Peter McCormack: So this is kind of special having Caitlin, Trace and Tyler altogether. Obviously Trace and Caitlin have both been on the show before, everyone knows who they are. But they won’t know you as well Tyler, so can you just introduce yourself?
Tyler Lindholm: Yeah, so my name is Tyler Lindholm. I represent House District Number 1 in the state of Wyoming and been part of the Blockchain task force with Ms. Long and we obviously look to Mr Mayer quite a bit for his knowledge because he’s one of the old school guys in that scene.
Peter McCormack: All right, so something seems to be happening that’s quite different up here in Wyoming. It’s very exciting for me to see. It was very interesting to watch how you all interacted with each other, but also yesterday, I can’t remember his name, but the democratic guy, there doesn’t seem to be so much confrontation here. So what’s going on in Wyoming and how do you export this to the rest of the States?
Tyler Lindholm: I think state legislatures are probably your last bastion of liberty, or at least your last bastion of what the original intent of this experiment in democracy. So for us in the state of Wyoming, I mean there are several Democrats on the committee, we don’t do party lines. We don’t do that. Vote your morals, vote your policies, vote those types of things, we’re not going to stand just on a party side because some party boss says “you’ve got to vote this way”, that doesn’t happen in the state of Wyoming and hopefully it never does.
Peter McCormack: What are the key things you are working on here right now?
Caitlin Long: Thanks, Peter. I must say Tyler’s not tooting his horn enough, he’s the guy who really made it all happen at the Wyoming legislature and he’s a larger than life guy, wearing a larger than life cowboy hat right now and carries quite a physical presence. How tall are you, Tyler, 6ft 7?
Tyler Lindholm: Yeah 6ft 7, but without the hat though!
Caitlin Long: But hats off too, because of what you’ve pulled off and we really, just to use Trace’s phrase, we wanted to make the technology backwards compatible with the legal system and we’ve done everything we can to do that. Starting with the commercial law, the what I call the base layer of the legal system, which is the basic law governing transactions, we’ve acknowledged that peer-to-peer transactions involving Bitcoin and other crypto assets are legal in the state of Wyoming.
It’s actually a really grey area in other States and then we built from there. We have no tax on crypto assets here, utility tokens are defined as something distinct from securities, there’s a FinTech sandbox to allow innovators not to have to comply with all the crazy regulations and then we have the special on and off ramps to and from the fiat system back to the crypto system, which I hope 20 years from now aren’t necessary anymore. But right now for the growth of the crypto system, they’re actually pretty important.
Peter McCormack: And Trace, you’ve been lending a hand up here. What’s your involvement?
Trace Mayer: Yes, I’ve been involved in this for a long time. Caitlin and I, we’ve known each other for years, probably what, six years now? Been a mentor to her in a lot of ways with Bitcoin related stuff. Getting involved in public service, first off, why would you do it?! There can be a lot of brain damage! But I founded Armory because I wanted a technical fortress to protect my Bitcoins. Cold storage, we innovated that, hierarchically deterministic wallets, we innovated that, because before you used to back up a hundred private keys at a time.
So you might have burned through those inadvertently and then you didn’t have your keys backed up anymore. So building that fundamental like technological protection was very important to me, as a hodler of last resort. Well, what would laws look like that a hodler last resort wanted? That’s really what we’ve built at Wyoming. So we have a technical bastion and here in Wyoming we’re building a legal bastion to protect your digital assets. So we look at all the different attack surfaces, we look at all the different attack vectors and we try to pre-empt and protect and close any of those that we can.
For example, on my podcast, Bitcoin Knowledge, I interviewed Miles Cowen back in 2014 and we talked about the uniform commercial code in bankruptcy in Bitcoin in legal title and it gets really sticky, really fast. When you buy Bitcoins from Coinbase or from Kraken or anywhere else, are you actually getting clear legal title to them or not? In most cases you’re not. Even a bona fide purchaser, could be subordinated to one of these creditors, even if the bona fide purchaser has no idea that the creditor even exists. That’s a huge attack surface and attack vector in my opinion. So one of the areas that I specifically wanted to get into the law, that we did get into the law, is a lien cleansing provision.
So it cleanses any of these liens after two years, which is the Federal bankruptcy Statute of Limitations. So being able to participate in the public process in a way that you’re able to set up and protect yourself, because guess what, the legal system is totally bifurcated from the Bitcoin network. They don’t recognize each other. The Bitcoin network doesn’t recognize a judge’s opinion and a judge might not recognize the Bitcoin opinion and he might use whatever powers he has to coerce you, to interact with that Bitcoin network as he sees fit.
So let’s close a lot of those attack surfaces and attack vectors if we can. It’s taken a lot of work. Caitlin and Chris Land, the legislative attorney and I, we spent four hours on Christmas day working on SF125, which provides for a special purpose depository institution, a regulated bank with the banking commissioner. So this is very important stuff to me and as a hodler of last resort, I want to know that there are no attacks surfaces and attack vectors coming at my digital assets.
Peter McCormack: So one of the things that kind of stands out for someone like me and a lot of other people is that the US tends to be leading the way with regards to regulation. A lot of people are looking towards the US. Not always, but generally speaking. I’m taking a larger interest in how regulation works in the US. Tyler, I was checking out your website beforehand, very cool!
There’s some very interesting stuff there. I’ve written down some quotes I want to discuss with you, but you are a representative for the Wyoming House District 1. So what would be really useful probably for someone like me and some other people listening cause over half my audience is international, how does district versus state politics work and how does it differ? Because you obviously have an interest in representing your district, but also you have an interest in representing in the state.
