Cory Klippsten rejoins me on the show to chat about:
- The Race to Avoid The War
- Examples of countries experiencing high inflation
- Obstacles and hurdles on the way
- Could the cycles have been avoided?
- How to contribute if you’re not a developer
- Pacific Bitcoin
- Twitter: @coryklippsten
- Pacific Bitcoin: PacificBitcoin.com (code LIVERA)
- Swan Bitcoin
- Unchained Capital (code LIVERA)
- CoinKite.com(code LIVERA)
Stephan Livera links:
- Follow me on Twitter @stephanlivera
- Subscribe to the podcast
- Patreon @stephanlivera
. And now on to the show with Cory.
Stephan Livera – 00:02:30:
Cory, welcome back to the show.
Cory Klippsten – 00:02:32:
Good to be here, Stephan.
Stephan Livera – 00:02:33:
So lots happening in the space, and it’s one of those things where there’s always so much going on in bitcoin. And I think maybe in a way that’s what it’s so intriguing because there’s so many things changing about it, even in a supposed bear market and at a time when, of course, we’re out here trying to teach the DCA or auto DCA message. But I guess there’s different aspects to consider with this. And I know this is something you’re writing a piece about this as well. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’re writing and what you’re working on?
Cory Klippsten – 00:03:10:
Yeah, sure. It’s something I’ve been tweeting about in different forms, really, since publishing the mission statement of Swan 10 million bitcoiners back in the beginning of 2020. So this has been kind of out there. I’m just finally putting pen to paper and got a first draft, and I should get it out around the time of the pacific bitcoin conference in a couple of weeks. Loosely, it’s the race versus the war. It might end up being titled the race that avoids the war or something like that. We’ll see what Tomer makes me do. He’s our editor in chief at Swan. Anyway, it’s this concept that if you win the adoption race and you can define that a few different ways, and we’ll obviously get into how I define it and what I think actually matters for this concept. You can avoid fighting a war over bitcoin. And it was really nice to see Michael Saylor crystallize this concept as well in his recent keynote speech at the Atlas society gala. He basically termed it, you don’t want to be a martyr, you want to be a winner. And there’s a lot of people that are reaching kind of the same conclusion that we have this opportunity where every bit of effort that we do to sort of steal bitcoin steel, to prepare it for a potential war is a defensive maneuver that makes it less attractive to attack. And then from the other side, you have all of the adoption going on with the people, the 10 million bitcoiners that we need for an in transit minority in the United States and at the company level with the banks and the corporations. You can think of, like, what Nitig does or what Swan business or Swan private client services does. And then think of all of the efforts of Sat Center and Open sats and DPI and all the people sort of picking up from where we got dropped by the blockchain association in Coin Center, which obviously don’t really care about Bitcoiners. And we created our own groups to go and sort of sway the minds of legislators and lawmakers and so attacking on all these fronts while also building up the privacy tech and the custody tech and everything that you need on the tech side for bitcoin and advancing there, these things are kind of working. They’re pinching out any opportunity. That the only entity that could ever really make life difficult for bitcoiners, the US government pinching out the opportunity that the government in the United States might have to coordinate some kind of massive global headache for bitcoin and bitcoiners globally.
Stephan Livera – 00:06:06:
And while we’re there, I’m curious your view. Why specifically the US government, do you believe we are at the point that, let’s say the russian government or the Chinese government or some other government, they’re still not powerful enough to have the same kind of impact.
Cory Klippsten – 00:06:20:
Well, they never have been. And the US government is kind of like it’s a figurehead for the system itself, right? The system potentially defending itself. This is the base currency of the globe today in the global system is US treasuries and represented by the US dollar. And so that’s what you’re looking to, for some number of years or decades, coexist with as an asset or another asset, a global asset, one that has, uses, and then I think, eventually unseat and become the global standard, which I think we all believe is. If you’re listening to Stephan show and have been for quite some time, you’ll probably understand that folks like us believe this to be inevitable. So when I talk about this war, a war versus Bitcoin can’t be won. It’s actually inevitable that you’ll lose. But you could delay the opportunity for this generation or our children, or our children’s children to live in this bright orange future that we always talk about, or sort of post Bitcoinasation, where Bitcoin is kind of used broadly and is ushering in an era of greater productivity and prosperity for humans around the world. That’s what we want to see. There was this I’m pretty sure it was an Andreas video from 2015 or 16 or something. And essentially it boiled down to if Bitcoinization can stave off one incident of hyperinflation, fiat hyperinflation in any country around the world, then we all essentially have a moral imperative to try to make Bitcoin Bitcoin and happen as fast as possible. This is why I’ve never been in the camp of, like, oh, cheap sats for me. Oh, they’re stamping out Bitcoin in some country. Well, cheap stats for me. I’m not down with that. I think that’s fine if that’s how you roll, but I really am in this to try to make it happen faster than it otherwise would.
Stephan Livera – 00:08:21:
I think this is which we could arguably say is a bit of the romanticism of people who are into Bitcoin, right? It’s not just this purely neutral and dispassionate thing, although certainly you could look at it that way too. But as you say, really bad things can happen when there is high inflation or hyperinflation in the fiat currency. So maybe you want to elaborate a little bit on that. Like, what does a failure mode look like? What are some of the bad examples or maybe any historical examples that you think are relevant for us?
