Peter McCormack: Alright man, welcome! Good to have you on the podcast.
Paul Puey: Cool, thanks for having me!
Peter McCormack: No worries. So let’s go way back to where this all started because I know part of the story, but I want to hear about it from you, I want to get into details with you, so let’s do that. So how’d it all start, the Bitcoin Journey?
Paul Puey: The Bitcoin journey, I guess it kind of starts from way before Bitcoin. It started from when I had been working in Silicon Valley, I was one of the lead developers over at Nvidia, ironically before they were a mining company, when they were actually still a graphics card company and you used them for games and whatnot. I went through what was the first of, I think kind of my experience with the healthcare system and I broke down from overuse, work, repetitive strain, the kind of typical injuries you hear about from software engineers.
I had at the time seeked, kind of conventional medical advice, it’s what the insurance tells you to do, it’s what co-workers, what companies say, “okay, here’s what you do.” Whether it be injecting yourself with anti-inflammatories, taking painkillers, wearing wrist braces, did all that and really had no success. Actually, even after 7, 8 years and a childhood of really wanting to be an engineer and developer, it forced me to leave and have to completely shift careers.
Peter McCormack: So this is a common thing with engineers? I’m not aware of this.
Paul Puey: It’s to some degree common and it’s happened to people that I’ve met and just in life, whether they be engineers or just workers that use tools that are very repetitive, It’s repetitive strain, it’s somewhat common.
Peter McCormack: But is it also posture, just sat at a desk?
Paul Puey: Ironically, it’s funny because I went through the most ergonomic evaluation you could imagine. I had the most expensive chair, fit at the right height and my feet at the right angle and the monitor at the right height of my eyes and it made no difference. The funny thing is, I had a co-worker and he was like 60 years old and he’s never had problems and he’d been a software engineer his whole life.
Well granted there’s some aspect of just your genes, your capacity to kind of have this problem. But he said, “one of my secrets is, I’m never comfortable at my desk.” Every time you walk into his cube he’s got one leg over the armrests, he’s typing sideways, he slouched over, he’s upright and the key was actually change. It wasn’t about doing the same thing in the perfect position over and over again, it was about changing and no one tells you that.
Peter McCormack: Well, so I suffer with back problems and it’s been going on for a long time now. My chiropractor has got it down to my posture when typing and his encouragement for me is to keep moving. He’s actually got me to the point now, so actually I spend a lot of time when I’m at home with my laptop on the table top in the kitchen, because that’s at the perfect height and I stand, I spend half my time standing. But he said, “whatever you do, keep moving.” So if you’re stood for 40 minutes, then sit for 40 minutes and then have a break.
Paul Puey: You got it, that’s exactly it! When I got hurt, this was in the early 2000s and no one gave that advice. They didn’t say “keep changing”, they said, “get in the perfect position and use these kind of expensive tools and wrist braces and that’ll kind of fix it or alleviate the problem” and it never did. It wasn’t until kind of experiencing what I’d call the alternative advice and seeing places like chiropractic offices and different chiropractors and physical therapists, which countered what a lot of the kind of Western medical doctors would say, that things really started to change and things started to improve.
That’s kind of where I’d say things started. Obviously from the viewpoint of cryptocurrency, my history as a technologist helped me understand cryptocurrency, but the real start of my interest in it was from experiencing what is kind of given as truth by the largest establishments in the world, “no, this is the way you do things” and realizing that a lot of that either doesn’t work for most people, if not everyone, or it’s a lie, or that it’s a lie that’s actually motivated by a lot of financial gain.
Peter McCormack: Were you born in the US?
Paul Puey: No, I was actually born in the Philippines.
Peter McCormack: What age were you when you moved to the US?
Paul Puey: I was 5. I came over at 5, so for the most part I’m American, like I’ve been and visited the Philippines a whole bunch, my parents were from there, but I think I was the main reason why they moved over here, was I watched all the kind of entertainment and Hollywood of the US when I was growing up and was fascinated by it and came over and experienced the real Disneyland and Universal Studios as a kid and of course enjoyed it. But I was kind of raised as an American, you could say.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, well my kids are the same. They’ve been out here three times, they’ve been out to New York and they love it. They see America’s bright lights…
Paul Puey: They do! It’s hard to deny its effect on the world, but I’ve had these weird greater insights as to why it’s been so effective and why it is so appealing and how it appeals to our human psyche, in ways that other countries haven’t been able to. It all ties in actually with the learnings that I’ve had in health and wellness and to a degree in crypto, the financial system and rooted in kind of our desire to kind of optimize things and optimize our time, optimize kind of enjoyment and even sometimes at the compromise of quality of life.
We don’t experience with war directly and that type of violence, but we don’t necessarily have the greatest quality of life, especially on a health perspective because our time preference in the US is such that we prefer things to be fast, immediate today and we don’t realize the long-term effects. That’s so true in many ways of society in our world and our personality, especially in developed countries.
Peter McCormack: Well, I have a really evolving relationship with American, like a really changing opinion of it. We’ll probably get into a bunch of this and this isn’t just from coming over so much. This is something like my 50th/60th time to America, I’ve been so many times! I’m coming like once or twice a month at the moment, just coming back and forth all the time. I’m starting to understand politics a bit more, I’m starting to understand how the systems work and they’re things I really like and things I really don’t like, but they’re changing over time.
Paul Puey: Nothing static.
Peter McCormack: So talk me through what happened with the health system and kind of the impact it had on you.
Paul Puey: So through that injury and a few different others, I had various joint pains and whatnot and I remember even to a silly degree, I’m kind of a workaholic in all honesty and so I just mash through it all, wrecking myself and at the pinnacle of this, embarrassing I would say, I literally would click a mouse on the floor with my feet and use voice dictation software to write code.
Which while that might not be a bad idea to write an email, it is a bad idea to try to write code and strained my voice actually where I couldn’t talk for about 9 months or at least it really hurt to do so.
Peter McCormack: But if you’re doing that, surely you’re at the point where you should be in bedrest?
Paul Puey: Bedrest was basically away from that job and career. So I had left and that’s when I seeked the attention of kind of the alternate types of healthcare and that’s when things started to get better. But I actually went into a different lifestyle, I stopped being an engineer and technologist, I was always following the industry, but then actually I started operating small business.
I operated everything from a restaurant bar night club to a climbing gym, so I actually was an instructor at a climbing gym and did outdoor guiding. That’s where I kind of re-invigorated the life that I had in me, through just being kind of a good healthy person again.
Peter McCormack: That’s a massive change though?
Paul Puey: It’s a huge change and it was, for a long time, a sad change. I remember going to some kind of employee gathering with some old folks that I worked with at Nvidia who said, “God that’s such a waste.” I’m like “ouch!” Because they knew that I was a very strong, talented and dedicated driven engineer and to see me go into kind of, what they would see as smaller business, to them felt like it was a waste of my abilities.
Peter McCormack: But are they thinking that you were missing out on your potential profit and shares?
Paul Puey: Valley experience, shares, Silicon Valley, reputation in that space, but to me it was invigorating to that change.
Peter McCormack: More enjoyable job, more enjoyable life?
Paul Puey: It was a healthier lifestyle. It also felt like I was understanding more about how the world worked and it also opened me up to some of the challenges and lies that are kind of created in our world, starting from healthcare into nutrition, how you should eat, how you should take care of yourself and then crypto being kind of the completing of that circle.
Peter McCormack: And probably also a career where you were dealing more with people on a personal basis?
Paul Puey: Far more personal basis, understanding them not as the consumers of a product, which is a very enlightening place to be and they were much closer to you, as opposed to being multiple degrees separated from you on an interactivity level. I still went back into tech as I am now today, but it helped from the viewpoint of being on the other side of the technology that I would use.
Working in small business, I was that person that did accounting, worked with payment system, point of sale, PCI compliance for Christ’s sake with credit cards and dealt with the 300 question forms of how you, as a small business, are going to become PCI compliant and then you realize you have to check 60% of the answers with “not applicable” otherwise we go out of business. Suddenly you passed, that was like, “all right, great! You can now continue operation even though you’ve had to check a bunch of these things as “not applicable.””
So being on that other side of the technology was much more opening, as opposed to just being the guy in the cube, writing the code and getting stuff out there, not really seeing what it’s like to use the technology. So that was a major shift, just like you said, for sure a major shift in me. But I think that’s so much more well defines who I am and what I care about today, versus someone that was just writing code for 30 years.
Peter McCormack: And it was climbing schools, climbing gyms?
Paul Puey: I worked at a climbing gym, I did outdoor guiding, climb guiding, and then worked at small businesses like restaurants, bars, nightclubs, literally just everything that you wouldn’t expect someone coming out of Silicon Valley to do. But I enjoyed the change, it was definitely a needed change at that time in my life and I didn’t think I would ever go back to tech.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, it’s interesting! I’ve had a complete career change in the last couple of years. I worked in advertising in London, I was overweight, taking too many drugs and drinking and working long hours. I still work long hours now, but this is a complete change. It’s become, I don’t know, I enjoy this a lot more now, so I understand where you can get sucked into a career, you just do it year on year without even thinking about it, you don’t see an escape and then one is forced upon you and then you realize “why didn’t I do this before?”
