Prince Philip of Serbia joins me on the show to chat about his journey of learning about Bitcoin:
- Bitcoin, Economics and Finance
- Joining Jan3
- Bottom up adoption and Top down adoption
- What kinds of state level adoption help?
- Dealing with typical Bitcoin FUD lines
Stephan Livera links:
(Note: There are some errors in the transcript that have not been corrected)
Stephan Livera – 00:00:00:
Prince Philip, welcome to the show.
Prince Philip – 00:00:02:
Hi, Stephan. Thanks for having me on. And please, you can call me just Philip.
Stephan Livera – 00:00:07:
Okay, that’s great. So, yeah, it was a pleasure to meet you, Philip. I met you at Bitcoin 22. And, you know, it’s been awesome to see you coming into the space, at least more publicly. I know maybe you were more privately watching on as well as well prior to that, but yeah, I’m curious to hear a little bit of your story. I know obviously you come from the royal family of Serbia and Yugoslavia, and I could imagine bitcoin might not necessarily be interesting to someone from that kind of background. What was it for you?
Prince Philip – 00:00:40:
Well, my background was that I first came into bitcoin, first purchased bitcoin in 2017, but I knew about it a few years before. But it wasn’t until one of my best friends, a guy called Dan, says, hey, look at bitcoin. It’s going up. Why don’t you get into it? was like, oh, really? What’s so interesting? Ask him what’s so interesting about it goes, oh, yes, it has a 21 million cap, and it solves the whole inflation thing. I was like, interesting. That’s pretty much all my knowledge at that point. I bought it. I also bought other shared coins, as a lot of us do, really, for me, buying bitcoin, I wanted to make money. I live quite an ordinary life. This is when I was living in London. I just met my wife. We weren’t married yet, but we married a few months later after I purchased my first bitcoin. And I say bitcoin my first bitcoin, I guess. No, bitcoin, like, singular. Then as I start studying more about it later on, maybe going into the whole covert thing, then I realized that because I always knew something was wrong with the world, and I’ve always known that money corrupts. But then when you figure out that money is corrupt, what money I think really should be defined as money is bitcoin, really. That’s what pure money is. And this is what you started I started learning more about bitcoin. I started putting more hours into I got safely in the bitcoin standard. I think. I was listening to a lot of podcasts with Dergigi. I remember listening to a few of your podcasts as well. I remember following Saylor, also Robert Breedlove, what his Money Series with Saylor. That was interesting as well. And then, of course, Twitter bitcoin. Twitter was a big turning point. Just seeing the commentary that people have there, some of it brilliant, some of it funny, and some of it just great entertainment. And to answer the other part of your question, as I say, as a monarch, I’m not quite a monarch. Serbia is not part of the part of the system. The monarchy is not part of the system in Serbia yet. Maybe we can change that one day. But bitcoin interests me because I’ve always thought that I said that there was something wrong with this world. I didn’t know what that really was. And I’ve always wanted to see what I can do to make a difference. And I live quite an ordinary life. I don’t live in a palace. I pay rent, I have work, I have a Fiat job. I said I did have a Fiat job. Still. I’m finishing it now, but we’ll talk about that later.
Stephan Livera – 00:03:09:
Prince Philip – 00:03:13:
I’m not new to the world’s troubles, really, so I definitely have a passion to try and change that. And then when I figured out what Bitcoin was and what it also means in line with that it has synergies with monarchy, then it really flipped a switch and I thought to myself, this is beautiful, this is something I want to be a part of and I want to make a difference with. And it was really a humbling moment and it really gave more meaning to my life.
Stephan Livera – 00:03:40:
Yeah, that’s fantastic. And I think everyone comes to Bitcoin in their own way, they’ve got their own ideas about it. And I think it’s also been said it’s almost like a raw shock test, right. In some ways you sort of see what you wanted to see or see a reflection of yourself. And I think there are definitely different angles and ways people can get into it. And I certainly came to it from the perspective of liberty and sound money. Right? That was basically the main thing I saw that was awesome about Bitcoin. I’m curious whether economics was one of your focuses. I know you’re working in the world of finance as well, so even pre-bitcoin, was that something you were studying?
Prince Philip – 00:04:19:
So I actually studied languages at university and after graduating I went into finance. It’s a different leap, but then I studied finance when I joined my first financial company. This was back in London, in the City of London, back in 2006. And I gained my financial knowledge through those companies, through the companies, through the courses that they had enough. I was going to some courses in central London, like these universities, BPP and all these sort of professional universities, and that’s why I picked up my financial knowledge. Then the financial crisis happened and I decided to leave finance and go into hospitality management. So I went to Switzerland, Lausanne, the hotel school there, Ecology Los Angeles, and went back to London to start my job in hotel management, where I worked at the Ritz Hotel. And then I realized that it’s not really my passion working in hotels. I prefer to work in finance. I’m more interested about financial markets, about macroeconomics and all that. And that this was around 2009 and then I got back into finance. And as I’m gaining more experience in finance, I’m realizing that this is really not really making that much sense. It just didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel like I had much of a purpose, what I was doing. I just felt like you know what I mean? To say it bluntly, I thought the whole thing was a bit of a scam.