Cory Klippsten – 00:08:55:
Yeah, sure. I think it’ll be more interesting for me to get into some of my own personal experience over the last decade, because I go to Turkey every year, so I think that’ll be kind of interesting and I’ll share some of that. But probably the one that’s catching my eye right now is people posting pictures of paying for things with cash in Argentina. Because they still have five hundreds and thousands in circulation. But a lunch costs hundreds of thousands of pesos. So these giant cash stacks that you’re having to pay for things with are getting pretty hilarious and out of hand. In Turkey. It’s really started to kick in in a big way in the last two or three years and becoming noticeable. But when I first went there in 2010, it was 1.8 lira per dollar, and now it’s 18.5 lira per dollar. And when you don’t have a stable currency and it’s just kind of running away from you and I think the official statistics are 82%. I know Steve Hanky has his method of measuring it and thinks it’s more like 140 or something like that. Even a lot of Turks that are running their own numbers in country with various offices are thinking it’s about 99 or annual inflation right now. So, you know, not crazy. Way more hyperinflation yet, but way more than enough to completely disrupt how things work. And so maybe it would be helpful to just give a few anecdotes just to kind of let you understand. So real estate in Istanbul has more than doubled in price, and this is adjusted for inflation in the past three years. So it’s just pricing tons and tons of people out of their homes. Like, imagine if, in inflation adjusted terms, the average house price in the US. Went up from 250 to 500 in three years or something like that. It’s just really fast to make that kind of adjustment. And this is just people fleeing the currency and putting it into whatever they possibly can. That’s not lira. So they’re stacking flats because they don’t know how to stack sats yet because they’re just buying apartments. Right. Not unlike what you see the Chinese population doing, which is probably the biggest bubble on the planet today, is obviously Chinese apartment buying, essentially. So that’s one major distortion. And so what else? You’ve got a lot of efforts by the government to try to offset the effects of inflation. So you have this desire to keep rents low, we can say, in real estate for a little bit. And so they have crazy rent controls that basically make it really cheap to stay in your house. And so owning a lease, like a long term lease on an apartment, it’s better than owning a house in many ways if you have it for a number of years. Not on, like, a rent control department in New York City. If you’re ever a Seinfeld fan, they’re, like sitting around at a wake or something, and they find that somebody else is dying, and four people say, what’s the rent? Because you’re just so excited to take over a dead person’s rent control apartment in New York City. So it’s like that throughout all of Turkey now. And what that means is you can no longer leave your house to take a job somewhere else because you can’t afford a new place because if you move into a new place, you have to pay the market rent. And so imagine that, like, you really have to stay within commuting distance of your home, or if you take a new job, you have to accept maybe a disastrous commute that’s just terrible. And you’re going from like the European side to the Asian side, fighting that bridge traffic, whatever it is. Okay? And now on the employment side, they’re suffering. Obviously they’re getting squeezed. Everything’s costing more. So the companies are not raising wages willingly. And so the only way to get a raise is to leave your job and join another company. And so people in their thirty s and forty s, like midcareer, are jumping jobs every six months, every twelve months, just so that they can go and be able to afford their lives and feed their families. Not because they want to leave, not because they want to walk out the door with the most important source of capital a company has, which is the knowledge and relationships and know how that you’ve accumulated while you were there or in your career prior. And that just walks out the door like a revolving door constantly so that people can keep up with inflation and they have to balance that with you can only do that for a job that’s close to your house because you can’t leave your house. So look at all this friction that’s being introduced in the real estate market and the labor market because of inflation and think about how that affects the productivity and the profitability of Turkish industry.
Stephan Livera – 00:13:50:
And I imagine as we get to more advanced phases of this inflation, you start to see breakdowns in terms of what products are available on the shelves. And from what I’ve heard and what I’ve read as well, there are examples where governments try to do price controls and of course, anybody who studied Austrian economics and generally free market economics in general teaches us why that’s a bad idea. But unfortunately, governments still try it and unfortunately, people still suffer, don’t they?
Cory Klippsten – 00:14:19:
They do, yeah. And we’ll see how this one plays out. It’s usually been bread, like literally your daily bread, bread and circuses. It’s always bread because that’s the cheapest thing that you can possibly produce that sustains human life, essentially in mass population centers. And so that’s been the one thing that they’ve kept the price low on traditionally. So they’ve basically subsidized the means of production of bread and essentially sell it at cost, or slightly below cost. It looks like they kind of got saved this year because the expectation was that there was going to be kind of a crappy wheat harvest and maybe not a second harvest because of Ukraine and Russia, but essentially everywhere other than Russia and Ukraine had, I think, a massive bumper crop. And so a lot of these forecasts for what might happen, bringing about like Arab Spring on a grand scale, and Turkey would have had its own pressures with increased cost of inputs, was put off by, it looks like a year or six months or something like that. But it’s this risk that’s just kind of hanging out there when you have essentially subsidizing half the population or two thirds of the population just to feed them. And we know where that goes eventually. All these years of erdogan the head of a quipe, the ruling party, seems like he’s been there forever. Well, guess what? He’s been there forever. It’s 20 years next year and there are elections in June of 2023 and he’s not been able to put together any sort of coalition that makes it look like he will be in power anymore. So now you’ve got inflation and all this disruption and all this friction in the economy and all of the geopolitical stuff happening on their doorstep, and you have probably a transition of power, unless, scarily enough, he figures out a way to stay in power in the next eight months. And you see a lot of saber rattling going on with Greece and other neighbors and trying to figure out some reason to maybe Jennifer some reason to have emergency powers or something like that. But, yeah, it’s all basically inflation is such a key part of this story and what’s happened. It’s just been fascinating to watch over the last ten years.
