. Through tools such as open market operations, reserve requirements, and interest rate adjustments, the Fed seeks to control inflation, stabilise prices, and promote maximum employment. As the economy has become more complex, so has the Fed’s toolkit to address emerging challenges to include extreme actions such as becoming the lender of last resort and quantitative easing. A popular criticism is that the Fed’s actions have materially affected the state’s increasing and unsustainable deficit and debt growth. Whilst the Fed does not have the power to directly increase or decrease deficits, it can indirectly contribute to deficits through its monetary policy actions. Regarding the national debt, the Fed currently owns significant amounts of U.S. government bonds, resulting from its efforts to stabilise the economy during times of crisis. A more fundamental issue is the Fed’s potential role as the centralised authority in the control of money. CBDCs provide for the complete digitisation of money and the disintermediation of retail banks, which would provide the Fed with even more capacity to affect monetary policy. Despite the risks to personal sovereignty, such power would be too tempting for central bankers to forgo. Essentially, decentralisation is needed to keep the Fed in check. All roads lead to Bitcoin! - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
69:02 10/9/23
Decentralise Everything with William Casarin - WBD719
William Casarin is a Bitcoin Core, Lightning Network and Nostr developer. In this wide-ranging interview, we discuss the current debate over Canadian state control over media and the disillusionment of its citizens, the advantages of using Bitcoin in the context of current banking constraints, the potential of decentralized social media platforms such as Nostr, and the benefits and challenges of AI. - - - - William Casarin is one of the band of amazing developers within our community who ensure the cogs of Bitcoin-related machines keep working. Our conversation began with a discussion about the current situation in Canada amid concerns about state control of the media. We also touched on the decline of Canada and the disillusionment of its citizens, especially after a trucker protest revealed the true nature of the politicians. We then shifted our conversation to our experiences with banks, which can be invasive and unreliable, and the advantages of using Bitcoin. Banks today restrict financial liberty: there are serious questions regarding their overreach in implementing KYC and AML checks. Whilst running businesses on a Bitcoin standard has advantages, there are real challenges as most businesses still require access to fiat currency and associated payment channels. William then shared his vision of creating a level playing field for free speech online and mentioned the progress being made in decentralised social media platforms such as Nostr. He highlighted the complementarity between Bitcoin and free speech, as both are protocols that promote freedom and autonomy. We also discussed the use of AI in various fields. AI can be used to accelerate intelligence and make tasks more efficient, such as generating assets for video games. However, there are serious concerns about overreliance on AI and the potential dangers it may pose. Cryptography will be an important tool in dealing with the security risks associated with AI, despite states such as the UK seeking to ban end-to-end encryption. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
89:01 10/7/23
Bitcoin’s Cultural Revolution with Steve Lubka - WBD718
Steven Lubka is Managing Director of Private Client Services at Swan Bitcoin. In this interview, they discuss recent developments in the legal disputes between Peter and Craig Wright. Then, in the build-up to the Pacific Bitcoin Festival, they talk about various topics such as Bitcoin’s community, the importance of financial stability, the cultural revolution brought about by Bitcoin, and the need for a positive vision of the future. - - - - Ahead of the Pacific Bitcoin Festival, the podcast was a great opportunity to catch up with one of the show’s favourite guests, the peripatetic Bitcoiner Steven Lubka! In light of recent developments, the conversation kicked off with an update on Peter’s ongoing litigation involving Craig Wright. This litigation is still live, and in time Peter will be able to tell the full story, but, it seems like we’re definitely a lot closer to the end given the events of the past week. The conversation then shifted to our experiences within the Bitcoin community. We have both felt a strong sense of unity and passion within this community, a stark contrast to other industries. Bitcoiners tend to have multiple interests and go deep into various fields. Further, the community remained unfazed by the volatility, focusing more on the cultural revolution brought about by Bitcoin rather than its monetary value. As we delved deeper into the conversation, we reflected on the concept of time and its scarcity. We also discussed the importance of financial stability and its impact on one's ability to make meaningful choices in life. Financial constraints can limit one's ability to reevaluate their life and make different choices. We acknowledged the devastating effects of financial instability, citing examples from countries like Argentina and Lebanon. Towards the end of our conversation, we touched on how the mechanics and structure of a monetary system can shape human culture and emphasized the need for meaning and hope in society and the dangers of nihilism. We also discussed the possibility and impact of Bitcoin ending and our confidence that the community assembled around Bitcoin will continue to change the world regardless of the outcome of Bitcoin itself. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