Tyler Lindholm: So ultimately the way it really works out is, in the state of Wyoming, we’ve got two legislative bodies and every state in the US is like that except for Nebraska which is unicameral, but we won’t talk about Nebraska. So there’s two legislative bodies and for anything to become law, a law has to pass both chambers and then it’s got to be signed by the governor.
Peter McCormack: Is that the House and the Senate?
Tyler Lindholm: That’s correct.
Peter McCormack: Actually that was something I learned yesterday that I didn’t know. I just thought the House and the Senate was in Congress in DC. I didn’t realize it was pretty much every state.
Tyler Lindholm: Yeah, it’s pretty much every state. Some other States call them something else, like for instance Virginia is the Assembly, instead of the House of Representatives, they have their Assembly. So just different names, but still the same premise.
So when it comes down to what we’re doing, I have to represent my district and their interests, but ultimately their districts, they’re akin to what’s going on in the rest of the state. So while I might bring legislation that benefits my district, I have to hope that the other representatives will see that that interest, by voting for that, they are protecting their citizens, their voters interests also. So it’s kind of one of those precarious ballot balances and it seems to work.
Peter McCormack: You don’t have district-based laws though?
Tyler Lindholm: No, there’s no district-based laws.
Peter McCormack: Okay and also you are the Majority House Whip, can you just explain what that means?
Tyler Lindholm: Right, so what that means is I’m essentially fourth in leadership in the Wyoming house and traditionally in Congress, that means the whip goes around and makes sure everybody’s going to vote the right way, vote the party way. That’s not what I do, just because that’s not the way Wyoming works.
Essentially, my responsibility is to the majority caucus in the state of Wyoming, which is the Republican party, is I’ll find out if we’ve got a controversial bill, the Speaker’s a little worried about and he’s like, “where are we vote wise on this? Can you just poll people, see where they’re at?” If it doesn’t have enough votes to pass, there’s no reason to expose everybody to that and then there’s also no reason to waste everybody’s time. So I’ll just go find out where everybody’s at and we kill a lot of bills that way.
Peter McCormack: How much deal making goes on and how realistic is it? So my biggest exposure is watching somebody like House of Cards, where there seems to be lots of deal making. Now I know that’s a drama and I understand that, but is it also realistic?
Tyler Lindholm: Sure, absolutely. One of my favorite stories about the founding of this country is, at the time our country was in its infancy…
Peter McCormack: Just after you kicked us out?
Tyler Lindholm: I wasn’t going to say that, but yeah!
Peter McCormack: By the way, the tea here is still terrible!
Tyler Lindholm: It probably is, it’s never been the same. One of the interesting that happened is, when our country was first in its infancy and Thomas Jefferson was a Secretary of State. Alexander Hamilton was a Secretary of the Treasury and George Washington was the President, there was this whole shake up. Jefferson and Madison, they both hated Hamilton, Hamilton was this firebrand of a character and Hamilton wanted to assume the state’s debt on the Federal government from the Wars. So states like Virginia were pushing back because they’re farmers, they had all the money in the world, whilst states like New York were broke from the war.
So what ended up happening is Hamilton wanted to pass a Whisky Tax. So that meant that a tax was going to be collected on mostly agrarian individuals, that’s who produced whiskey at the time, and so Jefferson and Madison were venomously against this. They were not going to go forward with that, but they did want something. What they wanted was they wanted to be a little closer to home, they wanted to be in Virginia.
At the time, the capital was New York and that’s a pretty good haul for somebody that’s the Secretary of State to have to travel all the way to New York. So the story goes, they sat down at a bar one night and worked out a hell of a deal, where they changed the capital of the United States to this unknown place called Washington DC, that’s on the border of Virginia and then miraculously the Whisky Tax passed.
That was actually, surprisingly enough, the first time that the Federal government decided to rundown US citizens and kill them because of the Whisky Tax rebellion took off shortly after the Whisky Tax was passed and Hamilton and President Washington at the time, ended up putting down an uprising of US citizens over the Whisky Tax. So it’s pretty normal for a lot of folks to talk on the side and to essentially work out issues on the side, that’s democracy itself. As long as it doesn’t get too rampant, then it’s not an issue. I’d say that boat has sailed in Washington though.
Trace Mayer: Yeah, another interesting point here Peter, that might be unknown to a lot of the international listeners is just the way the US is set up. So the states are actually sovereign and they created the Federal government and then the Federal government is also sovereign. So Article Three of the US Constitution sets up, if there’s a dispute between a state and the Federal government, it goes to the US Supreme court. Well, each of the states also have their own Supreme courts and under the US constitution, it’s premised on limited powers.
So powers have to be expressly delegated to the Federal government, which is done in Article One, Section Eight. Then also in Article One, Section 10, the states are restricted in some of the things they can do. For example, the Federal government has no power to make anything legal tender, the states can make stuff legal tender because that comes under their area, which is property rights and remedies and torts and stuff like that.
But if they make anything legal tender, it can only be gold and silver under Article One, Section 10, Clause One. Now when something is done in an unconstitutional way at the Federal government level, often the courts won’t get involved if it’s a political question, which is the case when it comes to Federal reserve notes being legal tender. But putting that aside, what we find is that the states can also assert powers of nullification.
So if the Federal government does something and the states are like, “that’s against the constitution”, the state of Wyoming or the state of California can be like, “look, we’re going to nullify that.” So that law is not of any effect, which California and marijuana, Colorado and marijuana, this nullification power is not used very often, but it is a very big power that the states have. There is an issue of whether they can actually enforce that, Abraham Lincoln kind of came on the scene with that!
