Have you wondered what it takes to be a long term HODLer? American HODL rejoins me on the show to talk about HODLer psychology, bitcoin culture, and what to expect going forward:
- Adoption waves
- Living on Bitcoin
- Mainstream culture
- Bitcoin Fixes This
- Thoughts on next cycle
Stephan Livera links:
Mr. American Hoddle. I mean, if that even is your real name after all. Welcome back to the show.
Yeah, there was like the thing with the… Well, we won’t say who because in my opinion that was a bit of a light dox, you know, so out of… You know, in our culture, in Bitcoin culture, light doxing, not cool, not cool, even if the person self-doxes, right?
Right, right. Yeah. I mean, in this case, it sounds like it’s been public since that time, but anyway, whatever. Yeah, I mean, the vibe has been a little bit down recently, hasn’t it? And I think, obviously, part of that is… Yeah. And my guess on that, and I’m curious to hear what you think. You know how people make that saying, the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference and stuff like that. And, you know, if you look at, as an example, some of the conferences last year, even in a bear cycle…
It has, it has, yeah.
That’s an understatement. That’s a huge understatement.
were more populated or more attended than some of the conferences even this year. So I’m wondering if it’s like that. Are we kind of in this indifference zone? It’s a bit of an accumulation phase. It’s equivalent to, you know, 2015 or maybe 2019, something like that. What do you reckon?
Yeah, you know, to me, this cycle, I don’t know how you feel, I’d love to get your take too, but like to me, this cycle feels a lot more like 2015 than it does 2019. And in 2015 was when I effectively entered the market. I entered late 2014, but it was like Christmas time 2014. So really, I’m class of 2015. And all throughout 2015, you know, I was like a I was a newbie then. So I would come in with a chipper attitude, very optimistic, young, eager to take on the world stuff.
And I’d be like, hey, tell me about bitcoins guys. And people on the forums would be like, fuck you. Shut the fuck, you know, whatever. Everybody was just in such a bad mood, so depressed. There was like almost no news coverage of Bitcoin in 2015. Now things are different now. I mean, there’s a ticker on CNBC every day. Bitcoin is in the permanent like cultural zeitgeist. Bitcoin is a presidential campaign issue. But I think that same feeling of just like sort of general malaise is there. And I think if I’m to
Ha ha ha!
Diagnosed it or pinpointed it’s because we as Bitcoiners and I’m as guilty as anybody got into this sort of malaise of inevitability where we just assume that like Some of these sacred cows like, you know higher lows, right? Like we’re just you know immutable laws of the universe and they’re not and Bitcoin is still a wild and volatile beast And it’s unpredictable as hell and you know If you get too married to any sort of outcome in Bitcoin, especially like a price outcome
You’re gonna have a bad time and you’re gonna suffer from like some form of Bitcoin derangement syndrome And I certainly like we’ve lost friends over the years who’ve been you know guilty of that and we’ve had to fight off these feelings Inside ourselves and huddling is not an easy journey It’s I’ve said this like numerous times But it’s one of the simplest things in the world when you tell the story in 30 years people are gonna think that you were just some lucky son of a bitch who just you know showed up at the right time right and it’s like
Oh yeah, what’d you do? You just bought Bitcoins and then you hodled them? It sounds like the easiest thing you could possibly do in the world. And it’s not until you get in the inside of the maelstrom that you realize like, this thing is one of the most difficult experiences in investing and not just in investing, but just, you know, I think it’s one of the most difficult experiences you can have as a human being right now, psychologically, maybe not physically, but psychologically. And…
Yeah, it’s very simple, but it’s not easy. And we’re all going to have to let go of some of our more religious beliefs around price models, definitely around price models. Maybe not around the culture and the principles, but around the price, certainly.
Right. Yeah, so.
Yeah, for sure. And for a long time, people had this idea of, oh, it’ll go up, but then it’ll crash, but the crash won’t be high, you know, it’ll be better than last time kind of thing. This, you know, like you were saying, the higher lows idea, or even this idea that if you bought and held for four years, you know, you would always be up.
where I think recently that was kind of broken depending on, you know, if you cherry pick the exact top of December 2017, and there was a point where recently, you know, maybe last year it was down to 15,000. So, okay, yeah, you were down theoretically. If you were stacking over that period, you were up. But if you had just done like a point in time, you know, at the peak of 2017, okay, yeah, you were down for a little bit. But you’re right, I think there’s a little bit of a complacency in that. But at the same time…
Bitcoin is here to stay, right? And I think that for me as a 2013er, and I agree with you a lot of what you were saying, for me as an early 2013 Bitcoiner, sort of riding through the 80% drops all the way, there was not this sense of, oh, Bitcoin is coming back, in 2014 and 15, it just wasn’t there. So the 2018-19 bear cycle, that was like a walk in the park. It sort of felt like there was just so much going on and.
all this development and you know, Bitcoin is coming back for sure. So it just felt so much easier than the 14, 15 cycle where a lot of people kind of, you know, they left, you know, Bitcoin, Twitter or kind of online. I mean, Bitcoin, Twitter wasn’t as much of a thing, but yeah, it just changed.
Yeah, I think in 18, 19, 20, what happened was many of us got overly confident. We were also, let’s just call it what it is, it was sort of a fear reaction. We were having sort of a fear reaction that caused us to suddenly our entire lives became Bitcoin. And it was like nobody was touching grass. It was just…
You were listening to every single Bitcoin podcast that came out. You were on Twitter eight hours a day. Maybe this is just me, but I feel like this was actually a lot of people were doing this and we were all upping our conviction. And then there was this sort of game on Twitter of like, I’m more convicted than you know, I’m more convicted than we’re all the most convicted maximalists that could ever be right. And it was around the time Safedean’s book came out. And I think we realized like the historical importance of Bitcoin, not just in a, you know, the last 50 years context, but the last 5,000 years context.
And then we started to feel the sense of, you know, just, I don’t know, destiny about this whole thing that, you know, certainly, obviously, we have the secrets to the universe. And I think what happened is reality smacked us in the face, which is what happens when you get overconfident. And if you look at the cycle sort of, you know, through the years, I wasn’t around for 13, but I’ve gone back and looked at a lot of the things that were written around that time. So in 13, people were wildly overconfident. I mean, just so overconfident.
If you read the VC takes from that era, people were saying that Bitcoin was going to $50,000. In 2013, they were saying that, right? And Bitcoin wasn’t even anywhere close to $50,000. It was, I think, like $1,200 was the peak. And then whenever you have this overconfidence cycle, you get this cycle that comes behind it of just the hangover from the overconfidence, you know, and it’s like this sort of depression. And then in 2017, you had sort of a more of a cautious optimism about what was going to happen.
And I remember myself, I don’t know how you felt at the time, but in sort of early 17, like late 16, early 17, I was telling people that Bitcoin was going to go to $2,700. I was like, yeah. And I thought I was being wildly bullish. I was like, end of the year, $2,700. We’re going there, baby. And then Bitcoin went to $20,000 because the market likes to climb a wall of worry. And so I think there’s something to this cautious optimism.
that produces better bull markets. I’m not sure like what the psychological phenomenon is at play, but this is just something that I’ve noticed over time. So if that is true, just a little injection of hopium, that means that, you know, the cautious optimism we’re all feeling after having just been overconfident is potentially setting us up for a better cycle, right? Cause I think this last cycle was a bunch of bullshit. It wasn’t as good as it should have been. And there are many reasons for why that was the case, but
We have to look inward and say that one of the primary reasons is we were all overconfident. We were thinking of Bitcoin as being inevitable and the price was just going to stair step its way to heaven and that’s just not how reality works. Go back and look at the Weimar chart. That Weimar chart is chaos. And now imagine, I’ve done this where I’ve looked at the chart, the peaks and the valleys, and I’ve imagined myself living through that time period. And if you’re being honest with yourself.
It would have been really hard to make it to the end, especially if you were one of the people who saw it early, right? So, you know, yourself being a 2013 Bitcoiner, Bitcoiners who are in even earlier than you, is like over time, you know, you basically, you get weary, you get worn down by the market. The emotional volatility is so much and so you have to do something in order to cope with that so that you can make it to the end. Otherwise, you’re gonna be one of the guys who coughs up his coins at the exact wrong part of the cycle.
I knew OGs who were in for seven, eight years and then they were selling at 16k Bitcoin because they were, the fear just enveloped them and overwhelmed them. You just want to do anything you can in your power to prevent yourself from being that person and it takes a lot of emotional control and self-discipline and having a support network, all the sort of regular advice like get enough sleep, go to the gym.
It’s like very grandma advice, but that’s what you’ve got to do to survive this market. Because it’s psychologically torturous and it’s okay to admit that.
