Paolo Ardoino rejoins me on the show to chat about just what’s happening Lugano:
- Funding for the project
- Helping merchants accepting Bitcoin, USDT, Luga
- Why do this from the top down? Why not bottom up only?
- Hub & Incubator
- Updates on Keet
- Plan B Forum
- Swan Bitcoin
- Unchained Capital (code LIVERA)
- CoinKite.com(code LIVERA)
Stephan Livera links:
Stephan Livera – 00:00:00:
Paolo, welcome back to the show.
Paolo Ardoino – 00:00:02:
Hey, Stephan, thank you for having me again.
Stephan Livera – 00:00:05:
So, you know, we spoke recently and we spoke a lot about a range of things, but today we’re going to chat about
Lugano, what’s going on there. I think it’s interesting to see the number of initiatives and things that are all happening
in this just one city, one town, one area. So do you want to just tell us a little bit about how some of this got started
and got off the ground?
Paolo Ardoino – 00:00:27:
Yes. So, as you know, we have been as Bitfinex and Tether, we have been always involved in helping companies,
people and public administrations into getting to Bitcoin. But I feel like most of the efforts that we have always done,
or our community had always done, were focused on really huge scale approaches. And that is really hard.
Stephan Livera – 00:00:59:
Paolo Ardoino – 00:00:59:
So if you’re trying to get to maybe a country like France and trying to push them to adopt Bitcoin in a significant way
at the big scale, that is almost impossible.
Stephan Livera – 00:01:12:
Paolo Ardoino – 00:01:13:
It takes so much effort and so it’s really difficult to measure the impact of what you are doing. But in a smaller city like
Lugano in Switzerland, right, that is the only way. Understand finance really well, understand technology really well.
It’s 70000 inhabitants PTCD, so it’s a far more controlled environment. So working directly with administration, we
could actually understand the impact that we would have. Right. So in a way, the way I see it is a template. Lugano
can be the template on a wider scale approach, adoption. So I like also to compare what is happening in El Salvador
and so what we are doing as companies in El Salvador with what we are doing in Lugano. So two different one
country that is also an emerging market, developing country. And also instead, on the other side, you have a rich
Swiss seat. Right. So two different stories. Let’s learn from the two sides of the middle and then we can tweak, we
can tune the educational projects that we have, the integration with commerce, with local shops. So all that is much
easier if you have an easy access to the entire territory. Right? So if you can walk by every restaurant that is allowing
Bitcoin payments to understand the struggles, to understand what they like, what they don’t like, how we can improve
this situation. So that is exactly what is happening in Lugano. And all was possible thanks to the mayor and his
administration are extremely forward looking, right. So they understand technology. In Lugano, there are three
universities among the 70000 inhabitants. So it’s a lot. Right? So it speaks really highly about their interest in
education. So we found a perfect place to start with multiple initiatives in parallel and then from the merchant
education RND on mining with green energy and so on.
Stephan Livera – 00:03:29:
Got you. In terms of the website, when I was having a look at some of that, what’s going on with the initiatives. I saw
these numbers up there. There’s 100 million and 3 million in Swiss francs. So do you want to tell us a little bit about
what that money is for, who’s providing that and what’s it going towards?
Paolo Ardoino – 00:03:46:
Yeah, so when you want to help an ecosystem, it’s important to provide a way to bring people into that ecosystem
from the outside and grow them from the inside as well. Right? So a similar approach we are having in El Salvador
where as Bitfinex and Tether. We have donated initially 36 Bitcoin. But we are increasing our donations and efforts
and expenditure during the year because we believe that it’s important to provide the tools from the inside. Well. From
the outside to the inside in order to grow the expertise and the technical knowledge in the city or in the country when
it comes to El Salvador. So the fund was the two funds are really important. The smaller fund, the 30 million Swiss
franc fund is actually being used now because we have ordered more than 1000 point of sales that have been
already in part distributed to the merchants in the city. So only a few merchants. So we started with a pilot of now we
are around 20 to 30 merchants to test the Lightning Network integration and the Tether integration. The first merchant
was actually McDonald’s, and I think that was a ton of interest on Twitter on that. So I was talking to a guy that is
working there and in one day they peaked to 30 transactions in Bitcoin. So it’s not bad, right, being at the beginning.