Paul Puey: Yep, and like I said, I didn’t think I would get back into it. During that time I started going further down the rabbit hole with what you’d kind of mentioned, was healthcare and cancer, diabetes and learning and understanding how the healthcare and big pharmaceutical industries work.
Peter McCormack: Which is very different here in the US than the UK!
Paul Puey: I actually don’t understand that UK so much. I’d actually love to understand a little bit better, but I understand to some degree what it’s like in the US and how closely ties in with government and FDA.
Peter McCormack: Well, I mean there’s probably similarities and differences. The big difference I notice coming back and forth, is when I watch TV and I’m watching cable and there’s adverts. So you have so many adverts for some kind of pharmaceutical product. More often than not, I’ve never heard of the condition, I’ve never heard of the treatment and I’m always kind of blown away and try not to giggle with the very fast warning at the end, that goes on for…
Paul Puey: Yeah side-effects of one kind of sickness like vomiting, diarrhoea, lymph…
Peter McCormack: Depression leading to suicide! But that kind of blows me away and it almost, I think this is cynical, but it feels to me they’re almost pushing you to feel like you’ve got conditions that you don’t have, because they just want to sell drugs.
Paul Puey: Oh absolutely! So two family members of mine and a pet, although however big of a deal you think of a pet passing away, kind of really opened my eyes to a handful of different conditions and then how the drug industry targets those conditions. Our grandmother with diabetes, our father with a heart condition who died of cancer and then cancer for our pet and all three of those, especially the heart condition or heart disease, cancer and diabetes, I looked into pretty carefully and looked at what was highly recommended out of the industry and what was put onto them to treat them and other family members that have come across and that kind of runs rampant in my family.
A case, classic point example of one of the big lies that kind of crosses our world and me saying this will probably get a lot of haters, saying like, “oh he’s a cook, he’s believing that people are selling snake oil”, but the entire lie of, for example cholesterol during the 60s, 70s, meat, eggs, anything that had cholesterol, butter or a lot of things, that were going to kill you, they were going to create high cholesterol levels and you’re going to die of a heart attack and if you detect that you have high cholesterol levels, we have to prescribe statins for you, which, oh by the way, in the small fine footprint, you can’t go off of them Once you’re on them, you need to take them for life.
Peter McCormack: So how much of this is lies and how much of this is bad science?
Paul Puey: I would say it starts off with bad science and at some point in a way, the lies go away because they don’t even realize that it’s a lie. You just take them for truth and even the doctors don’t know anymore. It’s just what you’re told and as a doctor there’s a lot of stuff to learn, there’s a lot of good doctors, I don’t even blame them anymore. There’s so much to learn, you read the textbooks, you take them for truth because why should they lie, is what your understanding would be.
Peter McCormack: If you’re doing a 7-year medical degree, you don’t have the time to validate every single condition or treatment you’re being taught.
Paul Puey: Exactly, you have to make money to pay the bill that you have from the giant loans you took to go to medical school. You can’t validate everything and you’re learning a lot in that period of time. So it takes a few unique people to go and actually challenge some of the truths. There was a great story of Dr. Richard Bernstein, who was diagnosed with diabetes and he started saying, “well what exactly is diabetes and what causes it?”
He had been recommended by the doctors, ‘okay, from diabetes, it is a problem with being able to process glucose and another carbohydrates, but stick with the unrefined wholewheat type of carbohydrates and that’ll help. Oh by the way, here’s some drugs to lower insulin response.”
Peter McCormack: So Lucky Charms and drugs!
Paul Puey: So Lucky Charms and drugs or Cheerios and drugs, but he took a much more scientific analysis and he started researching it. This is kind of obviously the root behind my own personal diet being relatively low carb, but he started studying it and found it doesn’t matter what type of carbohydrates you intake, you’re going to spike insulin levels and he had tried to convince his doctors that, “I’m pretty confident I can do this and cure myself.”
They had said, “no, no, no, keep taking the drugs” and after I believe about 5, 10 years, they couldn’t find any sign of diabetes in him, but no-one would listen to him! He literally, starting at the age of I believe 47, he went and got an MD, just so that he could publish a book with the title MD at the end of it, to show people how to actually fight diabetes.
Peter McCormack: What’s his name?
Paul Puey: Richard Bernstein. So this is another case and point, where we’re told one thing, but no one really takes the time to understand whether or not there’s, like you said, bad science or a lie behind it and the motivation to sell a ton of the different pharmaceutical “solutions”, which are really the band-aids on top of these conditions, are what fundamentally I feel like motivate the lie or the bad science, because for someone to go and just eat differently, doesn’t make a lot of money. There’s just not a lot of money to be made in doing so!
Peter McCormack: I mean, grains have been a massive part of the… When you see like the food pyramid, a huge part of the food pyramid. Also I watched a documentary on Netflix with the flood of high fructose corn syrup into the diet. Was this to do with, I don’t know too much about it, but is this to do with the optimization of farming?
Paul Puey: So the United States, in its rise to supremacy, it’ biggest advantage is marketing. All the way down to Silicon Valley, the US has amazing, amazing marketing for everything that they do, whether it’s true or false. One of the things that the US is really, really bad at doing is growing sugar. Where do you see any sugar growing in the US, other than its tiny little Island of Hawaii? But it’s really, really damn good at growing corn, it just kind of grows like a weed at this point.
So it created the story of, “well, high fructose corn sugar is a fine alternative sweetener” and pushed that even to areas that actually grew sugar very naturally. Even corn oil, it pushed as being the “healthy fat”, disregarding the fact that it has a ton of trans-fats, which I think is pretty widely known to be an unhealthy, like everyone has agreed at least on that, that trans-fats are bad. But they’ve pushed that narrative to the point where even my family that grew up in the Philippines surrounded by coconut trees with coconut oil, which is one of the healthiest oils on earth.
Peter McCormack: Not only for consumption, but also as an oil for your skin…
Paul Puey: For your skin, everything, removing skin problems, exactly what you said and they grew up, noticed as the US started to occupy the Philippines, especially during World War 2 that the narrative started changing and they started buying overpriced imported corn oil and not cooking with coconut oil!
Peter McCormack: That’s crazy.
Paul Puey: But that’s what they were told and the narrative was so convincing. It’s easy to make great marketing ads around this clear, clean looking oil that’s healthier for you versus this clogged looking coconut oil which turns white and solid, that will clog your arteries! In a way, on a visual level, it sounds like it makes sense and they really captured that lie and pushed it and sold a ton of products around the world to places that didn’t need it.
Peter McCormack: And it’s quite interesting also, because there’s been a big movement with Bitcoiners in this carnivory thing.
Paul Puey: Totally!
Peter McCormack: At first I was like, “what are you guys on about?” I’ve done every diet, I was a vegetarian for 16 years, I did two years as a vegan, which by the way, we’ll come back to, actually it was probably when I felt my healthiest, but interestingly, it was the time where I wasn’t working and I was cooking every single meal, fresh veg, I got in great shape, I was running, my friend Rich Roll has a podcast, he’s very successful and he’s a vegan and I was great.
But when I went back to work, I didn’t have the time to cook every meal fresh, I was having microwave, vegan meals and substitute vegan meals and then I felt terrible, I felt really, really bad. Then I went and had a steak and I remember going to have the steak. I was actually in San Francisco, sat with my kids and I said, “I’m going to have a steak” and I instantly felt better. I instantly felt like I had something in me that made me feel better. I’ve actually been trying to cut out carbohydrates.
So pretty much, apart from I think one bag of chips, I’ve not had any carbohydrates now in two weeks and one of the strange experiences from this, which you’ll probably understand is that, I can have a huge steak, I can feel full, but my mind is saying something to me, it’s like “you need the sugar, you need the sugar”, like an addiction.
Paul Puey: You want it! Sugar triggers the same addiction nerves in the brain as cocaine. They’ve analyzed the brain and the same parts light up. So that’s been one of those challenging things, you as an alcoholic, do you occasionally have a drink? No, you cut it out completely. So I have 100% cut out sugar from my diet for six years. I was into keto when it was, what the doctors would say “you’re crazy to do”. Now at an era when Bitcoin was crazy, this no one had heard of. It’s kind of the hot, cool, Silicon Valley diet now, but when I started that in 2013, people thought I was nuts, they’d never heard of it.
Peter McCormack: Do you substitute your sugar at all? Do you use sweeteners?
Paul Puey: Only if I’m making something that I want to be able to eat and other people as well. So I try to stay away from that addiction factor of just the sweetness as a whole. It’s amazing after three weeks or a month, you start to just be accustomed to it, like the taste of sweetness now feels almost a bit alienating and you feel less comfortable with sweet things.
It’s definitely something I think everyone can kind of adapt to and we are surrounded by sugar and as humans we crave it because it’s an energy source, it’s a very efficient energy source rooting back to our desire for efficiency. There’s a great book “Born To Run” that I highly recommend, I don’t know if you’ve read it?