Yeah, I think you’re, you make a lot of good points there around overconfidence. I think I definitely tried to say, no, there’s not going to be a super cycle. Right? Like I was one of those people saying, no, I don’t think it’s going to be a super cycle, like be ready. It could be an 80% drop, but I just don’t know where the top or bottom is. You know? Um, but at the same time, you know, it’s just psychologically hits you. And I think what happens is if people are in this mindset where they’re just like, I’m not going to work or I’m going to retire at this particular time.
you know, or if you don’t have, if you no longer have fiat income, that can meet, make it just another level of tricky, you know, another level of difficulty for you. Because now you’re thinking about managing the finances and sort of, okay, how much fiat do I need? How much runway do I actually need? Because, okay, let’s say you’re a committed Bitcoiner and you believe that there’ll be future bull cycles to come. You still need to kind of write out the bear cycles. And so the question then is like, how do you…
do that as long as, if you’re not working. Now, of course, I think the best plan is to continue working, but there’s a bunch of Bitcoiners who aren’t. So that’s kind of like, how do you manage, how do you manage the financial aspect of it and not get wrecked on that?
Yeah. So the two methods that I’ve seen OGs try and do like just to speak to that, specifically and directly is if you are in a position where you’re retired off Bitcoin and you don’t have any fiat income coming in, there are basically two things you can do. You can try and take enough off at the top to make it through five years, six years, whatever it may be.
you know, whatever your burn rate is for your family, you try and stay within that. Or the other thing you do is you don’t take anything off the top and then, you know, you just piece off a little, uh, along the way. So like you, you take off a little Bitcoin each month for expenses. Um, and I think both of those are like fine strategies that will get people through, and I think both of those are good things to do. Now, the worst thing you can possibly do, which is what I’ve seen a lot of people actually do, right, is they say to themselves, I’ll just take off a little as needed.
then the bottom hits, they get panicky, fearful, and they end up locking in a loss or a lesser gain, if you’ve been huddling for a long time, you lock it in and then it becomes real. Because a paper loss is just a paper loss, it doesn’t mean anything. If you look at, if you’re a seasoned hodler and you were with us for March of 2020, I mean, Jesus, go back and look at the swing in your position from March 12, 2020.
to March 12th, 2021. It’s a crazy swing, I promise you. And yeah, the volatility is intense. I mean, a year ago, Stephan, it was like, every influencer I could think of and many who I greatly respect were on Bitcoin Twitter saying that all of the GBTC Bitcoin was fake, right? And this was like the big chief FUD item at the very end of the cycle. And they were like, it’s gonna take us all down. There’s 600,000 Bitcoins unaccounted for, right?
And that was just, you know, that was peak fear and everybody was really feeling it. And there had been a lot of shenanigans with like the FTX and Luna. And I think one of the things we found out is that the, you know, all, almost all of the yield started as an ARB play on GBTC and then became a derivative at some point. And then, you know, it was a derivative of a derivative of a derivative of the ARB on GBTC. And that was what was funneling. That was, that was how all the money in DeFi was being made for a time period until
you know, inevitably that house of cards, you want to talk about inevitability, the daisy chaining of the DeFi ecosystem and the collapse of the DeFi ecosystem was always inevitable. The people who were shocked by that, it was like, come on, man. I felt the same way as, um, when the, when, when we’re like crying in our Cheerios and the TradFi guys look at us and they go, Hey, come on, you idiots, you invested all your money in, in internet coins. What’d you think was going to happen? Right? Like, I, that’s how I felt about the DeFi DJs.
So yeah, I mean, there was a lot of fear at that time, but just think to yourself, I remember having this thought, like a year later, it feels like ancient history. But even at the time, I thought to myself, you know, hey, in what, just two or three months, the clock is gonna strike midnight, the ball is gonna drop in New York, and it’ll be a new year. And this memory is gonna be just etch-a-sketched from everyone’s mind, and we’ll just be onward and upward. And that is essentially exactly what happened. I mean, the Bitcoin price basically recovered.
to 25 to 30K only a few months later. And all of the fear that was at the bottom of the market that was enveloping people just dissipated or it lingered, it hung in the air, but it didn’t really have the teeth that it once had. So my advice to people who are on their huddling journey is when things are their most scary, try not to listen. Try to go slow. Take things day by day.
And conversely, when you are feeling the most greed you’ve ever felt in your life, and you think you’re the smartest person that ever lived and you’re so rich, and how could life get better? I mean, you’re just, you’re a genius and everybody else is a fucking peasant. Like, you’re right. Um, also go slow and take it day by day and maybe don’t buy yourself the multimillion dollar home or, you know, the Rolex or the Ferrari or whatever. Right. Just take it slow and just realize like, Hey, whether it’s
a really bad time in the Bitcoin market or a really good time in the Bitcoin market, this too shall pass. This is not going to be here forever. This is temporary. In Bitcoin especially, the bull markets are very short and infrequent. Most of our time spent huddling is in times like this and in this kind of market. This kind of market is like the majority of the Bitcoin time where things are just sort of chopping sideways. We lose perspective over the years, Stephan.
Man, if me and you had a conversation in whatever, 2018, and I was telling you, dude, we’re going to be at 27K, and everybody’s going to be so angry and upset, we would just laugh and laugh and think that was the best thing ever. And then we would push all our chips into the table and buy even more Bitcoin, right? But now when you’re here living it, it feels terrible. It feels so bad. And I don’t, you know.
Yeah, and one thing I’ll add to that is people anchor to, let’s say, 20k from 2017. But the reality, here’s the reality. 75% of that year was spent under 5k. 90% of that year was spent under 10k.
It was only that last month or so that it was like, you know, maybe one or two months that we were getting up about 10k and around 20k. But and yet people anchor back to 20k. And so this is as our friend Pierre Richard says hyper Bitcoinization is real. Right. Like right now, as we speak today, we’re recording this 18th September 2023. The price is around 27, 26k, whatever. And like you said, just in March of 2020, it was 3k. So there’s kind of, you know, it’s a lot of cherry picking.
Right? And people, you can always kind of pick the dates and let’s say a Bitcoin hater or a skeptic can always pick their own dates and say, oh look see, blah, you’re down. But, you know, I think I think it’s fair to say that if you are saving for the long term, you’ve done OK. Most people have done OK. Everyone who’s done, you know, who’s been sacking for five years plus has done OK, you know. But there are times where you feel like an idiot, you know, like we feel like idiots at times in the cycle.
I think it’s okay to admit that. I think that a lot of people are, you know, they’re in their Bitcoin Zen. They say they’re in their Bitcoin Zen. And I never believe them because I know it’s not true. I know that they’re in their house or their apartment just being like, fuck, right? Like that’s, I mean, that’s the feeling that I’m having. So I’m assuming that many other people are feeling that way also. But you know, it’s, your feelings are not that important in investing. You don’t really need to listen to them. You know, every human being has
activity bias, right? And activity bias is basically that, you know, it’s better to do something rather than nothing. And this is what our evolutionary biology has taught us because when you are facing predators, you know, you’re a small mammal facing predators on the grasslands of wherever, and you, you know, you see something move in the grass, well nine times out of ten it’s going to be the wind, but one time out of ten it’s going to be a jaguar that fucking kills you. So it’s better to run away every single time and be scared of the grass.
then it is the face the one time where the jaguar kills you. Now, in investing, if you run away every time you see the wind move, you’re basically just locking in losses and your performance is gonna be abysmal. The people that perform best in markets are people who are literally dead or people who act like they’re dead or people who don’t have access to their money. How many of the Mt. Gox creditors do you think would have done as well had they not been a Mt. Gox creditor?
Right? Like they still haven’t received any of that money, but at some point they’re going to, and it was basically a forced hodl. Like the Japanese court system forced them into hodling it, and yeah, they’re going to receive pennies on the dollar. But guess what? They’re still going to do better than they would have done if they were allowed to control their own money. And, uh…
Gotcha. Yeah. And it’s fair to say many of them have now sold off their claims. So it’s kind of those coins have kind of transferred to stronger hands, let’s say, or kind of people now who might have bought a claim from a Mac cox claimant and now they’re going to be probably huddling.
One thing that’s interesting is that people have done polls on the forums for the Mt. Gokkha claimants and over the course of their forced hodl, many of them, they came in as DGEN, some of them were drug users on the Silk Road. Who knows why? There were a lot of reasons people were here in 2013 and not all of it was for sound money economics. Not everybody on the Silk Road was reading Hayek. That’s just not how things work.