But these powers not expressly delegated to the Federal government, under the 10th amendment, they’re reserved to the states or to the people themselves. Then we also have other clauses like the Interstate Commerce Clause. But the US Supreme court in many ways has either broadened or narrowed the way that these clauses apply. For example, in the mid 30s, under the new deal legislation under Wickard, it was held that a guy growing wheat on his own land for his own consumption affected interstate commerce because he wasn’t buying wheat on the open market.
Therefore, the Federal government had the jurisdiction or the ability to impose these different regulations on wheat. One interesting thing about the Trump administration, particularly with Gorsuch and Kavanaugh being put on the court, is that their opinions seem to be that they’ll either side with the liberal side of the court or the conservative side of the court, in a way that they’re cutting just massive amounts of this precedent that has expanded Federal government power.
As soon as Ginsburg passes away in the not too distant future, I mean she is 86, so just looking at the actuarial tables and Trump puts on a new Justice to replace her seat, then the Supreme court is going to move in an even more rapid way to that type of a jurisdiction. Now this gets very interesting because look at the state of Texas, for example. Kyle Bass wanted to move $1 billion of physical gold in the Texas pension fund, to the state of Texas.
The state of Texas needed to be an attractive jurisdiction in order to have that and so the Texas legislature passed in law that any confiscation order by any entity, not the state of Texas, shall be void ab initio and have no force in effect. So when FDR issued executive order 6102 to confiscate American’s gold, the state of Texas has legislation in place now, that says that is of no force in effect.
So Tyler for example, when we were working on some of this stuff, he was like, “well what’s some stuff that you’d like to see, make its way into law?” I was like, “you know what would be really cool, is if we could pass a type of law that makes any type of confiscation order, not from any entity besides the state of Wyoming, that confiscates digital assets to be void ab initio and have no force in effect.” If we got that type of protection by a sovereign entity like Wyoming, that could be a huge advancement in terms of the attack surface and the attack vectors that get closed by the legal laws that we get passed here.
Caitlin Long: Yeah and on that line, we actually passed through the task force today, it’s not law yet as it still has to go through the legislative process, two bills that I think developers in particular and hodlers are going to love. One of which actually addresses what Trace was just talking about, which is that anyone in the state of Wyoming cannot be compelled in a criminal or civil or administrative or legislative hearing or any other proceeding to disclose your private keys.
You can be forced in a divorce settlement to deliver the assets, but you cannot be ever in the state of Wyoming compelled to disclose your private keys. Then the other is a protection for developers, people who write open source code. We don’t want to give the developers complete immunity because there are of course developers who write malicious code, but what we did pass this morning was a bill that says that developers cannot be criminally prosecuted solely for having written code, it’s how someone uses the code and you can’t be liable for somebody else using the code that you wrote maliciously either.
So those are two really important attack factors that we hope to be able to close down, but it just goes to show you that we’re looking at every way that we can possibly remove obstacles for this industry. One of my good friends said, “your job is to fix the red flag laws” and the red flag laws refer back to the UK, which put in these laws that said, “when the automobile came out, people are going to die, pedestrians are going to get run over” and you literally had to have three people with every automobile!
There was an engineer and a steerer who drove the car and somebody who walked in front of it 10 feet waving a red flag warning the pedestrians that the car was coming. Well guess what? Unfortunately, that series of laws caused the UK to lose its advantage in automobile production. The UK actually was ahead of the United States even though the automobile was invented in the United States.
So it’s a perfect example to show that we have got to tear down bad laws when they do exist and that’s why Tyler’s just been so amazing here in Wyoming and Senator Ogden Driscoll and the posse that you’ve put together, because you guys have the power to pull this off, they’re all pretty senior in the legislature. So when we need a bill to make sure that it gets advanced on the agenda, if we might be running out of time and it needs to skip the line, we’ve been able to do that because these guys have been so committed to giving this industry a legal home.
Trace Mayer: Yeah and we shouldn’t understate just how important having protections like this are. For example, let’s say that you pranced around claiming that you were Satoshi and then a judge issued an order saying that you had to deliver 500,000 Bitcoins. Well, there’s a string of cases that are offshore asset protection trust cases that intersect with bankruptcy law and section 526 of the bankruptcy code, which gives the judge contempt power.
In some of these cases, for example this guy had wired money to an offshore asset protection trust and then the judge said, “hey, you need to wire it back” and he said, “well, I don’t have the general powers of appointment to do that and therefore I can’t.” Do you know what the judge did? He held him in contempt of court, threw him in jail for 14 years, he wasn’t able to challenge his detention and the only reason he got out of the pokey is because a new judge got assigned to the case, because the previous judge retired and the new judge was like, “well, I don’t think the course of effect is accomplishing what we want.
So you do not want to get thrown in the pokey under contempt of court when a judge thinks that you have Bitcoin private keys or digital asset private keys and you don’t have those keys, because you could end up staying there forever and not be able to challenge your detention.
Peter McCormack: I can think of somebody I’d like that to happen too.
Trace Mayer: It would be a very bad precedent, even if that happened to him.
Peter McCormack: These red flag laws, I’ve heard this been raised recently with regards to the debates over gun laws, and actually that’s a very interesting area for myself personally. So let’s go back a step. I don’t think a lot of people, especially in the UK, really understand conservatism. They will often judge it based on kind of limited facts or certain people like Trump or George Bush etc, but they won’t actually fully understand it. I don’t myself, but the more time I’ve spent in the US, the more I have come to understand it.
So I’ve gone from being a very liberal left wing person, now to considering myself someone semi-conservative. I now understand guns a lot more, I respect them more, I’ve shot a gun now and actually I think I would probably, if I had to put myself anywhere, align myself with you Tyler and align myself as a libertarian conservative. So I’ve heard about these red flag laws with regard to the gun debate. I have just covered guns, so it’d be good if you could just comment on that as well.