77:22 10/5/23
Hyperbitcoinisation Can’t Happen with Mike Brock - WBD717
Mike Brock is the lead at TBD, the Bitcoin-focused subsidiary of Block. In this interview, we discuss Bitcoin’s limitations in solving complex societal problems, counter-arguments to the narrative that monetary flexibility leads to falling living standards and wasteful investments, the complexities and risks of Bitcoin’s widespread adoption, and why, despite certain limitations, Bitcoin still has the potential to be the most important monetary asset in human history. - - - - The Bitcoin community has had to harden itself against attacks from outside, by those either too ignorant or too invested in the incumbent system to allow themselves to understand the brilliance of the innovation. However, not all of those who raise issues counter to mainstream Bitcoin opinion are either attacking the innovation or the community. Some opinions are manifestly good faith attempts to sharpen the arguments needed to help wider Bitcoin adoption. Mike Brock is someone who sits in this camp: he is an unapologetic advocate for Bitcoin but doesn’t necessarily agree with what could be framed as Bitcoin orthodoxy. In this podcast, we discuss in more detail the concerns around groupthink on certain issues, which is in turn leading to a branding issue that seems to be affecting wider adoption. Specifically, is there a misconception in the Bitcoin community that Bitcoin has already won and will replace the US dollar? Has loose monetary policy since 1971 actually resulted in reduced living standards and significantly poor corporate investment behaviour? Are inflationary metrics providing a real understanding of consumer experiences? And, will a strict monetary policy have a net positive or negative influence on economies and societies? Consideration of the arguments for and against deflationary or inflationary currencies enables Bitcoin’s true potential to be honed. However, even if Bitcoin has a long way to go before challenging the dominance of the US dollar, it has the potential to immediately help lift millions of people out of poverty by providing open, effective and cheap financial infrastructure. This means Bitcoin has a compelling narrative even within mainstream economic and political assumptions. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
102:07 10/3/23
The Free Market for Money with Peter St Onge - WBD716
Peter St Onge is an Economist at the Heritage Foundation and a Fellow at the Mises Institute. In this interview, we discuss the burden of excessive government control, corruption & the erosion of trust in institutions, the influence of activists on government decisions, & reducing the size of government. Using examples from Argentina & Lebanon, we talk about the resilience of normal people in the face of a collapsing state, & the challenges of scaling anarchic systems. - - - - What Bitcoin Did makes films, which are published on YouTube under the banner “Follow the Money”. Through the experiences of everyday people, and through the lens of new kinds of currency like Bitcoin, these films explore what money is, who controls it — and how new forms of it could help create a better, more equitable future for us all. So far, 3 films have been released, covering Bitcoin’s legalisation in El Salvador, inflation in the UK and Bitcoin mining in Texas. There are currently 2 further films in post-production: a film about the impact of triple-digit inflation on Argentinians, and a film about the impact of the economic crisis on the Lebanese. These films have had a profound effect on me, providing me with a unique perspective on the role of government. Making these films has spotlighted obvious negative issues emanating from bloated & corrupt states being allowed to thrive. But there are also unexpected positive experiences showing normal people's capacity to show agency & develop innovative methods of self-reliance in the face of a collapsing state. I was eager to share my experiences with Peter St Onge, who I knew could understand and contextualise my observations and insights. We delved into our philosophical beliefs on the size of government and the potential of Bitcoin. Initially, I dismissed libertarian ideas, but my experiences in these countries have challenged this thinking. We discussed the difficulties and potential risks of eliminating the state, acknowledging the natural tendency for people to organise and create rules. We also touched on the role of democracy and the potential problems that arise when the political unit becomes too large. In both countries, I observed the effects of severe economic strain on different social classes. The poor are obviously massively disadvantaged in these situations, and I was witness to many heartbreaking stories. However, the incredibly inspiring stories of resilience and organisation in the face of adversity reinforced my belief in the potential of people when they are not burdened by excessive government control. - Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
70:44 9/29/23
The Bitcoin Debate with Jeff Booth & George Gammon - WBD715