So, you know, they came in for whatever reason and over the years, because they’ve been forced into this hodling position, they’ve learned a lot about Bitcoin and some of the polls on some of the forums internally from the Mt. Gox creditors show that they’re planning to dump their Bcash when they receive it, but they’re gonna hold their Bitcoin. They’re gonna continue to hold their Bitcoin. So sometimes this is a FUD item that comes out, you know, during bear cycles or bull cycles where it goes, you know, oh, all the Mt. Gox coins are gonna get unlocked and these people are gonna dump it. It’s like, no, these people learned during the course of their time.
hodling, forced hodling, that Bitcoin is going up in value and they want to hang on to it because it’s an important and pristine asset. I think the most important meme to study, it should be documented in whatever Bitcoin museum ends up being built one day, is the meme of the guy looking at the computer screen and he’s elated when Bitcoin goes to a thousand and then the last panel is he’s got a shotgun in his mouth when it goes to a hundred thousand, it crashes to a hundred thousand.
That is human psychology first and foremost, and I feel like every Bitcoiner like highly relates to that feeling that little cartoon character is having. So like study that meme and don’t be the guy with the shotgun in your mouth at a hundred- at a hundred-k Bitcoin, you know.
Yeah. And, you know, looking more broadly at what’s going on around the world, obviously there’s a lot of talk now about, are we in a recession, right? Like kind of macro, you know, what’s going on around the world? Are we going to see higher unemployment? Are we going to see like, is commercial real estate going under? Like there’s kind of a lot of talk about this kind of thing. I mean, my sense of it is we, well, I think parts of the, like, I think a lot of America is really struggling. But it seems that the powers that be are a little bit
aloof or out of touch with that. Obviously, you’ve seen Paul Krugman’s talk about how inflation has been defeated and so on. I’m curious if you have any views on this kind of idea that, you know, is it that, you know, certain sectors of the US economy are doing great guns and then other parts, you know, big parts of the American economy are really struggling. Where are you at there?
Yeah, well, you know, I mean, rich people are not struggling, right? It’s people who are living on debt who are struggling. It’s, you know, in America, we basically have this middle class that is effectively poor, but they have access to debt. So they’re able to do this sort of theatrical impression of not being poor. Right? I mean, when you make $50,000 a year, but you have a $50,000 truck in the driveway,
that doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense, right? And you also have a mortgage payment and you got just daily living expenses and like a lot of these people are deeply struggling, right? But when you’re rich and you go to the grocery store, it doesn’t matter to you what eggs cost because you didn’t know what the fuck eggs cost before, right? So like if eggs cost $5 or $6.
uh… it doesn’t matter to you because it’s all the same it’s relative right because your fiat net worth is going up so much every time they print or every time they inject liquidity into the economy i think that a lot of uh… global finance depends on the outcome of the american election in twenty four and if the republicans uh… you know take the executive branch then i think we’re likely to see the replacement of jaron powell and the reversal uh… of a lot of his tightening at some point
and also injections of liquidity. I mean, Trump particularly seems to be the front runner, and he has stated numerous times that he’s a fan of negative rates, he’s a fan of helicopter money, he’s a fan of artificial stimulus, he’s a fan of all those things. And one thing we know is that those things pump Bitcoin, right? And so, it’s very macro, listen, we all learned a lot about macro, Stephan over the last few years.
You know what I basically learned about macros? That it’s divination. I mean, it’s like, you know, it’s technical analysis, but the guys who do it have access to a thesaurus and they can use words you don’t understand. And it’s like, they’re casting a spell on you. No one knows what the fuck they’re talking about. I’ve seen 99.9% of these macro influencers be wrong consistently. So your guess is as good as mine is as good as.
You know, Luke Grom is as good as anybody. It’s like, it doesn’t, right? Like, nobody knows what’s going on. It’s just much too complex of a system, and it has too many interventionist policies to really get a handle on it. Whereas, when you contrast this to the Bitcoin system with its programmatic monetary policy, well, we don’t know what the fiat price is gonna be because this is an important, I think, mental model for people to get their heads around. The volatility doesn’t come from Bitcoin. Bitcoin is one of the most stable things in the world. It’s this metronome of precision.
that is just constantly producing blocks roughly every 10 minutes. And Bitcoin does what it’s going to do no matter what is happening in the outside world. Whereas fiat is subject to the whims of political elections, it’s subject to the whims of regulators, it’s subject to the whims of the personal legacy of the Fed chairman, like how Jerome Powell wants history to view him. It’s subject to all of these many human foibles.
And the thing that we did in Bitcoin was to create a fair rules-based system and say, hey, I’m not allowed to change the rules. You’re not allowed to change the rules. It doesn’t matter if you have one Satoshi on the Lightning Network that’s held in the custodial wallet or if you’re Michael Saylor and you have 100, whatever, 50,000 Bitcoin. It doesn’t matter. We’re all subject to the same rule set. And we choose voluntarily to abide by this rule set. It doesn’t work that way in fiat world.
And that’s where the volatility comes from, is all of these messy decisions and these messy human actors in the economy. And it’s just, it’s, you know, you know, from being in Austria and it’s impossible to forecast. So it’s like, I could give you my best bullshit advice about what’s going to happen macro, but I don’t know if there’s going to be a recession and nobody else does. You know, you got to just, if you’re a Bitcoiner, the best advice is just to keep stacking, to continue working your job, to make sure that you’re, all areas of your life are defensible.
I mean, if you have your own business, even better, stack up on what you need. Inflation is starting to hit in America, right? It’s changing some of the consumer spending and saving patterns, which I think is interesting. We as Bitcoiners, we predicted inflation accurately, long before everybody else predicted it. In fact, we were predicting it basically since 2010. Since they printed, we’ve been predicting inflation.
It finally showed up when they overprinted on the fiscal side rather than the monetary side in 2020. And now we have consistent high consumer price inflation and it’s not coming down anytime soon. It’s going to take quite a bit to get it down. And, you know, it’s basically here to stay. And I hope over time that drives people to towards scarce assets. You know, so far, I think many people are looking for, you know, safety in all the wrong places. Like we see.
You know, the high end watch market is going up, the comic book market, vintage cars, right? People just, they don’t know about Bitcoin still. We say this, it’s trite amongst Bitcoiners, but we are still very early in understanding. We’re not early in sort of brand recognition. Bitcoin has tremendous brand recognition, but how many people actually know, for instance, that there are even 21 million Bitcoins?
Of the people who’ve heard of Bitcoin, I would hazard to say that less than 10% of those people are even aware that they’re 21 million. Most people just don’t know.
Yeah, I think that’s right. It takes time for people to make that change. And for a lot of them, they’re stuck in the mindset of, oh, I need to save in property or, like you said, random things like watches and whatever, used cars and whatever things that are out there. I also want to talk a little bit about culture and what you think will change from a culture perspective. Now, of course, we’re still living in a very degenerate culture, but I think we as Bitcoiners…
Many of us have a view about where we think things are going culturally. Like, do you believe that, you know, people will start focusing more on family and long-term, and therefore that will change how they look at things like the current system of family or schooling or, you know, how we interact in our society? I’m curious if you have any, you know, any thoughts you’ve been, you know, thinking about there.
Yeah, I think the interesting thing is that the mainstream sort of celebrity culture, mainstream news culture, mainstream television culture…
is just not, it’s not providing people any health, wealth, or happiness. And I think that, you know, basically we’ve lost religion largely, and there’s a movement back towards religion, especially, you know, Christianity and Islam seem to be ascendant at the moment, especially amongst younger people. Because there, and I think it’s wise, because, you know, one thing we know about human beings is that human beings seem to have a…
religious module in our brains where we’re all religious about something. Certainly many of us are religious about Bitcoin and other people are religious about in general things that make them healthy, wealthy or happy. So it’s like, you know, every, I look around and just everything’s a religion now, Stephan, you know, the Joe Rogan podcast is a religion and CrossFit’s a religion and the Marvel movies are a religion and veganism is a religion and keto is a religion and Bitcoin’s a religion and shitcoins are a religion. And it’s like, I, you know,
Everywhere you look, people are looking for things that are going to make their lives better. And if you look at, you know, the mainstream discourse and mainstream culture, I think that it doesn’t have the answers that people are looking for anymore.
Everybody has a sort of sense of institutional betrayal where you know they trusted an institution and because they trusted that institution Whatever it was they were harmed by it in some way shape or form and people are starting to come together and form communities over a shared sense of institutional betrayal now Here’s the hard thing is that the institutions still have a tremendous amount of power like real just raw hard power and You know we’re gonna kind of move into this world in America
I think especially, and it’s already happening in Europe pretty heavily. It’s happening here too, but of just sort of a narco tyranny where the state is powerless to help you or make your life better, but it’s not powerless to harm you and make your life worse. We’re starting to slide into that sort of society and people are rightly looking for a return to what I would call pre-modern or traditional values. What do those traditional values consist of?
community, family, purpose, meaning. You know, there’s a big meaning crisis in the world where people go, you know, what is the point of it all? And it’s like, well, listen, like modernity and capital, you know, modern capitalism told you to like, you know, have it your way, it’s all about you, man, focus on yourself. And it’s like, the truth is, the best parts of life are living for other people and, you know, trying to gratify yourself is really not that.
not that meaningful or interesting and is certainly not substantive. So I think people are looking for gratification in more of the traditional sense, in a communal sense and what’s interesting is they’re finding a lot of these communities online. I was talking to my wife the other day and she goes, you know, you Bitcoiners are basically like Amish people who live exclusively on the internet. And I was like, that’s, that’s strangely true. That’s true about us, I think, you know.
