Peter McCormack: How are you both feeling?
Chris DeRose: Good
Peter McCormack: Firstly, what’s the thing with having your shirts off in the shows?
Chris DeRose: Are we on already?
Peter McCormack: We’re on!
Chris DeRose: So that started with Wayne Vaughan. He came on the show one time and he got really uncomfortable with… Because he just started a professional company and we’d had him on, basically to discuss his new business Tierion, which has since done an ICO and gone on to do other things.
But he came on and he was uncomfortable with the antics, but he’d asked us to come on. So I ripped my shirt off to make them even more uncomfortable and to stress the point that this was not a serious show!
Peter McCormack: And did that make it more comfortable then?
Chris DeRose: I think it made him shut up. We’ve always celebrated the irreverence. The sort of buttoned up presentation in the space never really worked for us.
Junseth: One of the early jokes was a friend of ours who started calling himself a Bitcoin professional. It was after we held a meetup in a poor area at a strip club and he was saying it wasn’t good because it wasn’t Bitcoin professional and so that became a mantra on the show. So Wayne I think represented Bitcoin professionals pretty well and we liked to make jokes about Bitcoin professionals because it’s absurd. The fact that this is a serious industry is hilarious.
Peter McCormack: But Chris is all ripped now?
Junseth: Yeah Chris is ripped, I’m still fat!
Chris DeRose: Well, what’s really funny to me too, is that people think that I’m being egregious and taking my shirt off these days. But what I liked is that we already opened up the can of worms, so now I’m just being consistent. There’s nothing new about this. It’s just that I guess people act differently if you are ripped or something I guess?
Junseth: I don’t know that Chris knew that it was a fat joke before though. Like in part, ripping your shirt off is funny. In my case because I’m hideous.
Peter McCormack: Well when I went to create the banner, I couldn’t find a decent photo of either of you on Google, so I stalked you both out on Facebook.
Junseth: Yeah, I noticed! You got it out of a wedding photograph I was in!
Peter McCormack: But then I go through Chris’, I’m on his profile, I go through and then there’s one with his shirt off and he’s ripped. I’m like, “mother fucker!” Shall we take our shirts off?
Junseth: We can, let’s do it!
Peter McCormack: I’m a bit fat myself.
Chris DeRose: Why not? This is not on camera this time. Okay well, Peter is similarly hideous.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, I’m a fat dude as well.
Chris DeRose: There were a lot of overs/unders on how many times the word fart would be said today. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities yet to make a fart joke.
Peter McCormack: If somebody walks past the window, they’re going to be… Actually we’re in Miami! This is normal. So listen, I’ll tell you where I’m going to start from. You two obviously have a lot of history. I’m kind of new round here and one of the things in being new round here, is that there are huge gaps of knowledge; tech, the economics of it, everything that’s happened, the changing narratives, even you guys!
I got invited to go to a football match with a guy called Danny Brewster who also has a lot of history! But anyway, he said, “I’ve got tickets for Liverpool vs Man City. Do you want to go?” And I’m like, “yeah!” So we’re driving up there and he was like, “have you ever listened to Bitcoin Uncensored?” I’m like, “well I know Chris.” He was like, “no, you need to go back and listen to the show with the two of them.”
So I went back and I did and I saw the Fluffy Pony one, where you’re drawing the tie on you! I was like, this is fucking awesome. Anyway, some time passed and then I saw then some stuff had gone on between you guys, we don’t have to dig into it, but I wasn’t aware of the whole past. What that reflected to me is that there’s so much of the past I’m not aware of and it’s a really hard thing coming in.
I came in let’s say end of 2016/2017 and it’s been really fucking hard on many levels, getting lots of challenges. One of the things I’ve noticed is that there was a big shift in the narrative in Bitcoin in maybe 2014/2015, I can’t explain where. But listening to your podcast, you talked a lot about the use case for Bitcoin, like drugs and prostitutes.
So it was a medium of exchange. It was censorship resistance and then it’s all changed and the defence of what it is now, has become really fucking super hardcore.
Junseth: Yeah, I think that what Bitcoin is has changed, the narrative of what it is has changed a number of times since it started. At least in my opinion about the show, that was what we explored, was the fact that nobody was talking at the time about who uses Bitcoin. That’s sort of where it evolved from, is that frankly everybody was a little bit afraid to admit that Bitcoin was used for these types of transactions and that those were the most… I mean, there’s a lot of good examples.
A couple of years ago, remember in 2016 where Dash had that event at E11EVEN, down in Miami. A bunch of women came out and said that that was a terrible thing for them to have done and that it was discriminatory.
I’m just sitting there thinking to myself, the women at that club are the first people that use Bitcoin in that entire city and it’s a little bit interesting that you would criticize Dash for holding a meetup there for that reason. No one talked about it then. I think that there’s more people aware of it now.
Chris DeRose: My take on that is… I mean there’s essentially two battling demographics in the space. There is the people who need Bitcoin and then there is effectively the confidence men, who are selling Bitcoin. There’s a very different sort of ethic attached to both of those demographics.
I think for myself and for a lot of people who were early, they were here because they saw something that they needed, a solution and a meeting in those intersections. Then when the confidence men showed up, it got completely outrageous and crazy and detached from what was a semblance of science and I don’t know, a rationale and it just turned into whoever could create the biggest promises.
I don’t know, it just got iteratively absurd. My attitude on that now is that regulations probably exist to keep that from happening in incumbent markets, but since they weren’t here, there were absolutely no controls on it. So the level of perpetual motion schemes that were promoted over the years just got increasingly absurd.
Junseth: They were promoted by not just rubes. I mean a16z did the 21 Bitcoin box, a little miner that you could basically… It was a Raspberry Pi attached to what looked like a gramophone kind of a tube, that would suck air in. It was like when the original PowerPoint was released. You see this PowerPoint that basically pitched what was a perpetual motion machine that would just generate money forever and ever and ever.
To me, I think Chris is right about that. I think that’s exactly correct, that there were those two kinds of demographics that showed up here. I mean early on I was a little different. I didn’t see a whole lot of utility in it, but I was an anarchist and I thought that we could overthrow the government using Bitcoin, which I think is a perspective that’s changed since those early days, for me at least.
Peter McCormack: I did an interview a few weeks back with the guy who started SpankChain and I don’t really have much interest in the token, but the mission, if they are authentic about it, is actually a good one. It’s helping people who work in the sex industry, to be able to earn money. They’ve created their own stable coin because there were a bunch of people who at first were using ETH and the price of ETH dropped.
So whatever they earned had dumped. But from that I ended up interviewing a porn star, Allie Eve Knox and she was like, “Bitcoin saved me! I got de-platformed from PayPal. I got bank accounts closed. I started using Bitcoin and I could accept money,” and it was just like a harsh reality that it saved her. She actually got de-platformed from Coinbase as well, which is kind of funny.
But a lot of the time when I’ve been doing this, one of the really interesting things that I’ve found is that you start to explore topics, but if you start to explore an area and you go off the beaten path or off the narrative, which has been perpetuated by maybe leaders in the space, people want to control you and stop having that opinion, which I find really, really difficult.
The reason I bring this up, is that I understand the technical and economic arguments for why Bitcoin has become a store of value. But when I said recently, “I have certain sympathies for big blockers who want to focus on utility.” I had that sympathy and I got attacked for it! But I’m like, what is even wrong with exploring this?
Junseth: I can answer that. The scams effectively have power over a degree of ignorance in their audience. So they magicalise that ignorance and you see this in carnival games, where if you are showing somebody, like an arrogant rube, effectively a basketball game, they don’t know it’s rigged. They think that they’re going to show off with a girlfriend and that arrogance is what’s monetized.
So here in the space, a lot of times if you explore the ignorance, it reduces the meaning for the audience because they’ve been led astray. Then it also reduces a lot of the power for the confidence man or the pitch man or whoever you know, is probably shooing you away. That’s that de-magicalization effect that you’re creating now as a result of that.
Which for me, I always loved that. Frankly, I just don’t really care, at this point especially because magic is just fascinating and you always want to find out where it exists. It never does exist, but you can at least find out a lot of information and end up better off than you started on going down that path.
Chris DeRose: Not to mention that in Bitcoin, the magicization is rooted in the complexity of what this entire system does. So people look at this and they’re like, “God, that’s fucking way too complicated for me. I don’t understand what the hell is going on there!” So you can tell them anything. 10 minute blocks, why 10? 5 minute blocks? Why not 4 minute blocks?
Why not half a second blocks? For most people, faster’s better and that’s as much comprehension as most people have. So there’s no understanding of why we have 10 minute blocks or why it doesn’t really matter. Or, you know, I said early on that the only block time that really matters is zero seconds, because what are you going to use that for?
If you look at like the transaction volume on these chains, and at least in terms of capacity, they’re all around the same. They all have the same sort of universal limitations, whether it’s size of chips or size of bandwidth or whatever the case is.
Junseth: Well, one thing I’ll also add to that is that if you look at a faith healing environment, typically as I understand it, 20% or so of the people in attendance, are believing that a faith healing is occurring. The other 80% harbor some degree of skepticism or even ambivalence about what’s going on. But they will act the part of the faith healer because it creates more community cohesion.
Chris DeRose: I can talk to that! As a Christian, that’s literally for me, one of the biggest gripes I have with religion, is that when I was a kid, I would be told that if you want to feel God, you just pray to him. Then everyone around me would tell me that they feel God and I just never felt it. I could never hear him.
They would tell me that they hear him and I would be like, “I am listening. I don’t hear dick!” So it’s the same way with like any of… I think this is a religion, I think it’s very obvious. People come here, they pick their factions, they go off into their corners and then they yell at everyone else for being a heretic. I don’t think that that’s incorrect.
Peter McCormack: So where are you now, both of you individually? Where are you now with Bitcoin? I’ve got two questions actually. Where are you now with Bitcoin? Also, I can’t remember, I think it might have been you Chris who said it in an interview where you were like, “there’s only one proven use of a Blockchain. Nothing else has worked.” Has anything else worked yet?
Chris DeRose: My attitude at this point is that liquidity is the product. That is what is being offered and liquidity exists as a result of the regulatory environment or the lack thereof in any given circumstance. For me, and Junseth is probably a different, I have no idea. But for me, what sign you put on that risk of liquidity that has been defined, is kind of irrelevant at this point. It’s very much a combination of speculation and a little bit of utility and that’s generally the case.
So for me, where I’m at with Bitcoin at this point, is that indexing is fantastic and a lot of new products have shown up there. For me it’s a great ethic for the space and is a great solution because wherever value is being created in the sector, I tap into it now through automated tools and I basically do nothing.
Honestly that’s been the secret to success in this space for almost everybody that I know, who’s made an outlandish sum of money, is effectively to do nothing and it’s generally been to hold Bitcoin. But I think if we look back at the old shows, if we were being honest, there’s a lot of value that we didn’t capture in the case of Ethereum say, that an index would have provided access to.
Junseth: I think to be fair, I mean like a number of times we even said, I think if you go back to the old videos, I don’t know where you’d find it, but I think we caveated heavily that Ethereum could very easily pump. And I think it did. I think we said many times that it could be 10 years or 15 years or 20 years before one of these collapse.
I think that it’s hard. You have to acknowledge that we’ve never seen a chain for the most part, really just utterly collapse. I think Aurora coin, and I think even Coiledcoin is still around, at least in some iteration. Those are old coins that had strange attack vectors and I think Coiledcoin is one that Luke Dash Jr threw his mining power at and 51%-ed!
Chris DeRose: I would add to that too, I’m very ambivalent about the technology at this point. If in fact the regulatory environment is such that the regulators want to see Blockchain “work”, I don’t even know how much we need proof of work at this point, because proof of work existed as a regulatory arbitrage solution, that doesn’t make any sense in a regulatory environment that just explicitly permits these things to be, I don’t know, like developer signed or something.
So yeah, that’s worth considering as well. I think that I put way too much emphasis on the technicals, which it’s not that they’re wrong per se, it’s just that the world changed for now.
Junseth: Yeah, I was going to say I think that the difference here would be between like… I guess in the investment world you talk a short term thesis versus a long term thesis. My thesis on Blockchain, Bitcoin has always been sort of this long term thesis. I don’t think you end up in a world with hundreds of Blockchains.I think you end up with one, maybe three, maybe two experimental or something. I think Chris is in a little different place, I don’t know for sure.
But, when I hear that I think of it’s more of a short term thesis, like today that’s true, but then I see things like the social media bannings and all sorts of things, I think that there is a place in the world for censorship resistance and I think that Bitcoin does that with money very, very well. But to that end, I mean if the government were to allow developers to sign transactions and that we’re a-okay with everybody, then yeah, you wouldn’t need proof of work. I just don’t think that that’s the state of the world, at least not for long if it is today.
Chris DeRose: But the history of money is one of turmoil and change. So it’s feasible to me… I could very easily see cases where Bitcoin would fail in spectacular ways and the people would immediately proceed to use and run the Bitcoin 2.0 that replaces it. We can talk about that, but maybe it is a case that there’s only three or so that are actively in mainstream use at any given time. But I could also see that being a rotating cast of three.
Peter McCormack: But what’s the difference between being happy to trade something and transfer of value back to yourself and believing in something that is actually useful and has a role in society? Because I guess I don’t think you would have said this maybe three or four years ago
Chris DeRose: Oh absolutely not.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, so there’s been a shift in your mindset there. Is that to do with you, I don’t know, just caring less? Because this place can smash you around!
Chris DeRose: Oh, absolutely. Well, I mean you’ve got to consider that everyone’s comprehension… I’m not immune from the echo chamber of facts and the iterative forces that cause you to reconsider the same things in new light. I guess what you’re investing in when you buy Bitcoin, is either a sign and it is just literal sign value. It’s a very similar way you value a purse or something.
Some purses look identical to others, but there’s a different sign on the purse. So that makes it worth more. That status could exist to some degree. That’s one thing you could be investing in. The other thing you could be investing in is leadership, just plain and simple. The difference between LTC and BTC is the leadership structure.
They have almost identical technicals and the leadership might be this power hierarchy that is the Bitcoin like intolerance or it could be the Bitcoin Core team, which I would be more sympathetic to. I guess the meaning as it were, it seems to just eroded substantially at this point, I think because of some of the leadership dynamics that were at work and it really isn’t any one person’s fault.
Junseth: I just don’t think the numbers backed it up. I think that hash power is at an all time high and transactions are at an all time high. I think that Bitcoin is chugging along and I completely understand why people use these other currencies. We talked about it on the show long all the time; speculators versus users.
To me, the farther along we’ve gotten, the less interesting a lot of these other projects have become. People are still picking religions. EOS is the one that everyone is talking about now in China, saying that everybody’s on there gambling. I mean maybe, but for how long? We’ve seen that before, that’s exactly what Bitshares was doing.
The top 10 of the crypto market has shifted and changed so much and Bitcoin continues to chug along and just be that stable, workhorse. It does exactly what it does. I don’t think outside of Bitcoin people really know what these other currencies or cryptocurrencies are and I think within sort of this myopic bubble of cryptocurrency, people pick a religion.
Chris DeRose: I would add to that. Bitcoin is first mover advantage coin. It just seems to me that that is the huge part of its proposition. Maybe that’s enough for everybody going forward. But it also seems to me that the utility is a fairly commoditized offering and who offers the liquidity is kind of irrelevant to the fundamental value people. To the speculators, it’s just a matter of what the virtue of the month might be, I think in terms of what gets the most liquidity. If the virtue is defeating Amazon or a defeating the banks, I suppose the liquidity would map that virtue or something.
Junseth: That’s presuming it’s a libertarian coin, right?
Chris DeRose: Well, I don’t know.
Peter McCormack: Well, so the way I think about it, and I thought about it recently. I just liquidated everything that I had, that wasn’t Bitcoin, into Bitcoin.
Chris DeRose: That’s why you’re shirtless!
Peter McCormack: Yeah. But the reason I did that is I use Bitcoin. I fundamentally use it. So my entrance back in 2016 was, I’ve talked about this a lot, was buying that treatment for my mother that I couldn’t buy without Bitcoin. Okay, cool, medium of exchange, censorship resistance, dark web, it worked for me. Now I use it within running the podcast.
So today, I spoke to another potential sponsor and we talked about the terms of a deal and then I said, “look, do you mind payment in Bitcoin?” And they’re like, “no.” The reason I ask is not is not just to support the space. I’m based in the UK, they’re based in the US. It’s so much easier for me to get paid in Bitcoin. The Bitcoin is transferred in 10 minutes… Sorry, the blocks are every 10 minutes. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half for it to be confirmed.
Then I can do a very quick sale and it’s in my account. Whenever anyone pays me via the bank, it takes at least 24 to 36 hours. Plus I pay massive fees. I found out the other day, I’m paying 3.2% above the exchange rate for that. So it actually solves a problem for me. So I’m like “okay, I’ve got utility for that. I’ve got a purpose.”
Also if the store of value proposition is correct and if the 21 million scarce asset is correct, my expectation is with utility, in 20 years, whatever I hold in my long-term pot might be a pension. I can’t see that with Litecoin happening. I just can’t. I could see it happening with Litecoin if Bitcoin didn’t exist.
Junseth: Yeah I was going to say, what if happens if Bitcoin regulatorily inhibited?