Tyler Lindholm: So when we’re talking about red flag gun laws, the premise behind them comes from the fact that there are mentally ill people in this world. So what red flag gun laws allow for, is if someone calls in and says… For instance, if Trace were to call in, if we had red flag gun laws here in Wyoming, he would call the Sheriff’s department or whoever, any authority in the state of Wyoming and said, “Tyler is a whack job.” Now Trace is not a doctor, but just the same, he said something about Tyler being loose or what have you.
If the right order was given and they were concerned enough at that point, the authorities would show up for my guns. The reason why that is just a complete bastardization of our laws and our constitution in the United States, has to do with the fact that we’re innocent until proven guilty. So if they can take my property without ever convicting me of a crime and the only way I get my property back is by stepping forward and proving that I’m not insane, then that is no longer innocent until proven guilty, that is guilty until proven innocent. They do so in the name of safety.
Safety and security are probably the two most evil words that I can think of in the last 20 years that government has used to subject and to erode natural rights, because that’s what we’re talking about. It is a constitutional right that is enshrined in our Constitution, but even without the Constitution, it is a natural right and this is the part that kind of hurts my heart about Canada and the UK is that you guys don’t have Second Amendment rights.
But that’s a piece of paper, you have natural rights, you’re a human being, you have the right to self defense. So for your listeners abroad, for us in the United States, we scratch our head that a piece of paper is going to restrict you, because the reality of the situation, is the Second Amendment wasn’t written and natural rights weren’t given from our creator. I’m a believer in a creator, but those rights weren’t given solely so a governmental entity could take them away. Those rights were given so you could shoot your government in the face if a tyrannical government or somebody were to threaten you.
It’s the right to defense and so these red flag gun laws are just a bastardization of our Constitution. So I really push back against those. They do them in the name of safety and security and everybody feels better about it, but what does it really accomplish? It’s been proven to not accomplish anything, unless you consider Illinois to be a success story in regards to gun homicides and they’re not, they’re the worst in the nation.
Yet they’ve had these in place and in fact, they’ve got the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, and yet they top the charts as far as gun homicides. It actually has more to do with gang crime versus gun crime, but correlation is not always causation in some politicians minds.
Caitlin Long: As Tyler said, it’s about the relative power of the governed and the governors. Every time in history where people have been disarmed, that relative power balance changes and atrocities begin. That’s one of the reasons why the US I think has been as successful as it is. There’s a reason why the Second Amendment is number 2 on the list. It’s right behind the First Amendment, which is freedom of speech press and assembly. Number 2 is what guarantees number 1.
Trace Mayer: Yeah and along with that, no amount of violence is going to solve a math problem and math is what has lifted us out of the swamps to the stars, when you think about it. One of the great things about the freedom of speech and about math and about cryptography, is that the US Supreme court has already upheld cryptography as freedom of speech. The amount of liberty that you get, is directly proportional to the amount of protection that you can acquire for yourself and with cryptography and specifically with Bitcoin itself, as being a form of digital property rights enforced by cryptography and not by legal rights, you’re able to acquire protection at a much lower cost.
The return on investment from somebody who is attempting to engage in extortion is negative in pretty much all the cases. So we’re able to use Bitcoin and wield it as a weapon of self defense of our property, protecting it against confiscation through inflation, which is a form of taxation without representation, without due process of law, because it’s the hardest money and it’s the hardest asset that’s ever been created. We’re able to secure it with free open source software.
There are no account fees for your Bitcoin, there are no negative interest rates that get attached to your bank accounts, there’s no automatic bailout or bail-in that gets done. This is the hardest asset ever created and so you’re able to secure protection at a much lower cost. As a result, and it being politically independent, capital is going to flee to it, because anywhere where the property rights are not very solid and not very trusted, that capital will prefer to be in something like Bitcoin instead of in some piece of land in Africa or Peru where you don’t even have proper legal title and even if you do, how well is that being enforced?
So the capital is going to flee into places where the holders of that capital are able to secure the protection at the lowest possible price. So there we have it, the First Amendment and the Second Amendment playing very well with each other in this digital age.
Peter McCormack: I definitely have Constitution envy the more I’ve learned about it and my experience of seeing how much people defend it, how important it is… Actually it’s very unusual spending so much time here and it’s a real shift in mindset to spending time with people who seem to have a lot more, how am I going to put this? I think in the UK we rely on the state and we believe in the state a lot more. I think out here in the US, certainly in places like Wyoming, they believe in the individual a lot more and the self-governance.
I think that’s helped me appreciate the culture a bit more and I’m going to ask you a bit more about this at Tyler. So I’ve got a quote from your website. You put, “unfortunately not all Wyoming’s current laws allow citizens to fully enjoy their most basic freedoms promised in the Bill of Rights.” So can you give me the big picture of what you’re doing here and what your goal is?
Because you talk about less government and the radical libertarians want no government, the anarchists of this world, which I don’t believe in actually, but obviously you have to be in government to reduce government. So can you talk me through the big picture of what you’re doing and then tell me how people like Caitlin and Trace are helping you?
Tyler Lindholm: Sure, that’s a great question, which I should note that my website is woefully out of date! I don’t even think I’ve got on there that we’ve actually passed all these Bitcoin and Blockchain ideas that I had back in the day where I typed a little bit about it. So when we’re talking about the erosion of rights and how to successfully enhance those, I really started when I… Anybody that gets involved with politics, myself included and anybody that I’ll ever support in politics, has to be mad. Those are the people that I want.