Stephan Livera – 00:16:35:
Yeah, and I’m reminded here of how I think there’s a higher quote about how he’s saying it’s not an exaggeration to say that a lot of history, it’s actually about inflationary stories. And of course, it may well be that high inflation drove politicians or other conditions to occur, that then maybe the story was about something else. Or maybe in the same way that a magician tries to distract you, that they sort of try to cause some other issue somewhere else to say that’s. Distraction from what the domestic problems happening back locally, which you could argue that’s happening in many places around the world. And I know in some Asian countries, for example, in Sri Lanka, they will set the price of rice, right? So that’s like another that’s like another way that they do this kind of thing. And the broader problem is that we’re seeing this breakdown in society, as you mentioned, right? Like people are turning over jobs super quickly, making it difficult for businesses to operate. We see some really bad things. And so for listeners who haven’t already, I recommend checking out these books. It’s When Money Dies. And I’m sure you’ve read that, Cory. And another good one is When Money Destroys Nations, which is on the Zimbabwe hyperinflation. So those are a few examples, and we start to see some really bad things happen. So I guess that’s probably the path we’re trying to stave off, or at least trying to avoid that. What does the brighter pathway look like? So from here to there before we get to the hyperbitcoinization, what kinds of things with that pathway look like?
Cory Klippsten – 00:18:10:
Yeah, there are certainly dreams and writings from Nick Bathe and Safe and some others talking about the potential for kind of a soft landing for the dollar system that we kind of coexist and sort of more slowly see bitcoin rise in market cap and value purchasing power versus the dollar. Probably hard to do much about the purchasing power thing that’s going to probably continue to explode. But I think it’s true that as demand for bitcoin increases, you would see both demand and supply fall for the dollar and kind of the dollar system broadly. And so you maybe wouldn’t see massive hyperinflation possibly if they are smart about it, but being smart about it means them not being scared of what’s replacing it. And that’s where all the education and all the evangelism and sort of teaching about bitcoin comes in. That’s why we’re doing this, right?
Stephan Livera – 00:19:13:
Absolutely. And I think the argument goes essentially that because we’re living in a fiat fractional reserve system, part of how money is created is when loans are taken out. And I guess the argument that I’ve seen people like safety and make is that under a bitcoin parallel system there might actually be less demand for credit. And so therefore, as you said, there’s going to be less US dollars effectively created through the magic of fractional reserve banking. And so, yeah, maybe if bitcoin is do the job right, we build the community, we try to build good tools, there’s code, there’s code review, there are all of these things. Then maybe there’s somewhat of a softening here of bad things that are about to happen and it feels in a way, maybe a bit morbid or a little bit unpleasant, but I think this is the way to stave off the worst of it in a way. So in that sense, what are some of the obstacles and hurdles that we might be facing on the way as bitcoin is? I know you’ve commented a lot about, for example, bitcoin noise or crypto, quote unquote crypto or the orange washers. What are some of the obstacles and the hurdles that we might face along the way?
Cory Klippsten – 00:20:26:
Yeah. If the framework is anything that you can be doing to shore up bitcoin’s defenses or sort of put on offense and increase its speed essentially is helping win the race, then anything that is working to slow bitcoin down to slow down bitcoin adoption is giving the contra bitcoin forces more time to sort of catch up and get their shit together. And if there are forces that want to work to defend the existing shitty system and try to thwart the advance of bitcoin, then anything that slows down bitcoin adoption is essentially helping the other side. And so that’s what I think is going on. I’m not going to take some dude out of a four on four basketball game who I know works for an altcoin fund and be like, dude, you’re an enemy of humanity. They don’t understand it, and I don’t expect them to see it through that framework. But, you know, probably the worst single entity acting against the interests of bitcoin today is probably Andrea Horowitz, the venture capital firm that’s probably the number one enemy of bitcoin. And whether they see it or not is kind of beside the point. It happens to be true because they’re the ones that are sucking the liquidity away from bitcoin, using the words that originated in bitcoin to market their pump and dump scams like axe infinity and helium and all these bullshit projects. World coin, eyeball coin, whatever they were doing with the retinas over and over again, these things just come out of this shit coin factory up on sand hill road at Andreasen Horowitz, an otherwise venerable, pretty solid venture firm that’s really good at marketing. And they grabbed the Web3 term and they pumped NFTs and all this defy crap, and they were the big driving force behind Solana sort of sucking a lot of the juice out of the bull market last year that should have been going toward Bitcoin. And all the noise was salona this, that, the other, like, Salona’s bullshit. They dumped. They dumped almost a year ago. They dumped eleven months ago. And it’s like nobody cares about Solana today. So all you were doing with all that noise about all these future problems being solved by crypto blockchain magic was just bullshit to line your pockets? And, like, do you ever step back and look at the opportunity cost of the capital? The $40 billion that’s gone into shit coin VC in the last two and a half years versus a few hundred million toward the bitcoin ecosystem. And look at the dramatic under allocation toward building on bitcoin that exists. And just in the sucking in of all this capital and all this resource and all this talk time just trying to get people to trade crypto. We got to look at Matt Damon and Tom Brady and shit on the super bowl, talking about getting to the crypto casino.