Stephan Livera – 00:05:54:
Yeah, I think you’re right. I think there’s a lot of aspects of finance that have been corrupted by the fact that we are using fiat currency instead. And the way Mises explains some money, it’s two components. One is freely chosen by people, and two, it’s absent intervention by the state. And so I think those are the two, I guess, crucial components to make something sound money. Now, if you ask Peter Schiff, he’ll say, I see it’s when you drop the gold coin and it makes a noise. That’s why they called it sound money and whatever. And maybe that’s part of where the name came from. But in terms of what defines it, I think the Misian understanding of it certainly is more interesting. Also, I’m curious as well. I know if you’ve been reading Saefedean and looking at various Austrian economics and things like this, I know even in the Australian world, there is discussion about this concept of is monarchy superior to democracy? Right? And that’s kind of an interesting world of argumentation and stuff like that. I’m curious if you’ve looked into any of that, if you have any reflections on that.
Prince Philip – 00:07:01:
Actually, I’m about to read Hans Herman’s Hopper’s Democracy. They got that failed. I want to read it side by side alongside with Alex Goldstein and Bitstein. He’s determined to buy me the book, so he just bought myself a copy. So we’re going to read it side by side. Look, monarchy and Bitcoins have a lot of time, have a lot of similarities. I mean, monarchies have had historically long time horizons or low time preference spanning generations. Monarchs feel a lifelong duty to the country and compared to democracies, I guess, in contrast, politicians typically think in election day, it’s really short term thinking. Wars are expensive as well. So fiat politics, as I love to get into war, it’s expensive under a gold standard. So monarchs are very hesitant to engage in conflict while democracy is under. Fiat standards are basically incentivized to engage in warfare. Printing more money is easy. Also, the other book I need to get my hands on is Prince Hans-Adam of Lichtenstein. He’s written the book. It’s a masterpiece. Apparently. I’m ordering that as well. And it’s The State in the Third Millennium, I believe. And apparently he makes a compelling case for reimagining the state’s role in the future. This is to do with self determination, I believe. For self determination, I think it’s the principle that populations cannot be coerced, but rather upon the state to make an effort to work with the citizens. And the state is acting as a service provider, an organizer that serves the people and not the other way around. I really look forward to reading these two books, but this is what I’ve been told when I’ve been discussing it with Bitstein and some other people, that not that democracy is completely broken, but it’s definitely not doing many favors to parts of the world. I’d say maybe the best case for the democracy would be someone like Switzerland with the Canton system. But you look at other parts of the world and you’re thinking to yourself, these other parts of the world, Canada, America, France, Germany, these republics are definitely entering some dark days again.
Stephan Livera – 00:09:22:
Right? And I think part of it also comes to now, I guess in right wing circles this gets referred to as the swamp. Right? Like there’s this idea that even if you elect a different leader, the system is just so corrupt that it will drive certain outcomes. Or that because there’s just so much build up and bloat the system, governments become so large and so bloated that we end up with these unelected bureaucrats or technocrats who are really in charge and they’re the ones driving and dictating what’s going on. And perhaps that’s part of what we’ve seen is the chaos of the last two or three years with all the various things that have gone on.
Prince Philip – 00:09:59:
Correct, it’s that essential group think that’s really dangerous, that centralized power is corrupted within. And how can those few people decide what’s right for millions around the world? For billions around the world? This is something that I really come to understand and learn as being very unethical, but morally, morally wrong.
Stephan Livera – 00:10:19:
Absolutely. And I think what we’ve seen as well is people who ostensibly say, oh look, I’m here to serve you. But in reality they’re trying to make everybody else their service and they’re not actually trying to serve the people and in reality they’re just trying to enrich themselves, they’re trying to do deals to kind of make things happen. And so I think that’s really where I really see bitcoin as part of the answer. Maybe it’s not everything. I think it’s a range of things. Maybe there’s a certain cultural pushback, maybe there’s a certain attitude and shift in the way people view the relationship of the state and the citizen, or just the state and the people. Maybe that needs to shift as well. But I’d love to also chat a little bit about your new role. I know you’re joining Samson over at JAN3. So do you want to tell us a little bit about how this came about and what you’re hoping to achieve there?
Prince Philip – 00:11:06:
Sure. I mean, I can tell you from the beginning how I got to meet Samson was I all started in March this year when I went on to Ivan’s show with my wife. This is the biggest late evening talk show, the sort of Saturday Night Live equivalent to be invited. And that’s like a big honor. So we’re really excited to go on. We met with Ivan a few days before and spoke about just to get to know each other. And he found out that I’m into bitcoin. So then fast forward onto the show. We were talking. He asked me about my job. I’m there chatting away, kind of boring monotonously about my job. And then he just butts it and asked, is it time to talk about crypto? And I just took a deep breath. I was like, okay, no, it’s not about crypto. It’s all about bitcoin. And that was then picked up by the bitcoin community. It went viral on Twitter and everything. The next thing I know, I had a likes of Saefedean, and I’m chatting to people like yourself and going on to my bitcoin podcast. My first ever podcast was Daniel Prince’s, the Once Bitten podcast. And it was fantastic. And thanks to Daniel, who is really great at connecting people, we quickly became good friends. And he put me in touch with a bunch of people, including Samson. Then Daniel was like, well, we can go to what are your plans for beginning of April? I was like, why? What’s up? Let’s go to Miami. It’s like, oh, really? Yeah, we can go there and maybe meet some people and stuff. I really like it. You can tickets. Don’t worry. They can sort that out. So he gets he sort out tickets. We’re on a plane. We go there. And next thing, I’m out meeting everybody. And then I meet with Samson. And Samson is wanting to put me on stage on the panel to speak about a bitcoin and legal tender. I’m on stage with the finance minister or the economy minister of El Salvador with Samson and with Joel. He’s the guy who’s like the CEO or the person the president who runs Prospero, who’s mediating it is. The moderator is Stacey Herbert. So for me, that was a little bit surreal. And then Samson comes up to me, let’s have a meeting. Phillips we sit down very casually and I remember there’s another bitcoin with it’s, Andre, that was there from Madeira and Samson’s, like, hey, Philip, I’m starting a company called JAN3. It’s about nation state adoption. And I’m thinking, I want to hire you. I want to recruit you. And I was like, I’m in. He’s like, we didn’t even talk about the terms and stuff. And I was like, well, we can talk about that later, but I’m in.