It’s like we do have a lot of Amish values. If you go to the Bitcoiners, they’re talking about raw milk and being close to nature and being, you know, not taking in, you know, modern chemical. I mean, there’s all sorts of things that are like very Amish in nature, which is sort of hilarious, you know.
Right. Yeah. And maybe having big families, maybe that’s sort of encouraged in our world. Maybe not everybody, but it seems, you know, it’s funny because from the outside looking in, they might look and say, oh, you Bitcoiners, you’re all a bunch of incels or whatever. But the reality is a lot of the Bitcoiners I know are married men with kids. You know, that’s just that’s this reality of that’s kind of a very common demographic for us.
Yeah, totally. I think the stereotype of the van dwelling, meat eating Bitcoin incel guy, I’ve certainly met him at conferences. He’s real. He’s real. But he’s not as plentiful as the media would like you to imagine or other people on Twitter would like you to imagine. Most people in Bitcoin are, yeah, they’re like, I would say that some of the bonds that Bitcoiners share, it’s like pronatalism, a respect for beauty and culture.
are respective things that are Lindy, so are respective traditional things, conservative value sets, not just fiscally but also in many cultural aspects. These are sort of things that bind Bitcoiners together. Now, at the same time, it’s interesting because there are Bitcoiners who are more on the progressive side of things who I think actually share a lot of these same values.
I would call many of the progressive Bitcoiners like classic liberals who fall more into that camp of classic liberalism, which is like sort of mainstream libertarianism, right? And it’s interesting because it’s like when you think about culture, it’s not just I shuffle everything to the lens of American culture because I’m an American xenophobe. No, I’m kidding. I’m not xenophobic, but I am an American. I view everything through the dogma.
of american ideology in american culture right it’s hard for me not to because this is the only place i’ve ever left and uh… i’m uniquely american in that way same with you know i think it’s hard for you know like peter mccormick to you know not do things to a uniquely british lands not get some consistently in trouble on the point where it uh… the americans fucking hate that we are still but when you think about the point it’s a global because global assets global currency global phenomenon
Every culture that’s Lindy, in some respect, is going to be passed through the prism of Bitcoin. And some of them are going to stick and embrace Bitcoin. Some of them are going to view Bitcoin as haram, basically. And it’ll be interesting to see which cultures embrace Bitcoin or which cultures sort of marry the two things together.
Because I don’t think it’s every culture on Earth, and I certainly think that the cultures that don’t embrace Bitcoin are likely to be significantly weakened because of that decision. And that’s sort of an inevitable decision in some respects. And I’m not smart enough as an anthropologist or cultural anthropologist to tell you like which cultures are going to dominate and which cultures are not. I’m hoping, and I think strongly, that American culture is…
perfect for Bitcoin because I think Bitcoin is sort of a uniquely American idea in that Bitcoin is foundationally about property rights and America is also foundationally about property rights.
So, I mean, I’m with you in terms of the ideals of what America, how America started, but I do wonder about the typical, I’m sure you know where this is going, right? Like a lot of Americans, particularly young Americans, have, they sort of have this idea of like socialist ideas. And maybe for them, it doesn’t mean that, you know, the dictionary, okay, so the dictionary definition of socialism means, you know, public ownership of the means of production, right? Many of them are not thinking about it like that. They just think of it like, oh, I just…
want a big welfare state. I just want, you know, so they look at maybe the Scandinavian nations, right, your Denmarks and Swedes and so on, and they say, oh, look how big the welfare state is over there, I want, you know, those kinds of services here. So I’m curious where you see that blending out, right? Obviously you started from this idea of, you know, kind of libertarian private property rights, and now it seems to have devolved in some ways. Where do you think that settles out?
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, I mean, obviously a lot of this comes back to Fiat and the structure of the money and who has access to the money. You know, what’s interesting is that with rates rising, I saw a meme the other day that like in 2022, when rates when we had Zerp, the models on Calvin Klein were out of shape, right? Calvin Klein models were out of shape.
And now in 2023 with high rates, the models are smoking hot tens again, right? It’s like, yeah, maybe, maybe you weren’t selling enough jeans with the out of shape models and you had to go back to what works. Right. And so I think that’s, I think that’s kind of interesting. Um, yeah, you know, when I hear people say socialism, I think that many young Americans mean not this, not this instantiation of capitalism. We don’t, we don’t know what we want.
but we don’t want this because this is not working for us. And I do sympathize heavily with that view. Now, if you wanna do actual communism, you’re my fucking enemy and you should be destroyed because you’re trying to destroy other people. Like truly you’re a bad person. You’re the scum of the earth. All communists are the scum of the earth, right? But if you’re a misguided young kid who’s saying, I’m a socialist, and I think what they really mean most of the time is that the system’s not working for me, it’s not really working for many of the people I know.
and I’m looking for something different. And I’m hopeful and positive that over the next decade, many of these people are going to find Bitcoin as the thing that is restorative technology that also allows them to have dignity, have some level of sovereignty over themselves, and have a better quality of life because you now have a unit of account in which to save and store value.
that is increasing over time compared to everything around it, right? And also when you look at the modern socialism that is the Scandinavian countries, for instance, I mean, Scandinavian countries are homogenous, number one. Number two, they’re oil rich, or they were oil rich, some of them. And number three, they have sovereign wealth funds that are invested in the American markets.
So American capitalism or whatever the structure of modern American capitalism is, and you can quibble about the word capitalism because there is a lot of like corporatism, you know, social corporate welfare, a lot of that kind of stuff. And that’s all true, oligopoly. It’s still the engine of American capitalism that is driving the prosperity and the socialism of the Scandinavian countries. Also notable, the Scandinavians invented death metal. So how happy are they, Stephan? They can’t be that happy, you know?
That’s right. Yeah, well, I mean, and I also think it’s, you know, I agree with you on a lot of points there. I think it’s also fair to say some of those Scandinavian countries actually got rich from capitalism and then they sort of became more, quote unquote, socialist, but really they just mean big statism, you know? Yeah.
I think also it’s a bit xenophobic and restrictionist because you can’t have socialism and immigration. So I think that in some ways it’s a protective mechanism to maintain their culture so that if they do socialism they have a non-racist way to say that people from other cultures are not allowed in. Now that’s not something that I necessarily agree with. I’m an American and I largely believe in immigration and I think that we should have
you know, tremendous amount of immigration, especially for intelligent people, but it seems like that’s some sort of a protective mechanism that the Scandinavians are using to hold on to their, you know, their culture, their heritage.
Right, yeah. And famously, countries like Japan are very insular and they don’t sort of take in new people. And there’s very much this culture that even if you go to Japan and you marry a Japanese person, you’re still kind of not seen as one of us, let’s say. But another topic I wanna get into and related to what we were saying, right now.
Politically and philosophically. Yeah, I’m a libertarian. I believe in anarcho-capitalism and fully free markets as you know, and many listeners know But at the same time there are times where we need let’s say cultural restraints or restrictions on what we do Right, so you may be a libertarian politically, but that may not necessarily translate exactly
into how you are in the family. Like maybe in the family you believe that there is a role for, let’s say, a beneficial patriarch or maybe there’s certain restraints that you should have on you, but they’re kind of the discipline of the market. Maybe that’s one way I would put it. Like we need the discipline of the market. And maybe that’s kind of getting to what you were saying about, you know, the Calvin Klein ad that maybe the real issue, the Kantian effect and all these issues are being created by artificially low rates. And that is what’s
creating all this crazy woke behavior and all the LGBT stuff and all the other ESG and whatever, because it’s allowing various parts of the government or various people to live beyond what they really, live beyond their means and live without those constraints that we actually need. We actually, in some kind of counterintuitive way, we need these constraints because that’s actually what civilizes us.
Yeah, I think also that this goes back to living for other people and not living for yourself, right? It’s important to be a valued member of your social web and your community and your family. And I think that the sort of the race war, the cultural war are substitutions for a class war that was starting to pick up steam.
in 2008 when the financial crisis hit. Occupy Wall Street obviously was sort of a weird movement full of dirty hippies but at the same time they were more over the target than I think they realized. And ever since Occupy Wall Street you see, in 2008 it was the same year that Tropic Thunder came out which was a movie where Robert Downey Jr. was playing
everybody in America thought that was the funniest fucking movie of the year. The theater was packed, it was multiracial, it was multicultural, everybody thought it was funny. And then, you know, suddenly these sort of Psy-op campaigns started in order to get Americans focused on hating each other over inborn, you know, characteristics like skin color, rather than focused on the unfairness of the financial and political system because they’re intertwined with each other.