Stephan Livera – 00:23:41:
Where’s their line? Right?
Cory Klippsten – 00:23:43:
Man, it’s so much worse than a zero sum game, because way over half the economic value was already taken by the insiders and then the sophisticated participants in the market. The FTX I’m sorry, the Alameda and the jumps and the sacs and all these guys that are participating, that are laughing at click traders. Click traders. Someone who enters a trade with a mouse or a keyboard, they laugh at them. Right? It’s a derogatory term, so you’re already starting with, like, 50 out of 100. And then those guys are not regulated and can do whatever they want. They can paint the chart, trick you, all the stuff that’s actually regulated in stock markets, they can get away with willy nelly with no repercussions and so the returns are more like power law distribution. 1% taking all the money from 99% versus maybe like 20% or 25% taking from the rest in stock day trading. Plus that pie is actually expanding because stocks grow in value, because they have revenue, because they’re productive. These cryptos are already, again, huge haircut off the top. It’s a race to the bottom because as we know from the research that Sam Callahan had, a research at Swan private and I did over the summer, only three out of 22,000 altcoins have ever had a new all time high in bitcoin terms, three or more years after their first all time high. And those three, it’s just Doge, Ripple and BNB have bled out significantly since and will never, ever hit that alltime high again. So it’s just a race to zero in bitcoin terms, no matter what for all these altcoins. So it’s just fake. It’s pretend. SBF is a villain, Brian Armstrong is a villain, Andrea Horowitz is a villain, Paradigm is a villain. All these guys are just wasting our time with this chatter and this noise and keeping people away from the signal that is bitcoin.
Stephan Livera – 00:25:41:
And I think you’re right. I think there’s been so much fakeness, fake decentralization, over marketing, overhyping dishonest, deceptive practices all around the crypto world. And so, look, I basically agree with you, but I think one other question I would pose, I wonder, is there also just a broader problem of, let’s say, apathy? Is it just that the average person, like, as an example, so the quote unquote crypto market in the recent, let’s say 2021, early 2022 bull cycle had a peak of, let’s call it 3 trillion or so, which is still tiny compared to the global market for bonds or the global market for property or stocks. Is it also just around apathy and lack of knowledge in the broader market, like even excluding the quote unquote crypto?
Cory Klippsten – 00:26:31:
Yeah, I mean, it is still kind of a drop in the bucket. And this will be a much more interesting conversation with bitcoin at 10 trillion, obviously. So there are 20x up from here or something. Four or five hundred k bitcoin will be in every conversation all the time at that point. And I don’t think we’re that far away from that. That’s this decade in my view. So, yeah, I mean, some of it is patience to some degree as far as wishing that, that we’re here immediately, but it’s not going to happen without people working on it, without people talking about it, without people telling their friends, without educating, without understanding better for yourself so that you can go deeper into your own portfolio. Responsibly yeah, I just think that a lot of people have kind of given these counter actors a pass and they shouldn’t, they should understand exactly what’s going on here. That we do have an opportunity to bring bitcoin all the way through to trusted store value, widely used medium exchange and at least dual unit of account by 2035. Like we race hard, we can get this shit done in 13 years if we fail and we don’t win the adoption race. And the existing system led by actors in the US government and probably, frankly, with a lot of cooption by consensus and FTX and all the crypto folks and horowitz, they may not realize it, but they will, to survive, end up working contrab bitcoin because they are by nature political, because they are centralized and centralizing over time. So it introduces politics into it no matter what. Well, the end game of politics is getting involved in politics at the US government level to survive. And just like a dictator who may have come into some country wishing the best for the people, once you cut a few deals with a few shady people, for shady characters, for the good of the people, now there’s dirt on you. Now you’ve got to start paying people off. Now you’ve got a patronage network. Now it’s like the health and safety of your children depend on staying in power and you follow the path of every dictator. Well, that’s exactly the path that these crypto casinos follow. They start off not making a judgment, just saying, hey, let’s not be tribal, let’s let a million flowers bloom. And not actually exercising sound judgment and making a determination that bitcoin is different from these bitcoins and these scams. And the endgame of that is desiring to be co opted by government and the banking system and becoming part of it and working contraband coin.
Stephan Livera – 00:29:11:
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Stephan Livera – 00:31:44:
I couldn’t have said it better. I think that was an excellent explanation of the dynamic that is likely to play out with some shit coins. That the likely outcome for them is not necessarily that they just all go to zero in this big blaze, it’s that some of them end up getting captured by the government. And that is a problem.
Cory Klippsten – 00:32:03:
Yeah. And again, it’s the players in the ecosystem, it’s the big trading firms, it’s the Alamedas, the jumps, it’s the exchanges like Coinbase and FTX and Finance. Those are the entities that actually accrue all the lasting value or all the longer term value in the crypto space. It’s the picks and shovels, it’s the casinos themselves that control the market and they don’t actually care, as you know from Sam Bankman-Fried himself, they don’t actually care what’s in the black box or what’s in the magic box at all. It’s just something that can be traded and thus will be traded, as long as it’s allowed to be traded. They don’t actually care what it does or even know what it does. Like that guy doesn’t understand Bitcoin. He openly talks about not understanding bitcoin.