Peter McCormack: I did the audiobook. So back when I was a vegan, I was running… So one of the other things, my running got a lot better. So I got down, when I first started running, from a 1 hour 10 min 10K, to a 47 minute 10K.
Paul Puey: Oh, that’s good! That’s the best I ever ran was a 47 minute 10K.
Peter McCormack: But that was my peak! Then my back went, that we spoke about earlier, but I was doing audiobooks going out running and “Born To Run” was one of the ones I did.
Paul Puey: Oh awesome, cool! Even though it doesn’t align with the whole keto and whatnot and they were vegans I think that they talked about, the interesting insight that I got from that book was the desire for our species to really be efficient. That was what I really extracted. Everything from the way we run, you probably remember this, but the way we run compared to a cheetah, where they can only sprint and then they stop. The way we both love running and are good at it, but also don’t want to…
Peter McCormack: Hold on, because I did a bunch of books at that time, these audio books. Was this the one where they found the tribe?
Paul Puey: Yeah! That is the book.
Peter McCormack: They could run for miles and miles and they were really fast and they had that crazy race. That book is unbelievable!
Paul Puey: Yeah, one of the best books and I also listen to audiobooks while I was I think driving on a road trip through California through the redwoods and whatnot. But no, I love that book and that insight into humanity’s desire for efficiency, is what I’ve basically applied and understood and it helps me understand what drives us in so many different industries. Everything from tech to our desire for the quick fix in healthcare, that’s why drugs are so popular, is that we don’t want to take the long-term solution, we want it to be quick because we drive for efficiency and optimization, which is why we build technology.
Technology is layers of building blocks and optimizations, which ironically also if you think about it from the viewpoint of cryptocurrency, is one of the reasons why as humans we actually kind of desire trust. We desire level of trust because it helps us optimize… We don’t want to have to make all the decisions ourself. Making every decision you want in life is actually really kind of painstaking.
That’s why we create, to the unfortunate detriment in some ways of society, why we create government is that I elect you, because I want you to make some decisions for me because I’m too busy feeding the kids and going to work. Now you do a bad job and I’m going to have to re-elect someone else. But in the end, I don’t want to make your decisions over and over for every single bill that passes your plate or table, I don’t want to make those decisions.
But that desire for us to delegate out and even say in business, “delegate, delegate, delegate.” Well that’s what we’re doing unfortunately, we’re delegating out and by doing that in some cases is an optimization and it’s efficiency, but in some cases it’s a giving up of power. When the entity that we delegate out, kind of takes advantage of that and becomes a misguided entity, then we have the corruption that ensues in all of the different industries that we’ve seen it happen.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, this time preference thing is really interesting. It’s the one of these side benefits of Bitcoin in that essentially we’ve learnt to have patience with Bitcoin. Really you’re on a four year cycle each time, you shouldn’t be buying and selling every day unless you’re a professional trader. This term “time preference” just keeps coming up, Saifedean talks about it with regards to his books, you’ve mentioned it here and I don’t think Satoshi designed Bitcoin to teach us about time preference across our whole life, but it’s now a topic of conversation.
Paul Puey: And it’s the challenge that we’ve had that has created… I think almost every single instance of corruption is because we typically have a time preference that prefers short-term gain in every facet of life and that is kind of the rooted challenge. It’s true Bitcoin forces for once to really think with a long time preference and it gives us an opportunity that many individuals, not professional traders or accredited investors, haven’t had an opportunity to be a part of.
Peter McCormack: It’s funny, I haven’t even thought about it, right to this level of detail, but essentially Bitcoin is often known for its slow block times, the 10 minute block times and 6 confirmations could take an hour. Lots of people complain about it, but with that you get high levels of security. There are other cryptocurrencies who are trying to be fast, 10,000 TPS, 1,000,000 TPS, whatever it is, and that’s a different time preference, they’re trying to solve a problem.
But the Bitcoiners stay happy, pretty happy with their 10 minute block times they’re happy with their six confirmations and I guess its just taught us to slow down a little bit, just to be a little bit more patient and you can relax and do other things, do I order a pizza or do I go and buy the ingredients and make myself a dinner? Do I smoke or do I not smoke? Do I take out a loan to buy something I can’t afford and have interest or do I wait until I can afford it? All these different side benefits from essentially taking control of your time preference.
Paul Puey: That is one of the major benefits, it’s opening us and our mindset to changing time preference. The challenge is, can we be successful given the way humanity is rooted in that short term, “I want something right now”, fast style of time preference. Where does the balance lie? I’m astrologically a Libra, so balance is key to me and there’s no extreme one end or the other. So while I love the concept of this, let’s take things slow, old, beautiful architectures of the old world and that lifestyle, I realized that there is a large portion of humanity that wants things to be fast and efficient and we have to kind of deliver that.
Where do we find that balance in between, that helps us accomplish both the goals, while still delivering it and getting it adopted and this is one of the biggest challenge I think our industry has, is where do you find the balance in it? This as well applies in all the other industries of healthcare and pharmaceuticals, how do we get people to say that, yes, there’s probably some balance there on improving your lifestyle where you don’t have to quit everything you do and become a monk somewhere in the middle of Asia, you don’t have to go that far, but at the same time, don’t be taking out fast food every single day.
Where can you make those little subtle steps and shift your time preference while not going completely to one extreme? That balance is rooted in everything from the successful entrepreneur that says, “how much am I going to do” versus “how much am I going to delegate?” I’m excited to see where we end up with that balance in this cryptocurrency world with other major shifts such as like in the internet, we see where that came to its balance and a lot of people kind of argue that the internet failed, like “oh, we’ve got these behemoths that control of the internet.”
I tend to be a bit more positive about that. We’re in a world now where I can digitally send a message to anyone anywhere in the world, I couldn’t do that before. Now they might not be able to discover my message because it’s controlled by the gatekeepers of the YouTubes and the Googles of the world, but if I wanted to bypass them, I could. I’m curious as to what that’s going to look like in cryptocurrency.
Peter McCormack: But these are evolutionary steps.
Paul Puey: They are, yeah.
Peter McCormack: The internet hasn’t failed, it’s just gone through or it’s continually going through a process of learning what it is and how people interact with it. Originally, all content was pretty much free because any attempts to charge people wouldn’t pay, cause there’s an alternative at the click of a button. So it went through a model of advertising based and I think that’s been proven to be a false model. I think it’s very hard to sell advertising.
Paul Puey: It’s hard unless you’re huge. So I think definitely if you’re huge, it’s proven to be a very successful model.
Peter McCormack: If you’re YouTube.
Paul Puey: If you’re YouTube, if you’re Twitter, if you’re Facebook and there’s some even smaller companies, but still fairly large.
Peter McCormack: But even Twitter struggled with the ad model.
Paul Puey: It has struggled, but it has at least survive long enough and has created a compelling enough product where people are paying for advertising on there. How successful advertising is, hard to say. We’ve never actually done any advertising on Twitter, so don’t quite understand yet, but it’s definitely very hard for what you’d call the average smaller, medium size company and so it basically eliminates any of those companies from really being successful on that specific model.
Peter McCormack: I think it’s also affected journalism.
Paul Puey: Oh, hugely of course.
Peter McCormack: Have you seen Andreas’ presentation on fake news?
Paul Puey: I haven’t seen that one. I’ve definitely seen a couple of dozen of his presentations, that one I haven’t seen, but I’ll definitely check it out.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, it’s a really good one because he just talks about the fact that we went from a stage where we would pay for our news, whether it was traditionally a newspaper, to the content being free online and therefore getting to the world of clickbait competition and therefore that has created fake news. I think that is a problem and we’ve also got to that point now where a lot of media has become very politically aligned as well.
I mean it’s hilarious, I was watching about the Trump impeachment the other day. I read about it on Fox News and then I read about on MSNBC and it was almost entirely two different stories. This has become a problem and it has become a real problem with journalism I think.
Paul Puey: It’s become much, much more opinionated and less objective over the years and you realize that, well, there simply is money behind a lot of the media outlets. They’re huge, they have a lot of influence, they then can be bought and just even people inside of the media outlets themselves have strong opinions and they’re aligned to certain political parties. Not something that I definitely wouldn’t deny, hard to say what effectively is going to fix that, because if you kind of think about it from this unfortunate free market type of opinion, if what they do generates money, they’re going to just keep doing it again.
So how do you fight that? What really is the solution to fighting that? I personally don’t believe in fighting that with kind of a regulatory battle, it’s kind of not my at heart opinion. I think removing some of those barriers and making it easy for other people to post and have access to the demographic, the world, the people and bring in healthy competition would be the best hope of fighting that.
Much like I think that having other entities that can more easily compete with large, big pharma companies and making the barrier to entry smaller, would help eliminate some of that corruption. But it’s definitely a challenging problem, because we’re so ingrained in it and we’re so used to the brand names, the marketing is so strong. We know the names that we think we trust.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, so I’ve stopped watching mainstream news now. I mean very occasionally I’ll watch the BBC or Sky News when I’m in the UK, but I’ve kind of stopped watching it. I start to enjoy a little bit more of the independent news. I mean someone like Joe Rogan can command an audience bigger than major TV networks and he isn’t really politically swayed.