And it was largely very effective, so kudos to whoever’s idea it was to start pushing that because you did a good job, man. I mean, Jesus Christ, it’s wasted a lot of my time and my life.
Yeah. And when it comes to these scams, right, we’ve lived through this fake scam for the last few years. And I guess I’m a little concerned, like, are there more scams to come? Right. Is it the climate scam? Is it the, you know, is it another pandemic scam? Like, what’s, you know, what are some of the scams that we should be worried about that could be coming in the years, in the years to come?
Yeah, I’ll throw out a conspiracy theory just for fun on the podcast. One thing I am worried about is there’s been a lot of telegraphing of a cyber pandemic. And something that is mildly concerning to me is that Bitcoin could get wrapped up in the cyber pandemic story. Now whether the cyber pandemic is a real phenomenon that could happen, or whether it’s a false flag operation, impossible to know, probably will be impossible to know even after the fact.
But looking forward, you could imagine somebody that was hostile towards Bitcoin making it a central or key part of the story, like a ransomware attack that involved Bitcoin that took down some crucial infrastructure. That crucial infrastructure being out ended up resulting in the death of some number of Americans, like a hospital system or something. People on the ICU, their vents shut off, et cetera. These things can happen. The digital world is increasingly.
The digital world is being grafted onto the physical world and it’s making things increasingly fragile. So like where I am, there was an attack on the MGM Grand resorts and properties just recently that’s being sort of under-reported, but here in town it’s been sort of widely reported which is that the hackers just got into almost everything. I mean they were able to attack the slot machines, they were able to attack the front desk systems, and this is costing this corporation.
untold amounts of money and you don’t the scary thing about cyber stuff is like you don’t really know if it’s state actor you don’t really know if it’s a individual group you don’t know where they are in the world if they have protection from a government that’s hostile towards your government in which case there’s going to be almost no reprisals against them and i think in the case of the MGM hack these people were in russia and so obviously russian america are not on good terms at the moment so
Russian law enforcement is not going to lift a finger to help an American corporation that suffered an attack even if it’s at the request of a high level American law enforcement agency. So we’re going to move into this world of I think, you know…
There’s going to have to be an event that causes people to like wise up about security practices and things online. I think like AI hacking tools are kind of terrifying when you look into them, like the speed and the capability at which people will be able to be socially engineered. It’s kind of frightening. One thing that I’m hopeful on is that we as Bitcoiners have been like living in this test environment for the last decade where we’ve been subjecting ourselves to all manner of cyber stuff.
We’ve gotten good at, you know, first of all, we have a pristine elliptic curve that we can use, right? Like that’s good to know that Bitcoin’s elliptic curve is not subject to a trillion dollar hack. That’s really good to know. And so if you’re building a technology that’s, you know, going to be cryptographically secure, like why not use Bitcoin’s elliptic curve? Like that’s probably like the smartest thing that you could do. And then you get into the whole like quantum and this and that. I’m not going to go down that whole rabbit hole. But like I do think that we’re going to live in a world, I think we’re sort of the canaries in the coal miners Bitcoiners.
And we’re going to live in a world in which the regular person is carrying around the equivalent of a UV key or a hardware wallet or a physical password manager. And they’re using them to sign in to all their different devices and services and interact with everybody in their life who’s a real human being because it’s going to be really easy. It is really easy now. These tools just aren’t widespread to fake Stephan Livera’s voice and make it seem like you’re telling me, hey, Otto, I need money. Send me money. I’ve been kidnapped. Help me, help me, help me. Right?
Hey Stephan, I need your I need your key my guy. I need your cryptographic signature because if not, I’m not helping you Sorry, like it is what it is
Yeah, I think, and you’ve spoken about this as well, about the identity, the market for identity and products around this. I think it’s interesting there’s this idea that, okay, once enough people get burnt or wrecked, that they’re going to take it more seriously. But at the same time, as I’m sure you know, there was this big Equifax hack where like almost every American got wrecked or doxed in some way. And it seems that there’s kind of just constant…
attacks like this that are happening. And yet, I guess it’s just difficult to remain private in the world today because of how many things that require doxing, right? If you want to fly, you need a passport. If you want to drive, you need to drive this license. If you’re having kids, guess what? You need to get birth certificates for them, unless you want them to be fully like non-KYC kids, undocumented, you know what I mean? So it’s just kind of like, it’s just, how do you manage all of these things together in a world where there’s so much manual?
what kind of digital things are realistic? Because at the same time, of course, there’s the grandma argument of, grandma doesn’t know how to use a YubiKey, and people just not being tech savvy enough. What gets them to take it seriously?
Yeah, I mean, obviously a large scale cyber event would get them to take it seriously. I mean, the thing that has gotten us to take it seriously is having our wealth, you know, having to secure our wealth. That’s a very serious thing. I think having to secure your digital identity against fraud of various types is going to be something that people are going to want. When it comes to the identity thing, you know, I’ve been paying attention to the calls for
There’s this sort of want or desire for a driver’s license for the internet. Certain elite boomers in America are certainly pushing this and globally. I think Europe is well ahead on this and, you know, Europe had more success with the, uh, the vaccine passports and that kind of thing. America defeated the vaccine passport, um, this time around, but that’s not, you know, that’s not how they’re going to do things in America. In America, we’re going to get backdoored.
you know, one way shape or form because Americans are fat and lazy and we love convenience and so it’s like whatever is convenient and easy and you know, I mean how much privacy am I doxing just by owning a suite of Apple products? Probably a shit load, you know, probably just everything. There’s a, you know, you have a Alexa or a smart TV in your home, it’s listening to you. I mean that’s how you do things in America but like you won’t be able to codify it the way you will be able to in Europe where in Europe…
and in Australia and in some of the places that were more authoritarian. Did you see recently Sean Strickland versus Israel Adesanya in Australia? So it was an upset fight, but what was more interesting was Strickland, sort of an American right-winger, he was going at the press and saying, your country is garbage. You arrested a pregnant lady for posting on Facebook. Fuck you guys, right?
I heard about this, yeah. It was an upset fight, yeah, go on.
Oh, I love it. That’s awesome.
And the press was like bemused. Like they were like, what are you talking about? We’ve never heard of this event, right? It’s like, what do you mean you’ve never heard of this? This was worldwide global news. Like we all now know, I used to think of Australia as like a place where people threw shrimps on the Barbies and chase kangaroos around or something. And now I think of Australia as a authoritarian police state. And I’m never gonna get that out of my head because during COVID, it became an authoritarian police state, right?
And so yeah, I mean, you basically lived through it and I’d love to get your take on it. Yeah.
Yeah, I mean, that’s why it’s a big part of why I left. I mean, I’m in Dubai now and yeah, absolutely. I think I, coming back to that point you mentioned earlier about betrayal, right? To me, it was just a massive betrayal, right? As like you and probably most people thought, you know, we’re freer than those other countries, right? And think about Canada, New Zealand, Australia, particularly were bad on the COVID authoritarian front.
And all of us in these countries would have thought, oh, we’re better than those other countries. Okay, yeah, maybe our taxes are higher, but we’re still free. But the reality is, none of us are really truly free. And so, yeah, it just felt like a massive betrayal to me. And I’m still just surprised at how many Australians don’t see that and understand that. To them, it’s like an alien concept. So, you know.
Yeah. One of the things that’s amazing is when the, you know, when, when the state, especially like your, your relationship with the state is, is important, I think. And it’s important that people think about their relationship with the state. And, you know, it’s like, you use, I used to feel like I was, um, you know,
abiding by the rules and regulations of my country because this is what we do and we’re good citizens and you pay your taxes because they’re going into social services and they’re helping people. I used to really genuinely think this. And now I think to myself, the reason you pay your taxes is so somebody doesn’t show up at your door and murder you. Right? I mean, that’s how I think. And maybe that’s just, you know, us libertarians are crazy and we can’t help but see the entire world through the monopoly of violence filter.
and everything comes down to the non-aggression principle. Maybe that’s the case, right? And regular people don’t think about this. But that is the reality. And when you have a relationship with the state, as everybody does, even in Dubai, you have a relationship with the state, the state holds a gun to your head in every interaction you have with it. And when somebody has a gun to your head, you really listen to what they have to say. It’s really interesting what they have to say.