Stephan Livera – 00:13:51:
But I mean, that’s great to hear.
Prince Philip – 00:13:55:
So he thought I was a great fit for that, which I hope I am. So that then took off from there. We talked a lot. We just spoke about our terms afterwards. And next thing you know, fast forward to Riga two weekends ago while I saw you. And that’s where it was announced publicly on the stage there. So that for me was a really proud moment that I came out into the bitcoin world, now I’m working for a bitcoin company, which I’m so proud to be doing.
Stephan Livera – 00:14:28:
Right? And just on that point, I think it’s interesting. It’ll probably be interesting for listeners as well. What was your thought process there around, quote, unquote, going public as a bitcoin? Because, put it this way, you could just stay in the background, keep stacking sats, and just kind of live two lives, let’s say. What was going through your mind to sort of decide, okay, I’m out, I’m doing this publicly now.
Prince Philip – 00:14:51:
I mean, going public as a bitcoin, it depends on the bitcoin. I understand for developers and people really involved in that space that they want to keep very private persona, that’s totally fine. But I think it’s important to stand up and go public. And I believe I’m maybe probably the first royal to go public in support of bitcoin. So I’m proud of that, yes, but my duty is to go orange pill more and to get them to go public. But we can work on that. I think it’s important that bitcoin has support from people with high levels of business experience and credibility. So people enter into the bitcoin orbit, open their minds to it. I figure, like, Michael Saylor has been a great ally for bitcoin and elevated the profile for mass adoption to occur. Really, it’s important that there’s a sufficient social proof from a wider range of credible people. So, I mean, I’m covering the royal side, there may be some more business side. I don’t know, I’ll throw it out. There people and other actors maybe as well, to get involved. People in other disciplines that have musicians, singers, those sort of people, scientists, famous scientists, people like that. I think this is really important for bitcoin and then to speed up adoption.
Stephan Livera – 00:16:12:
Yeah, and I think you’re totally right there. And this is one of those areas on Twitter and discussion forums and things, I see some people say, oh, why are you guys? Like, as an example, there might be some politician who says something positive about bitcoin. People might be retweeting that, and someone on Twitter will be like, why are you sipping for the politicians? You can’t trust any of them. Here’s how I’m seeing it. Right. I think we have to try to grow our base of bitcoin. We need to grow the number of people who are into this thing. Now, whether you agree or whether you believe any politician or trust any politician, that’s a different matter. But I think from the point of view, as you and I were just chatting, I think it’s important that more and more people say it’s okay to hold bitcoin, talk about bitcoin, to mine bitcoin, to run a bitcoin node, to run a Lightning node, all of these things. I think it massively helps if we can help normalize these things correct in the mind.
Prince Philip – 00:17:03:
I completely agree with that.
Stephan Livera – 00:17:05:
Yeah. And so then coming to this idea of JAN3 nation state adoption, that’s what Samson is talking about. So do you want to tell us a little bit about what you’re hoping to do there and what are some of the ideas that you’re looking to try to use to drive that nation state adoption?
Prince Philip – 00:17:26:
Well, so, yes, Samson moved away from Blockstream that he was leaving blockchain and starting Jan three to focus on nation state adoption. And that’s when we talked a lot about JAN3’s mission is to accelerate hyperbitcoinization. So our tool is to provide our goal is to provide sorry, the tools sovereign nations can adopt a Bitcoin standard, exit the oppressive fiat debt system and ultimately achieve true sovereignty and prosperity. Countries to adopt Bitcoin first will have a huge advantage in the future. This is like, what’s the game series? My role is to engage in conversations and strategic initiatives with nation states, corporations, individuals who wish to explore transitioning to a Bitcoin standard. So to talk about anything about adopting Bitcoin. Any sort of way of form. Yeah. I look forward to starting conversations with politicians. With company lead CEOs. With monarchs as well. And get the conversation going as we just talked about. Get them to sign up to download a wallet. To get them to buy a little bit. Just to see just to get the hands. Though. To see how it works. And it’s not too difficult. I mean, it’s pretty easy stuff. Yeah. Understanding Bitcoin takes a long time and we’re all still learning. But the actual process of actually downloading wallet, buying Bitcoin and holding it and having your own keys, it takes 20 minutes in total from the go to show somebody or less.
Stephan Livera – 00:19:01:
Absolutely. And so when it comes to nation state adoption, what does that mean for you? Does that mean are we talking about legal tender laws? Are we talking about that nation state doing Bitcoin mining? Are we talking about just removal of capital gains tax laws, just favorable laws?