He doesn’t have to, he’ll have his own bias of course, but he will bring people on and try and have a balanced conversation, try and look at both sides. I think that’s kind of interesting because one week he could have somebody like Alex Jones on, the next week, he could have Andrew Yang. I find that a lot more interesting these days.
Paul Puey: I do too as well. Going back to, why I think that isn’t hitting what you’d call the same type of viewership as mainstream media, is that it’s slower. It’s part news and part entertainment and you dive a bit deeper into someone, you dive into their character, their soul. When he goes into an interview, you’re not just getting the headlines of this person, you’re getting their persona and that just takes more time.
There’s an interesting analogy that I’ve made, that made people go, “oh my God, is this why humanity is kind of so bad, that desire to kind of optimize”, if you think about it, why do you choose to kind of work with somebody as a whole, like in business or become friends with them? Frequently it’s because there might be a reference to somebody, like someone that you know, that you trust said, “hey, I think you should check out this guy’s project or get to know them, they’re a good person.”
Peter McCormack: That’s why we’re sat here right now!
Paul Puey: Exactly, we have a reference from a common person and that reference sounds kind of genuine, that’s a good way to operate. But what happens if you take that to its really furthest extreme and your parents as an example, growing up in some part of the world or country, say that “you know you should not associate with a certain type of person or a certain color of skin”, because maybe they had a bad experience. Does that kind of create that extreme negative of what we now call is racism?
Because if you grew up and you had been told not to associate with a certain color skin, you could go and deep dive each individual you talk to and learn their persona, spend hours like Joe Rogan does and spend hours to understand who they really are and break past the stereotype. Or you could optimize and say, “well that’s what I’ve heard so therefore I won’t bother.” Once again, it goes right back to the darn time preference over and over again.
But you’re right, Joe Rogan content is great. Balanced, covers a lot of swaths of our world, but it’s slow. It might not be absolutely current, because he schedules his interviews and if something immediately happens today, you might not hear about it on Joe Rogan for a while. So he doesn’t get the same clickbait of “oh, I want to know what just happened. I heard about this from my buddy, where can I search for it?” Well it’s not going to be found on Joe Rogan.
Peter McCormack: But what he does do that’s really cool, he has the continuation of stories. So he could have a range of guests over the space of say a month, if in the previous month something had happened, say with Antifa, that might be covered in three or four podcasts. So in some ways he’s got this… It isn’t like each interview is independent, there’s like an evolving story and he’s coming in with different people’s perspectives.
Now sometimes they jump around, so he might have someone from House of Pain and they’ll just talk a lot about MMA and then maybe they’ll talk about cannabis. But then he might have Andrew Yang on and talk about Antifa and cannabis, but these stories thread between the guests and I actually find that really interesting, because you do get all of these different perspectives on the same topics and they are usually fair and balanced.
I’ve just enjoyed it a lot more as a way of being made aware of content or stories, but not being… Like I say, if I follow the impeachment of Donald Trump on Fox news, it is fake news, “there’s no story here.” If I follow on MSNBC, “he’s going to be impeached and he should lose his presidency.” So I don’t want that kind of news anymore.
Paul Puey: In a way, the word “news” comes from “knew” and so the desire for mainstream media to report things as absolutely new as possible, forces them to say, “well, we’re not going to deep dive into it much at all. We’re just going got report it, first thing that can be said about it, interview the first person you come across that has any insight into it and just push that out.
Therefore, someone who is searching, because they heard about it from a buddy, will find your click and you’ll get some revenue from it. So maybe it’s a desire for us to not necessarily go to mainstream media news anymore, but just stay away from “news” as a word. We should stop caring about what’s actually new.
Peter McCormack: The 24-hour entertainment.
Paul Puey: Yeah! It’s almost like, wait, don’t listen to anything that you’ve heard of for the first 48 hours and allow the reporters and the podcasters, the people who will actually care to make a bit more of a deep dive about it, allow them to start reporting on it, before you even bother.
Peter McCormack: It’s depressing, because it can also stress you out. I mean it’s he keeps saying is that, we’ve never had so much stuff, we’ve never been so wealthy, we’ve never had it so good, yet everyone is angry and pissed off. I blame a lot of the media for that and I blame a lot of the news for that, because it is becoming divisive, “if you have this opinion over there, you’re wrong. Let’s fight.” The counter argument is, “oh no, but you’re wrong, let’s fight” and I think it’s typified by what happens with the Proud Boys and Antifa up in Portland where they’re just smashing the crap out of each other and its just got ridiculous now.
Paul Puey: Well it makes for clicks. Same thing as we see, I’m sure you’re aware of it in Twitter, the fights make for a whole lot more visibility and the middle ground isn’t popular, the just fair, balanced, less subjective and more objective opinion just doesn’t make for good entertainment. Really it’s entertainment actually, if you think about it, in the end that’s all it is.
Peter McCormack: I’ve been in the middle of some of that before a lot actually, a number of times I’m trying my best these days just to keep away from it, because it actually saps your energy.
Paul Puey: It does, you just feel drained at the end of the day and you’re just like, “ah, God!”
Peter McCormack: Someone can say one thing and it can ruin your whole day, just make you feel really shit. Like some guy yesterday who tweeted, he saw a picture of me, he’s like, “oh, you’ve got a tattoo of a rose on your hand and a picture of a lady. What a cliché!” I was like, “well hold on a second! This is a Maureen Rose, that’s my mum’s name, she died, I got it after she died and this is a photo of Brigitte Bardot by Terry O’Neill, which is my favorite ever photo. But he’s not seeing that and he’s just making you feel like shit!
Paul Puey: It’s a stereotype. You’re a guy with a beard and black shirt and tattoos all over and there’s a stereotype of that and he’s applying that, versus understanding a little deeper, as to what really makes someone tick.
Peter McCormack: We went way off from the drug stuff, what a bunch of tangents! I actually do want to go back though, because you talked about the diabetes and there’s two types of diabetes, type one and type two. Type two is the adult onset, is that the one that Richard Bernstein cure himself of?
Paul Puey: That’s the one that he did.
Peter McCormack: That’s pretty incredible. You can’t cure yourself of type one, that’s a genetic condition.
Paul Puey: Yeah that’s a genetic condition as a kid. Now you could mitigate it and so it kind of depends on what you define as a cure. If you could live a normal lifestyle without drugs and eating food that you enjoy, is that a cure or are you constantly in “medication”? So where do you draw that line, what exactly does it mean to be cured?
Peter McCormack: So I wanted to talk to you about cancer and I guess we’re going to also get on to heart disease and I think a common thread is going to be diet.
Paul Puey: A lot of it will be.
Peter McCormack: So obviously I lost my mum to cancer, three years in January and she survived two and a half years after being diagnosed, stage 3B or 3C, I can’t remember, which when you look at the prognosis for stage 3B, 3C, two and a half years is a long time. Some people are cured, some people aren’t, blah, blah, blah.
So there’s a couple of things that really stood out to me. Firstly, I really had a problem with chemotherapy and I don’t know why, it just scared the crap out of me and all the research I did scared the crap out of me and if I got cancer, I know that’s what the doctors would recommend, but I just feel like I wouldn’t want to do it. Did you look into chemotherapy at all?
Paul Puey: So for my dad it wasn’t an option due to heart condition. So he had both a heart condition and chemotherapy and he was actually hospitalized for his heart condition a few years back. But yeah, chemotherapy wasn’t an an option at the time for him and he was also, I think he was almost at stage 4 at the time, so it went very, very fast for him.
Peter McCormack: Did he change his diet? Because what I tell what happened to my mum, she read everything, she was incredible! So she went vegan, which is why I went vegan, I did it with her. She cut sugar out, she cut alcohol out, she actually cut most meat out and went with fish. Six months before she died, she looked the best she’d looked in 10 years.
Yes, obviously on the inside the cancer had grown, but physically she looked great. She lost a lot of weight, her skin cleared up, she’s was a long-time sufferer of something called lichen planus, which is a form of eczema and she looked great! It was a real inspiration for me to sort my diet out and I did it for a while, but not for a long time. Have you looked into diet relating to cancer?
Paul Puey: So the one correlation that, and once again, correlations and causation, but in the study that had found the one commonality that I’d heard, was that cancer cells specifically feed on the sugars inside of your body and so eliminating that was a pretty big piece of it.
Peter McCormack: The alkaline state.
Paul Puey: Correct, getting into the alkaline state. So I tried to put my dad on a very low sugar, low carbohydrate diet to kind of eliminate the sugar presence in his body. Admittedly, he being someone that was very associated with the people he trusted and the doctors, they didn’t recommend that, they just said, “have him eat the whole grains and whatnot, sugar not such a big deal” and they actually recommended these kind of like insurer drinks for him, which were loaded with sugar.
That’s what they recommended specifically for him and I remember going buying it and looking at him like, “what the hell is this? This is basically like cancer syrup!” Starting with my frustration of like, “do you guys have any understanding of how cancer reproduces?” Then of course being so late stage, at some point you just felt bad from, he won’t eat anything and he would get taken out by family and relatives and taking to a restaurant.