I want people that have got an axe to grind, they’re pissed about something, regardless of the fact that they’re a Democrat and they’re pissed that they didn’t get their check on time or something from the government, at least they’ve got an axe to grind, at least they’ve got a reason to be there. We see that a lot in the state and I think this happens all over the world, where people are allowed to get in these positions and people are allowed to pass laws, just because they want to be there for the power, versus they want to be there to fix something.
So when I first got involved, I was super pissed about the fact that in the state of Wyoming, I couldn’t sell my neighbor a pie, I couldn’t sell them a dozen eggs, I couldn’t sell them any of those things. Like honestly, in the state of Wyoming up until 2015, it was illegal for me to sell you a lemon meringue pie, which is crazy! If you think about that, I mean it’s kind of a basic principle and maybe there’s going to be some people giggling right now, but how big is our government? How much has our individual rights been eroded, if we can’t sell each other a lemon meringue pie? I mean that’s a basic fundamental, lemon meringue pie is delicious!
Peter McCormack: Why couldn’t you?
Tyler Lindholm: So the reason was because of the nanny state, this ideology that if you didn’t buy something that had been inspected by some federal agency, you were going to get poisoned. As it turns out that’s a crazy broken fallacy of an ideology. So what we did in those state of Wyoming in 2015 when I was first elected, I ran on this premise, I was going to run the Wyoming Food Freedom Act and we were going to completely set free our producers so they could sell food directly to consumers and we went after some crazy stuff.
We did raw milk, we did kombucha, Wyoming has better laws in regards to aged cheese, and more freedom in regards to aged cheese than France and France is known for their cheese! But their laws suck! So in Wyoming, we said no licensing, no labelling, none of that. As long as you’re not poisoning someone, the state has no interest whatsoever. So we put that into place and I know this sounds crazy, but it was revolutionary in regards to how the state involves itself and commerce.
There was a lot of people… Listen, my first go around with this deal, I had articles being written in the state paper about how I was going to poison children. These big nanny stators were just terrified, “Tyler Lindholm is going to kill your children!”
Trace Mayer: That’s the Roger Ver argument!
Tyler Lindholm: I mean, that was it, right? So thankfully the legislators said, “nah, I don’t think he’s going to kill your children.” So we passed it into law and now here we are, four years later and the Wyoming Food Freedom Act has spread like a foodborne illness to other states. I should probably not use that! We have had zero foodborne illness outbreaks. Other states have adopted this, North Dakota, South Dakota has looked at and unfortunately they haven’t got it done, Utah, Colorado, Maine, these States have adopted this law and none of these states have had a foodborne illness outbreak from these small producers.
The reason why is small producers and small business is self-regulating. Whereas the big problem, where you’ve got your USDA inspections being done, and not to say USDA inspections are at fault, it’s just there’s so much that has to go through an inspection process, as there is so much food! Big business has a problem with large amounts of food, as there’s no way you can inspect it all. So you constantly hear about these situations that crop up where there’s some romaine lettuce that comes out of out of Mexico where folks get poisoned and people die.
So small business self regulates and we saw a lot of success with that. I passed that in my first term and then I was like, “well shit, what do I do now?” I guess I’m going to vote on some good gun laws! No, just joking. So I mean just really expanded from there, as far as what can we do to reduce the state interaction in our lives and to allow more liberty to be there, more of that self-interaction, that self-responsibility and to let natural rights actually thrive. In the state of Wyoming, we’ve really made some headway over the last several years, but we’ve passed some bad laws too. Some stuff that I definitely regret that they passed.
Peter McCormack: For example?
Tyler Lindholm: I think probably the worst law we’ve passed in quite a while would be how much we spend on our schools and it’s not because I’m anti school or anything like that. We passed a law last year that took our school funding and shoved it into a bunch of different pots, because we’ve got a deficit in our school funding.
So in my opinion, I know that doesn’t probably sound very sexy, it’s not like a liberty issue, but when you’re talking about billions of dollars and accountability and transparency in government, it’s much easier to tell how much you owe when it’s in one spot, versus 20 different spots or something like that, as far as 20 different funds.
So I think that’s probably the worst one we’ve passed in quite a while, but the list goes on. I mean there are hundreds of bills every session that go into law. Some have unintended consequences. We’ve had to go back and fix some things multiple times. We’ve been sued over laws before too.
Peter McCormack: Yeah and I did notice that on your website, you see your voting record, for example. I was actually amazed how many things you’re voting on. So in the process of trying to create less government, you’re still having to have so many things to vote on, so many laws! Is there any way of having a step change where you could significantly reduce the number of laws?
Are there specific areas where you think we really should just like… I don’t know, because I don’t understand how it works out here, but any specific areas you think we could fundamentally change things or reduce the government budget, therefore reduce taxes.
Tyler Lindholm: An area that I’m really going to hunker down on now and I’m really bullish on this, I think it’s a really super good opportunity and when I get my teeth in something, I really geek out on it! I mean that’s probably been one of the biggest regrets for my wife over the last couple of years, is while she’s going to sleep, I’m sitting there reading some type of FinTech article or reading regulations in regard to the Federal Reserve or something like that!
Peter McCormack: Listening to a podcast? Trace’s maybe?
Tyler Lindholm: Yeah! So the one area that I’m really super bullish on, is in regards to occupational licensure. I think that can be one of the biggest ways that we can free up economic activity in the state of Wyoming and at the same time reduce the size and scope of government. I mean, for instance, an occupational licensure in the state of Wyoming and in all States across the United States, we’ve got a barbering board, a board of barbers that get together and decide who can be a barber in the state. It’s absolutely ridiculous! It is crazy! The reason why they’ve got that in place is because it’s dangerous.