So we plan to now that the point of sale has been smooth and out, we plan to expand the offering really quickly to
1000 merchants and then go up to 2.5 thousand merchants by the end of 2023. So also the approach that we are
having with merchants is quite scientific, right? So it’s not like they get a pause and then we forget about them, we
give them a pause point of sale, but they have different toolings to tweak the way the payments are handled. So they
have a slider that they can choose how much they want to sell or keep in Bitcoin. So it’s something that the way we
are approaching things is all the wine Bitcoin, maxi? You could say that, but I think that for merchants is kind of a
topic to say to go to them and say, well, now you have to keep everything that you get in Bitcoin. Right? So we
wanted to create this educational process and confidence process where they can increase the amount of Bitcoin that
they can keep in their wallet the more they get confident and quickly on the bigger fund. The bigger fund is actually it
didn’t start yet, so we are still setting up the fund structure and the aim is to help startups that want to relocate on the
territory. Right. Again. So usually when cities do these type of events proposed or get involved in these type of
initiatives, they want to make sure that their seat is not going to be used as a PO box where the company set up. But
there is no one actually living on the territory. Right. So the only reason for the city to do this as well, one of the few
reasons for the city to do it is to make sure that the territory remains vibrant, young and always ready to follow
technology. So it’s important that of course there is a fund that helps people to relocate here to grow their startups. So
we really look forward for amazing bitcoin centric companies being set up in Lugano and a few of them are coming,
especially when it comes to the R and D on green energy and mining. There is an interesting company just moving
here in Lugano, renting a big place so they can put their machinery and also teaching to university, but also taken
back from the university in terms of engineering. And there are two really engineering focused on universities in
Lugano. So that’s why that’s what happened here.
Stephan Livera – 00:08:32:
Interesting. So for let’s say there were listeners out there, maybe they are bitcoin builders and they’re thinking about
potentially going to Lugano. What would the process be like for them if they were? Is it like applying for a grant or is
that the kind of structure that they are looking at here? Or what’s the approach going to be to try to attract business
Paolo Ardoino – 00:08:53:
So more grant we plan to. So we are setting up this fund that will be a classic PPC fund, but we’ll be focusing on
technologies that we do care about. And I can tell you probably this is the first time I make it public, but there will be
also a Hole punch/tags fund, incubation fund as well.
Stephan Livera – 00:09:16:
Paolo Ardoino – 00:09:16:
So we are creating multiple funds, each one of our different technologies because it’s important that there is enough
capital to run operations also in the city so the people are not strangled when they come to live in Switzerland. But
yeah, it’s bitcoin Lightning and Holepunch and Tags dedicated funds.
Stephan Livera – 00:09:39:
Fantastic. So that’s really cool to see. And so then in terms of attracting people is the idea that the city is going to try
and attract people who are not currently in Switzerland. So like, would they be having to like apply for visas and
things like this to kind of come and work? Because I guess the idea is you’re saying is they want people to actually
come and live in the city and not just sort of remotely set up from the city and still be elsewhere around the world.