As you probably know from cancer patients, at some point in time, there’s not much that they want to eat at all and ironically, what they’re most driven to, tends to be what the cancer wants.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, so a can of Coke!
Paul Puey: A big can of Coke, a little pound cake and whatnot and so when that’s all that would kind of taste good to him, a lot of family would say, “your days are numbered, enjoy the last few days that you have.” But during that time, during the first few weeks with him, I said, “well, if I’m going to try this out, I’d never heard of this diet, I’ll do it myself.” So I ate the same things he did, the weird kind of like cream milkshakes and whatnot and it just happened to be that I never looked back, because I then felt great.
I felt the best that I’d ever felt and a lot of health issues started melting away from just the common cold and flu, to having a lot of energy for what I do, my outdoor climbing excursions and whatnot. But for him, he was definitely far along the line pretty far and at this point just kind of eat whatever he could possibly stomach, because as you might know, foods start to change in taste with cancer, things start to taste almost metallic, is what he would say to me a lot.
he most appealing stuff, it’s almost like you’ve got this demon inside of you and it’s telling you what tastes good and what it was telling him was the stuff that was worse for him.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, so my uncle also died of cancer. Well, he was one of those uncles, he’s not actually your uncle, he’s just always been around the family…
Paul Puey: That’s like in the Philippines, everyone’s an Uncle!
Peter McCormack: So he was my uncle Paddy, who grew up near my dad and he moved to the same town as us and I remember the last week of his life, we’d just go and visit him and all he wanted was a can of Coke over and over again. You could see his face light up and it was like a similar situation, it was so late. Okay, so you’ve changed your diet quite significantly, what are your kind of staples? What are you having? What are you not having?
Paul Puey: I’m having heavy cream eggs, cauliflower, steaks, sausage, cheese.
Peter McCormack: Sounds great!
Paul Puey: Yeah, it’s amazing! I have no complaints. It’s all the tastiest stuff that I’ve ever enjoyed in life without any of the guilt. There were a few streaks of a few weeks in and out that I would eat like a dozen eggs in a day, to everyone’s very traditional, anti-advice. They’d say, “no, what the hell do you think you’re doing? It’s so much cholesterol”, but tastes great, I love eggs and I can have them all the time.
The cool thing about the diet is that there is a known trend that when you’re kind of on ketosis that you don’t get as hungry, when you don’t need to eat, so if there’s nothing for me to eat, I can sometimes just say, “well it’ll just pass.” When I’m on a flight and the food that they serve doesn’t really fit, I’ll just be like, “oh, I’ll just go watch a movie” and you are able to get past that hangry-ness.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, that’s a new thing. Do you still drink alcohol?
Paul Puey: A little.
Peter McCormack: So that’s, I think my last weakness left in this.
Paul Puey: Got it, I could hear that, it’s a social thing. So I do have a little bit, but I tend to prefer, ironically for keto, hard alcohol is what I tend to prefer because it’s actually carb free.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, so you’re okay with a straight whiskey, right?
Paul Puey: Whiskey, whiskey soda, that’s probably my favorite.
Peter McCormack: You’re okay with I think champagne?
Paul Puey: A little bit yeah. I do drink kombucha, a little bit of that.
Peter McCormack: Do you know Jimmy Song?
Paul Puey: I know of him. I’ve briefly interacted with him, but not a whole lot.
Peter McCormack: So he’s pretty much full carnivore. The days he flies, he will usually have a fast day. So what I did recently on a flight, first time ever I flew over the States, I didn’t drink the whole flight, which is rare! If they want to give me free one, I’ll usually have it and I didn’t have the meal either, because it’s junk.
Paul Puey: Yeah, usually it’s junk.
Peter McCormack: I went through the kind of hunger pains, but I got through it. I spoke to Jimmy, he’s actually done a week fast!
Paul Puey: That’s challenging for sure. I know a few people that have got into keto, there’s something about people that get into keto that get into fasting as well. Like there’s intermittent to really long fasting, actually I haven’t got to that path myself, but I could see some of the benefits, just get your body to cleanse itself, you’re not constantly digesting, but admittedly it’s not something that I’ve dived into at this point.
I’m not full carnivore, if anything, I just don’t know if I would enjoy it. So like I said, I try to be balanced and to me it’s weird because keto when I first started sounded extreme. Now, I’ve never thought of it as extreme, it feels very balanced. It’s a lot of the different flavors and foods I would like to eat and I’ve analyzed pure carnivores, I’ve had talks with people that highly promote it, like Zooko Wilcox when I hung out with him and talked about it…
Peter McCormack: I was with him yesterday.
Paul Puey: Oh cool! I started asking, I said, “okay, what would my day look like? What would I eat?” I don’t doubt that it’s healthy at all, I just want to eat other foods.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, see I can’t do it. I’m like you, but I will some days just have a big T-bone for lunch and I’m good for a few hours! Like last night when I went out for dinner, I had a steak and I said, “oh I don’t want the chips and mashed potatoes.” She said, “do you want anything else?” And I had the mushrooms. Are they alright in keto?
Paul Puey: A little bit. There’s nothing you can’t eat technically speaking. You can eat grain or rice, you’re fine, but it’s just a matter of how much macronutrients and what not. So yeah, you can have practically anything in the right quantities.
Peter McCormack: How long does it take to get into ketosis? Is it like two week, three weeks?
Paul Puey: So right before I went into keto, I was already kind of doing paleo, which has its inklings of low carb. So I may have gotten into ketosis faster than most people, but I’ve advocated it and I’ve had many friends try it out and they typically say two weeks, you feel like shit. Then you get the keto flu and then you wake up and you go, “oh my God!” It’s almost like the windshield in your car has been dirty for years and you finally turn on the wipers or you suddenly see clearly now that the rain has gone.
So I never actually went through that, but I did measure actually I had a blood test and measured, “yep I’m in ketosis”, whatever that measurement needed to be. Then after you do the measurements over a long period of time, you kind of get a feel for how many carbs are in different foods and how much you can take in a day and then you don’t really have to think about it much anymore.
Peter McCormack: It’s kind of mad really with all the documentaries on Netflix now about food and diets and the understanding that we have, but we still go into supermarkets with shelves packed full of absolute crap and garbage and we still consume it!
Paul Puey: Yeah, it’s a slow change, it’s a really slow change. My wife’s family is kind of rooted in military and being from the Philippines, a lot of migration from the Philippines, not specifically my family, but a lot of others came via the military, the Navy and whatnot. If you think about what mentality is etched into the military, it’s like rations and packaged and canned foods and whatnot, just really whatever you can stick down your mouth to just give you whatever energy is necessary.
So they definitely succumb to a lot of just what you see on the grocery and just what they’ve been told over the years, as being good enough, like “it satisfies my stomach, it’s good enough! Long-term, I don’t know what it does” and they do not necessarily care. Admittedly, the reason for that as well is I’m sure you’ve realized this, is that to be really conscious of food and how you eat, is not cheap. It’s not cheap at all! It actually can be very expensive.
Peter McCormack: Yes and no, so I’ve got mixed views on that. So I did carnivore for a week and my shopping bill was exactly the same, pretty much within a few pounds of what it was when I would buy a range of things, because in my range of things, on top of my pastas and meat, I was also having Pringles and some chocolate and different drinks. When I did a whole week of carnivore, I just went to the butches and bought, what was it, like 14 steaks or whatever and if you’re buying in bulk, you can get a pretty good deal.
So it was about, I don’t know, say it about £120 pound each, it was quite close. But I think if I was doing very good kind of, fish, veg, meat, then yes, it would be more. I also obviously feel very sorry for families who are on low budgets. One of the Netflix documentaries, it shows a family going into a supermarket, they can’t afford the broccoli and the family has a McDonald’s. You’ve seen that one?
Paul Puey: I think I’ve seen this one. Which one was that one? God, here’s a few of these documentaries now.
Peter McCormack: Food, Inc?
Paul Puey: Food, Inc! The one with the cow on the front, right?
Peter McCormack: Yeah and your options for your children… Actually it’s kind of confusing how it can be cheaper, but it’s obviously the economies of scale that McDonald’s have…
Paul Puey: Exactly, McDonald’s have huge economies of scale, they don’t have to buy the best quality ingredients and they just crank it out.
Peter McCormack: I guess if everyone wanted healthy food, they could do the same very cheap.
Paul Puey: Exactly, we have to demand healthy food and enough of us currently don’t. Plus, it’s interesting because you’re comparing it to going to the grocery store where you buy the raw ingredients costing more and you still have to prepare it, versus going to McDonald’s and it’s prepared for you and you just throw the paper in the garbage and you’re done.
Peter McCormack: Tastes great!
Paul Puey: Tastes great. Yeah, I’m not arguing taste in this entire debate! It’s one of those, everything that is unhealthy for you can taste perfectly great. So the experience you had with going full carnivore, realize that you’re buying the steaks yourself too as well and I think a lot of the people that are on a budget, they’re also on a time budget.