Somebody that doesn’t know what they’re doing in regards to barbering could hurt someone and absolutely they’re right. Does that require the state to license them though? My answer is no. Freedom and economics can clearly handle that unto itself. If you give someone a bad shave and they get an infection on their face, it’s quickly going to spread that they’re a garbage barber and you’re not going to go back there.
Trace Mayer: Yeah and this is an important point. We want safe interactions and stuff to happen, but government is, on its face, not the right entity in order to be able to do this. We’d be much better off with things like Amazon reviews or Yelp. What I’d submit as part of the argument for that, is that the government already has a monopoly on the management and administration of roads and highways. We have 50,000 to 60,000 people a year die on American roads and highways. If we had 50,000 to 60,000 people a year die flying on Delta or Southwest, there would be outrage.
But for whatever reason, we just shrug our shoulders and sacrifice all these people to the road Gods! If the roads and highways were privatized and we didn’t have sovereign immunity in lawsuits, where there’s a bad action or negligence or something on the part of an administrator, if it’s the government, you can’t sue them and you can’t hold them accountable. Private companies that were operating roads in this type of a negligent way would be driven out of business. So if we had privatized roads and highways, we would have maybe 8,000 to 12,000 people a year die on the roads, based on the Walter Block in his book on privatizing roads and highways.
So the argument that the government is the right entity to be looking out for people’s safety and welfare, is just wrong on its face. Every year we’re sacrificing an unnecessary 40,000 people to the road Gods, that sit in the department of transportation or wherever. So if we really were compassionate and we really did care about people and wanting to help them be safe and stuff, that’s what we would be attacking, would be the privatization of the roads and highways and getting that out of what the federal government and the state governments are in charge of. I mean it’s really crazy when you think about it in terms of the size and scale and the number of people that die unnecessarily.
I’ve had at least five people that have died on the roads and highways, close friends or whatever, four of them should be alive today. That’s how serious it is. Yet we trust them, as Tyler brought up, to help us be safe, getting a shave or getting our hair cut. They can’t even keep us safe on the roads! Why don’t we have Yelp or like when we do Google maps, why doesn’t it show us like how dangerous this particular route is? Why are they able to pass a different legislation that makes it illegal to disclose how many accidents happen at different areas, so that we know where to avoid.
Of course in typical bureaucratic fashion, they don’t actually act or do anything until something has happened. So they’re not going to put that stoplight in, because it’s going to cost extra in the budget. So they’re going to wait for 1, 2, 3, 5, 10 people to die before they put in that stoplight, because they’re being held accountable, not to the market, but instead to bureaucratic incentives. So it’s just a travesty anyway, it’s one of my pet peeves, the roads and the highways!
Peter McCormack: Caitlin, with Wyoming, is it similar to the fact that I’m the rebel, crazy, youngest child in my family, is Wyoming that for America?
Caitlin Long: Yeah, it is one of the younger states within the United States and it has this history. Actually, there’s a great history, Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote and like so many things in life, it’s not black and white. It was actually because they didn’t have enough people here and so in order to apply for statehood, they had to have enough people and actually it turned out that the legislature gave women the right to vote and checked the box and then tried to take it back.
Believe it or not, it actually passed one of the houses of the legislature and then the governor threatened to veto it and it failed by one vote, short of a veto proof majority. It was that close, they tried to take it back. So it wasn’t because the Wyomingites of that time had pure morals, they were being pragmatic and they wanted statehood! So there’s a lot of that in history where frankly there are trade-offs and I think in the crypto sphere, there are some critics, I know there are some critics of what Wyoming is doing, because they’re saying, “wait a minute, you’re setting up a new financial institution. Why the hell are you setting up a new type of financial institution for?
Code is law, we don’t need any of this.” The truth is we are making some pragmatic trade-offs on the bridging of the two systems and I’m adamant that getting a special purpose depository institution, that’s 100% reserve, that does have access to the Federal Reserve payment system, is actually going to be a really important boost to the crypto system broadly. Like I said, in 20 years, I hope we don’t need it anymore, but I think it’s going to accelerate adoption to have it. But am I making a trade off? Yeah! The purists obviously think that this is a waste and think we shouldn’t be doing it.
Peter McCormack: Why is it in Wyoming you’re able to seemingly pass these laws and move things forward so effectively, where other States don’t? Actually I think I overheard somebody say at dinner last night, “well I couldn’t do this in DC!” So what is going on here? As an outsider, what it seems me with politics in the US, is that it’s much more left/right divide.
We have a bit more middle ground in the UK, but it seems like some people, it doesn’t matter who the candidate is, they will vote Republican and doesn’t matter who the candidate is, they’ll vote Democrats. Then if there is a vote in, again I might get some of this wrong, but say Congress, it seems to be that everyone will stick and vote party line. There’s very little bipartisan support for ideas. What’s going on differently in Wyoming?
Tyler Lindholm: Yeah, other states suck.
Peter McCormack: Okay cool! But is this coming down to how you as an individual have approached things differently in your dealing with people or is this a cultural thing in Wyoming?
Tyler Lindholm: Yeah, it’s totally a cultural thing. I’m just a product of this great state. I was raised in Wyoming and this is my home, this is where I’m raising my children and they’re products of this state. It’s like the whole gun debate. You look at states like Illinois who have all these gun problems and all these gun homicides and they’re trying to solve it with their laws and bans and bans and bans and yet their gun homicide rate stays ever growing higher and higher. One of the least gun homicide rate states in the nation is Wyoming and yet we don’t have these problems of gun laws.
Caitlin Long: Everybody’s armed!
Tyler Lindholm: Well to that point, an armed society is a polite society, because if grandma’s got a handgun and you don’t know that she’s got a handgun in her purse versus in Illinois, you know grandma ain’t got a handgun.