Paolo Ardoino – 00:10:04:
Yeah, well, Lugano is looking for people relocating from other areas from Switzerland or outside of, outside of
Switzerland. So, for example, we are seeing an interesting inflow from people living in Zug at right, or companies
actually having pill boxes in Zug and looking at Lugano as potential new residents for themselves and the city. So
actually, we had around 20 people already moving from Zug and Zuetor from this upper part northern part of
Switzerland into Lugano in the last six months, and five companies already established here, and other 20 are looking
to relocate here in Lugano. So things actually are moving. Especially, of course, there are the funds. But the most
important, exciting part is there are connections with the city, right? So anyone can go and set up a meeting with the
mayor, with his administration, get his advice, and you really feel part of something here, right. So, again, it’s a city
that is a smallish city, 70000 inhabitants. So it’s not Dubai, it’s no Milan, it’s no Rome, it’s no Paris, of course, but it’s
a City that if you can walk around everywhere, it’s a beautiful lake, mountains, and with the administration, the
administration understands really well the importance of being on them or jumping on the train now, right. Lucano
historically is still one of the three biggest cities when it comes to wealth. So there is Zurich, Geneva and Lugano. So
Geneva is a bit more on the French side, zurich is on the German side, and Lugano is on the Italian side. Right. The
three languages that are spoken in Switzerland. But, you know, until the last decade, Lugano and Geneva and Zurich
were making a killing on banking, and they still do to a certain extent. But I think that recently, Europe, including
Switzerland, has become more an even playing field when it comes to banking. And so a lot of banks consolidated in
the entire Switzerland after the 2008 crisis. And so I think that Switzerland is really well suited to be at the forefront of
financial technology, innovation and finance in general. So they understand finance really well, they understand
money really well. And so they understand that if they are like the 15th country to really show interest to bitcoin, they
will lose a trade. And Switzerland has the Swiss francs. If you don’t have dollars, you want dollars. If you have dollars,
you want Swiss francs. That’s how it goes when it comes to money and the Fiat work. But if you add, then the two,
you can argue that the two strongest and independent currencies in the world are actually the Swiss Franc and
Stephan Livera – 00:13:21:
Paolo Ardoino – 00:13:21:
So Swiss Franc the monetary policy of Switzerland is extremely more thorough than what we have been seeing, for
example, from US. Or Europe. Central bank of Switzerland has been much more restrictive in what they did during
the Covid period and in these recent times. And also they have been providing clarity and regulations on bitcoin and
crypto since 2015. And this is quite important. Right. FINA, the regulatory body in Switzerland, has been providing
clarity, has been providing regulations for cryptocurrency since A Lot Of Years, seven Years Now.
Stephan Livera – 00:14:03:
Paolo Ardoino – 00:14:03:
That when most of the other countries were still picking their noses because they were completely still sleeping on
this new technology. So that’s why I like Switzerland. And they have actually a good chance in attracting a ton of
people here. I mean also I know some friends that are planning to move from Dubai from Australia. We have people
relocating from Ukraine and the city. Also, the beautiful part of it is that the city is involved in helping actually, people
relocating. They understand that the main struggles are relocating here. So if you don’t have any European passport
takes time and effort to relocate in Switzerland. But the city is helping and help already many from living abroad to
relocate in Lugano and also banking. Right. So you want to come here maybe and open a bank account? And
banking. I know that also in Dubai, in Singapore. Although you know they are crypto-friendly places. Still, banking is
not that easy. Right. And Switzerland has a really thorough approach to banking. And yet after the 3rd of March when
we announce the plan B, we are seeing we are sitting around the table every few weeks with different banks and they
are starting to onboard crypto people. And that is a huge achievement because, you know, now banking understands
that they can suddenly start to offer other services. Other services to their customers. And that’s something that I
really like to see, because I think that they understand that they shouldn’t be superseded by the technology, but they
should embrace the technology.
Stephan Livera – 00:15:56:
I See. Yeah. And as you mentioned, around having People Use Bitcoin around town. I think one thing, obviously
Switzerland people Don’t really know that Switzerland Has No Capital Gains tax. From what I understand although
there is a wealth tax but still no capital gains tax means you can spend your bitcoin if you are Switzerland based. And
so that is an interesting idea because people talk about this idea of bitcoin legal tinder, but really, if you just remove
capital gains tax, then you’re okay to spend your bitcoin without having to do tax events and so on. Now, Of Course,
That May Be A Different Story for Tourists and Things Like this, but In Terms Of Locals or People Who Are Residents
Of Switzerland, then that’s interesting To See. And maybe we will see more adoption from that perspective just
because it eases the friction. So I’m curious. From a Bitfinex point of view, are you getting involved there from the
merchant side? Like other merchants actually using Bitfinex in terms of getting like, if they want to receive some Fiat
out of that, or how does it work for the merchants in Lugano who want to, let’s say, take a split in some Bitcoin and
Paolo Ardoino – 00:17:05:
Yeah. So at the moment, the merchants are using this point of sale that is provided by GoCrypto, and GoCrypto is
using Bitfinex pay as a back end. So at Bitfinex Pay, we didn’t have the full setup also with the physical device. Right.