Peter McCormack: I don’t worry about that because I think it survives that. My worry is that it gets destroyed in another way. There is some 51% attack or there is some bug we don’t know about. But even most of those, I’m starting to not worry too much about. It just feels like something I’m using. Somebody put out on Twitter the other day about Ethereum and it was something about usage and I said “it’s only used by developers to build stuff that nobody’s using.”
Chris DeRose: Sure! I agree. I mean you look at the DApp numbers, how many people are using them. There’s nobody using any of the Ethereum DApps, almost nobody
Junseth: I think that was always a red herring, is the easy answer to that…
Chris DeRose: Yeah that’s what Vitalik said. I don’t disagree with that. I think that in my world, Bitcoin is the behemoth and in some ways you’re investing in leadership, but I would say that this is a specialized space and there’s very few developers who are competent and the ones that are truly competent and know what they’re doing, I think tend to be working on Bitcoin. I don’t think that they’re that interested in working on Litecoin because it’s exactly the same code.
Junseth: Well, to the other point, it’s open source. So their contribution necessarily is rendered, to some degree, irrelevant if it’s just technicals, because anybody has access to that.
Chris DeRose: Absolutely.
Junseth: I think you’re going to come right back to leadership. I don’t think leadership buys technical competence, but I think leadership is probably the apex of the assessment. That’s my theory, audience can decide.
Peter McCormack: I imagine there are some really competent developers working on Ethereum. Really competent.
Chris DeRose: Yeah, you’d imagine that! Have you interviewed any?
Peter McCormack: But I imagine they are competent developers, they know how to build stuff that nobody else does. I always come back to, I used to have a web design agency and I always used to say there’s three components to a successful website. There’s the account manager who makes sure the client’s happy, there is the designer who makes sure it’s usable and the developer who can build it.
You take one of those out, it breaks down. You take out the account manager, they might design something beautiful and usable, but it’s not what the client asks for. Or you take out the designer and they build something that the client asks for and it technically works, but the users come in and they can’t use it.
You have to have all three and what I think I found in Bitcoin and perhaps even Ethereum, is there aren’t enough people who sit above what they’re building, just saying “is this practical? Is anyone going to use this? Is this solving a problem? Is it easy to use?” I think a lot of that is missing.
Junseth: They’re all 16! I mean that was the joke back in the day and I don’t think it’s untrue today, where you have this Blockchain and if you were to ask, I think a number of the developers of Bitcoin, they would say the idea itself was always something that everyone knew you could do, but that it was a bad idea. Putting these programs on a Blockchain, these smart contracts, Turing complete language on the Blockchain, it was always an ill conceived idea, it was not a good idea, but it was something that we knew that we could do.
I think that Ethereum has kind of progressed along that ethos, and I think that they have not attracted maybe the mature minds that I see in other Blockchains. It’s people who dream, it’s Jefferson starship kind of, “we can go to Mars!” It’s the Elon Musk of Blockchains in some ways. They just make promises and promises and I would say, move the football down, particularly with regard to security concerns where there’s a security breach.
What do they do? They kick the can, they patch it and they glue it together in a way that is probably problematic. The market doesn’t seem to think it’s problematic. It’s astounding to everybody. Then another security breach and then they do the same thing and then that patch creates another security breach and then they do the same thing. It’s astounding to me that you never really see the market respond in a negative way to that. It reminds me a lot of Tesla.
Peter McCormack: Well they do respond but it becomes a tribal argument.
Chris DeRose: Well it’s like virtue investing. That’s what you’re investing in, is like affirmational content I would suggest.
Peter McCormack: We might delve into the world where I don’t always understand you Chris and we’ve talked about this.
Chris DeRose: If you look at Theranos and Elizabeth Warren, my favorite feminist, that’s what she offered. She was offered a Steve Jobs in a woman’s body. That’s what you are investing in. But the point is the same, you have this virtue signaling mechanism online and Blockchain is the extension of that, it is a virtue signaling economy in many ways.
Junseth: It’s become that, I don’t know that it started that way.
Chris DeRose: I think Vitalik invented that. I honestly think that he gets credit for that and whether or not that’s like a nefarious invention, I don’t care, because value was created up until now. So evaluating him I think in the rubric of what was accomplished is as irrelevant as evaluating Theranos.
Junseth: That may very well be true. I think it also needs to be said that that’s not what he set out to invent.
Chris DeRose: Oh yeah!
Junseth: Happy accident!
Peter McCormack: So let me ask you, all this kicking the can down the road and like Ethereum is this and now is that, how is that different from a pivot? Which we are allowed in tech? People say, “oh, it’s a scam because it was world computer, it’s not world computer, it’s this.” Look, I understand the change in narrative, but technology has a history of people changing what it is through pivots. So is Ethereum pivoting or is it a scam?
Junseth: Scams are hard! We called everything a scam and largely because it was funny! I think we highlighted the entire page! You had a list of projects, you’d be like, “all right, that’s a scam, that’s a scam!” You’d get asked, “why is it a scam” and you’d have very good reasons. It’s very obvious that these were all scams.
It was never to the knowledge of the person that was pitching it either. What is Ethereum today? I mean, I would say that it’s not what it purports to be, it’s not what it claims to be. There’s a lot of people who are buying it. I don’t know if really anybody’s using it. I mean, it goes in my book down as what a scam looks like. I guess that’s about as far as I’d go there.
Peter McCormack: Well, sometimes when people use the term “scam”, I’m like, “hmm.” When I think of scam, I think of somebody sitting there and going, “right, I’m going to fuck you.”
Junseth: Well when he started, that’s what everyone else thought too!
Peter McCormack: But, “I’m thinking I’m going to screw you over. I’m doing this and I know it’s wrong and I know I can make money of it”. I don’t think Vitalik is sitting there… I think he believes in what he’s doing.
Chris DeRose: He didn’t watch enough BU!
Peter McCormack: But it’s almost like… This is going to be controversial! Roger Ver has done a lot of terrible, terrible things. He’s done a lot of things that are wrong. But what I would say is about him is that I’m pretty sure he believes that Bitcoin should be peer to peer cash. I don’t think he created Bitcoin Cash to make a bunch more money and scam people.
I think he genuinely believes that. I think this overuse of the term “scam” has actually allowed scams to perpetuate. I think we should create almost categories of legitimate, stupid and scam or legitimate, it can’t work, scam. But calling everything a scam just becomes pointless. It makes it easier to scam!
Chris DeRose: I don’t know if that’s true. I think that humans want to be scammed. I think that’s one of the things that we have been watching. I mean look, I think originally in the space when we had all of these libertarians here crying and saying, “I should be allowed to invest in whatever I want!” I think that was the sort of the first time that we ever did anything.
I remember up in Disney, there was a very obvious Ponzi that had sponsored the conference, like 100% a Ponzi scheme. Nobody seemed to disagree. I stood there at the table and every single person that came by and was being pitched by them, I would let them know this is a very obvious Ponzi. At the end of that, I had a number of people come up to me, some fairly prominent libertarians in the space saying, “I was going to give them my money!
Thank you so much for telling me that that was a Ponzi scheme” and I couldn’t believe it. It blew my mind that these people who tell me that they know what they should and shouldn’t invest in, are so willing to be scammed. They showed up here wanting to give their money to this thing, which was just obviously a Ponzi scheme, which I think two weeks later went belly up.
Junseth: Again, it’s a combination of the faith healing believers who are looking for some affirmational magic, those people want to stop the person who is preventing the faith healing and then there’s also the people that are in on the pyramid scheme. I mean a wise financial decision is to join the pyramid scheme in the beginning and then leave before it collapses and there’s a lot of those people out there as well.
Chris DeRose: That’s what people accuse Bitcoiners of doing.
Peter McCormack: I mean you could say that about Bitcoin, right?
Chris DeRose: Yeah, I think so.
Junseth: Well it reflects the state of every business. I mean you look at businesses, they have a life cycle. They start out and they live for 30 years or 50 years or a 100 years, it depends on the business and then they die and they die for various reasons. Sometimes they go bankrupt.
Sometimes they were running great for 30 years and then all of sudden, they’re out of money one day. The Ponzi scheme isn’t that much different in terms of how it looks then any other business. The question is just how long and how deep does it go?
Chris DeRose: I think you and I both realized the value of regulation early into the show, very begrudgingly and it seems like there is a lot of nuance in determining what kinds of Ponzis are sustainable and which ones aren’t.
Chris DeRose: So I think a lot of the scam assessments were levied based on traditional metrics, which I think are still probably valid, but not in a world where the regulators don’t show up.
Junseth: I think that’s fair. I think that’s the thing, the regulations have not come into this space. We just saw that with the whole ICO thing. It ended because it was stupid.
Chris DeRose:I don’t think it’s over yet.
Junseth: I think I wouldn’t be surprised if it pumps again and if we have another big round of this.
Peter McCormack: Well, one thing I’ve noticed is that the market has become so correlated. It wasn’t when I was first investing and trading, it was almost like when Bitcoin went up, everything else went down and when Bitcoin went down, everything went up. There was some things that didn’t correlate and it was like… There was a certain amount of skill.
Everything kind of went up over a long enough time frame, but you had to find out who had a new logo coming out, because if they had a new logo coming out, it would pump or some stupid dumb thing like that! The whole thing’s correlated now and one of the things I thought, was that it’s a shame that Bitcoin has doubled in price over the last month or so because with a bit longer, a few more of these things would have died, but everything has gone up. Everything’s correlated. Which is a kind of shame!
Chris DeRose: Do you mean that if it had stayed where it was, then they would have run out of money?
Peter McCormack: Quicker? Yeah for sure!
Junseth: That would’ve been Ethereum.
Peter McCormack: But that thing has! So we’ve now got the Initial Exchange Offering, which for me, I can’t see the difference between that and ICO.
Chris DeRose: It’s just just post-modern finance. So everyone re-labels the rose by another name and then they articulate based on that. It’s hope based, not evidenced based and so that’s what you see with that.
Junseth: It used to be tokens. We’d sell tokens, it was Mastercoin. Before that, do you remember Mpex?
Chris DeRose: Vaguely I do.
Junseth: Merchant had a stock market that you could sell and buy stocks on. It was command line I think only. Mpex was this little thing that people would go on, I think Satoshi’s Dice “went public” on it, it went public on Mpex. There were a number of other little companies that you could buy… There were early sort of stock markets that were completely unregulated in the Bitcoin space, one of which I put my money into and got scammed!
Chris DeRose: For your point though, there is a degree of this post-modern situation going on, lamented or otherwise, I don’t care. But I was talking to a regulator, I think it was at the CFTC who was articulating the case for Bitcoin and these commodity terms that was not ironic.
He fully believed that this was a digital rock and it wasn’t run by humans. So there’s power in what you call a thing and it seems like in the modern world, I don’t know, the skepticism hasn’t formed yet or the innate ability to detect rhetoric from reality, is no longer present. So people are trying out words to see where the ignorances are. Sometimes they fly.
Junseth: It’s like finance is talking about revolutionizing finance with Blockchain and then you find out that they’ve been doing a Blockchain project. We’ve been working on this since 2006. We’re really excited about the advent of Blockchain and then they released their thing. It’s like, I don’t know, Zelle, it’s just a normal financial product that they’re using MySQL databases with and now we call those Blockchains. It’s astounding because people don’t care what you call it. The rhetoric can’t be separated from what is reality.
Peter McCormack: Well then how the fuck does anyone ever navigate this?
Junseth: You can’t!
Chris DeRose: I think you can, there’s theories and books and academics on this, but there’s so much illiteracy in the space. You can’t bring any attention to the matter.
Junseth: The problem is that you can’t, because of the sheer volume of retardation.
Chris DeRose: I agree, the illiteracy is very high.
Junseth: What are you going to do? You can’t parse out like Tim Swanson from Bitcoin Uncensored and in our case, we tried to cast ourselves as the dumbest people in the room. I think we successfully did, cause we were, and you can’t ascertain the quality of the information we’re giving as opposed to someone who puts a suit and tie.
Chris DeRose: You can. So everybody believes the authority that is, Bitcoin Core say. So that agency is authorized to extend some degree of authority elsewhere, but they refrain to do so.
Junseth: That’s fair. There’s credentialism, that’s I guess the only way you could do that.
Chris DeRose: That’s how any successful currency in this space I believe would probably do it ultimately. But the rhetoric is crazy, so people go ballistic when you suggest that!
Junseth: And to that end. I think it does have some problems, like we talked a lot about on the show about markets being efficient. One of the parts of efficient market hypothesis, is that you have this notion that all news in the market is taken and then priced in. I just don’t think that that’s possible in this space because the information is so contradictory. The majority of the information is at best inaccurate.
Chris DeRose: Well the incentives are to create disinformation in many cases.
Peter McCormack: Well, so this is where I come to something I’ve wrestled with and a lot of the challenges I’ve had, especially recently and we talked about the Rizun interview before this. In that, I’m wrestling with this thing where I’m pretty much a Bitcoiner. I pretty much know everything else is probably bollocks and it’s all I own and it’s all I’m interested in.
But I have healthy curiosity that maybe other staff may work or maybe I should at least talk to these people and understand where they’re coming from and understand their point of view. So therefore I’ll go and do an interview that other people aren’t happy with.
But then somebody will argue back that you shouldn’t do that because you’re allowing misinformation to get into the space. Then I’m like, “oh, maybe you’re right” and then I just get fucking lost, I don’t know what to do with it!
Junseth: It’s hard to be an honest broker. I think we tried it early on with Counterparty. It was a coin that we were interested in. It’s built on Bitcoin, so it hit all the metrics that we thought were important.
I give credit to Chris for this, I think he identified this early that that entire system could have been built without the token and now the best projects on it are probably starting to be built without the inbred token, XCP. I think it’s really hard to not settle or find a religion here, that at least is intriguing to you.
Chris DeRose: Well, I mean, yeah. The other part of this too, is that for me, it doesn’t matter if the thing works or not, it just matters whether or not people believe it works. It’s very Keynesian and I understand that there’s this demonization of that, but I just want to make the money at this point.
I’m not sacrificing for the team here because it seems as if, number one, that the team is like incorrigible. But number two, if empathy is what runs this thing, then go home, you already lost. So I think anti-fragility is achieved by hardening these systems in this way and that’s how capitalism was supposed to work. Whether or not it does, we’ll find out I guess in this space.
Peter McCormack: See, this is where I’m now starting to understand the Briar patch a bit more. I didn’t understand that place at first. I was like, “whaaat!”
Chris DeRose: Well, there’s many levels of comprehension there and everybody likes to fuck with everybody and it’s a den of thieves I think in that way!
Peter McCormack: I think it’s a den of contrarians.
Chris DeRose: That too!
Peter McCormack: You say “X”, they’ll say, “Y”. At first I was like, “you are all being dicks” and then I was like, “oh no, I get it now. You’re challenging your thinking and now we understand it.” But I think that’s similar to the whole space, in that I think we need these contrarian views. We need to be challenged. All right, let’s run through something.
I think we know where we are with Bitcoin. But I’d be really interested on your opinions on some things. I’m going to say Tether and then broad stable coins. I struggle to call Tether itself inherently a scam. Let’s put to the side that there’s some questions at the moment about their balances, what’s happened etc. But there is a genuine utility to Tether for Bitcoiners.
It’s like a nice sister project that helped you come in and out of Bitcoin on exchanges where maybe you didn’t have KYC. I got that. I’ve kind of been always okay with Tether and in some ways I’ve always preferred Tether from the newest stable coins, the regulated ones with their blacklist addresses, run by the Winklevosses and people like that. So where are you with something like Tether and stable coins in general?
Chris DeRose: Just to start with, Tether’s not new. There’s nothing new under the sun. It’s just digital liberty Dollars, in the way that Bitcoin is digital gold. It’s Euro/Dollar. It’s obviously useful. I’m amazed that it can exist though, because their bank exists or their money exists in a bank account and the government can just show up at that bank one day and be like, “that’s our money now”, and now Tether’s a dead project.
So I’m amazed that it’s been able to run this long. I think that liberty Dollars and Eagles ran for what, 5, 10, 15 years, some of them. We’ll see how long Tether goes. It just takes one or two really, really bad people to decide to use Tether and to have their transactions tied back to Tether for Tether to basically be a thing that the government decides is a big problem now.
Peter McCormack: Well that was liberty reserves problem right? It was used for money laundering.
Chris DeRose: You couldn’t prevent that!
Junseth: The black listing of the alternatives… So the efficiency of Tether is in its regulatory arbitrage.
Chris DeRose: Tether has a number of reasonable reasons to exist, but it’s real utility is going to be when ISIS discovers it and can hold Dollars.
Junseth: It’s already started. I mean we already have this $800 million that is being used for criminal activity. You wouldn’t hear this in the Bitcoin space, but looking at some of the court documents and reading elsewhere, it’s not a small crime really. It’s actually been kind of a big deal!
Peter McCormack: In what way?
Junseth: Well, someone’s going to go to jail. Probably for life.
Chris DeRose: Probably not life. It’s like probably seven years, we’ll see.
Junseth: I don’t know. It was pretty high end. I know drug crimes aren’t what they used to be, so maybe only seven.
Chris DeRose: I think it’s five years now for drug crimes. We put Ross in for life. But I think the second Silk Road I think was five years.
Peter McCormack: Whole life then five years, for the same crime!
Chris DeRose: Well they are different crimes. One did it first.
Junseth: The other thing that’s weird about Tether is that everybody knows it’s fractional, yet it’s still trading at a dollar. I’m waiting for George Soros to come in here and start bankrupting them, if that’s possible.