You could be saying the dumbest bullshit ever, but if you have a gun to my head, I’m very interested in what you have to say. I think it’s important to listen closely. Some jurisdictions are going to be better than others. I think the jurisdictions that are going to do well are going to be the jurisdictions that prioritize human individual freedom and sovereignty and respect the rights of…
encryption-powered individuals and respect people who are, you know, taking a toehold in this new digital world in a way that’s self-sufficient, sovereign, and free. And that doesn’t mean that those people are not, you know, subject to the rules and regulations of whatever jurisdiction they happen to find themselves in, because obviously they are because of the gun that’s pointed at everybody’s head. But I do think that, you know, you’re going to drive capital away from your country if you are not respecting the—
property rights and the freedom of the individuals within your country. And that was the thing that made America a great place, is we respected capital. We really respected capital. Everything else was secondary to that primary respect of capital. And the places that are going to be great over the next hundred years are going to be places that respect capital. And I hope strongly that America is on the list. And I think we as American Bitcoiners, not yourself, Stephan, but the people I’m talking to in the audience, it’s on us to make sure that is the case.
and that America doesn’t stray too far from its foundational principles.
Yeah, I think that’s right. Ultimately, we are going to see more and more competition as well. So I think more and more people will look at other countries around the world and they’ll say, well, hey, you know, why be here if you’re paying all this high tax there or it’s high cost of living there? I could go somewhere else. You know, I think that, you know, yes, there are certain hurdles and things that come, you know, with that. But if you really compound it and here’s an interesting stat, as you might know from the sovereign individual, there’s a really interesting stat. So basically they say.
If you could make a tax saving of $5,000 per year, and you could invest it at 10% per year over a period of 40 years, do you know what that number is? It’s $2.2 million, right? And for some people, they could save a lot more than just $5,000, right? If you could save $50,000, well now it’s $22 million at the end of your life. And so, whether that’s for you or for your children, you’re passing down that wealth.
you know, I think that will start to weigh on more people’s minds. And so this kind of idea of it’s going to get really competitive where you go and where you actually live. And I think some countries will just sort of treat it like, Oh, we can rest on our laurels and we don’t need to be competitive. And then on the other hand, you have other places that are trying to be competitive, whether that’s El Salvador or who knows if Javier Millier gets into Argentina and you know, turns it good there, um, you know, we’ll see.
The Argentina story is really interesting because until Javier Miele’s candidacy, I wasn’t paying much attention to Argentina. I knew that Wences Cesar is famous Bitcoin, famous Bitcoiner.
was from Argentina originally, and that had shaped his early understanding of Bitcoin. And I know actually there are numerous Bitcoiners I’ve met over the years who are Argentinians, and Argentinians just get it like that instantly, right? So I think his presidency and his campaign is very interesting. He’s not president yet. But I was looking into the history of Buenos Aires, and Buenos Aires is a fucking amazing city that was really respectful of capital, and people were coming there, and it was considered
of Latin America and then they embrace socialism. And the minute you embrace socialism, you’re just stuck in this permanent downward spiral where you’re being led by this sort of culture of envy. And you know.
equality, right? It’s the type of equality where if your dick is 7 inches and mine is 3, then we’ve got to cut 4 inches off your dick, Stephan. I’m sorry. It is what it is. We’ve got to be equal, man. That’s a brutalist anti-human philosophy and only monsters believe in that. Only terrible, awful, horrific scumbag people believe in that ideology.
If you do believe in it, fuck you in the strongest possible terms. Just fuck you. I can’t make it any clearer than that. It’s interesting though. I’m very hopeful that the experiments that are going on in El Salvador, potentially there’s a new experiment going on in Argentina. I know about other experiments that are happening like…
you know, potentially in the Caribbean. And I think we’re going to see more announcements about nation states in the coming years. You know, in Latin America, especially in the Caribbean, I think El Salvador was a real sort of guidebook for, you know, it was a framework for how to do this for people. And there are many people in many different governments thinking about how they can do this. But the problem that many of the people in many of the different governments have is they think about what Bitcoin can do for them. And really what…
The framework that you need to create is what can you do for Bitcoiners? What can you do for the people who have the capital? Because you want to bring the capital to your shores. So you need to be in more of a giving relationship than a taking relationship because you’re not in any position to take. If you look at the places that take the most, like in America, California, California is a gorgeous place. It’s beautiful. I mean, Malibu is fantastic. Everybody that lives there is beautiful.
The infrastructure is piss poor, but you got the beach, right? And so they can be a bit abusive to you because they have this amazing beach and coastline. Whereas Texas is sort of a shrubby mess of just tumbleweeds and scorpions and deserts. And so it’s like you can’t be as abusive if you’re the regulators in Texas. I think one thing that’s interesting from an American framework, we always think about
just the ability to move states, hop states. And I think that’s a unique thing for Americans. So we’re not stuck in, like, say, France. We can just go to Texas. And Texas and California are culturally pretty disparate. And their politics are extremely disparate. Florida, Wyoming, et cetera. All the places that are embracing Bitcoin in America, I think, are going to do extraordinarily well. And all the places that are embracing socialism in America are going to do worse and worse and worse.
If you look at California, the California population grew every single year from when they started keeping statistics in the late 1800s until Gavin Newsom’s governorship in which the population began to decline. So if you’re the guy who the population declined on for the first time ever, maybe you should take a good long hard look in the mirror about your ability to govern because it’s not that great.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think, yeah, so there’ll be competitive states inside the US. There’ll be competitive countries all around the world. Another interesting question that I think some people raise is this idea of, oh, is Bitcoin for everyone, or is it for anyone? What kind of relative levels should you be targeting? Because some people have this view of, oh, the remnant, and other people have the view of, no, just get as many people on board.
My view is, I guess my view is more like, look, we’ve just lived through a few years of craziness. I think clearly 80% of people are just, sadly, a lot of them are just going to go with the narrative, right? As much as whatever the new narrative is, they’ll just go with that and it’s going to be difficult to sort of get them on board. But I think maybe that 10 to 20% or so, these are the people that we can reach. And currently today, in terms of Bitcoin adoption, we’re probably under 1%. So there’s, in that sense, that’s kind of where I’m…
sort of targeting efforts, I think. Whoever I think is open-minded, I’m gonna try to go to them and try to obviously get them to learn about Bitcoin. But where do you see that? You agree, disagree, where are you at?
Yet, so one thing that frustrates me is when I hear Bitcoiners have this conversation about why are there not more people using Bitcoin as a medium of exchange? It’s like, that has such an obvious answer that I’m not sure even why you’re asking the question. The reason why there are not more Americans and Europeans using Bitcoin as a medium of exchange is because of tax treatment. That’s the only reason. Right? I mean, I’m an American who saves a lot of my wealth in Bitcoin and I would, you know,
like to just be able to spend it freely, but it creates a taxable burden every time I do so, so I’m much more likely to spend in dollars than I am to spend in Bitcoin. That’s the reality of the situation, right? So if you’re going to be building an app that’s focused on merchant payments and consumer adoption, you’re going to be looking in the third world mainly. You’re going to be looking in Africa and Latin America primarily, maybe India.
Those are the places where you need to be building for. But yet, for some reason, many American Bitcoiners seem to not understand this phenomenon. They think that it’s a technical failure of Bitcoin, like something is wrong with the Lightning Network, and therefore that’s why we don’t have enough people using it. The demand is not there because of the tax treatment. Nobody wants to have to deal with a taxable event every time they buy a sandwich at the supermarket. That’s just not how things work. So I think that-
In American and richer and more developed nations in general, Bitcoin, we have to always remember that Bitcoin is a capital system. And so capitalists who have a lot of fiat wealth are going to bring the most value to Bitcoin. So it’s not like you getting your grandma to stack SATs is good for the health of the Bitcoin network. It’s good for your grandma. It’s good for the people that you orange pill along the way. But it’s not good for Bitcoin’s network effect.
The thing that’s good for Bitcoin’s network effect is rich people allocating. That’s why Michael Saylor is important. That’s why the next 10 billionaires are important. Eventually, it even leads all the way up to central banks allocating, which there’s nothing that anybody can do to prevent that from happening. That will occur. Central banks are sort of like the last big allocators of Bitcoin, and they will allocate. Sometimes I talk to Bitcoiners who think that’s not going to happen. It is going to happen because they have to for self-preservation to prevent speculative attack.
They literally have to the game theory is such that if you don’t put Bitcoin on your balance sheet, you’re going to get eaten by Bitcoin. So you have to put up a defensive front eventually.
Do you want to spell that out a little bit for people who aren’t familiar? Like, why would they have to?
Yeah, so basically, you called me out on this. I’m not as good an economist as yourself or Pierre, so I’m gonna ask you to spell it out. You spell it out better than me.