Stephan Livera – 00:32:48:
Yeah, and one other question I’m curious to get your thoughts on, given we’ve been through various cycles in Bitcoin. Now, it doesn’t necessarily have to be for your cycles or whatever, but I think most people agree we’ve seen these sort of bull and bear cycles. I’m curious, in your view, if it wasn’t for so much of this quote unquote crypto nonsense, if we could just wave that magic wand and say, okay, no crypto nonsense. Do you think we still would have had cycles?
Cory Klippsten – 00:33:16:
You know, I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll be able to see until we’re like way past it. What defines the end of these. So we had like a two-year cycle from eleven to 13 and then a four year cycle from 13 to 17 and a four year cycle from 17 to 21. Sure as hell it looks like we peaked in fall of 21. And would I take another four year cycle that ends in a rip roaring bull market in 2025? Sure, I’ll take that guarantee. But I’d also love to see this thing shoot past, way past, all time high next year and then settle back a little bit and shoot up more and just kind of, like, get out of those cycles and just kind of have more of a random I think it’s better for Bitcoin in the long run to have kind of a random walk upward that isn’t so tied to that, because the Meme doesn’t really have much of a rational basis. And so seeing it die, I think, would probably be good. But we’ll see. It may have legs yet.
Stephan Livera – 00:34:21:
Yeah, I mean, to be clear, I’m not saying it’s like it’s preordained to be some four year harving cycle. I just mean more in the sense that let’s say we could wave a magic wand and there was no quote unquote crypto, would there still have been a heard momentum rush and a heard momentum crash? And I’m not saying every four years, but maybe that would have been the case anyway.
Cory Klippsten – 00:34:44:
Yeah, I think it’s orthogonal. I don’t think it’s necessarily tied to each other. If anything, there’s a huge incentive for the altcoin promoters to promote pump cycles so that they can get a bunch of dog crap off the ground. According to the latest memes saying, hey, the having is coming and alts always perform better than Bitcoin in bull markets, and bull market is definitely coming, so buy my shit coin. So I think that type of numerology or astrology or whatever is much more useful to pump and dump promoters than it is to promoters of sound money.
Stephan Livera – 00:35:28:
Of course, yes. At the end of the day, I think many of us are clear eyed about what our end goal is. It’s to price things in sats. We want to reprise the world into sats. And I think some of the earlier points as well about avoiding capture of the system. I think that’s probably one other question that’s still in people’s minds around things like KYC right now. I have my own thoughts on this as well, but I’m curious how you’re seeing that. Do you see KYC as being like this big existential risk to Bitcoin actually being the freedom tool that we would like it to be? Or how are you seeing that?
Cory Klippsten – 00:36:04:
I think this kind of fits into the race versus the war. To me, I think that people who are staunchly in favor of no KYC coins are just peacefully building their own large, not KYC stack or mining without having their name on the internet or whatever it is. I think that’s the type of thing that makes bitcoin look really, really difficult to attack, which is amazing, but it’s also wildly positive for bitcoin’s chances in this race to avoid the war, to have the price of bitcoin go way up. This is a monetary protocol. This is about sucking assets into bitcoin, that, you know, that value is better stored in bitcoin than it is in these inferior asset classes. And that’s got to be meeting people where they are. Obviously at swan, we do everything we possibly can to encourage self custody, and we write all kinds of articles and do podcasts about coin joints and mixing and, you know, like, we promote all kinds of services. You know, I probably searched my handle and the number of times I’ve sent people to bisque over the years. When they’re asking about no carolyce coins, like, check it out. If that works for you, then you should absolutely do that. And if that’s how you want to roll, I think the techo guys are doing cool stuff with vouchers. Or if you have the time and a big stack to you is like a few thousand or something, and you’re going to go and go visit a bunch of stores and use vouchers to build your stack, by all means do it. But when you’re talking about people buying tens of millions of dollars, you just can’t do that without it. And frankly, we want those people on our side as staunch bitcoin advocates, and we want them not to abdicate their role in the system. We want them to flip the system from the inside. Right? So I think they’re both advancing the cause of bitcoin and advancing the speed that we’re running the race so that we don’t have to fight this war.
Stephan Livera – 00:38:12:
Right? And I think that’s a fair way to put it. I understand, and I face criticism on this point. Also, people say, oh, look, see, you’re supporting a KYC exchange or you work with a KYC company. But here’s how I’m seeing it as well. I think, would I rather somebody hold some KYC coin that they sell custody or hold zero? I would rather hold some coin than zero. And that person is still helping. They are still helping the overall cause, as you’re saying. They’re helping the race in this sense. Now, I understand people like us, you and I, Cory, we might face criticism for working with the KYC environment, but I still believe on net, we are in a world of overall surveillance. And our best chance at improving this overall thing is to bring about a bitcoin standard or some kind of world where people can just transact natively in bitcoin. And I believe that if we bring more people into our system, into our world, into our parallel financial system of bitcoin, we’re helping speed that process. But it’s one of those things where there is a bit of a heated debate and we see this back and forth, but I still believe getting more people into the system is helpful. And I think that’s maybe that’s where that kind of disagreement lies, because sometimes people would say, oh, well, see that KYC hodler is not helping the censorship resistance. But I actually do believe in some small way they are. But let’s see.