Not only just a financial budget, but they’re picking up the kids, got to drop them off, go to work, get out of work and so, if you look at what it takes to eat healthy where you don’t prepare your food, that almost in every way, shape and form is more expensive, where you’re going to a restaurant and getting served yourself. It’s hard to find a cheap alternative in that regard.
Peter McCormack: Well, it’s like I said to you when I was vegan, the first year of it, I’d given up work, my agency had folded, I was spending time with my mum, I could go to the shops, I could buy the food, go home and prepare, read a book, I used to have an afternoon nap! I used to have an afternoon nap every day about two o’clock it was brilliant and then when I went back to work it changed.
But it is a real shame that this is so expensive for people and I don’t know the answer. Do you know what, another thing I’ve realized recently, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this, do about the amount of food that is thrown away just because it looks odd, like fruit and vegetables?
Paul Puey: I don’t know the amount, but I know having worked at a restaurant, how much is thrown away. We felt like we were fairly efficient, but it could be easily 30%.
Peter McCormack: Is that because it’s just gone off by the time…
Paul Puey: Because you’re basically a production line, but you don’t know what you’re going to sell.
Peter McCormack: This isn’t even that, this is ugly fruit and veg.
Paul Puey: Oh, so it’s not going bad, it’s just ugly and doesn’t look appealing?
Peter McCormack: Yeah, so a weirdly shaped strawberry for example. A lot of that gets thrown away. They’ve now started selling it in the supermarkets and they package it, I don’t know if they do that here.
Paul Puey: Do they branded as heirloom? That’s basically an ugly tomato, right? They are the coolest things at the farmer’s market! Heirloom tomatoes are lumpy, weird, funny colors, they got wrinkles, dirt’s caught in the middle of it.
Peter McCormack: But how dumb, because that’s pushing up the cost! So with all this, you’ve been through all this process, you’ve learned about this, this has created a deep distrust with big pharma and the deep distrust with the government. One of the other things I found unusual coming back and forth to America, and especially spending some time in DC, is lobbying.
Paul Puey: Oh yeah, huge industry of lobbying.
Peter McCormack: So I’m pretty sure the equivalent in the UK is illegal! Again, I keep talking about documentaries, I can’t even remember what this one was, but there was one where it showed a bunch of politicians and then it pinged above their heads how much money they received from lobbyists. It feels to me that it’s almost like, you will have the opportunity to pay for the regulations of the laws you want.
Paul Puey: Yeah, you’re paying for the vote. There’s a really interesting video called “the cardboard box reform theory” and actually goes against, what a lot of even Bitcoiners and cryptocurrency people want. It proposes that to fix corruption, you need to make the vote of constituents private, where you don’t know what they voted for, on all the bills that pass across their desk. The interesting theory about this is if you don’t know how they voted, how do you buy it?
Ironically most people are actually saying, “we want to know exactly what this person I voted for did, just because I voted for him. He’d better do exactly what I say!” Well yeah, you think so, but are you really watching everything that he does? I guarantee you the lobbyists that are paying him, are watching everything he does, but the individual isn’t.
Peter McCormack: Is there any debate in the US that lobbying itself should be outlawed?
Paul Puey: There’s probably debate amongst the little guys like the individuals, but not so much in what I’d call Congress and the big entities because there’s too much money to gain. I’ll say one thing too, is that it’s one thing when you’ve got kind of the open lobbying money, but then there’s also just simply the circular door between regulators and the big companies. Easily, I think it was found out that 25% of the regulators at the FDA that determined the drugs that would pass for cancer, ended up in big pharma companies after their term.
So you eliminate one method and kind of another method comes around, and this is true, not just there. We complain about, for example, Lawsky having worked in a regulatory body that now leaves, gets paid by the largest companies, not just in crypto, but in banking and financial services. It’s this horrible revolving door.
Peter McCormack: What he got away with was unbelievable that guy man!
Paul Puey: Exactly, and it’s not just that industry. They all kind of tie together, it’s so similar what happens in each of these industries where you have a very close tie with big business and government.
Peter McCormack: Well what’s the answer then? Or how does it impact you in your thinking?
Paul Puey: Eliminate the government and eliminate the issue.
Peter McCormack: So are you one of these people, which I’ve spoken to you about before, I had it the other day with Erik Voorhees. So actually democracy itself is like a full stream and somebody…
Paul Puey: I think it starts off democratic, but then it trends to that false stream.
Peter McCormack: So you’re a radical libertarian?
Paul Puey: I wouldn’t call myself a radical libertarian. So I think the government will always exist because as people, once again we… I think I’m one of those, where I would love to see that utopian world, like a radical libertarian. I want to see it, but at the same time, the realist in me especially having read books like “Born To Run”, thinks that humanity doesn’t want to trend towards that. It just doesn’t have enough mass desire to trend towards it. We as these libertarians are a minority.
So any attempt and any technology and any push to at least shrink it as small as possible, where we can still function, is what I try to drive to. If we can do that and if you can’t fund an FDA, then let’s have several different private entities, that are each independent, that people can choose to trust or not trust, evaluate what the pharmaceutical industries do. So when I worked at Nvidia, our success or failure on every release of a graphics card, was determined by about a handful of different websites that would review hardware. They were our FDA, we didn’t need a government to say whether we’ve made a good graphics card or not.
Now admittedly we don’t have people’s lives in our hands, but it was very fair because I remember one of the sites, I can’t remember which one it was, God it’s been like 20 years, but one of the sites was caught taking money from one of the manufacturers and they went down really quick and hard, that news spread! So they weren’t trusted and everyone went to other sites to determine who has the fastest graphics card. It’s self-regulation, it can happen and when you have one entity and no one else can take the place of FinCEN, the FDA, then you end up with that monopoly and they’re the only ones you can bribe.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, so this is really on point with the conversations I’m having at the moment. So I was with Erik Voorhees the other day discussing libertarianism and I was saying, “I really can’t picture this radical libertarian world with no government.” He said, “Do you know what, it’s a pointless goal. The goal is, let’s just start with less government. Let’s just go 1% less, 1% less budget. We never get it. every year government grows.”
Then I was up in Wyoming, spending time with Caitlin Long and I spent time with Tyler Lindholm, who’s one of the politicians there and he regard himself as a libertarian Republican or libertarian conservative.What was really interesting there, is he was talking about, “we’re just trying to reduce the size of government” and I think it was him who was telling me, there was a regulator for barbers or was that Erik, somebody was telling me like, “why do you need to have a body to regulate barbers?”
Paul Puey: You certificate to actually be a salon hairstylist.
Peter McCormack: Do you know what one of the interesting things is, I wasn’t even aware of libertarianism really before Bitcoin. Obviously I’d heard of it, but not paid too much attention to it. I was just living a world where there was Labour and the Conservatives in the UK. Now I’ve learned a lot more about it and for me, a lot resonates with me. Not everything, but a lot. But I do like this goal of less government. The problem is, it’s like turkeys voting for Christmas or lawyers wanting less regulation! Very few politicians are going to fight for less government.
Paul Puey: They’re voting to lose their job is effectively what they’re doing.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, but this is where Bitcoin comes in, right? This is the chance where, yes they can tax Bitcoin, but they can’t print more Bitcoin. We’ve seen with the repo markets this week and previous quantitative easing, they can stimulate the market, but you can’t fund. You can tax Bitcoin revenue, but as more people use Bitcoin, more people enter into Bitcoin and the Bitcoin circular economy grows, we do get that natural demonetization of the state and then they have to make choices.
Paul Puey: They actually have to have us vote and pay taxes to fund what they want to do. With taxation, there’s kind of two ways that the government taxes, one is through inflation and one is through direct taxation. They at least lose one of those and that’s the one that’s most hidden. It’s the one that we don’t really see to the degree that it actually is happening, but if they go and actually increase taxes that are more direct, we see, feel and also vocalize potentially against it.
So that is huge even of itself and when they want to create another entity like the FDA or FinCEN and whatnot, that’s going to cost them money and they actually really have to balance that budget and “do we actually have enough money for that”, to the point where if they don’t, do you even want to work for them? So one of the things is, can we just simply brain train the government? Right now government jobs are generally considered to be low paying, how long can that continue?
They’re low paying, but also you barely do anything there, you don’t get any shit done. But how long can that continue if that low paying gets lower and lower, because you can’t print money to pay those people? Then it comes to the point where, why work there versus working in a private sector? You brain drain that entity, it’ll just naturally shrink and I think that’s one of the techniques to get them small and get them to become just generally a smaller entity.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, I think it’s kind of exciting to watch this in real time. We’re part of this, we’re seeing it! It may happen, it may not, but I also find it a bit scary. I find the transition, like how bloody will it be? How does the transition happen? What happens to business and people? Could it be like one of the darkest times ever as humanity has to shift its entire monetary system and everyone’s use and perception of money to a completely different way of operating?
Paul Puey: I’ve gone back and forth on whether I thought that it would be very sudden and violent, I think currently I’m settled on that it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be sudden and violent and that we can kind of shift our holdings, what we choose to use, what we choose to value, gradually into crypto and it can also be kind of less violent as various countries adopt it, while others don’t. I think we’ve generally trended right now to generally a less violent world and that trend I think generally continues with technologies that connect us more with the people, versus being distanced from them.