So, okay, if I had to, I mean, okay, so, I mean, you could make an argument that, okay, a lot of them hold gold. Why do they still hold gold? You know, there could be an argument made around that. But I’m, I…
There’s an argument even that we’re on a shadow gold standard because all the world governments still have a tremendous clutch of gold. You know?
Yeah, could be. But I mean, at the end of the day, we are, you know, still live, as you know, as listeners know, we’re still living in a fully fiat world. And, you know, if you look at, let’s say Matthew Bischinsky’s work, you know, over at Porkopolis, and if you look at, let’s say, the base money rate growth, right, just looking at America from 1969 to like, I think his stat goes from last year, it’s like 9% per year. So if you haven’t been making more than 9% per year, you’re losing.
You’re literally losing pace in real terms. So yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I think it’s possible that there’ll be central banks who try to buy Bitcoin. And I mean, of course there are some already, like I’m sure El Salvador’s buying some, publicly they’re buying some, you know.
My reasoning for saying this originally is because I’ve been imagining a scenario for a while now where a rich Bitcoiner who’s like a Soros type attempts to break one of the central banks using Bitcoin. And if you don’t have enough Bitcoin reserves, you can’t dump them at market in order to stem the attack or prevent the attack, right? And so I think that’s one of the reasons, game theoretically, why a central bank would want to have Bitcoin reserves.
think that would make sense in a context where their fiat was perhaps backed by Bitcoin and what I mean by backed by is redeemable for right and I think historically in you know in the gold standard days and the bi-medalism days they the gold standard at least in those you know imperfect as it was the gold standard acted as a little bit of a check on government expansionary behavior because if they did
Gold would flow out of the country to other countries. And so that central bank would sort of lose some of its, you know, his poker chips at the table, right? He’s losing. So for that reason, it acted as a discipline. Like I was saying, it was kind of like a beneficial discipline. Then of course, as you know, every Bitcoiner knows, every good Bitcoiner knows, 1971, they took away the teller, at least in the US. And then we were fully free-floating fiat from that point on. And so, yeah.
Yeah. You touched on something important, which is that this is part of my framework is that I believe we’re likely to see nation states back their central bank digital currencies via Bitcoin. The same way that Terra Luna attempted to back its currency via Bitcoin, I think that nation states are going to do it, but they’re going to do it a lot more effectively than Terra Luna. And that’s one of the ways that they’re going to maintain power. And there’s nothing that-
So they’ll likely use a basket of fiat currencies. I don’t know if they would, maybe they would include gold in there, but yeah.
Yes. It’s not going to happen right away in one fell swoop. Bitcoin will become a small portion of the basket and then over time it will grow because Bitcoin grows. And then eventually you’re going to move into this world in which I think about it similar to – maybe I’m getting too big and sweeping here but I think about it sort of like –
the Roman Empire’s embrace of Christianity, which is like, in the beginning the Roman Empire killed Christ, and then later they had to accept his teachings and his doctrine in order to maintain power. And so then they became the Holy Roman Empire, and it sort of collapsed all the functions, the church, the emperor, the state, all became one thing, and they used it to maintain power. And I think that you’re likely to see it…
Let’s go a little far out here. Bitcoin at $10, $100 million a coin, that’s a different world than the world we live in today. It’s a very different world. And Bitcoin is a really large financial behemoth on the world stage. And its gravity and its weight is affecting things much more strongly than these things in absentia. So right now, the reason that you’re able to play some of these Fiat Power Games is
some large monetary black hole out there sucking up your energy. Although Bitcoiners like ourselves, we think that black hole is here and it’s right on the event horizon of like this thing tipping over to sucking in the entire world. That’s like sort of our belief structure.
Yeah, yeah, I mean not this cycle, but maybe a few more cycles and yeah, maybe it gets to that point, right? Yeah.
I would like it if it was this cycle, but it’s probably not this cycle. But yeah, I think that when you have this sort of giant gorilla in the world of financial assets that it changes the calculus for what you’re able to do and not able to do. You can’t run negative rates in a world where like, let’s say 70% of the American population holds Bitcoin. You can’t run negative rates on them. You can try your best, but it’s not going to work.
Yeah, and I think, yeah, so that really, to me, it shows the importance of the bottom-up adoption. But like you said, for every Michael Saylor or MicroStrategy or big company, or even insurance firms, advisor firms, like there’s big pools of wealth out there, maybe even excluding the central banks, just big pools of wealth out there. Businesses could stack on their balance sheet. Insurance firms might need to hold some Bitcoin.
pension funds might need to hold some Bitcoin. Once you add all of these things up, and of course the ETF stuff, that’ll drive a lot of people into, and I think that is what’s gonna change it. And so to your point about when the price of Bitcoin is much, much higher, I think large holders of Bitcoin will have a lot more political sway in how things happen because they’ll say, hey, if you want me to invest in your country,
you know, I want this, I want this low tax or this low regulation or whatever. So it might be, maybe that’s one angle that, you know, a few cycles from now, it could go.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
And by the way, just to be, you know, I want to make sure that like, I do think, I do believe strongly that Bitcoin is for everybody. I just think that the average American is so uninterested, at least at this point. And attempting to talk to a person who’s largely uninterested is pretty much just not an effective strategy. You know, I mean, nobody had to orange pill you.
You orange-pilled yourself. I orange-pilled myself. That’s how it works. And yeah, we’re on the vanguard of this thing, because we’re crazy libertarians or whatever. But over the years, I’ve noticed more and more normal people, there’s plenty of people who have no idea what the non-aggression principle is, or who’ve never read about Milton Friedman’s pencil, who own Bitcoin. And that’s a good thing. That’s a positive thing. Can’t just have it be all crazy libertarians eating only meat.
Look, I think part of it is that, look, a lot of people, and this is where maybe some of the memes came from, right? And you’re right to criticize as well at the same time, people being overconfident and so on. But I think some of those three-word memes, they came from this idea that, look, most people are not going to go read the 1,000-page textbook or human action and so on. And so most people would just adopt some of these ideals, just…
total it. 100%.
like an osmosis thing because that’s just the society you live in that you respect other people’s property rights. Like you don’t even think too hard about that. Right now most people, and to be fair, most people do that.
It’s just that they make an exception, a special little exemption in their mind for the government. They say, oh, the government is allowed to do X, Y, and Z, right? You know, conscription for warfare is okay, but if I were to manually, if you were to manually enslave me, that would be obviously wrong and to send me off to war in your war. Well, no, but when the government does it, oh, okay, now it’s okay, right? So that, I think that aspect is going to change.
By the way, just on the overconfidence point, I’m not just criticizing everybody else. I’m criticizing myself mainly because I was the most overconfident. I was insanely overconfident. I do think that there’s…
Definitely something very useful to the distillation of memes because they spread bitcoins idea and it gets people talking So like if you hate the meme Bitcoin fixes this well then like you’ve fallen perfectly into Michael’s trap when he created the meme because that’s now you’re talking about Bitcoin and Why it does or does not fix things right? So it’s like it doesn’t have to do the perfect. It’s like this. It’s like You can’t tell people how to think
But if you’re good at meme craft, you can tell people what to think about. Right? So like, certainly none of us focused much on most of the cultural topics over the last ten years, but we’ve all been sort of heavily psy-opped into thinking about them quite a bit, right? And like, we make up our own minds. Oh, I’m on this side, or I’m on that side. But it’s like, the truth is, the person that’s, you know, actually the most effective at the propaganda is the person that is telling you what the subject is. Not-
how you think about the subject, but what the subject is. And so, in that way, I think the Bitcoin memes have been very effective. But also, here’s something, there’s a danger to, this is going to sound maybe controversial, but there’s a danger to orange-pilling people before they’re ready. So…
Right, it’s like the Matrix unplugging them before the ready thing.
100% and I’ve had this with friends who You know, I’ve had friends who got into Bitcoin were stacking sats were doing all the right things and then at some point the greed got the better of them and They went on Nexo and they took a loan and they thought to themselves Bitcoin will never go below this price and then it did and They ended up losing all of their Bitcoin, you know and it took them to a deep dark place because they had gone from this feeling of in
financial empowerment and sovereignty to a feeling of despair. And I look back on some of those friends I had that went down that path and I think to myself, maybe this is your fault. Like talking about myself, like maybe I orange-pilled them when they weren’t ready and they should have waited longer in their journey. So yeah, I mean, forcing Bitcoin on normal people is really not the answer. Bitcoin is going to meet the need of the people.
that it meets the need of, where it meets the need of those people. And like when you talk about medium exchange, that’s in the developing world. And when you talk about savings devaluation technology, that’s in the developed world. Because people in the developing world don’t have anything to save. So why the fuck would they need to hold Bitcoin for a long time? They don’t. They need shit day to day because their lives are tough and they’re trying to hustle some amount of bananas into a meal for their family that night.