Peter McCormack: We’re quite polite in the UK. I consider myself quite polite. But actually we’ve got a knife problem, a terrible knife problem!
Tyler Lindholm: I think the UK… Actually didn’t they ban like pointed knives to try and stop that?
Peter McCormack: There was a certain one and they’ve got certain restrictions. But I’m like if you want to get a knife you can get a knife.
Tyler Lindholm: That’s the point with guns, right? If you want to get a gun, you can 3-D print guns now! So back to the ideology of the state of Wyoming and why we’re able to get things done here in such a quick fashion, it also has to do with the fact that we’re hungry for a new economy to move into the state of Wyoming. We’re not broke, we’ve got one of the largest sovereign trust funds in the nation and we’ve done a good job of saving our money. But at the same time, we want to attract new business to this state and we’re also just a different type of crowd than other places.
Peter McCormack: Are other States looking at you though with interest? Do other politicians from other states call you and say, “how are you doing things?” Is this starting some kind of change in politics?
Tyler Lindholm: Yeah, I tell him “no, I’m not going to help them” and I really won’t. I’ll lend some advice like, “hey, maybe you should start with like this one or this one. These are kind of the easier ones to get gone with.” So I’ll lend a little bit of advice like that, but I’m not going to help somebody jump through hurdles. I’ve had multiple states outraged and say, “hey, we really need you to walk this down for us.” I’m not going to do that because I don’t live in those other States.
It’s not Wyoming, it’s not my home. I ride for the brand and I ride for Wyoming. It’s all about bringing the businesses here, so when California calls and they’re like, “hey, I’m really interested in this ICO bill, would you mind explaining it?” No, I’m not going to do that. Now I will say, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, I’ll lend those guys a little bit more of a hand. But they’re Western States and they’re a little bit more like Wyoming.
Peter McCormack: Well we’ve got the hackathon starting soon, so there’s a couple of areas I just want to finish on. The first one I want to ask you about, interestingly I came from Denver and in Denver they are very liberal cannabis laws now. My belief is Wyoming doesn’t have those yet. Is there a push? What is the situation in Wyoming? It seems like the majority of the US now has become a lot more liberal with regards to cannabis. What’s the situation here?
Tyler Lindholm: Super good question. Wyoming is very conservative in this regard, and that means not what it should mean. So they’re conservative in the regard that they just want to stick with the laws they got, which is a misdemeanour for certain amounts, felony for another amount, they will literally put you in a cage. So my best advice to your listeners is, if you have marijuana, don’t bring it to Wyoming because they will put you in a cage for it.
That’s an area that I’ve tried to reform in the past and I’m going to keep trying to reform because I do not believe that we should put people in cages for something that they’re doing to themselves. When it comes to marijuana, I don’t think that’s a just law. I think that’s a garbage ideology. I would say that that’s a growing aspect in the state of Wyoming to look more towards, not legalization, but look towards decriminalization as a methodology to handle the marijuana situation
Because ultimately, you look at Colorado, their black market has grown because their taxes are so high on the legally grown marijuana, that people can actually make money on the side by growing a couple of plants at home and then just selling it to their neighbor. In the state of Wyoming, I hope we don’t make that mistake to go for a legalization case, I know Caitlin disagrees with me a little bit on this one, but I’m not a legalization guy because I’m really certain that the state will screw it up.
Trace Mayer: Another point that I think is important here are just the economics and the macro picture of what’s going on. We’ve kind of talked on this, good fences make good neighbors, you brand the cows, you know whose cows are whose, leave me alone don’t touch my stuff, that’s a very libertarian ideology and a lot of Wyoming kind of adheres to that. But when we’re talking about putting people in a cage for something they’re doing to themselves, who’s going to pay for it?
We’re talking about a complete sea change with the hardest strictest money ever. You’re not going to be able to just print more of it, in order to fund your pet project to put people in a cage for doing something that you might not necessarily agree with. So I think that the economics, as we move further into this digital age with these types of assets like Bitcoin, it’s going to just cause people to retrench on what they’re willing to spend money on, because it’s going to be a lot harder to get the money in order to spend it, because you can’t just confiscate it through inflation, which is a form of taxation without representation and no due process of law.
You’re going to actually have to follow due process of law, you’re going to have to go get the resources from the people, the people are going to be hodling their resources a whole lot more, because of how it changes culture because of time preference. All of this is going to change a lot of just how we all interact with each other and I think we’re going to see a lot less of these laws that nobody really wants to pay for, but just got on the books. I mean really if your W2 or your wage had it a line item tax there, like “marijuana jail tax”, $15 every pay period, you’d be like, “you know maybe we can just get rid of that line item!”
Peter McCormack: Well that was the great thing with my interview with Erik the other day. Whilst I’ve heard repeatedly about the hyperbitcoinization, separation of money and state, he actually walked me through the process. He said, “as people use Bitcoin more, as Bitcoin grows, it’s going to be become more of a regular used currency.
Now the state might be able to tax it, but if they need more Bitcoin because they want to create missiles, because they want to go to war, they’re not going to be able to do that, like they historically can with fiat money.” Now obviously it might be something that never happens or happens over multiple years, but to be walked through that as a way of restricting the government to spend money on the things that they should be, I thought it was really interesting.
Trace Mayer: Yeah, this is part of why the founders put the legal tender and monetary provisions in the Constitution. They aren’t just barbarous relics, they’re essential checks and balances in the political machinery. They belong in the same places as Constitutions and Bills of Right. So when you take that power of the purse, invest it with the individual and then the state has to go and get the funds from the individual and when you change the economics of violence around that, because you make securing protection of those resources much easier and at a much lower cost, that begins to change all of this stuff, because the individual is the one with the resources.