Jeff Booth is the Author of The Price of Tomorrow & CEO/Chairman of Ego Death Capital. George Gammon is an investor, macroeconomics expert & host of The Rebel Capitalist Show. We discuss Bitcoin’s role in the world: its role as a hedge against the tradfi system, its disruptive potential & ability to reprice everything, & the challenges & consequences of a Bitcoin-dominated world. - - - - Jeff Booth, an entrepreneur, technologist, & author of the book ‘The Price of Tomorrow’, is a visionary in the Bitcoin field & a regular guest on this show. But, it’s been nearly 3 years since I interviewed the amazing George Gammon, renowned for his ‘The Rebel Capitalist Show’ podcast. This conversation was born out of a Twitter exchange, and it quickly became apparent that they share more common ground than many might have initially assumed. Many believe that George is anti-Bitcoin, but that’s not the case. His stance on Bitcoin is pragmatic. George believes in the importance of owning Bitcoin for purchasing power outside of the traditional system, especially with the rise of central bank digital currencies. And yet, he emphasizes the importance of probabilities and trade-offs in discussions about Bitcoin and he doesn't necessarily see it as a guaranteed path to wealth. Jeff's views align with George's on many fronts: they both expressed their belief in the potential of Bitcoin. The differences between the 2 guests lie in the perceived probabilities of hyperbitcoinisation. Jeff sees Bitcoin's potential to reprice the existing system if it remains decentralized and secure. In this event, one needs to imagine a world where value is priced in Bitcoin, not where Bitcoin is priced in dollars. Jeff promotes a future where prices will fall forever against a fixed number of units of currency, a stark contrast to the current system. This will affect the appreciation of Bitcoin in different economic scenarios. While Bitcoin may currently be seen as a high-risk asset with the potential for significant returns, in a world where goods and services experience deflation, Bitcoin's appreciation may be less pronounced. This show was another inspirational war cry for Bitcoin from two esteemed guests. Jeff couldn't imagine putting his time & money anywhere else due to the high returns he expects. George believes that even if Bitcoin doesn't become a global currency or faces challenges like fractional reserve usage and inflation, there is still massive value in its ability to enable transactions outside of the existing system. It highlights that everyone should consider the potential benefits of Bitcoin. - Show notes:  This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
103:03 9/27/23
Making Bitcoin Carbon Negative with Daniel Batten - WBD714
Daniel Batten is an author, analyst, environmental campaigner and investor in ClimateTech. In this interview, we discuss the challenges of convincing people about climate change, the importance of trust in government, and the potential positive impact of Bitcoin mining on the environment. We also talk about Daniel’s focus on accelerating Bitcoin mining’s use in reducing global landfill methane emissions. - - - - Bitcoin mining requires powerful computer hardware and consumes a considerable amount of electricity. In some locations, this energy is primarily sourced from fossil fuels. Critics claim that this leads to excessive carbon emissions and contributes to climate change. This is obviously a simplistic and false narrative; the true situation may at first seem counterintuitive, but Bitcoin is actually a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Bitcoin mining incentivizes the use of renewable energy sources. Miners often seek areas with abundant cheap electricity, which lends itself to seeking out renewable sources of energy. This results in mining subsidising the build-out of renewable energy sources, which in turn facilitates the development of reliable and sustainable energy grids. But, perhaps the most exciting application of Bitcoin mining is in the use of waste methane. Around 30% of the rise in global temperatures is estimated to be due to methane emissions, and methane has 80 times more warming power than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Further, 11% of global methane emissions come from landfill sites. The World Bank estimates that landfill emissions will grow 70% by 2050. As we heard in our podcast last year with Vespene Energy’s Adam Wright, waste methane is an amazing energy source for Bitcoin mining. The waste output is carbon dioxide, which is 80 times less potent than the methane input. Daniel Batten is seeking to accelerate the build-out of such technology. The aim is to generate 32 megawatts of power from landfills, offsetting the equivalent of 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s 10% of Bitcoin’s carbon footprint! In this podcast, Daniel explains the opportunities and challenges behind scaling up Bitcoin mining’s carbon-offsetting potential. The fund he co-founded, CH4 Capital, has a mission to offset 2% of global greenhouse emissions with a $500 million investment. The exciting thing for Bitcoiners is that using methane emissions from landfills is obviously just one of a number of sustainable applications. It’s just a matter of time before Greenpeace gets orange-pilled! Show notes: This episode’s sponsors: - Bitcoin Mining. Done Sustainably - The Future of Gaming is here - State of the art Bitcoin hardware wallet - Privacy by default - Secure your bitcoin with confidence - Stack Friends Who Stack Sats
90:04 9/25/23

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