Whereas me and you are thinking we’re a little bit more at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy and we’re thinking a little bit more long-term so yeah, I think Bitcoin is gonna meet the need of whoever, you know, whatever needs it at that time and That when you try and force things before their time you actually end up causing distortions and again I’m talking about myself and being self-critical here because I think I’ve done that to people and I think it hasn’t always worked out effectively
Yeah, look, I would say in your defense, let me say, you can’t know in advance because it’s kind of like, sometimes, you know that saying, like sometimes money changes people. Well, maybe they were always that way and it kind of revealed what they really were. And I think to some extent, yes, you wanna encourage people to be prudent, right? Like to not lever over their heads.
to be intelligent and stay solvent. I think that’s an important thing. But it is also difficult in today’s world when so many people are in debt, as you mentioned, right? So many people in the middle class are just living on credit, living on debt. They’ve got their credit card, they want their credit card points, or they want loans for this and loans for that. It’s just genuinely a hard slog out there. So I guess focusing on the people who can save and focusing on the people who are open-minded, I think that’s probably where I’m seeing it. That’s the pathway forward. So.
Totally. I think that just in general, the best way to do things is to let people know that you are the Bitcoin guy. They already know that anyway because you’re not going to shut the fuck up about it. None of us do. And to just, that if they have questions or whatever, they can come to you anytime and you’re happy to help them, but not to force things on them. And yeah, I think that that’s just been…
Because if you believe like we believe in Bitcoin, and you’re as convicted as we are, it’s kind of hard not to tell people because you’re just so damn sure of what’s happening here, and you know that most people don’t see it, and it feels almost like morally irresponsible not to tell people, right? But then…
Yeah, of course. I mean, it’s like we have this life raft and we want our friends to get on the life raft instead of sinking.
But then you actually may be doing an ineffective service by, you know, being so zealous about the whole affair, right? That might be the problem. I think quiet confidence wins the day nine times out of ten. For me, listen, I probably did this for like seven years. I was just going around being like, you know, you got to get Bitcoin. Then over time I was just like, what am I doing? I’m being so annoying.
Well, I think we all have reflections, and you and I are going on our Hodler journey, even now, today, even this deep in. So I think that, yeah, but I think you’re right. The lesson is focusing on the quiet confidence and being available to help people when they need help, but not sort of ramming it down their throat. And sort of, it’s like that saying, when the student is ready, the teacher appears, right? It’s sort of, you have to sort of wait for that moment.
And that’s why for me, it’s sort of, you need ideally an ongoing relationship with that person so that you can sort of coach them and say, okay, so you bought some coins, have you got a Bitcoin wallet? Have you got a hardware wallet? Have you got a Bitcoin node? And sort of slowly step them up when they’re ready, of course. And of course, you know, the tech and the UX will make it easier and easier, but that’s sort of the high level of how I’m seeing it. So yeah, let’s finish up here, I’ll go on. Yep.
Yeah, it’s like… No, no, go ahead, go ahead.
Yeah, I was just saying, well, let’s finish up here. I guess, I think some of it, like obviously we’re talking at this time now, it’s a reflection of where we are in the cycle, right? If we were talking in March 2021, it’d be like, oh, Bitcoin is gonna take over the world and there’s gonna be all these, you know, like, so I’m sure when we speak again, and like, you know, if we talk again in a year or two, it might be totally different.
Should we do some, just for fun, should we do like a wild, bullish prediction? Just… All right, yeah, but you gotta give one, you gotta give one too, you gotta give one too. Okay, okay. I’m gonna say, okay, my prediction from last cycle was 300K, so I’m sticking with it. I’m going 300K sometime in late 25 seems to be where things are gonna head for me. And I do think like…
Oh yeah, sure, sure. Yeah, do you have any? I don’t know. You mean like, prize or like what happens? Okay. Yeah, yeah. I will. Yeah, yeah.
I’m going to go ahead and turn it off.
Just looking forward, I think we’re probably gonna trend upwards towards the halving. I wouldn’t discount the idea of a potential precipitous fall the same way we had one in March 12, 2020. So don’t lever up, by the way, it’s important. I had friends who levered up and got totally hosed in March of 2020. And these guys are Bitcoiners who should know better. So don’t be that guy. Just hodl your coins. Don’t take leverage.
If you’re going to take leverage, do it much later in the cycle and with a lot less leverage than you think you should need. Yeah, I think we’re going to trend up towards the halving and then after the halving, I think same old story. People say, is the halving doing things? Is it not? Is it effective? Is it ineffective? I think that the psychological phenomenon of the halving is reflexive in nature and because the people believe the halving, it basically tells the story of Bitcoin scarcity to the 90% of the market who don’t believe it.
And so people who are hearing about the halving are literally hearing about Bitcoin scarcity for the first time. And that’s a powerful story. The halving itself could mean something, could not, but Bitcoin scarcity means a lot. So after that, we’re going to trend up to 300k. That’s my prediction.
Yeah, okay, interesting. Look, I, so, okay, obvious disclaimers here, not financial advice, et cetera, don’t hold me to this. But if I had to guess, I honestly, I actually think this cycle could be, so, okay, people have this idea that, you know, oh, the cycles are diminishing over time, but maybe just the last cycle was kind of outlier. Maybe next cycle actually is a bigger cycle than that. Like, I think it’s actually possible that we really do go to like,
something close to gold, right? If Bitcoin’s market went to the size of gold, it might be something like half a mil, something in that range, maybe half a mil, maybe 600,000.
Yeah, which is like 11, 10, 11, 12 trillion market somewhere in there. Yeah.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And Bitcoin today is what 500 billion something. So, you know, it’s not that, you know, to me, it’s not that crazy. But I’m also not a trader. I’m a stacker. Right. So I’m kind of, you know, and I and here’s the thing, it could go that high, but we might still get a big 80% drop at the end of it, you know, so I would not, you know, if you take if you, you know, like, generally, just avoid leverage.
Or if you are doing it, it needs to be like, you’re a professional, like you’re doing a very small percentage of your stack, you have income, you have kind of contingency plans, like it’s not just kind of like, don’t be a degen and like leave her up and, you know, don’t, don’t do degen leverage, but of course, you know, maybe for some people it can kind of make sense, but honestly, for most people, just avoid leverage and just, you know, just stack. And I think that is going to be the pathway for most people. Um, but you know, also I would encourage people to actually look at other jurisdictions, you know, like I think.
it’s time for people to do that because here’s the thing, it’ll make it more competitive. And I think over the years to come, we’ll see more people actually try to do that because look at the other trends that are coming, right? We’ve got more digital work and remote work stuff happening. You know, there’s all this kind of automation and AI, whatever, chat bots and whatever. I think that is gonna cause these big shifts and you have to adapt it. We have to continue to innovate or you get, you know, you get…
like you get wrecked or your business model goes down. So you sort of have to continue innovating. So I guess I do predict also that, you know, in this, in the next bull cycle, whenever it happens, that we’ll see more countries, big companies, big investment firms come out and say, hey, we’re doing Bitcoin. Obviously like the spot ETF and stuff is gonna drive a lot of that. Yeah. So I think those will be some high level stuff, but I think human nature and greed will kind of come in again. There’ll be people who overleaver at the top.
Yeah. Black rock, fidelity, et cetera. Yep.
there’ll be people who kind of chase for yield, there’ll be, you know, maybe there’ll be some more like cloud mining stuff or cloud mining scam or something like that. You know, we don’t know exactly, but I think it’s like that idea that it kind of rhymes with past cycles that, you know, things that we saw in prior cycles, we’ll see them come around again. So I guess that’s kind of high level. But yeah, I guess if I had to put a number, if I believe what could be like the top of the next cycle, maybe 500, maybe 500K, but I’m expecting a big drop.
Nice, I like it.
after that as well. And importantly, I’m not trying to trade it, right? So yeah. That’s how I see it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I have huddled down twice now from the top, and let me tell you, it sucks. But I’m not trying to trade away my stack, so I’d rather just deal with the bad feelings than end up with less Bitcoin, you know.
But here’s the thing, you don’t know it’s the top at the time. Yeah.
Yeah, so I think that’s probably a good spot to finish up. So I guess, I don’t know if you have any last things you want to say and let’s leave it there until next time.
No, I’m good, man. Thanks for having me on, brother. It was good to see you again.
Thank you, and it’s great to see you, and I hope to catch up again soon. You go to Pacific Bitcoin? You’re gonna be there, right? Ah, damn. Ah, yes, okay.
No, I have a newborn, so it’s gonna be too hard. Yeah, yeah, but I’ll probably be in Nashville. If you’re gonna be in Nashville. Okay, cool. All right, brother.
Okay, yeah, yeah. I should be there, so yeah. Awesome, man. Well, thank you, and I’ll see you soon.