So in many places, so you can go directly with the phone, right? So you have the phone and use your QR code. And
that usually works. But in Switzerland, we have done a thorough investigation at the beginning, right? And that is part
to me. If you want to get the entire city to adopt a new system, there are a few things you have to do. First of all, it
has to be free for them. So that’s why we wanted to do the experiment. And the cost of the point of sale are fully
covered. The second is that you need to give to the merchants the ability to remain 100% in Fiat or move the slider
and decide how much remaining bitcoin. So that is extremely important.
Stephan Livera – 00:18:10:
Paolo Ardoino – 00:18:11:
So these are definitely the most important part. And then the third one is that, believe it or not, they want the point of
sale that prints the receipt, right? So they have all integrated. So they have the restaurants are pretty busy, so you
want your guy going around, we have this point of sale boom, show the QR code, pay receipt printed, connected to
their cashier, right? So they don’t want to have like ten systems that don’t talk to each other. That is a barrier for
integration. And yes, I know that there are many companies that are actually having these smartphone apps that are
great, right. But the problem is they are good for the bitcoin believers already, right? So the ones that they don’t care,
that’s fine. They will export an Excel spreadsheet, they will merge the current cashier system with an Excel
spreadsheet, and they are happy. But it’s not all like that, right? People need to have one single system. You are
talking to old ladies in their grocery store. So that is the most important thing to solve.
Stephan Livera – 00:19:27:
Okay, so could you just walk us through then as an example? Let’s say you’re a bitcoiner or you want to go there as a
tourist and you want to spend some bitcoin. What does it look like? Is it basically they ring it up on a register and that
prints out a receipt and that receipt has a QR code and then that’s what you scan and pay? Or is it like it’s actually on
their little credit card terminal? Same thing.
Paolo Ardoino – 00:19:48:
Yeah, what they have is like okay, so they have a terminal at point of sale that is just basically a box that has a phone
inside a phone that with like over the air updates and so on, has a printer here and also has NFC still on the top.
Right? So basically it’s just a phone in a nice box with the printer and the NFC well exposed. So this point of sale can
do crypto payments. So basically you tap the amount, you say, okay, I want to pay in Bitcoin, I want to pay in tether.
And we’ll basically show the QR code. So you scan it with the code and with your phone, you pay and create the
receipt and also has the support also for some Bitcoin cards that are LN cards that are coming out now and also Visa,
Mastercard. So here’s the thing, right? So you can push the merchants now to have one single point of sale that does
everything. Obviously, the most critical part for us was limiting the number of currencies that we were offering
because we don’t want others. We wanted to limit to just three currencies. Like the Lugano stablecoin that is called
Luga. There is the tether and bitcoin. Right? So the biggest, most important currency, Bitcoin, then tether at the
stablecoin and then Luga. So we really didn’t want to spread the focus on like 15 different currencies with almost no
usage, right? So it’s important to us also that we stick to the narrative that people should use mainly Bitcoin
actually. But yeah, everything is integrated, is integrated with the cashier, right? So when you pay with your phone,
the device, so the point of sale that, for example, the shop owner has will print a receipt and will directly talk to his
cashier, right? The cashier is the thing that has some cash inside and basically does a little bit of accounting. So at
the end of the day, you know how much you earn and so on and so forth. So it’s all integrated in that way.