Cory Klippsten – 00:39:41:
Yeah, I mean, listen, shout out to the anons that do DM me, many of whom are very, very staunch no KYC people, and they at least admit that I and Swan are good for bitcoin, even if we disagree on a few points. So there may be just a few of you that have written, but it really means a lot because I know how passionate some of these folks that are coding amazing shit around privacy tech and the fact that they can actually reach out and drop a node. You know who you are. There’s only three of you, but I appreciate it. Yeah, it’s been a rough year. I’ve been in a lot of fights this year.
Stephan Livera – 00:40:24:
Yeah, I mean, look, there’s a lot of fights all the time in bitcoin land, but at the same time, also remember to zoom out, right? Because if we look at I can imagine what someone like Jeff Booth might say. Now, Jeff Booth is going to be a Pacific bitcoin also, so we can hear directly from him there also. But I can imagine the way he might explain this as well, is to sort of really zoom out and remember the bigger picture. There are a lot of people who just literally have all of their money in, let’s say, stocks and bonds, and they have zero bitcoin. And right now, bitcoin is this tiny, tiny thing. If we’re able to grow it, we are able to effectively grow the size of our quasi army, right? We’re not like, actually going to fight, but in a sense, we’re going to push an idea, an idea whose time has come, this idea of sound money, this idea of a money that’s outside the control of any central bank, any government, any corporation. And so I think that’s really how I’m seeing it. But I can understand, right, there are privacy and security concerns. Actually, here’s another interesting one. How public should we be about our bitcoin use? Like, should we walk down the street with a bitcoin Tshirt? How do we balance that sort of privacy security concern? But also we want to advocate, we want to help normalize bitcoin, don’t we?
Cory Klippsten – 00:41:38:
Yeah, it’s an interesting one. Obviously, it’s a decision that each person has to make for themselves. Cats out of the bag for me, so I have more incentive than most to make it completely safe and normal to be a Bitcoiner. And I think that’s a decision that I made pretty early on, obviously deciding to be the face of the company and get going. And, you know, there are tradeoffs. You got to think about it a little bit. You got to think about security. You got to think about where you are. Getting recognized in public is a weird thing, and it’s happening increasingly, which is disconcerting. Like, I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to it. And I feel for these freaking la celebrities more than I ever have. And I don’t think I’ll ever say hi to one again because it’s such a weird fucking thing. It’s like, I don’t know, some guy came up, super nice guy, and wanted to take a picture of me with his five year old daughter at a park, set his daughter down next to me to take a picture. It was, like, freaking out that I was like, that bitcoin quarry guy. And I was like, oh, man, this is super weird. I’m never, ever doing anything like this to any other human. But I think it’s important. I look at Matt Odell putting his face out there and making that decision to be public, and just like, my God, how important that has been to so many tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of new bitcoiners, having his voice and having him stand behind his words and kind of just be out there with his name and his face and just a little bit of extra credibility that comes with that. Or just the different channels you can talk through once you’re willing to be on camera and things like that. So, again, it’s a decision that everybody has to make for themselves, but some people are kind of called to do it, and they feel up to it and they make that decision. I hope we don’t get burned. And I’m trying to make sure we win this damn race so there’s no war on bitcoiners, so that we don’t have to pay for these decisions for some dumb reason because of some horrible gestapo like government actions in the future.
Stephan Livera – 00:43:53:
Right and it’s also probably fair to say that maybe if bitcoin is so normalized, it’ll eventually just be like, oh, there walks Corey or their woks Stefan. They are Internet users. Well, okay. Yeah, it’s 2022. Wake up. Everyone’s got an email. Everyone’s got Internet. I think if bitcoin gets normalized to that degree, then it’s not such a big deal to be known publicly as a bitcoiner, because eventually everyone will be a bitcoiner.
Cory Klippsten – 00:44:23:
That’s what I want. It’s just money. That’s what we want to get to. And I think we actually have this time frame of the next decade and a half to two decades where we can win this race and again never have to fight the war. Yeah. So you asked about the article. It’s almost done. Tomer gave me some notes, unlike the mission statement, the 10 million bitcoin article which I channeled, that one, I literally wrote it down straight, over 600 words, didn’t edit a single character and published it. This one, I don’t know, it’s taken a little while because I’ve been thinking about it for so long. There’s so many things I want to fit in, but I want it to be short. Anyway, I’m going to give a speech version of it at Pacific bitcoin. So I think I’ll do it on Thursday, November 10th. But I’ll kind of talk about this concept at PB.
Stephan Livera – 00:45:19:
Fantastic. And so this is another common question, and I received this question also. People ask me, what are the ways to help out? I’m not a developer, so what are some of the ways that you would suggest if somebody is listening now, they want to get involved and they are not a developer, what are some of the ways for them to get involved?