Right now, the internet has connected us more so than it ever did before and we can relate to other societies and other people and other cultures more directly, which makes us be much more sympathetic, than we were in the past for wars. That still carries over even into the cryptocurrency world, where the people that might want to start violence in a war, due to the shift, are inherently more sympathetic because of that communication barrier being broken down, you could see what happens to other people. So that inherently I think is a key piece of it.
Plus, why I also think it’ll be less violent, is typically that violence has been rooted in the ability to pay for the violence and if you actually can’t pay for the violence and the people that are kind of going into power and the shift, it’s a shift of power, if the people that are going into power are of the generally less violent nature, than where would the violence come from in the first place?
Peter McCormack: Well yeah, so the hope and the near change of government in Venezuela was, Maduro couldn’t pay for the army, he had no money left! That’s what you hope, once the army aren’t being paid and they’ve got no money left, who’s going to defend his state?
So I guess that’s what you kind of hope with this. The other thing I always think about is that, say if a country like America or the UK transition to a more Bitcoin economic system and a country like China doesn’t, do you potentially become a weaker country on the international kind of playing field and are you at risk with that? That’s something I’ve not got to or figured out.
Paul Puey: I think for sure you do, but every country is so aware of that. I feel like they’re intimately aware of like, “okay, we need to make sure that we’re not falling behind in being a major international player if this becomes relevant.”
While China has made its ban on ban, ban on ban of Bitcoin over and over and over again, there’s still a strong presence of Bitcoin in the country and it’s China’s way of saying, “well, let’s slow it down but not make it where everything leaves”, so in case we need to pull the trigger and crank it up because this now becomes the global economy, they can.
So it’s like what I’ve heard so many times, it’s that weapon that you want, but you need to kind of shoot yourself in the foot at the same time. So I’m not worried that a country will fall behind and suddenly be up in war because they’ve kind of lost the battle. Plus, if they really did, they also would lose a lot of economic resources necessary to wage war and actually impart any of the violence.
So they’re straddling really tough boundaries, I wouldn’t want to be in high levels of government in any major countries that have a lot to lose because of Bitcoin, because then you’re in a rock and a hard place for sure.
Peter McCormack: Do you think there’s any risk that a movement to Bitcoin, a more Bitcoin based economic structure is a little bit discriminatory in parts of the world where essentially you need technology to be part of this?
Paul Puey: Admittedly, I think today it is. I was talking to some folks in Venezuela and they said that the average phone there, actually the average duration that you have a phone is three months. By then it’s stolen!
Peter McCormack: Oh God! Well the other problem you have in Venezuela is you have blackouts. You have a blackout when your phone has gone and you can’t charge it, then you can’t use your Bitcoin and that is a problem.
Paul Puey: For sure that is a problem. So I do have one theory about Bitcoin, when you don’t have internet access. So it sounds almost blasphemous to say, but imagine a world where you actually still have paper money that is backed by Bitcoin.
Peter McCormack: Well, that’s what I imagine actually, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Paul Puey: I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but the initial gut reaction is, that’s a bad thing because that’s what we did with gold. We took gold, we turned it into paper, we backed it and then eventually the paper got unpegged from gold. However, the big difference here is that paper was in every way, shape and form, way more efficient than the gold. It was way more convenient, you didn’t have to carry heavy metal around, you can have large denominations of paper, even cheques are a form of paper, you just write the amount that you want to send.
The entire economy then became dependent on paper, to the point where you just never needed or used gold. In the analogy with Bitcoin, you would only be using this paper in regions that don’t have internet. Say you’re going to a National Park, you go to Yosemite or in middle of the Serengeti in Africa, and sure there’s no internet there, on the way there and the last place that has internet, you go to an ATM and convert your Bitcoin into Bitcoin paper? Then you go in there, you transact as you need to, you come out and you turn it right back into digital Bitcoin.
Peter McCormack: I don’t think that’s that controversial.
Paul Puey: No, well if you take the headline, “let’s print paper backed in Bitcoin”, that’s controversial. But when you really ask yourself, will you give the entity that creates the paper much power, as long as you don’t give that entity that creates the paper the payment method, you don’t give the payment method much power, then they can’t unpeg. That I think is the key piece.
Peter McCormack: The other thing is that Bitcoin is still decentralized, when we were on the gold standard, it was still semi centralized under the government control.
Paul Puey: The gold standard of pegging a piece of paper with gold was centralized and in a way, pegging a piece of paper with Bitcoin would also be centralized. Really it’s not about being centralized or decentralized with the paper, it’s how much power are you giving that piece of paper? How much of the economy is dependent on that paper? If barely any of the economies depend on that paper, then you have no power to unpeg it.
Peter McCormack: That’s true.
Paul Puey: But if a lot of the economy is dependent on that paper, say we went global paper backed by Bitcoin and we still use this Bitcoin backed dollar all over the world and it was only the big banks that held Bitcoin, that is dangerous. I would say, we need actual people holding and transacting with Bitcoin, otherwise the thing that pegs it, just unpegs over time.
Peter McCormack: Do you know what, I’ve just remembered what we were arguing about in Hong Kong, I was trying to be a Bitcoin maximalist!
Paul Puey: Oh, I’m sure we were arguing about something along those lines then if you’re for maximalism! I’m still a Bitcoin majorlist, I guess if that’s even a word. I majority only hold…
Peter McCormack: Rationalist?
Paul Puey: Even more than rationalist, like majorist, that’s even worse, still a vast, vast majority of my holdings and belief, but I’m open to the ideas of many other projects and supporting those ideas.
Peter McCormack: So if you look at where we are with Bitcoin now, you look at the growth of the technology, use cases, where do you feel we are, because you’ve been in this for a long time?
Paul Puey: So where we are today, it’s the same rhetoric you hear, it’s a store of value, it has the potential to be a global settlement layer, a global currency that crosses nations and whatnot, but the technology of being able to make it a peer to peer payment mechanism is still very young and uncertain. So there’s several attempts at it, anything from Lightning network to side chains, but all of them haven’t achieved what, at least I feel, are that high level of confidence that “yes, this is how we are going to solve that problem.”
I personally look at it very carefully. I get into hours of discussions with a lot of people that are working on those projects to find out, “okay, what are the hiccups and what are the challenges?” But in the end, I fundamentally believe that that does need to be solved for Bitcoin to be successful. I don’t subscribe to the rhetoric that it’s okay with it just simply being a store of value. I want Bitcoin to be a payment mechanism as well.
Peter McCormack: No, I agree, I completely agree. So I’ve struggled with Lightning and I like it when I have used it. For example, the times when I’ve been tipped, people tip me in Lightning and I transfer it, it’s instantly there in my wallet. Whereas if I’m waiting for a payment and I think it’s going to take about an hour, it’s still on my mind. I just want to confirm it’s there, I know I see it there, but I just want it fully confirmed.
There are I think some very interesting things happening with it, the recent announcement by Jack Mallers with Zap, where you can buy instantly, with a fiat on ramp to instant sats in the wallet, which I think is very interesting, very cool and I don’t know how he does it yet, but I think that’s very cool. One of my controversial opinions that I hold, is that Bitcoin and Lightning sats feel like two separate currencies, even though it’s the same.
Paul Puey: Oh my God, did you just say that?
Peter McCormack: I know, I’m going to get killed for this!
Paul Puey: Have you had Udi on your show?
Peter McCormack: Yes I have had Udi on my show.
Paul Puey: So I’ve been on a show with him and I’m notorious as being the guy that called Lightning an altcoin.
Peter McCormack: I did not call it that!
Paul Puey: So it was the discussion of, will we implement it and the difficulty of implementing it. My co-founder said it’s as difficult, if not significantly harder than implementing an alt coin and it’s going to feel like one inside of the app. It won’t feel like Bitcoin, you’ll have a Bitcoin balance and you’ll have a Lightning balance and they’ll be very, very different.
We tried to determine whether you could hide it, you can hide the complexity of your on-chain Bitcoin versus you’re Lightning balance and we couldn’t settle on figuring out a way to do that. That’s why I said “this is going to feel like an alt coin, it’s going to be like a separate balance” and in some ways there’s a potential for it to even to have a different value, like not being completely the same value as Bitcoin.
We see this even with the dollar, the dollar is sitting in different accounts and it has different value to people. It’s not 100% fungible across the board.
Peter McCormack: I’ve just been out to Cambodia and Vietnam. When I was in Cambodia, I was using the dollar because they don’t want the local currency and they won’t accept in shops and restaurants, any note with a rip because it’s treated as a lower value! So that happens in the real world as well.
Paul Puey: It totally does and the reason why that debate sparked so much kind of controversy, is I made the statement that yes, there’s currency and then there’s a payment mechanism and Lightning is the same currency as Bitcoin, but with a different payment mechanism. But ironically, the advent of cryptocurrency, the advent of Bitcoin is the very first time ever in the world that we actually had a currency with its own payment mechanism.