Stephan Livera – 00:22:10:
Got you. Yeah, and I can understand the point of that because as you mentioned currently, it would otherwise take a
lot of manual wrangling or at least some manual accounting, or at least giving it to an account and saying, okay,
here’s the Fiat side of it and here’s the Bitcoin side of it. Now just you have to do some kind of in the back end Excel,
matching it together or getting a CSV and stuff like this. So I can certainly see the appeal there. But, yeah, I’m looking
forward to going to Lugano and checking it out. I think it’ll be fantastic to be able to pay in person with Bitcoin. It’s
always fun. I guess probably the other big question that I think people are going to have is why bother trying to drive
adoption from the top down? Why not bottom up? Only right now I can understand. Maybe there are libertarians who
might have that kind of critique. How would you answer that? Or how do you think about that kind of question?
Paolo Ardoino – 00:22:59:
Well, it’s not one or the other, right? So we are actually, as Bitcoin and Tether, we are doing both. We are creating
technologies that everyone can use and they don’t have any control. Like Holepunch and Keet that we’ll have soon, in
the next couple of weeks will have support for Lightning, for example. Bottom up approach is also in El Salvador. We
are focusing on bottom up approach and top down approach at the same time. In the end, you need government
support if you want to move faster.
Stephan Livera – 00:23:32:
Paolo Ardoino – 00:23:32:
So government has access to a ton of information like universities, so can improve the speed of adoption. So I think
it’s quite a topic thinking that you can solve everything from the bottom up. Because the reason, the scare that they
have, I’m fearful that if we don’t move fast, we will let big tech companies trying to steal the lunch from us. Right. So I
want to be able to move as fast as I can with all the different, at least all the levels I can in order to drive adoption.
Because if you start from the bottom is the most I understand that is the most pure approach, but still it might be too
slow. So I prefer to unify these two things and then we meet in the middle. On one side you have to prepare the
ground from the bottom up. So people the most, like knowledgeable people will already embrace the technology and
start spraying out. But at the same time, if the government, if the administration of the city is not comfortable, they can
put limitations through the entire process. So of course we are all bitcoin believers, so we say, okay, whatever
limitation we will face, bitcoin will overcome that. But I think that I really don’t like to wait or to give the chance to
others, to big tech companies to shift the narrative and trying to enter territories that might be open to adopting
blockchains, selling a blockchain that is not bitcoin. So to me it’s important that we do the two things in parliament.
Stephan Livera – 00:25:23:
I see. And so I guess the other question people might be having is what’s the situation like in terms of how much
power the city of Lugano has? Are they in a situation where, let’s say they are impacted by regulations coming in from
the outside, like at the federal level in Switzerland, or do they really have enough power or at the canton level, or do
they have enough power to really drive it forward in their own city?
Paolo Ardoino – 00:25:50:
So the beauty of Sweden is that they have the federal level, canton level and city level and there is quite some
independence between the three of them. So they of course had to name bitcoin tender and Luga as de facto legal
tender. Right. So for example, the law of money is at the federal level, but still they could take independently the
choice of accepting bitcoin payments for the taxes with no limits and they can basically all the rest, they can do it by
themselves. So that to me is already a great sign of independence. Especially I’m used to Italy, right, so,
where nothing moves ever. And so it’s extremely refreshing to see what is happening here in Lugano. And of course
would be nice to have bitcoin really eventually as full legal tender, but in my opinion is already good enough. Right.
So it’s working. The city has embraced it fully. So it’s more than I can ask.
Stephan Livera – 00:26:57:
I see. And so in terms of people who are accepting bitcoin today, there’s that video, the McDonald’s video, which I’ll
put that in the show notes, if I can find that one, just for people who are listening now and thinking that they’re going
to visit sometime soon, what kind of merchants could they be paying bitcoin?