Cory Klippsten – 00:45:35:
Well, there are so many different ways. I mean, you can you can write. You can join a customer service team part time, remotely. For many of these bitcoin companies, we’ve had people just come on part time for 10 hours a week and end up on the team a year later, full time, things like that. Bitcoin companies are really used to working remotely. Very few of them have a central location with all their employees in one place. So you can kind of be anywhere, which is nice, especially for people that live out of expensive population centers, because bitcoin companies, again, because all of the central capital gets sucked up by the crypto scams. Most of the bitcoin companies are fairly lean and aren’t paying ridiculous salaries. And so we actually lean toward hiring remote in many cases because the cost of living is so much lower there. It makes running a bitcoin company a better value prop because we use remote workers. So that’s something to keep in mind. I think all of the bitcoin companies and projects are looking for some proof of work. That can be an active Twitter handle, that can be a newsletter that you write for your friends and family, that can be just a blog that you start. The quality is really easy to see. Getting involved in a meetup, organizing meetups, joining. I mean, I don’t think there’s a bitcoin meetup that couldn’t use another organizer or another person that’s actually going to do some work to help with the meetup. And a lot of these connections get formed. You hang out in Minneapolis and get to know Brandon Quinn, and there’s something that you do in bitcoin. He’ll hook you up with the people you need to know to apply your skills and desires to the bitcoin ecosystem. You’re in the Kansas City area and you go to some meetups and meet Brady and you meet Don Stewart. They will hook you up with something to do in bitcoin. And it’s like that in sort of every city. I think it’s just a decision to do it. And then I’d say the other thing is pronounce the podcaster names correctly. That’s the proof of work, right? The proof of listen is actually knowing who these people are and having some favorite episodes and being able to recommend some articles. Like when people make it through three or four interviews and get to an interview with me where I’m screening them. I’m usually just asking them about Bitcoin media and content and asking for their favorites and asking them to describe why, because that’s how I can tell if they’re actually on the mission or not. And I find those people that have deleted blockchain from their resume a week before very quickly because they don’t know shit. And you won’t last. Like, you just won’t last at these bitcoin only companies like Unchained and Swan. You just not going to make it unless you actually give a shit.
Stephan Livera – 00:48:31:
Yeah, there’s a very marked difference in the culture, the way of thinking. It’s difficult to exactly put your finger on it, but when you’re talking to somebody, you can pretty quickly figure it for that out. So let’s start a little bit about Pacific Bitcoin. It’s coming up. Do you want to tell us a little bit about what you’re looking forward to?
Cory Klippsten – 00:48:51:
Hell yeah, man. As quite a few people know at this point, I had some family health issues the last couple of years that really made it very difficult for me to travel. So I still haven’t been to a big bitcoin conference since 2019 in San Francisco, where I met you, if you remember that, june 26, 27th, I think so, yeah. I’m really excited about this. I’m psyched to be going to Miami for the Bitcoin Magazine conference in May. It’s may, right. Yes, in Miami. So that’s going to be awesome. And then we’re doing our annual conference now in Los Angeles, Pacific Bitcoin, which Swan is organizing. And obviously a bunch of other companies are chipping in and sponsoring and doing their own parties and things. But it really is going to be pretty amazing. It’s the biggest bitcoin conference on the West Coast. We take a lot of pride in making it fun and cool and having a lot of good entertainment. There’s three stages for 7 hours a day both days. So that’s 21 hours a day, of course, of Bitcoin education and fun across the three stages, the Swan dome is back. So if you remember the Swan dome from Bitcoin 2021, we had that out in the outside of the Bitcoin conference. So we’ve reconstructed a bigger Swan dome for this one. The conference itself is in the Barker hangar in Santa Monica Airport, which is an awesome venue. You can really dress it up and make it amazing. They’ve done MTV movie awards and all kinds of film premieres and things like that in the space. So the production company is fantastic and I just think it’s going to be an awesome time. And then there’s obviously great parties and events. The VIP experience at this conference is going to be one of the best things that I can imagine participating in around Bitcoin. We have obviously a great experience for the VIPs there at the conference. But then also VIP party on Thursday night, like six to midnight, full buyout of one of the best bars and restaurants in LA, right, on Ocean Ave. And then a rap party at a beach house mansion with panoramic unblocked ocean views on Saturday after the conference. So kind of like a day party Bitcoin brunch after just for the VIP. So all of it is going to be amazing. We’ve got Lyn Alden, Michael Saylor, Jeff Booth, Fosse, Elise, Colleen, Stephan, Natalie, Peter and Brady are the MCs. Each of you guys doing half a day. It’s going to be absolutely awesome. Come meet all the swans and friends and we have some huge announcements. And I’m super psyched I’ll get to meet some of the Spectrum team in person for the first time because they are the latest additions to the Swan Squad after we merged and joined forces about a month and a half ago. So that’ll be really cool. Yeah. Just in general, So Cal didn’t go anywhere. It’s still the only warm, dry coastline in the most powerful, wealthiest nation on Earth. And it’s a pretty fun place to hang out. So, yeah, hit us up. You can use do you have a Code, Stephan Livera?
Stephan Livera – 00:52:08:
Yeah, mine is code LIVERA, so pacificbitcoin.com code LIVERA. Everything is coded.
Cory Klippsten – 00:52:14:
Use LIVERA. Always use LIVERA. I just punch in LIVERA now when I’m on like, you know, groupon or, you know, Amazon, I’m like, maybe just in case, you know?