So therefore the currency even of itself started to become defined by the fact that it had one, that it had had its own payment mechanism. So if your rip that payment mechanism into two, you almost 50% have a different currency. Before Bitcoin, gold shells, whatever it is, chickens, the only payment mechanism that was inherently built into it was literally the physical air between you and the person receiving it. That’s the only payment mechanism we ever had.
Peter McCormack: How much shit did you get for calling it an alt coin?
Paul Puey: Do you remember that message that you said earlier about how your day just gets zapped, you just feel drained? That was a weekend and it was like a Saturday or Sunday.
Peter McCormack: Because people will treat it like an attack and I personally wouldn’t call it an alt coin, but it just feels like there’s two…
Paul Puey: It’s not an alt coin, it just feels different in the experience of holding its balance and sending and transacting.
Peter McCormack: It’s like a parallel Bitcoin experience, because I’ve got Lightning sats and I’ve got Bitcoin.
Paul Puey: Exactly.
Peter McCormack: Everything in Lightning is pretty much referred to as sats these days, which is fine, but I also have Bitcoin sats. But the fact that I can’t transition between the two of them instantly, because of the off/on ramp between the two, that’s kind of an unusual experience.
Paul Puey: It is a bit. To argue against this, to take my opponent’s argument, they said, “well that’s what dollars are. You have dollars in your PayPal account, you have dollars in your bank account, you don’t easily convert the two of them across this boundary. You also have dollars as paper, it’s hard to go from paper to your bank, while there’s this friction to go through these three different payment mechanisms” and that is true.
Peter McCormack: They’re different mediums aren’t they? One is cash, hand to hand, ones for a card. This can be both in the same app, next to each other.
Paul Puey: In some ways you might actually have that in, for example, like a stock trading app where you have a balance in your bank account on each rate and then you have a balance in your, what’s called your trading account on E-Trade. There’s a little bit of friction to go back and forth between the two and there’s some things that you can and can’t do with each one of those balances. So there’s this analogy you can make to say, “no, no, no, they’re really the same currency, they don’t feel different.”
But I think the inherent reason why it feels a little bit different, is because this is the one currency that when it was born had its own payment mechanism and we’ve created a new one, it’s fair, it’s a new one and it works, but our mind is so associated with that payment mechanism that as soon as you create another one, it feels kind of like a different currency.
Peter McCormack: Well, think about onboarding a new person, right? Before you say, “you need to get into Bitcoin” and they’ll say, “okay why?” You explain to them and they say “okay, I’m interested.” So you say, “go to Coinbase and just buy $50.” So they put their credit card in and they buy, not too much of a great experience yet. They’ve just bought some and they see a balance. Then you’ve got that Eureka moment, you say, “okay, send some to a wallet, let’s get you a hardware wallet” and the moment they see it move, that’s kind of like a wow moment.
If you’ve got somebody coming in now and you do the same experience, and they’re like, “oh, well what’s this Lightning thing?” You say, “well, so it’s like Bitcoin, but it’s faster and you have to open a channel, so you need to download this wallet and then you can send it to there and to convert it into Lightning sats.”
Paul Puey: Yeah, you’ve got an incoming balance first, incoming capacity first…
Peter McCormack: It’s a massive step change! Now I know some of this is being abstracted away, but even when you abstract some of this away, do we think we’ll get to the point where we’ll have a wallet, where we’ll just have Bitcoin and sats and when we spend it, the wallet will make the decision whether to use Lightning or not. If that happens, great!
Paul Puey: That’s the Holy grail that I’m keeping a close eye on and like I said, I just got out of I think, probably two to three hours of conversation with various people working on Lightning at the Scaling Bitcoin event over Tel Aviv and I learned of a few different advancements. They are not there yet, but I’m hoping we get there because I do fundamentally believe that it is important.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, I agree.
Paul Puey: We need to get there. Not there yet, but that would make it where a lot of the rest of the ecosystem becomes far less competitive admittedly, but that would make a fundamental shift in that. But I just have to keep a close eye on it, I’m not like core developer, Lightning type of person, so all I can do is talk with the smart technologists. I am a developer, but that’s not what my expertise is in, so excited to get there, not there yet, keeping an ear close to the ground and hope for Bitcoin to the moon when we hit that cool tech that makes it fully mass adoptable.
Peter McCormack: Do you hold any other controversial opinions?
Paul Puey: Any other controversial opinions? That was definitely one of the big ones. I think we kind of covered the fact that maybe you feel it’s not that controversial, which I’ll make it more clickbaity, Bitcoin will not succeed unless it does figure out how to be a payment mechanism.
Peter McCormack: I don’t think that’s too controversial, there are other people who believe that as well.
Paul Puey: There is a few, but I feel like if I put that on Twitter, you’ll realize it’s controversial.
Peter McCormack: Yeah okay! I’ll tell you the other one I hold and I really hope Jack isn’t listening to this, but I don’t mind a small amount of my Bitcoin in a custodial wallet.
Paul Puey: So that’s one that I’ll actually fight against! I’ll fight against that because that becomes the slippery slope…
Peter McCormack: Which I’ve heard the argument and I understand it.
Paul Puey: We did that with gold, “I’m going to hold a little bit in the bank and use paper, because paper faster and more convenient and easy to deal with” and then what about the people, that their transaction volume is more than 80% of what they hold? You get a paycheck, say $5,000 in a month, but you need to spend about $4,000 of it. So where are you going to hold that?
In your custodial wallet if that’s how you’re going to transact. Then at some point, “why am I even bothering to hold that other small amount in the non-custodial, because there’s so much friction to go back and forth between the two.”
Peter McCormack: Put it in my Bitcoin bank!
Paul Puey: So remember the problem with creating paper Bitcoin, that then it gets used into areas that don’t have any internet, where that’s actually not too big of a problem, because you didn’t give paper that much control. If the transaction medium becomes the custodial solution, then what you’ve done is you’ve created the paper backing of Bitcoin, that now has a lot of power.
If that’s how we transact Bitcoin, is through the custodial services, then now the non-custodial way of transacting Bitcoin doesn’t have a lot of power, which means that the physical transfer of gold has no power, no one’s using it, no one’s accepting it.
They’re only accepting the paper version of gold. Now we’ve lost every benefit to Bitcoin, including even its inflation resistance I would argue, because how do you know how much really exists? So while it might sound like a “oh, it’s convenient and it’s only a small amount”, that’s such a relative term that it’s just a small amount. So I’ve said I’m not a maximalist, I’m pretty balanced, I’m a Libra and whatnot. I have said though that I’m, “a hold your funds, hold your keys maximalist”.
Peter McCormack: Do you know what, I haven’t heard it explained to me in that way. So I’d always considered it from the perspective of, “I’ve just got a $50 or $100 in there, I don’t have to open a channel, it moves very quickly”, that was where I’d come from, but you hadn’t explained it to me like that. The slippery slope is a very good point actually and it defends the core principles of Bitcoin.
Paul Puey: Exactly! So that’s the piece that I hold very strongly, that’s why I got into the space, was to make it where people really don’t have to go through the custodial services, whether to buy or hold or send, receive. If we lose that, I fundamentally think we lose… I mean, you can kind of define success of Bitcoin in multiple ways depending on how you care about it, a global digital economy accessible from anywhere in the world, inflationary resistance, store of value, accessibility, but I feel like fundamentally all of those will go away, if we go down the slippery slope of custodial services.
Maybe not so much for the high frequency traders, leave the traders on the exchanges, but for the mass market, for the consumers. So yeah, that’s why we’ve been trying to bother building Lightning. Why bother building Lightning, if we’re just going to say “stick it on a custodian.”
Peter McCormack: All right man, well that feels like a good place to start coming to an end. Be only fair to give you a little chance to tell you what you’re working on, what’s coming up.
Paul Puey: What’s coming up? So yeah, our company Edge is a non-custodial exchange, that lets you buy, sell and trade. You mentioned when you’d refer someone to go get some Bitcoins, send them to Coinbase, but then always have them transferred out, with Edge, they can buy, sell and trade from a bunch of different places around the world, using multiple different payment methods and when they buy Bitcoin, it always is already transferred out, it never sits with a custodian.
There’s no two-step process. We’re about to even launch being able to do that in a very large portion of the world with no KYC from your bank account. Huge!
Peter McCormack: Wow! Where are you going to be hiding out?
Paul Puey: Right in the open! We’ll have big press and media about that because it’s actually fully compliant. So this is what we do, because we’re able to partner with really good, best in breed, kind of back end exchange partners around the world. They’re the boots on the ground in the different regions, we’re not.
We’re not experts at banking and regulation or software or key management, but we’ve got great partners that can offer great options around the world, so we’d love to be a solution for those people that keep recommending to buy with an exchange and then transfer it out. Do it all in one!
Peter McCormack: All right, how do people find out more about this?
Paul Puey: So edge.app, that’s our website, check it out! Would love to hear feedback.
Peter McCormack: This is great, I’ve really enjoyed this man. Thanks for coming on!
Paul Puey: That was a good time, thanks for having me.