Prince Philip – 00:19:17:
A bit of everything, yes. So favorable legislation is one thing. Countries, for example, Serbia, I’ll take an example, Serbia last year, they introduced their crypto regulations. I hate in crypto, but I have two crypto regulations and not favorable at all. They have capital gains tax. They make it difficult for existing companies and new companies to regain or gain their licenses. Really not good. It’s backwards. It’s just going to push away the fastest growing industry to another country. So I think in that situation, with service situations, to go back to the drawing board and have conversations again with industry experts and with the regulators and sit down and figure out what is the best for both sides. And that’s one conversation to have. Obviously, for me, the main points there is to get rid of capital gains to protect people’s right to hold their private keys and to run nodes peacefully. And yeah, capital do gains to make it treated like a currency itself. And I think that’s really important. But with other aspects like mining, that’s another area. It’s to work on the whole energy bitcoin is also an energy revolution. So to go find where grids out there with stranded energy and to reinforce them with bitcoin mining well, I shouldn’t call it mining anymore. I had a good chat with Pierre Rochard and he likes to say the bitcoin mine actually, according to white paper, it’s time stamping.
Stephan Livera – 00:20:53:
Because he’s trying to represent certain ideas, saying you’re actually extending the chain of blocks and it’s time stamping rather than mining, and it’s time.
Prince Philip – 00:21:02:
Chain as opposed to blockchain and things like that. So, yeah, we’re going to help other countries to get into time stamping and secure their grids as well. Have conversations. There’s opportunity there all in South America and in Africa, a lot of hydroelectric dams that have been opened up. There’s a lot of coal usage around in these countries as well, and to sort of clean that up as well. If you add bitcoin to that, you also produce some revenue to try and help you go to something a bit cleaner. Obviously not to solar or wind. We know the problems there, but there’s a lot of things that we can work on. Yes. Ideally, it would be to go and make them introduce it as a legal tender, but it doesn’t always have to be a legal tender yet. We will get there eventually.
Stephan Livera – 00:21:52:
Right. And I think probably what’s really needed is just merely the removal of the capital gains tax. Right. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the legal tender.
Prince Philip – 00:22:00:
Stephan Livera – 00:22:00:
But I guess people have kind of conflated those two concepts in their mind when actually maybe we could disaggregate those. And I know even with El Salvador, with bitcoin law, article seven was a little bit controversial amongst libertarians because they were saying, oh, this is like forced acceptance. Now, look, in practice, I think very few actual merchants in El Salvador were like, forced to accept bitcoin. But that was part of the discussion, right?
Prince Philip – 00:22:25:
Yeah. I think in Salvador, some people argued that it was too much of a top down approach. But they’ve adopted bitcoin, and you can still use the US dollar. You have options. So it’s not like you have to use bitcoin there. But it’s working. As far as I’m concerned, it’s working. And this is something that we want to work. It’s showing that when you adopt bitcoin, you can also continue using the currency as well. Fiat currency can also work on the bitcoin rails, the bitcoin railway system, I guess, which makes things life a lot cheaper for the individuals. So when it’s for remittance is one massive thing. You know, there’s billions of dollars. I think I’m just quoting a figure and a rough figure, but I think going into going to South America from around the world is about $350,000,000,000 in remittance every year, and a lot of that is taken away through fees. Bitcoin can take away that this is another area that JAN3 is going to be working we have a product, the Aqua wallet that was designed and Blockstream that Samson helped to design and that will help Latin America. It’s a good wallet that also has support USDT as well. And it has Liquid and Lightning attached to it as well. And things like this are really easy to just download for individuals and they can start receiving money from abroad for almost nothing. These things can really start helping people to get their hands dirty, to start realizing that getting into bitcoin is really easy. And there’s where the adoption comes from bottom up. But from a top down up perspective, what we’re trying to do but also we’re also doing bottom up stuff as well, but from the bottom of the top down perspective is we’re trying to make sure that government understand that people want this technology. And if you help facilitate it, that government, that individual, those politicians who do it will be remembered kindly, will be doing a massive difference for the rest, for their country, for the rest of time, and also just to stop them having that hammered down and hammering down bitcoin. Because if they do that, they’re just perpetrating the problems that many billions of people around the world are just having to live through every day.
Stephan Livera – 00:24:53:
So fair to say then, it’s some combination of things like advocacy, lobbying, but also technology play to sort of demonstrate and give them have some ideas around here’s, some technology that you could use to sort of either show, because I think this is an interesting idea as well. Right, if we look at the example of micro strategy, Michael Saylor had to first orange pill himself, right, listen, these are the podcasts reading safety, reading the bullish case for bitcoin, reading Parker Lewis’s Gradually, Then Suddenly and then he orange pills himself. And only then could he go on orange pill his board, his city level and do that move at a company level. So I think it’s the same kind of idea even at a country level. You might need to orange pill a few influential people before you can get the rest of them.
Prince Philip – 00:25:41:
Yes, exactly. Look where he is right now. We’re not careful that he’s going to buy it’s, going to buy all the bitcoin out there, but impossible. But this is it. That’s it. Education is the other key area, I think through Michael Saylor’s saying that if you haven’t studied bitcoin for at least 100 hours, then it’s not worth you to talking about bitcoin. And it’s totally true. People talk when you first tell them about bitcoin and they come up with their reasons against it and it’s like, do you know anything else? I mean, how long? But they’ve only just not read it in the media, in the mainstream, through some fun and stuff. So it’s like, okay, no, go back, I’ll help you read it again and then we can talk. I think it’s important we teach people what the history of money is and how easy it is to use Bitcoin and how Bitcoin solves so many problems. So, yeah, education conversations are key to all levels from top down, bottom up.