Paolo Ardoino – 00:27:15:
So, first of all, the first thing, so the city started from McDonald’s because it’s a big achievement, they have a ton of
people throughout the day. But also I pushed my preferred restaurant to accept bitcoin. So of course I’m basically
going there five times per week. So to me, of course, it’s a nobrainer and it’s called Gabbani, is an amazing meat
restaurant. It’s Italian cuisine in Switzerland and it’s just insane. Right. I know that I’m doing some advertisements
here, but when it comes to food, I’m always super excited. But also an art gallery also was onboarded a couple of
days ago. A watch dealer and many other restaurants have been on Boarded in the last three, four days. So now we
are around 20. But we plan to arrive to 50, 60, all in the center of the city by the event. And after the event, of course,
this will continue to 2.5 thousand. So of course we announced the 3rd of march to build the right processes, to build
also the right communication with the merchant. It took a little bit of time, but now that all the technological parties
there is working properly. A part this morning that Lightning had small issues. So a couple of merchants were
complaining already, but we fixed that pretty quickly and now we are back on track.
Stephan Livera – 00:28:53:
Right, of course. And I know these things, there are always teething issues and I know even with El Salvador, some
users of the Chivo wallet, we’re having some issues with lightning, but I think most of those have now been ironed out
as well. So I think these kinds of things are to be expected, especially with doing larger scale rollouts of Lightning. It’s
early days still, but I think a lot of bitcoin people are excited to have that chance to go out there and truly live on
bitcoin if they can. And if they can earn bitcoin and spend bitcoin and just not have to or minimize the amount of fiat
they have to touch or use, then all the better. Right. So do you want to tell us a little bit about is there anything else
you want to expand on with the students and what they’re going to do? Because from what I’ve read, it sounds like
there’s going to be some kind of tie in with a university curriculum also.
Paolo Ardoino – 00:29:44:
Yeah, so there are three universities in Lugano, as I said, and all the three universities had agreed to work with this
Plan B group to design Bitcoin and lightning network courses, right? So two other universities are quite technical and
engineering style and the other one is more business oriented. So we proposed and we already had a summer
school, so two weeks where prominent speakers came to Lugano and the teach lessons to around 100 students,
selected students coming from everywhere in the world, actually. And now we want to streamline that educational
process to curricular courses during the regular year in university. Right? So the two more technical universities will
focus on coding of course development in the Bitcoin and Lightning Network. And the more business oriented
university will focus on a bit more on the marketing aspects of it. So it’s not about only tech, right? So how you can
understand, you need to understand how Bitcoin works. If you need to have companies that have Bitcoin to grow,
how you do that, how you do the accounting part, how you do the legal side and so on. Right? So there are so many
different faces. It’s like a dice where each face is a different job type that you can do. So that’s the role of the
interaction with universities that we have.
Stephan Livera – 00:31:27:
So we touched on this a little bit earlier. You mentioned that there’s going to be this fund in terms of Bitcoin startups
who are looking to situate in Lugano and have staff there and probably run their Bitcoin business there. It seems from
the website there’s also going to be some plan for a hub/incubator. So is that going to be like a physical space or is it
going to be more like just in the city that people can come and be setting up their business?
Paolo Ardoino – 00:31:56:
So there is the plan is pretty much done in the sense that we are the final stages of this plan. There is a plan to
acquire a four stories building where at the entrance we want to have a Bitcoin cafe with Bitcoin art. So we are
working with Satoshi Gallery and hopefully other designers are the artists will be added later. But we plan to have a
pool inside, let’s say the base floor where there is this cafe with the art around. And then the other floors will be used
for coworking space and recreation space and some offices. So we wanted to create a space for everyone to come
enjoy come in to lectures because there is a space also for lectures. I saw doing meetups and all revolving around
Bitcoin. So I feel like a city like Lugano again, to give comfort, to provide a single point where people can find what is
real, what they should learn and what is not interesting, they should come to a specific place. So, as you might know
or might imagine, as soon as we launched the Plan B initiative, ton of shitcoiners and everyone started to pile on this
initiative, right? So it happened that many projects without saying anything. Starts to use the Plan B marketing
material to try to sell their product. And this is something that we want to avoid with all our forces. So that’s why we
wanted to create a hub where people know that inside the hub we try to provide them real information about bitcoin
and the real thing. Right? So that’s the reason we have now. I see yeah.