Chris DeRose: This is my entire point about libertarian criticism of banks by the way. You want this world where you have the state of nature and I think that’s really the libertarian goal and no-one seems to point out to them that fractional reserve banking is the state of nature. You need regulation to stop it. So what do you think Tether is going to do?
It’s an unregulated Dollar to Dollar peg currency run by Phil. What do you think he’s going to do with it? He’s going to fractionalize it! It has to happen. He’s going to mix customer funds because it’s this sort of decentralized bank and when when everybody discovers that it’s fractional, they’re going to be like, “yeah, but is it as fractionalized as a bank?”
Peter McCormack: I tweeted about that recently. So there was a lot of defense to the fractional Tethers on the defense that it’s not as bad as the bank.
Chris DeRose: There you go! I didn’t even know that that would be where they go!
Peter McCormack: But that was a number of people defending it, who would like, “compared to your banks, it’s not as bad.” But I was like, “but isn’t this what we are meant to be getting away from? Isn’t this why we came to Bitcoin, because we don’t want this shit!”
Junseth: Where’s the Tether funds sitting?
Peter McCormack: Is it Noble Bank?
Junseth: Oh, it’s in a bank. So it’s not worse than a bank, but they haven’t done the math where they realize that it’s fractionalized on top of being fractionalized in the way that they think is the worst kind of fractionalization! It’s so dumb.
Chris DeRose: The meaning has really gotten moot. I mean number go up is really like the overarching theme at this point. So like whatever meaning you have, Tether goes sideways, we like that. Number go up is always going to win the morality game around here. It’s short sighted. It’s short term thinking, but it’s what bears out. So the meaning as it were, could be said to be any number of things. But at the end of the day, the cries of the neurotics online, is just going to be number go up and that’s that!
Peter McCormack: So do you think people really, when they talk about hard money and the best money we’ve ever had and overthrowing governments, do you really just think they’re thinking, “sell this narrative, I get rich.”
Chris DeRose: They’re searching for holy words.
Junseth: Those are thousand page book Libertarians. So there’s different kinds of libertarians. There’s the 50 page pamphlet Libertarians, those are the ones that enjoy Locke and then there’s the thousand page book Libertarians and those are the Meesons. Those are the ones making the arguments about hard money and better money blah blah blah.
Money’s on a spectrum and it’s still new. If you look at current modern currency, you don’t go back that far before you get to this Mississippi Company, which is essentially the progenitor of all modern bills. It’s only recent that we’ve taken those bills and put them in a digital sphere. I remember when we were arguing early on, we were arguing whether credit cards were substantially different from a card on your phone or a digital card and that was like a point of contention early on with us.
Because sort of the dematerialization of a lot of this stuff, is new to all of us and people don’t realize the difference between one thing that looks similar to another thing. When we came to Bitcoin, we didn’t know that settlement on your credit card wasn’t really settlement until later. We didn’t know what netting was. We didn’t know what KYC and AML were.
Chris DeRose: Skeuomorphism didn’t enter popular lexicon until Apple popularized it in roughly iPhone era and now you see the ramifications of that elsewhere.
Peter McCormack: Okay. So would we have a better world with hyperbitcoinisation and everyone using Bitcoin or is it all a big myth?
Junseth: Who cares? It’s utopia. Everything’s perfect in the Utopia.
Chris DeRose: The world progresses towards a better place, always. Unless feminists get their… Just kidding! The world progresses towards a better place. I firmly believe that. You have little blips. You have Mao China and Lenin Russia or Stalinist Russia, you have blips.
But the world’s goal is to always progress toward better. So I mean, would hyperbitcoinisation help? I don’t know. I mean, probably not. It would probably come with its own set of problems and it would probably come with its own set of benefits.
Junseth: This is an imagination thing. This doesn’t really exist. You don’t get that world. My answer is that it’s a perfect world and A, that means that it’s beautiful, everything’s perfect, but B, it means it’s irrelevant because that’s never going to happen. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t like believe in Bitcoin for various reasons, but it’s just a shared Utopia, I think.
Peter McCormack: Okay. So what about Saifedean’s Bitcoin Standard them?
Chris DeRose: Oh Man, the Moose!
Junseth: The Moose!
Peter McCormack: I like Saifedean.
Chris DeRose: He blocked me, I don’t know if I like him!
Peter McCormack: Well he muted me for a while too!
Chris DeRose: He is the perfect millennial and that’s what I’ve decided. He retreats into his safe space, whenever he hears something he doesn’t like. He is a 100% the post-modern man in the sense that the condition as it were, of like hypocritical beliefs, never intersect with him.
You will believe two absolutely incompatible ideas with total conviction, never realizing that they’re incompatible and when you point that out, he blocks you! Safe space! He wrote a book about how there’s 79 protons in the centre of every Bitcoin. That is the epoch of millennial post-modern thinking to me. If you try to engage with him at any level on that, it’s just impossible. So he’s kind of a cartoon.
Junseth: He also gets all sorts of historical things wrong. Just tons of them and they’re funny! They’re laughably funny and laughably bad. He skips a lot of history. He misstates it. He simplifies a lot of history. He lacks the nuance that it takes to be a historian in a lot of these areas.
What’s funny to me is that if you were here early in Bitcoin, people talked about making Bitcoin, the Bitcoin standard early on. The only thing he did is he put a 50 page book together and gave it to the 50 page book libertarians and got someone to publish it. He wore suit, which goes a long way with a lot of people here and so it’s like this affinity representation of that standard.
Chris DeRose: And he’s credentialed and he’s a professor, which seems to go a long way here as well. Which goes against the, no oracles!
Peter McCormack: But don’t you think maybe what he’s doing at least helps sell people of the benefits of Bitcoin?
Junseth: Oh it makes Bitcoin go up I’m sure.
Chris DeRose: I’m skeptical even of that. The problem is that if you look at people in finance who I thought were way more sympathetic to Bitcoin, before and after Saifedean, I see a lot less sympathy. So now what, the institutional investors, if they were real are less inclined to come now, because they see it as a fantasy land.
Junseth: I think it further entrenches the Bitcoin believers. That’s what I saw. It was some ways like a chapter of the Bible. It came out and we had a bunch of Litecoiners who read it and were like, “by God, we’ve got to get back to Bitcoin!” And a bunch of Ether-heads like, “I just fucking got to get back to Bitcoin, it’s the Bitcoin standard.” I think there were those kinds and it’s just a chapter of a book of a greater work, the Bitcoin Bible and it doesn’t really have, in my opinion, a lot of merit.
Chris DeRose: I think it should be said. I think there’s a lot of… I don’t know what it is. I guess it’s just oracle-ization that gets done, with the mindset of people who reduce the attrition rate. If you were to bring more people in, you will get no thanks. But if you prevent people from leaving, it seems you get showered with accolades. So to his credit or not, I don’t know. That’s how I see him working in the machine, as he does reduce the attrition rate.
Peter McCormack: But should we we all have a little bit of Bitcoin then?
Chris DeRose: I don’t know. Maybe? You’ll know in 30 years if you should have. My whole thing now, I’m living this fully automated luxury communist lifestyle where I own a little bit of everything and then I just got a re-balance and that’s that. Bitcoin would be very well situated in a world where everybody just add that to their portfolio of things that they manage in that way. I don’t know how much risk anyone should have, but like regular incoming, rebalance, work in flow kind of stuff, would be good for us.
Junseth: Sounds like a pretty simple, market is efficient type existence.
Peter McCormack: You’ve stepped back and hedged?
Chris DeRose: You have to, I mean it’s not so much a hedge, it’s more the best risk weighted return. You lose sleep after a point. You sit there, you look at these numbers on various things, my whole Bitcoin got to be quite a bit of money at some point. Then it’s like, why are you exposed to this level of risk in your life when you could just not have any stress
Junseth: I think that’s the thing too that happens. I think Bitcoin is particularly attractive to men.
Chris DeRose: That’s because they’re bulls.
Junseth: They’re bulls and there’s a certain thing that happens, I don’t know why in the male mind, where you see something shiny and you run towards it and you give every fucking thing up in your life. We would talk about people showing up in Bitcoin and we’d be like, “do you have a girlfriend”, it’s usually “yeah, I have a girlfriend,” “do you have a job?” “yeah” and it’s going to be six months away and you’re not going to have a job.
We see this every time someone comes to Bitcoin, they throw their girlfriend into Bitcoin mountain, they throw their job into Bitcoin mountain, they throw all sorts of things and just being interested in Bitcoin, I want to tell everyone, this is a PSA. Being interested in Bitcoin isn’t a job. I don’t know if you know that?
Peter McCormack: I don’t know. I’ve made it into a job.
Junseth: You have, but being interested in Bitcoin isn’t your job, doing this podcast, you’ve made into a job. You’re doing something different! Do you know how many men there are sitting in their basement, masturbating and looking at the Bitcoin charts and saying like, “I’m being productive!” What are you doing? They still live in their mum’s house and they might have $12 million. But it’s by complete accident! They didn’t earn it. They didn’t do dick! They just bought some Bitcoin on an exchange, sat on it and they got really lucky.
Peter McCormack: But isn’t it that the game theory needed that? The game theory of making Bitcoin grow? We needed to have a lot of rich people early on to go out and evangelize about it?
Chris DeRose: Well, you need it even still I think. I wish Charlie Lee would quit Litecoin. I mean he quit Litecoin by selling it, but he won’t come over here and help us pump in China.
Peter McCormack: Well, that’s another point. I don’t think he can leave Litecoin. I like Charlie a lot. I’ve spent a lot of time with them. I think he’s a Bitcoin maximalist. I don’t think he can leave Litecoin because…
Chris DeRose: He’s not a Bitcoin maximalist. He can never be one.
Peter McCormack: Well yeah. I think internally he is because I think he can’t leave Litecoin.
Chris DeRose: Well he’s an in-group maximalist. Everyone wants to be an in-group maximalists.
Peter McCormack: But say Charlie comes out and goes, “do you know what, I was wrong. Litecoin is bullshit no-one is going to use it. We should all be in Bitcoin.” Everyone’s going to go, “well it’s alright for you. You fucking sold it!”
Chris DeRose: But instead of that, he’s hedged his bets… Well he hasn’t hedged at all. What does he do? He doubles down. He says Litecoin is going to go up. I don’t know if he said I promise, but it sure seemed like a promise and I know a bunch of Litecoiners who are sitting there holding their money and like, “well Charlie said it would go up, just like he said it would go down!”
Peter McCormack: How many people have ever turned around on any of these projects and said, “yeah, fuck I was wrong. Don’t do this”
Chris DeRose: I think it has happened, but not very many times.
Peter McCormack: Because they have two things, they either have a bag or a reputation. If you could be really totally…
Junseth: Well Vitalik may have come close with declaring the project a red herring.
Chris DeRose: Yeah, that’s true. That’s pretty close and he tried to leave over the lambos. He was mad about the lambos…
Junseth: Did Larimer get credit when he changed his gears or not?
Chris DeRose: I don’t think so, because he just goes onto the next thing? Larimer, I feel like is trying to live off of that one time where Satoshi told him he wasn’t good enough. He’s just been trying to prove to Father Satoshi that he is.
Peter McCormack: Is he working on anything new?
Junseth: Yeah, EOS is his. Steem was his. Bitshares was his.
Peter McCormack: He’s a Blockchain maximalist.
Chris DeRose: No, he’s a whatever makes Dan Larimer’s crowd money maximalist!
Peter McCormack: All right, so let’s talk about Ethereum. I struggle to ever listen to anyone when they go “Ethereum is a scam.” By the way, I might have said it myself once or twice just to be provocative and see what people say. But I struggle with… I see something that was A, and then it was, no A doesn’t work, it’s B. It’s kicking the can down the road and it’s a moving feast blah blah blah.
Chris DeRose: That’s presuming their market pitch has any bearing on what it actually is.
Peter McCormack: Exactly. But then I look at something like MakerDAO and I’m like, “people are using that. It has a purpose. It’s solved some kind of use case.” Okay, well if it has a purpose and people are using it, is there something in there?
Junseth: Yeah, I was going to say that I think MakerDAO is kind of cool in terms of what it does. But I think that people seem to fail to realize that it’s also centralized. It’s not quite what I think they claim to be. I think they have a kill switch…
Chris DeRose: I mean centralized… Very unaffected by this point. I don’t see that Bitcoin necessarily achieves decentralisation.
Junseth: You’re getting to my point, about MakerDAO, which is, I think there’s elements of it that are highly centralized, the price feed I think is pretty centralized and I think the kill switch is pretty centralized. I look at that and I think to myself like, “oh, you could fucking build that on Bitcoin. All you have to do is have a company, stake it’s trust in some nation and say that we are now MakerDAO.” They could basically build it using a number of multisig type functions and just watching these price feeds and managing that all themselves.
Chris DeRose: Something I’ll say about Ethereum, is that I started seeing people use it to route value in nefarious ways, when Bitcoin was flying high and these banana republic governments, were banning Bitcoin. At that time Ethereum immediately took over for Bitcoin on a lot of value transfer operations, which I had heard from people in the Ethereum space was happening and then I verified and it was true.
Junseth: I saw the same thing with Dash. It happened in like Venezuela.
Peter McCormack: Is “this could be built on Bitcoin” a fair argument for anything…
Chris DeRose: Say again?
Peter McCormack: When people say, “well you could build that on Bitcoin”, is that a fair argument for things because…
Chris DeRose: Well nobody achieves a construction project in any significant way. I mean that was my Counterparty thesis, was like, “okay, we’ll just do this with the network effect and be done with it.” But then you don’t make any money because…
Junseth: Money seems to be made on fervour more than anything.
Chris DeRose: It’s confidence. It’s a virtue signal game in many ways.
Junseth: I think Warren Buffet actually has a whole speech on this, from like the 90s or something like that, where he talks about the early days of airplanes and how people were investing in airplanes and the early investors in airplanes didn’t really make money, because those weren’t the winners in the end.
Those sort of early airplane companies, it was often times that people who would follow these trends that made a bunch of money and the companies that they made money on, didn’t exist 3 years later, 5 years later.
It just seems to me that there’s sort of this weird reality in emerging technologies, where people make a ton of money just living on fervour, living on people’s sort of belief that this is going to go up and that’s going to go up. I mean it’s magicisation, it’s belief in this understanding, of the world is a place where there’s just things that are too complicated for me to understand.
Chris DeRose: There’s also no regulation here. So how are you ever going to conquer the pitch man who’s offering 10x returns by way of the next Bitcoin. There’s been like a perpetual problem here. So if you build it with Bitcoin, you’re offering X, meanwhile this guy’s offering 10x, because he’s going to give you the next Bitcoin and there’s no regulations to examine claims. So 10x seems to be a preferable investment to most people at this point.
Junseth: It’s difficult for someone to say, “well that has some problematic security guarantees.” You’re like, “yeah, but you don’t have to look at that. I’m offering 10x.”
Peter McCormack: Well, so that’s my thing with Ripple, because how many people would be that excited about bank settlements, if they didn’t have a bag of Ripple?
Chris DeRose: I think it’s funny that people are excited about bank settlements in the first place! I mean, do you remember when everyone got excited about notarization.
Junseth: Of course. We’ve always believed!
Chris DeRose: Yeah, we’ve always been here for notarization! I can’t believe that! Notary is so hard. I’m like, “where did you learn that?!”
Peter McCormack: But I at least get the Apple fan boys because an Apple phone is cool. Oh look, my laptop syncs with my phone! But then people getting excited about international bank settlements, like it’s the most amazing thing. I’m thinking, no, it’s because you’ve got a bag of Ripple and someone told you it’s going to be worth $589.
Junseth: I think that’s partly true, but I think also what happens, you know how mathematicians get into this sort of world where they get lost in their own head and they just get real stupid? But they’re also really genius? I think the same thing kind of happens when you start thinking about money.
I think money is a really complicated problem and when you start getting deep into what money is, how money works and why we have constructions of finance, the way that we have constructions of finance, I think your mind explodes for a little while.
Peter McCormack: Well, because money is only a thing because of the way humans are.
Junseth: But I mean that’s the thing! With Ripple, it might be that they’re interested in international bank settlement because they had a bag of Ripple. But then what happened is they actually became very interested in it and now they’re obsessed with the Nostro Vostro accounts and they don’t even know what those really are.
At some point, there’s going to be a person who says like, “oh, you know what, I just had this thought. Maybe the thing that we say that we solve, doesn’t matter at all,” and at that point that person will exit Ripple and enter Bitcoin and stop being like a Ripple Bot on Twitter.
It’s just interesting to me and I think that that’s the same thing that happened with Bitcoin. Bitcoiners did the same thing, we came here, we got so stupid thinking about money and it takes two or three years to really get on the other side of that I think.
Chris DeRose: Yeah, it should be also considered that a lot of people are convincing themselves with their outbursts. We did that in Bitcoin, we’re looking for arguments so that we were, at least in our minds, doing some sort of, I don’t know, like a pilgrimage or something maybe.
But in reality it might be more accurate to say that we were proving to ourselves in many ways this thing we believe and then we find fights and pick them with people who probably didn’t even care that much about what the thesis was and then we’d announce victory! So that happens with the Ripple people as well.
Junseth: No one really knew whether we won either. That was always what was really funny to me! It looked like we won that fight!
Peter McCormack: Back on Ethereum before I close that bit out. So where do you think Ethereum is going to go?