Stephan Livera – 00:26:43:
Right. And so when it comes to nation states, then, are you also looking at this idea of similar to El Salvador huddling some Bitcoin on the nation state balance sheet? Or is that an idea you’re trying to pursue as well?
Prince Philip – 00:26:56:
Yes, having on your treasury would be ideal. So to try and teach them that Bitcoin is the safest and securest after ever discovered, for savings technology ever discovered. And so for nations to have that on their balance sheet and also for individuals to have that on their balance sheet, companies to have that on their balance sheet as well. So, yeah, we will be helping to facilitate that as well.
Stephan Livera – 00:27:21:
Right. And I think at a time when we’re seeing people seizing each other’s assets or countries or companies, I think that’s probably the best time to be teaching people about the ethos of Bitcoin and self custody. So that can obviously be part of the story that you’re teaching as well.
Prince Philip – 00:27:38:
Yes, bitcoin is freedom. I think I said that on that show, on Ivan Avanovich show back in March. I really, really need that from my heart. It helps people’s individual sovereignty and it’s really important for people to hold their own keys of their own private keys, their own wealth that they can store. Yes, they can hold it on their phone, but then they can hold on cold storage or they can hold those keys in their head. And that really is profound that you can actually hold your wealth in your head, technically. It’s such a beautiful thing learning about this. And it really blows my mind about this. Every time I’m learning more about Bitcoin, I’m always finding those head blown moments. Recently I read Knut’s book Everything Divided by 21 books like that. Sorry I’m deviating from the subject, but I just want to say how beautiful it is learning about the philosophy side of Bitcoin.
Stephan Livera – 00:28:37:
Right, yeah, for sure. I’m also curious as well because we were talking earlier about how some politicians, or many politicians in fact, are very short term minded in their focus. So how do we get around that then? Because in some ways, obviously, you and I are bitcoin as we are thinking. We’re trying to think long term. But how do you convince a politician to think long term when he or she is probably thinking about getting elected and number two, getting reelected?
Prince Philip – 00:29:07:
Yeah, good question. Very good question. Politicians, a lot of politicians exist because it’s their job. They’re career politicians. So how to get them to think about something that could actually threaten their job in the long term is very difficult. But they have to understand that, you know, bitcoin is intergenerational wealth and they have to say, if you really. Care about doing good for your country, for your people, then you should definitely consider bitcoin as that option. Bitcoin solves so many problems that give you the job that you have today. You have the power or the influence now to change people’s lives by helping people understand that the money that we’ve all been dealing with for the last 100 years is broken. It doesn’t really mean anything, and if anything, it’s created so many of our world’s problems. So, yeah, how to convince a politician that I think it’s through. I mean, the incentives, you have to give them incentives saying that you will be making money as well on the side with bitcoin. Your family will be better off as well. But not just that, but the people that you served. Family, I say people you serve that the politicians will be serving us. Their wealth will be better protected going to the future. You will be leaving a better future, a better civilization. Families will be comfortable to have more children, to get into productive jobs, to do beautiful things, not to just work for the sake of working for the sake of living. A beautiful yeah, I can go on about this, but I think you get my point.
Stephan Livera – 00:30:54:
Yeah, sure, I agree with you. And I think what we’re going to see in practice is some are good and some are bad, right? And some will understand that president Bukele of El Salvador did take some criticism. Look, there’s always going to be criticism, but it could have been a lot worse, right? The way he did things. He could have started his own shit coin. He could have been very open to the crypto people and credit to them. They were relatively bitcoin only. And so I think that’s interesting, right? Whereas if you rewind the clock prior to the El Salvador thing, like three or four years ago, there was this Venezuela and they started their own shit coin, right? They had this petrol shoot coin, and other countries and things like this were just very much flirting with random altcoins. And so I think there’s something to that, or maybe another “bad example” even I noticed in recent years is the Ukraine example, right? So Ukraine, when the Russia Ukraine war started, they were asking for bitcoin donations. So they were saying, yeah, please give us your bitcoin to help us fund this effort. And okay, that’s interesting from a bitcoin narrative perspective. But then here’s the downside. At one point, they were actually banning Ukrainians from buying bitcoin with the Ukrainian hryvnia or their currency, the UAH currency, right? So it’s kind of like in some cases, we’ll see politicians and people in power say, hey, bitcoin for me, but not for me. It’s the same parallel that we see even with the carbon hysterics, right, because they say, oh, I’m going to fly to Davos in the mountains of Switzerland on a private jet. But your club. You’re not allowed to do what these elite people will say. And so I think we’re going to see some good and some bad. I’m curious what you think.