One, you have to somehow get those funds out of them, but then it also results in a much stricter power over the purse that the legislatures get, because they’re getting voted in. Think about it, it costs $60,000 a year to house a criminal, if you put $60,000 into Bitcoin six years ago, I mean look at the opportunity cost. I mean how many schools could we have funded? There’s opportunity costs of putting people in a cage, you could fund schools. So it’s going to be changing a lot of stuff just through the sheer economics of it.
Peter McCormack: Tyler, is there any Bitcoin in the sovereign wealth fund of Wyoming?
Tyler Lindholm: No! I’ve had a lot of people ask me, “when are you going to mandate that the state treasurer has to buy Bitcoin?” I’m like, “you ever seen me be a mandate kind of guy?!”
Peter McCormack: So let me ask you something else with regards to Bitcoin, because it is a Bitcoin show and we are about to close out. Who first introduced you to it? Was it Caitlin?
Tyler Lindholm: No, so I actually learned about it on the Ron Paul forums and first started learning about it.
Peter McCormack: Did it just click straight away?
Tyler Lindholm: Yeah, a little bit. At the time when I first learned about it, I was more of a gold standard kind of guy. So it was one of those aspects that you kind of have got to wrap your head around. By the time I was first elected, I had it and I ran my first Bitcoin bill in 2016 and boy have times change. I got just housed when I ran that bill! I took it into the minerals committee, which at the time was full of mostly people over the age of 60 and I didn’t even make it out of committee with that bill.
The division of banking showed up and just talked about all the fraud and all of these horrible things. My relationship with the division of banking didn’t start out so good. But we’re in a different place now! So now the division of banking is loving it, they’re exceedingly pro, they’re working with us to try and attract these businesses, they’re awesome and I don’t have problems with these bills anymore getting through the committee or on the floor.
Peter McCormack: All right, to close out, and it’s probably a question for all three of you, but we’ll start with you Caitlin, what are the most important things that are happening with regards to regulations, specifically with Bitcoin? I’m not too worried about Blockchain myself, but with regards to Bitcoin, what’s the most important things happening? What are you working at?
Caitlin Long: Well, the most important thing that should be happening is tax clarification in the US at the Federal level. The States can only do so much on that and we’ve already done everything we can do in Wyoming, which is say, there’s no state level tax on crypto, period.
Tyler Lindholm: I think the biggest thing right now for me in the Bitcoin space is ensuring that it is too expensive to domicile your business anywhere but Wyoming. So you have to move your business to the state of Wyoming and that’s ultimately my goal, it’s all about economic development. If your business isn’t domiciled in Wyoming yet, you suck too!
Peter McCormack: And that’s by reducing tax, by reducing government?
Tyler Lindholm: Exactly!
Peter McCormack: And you Trace?
Trace Mayer: Yeah, I think bigger picture, what we’re talking about here is that Wyoming’s effectively selling sovereignty. They’re selling property rights, they’re selling criminal procedure rights, things like that and that’s been a bull market the last 20 years. Look at the number of different countries that are selling citizenship by investment for example. It used to be one, then two, now we got probably more than you have on two hands selling citizenships by investment, selling sovereignty.
So I think that that’s going to become increasingly a bull market and an opportunity for jurisdictions that can be nimble to take advantage of and Wyoming’s on the forefront of all of that. Estonia has got their digital ID, that gets you passported into the EU, Wyoming could work on something very similar to that. Wyoming’s working on these things to prevent being compelled to disclose private keys, lien cleansing, that’s a form of jurisdictional arbitrage where Wyoming’s effectively selling sovereignty to keep you protected against California and New York.
You want to buy Bitcoins that have clean title? Got to get them from a Wyoming custodian, otherwise they might not have a very clean title. These are all things that we have to be thinking about and taking into account when we’re buying our assets and holding our assets and trying to keep our assets secure and protected, because who wants these attack surfaces and attack factors when you don’t necessarily need them.
Peter McCormack: Can I buy sovereignty to come and live in Wyoming? Is that possible as a British citizen? Number one Bitcoin show in Wyoming!
Tyler Lindholm: We’ll take you!
Trace Mayer: There actually are, what is it, H-2B visas where you invest in the US and Wyoming’s got these special opportunity zones, so you could invest in Wyoming and not have taxes for like 10 years! But it comes with a catch because you become a US person, that’s a permanent resident or citizen, you’re taxed on worldwide income, you have to file F bars, it becomes a very brutal.
Peter McCormack: I heard about this recently, I didn’t realise that!
Trace Mayer: So jumping out of the fireflies into the fire might be easier with an LLC.
Peter McCormack: Maybe so! All right, well listen look, obviously it’s amazing having all three of you on, everyone will know where to get hold of you Trace and Caitlin because you’ve both been on before. Tyler, can you just tell people where to get hold of you, where to find out what you’re up to?
Tyler Lindholm: Yeah, either follow me on Twitter or on Facebook. My Twitter is at @tyler_lindholm and my Facebook is Tyler4HD1, so hit me up on there. You can go to my website, tylerlindholm.com, you can contact me there or you can just look me up on the state of Wyoming legislative website, my cell phone and my home phones are all available on there, if you just want to chat about moving to the state of Wyoming and enjoying a piece of liberty.
Peter McCormack: And you’re going to take me hunting?
Tyler Lindholm: Yeah, we’re going to kill something, it’ll be great!
Peter McCormack: Okay great, well thanks guys for coming on.
Caitlin Long: Thank you!
Trace Mayer: Thanks so much for having us!