Chris DeRose: Down!
Peter McCormack: So I read the document about scaling and about Ethereum too. I’m not a technical person anyway, so I wouldn’t be able to normally judge this stuff, but I did just go, “huh?!”
Junseth: Ethereum pulled a chess move that I did not expect. I thought that Ethereum would not scale and that it was going to be a lot of problems. I was right! I was so right, that what they did is they said, “we’re not scaling. This isn’t going to work. Junseth was right!”
They all declared it, they signed a document and then they were like, “let’s put a 2 on the end, get rid of all of the old stuff and just hit the reset button and everyone in the Ethereum community was like, “we’ll go along with that. That sounds good to me!” I didn’t expect that chess move.
Chris DeRose: I’m not surprised by it. After the DAO, it became obvious to me that that was the way it was headed. I don’t think that that was the wrong decision in hindsight even. You are investing in the leadership in many ways or at least the sign and if you’re investing in the Ethereum sign, it is therefore correlated with the rule set makers and all of the incidentals of the sign don’t matter.
So I don’t see how Ethereum has any scaling issues whatsoever, because they could just hit a button, remove all the crap they don’t want and then keep enough balances around to make people happy.
Junseth: The way that I think Ethereum goes is I think that it eventually grows and grows and grows and becomes a single instance on an Azure server somewhere. Everyone will be like, “we’re building this stuff and this is great. Look at this smart contract!” Well Wells Fargo did that in 1990 using MySQL and they did it with a lot less overhead and now you’re all building this thing on Ethereum.
I could see it becoming a stack that people use, but it’s not more usable than technology that exists now and I think that people use it because you have a bunch of kids right now who are learning to program Ethereum and then 20 years from now they’re going to still want to program things on Ethereum. So I can see it basically degrading into nothing more than just a software stack.
Chris DeRose: Well yeah, I think that the regulations are coming and that’s going to really change the space up significantly. So there may be a time when Ethereum is just rendered irrelevant, by way of some weird regulatory structure, we shall see.
Junseth: It would also depend on whether any of these big partnerships and projects that seem to be announced actually ever exist?
Peter McCormack: The Ethereum Alliance!
Junseth: Yeah! If somebody actually came out with… It’s Ripple right? All these banks were partnering with every bank in the world and then you’d go to the bank like, “do they partner with you?” “We are testing it nominally in a small project. It’s run by Isaac in accounting. He’s giving it a try,” and then it’s published. It’s like, “no they’re not!” But the Ripple price has already gone 10x. No one seems to be coming out with the finalized version of this stuff. I think EOS just announced a partnership with Land Rover.
Peter McCormack: No, that was IOTA.
Junseth: With Land Rover and Jaguar? The announcements are the same as ever. It’s not a partnership, it’s a test and they’re going to see what they can do with this and it will ultimately never happen. I would almost guarantee that it won’t happen. It might happen, but that would be, in my opinion, the only thing that would really keep one of these projects around for a really long time; confidence in the product. So as long as they can generate confidence, it’ll stick around and there’s a willing audience here. They want to be confident.
Peter McCormack: So when does the confidence die though, because this has been going on for years now?
Junseth: Probably when the regulators step in. In my assessment, what you’re investing in right now and almost anything in the space, is some regulatory action. That’s what it will manifest, because it seems to me that the Internet demands liquidity. People want it for almost any number of reasons. So if that’s on tap, it’ll get used and we see that. Whether or not the world is ready to deal with that is like very questionable, as has been made apparent to me over the last few years and I suspect the regulators are starting to figure this out.
Peter McCormack: So what about Bitcoin Cash because you lived through it. It all happened when I first got in. But you lived through it all, the history, all the scaling arguments, the debates. Is it just a scam to you? I think you’re going to have different views? I think I know what your views are going to be. I think you’re going to be more scam?
Junseth: Here’s what I would say about Bitcoin Cash. It conforms to the rules of Bitcoin. It’s what we all said we wanted in 2013.
Chris DeRose: I’m with you on that.
Junseth: We all said that we wanted this currency that we could then fork and there’s actually a video of Andreas Antonopoulos who goes up and says like, “what’s going to happen if the NSA figures out how to halve Bitcoin, we’re going to fork it!” I look at that and I’m like, “well that’s what Roger Ver truly believes he did.” He figured out that there was this group who was fucking with the consensus and the group model of Bitcoin and he didn’t like it.
So he forked it, did exactly what Andreas Antonopoulos and others said you should and could do in Bitcoin. So to that end, I am not as strongly opposed to those sorts of things. I didn’t sell my Bitcoin Cash, I think a lot of people probably are going to be laughing at that. I’ve always been under the impression that Blockchains are war.
So if you’re going to go to war with my Blockchain and give me free tokens on top of it, to let that war play out? I just sat on it and have let it go and it looks like Bitcoin the original is coming out the winter, but I mean who knows.
Chris DeRose: Yeah, I mean I share a lot of that consideration. I would add to it that libertarianism is rooted in governance, not money per se. So in my mind looking back at what happened, it had to come to a point because libertarian theory does not allow for this group of a hierarchial specialists to dictate terms, money using populace it seems and that’s very evident in the case of Bitcoin.
You have this group, it’s unironically named Core, which I constantly return to at this point. What goes on in there, probably is rightly opaque because there’s a lot of very difficult concerns they have there.
Junseth: They’re the Fed, in some ways.
Chris DeRose: They are the Fed exactly! But that’s not the same thing that as libertarian goals in full. So unfortunately that demographic was lost…
Junseth: Well they’re religionists. It really is the Catholics versus the Protestants, etc.
Chris DeRose: Both sides are. Zealotry exists on both sides.
Junseth: But the point is that within factions, you have factionalists. You have this one sort of myopic large group, that marches forward altogether and then some people are always going to be unhappy with that and they branch off. It’s obvious to me that when you have people that fraction off of the original group, the chances that they’re going to fraction again are very high, which we have just seen!
Chris DeRose: It’s true!
Junseth: And I guarantee you that there’s going to be another fraction or faction of people that split off of one of these two groups. It’s going to continue happening there and that’s been my thoughts on those two, is that they’re going to sort of just splinter into progressively smaller and smaller groups of people that believe… You’re back to the sort of Dash Principal, Dash coin being libertarian money for people that live in New Hampshire. Where all the libertarians go!
Chris DeRose: One thing that is sad in all of that too though, is that it does seem as if Core has now optimized for the crowd that didn’t split, which in my assessment means it is optimized more for attrition reduction, than it is for inflow appreciation, something like that.
Junseth: What do you mean by that?
Chris DeRose: If you look at the people who are promoted within the Core group who have certain degrees of social affinity relationships and promotional effects on Twitter, they’re generally the sort of preacher types who are ultra conservative, who promote a hodling aesthetic that prevents and discourages exploration of any ideals or mutation and promotes adherence and allegiance.
Junseth: I think saying that Core promotes them is a little egregious. I don’t think that they’re promoted. I think that those are just the loudest people.
Chris DeRose: That’s certainly true. I mean another part of this is that Twitter kind of controls the entirety of the politics in the space, but I would tell you that can just graph that out by looking at what the Core contributors like and retweet. That right there will tell you what the power of that social hierarchy is and what they’re promoting.
Chris DeRose: Think about who they it is, you’re looking at Samson Mow, you’re talking about Jimmy Song, Tone Vays is another one. They promote like cheerleaders of adherence and allegiance, which I think is kind of sad because we’re going to need to change proof of work at some point and that’s going to destroy the Core community I suspect.
Peter McCormack: Why?
Chris DeRose: We can listen to Luke Dash Jr’s points on this, but what is the optimum or the ideal number of miners and what are the optimum or ideal mining algorithm? It’s not to say that any one of them will do. There are some that are better than others and right now the nature of the ASICs have made it so that you effectively need a government license to produce Bitcoin now or somebody who has access to a government license to produce Bitcoin.
I’m skeptical that that is an ideal and I think Luke Dash Jr is as well and there’s a lot of unnecessary friction. Because here’s the thing, at the end of the day, the reason that mining exists is to take liability off of the leadership. The old trope was that mining was the thing that made it true.
Junseth: I don’t think it’s leadership, but I think it’s to take the transaction liability off of those who traditionally have done it. I don’t think that that’s false. But I don’t think it’s to take it off of Adam Back.
Chris DeRose: I don’t think it intentionally got involved in that way. I think it certainly does that. I don’t think that that’s why it exists.
Junseth: Well consider what would happen during SegWit2x because it seemed like the whole community was lying behind the Bitcoin Core group and not the miners?
Chris DeRose: Except that there were a lot of Bitcoin Core developers who were not pro SegWit2x.
Junseth: But that would be my point. I think that if tasked between a choice…
Chris DeRose: Sorry, I’m thinking SegWit itself, the USAF.
Junseth: That was a weird thing that doesn’t fit into anything at the moment.
Chris DeRose: But SegWit2x is very complicated.
Junseth: Well, but it doesn’t to me. Especially in hindsight… The Core group is aptly named because if they dictate the ticker symbol to be one thing, the exchanges seem like they’re going to follow, as well as the hodlers. Whereas if the miners declared it, I don’t think that it would have the same level of support.
Chris DeRose: I don’t think that they would declared that. I think that that was something that grew up organically. I think that exchanges labeled it themselves and it was in a world where there was just Bitcoin, it was all that mattered.
Junseth: Well, what happens if the leader of Bitcoin Core goes left and the rest of them go right?
Chris DeRose: Then he’ll go left and they’ll go right.
Junseth: But who will get the ticker symbol?
Chris DeRose: That’s a good question. I think that the exchanges will probably decide that. I don’t think that it’s interesting or problematic to say that Bitcoin has various factions and those factions have various leaders and interests. I don’t think that that’s wrong.
Junseth: Yeah, well I think that’s like the entirety of the picture at this point.
Chris DeRose: It could be. I don’t think so though.
Junseth: We’ll see, I don’t know!
Chris DeRose: It’s a little bit embarrassing for a lot of people in the space, because if in fact leadership is as important as it is…
Junseth: But I think that’s the same mistake that Peter was making with Ethereum and I think that that essentially sort of allows for the marketing of the people that are following Bitcoin, the libertarian sort of marketing, if you consider that valid. I don’t find that to be valid or compelling or interesting. I think it’s just something that libertarians come here and say that, “we don’t want a leader!” You point out that, “well there’s a leader over there and one over there.” I don’t think that that’s that compelling or interesting. I think that they’re just stupid.
Chris DeRose: Well, yeah, but they’re also the majority of…
Junseth: I don’t think they are.
Chris DeRose: That’s what I see on Twitter. Whether or not that’s the… Or r/Bitcoin for sure.
Junseth: r/Bitcoin 100%, but that’s why nobody goes there.
Chris DeRose: That’s not what I see. I mean, we have a conversation about how many real people there are in this space, which is always a big question to me, because you look at the number of comments and then you look at the number of upvotes and the numbers involved and the order of magnitude…
Junseth: I always hear people talking about Crypto Twitter and they tell me it’s huge, but I’m like, “how big is it?”, “120,000!” I’m like, “it’s got to be like 4,000 big.”
Peter McCormack: Well that’s why I think it’s a bit weirder for me coming in a bit later, because I’ve not been afraid to go down the middle. Sometimes I’ll talk to this guy, sometimes I’ll talk to that guy and I feel like…
Junseth: Have you ever talked to a black gay prostitute?
Peter McCormack: Nope.
Junseth: Because we did, you should do that!
Peter McCormack: One step at a time! I’ve talked to Chris about this sometimes and the thing is that I feel sometimes when I’m not toeing the line so much, I’m getting the result of years of arguing and resentment and anger thrown at me, for what is a conversation I’m going to have.
Junseth: You are, and no one can explain it. What’s that experiment with the monkeys where they put them in and they shock the monkey if he touches the banana. Then they shock the monkey if he touches the banana and then they take the monkey out and then they put a new monkey in and they shock the monkey if he touches the banana.
Then they take one out and eventually like the cycle perpetuates where the monkeys start beating up other monkeys to prevent them from getting shocked. Then they take the shock out and then they have monkeys beating up each other no matter what, every time they go to touch a banana and no one can explain why! And that’s a thing with you.
You come here, you’re entering a world of resentment and pain and hurt and say you point at something and everyone’s like, “you can’t go there!” You’re like, “why?” And they’re like, “I don’t know!” It’s just the way it is. There are reasons by the way.
Peter McCormack: So let me talk to you about the Rizun thing. As time goes on, I think I’m going to be more and more happy that I did the Rizun interview, not because of the interview itself, but because of what I learned about doing the interview.
Chris DeRose: I thought that was a great interview by the way. I thought it was phenomenal.
Peter McCormack: So what’s really interesting is that some really hardcore maximalists have come here and said, “that interview was terrible. You didn’t hold him to account on things, you let them get away with stuff, blah, blah, blah.” Then I’ve had people who are well known in the space, who privately have come to me and said, “you did a great job here.
By the way, you could have done this bit better” and kind of guide me. But let me just tell you what was really interesting about this and where I got confused. I’m happy about my podcast, because I’ve always tried to represent the people who’ve got no fucking idea and don’t understand this stuff, because it’s really complicated! I got myself into a place where everyone was angry with me. So I agreed to do the interview, “you’re an idiot for doing it” from one side. I stopped doing the interview, “you’re an idiot” on one side.
By the time the interview went live, on r/Bitcoin, there were people saying that I did a really fucking terrible job and I’m given a platform to a scammer. Then there were people on r/BTC going mad at me, who were saying that I did a really terrible job in this interview because I was perpetuating the Blockstream narrative because of blah, blah, blah. I was saying to this guy on Reddit, “look, just try and understand from my point of view what I’m trying to do.
I’m trying to understand different narratives and different conversations. If I speak to this guy, everyone says that you’re an idiot, you’re a scammer. If I speak to this guy, the other side say, you’re an idiot, you’re a scammer. How the fuck do you navigate all this? And how is someone new coming in to navigate this?”
Chris DeRose: I would suggest you have to decide if you’re a journalist or if you’re a promoter, because you did a bad job promoting Bitcoin and that is a valid complaint if you are a promoter. By letting any degree of doubt enter, I mean, this is asinine to me, but that’s what I see in people.
If you’re a journalist, then you need to explore the territory regardless of what you find. This talk of the narrative. I’ve gotten maybe a bit past it maybe, but like, what do you see? I understand what narratives are, but observations are so powerful and useful, that’s where I think the meat should be for anybody who’s doing actual journalism. Whether or not anybody wants that in this space is very arguable.
Peter McCormack: Well, what I see is people making binary arguments about things that definitely aren’t binary and have got a lot of nuances to them.
Chris DeRose: Sure! These are men of faith.
Junseth: I think people have forgotten why these arguments matter or don’t matter. Back in the day it was ridiculous and we thought it was ridiculous when a new Blockchain would come out and it would be Bitcoin, but with 5 minute block times or Bitcoin with 2 minute block times. We would laugh at those people and we’d call them scammers and I would stand by that.
But at the same time, those reasons have been forgotten. So if you go look in those corners, I think people will be mad at you. They’ll be angry at you, but they won’t remember the reasons why those things were problematic, at least at the start.
Peter McCormack: Let me tell you one that really stood out to me, one comment. It came through as a conversation on a DM, and I won’t name them, but they said to me, “you’re giving a platform to a scam.” I’m going to paraphrase, I can’t remember the exact words, but it was like, “you’re giving a platform to a scammer and you’re affecting the financial future of my children.” I was like…
Chris DeRose: Thin skin!
Junseth: My God, the cowards and neurotics are out in force! We watch this globally right now, with this movement of people who are refusing to… This notion of de-platforming. I hadn’t heard that word until 2017 and it’s insane to me. You can give anyone you want a platform, you’re not affecting anyone’s children’s future. It’s insane! I’m sad that that’s leaking into Bitcoin.
Chris DeRose: I would suggest you actually have a trigger warning and it pains me to say that, but I used to think trigger warnings were something that, I guess I don’t know how to explain what I thought it was, but what’s very evident to me is that if you put this disclaimer at the start of the show, you are now indemnified from whatever happens afterwards. You can tell George Carlin jokes!
Peter McCormack: I’ve already thought of a disclaimer for this show! I’ve already written one down. Also, it’s not just disclaimers. Sometimes I’m thinking, “shit, how am I going to word this in a way, that’s not going to get people shouting at me?”
Junseth: Number go up man, that’s your rule.
Peter McCormack: If I want to say, “I fundamentally believe Roger Ver thinks Bitcoin should be peer to peer electronic cash and he’s not doing Bitcoin Cash to scam people. He’s doing it because he fundamentally believes that.”
Chris DeRose: You are a scammer.
Peter McCormack: I’m an idiot. I’m a scammer. Okay. And I’m thinking…
Junseth: I’m sorry for whatever we did to contribute to that!
Peter McCormack: But it’s just an opinion. I’ve met the guy. I don’t like what he’s done with Bitcoin.com. I assume he owns @Bitcoin, even though he denies it. I think he lies. I think he causes a lot of problems. I think calling Bitcoin, Bitcoin Core, personally I think it’s a bit disingenuous. There’s a lot of bullshit there, but I don’t think he forked Bitcoin to make a lot more money.
I do think it was an attack on Bitcoin, I stand by that. But I think he fundamentally believes that Bitcoin should be peer to peer cash, because if you look at the history, he believed in a white paper that said it was that. Then he spent a lot of time trying to get retailers to adopt it. That’s all he did. So his background supports the fact that he believes in that.
Chris DeRose: He also has a perspective that these people don’t have, which is that the retailers didn’t adopt because of X, Y, and Z reasons. We can argue about how accurate that is, but it doesn’t matter because he was somebody who had the ability to see things in a way that the masses did not. I mean, this is one of the many reasons anarchy I think is retarded to me at this point.
You have people that are specialized in this part of the process. They should have an outsized power relating to that part of the process, at least in terms of defining the observation. But in this space, people don’t want that to be seen. So they label him the deviant and rather than absorb that efficiency into the system, they cast out the observer. It’s a very classic religious story.
Peter McCormack: But the point being is that a lot of people have said to me, “Pete, you’re a journalist now. You need to be responsible for your content.” I was always like, “well, I’m not a journalist. I’m just a podcaster who fell into this.” Okay, well if I am a journalist, then I want to freely express my thoughts, even if it’s wrong, challenge me, cool.
But then I’m worried about freely expressing my thoughts, as a potential journalist, because I think I’m going to get attacked. People are going to reach out to my sponsors and say “stop sponsoring him.” So it’s a minefield to try and navigate. It is an actual minefield.
Junseth: I kind of envy you actually, in the sense that I was there once in many ways and the excitement and the journey that you are going to go through as a result of this is just such a wonderful, fabulous journey. The way you saw the world before dealing with thousands and thousands of people, will never be the same now, after you go through this transformation.
Some of these things I can give you my answers and things that I really strongly suspect are true. Some of these things are just mysteries and I would hope maybe you would come to me with some of these solutions.
Peter McCormack: Well I come to you now a lot more! So I didn’t understand you at first. At first there was always that little fan boy who was always supporting you, he had like a white rose thing.
Chris DeRose: Oh yeah, I like him.
Peter McCormack: Yeah. So at first I didn’t understand you. I was like, “who’s this guy? I can’t understand what he’s saying. It’s all kind of like Shakespearean written Blah Blah Blah,” and now I think over time, I think I get it, because I think I feel myself…
Chris DeRose: That makes you an idiot!
Peter McCormack: Yeah, but I feel myself starting to share some of your opinions or start to see the way you’ve operated or the contrarian views you take, because I find myself doing it and it starts to make more sense. I think what happens is you go in, you get beaten up so much, you have two choices. You give up… No, you’ve got three choices. You give up, you pick a side or you challenged everyone.
Junseth: That is great!
Chris DeRose: I like it.
Peter McCormack: Because I nearly went full Bitcoin maximalists and I just felt lost.
Chris DeRose: You should consider that people don’t evaluate content, 90% of people don’t. They evaluate the affinity, the source of the content and then the tone of the content. Then they form a conclusion based on those components.
Junseth: The tone in particular.
Chris DeRose: Oh yeah, people are slaves to tone. They’re conditioned to it as a matter of birth.
Junseth: “I would have believed you, but you said it meanly!”
Chris DeRose: So a lot of the ways that I frame things, isn’t an amoral frame. I try very hard at least to consider, like what morality does this have in this way and then I remove it. That seems to at least alienate people whose opinion I don’t care about and then often make the same point. That’s been my solution. It’s not necessarily the way everyone should go, but that’s how I ended up there.
Peter McCormack: But do you understand those three choices?
Chris DeRose: Oh yeah. I think that there’s those three choices. I absolutely do.
Peter McCormack: And you picked option three?
Chris DeRose: Yeah, I think so.
Peter McCormack: It beats you around a bit though, doesn’t it? Then people call you a fucking snowflake!
Chris DeRose: Oh yeah! Being a centrist is the hardest thing in the world and I don’t think that I achieved that, but at least I tried to at some level. Being a centrist means you have no allies effectively. That’s why we have polarization in varying demographics. So I don’t know what the right answer is for you.
Peter McCormack: So I think I’m right of centre then because I’m definitely more conservative, definitely more Bitcoin, but I try and operate my work, allowing myself to go to the other side and just see what they’ve got to say or see what’s there for a whole variety of reasons. There’s no financial benefit for doing it. There’s no emotional or psychological benefit for doing it. It’s a much harder thing to do, but it’s intellectually stimulating.
Junseth: Oh yeah! That’s why you’re doing this though. You are going to become anti-fragile too. So no matter what happens at the end of this, you’re going to find yourself in rooms, so much better prepared than like 99.9% of the population. I go to some things every now and again.
I went to city hall for something they were doing and just watching how normies… There’s this, I don’t know, if you can make it in Blockchain, you can make it anywhere kind of thing. Just like the degree of hardening that the average citizen has compared to the degree of Bitcoin pundit, is a gigantic chasm. So if you want to do any number of things in the public after this, say you don’t stay here forever, you will benefit from a lot of what you see in this respect.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, possibly and I think also I came into Bitcoin as a socialist.
Chris DeRose: Did you? Wow.
Peter McCormack: Pretty much yeah, because I didn’t understand the economics of it. I came in thinking that we’ve got the NHS in the UK, this is brilliant. Everyone gets free healthcare and God, they’ve got rid of free higher education, university, that was terrible. It was great that we got free education and then I came into Bitcoin and got exposed to things I wasn’t aware of before, like socialism is one step from communism and is fundamentally evil.
Also if you want free education, why the fuck should I pay for it? Some of those things started to come through. Now I am not full conservative, but I’ve become more conservative because of that and I think in becoming more conservative you become hardened.
Junseth: Well I mean, what’s interesting politically, as it sounds like we’re kind of taking that road. I came into this space trying to be apolitical and I tend to be a fairly apolitical person. The only thing that I’ve ever cared about is, in terms of American governance, is this notion of the freedom of speech.
I think in the last couple of years like that aspect, I care a lot about, I talk about a lot on my show and for me, I think that has ended up putting me in this camp, where people think that I’m right of centre as well. I find politics to be very interesting because all of us came with like these weird perspectives.
You a socialist, me an anarchist, I think Chris was apathetic! Chris’ method for voting is who has had the most DUIs he researches! I think Bitcoin… Looking at money a lot really makes you kind of re-examine all aspects of what it is that you came here to do and just your core beliefs generally. If you’re humble about it!
Peter McCormack: Yeah, I think I’m humble!
Chris DeRose: Might be. I think you’re doing fantastic. I love what I’ve seen so far from you. Absolutely. Whether or not it’s humble, I don’t know, but I think it’s humble.
Peter McCormack: I’m winging it for sure, because I’m a fucking idiot! I’m never going to get some of this stuff. When you guys talk about consensus and when you go into detail, I don’t get it. I just fundamentally don’t get it and I’ve always admitted that, but I don’t have a problem with that, because people who want hyperbitcoinisation, they need to understand that most people are probably more like me than them.
Junseth: Well document your journey too. Take them with you into the mystery.
Chris DeRose: You’ll also get things that you don’t know that you’ll get. A year from now you’ll be way farther on, than you are today. It’s kind of amazing to me, how much I know about Bitcoin’s consensus algorithm and Bitcoin’s consensus mechanisms and hashing and all this other stuff that I never gave two shits about, just because I’ve sat here and through osmosis, picked a lot of it up.
Peter McCormack: Well that’s what makes me laugh. There was another guy today on Twitter giving me shit, another maximalist going, “yeah, I’ve stopped listening to his show because of X, Y, Z, blah, blah, blah” and I say, “well when you first bought into my show, I didn’t know fuck all.” I admitted it! I definitely know a lot more, I’m definitely more Bitcoin, yet now you’ve got a problem or is it because the show has grown in notoriety and other people are getting mad at me and you’ve got to go to your faction?
Junseth: Well, you were accepted into his tribe first of all and now you aren’t sufficiently conforming enough I think is…
Chris DeRose: Well people sense power too, in the sense that you appear with some degree of regularity and then to the degree that you’re appearing is increasing, your power is increasing in some ways. Then I think what happens is they either fear the power that you’re exerting just by declaring from your affinity these things that are truths or close to it. Or they want to abuse your power to get you to promote messages that are conducive to their financial position.
Junseth: It’s also just easy to enjoy a fuckwit!
Peter McCormack: Well, that power thing is interesting, because it’s not something I want or ever have thought about at all. But what I’ve noticed is there is, privately people trying to manipulate me quite a bit.
Chris DeRose: Oh yeah! I remember those days! Answer to the size of your audience. This is the thing. I talked a lot of people who are doing other kinds of content making, whether it’s food blogging or just anything. I don’t think that they realize that the power that they have is commensurate with the size of their audience.
If they have an audience of 4 million people, they might be talking about buttering muffins, but that’s a lot of power that they have and that’s what’s going on with you. You actually don’t realize how much influence that you have, when you have all of Bitcoin’s audience. Everybody listens to your show and that is a lot of power. It’s a weird kind of power.
Peter McCormack: Put in the hands of an idiot!
Chris DeRose: All power is!
Junseth: By the way, the free speech thing gets very muddled around here. I am very much for free speech, but you have people who clearly end up with outsized power over the beliefs of people. Then it gets very murky from there how things transgress. There’s no answers that I even promote here, but I recognize that the difficulties are around this.
Peter McCormack: So that reminded me of something I meant to ask you about and get your opinions on, the whole r/Bitcoin versus r/BTC, Bitcoin is censored.
Chris DeRose: That’s the narrative.
Peter McCormack: Bitcoin is free speech. So I’ve looked at this and I’ve tried to look at both sides. I look at Bitcoin, they’re saying it’s censored and certainly some things are. I saw something, there was one comment about my interview with Peter Rizun that was like, “it was a great interview” and that got removed.
I was like, “okay, very interesting. That is clear censorship.” Roger complains about it and they all complain about it, about censorship on there. But then I was like, “well if they don’t censor that stuff, that whole r/Bitcoin will just be a mess, a toxic mess of argument and it won’t achieve anything.
Junseth: What’s funny about r/Bitcoin is that it became a toxic message of doodoo with censorship and it was a toxic mess of doodoo without censorship!
Peter McCormack: But is it even censorship or is it moderation?
Junseth: Censorship is moderation to some degree, that’s the case. That’s the right way to do it if you ask me.
Chris DeRose: Yeah. I think that it’s a difficult thing because r/Bitcoin, I think that the claim was that r/Bitcoin is where everyone was getting their information. All that happened, is it just moved over to Twitter. So what happens, I’ve come to realize as a result of censorship policies, is that as soon as one person starts censoring, it becomes a cascade effect, because the people who are removed from the first discussion end up going into the second discussion, taking out their antagonism there to an amplified degree.
They then create more discontent with nearby neighbors and before you know it, you have these bands of malcontents that go around the Internet, who are united in their identity, that is this thing that they’re not allowed to talk about. This is what I saw with anti-semitism even, is that as soon as you have any anti-semitic things come in, you find all of a sudden that throngs of people rushing, because now they have a venue to talk finally. Now it’s this weird problem.
Junseth: “What about the blacks! They’re not welcome!” It is a big issue.
Chris DeRose: I think a lot of it just stems from the first person to censor in many ways. As soon as you have a big site do it, now it becomes this entrenched belief for somebody.
Junseth: And that becomes a safe space to say anything.
Peter McCormack: So what do you believe? Should we have censorship? Is it warranted in certain cases?
Chris DeRose: I think it depends on where it comes from. It’s also difficult because you have effectively public utilities, that are being run like companies. So if you had a healthy marketplace for a lot of these types of discussions, then it would be an easy thing to say like, “okay well this person here doesn’t take it but this one will.” So it’s not really censorship. But when you have a single company controlling the entire conversation, like Twitter or Facebook, now it gets really complicated.
Junseth: And by the way that was the argument for r/Bitcoin, is that was the only place you could get your voice heard.
Chris DeRose: Which I don’t think was true.
Junseth: It wasn’t true. It was obviously not true, because you could just move to Twitter or you can move anywhere else.
Chris DeRose: Or r/BTC, which is what happened.
Junseth: Yeah, you could make your own sub Reddit. But yeah, I think that that’s absolutely correct. I think that these are effectively utilities. They lose money almost constantly every year and we just saw $80 million with Youtube losses on Google. Google’s saying that Youtube is contributing to $80 million less…
Chris DeRose: It will probably happen on Amazon too. I wouldn’t be surprise.
Junseth: Where they’re going to have some weird thing, they’re going to have to deal with and then it’s going to end up causing untold damage to some weird industry and we’ll see it happen there I have no doubt. I mean this sort of like first mover advantage thing or whatever it is that causes these mega companies now…
Chris DeRose: I think the government’s finding it difficult. I think a lot of it stems from Netscape in the 90s going public before they had any profits. That was really unheard of. Ever since then that’s been the modus operandi for companies, they go public before they have profits and what do they do? They do a burn rate.
They do basically what a startup would do and they do it for 20 years, because they have 85 billion trillion Dollars and they can get away with it. So it used to be that those kinds of companies couldn’t survive, but now they do and so what you have, is you have these companies that have established themselves as oligopolies or monopolies and can essentially “de-person” people, which blows my mind. Because you can’t unsee it.
Because there’s a world in which none of us had social media and I was content having the voice where I could yell out my window and my neighbors would hear me and that was a perfectly fine world. Then someone opened up my eyes, like the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and all of a sudden I realized that I could have a voice that the whole world could see. You can’t undo that. You can’t unsee that.
Peter McCormack: Has that made the world a better place or worse?
Chris DeRose: Everything moves towards the better.
Peter McCormack: I watched the Joe Rogan interview, the second one with Jack Dorsey. I have a lot of sympathy for trying to moderate billions of tweets every day. But at the same time it does certainly feel like there is a liberal bias, which is censoring conservative opinion.
Junseth: I’ve gotten to calling it the technological genocide at this point. I just don’t think that there’s two words about it. They don’t give a fuck and they’re not hiding it.
Chris DeRose: Well they have the same kind of like Bitcoin Core issue as well. I think that they don’t know what the right thing to do is. The laws used to, I think, provide resolutions to a lot of these problems and now we de-regulated so many things that I suspect people are just finding the…
Junseth: Well the liberals are now saying, ” well they’re just a company!” It’s weird to watch arguments flip like that, at least in American politics. I don’t know how they work in Britain.
Peter McCormack: Well we have hate speech laws in the UK.
Chris DeRose: That blows my mind too.
Peter McCormack: Well that’s why Craig Wright is suing me in the UK.
Junseth: Is he actually… What is the progress on that?
Peter McCormack: I’ll show you the documents after this.
Junseth: Has he filed a complaint in court?
Peter McCormack: Do you want to see it?
Chris DeRose: I think he’s just going to walk away is my strong suspicion.
Junseth: I think he wants a court to say that he’s definitely Satoshi.
Peter McCormack: I don’t think he’s going to walk away.
Chris DeRose: It’s what he’s doing here in Florida. I mean we have a history with this guy here.
Junseth: The Kleiman one is interesting because I think a lot of people don’t remember that episode by the way. Us going to go look at Kleiman, that was a weird day.
Peter McCormack: Mike In Space told me, that’s the one to check.
Chris DeRose: Do you remember that? That was a weird fucking day.
Junseth: That was a weird day. I mean, the whole thing is weird. I don’t think we ever got a good answer as to what happened to his actual murder.
Peter McCormack: So Mike said, “listen to this episode”, but I really wanted to listen to the Perianne one first, which I did.
Peter McCormack: No, It was good. It was really interesting listening to the way you teed her up. Actually, it was a real master class in getting to the point, it was great! It was Blockchain bullshit. So then I listened to the Kleiman one and Mike was like, “look, you’re just going to have to jump through a bunch of stuff before you get to it.”
But I’ve really enjoyed this whole kind of hour, hour and a half in the car. So I never actually got to… I got to the bit where you were talking about the gates and opening the gates. I never actually got to the meat of it. I find the whole Kleiman thing fascinating, because it’s either absolutely nothing or maybe he created Bitcoin.
Junseth: Well we find it fascinating too because it’s in Florida, it’s a great Florida story.
Chris DeRose: All the old Bitcoiners, their stories are fascinating. The class of 2010 and below, is just one story after the next.
Junseth: There’s no question that something happened there and the whole who is Satoshi thing, I think in some ways is a little bit uninteresting in itself as a question. But the desire to claim the mantle of Satoshi, that is a study in psychology, that in my mind very interesting. People showing up and wanting to be that. Then you have the messiah!
Chris DeRose: Dorian Nakamoto was crowned! We used to joke about it as like, you have a new Satoshi Nakamoto every few years, but Dorian Nakamoto shows up, he’s crowned and he didn’t want that. It was the opposite.
Peter McCormack: Someone just turned up on his doorstep? Was it the Washington Times?
Chris DeRose: And said that he’s Satoshi! He didn’t ask for it, I think that makes the entire difference. That he’s like a patron saint now.
Junseth: He’s he’s now painted! Just some guy who likes trains!
Peter McCormack: So I’m going to listen to the rest of that one when I get in the car, but what am I missing? What did you guys find out? Because I’ve heard things, that maybe he was poisoned?
Junseth: No, no. If I remember, maybe you remember better, the big mystery was why there was a bullet hole in the mattress and his gun wasn’t fired.
Chris DeRose: The story was that his girlfriend found him. Which we found out wasn’t true, it wasn’t his girlfriend.
Peter McCormack: This is proper investigative journalism!
Junseth: We showed up! We did everything. We showed up everywhere. We violated a lot of laws I’m sure!
Chris DeRose: The leads basically went dead at the time. They may be resuscitated now. I think that the reporting police officer on the scene, would probably have the most information right now and I don’t know what happened to that person.
Junseth: We did everything. We called his business partner and talked to him. We showed up at the girlfriend’s house! Met with her husband or whatever.
Peter McCormack: It sounds like a serial investigation!
Junseth: It was, we were creepy! It wasn’t good. So we asked around to try to figure out where she was. We found out where she was, we got to her house and we sat there waiting for a little bit because they had a car in their driveway. We knocked, they didn’t answer and as we were leaving, they pulled up and we asked if we could ask her a few questions and we did.
Her story is very different than what was in the press. It was that she knew him, he helped her with her computer, but that they weren’t ever romantically involved, which is very different than what the press had reported. We were just having fun. We showed up for a day, we did this thing and then we went and ate at a steakhouse.
Peter McCormack: So what do you think went on there?
Chris DeRose: I think a really sick man who was a paraplegic, died of sepsis or something like that, which happens. I think he was a Florida man, consummate Florida man, who shoots guns in the house. So I don’t think that there’s anything really strange about that. I think we both know a lot of those Florida men.
Junseth: Yeah, it’s true.
Chris DeRose: Which I think is ironic. I think that anyone outside of Florida doesn’t know about that man. Doesn’t know about the man who shoots guns. I’ve got a neighbor who blew one off the other night, at 3am in the morning, cleaning his gun. It wasn’t Craig Wright!
Peter McCormack: Well do you know what I find interesting about that? Because I’ve been through the court documents. There might be a legal case here where they are arguing about a bunch of Bitcoin wallets that don’t exist. They think Craig Wright has them and Craig Wright might not have them.
Junseth: Well Ira Kleiman I think doesn’t know and that’s a thing. I think that nobody really knows about the case. If it’s not lost, then maybe Craig knows where it is, maybe he does have these coins.
Peter McCormack: He has to give the addresses now.
Chris DeRose: Well, it’s a convenient little thing where he can’t move them because it’s in a trust until… Everything is sort of set up very conveniently for him. I remember when we thought something was up, when we crashed the Satoshi Roundtable.
Peter McCormack: Is this dressed as Mexicans?
Chris DeRose: Yes! We had to dress up as Chinese miners. We were dressed up. We had to hide so that they wouldn’t recognize us as we were getting into the club.
Peter McCormack: How was Bruce about that?
Junseth: Oh Bruce was livid!
Chris DeRose: At the time he was not happy it!
Peter McCormack: Was John Carvalho with you? Or was that a separate one?
Junseth: Yeah John Carvallo was with us.
Peter McCormack: Yeah because I heard John did it. I didn’t realize this is the same incident.
Chris DeRose: Yeah, it was the same one. He called us and we needed a camera man, so he decided to come. Bruce was not happy about that one! Those are some of the best content. We actually bought a membership to the club beforehand and showed up there, but we were doing interviews with everybody and there was the Alpaca socks guy who was there, who was an old, old Bitcoiner, we knew that. He sat down and did the first interview before Bruce realized that we had crashed his party.
Junseth: That was how we met the weird man child servant of…
Chris DeRose: Yeah, there was this really strange person, who they wouldn’t tell us who it was.
Peter McCormack: Was it Brock Pierce?
Chris DeRose: No, it was like a little man. We didn’t know if it was a man or a woman, they were definitely Asian. We don’t know! It was a man or a woman. It was Asian and it wouldn’t talk to us and it was very smug.
Well so what happened is we find out that there’s this person, this mysterious person who holds the keys to the trust and I Googled the name and I was like, “Chris, I think that’s the person that was at Satoshi.” Well, no, before I Googled him, I said, “I’ll bet you that’s the person at Satoshi roundtable.” Then we Googled the person and sure enough it was the person at that year’s Satoshi Roundtable.
Peter McCormack: The one who has the keys to the Craig Wight trust?
Junseth: Apparently, the one whose in I think all the emails that he keeps submitting to that case. I think that that is the person and she wouldn’t be on camera or he, I still don’t know!
Peter McCormack: The trust opens 2020?
Chris DeRose: So we hear. It would be ironic if they’re doing all this litigation and paying for litigation for something that he doesn’t have access to or any money in!
Peter McCormack: What do you make of him? What do you think is going on here?
Junseth: There’s a classic Australian scammer kind of person that he really does conform with. I’m trying to think of…
Chris DeRose: Well you move to Australia to do scams! There’s the one that James Randi caught with the healing people. He moved to Australia, he’s selling water there.
Junseth: Something about Australia produces a very Florida man-esq type of scammer, the toxic animals
Peter McCormack: You know the history, they’re all criminals?
Chris DeRose: Yes. That makes perfect sense.
Peter McCormack: We exported them!
Chris DeRose: And Donald Trump. Just kidding guys!
Peter McCormack: But what do you think? Do you think he’s just a typical conman?
Junseth: What happens with these conmen types is that they don’t seem to have a lot of empathy for the outcome of their actions.
Peter McCormack: That’s because their brain doesn’t have empathy because it doesn’t develop.
Junseth: It could be trauma…
Peter McCormack: Or not hugged by their mom as a baby.
Junseth: Well, the whole thing is very strange. I mean he’s talking now about providing proof based on a receipt. But he could have just provided proof based on a signature, which he said he would do and then didn’t. The whole thing is very, very strange and at this point, let’s say it was him, Kleiman and who’s the other one that’s saying that they were part of the group, Phil Bradford or whatever his name is?
Peter McCormack: Phil Wilson I think.
Junseth: Who knows! At that point my question is, an individual isn’t Satoshi then, it’s an organization of people. Who contributed what? It’s a really difficult question. Who made what comments? Who said what? If it was just him, that’s a different thing. But I look at his inability or unwillingness to provide evidence until he then goes and sends people these letters. I find that to be really problematic in the entire claim.
Chris DeRose: But what I kind of think is happening is that this guy had run a couple of scams already. It was evident that this was his lifestyle. So he didn’t really have a lot to lose by just hopping onto the next scam. It seems like he saw a lot of willing people here in Bitcoin Blockchain, which is the case.
If you sit down and you start reading through psychology books, sociology books, etc, you start to realize how people are wired and it’s really not that hard to control outcomes. I talk about this stuff even, you have to do it with responsibility if you’re going to be well received by society. But if you don’t care about that, the keys are just handed to you.
We even talked about tone earlier, the way you talk to children, your tone is in such a way that is almost guaranteed to produce the outcome you want and adults are not that much different, especially when they’re motivated by greed, when they completely suspend their critical thinking.
Junseth: Just look for a man in a suit at that point, who says nice things.
Chris DeRose: Yeah, exactly. So I think he saw the opportunity here and he put his foot in the water and once you start to get people invested, you would think that they would be more skeptical. But that’s not what happens, as we’ve seen with so many of these scams. They instead become more willing because the tragedy that would befall of them if you weren’t a nice guy, is greater than the risk of continuing onwards.
Junseth: Trigger warning, all of these are Peter’s opinions!
Chris DeRose: I think he’s pretty educated, I think he’s pretty smart. I think he knows a lot of things fairly well, especially how to control people. So my guess is that he had some kind of a relationship probably with Kleiman that was unhealthy. He probably gave him some degree of lip service recognizing that he was a talent source.
It bloomed into some degree of Bitcoin, who knows how much and then I think he probably mismanaged that Bitcoin or sold it or who knows what, but saw enough access in the space, to where he could just pretend to be Satoshi without refrain. The truth is, if it didn’t work he would have lost nothing.
The other part of it too is that people in this space, they love the heel, which is its own thing. In WWF wrestling, you have this concept of the heel. So he definitely gets credit for innovating on that front, because he figured out that there was a need in a Bitcoin for a heel.
Junseth: Exactly. That’s very true though. There was a need for a heel in Bitcoin.
Peter McCormack: What’s the heel in wrestling?
Chris DeRose: Well the heel is the person that nobody likes, but everybody likes. They like to not like him. He’s a Dick. So you have the guy that everybody wants to win and then occasionally you have the heel who comes out and he’s insulting the audience, he’s the evil one.
Junseth: Not all cultures have this either. The UK I don’t think has this, but like in America, in Mexico, a few others like Japan…
Chris DeRose: I think having been, back when I was a kid, to a WCW contest, they tell you when to boo and when to to scream and yell. They’d have the heel, he would come out and you’d boo him.
Peter McCormack: Who was the heel in WWF from when I was young, because we used to get it? I’m like undertaker era.
Chris DeRose: I don’t know. They’re usually arrogant, which is a very common theme even with Craig Wright. You know it when you watch it.
Junseth: Wasn’t Vince McMahon the heel?
Chris DeRose: No, Vince McMahon is the owner. I think generally they have a heel, it’s the person that everybody loves to hate or not a heel but like multiple heels.
Peter McCormack: It’s like the baddie in the theater?
Junseth: That’s exactly what it is yeah. You know who it is, because you just watch the crowd. They’ll boo him and they’ll praise the other guy.
Peter McCormack: Do you know what I don’t understand though. So I look at someone like Roger who’s done a whole bunch of stuff that people don’t like, but I can just see how some people have sided with him. And I look at Craig Wright and I just look at this mountain of thing he’s done. All the degrees, all the obvious lies proven over again and again and there are people still defending him. What’s it going to take to convince you this guy has nefarious…
Chris DeRose: Oh, there’s no better evidence. That’s what the meaning is too for them. It’s no different than flat earth. The reason you believe in flat earth isn’t because you’ve been seduced by the education and the academia. It’s because there’s meaning there. Meaning generally lies in the ignorance. I think that’s part of the human design.
Junseth: There’s now a community of people who are Craig Wright maximalists if you will, and there’s a community who aren’t. If you’re a Craig Wright maximalist, it takes the same amount of momentum to move you out of that, than it does to pull you out of flat earth or some cult.
Chris DeRose: Yeah. It’s very cult like. People like to subordinate themselves. It’s a very biologically wired thing. You see it all the time in life. If you really are honest in your assessment, you’ll be like, “oh, that guy’s clearly like ascribing his autonomy to this agency.”
Peter McCormack: All right. Listen, I’m just going to switch gears a second because I want to go back and talk about your podcast a bit. So when did you start it?
Chris DeRose: 2015, 2016, one of those two years?
Junseth: Something like that, 2015 I’m going to say.
Peter McCormack: Would you say the space now is different or is almost exactly the same?
Junseth: I think you think it’s different. I think it’s a lot of the same.
Chris DeRose: I think it’s completely different.
Peter McCormack: Okay. Let’s hear both views then. Go with the same.
Junseth: So I think that a lot of the schemes, the scams and the projects today are sort of… They’re bigger, they’re different, but a lot of this stuff is repetition of stuff that we’ve seen previously. It’s just bigger audiences often. So I see the ICO thing. I mean we saw that, like I was saying earlier, MPex, other little stock markets that existed. I think that Mastercoin and Ethereum both had their own token sales.
I think a lot of this stuff is just reiterations of things that have existed pre-Blockchain and post Bitcoin as well. I don’t think that there’s much new here, other than that you have new waves of people and new kinds of people showing up, that might be the way in which in which it’s different? But I don’t think they contribute a whole lot to the change.
Chris DeRose: Yeah, I think it’s actually more similar in 2015. When you posed that question, I was thinking more like, I don’t know 2012 or 2011. there was a time when we were off the heels of the financial crisis, you had this beleaguered group of technical professionals.
Junseth: Everybody hated bankers.
Chris DeRose: There were these sort of open source, leaning and frankly a little communist leaning, even in some weird ways, but not entirely. Also very libertarian leaning, weirdly. There was I think, a lot of community cohesion back then. I think that the literacy level was significantly higher as well and I’ve seen this go increasingly fat tail. Now we have the /biz crowd, which wasn’t around earlier, that’s a whole thing now. I would even say that might be the majority of the online culture now.
Peter McCormack: Could that just be because there’s more people. So there’s more little factions that can build out in this.
Chris DeRose: Yeah, I think it’s the same thing. You have denominational content at that point too. The hygiene obsession is out of control. The reversion to purity of your bits, is something that has gotten in my mind, completely pronounced at this point where…
Junseth: I don’t think that’s any different than it’s always been though. I think there are just difference audiences.
Chris DeRose: I think that there was a utopia, there were different audiences, but I think that the utopia from 2013 or 2015 or so had more to do with perhaps seeing Bitcoin used in a way that like Bittorrent or Tor or some degree of microtransaction type of payments. Whereas now it seems like the ethic is more just like “number go up”, it’s almost like a gang box kind of like mentality in many ways.
Peter McCormack: But it seems to me Chris, with you specifically, it seems like what you once rejected, you now accept the reality of and you’re just like, “fuck it, I’m just going to get on with my life. It is what it is.”
Chris DeRose: Yeah. There’s a lot of that. I’m a little jaded, I saw so much. The other thing too, you get to see behind the scenes after point and I like to like portray myself in varying ways, that may or may not be who I am. But I will say that certain levels of observation, there’s a degree of discomfort that I’ve found with some of the behaviors around here.
But also I don’t see a lot of action happening in the way that I thought there was. Right now, these bull runs are nice financially, but they’re a little incorrigible from a community development or product development standpoint. It’s not to say that the space is damned in any way. I think quite the opposite even. But it does make it hard to interact in the space because there’s nothing but geniuses everywhere.
Junseth: That’s the one that blows my mind. Every few years you end up with a… Remember Curecoin? There was a genius young 13-year-old or whatever he was, 16 year old, who had developed Curecoin and somehow Curecoin was going to cure cancer or something weird.
There’s so many of these projects that over the years, that are predicated on the notion that this 16 or 17-year-old who understands Blockchain, can solve a problem that scientists haven’t been able to. It’s the Theranos problem. She showed up, she doesn’t actually have an engineering degree, but you can’t question it, because she’s young.
Peter McCormack: Did you watch the documentary about her?
Junseth: I read the book. I watched the documentary.
Chris DeRose: I have not watched the documentary. I heard about it, but I’ve listened to podcasts and read tons of articles. Yeah we really missed out even covering that in the show a bit.
Peter McCormack: So she ran it like you would run Google in the early days, but Google didn’t… If you got things wrong with Google, people weren’t going to die and they just didn’t care.
Junseth: Well that’s the weird mistake, is that with Theranos, the only mistakes she made wasn’t lying to investors. It was releasing a product that was medical.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, that was it, because it was medical!
Chris DeRose: I think the history books are going to look at this like a virtue investing period. That’s the common thread in a lot of these things, it’s that people want to put their money into virtue. One of the things that’s really discussed, I think it’s maybe the Frank Dodd Act that did this, I don’t know, but a lot of the investment opportunities that we had in the 90s seemed to have vanished, but the need is still there.
Junseth: Which opportunities?
Chris DeRose: Small penny stocks.
Junseth: They’re there. You’re just not in the penny stock business!
Chris DeRose: I fully agree, but it seems like the kids aren’t into it the way that they were or at least the spirit of it wasn’t in some way.
Peter McCormack: Because they’re into Bitcoin!
Junseth: That’s what I mean with the ICO stuff, in terms of talking about it, when people ask me what’s going to happen with ICOs I’m like, well we have an entire set of regulations for ICOs, it’s called pink sheet stocks. All that will happen is you’ll have pink sheet stock regulations map right on to ICO regulations, which takes out any efficiency that ICOs have in the space.
Chris DeRose: One of the weird things that I’m finding though, is who is lobbying against ICOs? Whose incentive exists to stop that?
Junseth: I think you’re right, but I think that was exactly the same with pink sheets?
Chris DeRose: It was exactly the same!
Junseth: Very well might be. I mean what’s clearly happening I think again is that…
Chris DeRose: It’s the exact same reason. The Financial Times I believe exists because it originally was doing analysis of pink sheets when they started coming out and we’re doing exactly the same thing that ICOs are doing, one after the other. So people needed a rag basically, to evaluate the merits of the claims of all of these companies.
Peter McCormack: Yeah. But it’s slightly different now with these ICOs in that there’s no international borders that stop you from being involved. There are exchanges, which where sometimes you don’t even know where they are. People can set up and create these things without really anyone kind of knocking on their door.
Chris DeRose: Until you go to sell it and you have to sell it on exchange in America. You’re talking about the state of regulations today, not about the state of regulations in like a month.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, but you can only regulate this in two ways. Internationally or with America’s iron fist. Wherever you are in the world, America will come after you, if you get this wrong.
Chris DeRose: Well American regulates the baking sector internationally in so many ways, so whatever happens here does seem to propagate generally. So I think it’s a bit of misnomer just to say that the regulations of America end at its borders, because we’ve seen that evidenced…
Junseth: Kim Dotcom knows that’s not true.
Chris DeRose: … So many times in recent years.
Junseth: Back to the pink sheets, what was the guiding principle of the performance and the mantra of that industry? Greed is obvious.
Chris DeRose: I’m not well versed in pink sheet revolution, but I believe it was the reason that the Financial Times exists is largely because when pink sheets started to propagate and people started doing… People were given the same stuff, time machines, refrigerator magnet cancer cures, just whatever the hell it was that they wanted to do and they would do a pink sheet stock.
I think you see the same thing with the early tech boom. You had people basically going on to, not LinkedIn, but whatever the equivalent was and trying to recruit people to take their $55 a day company public on AOL.