Prince Philip – 00:32:45:
Well, right now, going back to El Salvador, you can criticize it being too much of a top down approach, but look what’s happening to the economy there. It’s flourishing now, GDP is up this year, it’s percent or something. I don’t know numbers, I’m just ballparking there. But around that, this is driven mainly through tourism. El Salvador, five, six years ago, not many people could actually point El Salvador on a map. And then President Bukele gets elected because he’s not corruptible, because he comes from wealth himself. He was able to dismantle, or not dismantle, but break deals with the cartel leaders there and turn El Salvador, which was one of the murder capitals in the world, into a safe place. And then, thanks to bitcoin, now tourists are going there. And not only that, the country is open for other nationalities to move there as well. And people are moving there because of the bitcoin legal tender. People are able to go there. And obviously it’s not too expensive, but people can go there and bring their bitcoin, bring their wealth and start a comfortable life there. That’s fantastic. Other countries should be following a suit. Other countries would be like, I want that for my country. So, yeah, I think smaller countries like El Salvador was about 6 million people. I mean, I don’t think that small, but countries of that size, which have, like, more homogeneous populations are able to make quicker decisions, would think about it. They should follow a suit if the politicians are correctly advised.
Stephan Livera – 00:34:31:
Yeah, and hopefully we do see that. And I think it’s also interesting that it reminds me a little bit of the Clayton Christensen’s Innovator’s dilemma, right? So there are certain countries where maybe they’re just in a position where it’s too difficult for them to turn the ship, right? And so, of course, everyone should be trying to do what they can. But there are certain countries where maybe it’s like trying to turn this big cruise liner and they’re not as nimble, whereas let’s say the smaller and some of the medium sized countries maybe a little bit more agile, or maybe they’re a challenger nation and they’ve got something to prove, more to fight for, and maybe they’re more willing to try something that’s a bit more out there. And maybe that’s where this idea of bitcoin legal tender comes into play, hopefully.
Prince Philip – 00:35:16:
Yeah, exactly. Going back to one of our previous topics is capital gains tax. Anyone who gets rid of the capital against tax and allows bitcoin to transact freely is essentially adopting bitcoin as a legal tender that will then incentivize small businesses to say, we accept bitcoin. And whether small business accept bitcoin, then they will come. Bitcoin also go there. This is the beautiful thing about bitcoin: it’s that network, that effect it has. And when people will see a bitcoin, bitcoin accepting cafe or butchery or so and so shop, people will go there and say, hey look, then they will go and help that place out. Yeah, it works. So, yeah, getting rid of capital gains tax is really important, I think.
Stephan Livera – 00:36:05:
Yeah, so actually, I’m curious then, I don’t know if you’ve thought deeply about this or not, but if you had to stack rank them, or in terms of most important, let’s say, governmental policies, that helps bitcoin, right? Is it mining? Is it holding some on the balance sheet? Is it taking away the capital gains tax? Is it legal tender? What’s the most important thing from a nation state adoption point of view?
Prince Philip – 00:36:26:
Depends on the jurisdiction. But I think, number one, my opinion is probably removing capital gains tax and allowing the money to transact freely because bitcoin will flourish, doing its bottom up thing, which is designed to do. But then countries that have energy, considerable amounts of energy, and especially countries that have poorly infrastructured energy, then that mining in those countries is really essential. And what else? Balance sheets are just as important. But I think already, I think central banks already have, they’re not going to tell us, but they already have. I’m sure they have bitcoin on their balance sheet. If bitcoin is a threat to central banking. So the logical hedge, insurance hedge against that threat is to actually own the thing that’s threatening you. So it’s to own bitcoin. So if you think of it as like a 1% threat, you own 1% your balance sheet on bitcoin, or it’s like 10% balance sheet on bitcoin. But I wouldn’t be surprised if central banks already own a lot of bitcoin. So I don’t know.
Stephan Livera – 00:37:39:
That’s a fascinating idea. And I’m curious how they would get around it from a disclosures point of view, because a lot of them have to put out annual reports and show, okay, this is how much foreign currency we have. But I’m curious, maybe they find a way to hide it somewhere.
Prince Philip – 00:37:54:
I don’t know, maybe not the more transparent western nations, but maybe you’re Saudi Arabia and I don’t know, maybe the feds in the US. It’s not a public country. The federal reserve bank, that’s private. We don’t know what’s really what they’re holding. We know how much cash they have. But I know I’m not the expert there, but I presume other central banks in less transparent countries have to have it. And it’s easy to hide with a few accounting techniques. I mean, that’s how the world works.
Stephan Livera – 00:38:22:
Yeah. So going back to our stack ranking, I think we probably agree then. I think number one most important thing on our wish lists is removing capital gains tax on bitcoin and allowing people to freely spend it, save it, et cetera.
Prince Philip – 00:38:35:
That’s a legal tender without being a legal tender.
Stephan Livera – 00:38:37:
Yeah, right. And so then probably second or third, would you say like engaging in mining or would you say maybe just like opening up the market for bitcoin mining or, I don’t know, maybe stuff around the freedoms required. Right. Like we saw recently, like the tornado cash thing with the developer getting arrested by the Netherlands financial police, basically a financial crime unit or something. I guess having that freedom for developers to be able to contribute code probably is also an important factor. Yeah, that’s true in the overall bitcoin adoption story. So that’s probably an important aspect also. And I mean, some would argue in America the right of freedom of speech can arguably play into that too.
Prince Philip – 00:39:19:
Yeah, I think another point is to crack down on shit coins to make a law, but differentiating bitcoins from other cryptos. Once you start learning about it, you only need an hour or two of learning, okay. Depending on each individual. But you realize that both are completely different. You want to protect people because that’s most shit coincide. Most 99% of them are rug pulls to be so yeah, protection from kids. I say kids, sorry, from people, from shit coin. But no, that’s half jokes. I’d say. Going back to mining, it’s not something that I’m very clued up on the mining thing. I’ve never actually seen a mining rig operation happening. So I mean, I met miners before. I met, for example, Pierre Rochard and some other people. And what I understand about mining is that the energy FUD thing, which I sort of believed in five years ago, but now after starting realized actually, no, it actually incentivizes energy for cleaner energy and for more efficient use of energy for hydrocarbons, which are very essential. We need hydrocarbons to exist and to continue existing, and we’re not going to do without them if we want to move to the second phase of our civilization. So any way to make bitcoin mining only bitcoin timestamping, only open, available and in the country, I think is very important.
Stephan Livera – 00:40:57:
Yeah. And speaking of all of the five lines, I’m curious, this is probably something that you will have to engage with quite often in your discussions with people, because I’m sure you’ll hear the same lines, right? Like, oh, it’s dirty money laundering, it’s using too much energy, et cetera. So what do you see as the best response in those kinds of cases? Right? Because I’m sure you’re talking to somebody who is relatively new. How do you best deal with people who say, oh, okay, bitcoin is going to enable terrorism financing, or something like that?
Prince Philip – 00:41:31:
Yeah, well, that’s the thing. Hopefully that’s over by now that bitcoin is good for criminal activity. They don’t realize that there’s an open ledger there. It’s probably one of the worst things to use for criminal activity. Yes, there’s the privacy, things can turn around there. But no, bitcoin is not good for using it for money laundering and stuff like that. It’s not very good at all. The dollar fee is much better for that. So, I mean, that’s a pretty easy bunk, I think, for other people. But the other thing is the energy thing. It’s easy because you don’t tell them about that. Actually, if you look at it in a counterintuitive way, why it needs to use that much energy and how that actually solves the energy crisis, then people start to open their eyes and that’s another, easier bunk. But it still requires a little bit of thought, more thought. What’s the other thing I get? I get some people like, I’ve had it a few times, I like to hold the money in my hand. I like to feel the weight of my money. I say that’s true. With gold, you can actually hold the weight of money in the gold, but when it came to transporting it over time and space, and actually entrusting someone to hold it for you in a reserve, in a treasury, that’s where the corruption came in. And they’re like, oh, yeah, I see. But no, I like, Well, I’m sure in the future there’ll be ways of.
Stephan Livera – 00:42:52:
Holding your bitcoin, like the Open Dime or Satscard and things like that, but obviously they’re not quite the same.
Prince Philip – 00:43:00:
Exactly. And then I got to tell them, the money that you’re holding right now, that piece of paper, do you think it’s backed by gold? Some people do think it’s backed by gold. Some people still, to this day, I think it’s backed by gold. I did maybe seven or eight years ago, no, maybe ten years ago, when you realize that the pound is not backed by gold.
Stephan Livera – 00:43:17:
Yeah, it’s true.
Prince Philip – 00:43:17:
It’s true. People do think it’s backed by gold. They don’t know what happened in 1971. They don’t know what happened in 1913, actually, around then, when things went horribly wrong.
Stephan Livera – 00:43:29:
Yes. When the Federal Reserve is created and all the different monetary standards that we’ve gone through. Of course, one of the best books on this is Murray Rothbard’s book What Has Government Done to Our Money? It’s a nice short read for anyone who hasn’t any listeners. If you haven’t checked that out, it’s free over Atmeses.org. And I think the other big one you’ll get is the volatility, right? So they’ll say, oh, bitcoin is so volatile, why would I use it?
Prince Philip – 00:43:52:
That’s another big one. It’s like right now in Serbia, they like to ask me questions now about bitcoin, because they say, oh, bitcoin has crashed. I’m like yes. So, well, are you still happy? I was like, oh, no. Are you still happy? I was like, yeah, I’m buying more now, but it’s crashed. I was like, no, no, the fundamentals are still there and actually stronger then. Now is a good time to buy, and it’s always been a good time to buy. And then I tell them about DCA, which dollar cost averaging you buy once every week or so, the same time and over time, that gives you a good entry price, and you just set that on automatic purchases and you don’t have to worry about anything. But also, at the same time, it shows that Bitcoin is volatile because it’s still in its infancy as well. And that’s exciting for investors as well, because it shows that it’s growing. You can’t grow without volatility. Volatility is necessary. Bitcoin only had about truly about ten years of network effect, and it’s growing all the time. So of course you’re going to get a lot of volatility, but that volatility is going up more than down. And yeah, that’s exciting.
Stephan Livera – 00:45:00:
Right. Also, even with aqua and stuff like that, having access to USDT potentially, I mean, that’s part of the argument, I guess, is to see whether stable coins can help for those people who are in that sort of maybe they’re curious or open minded, but they just can’t hack the volatility. Okay, so in that case, that’s the argument. Would they benefit from using Liquid USD as an example?
Prince Philip – 00:45:25:
Stephan Livera – 00:45:25:
And then hopefully they could transition over. I guess that’s the hope is that they could then come over into Bitcoin. And theoretically, there are even non KYC swap markets and providers and things like this, where people can swap their USDT into Bitcoin. Let’s say now they’re reading safety, they’re listening to my podcast, they’re listening to you, they’re talking to you or whatever. And now they’re like, yeah, actually, I want to hold some Bitcoin, okay, I need to change my tether into Bitcoin. Maybe that’s the way it goes.
Prince Philip – 00:45:54:
Well, exactly. I mean, to have a wallet that you’re able to go from one to another, I think that’s really useful. The fact that you have a wallet, even if you want to hold USDT, you’re still getting training on how to have a wallet, holding something in there that’s protected by you. It’s your keys as well. It’s your money. Yeah. It’s not the right money, but it’s yours.
Stephan Livera – 00:46:12:
Right, yeah. And I wonder what kinds of trade offs will be made over time in terms of growing the numbers of people. Right. And I guess there is perhaps a little bit of an Eternal September here, because it’s like the Eternal September problem. It’s this idea that because there are a lot of new people coming in and they don’t necessarily all share that same ethos of, let’s say, some earlier Bitcoin is. And so I think how can the tooling be made? How can the education be done? How can the culture be such that people who are in you can sort of be inculcated with the Bitcoin ethos, the Bitcoin values, as opposed to just trying to recreate the fiat system.
Prince Philip – 00:46:53:
Right, yeah. I mean, education, I think I’m answering your question with this, is just downloading a wallet and getting your hands dirty is the best education you can do? Learning how to use Bitcoin and the technology, since I’ve been around it’s got much easier to use and it’s going to get much easier to use. Yeah, I think people should just really just try it out. What else can I say?
Stephan Livera – 00:47:21:
Yeah, I think it is. It comes down to learning by doing. For many people, it’s easy to talk about things, but it really comes down to actually doing things in practice. And I think that’s really where the rubber meets the road. And I think what happens for a lot of people, at least in my experience, is there are people who might have spoken about things or maybe they haven’t really actually tried to put it into practice. And I think that’s also part of the culture as well is to sort of reject laughing and reject just talking about things without really being about it. And so I think maybe that’s where things are going to go.
Prince Philip – 00:47:55:
Yeah, I mean, really, at the end of the day, the simplicity of bitcoin is really its beauty. When people learn about it as an inflation hedge, what people think, okay, right now the inflation hedge is broken. Yeah, but maybe in the last six months, you can argue against that. But if you look back historically for the last five years, if you’ve hold bitcoin for five years, as you would do with more for ten years or more, that’s investing horizon for savings, it’s going to keep on going up. And to have that option, to have your dollars or feet and stuff going to go into bitcoin to protect from inflation is beautiful. Really. Just knowing that there are only ever going to be 21 million, to me, that is just something that’s going to change humanity for the better.
Stephan Livera – 00:48:41:
And I also wonder, I think this is something I’ve theorized about and thought about for a while, is that I genuinely do believe that it will change the way governments are and it’ll essentially make them smaller because they won’t be able to fund things as cheaply. It’ll take a while for that effect to happen. It’s not going to happen tomorrow. But I’m curious what you think about that. Do you believe that it will actually change the institutions of society in a sense?
Prince Philip – 00:49:11:
Well, yes, I think, and I hope it will. Institutions, from money itself to health, institution to education to education, as I said, education, sorry, they’re completely corrupt at the moment. Infrastructure, everything. They’re just creating projects because they can fund, because they can print this money. And it’s just for the sake of creating jobs that we don’t really need, and it’s a waste of resources, waste of time and everything. And I think people are starting to wake up to that. And when you go back, if you go back to hard money and deflation money like bitcoin, then people will be frugal about how to spend their money and how to fund projects. And this is where we will finally have proper sustainable business plans, not just short term thinking that just makes sense for the hell of making them and then they break a couple of years later and then you have to make another one because that’s the business model, things like that. And going to politicians. Yeah. I think the politicians who embrace bitcoin know and who understand bitcoin know very well that there will be less jobs for politicians in the future. I hope that’s the case.
Stephan Livera – 00:50:26:
Yeah. So maybe in a sense there’s a few of them who realize that if they’ve got a good node or a good ear to the ground, they can say, okay, this is the way things are going. It’s better to at least ride this wave for what we possibly can as opposed to trying to stop this thing. Because you can’t really stop this thing.
Prince Philip – 00:50:44:
This is the call out to all politicians, is if you want to make a change for the future and be seen as a hero like you’ve always wanted to be seen as a hero. Because a lot of politicians are in there for the publicity as well. They want to help people, but they like this stage and say, make a difference for humanity and push for bitcoin adoption because history will remember you very kindly.
Stephan Livera – 00:51:03:
Yeah, I think that’s a great spot to finish. So politicians, make sure you make a difference for humanity. So, Philip, where can people find you? And JAN3?
Prince Philip – 00:51:13:
JAN3 can be found on Twitter. It’s just at JAN3, I think.
Stephan Livera – 00:51:19:
Yeah. So it’s jan3.com. jan3.com is the website there, but yeah. Phil, thank you for joining me today. And if people want to find any.
Prince Philip – 00:51:32:
Of your stuff, my Twitter is at Prince Philip. But that’s P-R-I-N-C-F-I-L-I-P a certain way. Spelling it.
Stephan Livera – 00:51:41:
Okay, got it. It’s Philip with an F. Guys. Alright, Philip, thank you for joining me.
Prince Philip – 00:51:44:
And both JAN# and mine, we do have Instagram as well, but you’ll be able to find them as well.
Stephan Livera – 00:51:51:
Okay, great, thank you. Alright, thanks.