Stephan Livera – 00:52:22:
I mean, I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be excellent. And the thing is, if you, like, honestly listen to check out the line up. The line up is incredible. It’s incredibly difficult to beat this level of lineup, especially at this size of conference. Also, so there’s a good chance and.
Cory Klippsten – 00:52:40:
It’s all signal, man. No crypto speakers, no crypto sponsors. It’s only bitcoin.
Stephan Livera – 00:52:47:
And I think that’s something listeners can appreciate.
Cory Klippsten – 00:52:49:
Yeah, I think there’s going to be some magic that happens having a conference this size. That’s only bitcoin.
Stephan Livera – 00:52:56:
Yeah. Now, one other point I often get, I’m sure you’ve probably heard this also, some people say conferences are a ripoff or they’re a waste of time. Now, one way I think about that is sometimes it would be like saying, I can listen to that artist on Spotify. Why would I want to go see their concert? Right? It’s sort of like, well, you’re kind of missing the point. Like, you might actually really enjoy meeting other people who are into the same thing you’re into in this case, Bitcoin. And I think there’s a real sense of community that you can start creating. And when you meet the right people, you can just make the right connections. And the value of that is just so much more than the ticket price. It’s worth it, especially if it’s a quality event.
Cory Klippsten – 00:53:41:
Yeah. Also, I would be remiss not to give us a shout out to Stack Chain, which I think is one of the most fun little communities. It may be the first truly, like, decentralized community movement within Bitcoin. That’s like a subset of bitcoiners that has like a positive vibe. I think that’s what’s kind of so magical and fun about it. Anyway, check out Stack Chain. Just look for hashtag stack chain. One word, it is not an altcoin. Thanks for your questions. Check it out on Twitter and learn about Stack Chain. But yeah, we’re doing a Lightning hackathon with Voltage and NTVP Chris Kalicott and Dustin Tramples fund on Wednesday, the day before the conference. But also at the same time, in the same space is a Stack Chain hackathon. So that should be really fun. But yeah, check that out and DM me if you don’t know what Stack Chain is. It’s awesome, right?
Stephan Livera – 00:54:37:
That’s the other one. I see a lot of people saying, oh, that’s an old coin. What does this stack chain think?
Cory Klippsten – 00:54:40:
That’s the best question. That’s the best question. I’ve had a couple of people come at me and saying, oh my God, you too, Cory, not you. What is the stack chain crap?
Stephan Livera – 00:54:49:
Especially after you spent basically the last year going after the altcoin is yourself, right? You went after all these. We want to get into all that now.
Cory Klippsten – 00:54:59:
Stacked, in case you don’t get a chance to look it up. It’s just gamified stacking. Somebody stacked $5 worth of bitcoin and then somebody else replied with a tweet proving that they’d stack $6. Now we’re on like $2,200. The Stack Chain community has bought almost $2 million worth of Bitcoin. I personally sat down next to Michael Saylor last month when he was here in La. Actually, just two and a half weeks ago, and basically forced him to stack. I think it was blocked 2080. So sailors on the chain, booths on the chain, fossils on the chain. Anyway, it’s quite fun and it’s very meme heavy and it’s very social, but yeah, it’s a fun thing to get involved in.
Stephan Livera – 00:55:40:
Yes, it feels very much like a successor to the Lightning Torch from 2019. Right. So that was one of the big ones from that year. So, yeah, I’m just looking forward to it and I’m sure there’ll be all kinds of new memes and things that happen at Pacific Bitcoin, so you need to be there to experience it live. I think they’re just moments. There are just times and places you just got to be there.
Cory Klippsten – 00:56:04:
Yeah, it’s going to be fun. And by the way, if you’re into basketball, there is in fact a three on three basketball tournament. The bitcoin classics second tournament is at Pacific Bitcoin. Plus we’ve got the Compton Magic coming by. We’ve got a bunch of NBA players coming. Dela Vadov is bringing his King’s teammates because they happen to be in town playing the Lakers on Friday, and they arrive on Thursday. The professor if you watch the N one documentary on Netflix, this is one of the best ball handlers in the world. So he’s coming into an exhibition and hanging out. We’ve got to know him here the last few months in LA. So, yeah, if you’re into basketball and bitcoin, this is basically like bitcoin basketball mecca that you’re about to walk into.
Stephan Livera – 00:56:47:
All right, well, yeah, I think that’s pretty much it that I had on that I was thinking to chat about. So, listen, make sure you check out Pacific Bitcoin.com. Cory, I’m looking forward to seeing you there. I mean, honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen you in person, right?
Cory Klippsten – 00:57:01:
Stephan Livera – 00:57:02:
We’ve been chatting online. Obviously, we met in person all those years ago back in 2019. But yeah, let’s recreate that. Magic, I’ll see you in LA. In November.
Cory Klippsten – 00:57:12:
Sounds good. See you in LA. I think that’s what it is, right? Does that look like LA.
Stephan Livera – 00:57:17:
Yes, it does.
Cory Klippsten – 00:57:18:
Hold on. It’s this way, right? I don’t know, one of those. Just reverse it.
Stephan Livera – 00:57:22: That’s it. All right. I hope you enjoyed the show and. Get the show notes at stephanlivera.com. Thanks and I’ll see you in the Citadels.