Junseth: I remember that.
Chris DeRose: This is a cycle that repeats itself over and over again. There’s a sort of tragedy, we talk about Millennials not investing in stocks and I think that probably eventually will be a tragedy if they continue with this notion that banking is wrong and that these regulations are bad and that stocks are bad.
Junseth: Because Millennials are here. This is where they’re doing it!
Chris DeRose: I’m saying that they’re doing alright now with Bitcoin and maybe for now they’ll make a lot of money, who knows? In the future they’ll realize that they have to diversify a little bit, I don’t know.
Peter McCormack: I think a lot of them don’t care. I’ve got a 15 year old and trying to motivate him to care about stuff’s really hard because he has everything easily.
Chris DeRose: He hasn’t discovered cocaine yet!
Peter McCormack: Well thankfully he won’t, he’s so sporty. I really hope not.
Junseth: Does he listen to the show?
Peter McCormack: He’s listened to some. He knows a bit about Bitcoin as well, there’s a video on my Youtube…
Chris DeRose: Does he know it buys cocaine?
Junseth: Is he a 15 year old Doomer?
Peter McCormack: What’s a Doomer?
Junseth: There’s Doomers, there’s Boomers and there’s Zoomers. You should understand those tropes and it demographically matches to some people.
Peter McCormack: What I’m saying, he’s had it so easy. My kids for one birthday, they’ll get more than I had my whole childhood. They’ve got iPads, iPhones, they’ve got so much stuff!
Chris DeRose: And they’re ungrateful!
Peter McCormack: I remember this great tweet this guy found out. What was it? It was something like, “oh, can somebody help me? My Millennial son is looking for some work experience as a CEO?”
Chris DeRose: Well, I think the thing that people don’t realize, and I think this was a really hard thing to realize that you are guilty of as well, is that when you’re born, you’re born at a certain time and everything before you didn’t exist. I think that that’s the world in which they’re entering and they’re looking at it and they’re seeing the world filled with iPads and internet and they don’t remember that there’s a day when you didn’t have a PC.
Junseth: We’ve also virtualized so much, everything from sex to clearly money but exploration in various forms and on and on. So going to museums now you can do on Google. The simulation of like various experiences has been wonderful. But this may be the consequence of that, we very well may just evolve to like a matrix style living in a box thing.
Peter McCormack: We might already be in one according to Elon. He’s got a good theory on it.
Junseth: I think it’s a religion, where all that’s going on here, is programmers do with programmers do, which is I think is hard because if a bunch of programmers in Silicon Valley, they hear this idea and programmers tend to think that they’re God and that they can program anything and make anything happen. So what do you do? You make a religion that puts programmers at the centre of your universe
Peter McCormack: And it gives something for stoners to talk about!
Chris DeRose: Absolutely! There’s this movement away from religion and then all of a sudden now you’re right back to it explaining God is like a 16 year old with an acne problem, sitting at his computer.
Peter McCormack: We just breezed two hours!
Junseth: Yeah? We’ve got history, we can go 5 hours!
Peter McCormack: That’s what people said, but where are we going to go?
Chris DeRose: Give us a subject. Zoo animals?
Peter McCormack: No, I want to know more about the podcast.
Chris DeRose: We really haven’t talked about that yet!
Peter McCormack: Well it’s a difficult era maybe to go in, but I’ll tell you one thing that was quite funny. I wrote down some of the reviews on iTunes. Your generally middle of the road review like is… You’re marmite! Do you know marmite and the marmite campaign in the UK?
Peter McCormack: So the way they do the advertising, “you love it or you hate it”, you’re one or the other. So they did this genius one whereby you could do DNA tests and you will find out if you are a lover or hater!
Chris DeRose: That’s great!
Peter McCormack: And people lied, “you didn’t tell me you liked it!” It’s things like that. So do you want to hear the negative ones or the positive ones first?
Chris DeRose: Negative.
Junseth: I didn’t know there were positive ones!
Peter McCormack: I’ve got two of each. So the negative, the first one, “the hosts don’t seem to know much of anything about alt coins, promote pump and dump, rude to guests.”
Chris DeRose: Yeah, that’s fair.
Peter McCormack: The second one was, “this has to be the worst Bitcoin podcast out there. These two Florida guys trick Bitcoin and Blockchain personalities into coming onto the show just to make fun of them.”
Chris DeRose: Sure yeah!
Peter McCormack: Let’s go with the good ones. First one, “excellent content. These guys are extremely competent, highly intelligent, and not scammers.” The next one is, “essential listening for anyone needing to understand the world of Bitcoin, no bullshit here.” What I got from this, is that you do know what you’re talking about actually.
I’m going to talk to you why it’s a shame your podcast doesn’t exist anymore, but you do. You definitely do. Listen to the way you talked about the myth of the Blockchain and what I heard in my episodes, but you’re going to definitely trigger people and that’s what they said to me. You hit the money for a number of people and you trigger people who had bags or a belief in something or possibly a belief with some doubt, but it triggered people. It’s a great fucking show!
Junseth: I think there was an ironic problem with the Bitcoin Uncensored, which is that we were exploring everything ourselves and giving people sort of our own impressions of the world, including our own sort of thoughts on investment.
I think a lot of people, despite us telling them not to listen to us, followed us down that path and then really regret, not investing all their money in Ethereum early on and I think that’s one group of people that isn’t happy. I think there are other people who just don’t care. I get that a lot.
Chris DeRose: The people who have that complaint I think are inordinately greedy and are being unreasonable, because they don’t remember the history. Bitshares was just as likely to be Ethereum. It didn’t have a Joe Lubin that was the only difference.
Junseth: And it grew real quick!
Chris DeRose: And how do you know what Joe Lubin would be or who had him. So there had to be a case that you could find, that one of these did take off I think, but it’s easy to say retroactively, “oh it was Ethereum.” But that was not easy or obvious at the time.
Junseth: It was. But also, I think if you go back to old shows, I don’t think that we said it wouldn’t take off. I think we said it would very possibly moon.
Chris DeRose: If it wasn’t for Joe Lubin, I don’t think it would’ve taken off. I think it would have just done the same thing that Bitshares did.
Junseth: That could very well be true. I think there’s a lot of DApps… But Bitshares took off too and then people sold at the top and then…
Chris DeRose: Joe Lubin brought in the progressives. It was mostly conservatives that were in the space prior to Joe Lubin and the innovation of Ethereum was that Joe Lubin brought the progressive’s into the space and they offered them like a silicon valley product. Whereas before it was a libertarian product.
Junseth: Yeah, that’s true. I don’t think that’s false in any way.
Chris DeRose: So that’s what I think I saw there.
Peter McCormack: I bumped into Joe Lubin in a hotel in Brooklyn, he was a bit smaller than me, I would say. So I’m in this hotel in Brooklyn called The Hoxton and I’m having some lunch. I see him and he’s in an AirSwap hoody, which is one of their investments and I’m looking thinking “I fucking recognize you, where do I know you from?”
I sat there scratching my head, because I’ve done an AirSwap interview and I went to their office. So I went up to him and was like, “I’m really, really sorry. I know you from somewhere. Do you work at AirSwap?” He was like, “no” And he was really quite short with me, I was like, “okay.” I was thinking that I’m not going to let it go. I was like, “I’m really sure I’ve met you, I’ve been to AirSwap.” He’s like, “no, it’s one of my companies.”
I was like, “what do you mean by that?” He said, “Oh, I’ve got a company called ConsenSys” and I was like, “ah, you’re Joe Lubin aren’t you?” He said, “yeah” and he was kind of fine, but obviously wanted rid of me. Actually, no, he wasn’t, he was just quite blunt! But I think at the time, that was right before the announcement of the difficulties that ConsenSys we’re having and therefore I get it. It’s probably a stressful time, whatever. I’m seeing him Friday, I think, I’ve got the Ethereal Summit.
Junseth: Go hat shopping, he really needs some help there!
Chris DeRose: Or you can put a condom on his head!
Peter McCormack: So what do you think of the deal with ConsenSys? Because he’s put a lot of money in, put his money behind it, bold statement. I’m going to do what I do here, I’m going to go middle of the road. I’m going to say he’s really tried to support and build something there. Obviously there’s a financial benefit, but he spent a lot of money there. Now they’re raising money.
Chris DeRose: I think he spent a lot of money because he wanted to be important. I don’t think he cared whether the stuff worked, I think that’s pretty evident.
Junseth: I think he believed everything that he said. I think that he found an ignorance, he bought it hook, line and sinker and then because of his enthusiasm, he was able to share that with others and it became infectious.
Chris DeRose: I think that’s correct. But I also don’t think he cared whether it worked. I think he wanted to be the priest, the high priest of Bitcoin. He started a company and he invested in everything and I think his thought was that if he invests in everything, then when something works, he’ll be the high priest of that thing. I think what’s surprising to him, is that nothing has worked.
Junseth: Well his company has clearly produced some profit for him, even if he did nothing to achieve it.
Chris DeRose: I don’t think that’s true at all.
Peter McCormack: Well I think no. They’re trying to raise…
Chris DeRose: I think Ethereum made profit for him.
Junseth: Certainly yes.
Chris DeRose: But his company may have been, [Inaudible] Better than Balaji did in that respect!
Junseth: That’s true!
Peter McCormack: I missed that.
Chris DeRose: Well, Balaji did the [Inaudible] and it did not happen.
Peter McCormack: He’s just left Coinbase.
Chris DeRose: That’s correct. He’s probably going to go into something…
Junseth: Because he sold earn.com to them, which weirds me out entirely. To me that’s the whole weird…A lot of those like incestuous transactions, they’re really interesting to me because you have these people who come in and they’re touted as the high priest of Bitcoin.
You have to be a fairly old at this point, which is always astounding to me, at what point someone becomes old because you come in and you think that you missed everything. When I got here, there were not that many Bitcoiners and I thought that I had missed all of the party. I remember even when we were at TnABC, the first one, I was like, “these people!”
We walked into a room, and this is a story I tell often, but we walked into a room and there was a VC on stage and he says, “I’ve been in Bitcoin a long time” and this is January. And he goes, “I was here, I was one of the first VCs. I invested when Bitcoin was $100” and I look at Chris and I go, “that was August!”
Peter McCormack: Well I’m coming up to two and a half years now and I’m still new around here.
Junseth: But do you remember when Circle happened and the hype that that occurred? There were literally 87 Bitcoiners so it was really easy to create hype and everyone thought that Circle was going to bring in everybody, it was going to bring in new people. It was exactly the same thing as Coinbase, but somehow was a revolution how we were going to purchase coins.
Chris DeRose: Was it Jeremy Allaire? He brought his affinity value. At some level, I think what was was being added to the space.
Junseth: He was the founder of Bright Cove and all these other things that had made money previously.
Chris DeRose: It was the same thing Balaji got people excited about, it was Balaji. You’ve only heard his name once in a headline, but that was better than nothing and then it got ballooned from there.
Peter McCormack: But everyone does that. Roger talks about the fact that he was a successful business person.
Junseth: But no-one cares about Roger’s businesses.
Peter McCormack: What I’m saying is that all these people who come in with gravitas and money, talk about the history of yourself.
Junseth: Roger’s entire credential is that he sold fireworks and sent them in the mail to somebody and then got arrested for it and that’s what really solidified his libertarianism.
Chris DeRose: At the time, absolutely. Nobody cared about him. Now he wants to be a big business man.
Peter McCormack: But what I’m saying is that they all come with something beforehand Bright Cove with Jeremy…
Chris DeRose: But they rise out of the myth? They come with their story of conquest. I mean have you developed a white paper story yet Peter? How advanced are you in your Bitcoining?
Peter McCormack: I’m not very good at writing. So I wouldn’t even know.
Chris DeRose: You don’t need a white paper. You have to have a story when you get here, about what happened to you, when you first read the white paper. Like me, I first read the white paper, I went into a fit of seizures, pooped my pants and then was in the hospital for 16 days.
Junseth: It’s like when Christians have a reborn moment. It’s the same concept. What happened to you?
Peter McCormack: When I read the white paper?
Junseth: Yeah, you have to have a story and it has to be right. So don’t tell it until you’re ready, because you have only got one shot.
Peter McCormack: I know it. I’ve got to page 3 and I said, “I don’t even fucking understand this, so I’m not going to read it.”
Junseth: It’s a bad story!
Peter McCormack: But if you think about it, that is all I’ve ever said, I don’t get this stuff.
Chris DeRose: What was Andreas Antonopoulos’ story? He read the white paper and he had to wear diapers and have his mother come in and nurse him to health or something like that.
Junseth: People compete over the degree to which they’ve been affected by this paper. It’s how you can know to trust them.
Peter McCormack: The white paper never affected me at all.
Chris DeRose: Then no one’s going to trust you. It means you’re stupid. You have to come up with a story. You’re missing the point, Peter. It doesn’t have to affect you, you have to have a story.
Peter McCormack: But I’m a contrarian journalist now!
Chris DeRose: Yeah, so you have to have a great story! And you have to present with all the irony!
Peter McCormack: But that’s the truth of it. First time I read it, I didn’t understand economics. I don’t understand tech. I read it and I just went “huh.” Actually probably the first time I read it in full was probably at least six months after I started really getting into Bitcoin. I did the first time I was like “I don’t get it” and I’ve read it again and I still don’t get it and I don’t want to get it because I don’t need to get it. I think is a irrelevant document right now.
Junseth: It’s a historical piece in the space.
Chris DeRose: I think that’s an unorthodox opinion and I don’t think it’s wrong, but it just interesting to me that in credibility in the space, I mean you’re right there is all sorts of ways to get it and we’re talking about Balaji and stuff.
He was knighted by a16z and Roger was knighted by… You hear his claims, he credentials himself in exactly the same way, “he was the first investor in Bitcoin”, which those are, I feel, credentials that started when he started debating and pushing for Bcash. Hope that makes everybody angry!
Junseth: You are probably seeing this for the first time in your life, but people who consume content, they consume a very processed version of the events. What actually happened is often tautological, it is what it is and you, as the reporter ascribe intent to it and you create meaning and you create a story.
But that’s not to say that whatever you did or even what major publications do is accurate. It’s just that that is how the meat is made and packaged for consumption. I don’t know, that’s what happens when people arrive too, they themselves are beholding to that process whether or not they’re cognizant of it and it becomes part of how humans create some degree of trust and meaning in the information that’s presented as a witness testimony.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, I guess and you all right, I am experiencing this for the first time and I’m not always comfortable with it.
Chris DeRose: It’s very creepy.
Junseth: It’s extremely creepy and like for me, going to Charlottesville, was a manifestation of that to the Nth degree. So going into that, I didn’t know what it would become, because it was just going to be this alt right thing. I was like, “okay, let’s see a bunch of crazies. It would be crazy, it’d be great.
I always like this kind of stuff.” Then it became like this historic event and I started watching how the news was reporting and I was like, “well that’s not true. No, that didn’t happen that way. Well that’s a jump.” I understand why they did it for a lot of reasons.
I don’t even begrudge them, the audience demands that it be packaged and moralized in a way that they can consume it, otherwise it’s outside of their window of acceptance. But that bridge, that divide between content producer and consumer is a chasm that cannot be bridged I don’t think, until you’re in the space doing it.
Peter McCormack: Yeah and also you have to learn to adjust to deal with the reactions to the packaging.
Junseth: Right, exactly. You will be moderated by the crowd.
Peter McCormack: Which is certainly happening, but also you’ve got to try and create some distance between it because otherwise you spend too much time defending it.
Chris DeRose: 100%
Peter McCormack: I’ve done that. I’m guilty of that.
Chris DeRose: That makes Twitter money. That’s why that happens.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, true. What I found is that someone will say something and it’s their opinion of what I’ve done, but I know me and I know that’s not true. So someone will say to you, “you’re only doing that interview because it’s controversial and you’ll get downloads on your shows.”
Chris DeRose: We experienced the morality tests. I just demand to fail them because I don’t give a fuck.
Peter McCormack: But I can turn around to them and say to them, “well look at my history of guests. It’s always been the same, pretty much Bitcoin with other people. I didn’t make any money for the first 11 months. But now I’m making money, you’re making that judgment.” So I found myself defending and I found that even when you have a solid defense, they don’t care.
So I’ve been trying to tell myself to stop caring and stop responding and just ignore people now. Joe Rogan, by the way, I’ve come to really appreciate what he does, I think he’s done something absolutely brilliant. He’s creating an environment where any opinion is allowed to be discussed, without it kind of descending into some kind…
Chris DeRose: He’s the new Art Bell in some ways, if you remember that show, Coast to Coast. Every night they would discuss aliens and spirits and stuff like that. That’s what Rogan has essentially created is like Art Bell for Millennials, which I like and think there’s a space for that.
Peter McCormack: But if you heard him talk about trolls and stuff, he said you just got to ignore them. He said they’re the green frogs, just get away from it.
Junseth: We in our case, we just conformed to them. We just became exactly what we were accused of, “you’re thieves,” okay, we’re thieves. “You’re this bad person”, okay that’s fine, that’s who we are.
Chris DeRose: This is the online world. It’s not like the real world. So labels are kind of meaningless in a lot of ways online and frankly, I think they actually give you power, if anything, because they amplify your voice.
Junseth: It’s the girlfriend says you’re sick thing. You have a mental disorder. Okay, I have a mental disorder. I want to go out tomorrow. Can’t I have a mental disorder? It’s power, it’s leverage!