Stephan Livera – 00:34:06:
And I can imagine for people who are in the city and maybe they’re not already bitcoiners, they might just sort of
see all these altcoin is descending on the town to try to shield things. But if they can see, let’s say there’s a
community hub there, okay, they teach bitcoin there. Oh, I can pay bitcoin to buy my coffee there. Okay. I’m sort of
getting the idea here, like, exactly what is this? What am I meant to do with bitcoin? So I can imagine that. So let’s
chat a bit about the forum then. So basically, you are putting on a Plan B forum. So what is it?
Paolo Ardoino – 00:34:38:
So the Plan B forum will be a recurring initiative, right? Every year we plan to do this. So we wanted to have a forum
that would unify our vision when it comes to bitcoin and technology. So I’m a big supporter of the individual
sovereignty concept where you have to be financially free and hold your own keys in order to be yourself, to be free.
But to me, as I said multiple times, in order to have the full individual sovereignty, you need to have also freedom of
speech tools. For example, Keets and Holepunch and what synonym is working on are to me the perfect
complementary technologies to bitcoin. But on the freedom of speech, there are not many events related to freedom
of speech around the world, right? So, of course, Alex did a great job in Oslo. I was really humbled to be invited there
as well. So that was really good. But we wanted to unify a little bit the industry and the two types of industry in a
single place, right? So who is working or who has direct experience on bitcoin. So we have the most prominent
speakers revolving around bitcoin and also prominent speakers when it comes to freedom of speech. And so we are
going to have the Assange family, for example, at full family, of course, apart Julian, we are going to have also people
from law firms explaining and discussing debating on code is freedom. What we can expect from future regulations
around the code. Right? So if you write a piece of code, can someone come after you if that piece of code is used for
any malicious activity or whatsoever? So what is the type of protection there? Also we want to start discussing about
the importance of privacy in communication systems. So we want to explain now something that is becoming a motto
for myself is that to us cloud is a scam and how to we are going to see how we can fight the permanent positioning
that cloud solutions have in the current world and how we can create the tools that are communications tools, storage
tools and so on that will fight that dominance. Because when she hits the fan you really want to be ready with an
alternative set of private and enterprise solutions. I believe that also enterprise corporates should be really careful on
where they keep their own files and their own data and usually they trust the third party but we can demonstrate to
them that they don’t need to trust any other party or they don’t need to use other people. Someone else like a solution
when they can build their own and do it in a really decentralized way and fully encrypted way and so on. So there is
so much to talk about. We are going to have also master classes. There Nick Szabo, Adam Back. And there is
Jamson Lopp, myself, Matthias Bus. There is John Carvalho. Giacomo Zucco. There is yourself. And so many I mean
it’s crazy that in today’s we are fitting so much talent, so much knowledge. So yeah and I can tell you that it will be a
huge announcement because Lugano is collaborating with El Salvador so that’s, you know, we are trying to create
this more broader environment. So there will be a huge announcement in Lugano made from El Salvador. So I’m
super excited about that. So if you listen to that announcement you are going to understand that the Bitcoin word is
becoming bigger and bigger but the distances are becoming smaller and smaller.
Stephan Livera – 00:39:15:
That’s fantastic to hear. Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it. Obviously the lineup is incredible, the speakers and
the people that you’ve managed to pull together for this and I notice you’ve even got the crypto couple, our friends
Carla and Walker, so they’ll be there helping host the show and so that will be really cool. I noticed as well, you
mentioned the anti cloud comment. I was interested and I know this is something I believe maybe it’s kind of pushing
back towards the idea of people should just run things bare metal, meaning they should run their own, on their own
box in their home and things like this. And we are starting to see a resurgence I think, because I think what happened
is a lot of people went to, let’s say Google Drive, Apple Cloud dropbox and now we are starting to see, let’s say the
maturation of other alternatives, things like Next Cloud and ways to run your own stuff. So I think that’s interesting to
see and I presume that you’re obviously supportive of that, whether that’s maybe an individual doing it or a
community doing it or a business doing it. I suppose that’s or even a Government might need to be concerned about
that too, if in terms of where is their data being stored and could they be doing things in a more self sovereign way.