Peter McCormack: So this happened for you guys. Was there a tipping point where you started to realize?
Chris DeRose: Yeah, we accidentally kind of walked into it at first?
Junseth: No, not really. I mean, what happened is that early on, we were asked by a guy who wanted to do a Counterparty update. He asked Chris to do it actually, because Chris at the time was pushing to be famous in some ways! He wanted to be seen and I did not.
I had gone out and done a lot of the videos. I was always behind the camera. I remember we got banned from NCAA forever, permanently, forever and ever. Which is funny because it’s our first live booking and we were led in by security.
But we were a banned from NCAA forever and ever and at one moment in that video, Chris said my name and I asked him to pull it out at the time. So I was unnamed and I remember Chris asked me if I wanted to do the podcast with him or just the end of it, just like the Counterparty update. I said to him very explicitly, “no” and he said, “why?” I said “because then it’ll become popular and I’ll have obligations to the audience.”
Peter McCormack: So this is before the podcast had started?
Junseth: Yeah. The first podcasts are not Bitcoin Uncensored, they’re on, what was the show called, XCP, Counterparty Update or something? We’re just at the end and what happened is we began to consume the show and he would do, at first it was five minutes at the front and became 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and then soon it was him five minutes and us 40 minutes.
Peter McCormack: But it took a life of its own.
Junseth: Well what happened is he hated it because we would just swear. We swear for effect, I think that it’s pretty easy not to swear, but it’s also funny at times to throw a good “fuck” in there, to convey sincerity. What’s that?
Peter McCormack: So after the Rizun interview, I had four emails complaining about my swearing because I swear a lot in life, but I don’t normally swear on the podcast.
Chris DeRose: Somebody took time out of their day to write that email to you? Who is this person?
Peter McCormack: One was fair. He said, “I was listening to it in the car and sometimes I listen with the kids and you were like F this, F that” and I was like, “okay, that’s kind of a fair point.” Then a couple of others.
Chris DeRose: That’s why we did our shows from the bathroom.
Peter McCormack: Well this is close to a bathroom!
Chris DeRose: This is close. But the thing is we got this story all the time. Again, particularly men, it was available for women but mostly men listened to it and they would say, “I listen to it in the car when I’m driving alone or when I’m in the bathroom because my wife doesn’t let me listen to this content!” That was always very funny to me.
Junseth: It makes sense now, the more fat tail you are, the more moderated you will be.
Chris DeRose: That’s the reason for the name. What happened is that on the show, Adam Levine of the Let’s Talk Bitcoin network wanted to edit everything that we did because he didn’t like the swearing.
So you would hear the shows and it was a 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 45 minutes of us completely clean, which drove them nuts because when we realized what they were doing, we would throw in more swearing just to make the editing process more difficult! Then we would talk about the fact that they edited us and people asked us to host the uncensored versions.
Peter McCormack: Ahh, so that’s the story! So what was the first uncensored show?
Chris DeRose: Bitcoin Uncensored number one!
Peter McCormack: Did you always have guests from the start or was it just the two of you?
Junseth: It was just the two of us originally. The guests were an innovation later on. This was in a time too before the, I guess Youtube phenomenon was as pervasive and I think that podcasts have been around, but it wasn’t, for whatever reason, I don’t think it was quite as pervasive as we see now.
Chris DeRose: I mean we were debating at the time whether podcasts were even a thing. You thought they were, I thought they weren’t.
Junseth: It was in a doldrum at the time. They weren’t as popular as they were earlier or later.
Peter McCormack: I mean I’m glad you stopped in some ways, because you open up a space.
Chris DeRose: I think that’s true. I tend to think that Bitcoin Uncensored had its time. I think that fame is hard.
Junseth: Yeah, it is.
Chris DeRose: It’s really hard. I have rules about fame. I’ve always had rules about fame and I think the thing that people don’t realize is that there’s a point where fame, your life is no longer your own.
Junseth: That is true.
Chris DeRose: And I think what happens with Bitcoin Uncensored is that it didn’t get to that point, but it would have if we had…
Peter McCormack: Well it must’ve got close, there must have been signs?
Chris DeRose: I think we were a month away or two months away and it would have ended before that happening, in which case the ICO boom would’ve happened and we probably would’ve had 100,000 subscribers or none. It would have either crashed or grown.
Junseth: I think it would have crashed actually at that point. It’s weird, if it wasn’t for the ICO mania, it would have been 100,000. But with the ICO mania, the pressures to silence us were so great, at least it was for me and that was a big part of what happened to me after the breakup.
Peter McCormack: How were they trying to silence you? Tell me, as one of the really interesting things in doing this for me, is learning if there’s similarities. So for example, some people said have a co-host. I don’t have a co-host because I always think, I talked to you about this beforehand, it goes back to business. When I’ve had a business, a 50/50 business will never work. They’ll always be some kind of failure and usually it’s never a good split and that’s why I’ve never had a co-host.
Junseth: Because it’s like a divorce!
Peter McCormack: So what kind of pressures were you getting?
Junseth: Well you see already, you’ve got a lawsuit here from Craig Wright.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, but I asked for that!
Junseth: That very might be, but the degree of attention that you would even be nominated out of the entire pool of Bitcoiners for that degree of attention, is itself like..
Peter McCormack: No, but I literally said, “can you sue me?” Then I was saying to Calvin Ayre, “Calvin, when do I get my lawsuit, give me a fucking lawsuit!” So that I’ve asked for.
Chris DeRose: Well fair enough, but you would still find that at any point… I mean I use that as an easy anecdote because it was there
Peter McCormack: But yeah, I get your point.
Junseth: I’ve said this a number of times too with the ICO rise that, the biggest problem with it… We were lucky when we were doing our show, is that nobody had money. You’d make $150,000 if you did an ICO back in that day and you’re not going to spend it suing somebody for defamation. Whereas today, I think that that would be probably the blunt instrument of every single company that did an ICO and raised $150 million. Let’s advocate half a million bucks to suing every single person that said the word scam.
Peter McCormack: Do you think you would have got sued then?
Chris DeRose: Oh, certainly and another thing happens too is that the people that are intolerant will generally invent things that you did or they will label you with, that some bystander person would see and then attach to your name. So the degree to which you caused friction in the movement, is the degree to which you’re going to deal with unfounded claims in general. So we just kind of embraced it, which was great strategy that I think we did. But I was a registered sex offender. Still am, if anyone cares!
Peter McCormack: What?
Chris DeRose: Yeah, you can look this up. But if you’re explaining, you’re losing in many ways. So I just said go with it, if you want to say something outrageous about me, then fine. Tell all your friends, they’ll come out looking.
Junseth: We’re both heroin addicts. I’m a regular. That was the worst show we ever did by the way.
Peter McCormack: Hold up, are these jokes or these serious things?
Junseth: It doesn’t matter.
Chris DeRose: You piss somebody off, they’ll invent something and then it comes like the apple game. And before you know it, you’ve got like a woman looking at you like, “why did you rape so and so.” The point is that you ask people to evaluate claims and not people and so if you remove the person from the claim, it becomes very difficult for most humans, they can’t really wrap their minds around it.
They don’t know what to do. So you tell them you’re the worst person and now they have to evaluate the claim against, because you’re already the worst, but you’re making these claims and they’re listening to you and so you can’t be more discredible.
You dig a hole for yourself so deep that crawling out of it seems impossible and what you have is you have a bunch of people who are willing to jump in the mud with you and think that they’re superior to you. Then they get out of it and they realize they have shit all over them.
Peter McCormack: So I get that. I’ve been open and admitted I had a cocaine addiction at one point, quite a bad one. Like really, really bad.
Chris DeRose: I shouldn’t have made the joke about your kid!
Peter McCormack: It’s cool! Well, do you what the thing was? He Googled me recently and found so much, like people just being fucking mean. But also found me talking about this. So I had to explain it to him and actually it was fine.
Chris DeRose: Your soul is going to be inspected in the public.
Peter McCormack: I know but it’s cool. I get it. I’ve always been honest about it because I don’t have a problem with people doing drugs, but substance abuse is dangerous. I felt it, got away from it and then you know, you kind of forget about it.
Then I’m getting to this argument with Craig Wright and Kevin Pham’s going “he’s had a failed marriage. He was a substance abuser blah, blah blah” just using it as an attack vector and I don’t understand why you would ever use somebody who’s a recovering addict, use that as an attack vector against them.
Chris DeRose: Because he thought it was something you were ashamed of!
Junseth: You’re also not a person to him. You’re just a picture on the screen.
Peter McCormack: Yeah. But it’s such a degenerate thing to do.
Chris DeRose: Well that’s what he would say about your cocaine addiction. So the better thing is just…
Junseth: Are you surprised?
Peter McCormack: I’m not surprised, but what I’m saying is I’ve gone from a nobody in Bedford, a little town in England, nothing, to suddenly getting a lot of attention. So when you talked about fame, this isn’t me saying, before someone tweets out, “Pete McCormack said he’s famous,” I don’t I think I am. But what I’m saying is I recognize there’s an increased scrutiny on my work, more people are aware of me and there are more people who want to fuck with me.
Chris DeRose: The problem with fame is that you don’t get to decide whether you’re famous. You don’t. It’s just is or isn’t. With increased numbers of people knowing you, you have more people doing weird things, more people showing up and just crazies.
Junseth: You also have identity management issues that most people don’t have.
Chris DeRose: You have to have a home Peter and a public Peter.
Peter McCormack: Yeah but there’s not very much difference between those!
Junseth: Well in our case, it’s just easy as we just embraced the identities and fully lived them for the time of the show. This is one of the nice things about Bitcoin, if you were running for office, it’s terrible!
Peter McCormack: But I’m the idiot from Bedford and I’m cool with that. Do you know what, I don’t even like the word fame, just notoriety or awareness of your existence. It’s just that awareness and when you talk about that and you were aware it’s coming, I’m kind of in that place now, where some of it’s starting to happen.
I’ve complained a couple of times, in a hypocritical way. So I’ll be a troll and then complain about being trolled and then you get called a snowflake or whatever. But if the pressure’s there, it definitely exists. It’s hard work!
Junseth: And you have to decide what to degree you going to deal with it.
Chris DeRose: You have everything to lose, they have nothing to lose. It’s a very lopsided calculation.
Peter McCormack: Do you miss the show?
Chris DeRose: Yes and no. I miss the times, that’s for damn sure. I miss the show in many ways as a result of the times.
Junseth: They would have gotten us killed though.
Peter McCormack: A lot of people miss the show.
Junseth: We would go into dark alleys and chase down the worst people.
Chris DeRose: Yeah, no kidding. I mean I continued with that in many different ways and I’ve seen some crazy things. Some made it onto the show and some of it didn’t.
Peter McCormack: Like what? What’s a good…
Chris DeRose: Well going through south east Asia was an adventure there’s that. Charlottesville was an adventure, there’s that.
Peter McCormack: What happened in Charlottesville?
Junseth: Someone died. I was there for that. There was a big national event there.
Peter McCormack: Hold on. Is this to do with the Black Lives Matter thing?
Chris DeRose: Basically. The Unite The Right was like this…
Peter McCormack: It happened when you were there?
Chris DeRose: Well I saw Bitcoin kind of going in and out of the Daily Stormer at the time and I was like, “oh, this is a perfect story. Let’s see what’s going on with this.” Then I heard about that going on, when I started fishing those communities to see what the hell is going on. Then it kind of led me into this just all out brawl thing going on, which was at some level of Bitcoin exposure, perhaps like tangential to the main event, but it could have gotten weird for sure.
There was at one point in the video that I had from that event where this kid comes by and throws a smoking device, which I didn’t know what it was at the time and I just filmed it really for posterity. I was like, “okay, well that’s a bomb and it’s going to explode and I guess I might as well get it on film. Why not?” It wasn’t that far from me, fortunately it was just a smoke bomb, but that was kind of a frightening moment for me.
Junseth: There were so many things, we would go down to the Broward bus station and everyone was telling us that flakka would turn you into a zombie. So we went down there and found someone who had smoked flakka in front of us and interviewed him and we were just doing whatever we could for show. I mean like there’s things that we would do just to go see for ourselves. Apparently this thing turns you into a zombie, let’s go see if we get our faces eaten off!
Peter McCormack: It’s kind of Vice style what you’re doing there? It was more than just Bitcoin?
Junseth: Yeah, I think so.
Peter McCormack: I think Bitcoin does that though. People always say, “what are your favorite shows?” My Lynn Ulbricht one, or my sex workers one, all those kind of topics that are sisters of Bitcoin, but not about Bitcoin, I find interesting.
Chris DeRose: It’s Bitcoin intersectionalism. People don’t realize that Bitcoin has these intersections and for us drugs… People are getting fucking flakka into America. You think it’s like someone showing up with a bag of Dollars or do you think it’s probably Bitcoin? Because it’s probably Bitcoin!
Junseth: You also had the Panama papers. Every once in a while you see the news and I’m like, “well there’s Bitcoin leads somewhere there.”
Chris DeRose: Smells like Bitcoins! And then it comes out!
Peter McCormack: But it’s a super interesting area to go into.
Junseth: That’s where all of the interesting areas are. It’s also a big butthole and it smells and you’re not supposed to go and smell there. But we would.
Chris DeRose: Wherever the power really is in society is generally where things get dangerous or at least wherever the power is uncertain and it’s in contention.
Peter McCormack: Or where you can threaten power.
Chris DeRose: Exactly, right. That’s always where it’s going to be interesting.
Junseth: Or people are ignoring power.
Chris DeRose: If you can find that, that’s usually hard to find.
Junseth: But yeah, those are hard to find. That’s where a lot of the drug industry is. The whole thing was very… For me, I think Bitcoin Uncensored very much felt like an art project and I guess in terms of your question earlier about missing it, I think it ended when it needed to end.
Chris DeRose: I agree with that.
Junseth: I think the end of it was a signature on the show and it was the end of it.
Peter McCormack: So was there some weird self capitulation going on there?
Chris DeRose: I know we haven’t really talked about it, the whole thing was…
Peter McCormack: We don’t have to if you don’t want to!
Chris DeRose: … He and I had been in close social proximity for a long time and then I went one way and then he kind of went the other as a result of what was on the show. Without dredging all that up, I think that was probably a big part of the…
Peter McCormack: I mean how long did the show run for?
Junseth: Two years?
Peter McCormack: I mean you change as people during that period?
Chris DeRose: Oh yeah.
Peter McCormack: I had it when I had a company and you can be on the same mission on day one and you’re aligned and it’s fun, it’s crazy! Then it grows into this thing, but over time you change and then you’re suddenly not on the same page and things sometimes just end. I guess that’s why I won’t have a co-host because I don’t want to get there.
Junseth: I think that that’s absolutely fair. I think that’s true and I think for us, I mean at least for me, I felt like sort of the end was a nice time to sign the painting, if you will.
Peter McCormack: I still don’t think it’s been replaced though. We don’t have that healthy skepticism.
Chris DeRose: I don’t think you can, those times are done.
Junseth: It was a different time in Bitcoin. I think I am glad that the space opened up, that our leaving gave a lot of people their space. There’s a lot of good shows that have come out and I know that a lot of them have been inspired by BU.
I think that’s great and to the extent that those shows are inspired by BU, I’m honored to have a part of that and I’m also glad that it’s kind of a nice secret that maybe the old timers get to play with and remember and that some of the noobs don’t even know about. I enjoy being in conversations with noobs who ask me who the hell I am. I think that that’s great.
Chris DeRose: There’s like a cadence of the show that correlated with the timeline of Bitcoin. The apex of 2017 or something, of like ICO mania, really hit the top of a wave.
Peter McCormack: What was the final show? Do you remember?
Chris DeRose: I was in Thailand and I was probably in some like…
Junseth: … Probably an opium den!
Chris DeRose: Probably an an opium den! There really wasn’t a nice place I’m sure. I don’t remember! Who knows!
Peter McCormack: Well listen, I’m glad you came on. We’ve set a record as well. We’ve out done the Pomp show.
Chris DeRose: We can make it twice as long if you want Peter?
Peter McCormack: Well no we could, but I’m not like you guys, this is long for me! You see me doing my stretches now.
Junseth: He gave up his cocaine!
Peter McCormack: Plus do you know what, I think that’s a perfect ending to it. I think that’s a nice way to round it up. It’s great to meet you for the first time, we’ve spoken a bunch of times and that’s an evolving relationship you and I’ve had.
Chris DeRose: I love what you’re doing. I follow it and I think it’s wonderful.
Peter McCormack: Well I always appreciate your time, whenever I ask you something and you’ve been really patient with me as well at times, where I look back and think, “oh, what an idiot I’ve been.”
Chris DeRose: There’s no right answers, honestly! There’s just people trying their best.
Peter McCormack: But I get it. From all the people I’ve spoken to, I spoke to two people in advance of the show, they’re both super pumped about it, but gave me some really helpful advice into prep, which was great. I’m enjoying going back and listening to them. If you ever want to do this again, it would be an absolute pleasure. We can do this again whenever you guys want, but yeah, I just want to say a big thanks man!
Chris DeRose: Thank you.
Junseth: We should probably do the sign offs?
Chris DeRose: Why not?
Peter McCormack: What is that?
Chris DeRose: Do you want to lead it?
Junseth: Sure. This is Junseth chucking up the deuces to the south, the masses and the gold pieces and Catherine pray for us.