Paolo Ardoino – 00:40:29:
Absolutely. I think that given the current geopolitical situation, we cannot take anything for granted. Right. So as a
country, even at the government level, you don’t want to have the data of your citizens being stored on a foreign data
center, right? So data and that of course goes for the public administration data. So you have tax reports of every
citizen, for example. But also if you are still a government and you have people going around social media and
creating a ton of content you cannot allow or storing their private emails, storing everything from their digital private
life, it’s kind of scary to me that knowing that all this information can be stored on a data center outside of the
boundaries of that jurisdiction. The reason is that eventually this data can be weaponized between governments and
that’s something that governments should think about seriously rather than kicking the can down the road. Because I
know that might sound apocalyptic, but that is what Bitcoin for, is preparing for the worst, for the worst in the
economy, but also we should prepare for the worst in communication, in data. Data is the new gold. Data is extremely
valuable and so leaving the data uncontrolled to some big companies that first promise to not be evil and now they
can be evil, I think that should be our priority now that money is almost fixed. Right. Or at least there is a good
alternative. Now we need a good alternative for privacy and self-resiliency data.
Stephan Livera – 00:42:26:
And when it comes to Keet, is there anything, any other progress you can share at this point or I know you’ve
probably got announcements and things coming up on that at the actual conference date as well.
Paolo Ardoino – 00:42:36:
So Keet, we are going to launch before the forum the Lightning Network integration. So we support Eclair, LND and C
lightning. So that is going to be super cool. And also we are going to launch a new project called the Future of the
Credit System on Lightning style channels. That is going to be an interesting, really interesting discussion and panel
with an announcement. But also we are quite close to launch the mobile version of Keet. So I was able to run it on a
Pine phone. In a way it’s kind of cheating because I had just to compile everything for Arm. But also the pure Android
and iOS versions are coming well together. So I cannot wait for that because that will give a huge boost to Keet in
terms of adoption. We cannot complain, it’s going quite well, but more than 100K people have already downloaded it.
But we plan to see a huge increase in adoption as soon as mobile will come out.
Stephan Livera – 00:43:46:
I see. Yeah. And I know there are bitcoiners out there who are eagerly waiting for the open sourcing as well. But I
think you’ve mentioned that’s coming in December, right?
Paolo Ardoino – 00:43:56:
Yes. So in December, we’ll start to roll out open source part of the infrastructure so that people, for example, the chat,
right, that is in Keet. We want to create this module that is like a module chat that is fully open source. Everyone can
take it and you can put it in a game, right? So now you have all these online multiplayer games and you can actually
have a chat without infrastructure for once. That is something that is extremely valuable. So you can bring down the
cost of running games as well. And also with that peer to peer Lightning style credit system, also, you can imagine
that gamers can actually start building. Like if you have a game that has gold, iron and wood and all this type of stuff,
you can actually create all these systems through the Holepunch network and moving them as a credit IOU so more. I
don’t want to spoil too much, but it’s going to be quite interesting also to see I like to explore how Lightning so
Lightning to me is not just purely lightning network, but it’s a concept, right? It’s a product of how it can trustlessly
create a bond between two people that are going to send a ton of transactions to each other.
Stephan Livera – 00:45:17:
Yeah, it’s fascinating to think about. I’m excited to see what’s happening there. I think it’s probably a good spot to
wrap up here. So, Paolo, for people who want to find out more, where can they find out more about all of this?
Paolo Ardoino – 00:45:30:
So for Lugano, the Plan B forum. You can go on planb.lugano.ch in the header, there is Plan B forum. And so if you
want to buy some tickets, you can find them there. Or there is Lugano @luganoplanb on Twitter, myself
@paoloardoino or @bitfinex or @Tether_to. Thank you very much, Stephan. You are always so generous with time.
Stephan Livera – 00:46:04: