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Episode #40 📭 Mailbag! Vol. 2
Aaron and Jay return to the listener mailbag to answer questions about Satoshi’s identity, 5-year crypto forecasting, and how much XRP it takes to get Bill Clinton to speak at a Ripple conference
COIN TALK is produced in partnership with Medium and hosted by Aaron Lammer and Jay Caspian Kang. Press “Listen to the story” above to play the episode. (You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, download the MP3, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Aaron Lammer: Welcome to the second bi-quarterly Coin Talk mailbag show. How long has it been since we’ve done a mail bag show? Do you know?
Jay Kang: I think a few months. Before we start, I wanted to read something that our friend Neeraj just sent us.
Aaron Lammer: Are we allowed to publicly acknowledge that we know Neeraj on the program? I guess we’ve done that before.
Jay Kang: It’s the other crypto Neeraj, we can say that.
Aaron Lammer: There’s another one?
Jay Kang: All right. This is from Ripple. And Ripple has an event called “Swell”, which I imagine is a nice metaphor being like, “Ripple-
Aaron Lammer: Love it.
Jay Kang: The ripple is swelling into a wave.
Aaron Lammer: Whoever on the marketing team came up with that must have just been like, “Yes” after they thought of it.
Jay Kang: Yeah, it’s actually not bad.
Aaron Lammer: It’s not bad.
Jay Kang: We’re thrilled to announce Bill Clinton as a keynote speaker for this year’s Swell by Ripple.
Aaron Lammer: Wow. I wonder what Bill Clinton’s speaking fee represented in Ripple is?
Jay Kang: I cannot wait for-
Aaron Lammer: Bill speaker … Clinton speaking fee easily could be several million Ripple.
Jay Kang: Do you think he took it in Ripple, or?
Aaron Lammer: I don’t know. It would be great … One of the great characters on this show … We’ve already discussed the possibility of Ripple Trump, but Ripple Bill Clinton, another great character to discuss. If Bill Clinton became a Ripple mega-whale and was just shilling at like Clinton Foundation events all over the place.
Jay Kang: It’s going to be amazing. I cannot wait for Chelsea to run for President, and people to bring up Bill’s Ripple crypto speaking engagement fees.
Aaron Lammer: Well, Ripple is doing a lot of stuff right now, this is not a joke. Like do you remember when Twitter first started doing outreach to celebrities?
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: And they started onboarding them on.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Ripple is doing that now with all kinds of dumb music stuff, and celebrities. And trying [crosstalk 00:03:00] to Ripple.
Jay Kang: And apparently the former president of the United States.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I mean, if they’ve gotten to Bill Clinton, they’ve gone through a lot of people already.
Jay Kang: Quick guess, in US dollar amounts, how much do you think Bill Clinton is being paid to speak at Swell by Ripple?
Aaron Lammer: I will only give you a Ripple figure, I believe Ripple is trading under a dollar right now. Five million Ripple.
Jay Kang: Five million Ripple.
Aaron Lammer: Sorry, five million XRP.
Jay Kang: I think that I would guess that it’s something around 800 thousand US dollars.
Aaron Lammer: That sounds low to me.
Jay Kang: Really?
Aaron Lammer: I think that’s how much it costs to get Bill Clinton to speak at like a reputable event. When it’s Ripple Swell there’s the like scammers premium.
Jay Kang: What do you think Bill Clinton is going to say about crypto currency and Ripple?
Aaron Lammer: I bet he’s going to be like, “Some very exciting stuff coming out from the Ripple team. Joel Cat seems like a class act”.
Jay Kang: And that’s it?
Aaron Lammer: That’s … I mean, I think he probably just gives the same speech he gives everywhere.
Jay Kang: Please send-
Aaron Lammer: You think he writes an individual Ripple speech?
Jay Kang: Well, I mean, I have no idea.
Aaron Lammer: That’s definitely more … Like, an actual mention of Ripple is definitely more than 800 thousand.
Jay Kang: What is he going to talk about then? Is he going to talk about then? He he going to talk about the divide in the country or something?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. He’s probably going to be like, “We can bridge it if we all get behind-
Jay Kang: The JAXX unity liberty code.
Aaron Lammer: Foreign remittances of low fees.
Jay Kang: Yeah, sure. Okay.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. Mailbag show, shall we open up the mail bag?
Jay Kang: Yeah, let’s see. What do our listeners want to know?.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. This is from Gil, “Love the show. Making my way through the back catalog now. It’s like the history of crypto world part four or something riveting. I should … Probably shouldn’t read the parts where they praise us, I should just-
Jay Kang: Yeah, but thank you. Thank you.
Aaron Lammer: Silently internalize that.
Aaron Lammer: He asks — MinerGate, awesome GUI mining tool, or total scam? Have you ever checked out MinerGate?
Jay Kang: What’s MinerGate?
Aaron Lammer: It’s somewhat similar to Honeyminer. We did a program with Honeyminer. It’s just a simple GUI that you can mine with.
Jay Kang: Yup.
Aaron Lammer: And people are going to build more and more of these tools … For all I know these tools are just sitting on top of open source mining software. They just give you a nice interface to connect to it. And you pay a fee to have it done for you.
Jay Kang: So it’s like the button in Fast and Furious where it supercharges your car. And so if you’re trailing at the finish line and you flip the switch, then you go across-
Aaron Lammer: I actually have no idea what you’re talking about, but yes.
Jay Kang: Okay.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. This one’s loaded. This is a hot … This-
Jay Kang: Wait, did we answer our question?
Aaron Lammer: Oh, is it a scam or not?
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: I don’t think it’s a scam, no. I mean, it’s a bad deal.
Jay Kang: I will say in this analogy that you have no idea about, the Nos button does help Vin Diesel get across … And Paul Walker at some point.
Aaron Lammer: I got distracted by your Fast and the Furious metaphor. I’ve only seen Fast and Furious four is the only one I’ve seen I think.
Jay Kang: Fast and Furious.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. So I have no idea what you’re talking about but I don’t think that we should assume that everything in crypto is a scam. We should more assume that most of the coins are scams.
Jay Kang: Fair.
Aaron Lammer: Okay, this one’s from Sam. “I thought y’all might be interested in having a look at Nick Sable’s likes on Twitter. It’s basically crypto stuff and super terrifying including Mike Cernovicah, Trump, Michael Flint Jr., et cetera. He says that likes do not imply endorsement, but I mean, anyways, this makes me even happier Satoshi still a mystery. What do you make of this?
Jay Kang: Well … First of all, Satoshi is not a mystery anymore.
Aaron Lammer: Oh yeah, he is Excerptoshi.
Jay Kang: He’s writing a novel.
Aaron Lammer: He’s excerpt Toshi wasting away in margarita land.
Jay Kang: Okay. I have two thoughts about this. The first is that I don’t think that “likes are not endorsements” is a particularly convincing thing.
Aaron Lammer: Yup.
Jay Kang: The second thing I would say, and this is a more general thing which has happened to a lot of professional athletes recently and whatever. Like, I just find that the scrubbing of somebody’s social media profile by the public to try and figure out something meaningful about them is both slightly eliminating and obviously at times taken way out of context, and blown up way beyond proportion. And so I-
Aaron Lammer: I made the mistake of watching the bachelor this year because my wife wanted to watch the Bachelor.
Jay Kang: This is like you … This is me with … You with Fast and Furious, I have never seen an episode of the Bachelor.
Aaron Lammer: Anyways, the guy who won the Bachelor, who’s the bachelor, or the guy who won had liked some fat shaming Instagrams.
Jay Kang: Oh, was that a … Was it a-
Aaron Lammer: And they didn’t scrub it, and there was controversy.
Jay Kang: There was controversy.
Aaron Lammer: There was controversy.
Jay Kang: Okay. So … But I would say that if this is true, then the chances that Nic Sable, libertarian does not kind of believe that Mike Cernovich is a good actor are probably pretty low.
Aaron Lammer: Yup.
Jay Kang: I mean, he probably does like Mike Cernovich.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I don’t really have a problem with this. I mean, there are elements of this stuff that makes me uncomfortable. And it makes me uncomfortable for like rutting for a world that supports Mike Cernovich. But we knew that crypto was full of weirdos. Like what do you want? You want your weirdos sanitized?
Jay Kang: Well, it’s not even weirdos-
Aaron Lammer: Or do you want them feisty?
Jay Kang: We knew that crypto was full of this specific type of weirdo, right?
Aaron Lammer: Yes. By any means necessary, libertarians.
Jay Kang: The number of people in crypto who believe in Piizzagate is probably higher than the general population of people who believe in Pizzagate.
Aaron Lammer: I think even the people who are savvy enough to know that Pizzagate is bullshit are still generally maximalists where it’s like, “yeah, but Trump is going to like bring about the apocalypse by which libertarianism will rise from the ashes”.
Jay Kang: Yup, exactly.
Aaron Lammer: It’s like … Whether Nick Sabo really loves Michael Flint Jr., or thinks this is all part of some cosmic plan that ends in Bitcoin Maximalist Mad Max universe, I think probably he is a pretty radical thinker, a pretty radical little conservative libertarian thinker. Whoever … Satoshi probably is too.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Although I agree with Sam that I am happy that Satoshi is still a mystery. And that’s probably the thing I respect the most about Satoshi is there would have been inherent politics in being Satoshi. And the way to completely eliminate yourself from that is to just become Excerpt Toshi and move to margarita land.
Jay Kang: Do you think that … But what if Nick Sabo is Satoshi?
Aaron Lammer: I don’t think he is because he’s not acting like a person who’s Satoshi.
Jay Kang: Yeah, but-
Aaron Lammer: He’s acting like a person who is Nick Sabo.
Jay Kang: This is advice for everybody then, which was something that Aaron and I have followed somehow which is, you know, just don’t be on Twitter.
Aaron Lammer: Do not be on Twitter. Jay’s been … I’ve really been enjoying Jay immensely since he’s not on Twitter.
Jay Kang: Two months now.
Aaron Lammer: Two months … Really? Two months, wow.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: I did hope that when you got off Twitter it would somehow jumpstart the market a little bit more though.
Jay Kang: The crypto market?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, I thought I could achieve that. Okay, this is from Linda. “I love Coin Talk and never miss an episode but something has been nagging me. When you construct an imaginary profile of this anonymous figure Satoshi Nakamoto, you talk about his possible wife, age, character, et cetera. I wonder why you assume he is a man, has it ever occurred to you, even for an instant, that Satoshi might be a woman? My theory is that Satoshi is a small team of people that includes a woman, perhaps it’s even a couple-” … That’s the main thrust of it. I have considered that Satoshi could be a woman.
Jay Kang: I have too.
Aaron Lammer: I can’t negate that idea until we know who Satoshi is. Satoshi could be a woman.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Like I mean, I don’t think that there’s anything about the type of project that Bitcoin was that necessitates that it’s a man. I mean, and I don’t think it’s useful to be like, “The number of … The percentage of people who are in crypto is X, and therefore probably-” … Like who cares? Like we’re talking about [crosstalk 00:10:39].
Aaron Lammer: Almost everyone is probably not Satoshi Nakamoto.
Jay Kang: So there’s no probabilistic way to even think about it. So, yes, Linda. Like, we have thought about it, and this is not to be dismissive at all about it. But sure, like I think that could be a woman. I think the reason why we use the male pronoun is because the name Satoshi Nakamoto is like a man’s name.
Aaron Lammer: “Hey guys, love the show. You talk a lot about the scam coins being over 90% of the ones out there. Could you identify five to ten projects, big or small, that are not scams and think will have a real user base using their products and generating revenue in five years”. Wow, that’s from Joshua. Well-
Jay Kang: This is not investment advice.
Aaron Lammer: It’s not investment advice, and I would also say generating revenue seems like a big ask.
Aaron Lammer: Okay, we can both agree that Bitcoin is the front runner.
Jay Kang: Okay, but I think he meant other than Bitcoin and Ethereum. So let’s see if we can do it without Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Aaron Lammer: Okay, will exist in five years and have value? I would say Monero and Zcash would be two of my picks. And without cheating and saying like Ethereum Classic.
Jay Kang: What about 0x?
Aaron Lammer: I’m going to say yes on 0x.
Jay Kang: Okay.
Aaron Lammer: I think the ones that are heavy in Silicon Valley … I think Ripple will probably be around in five years.
Jay Kang: I agree.
Aaron Lammer: I mean, it would have to flame out pretty fast. Although the Internet’s half-life is faster than we expect. Five years ago it was 2013, Obama was president.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Look, I don’t … I think that it would be hard for us to firmly say that anything is around. But I agree with your list more-or-less that it’s like the big ones; Ripple, Monero, Zcash will probably be around. And I don’t know what state they’ll be in, but are you completely convinced that Ethereum will be around in 2023?
Aaron Lammer: My prediction would be yes. And when you look at the history of big tech firms. Let’s say 2013, what are the big tech firms? Apple, Google, Facebook, I think SnapChat.
Jay Kang: Facebook was not that big in 2013.
Aaron Lammer: I feel like that’s about when they’re buying Instagram. They’re not as big as they are now, but they’re big. I guess what I’m saying is we always assume that there’s going to be this Facebook-MySpace effect. And then there’s like 10 years of Facebook.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: So I think it’s possible that crypto will continue along its current trajectory, and a lot of the top players of the present will be top players of the future. That said, I think there’s also a very good chance that almost all of these are scads and will go away.
Jay Kang: I agree.
Aaron Lammer: That was a terrible answer, we didn’t get anywhere.
Jay Kang: Yeah, I think the answer is we don’t know, and maybe zero.
Aaron Lammer: “Hi …” This is from Karen, “My nephew bought a cold coffee last night at a grocery in Hamburg”, that’s in Germany. “This morning he noticed that he had a crypto coin. And she sends a picture, it’s the top of little mini latte, and it says “Project Crypto Currency Lateso”.
Jay Kang: Oh, cool. So it’s like giving … People kind of give out weed that way.
Aaron Lammer: Where have you gotten weed that way?
Jay Kang: Venice, Venice beach.
Aaron Lammer: That sounds great.
Jay Kang: Wait no, actually I might be thinking about the movie Half Baked.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, I don’t think … That’s never happened to me. But I do think that giving people … Like taking some of these rewards that you get at places and turning them into some kind of wacky crypto currency scheme is just inevitable. And I predict it will eventually have to do with the McDonald’s Monopoly game.
Jay Kang: I did that this morning. I got a coffee at a place and they said, “Do you want a loyalty star” in the tub that you put your credit card in, and I signed up.
Aaron Lammer: I signed up for one of those at the bagel place near here called Belly, and every time I walk within two blocks of it, it like push notifies me even though I don’t have the app on my phone anymore.
Jay Kang: That was a mistake.
Aaron Lammer: It basically the closest I’ve ever gotten to a virus on the iPhone.
Jay Kang: Really? What was the app that you downloaded?
Aaron Lammer: Because it uses the Wallet app or something like that.
Jay Kang: Oh my god, that’s a disaster.
Aaron Lammer: It’s a disaster. It’s basically acting like it’s an airline boarding pass, but it’s my bagel loyalty card.
Jay Kang: You’ve got to get in and get this bagel right now. The bagel plane is boarding.
Aaron Lammer: Okay, this is from Adam, a friend of an old friend of mine. “As writers and persons of letters”, that’s some real flattery for you Jay. “What single word or term in the crypto landscape do you think you find most troubling, problematic, or misleading? Or which one do you think most needs to be replaced?” The possibilities that he lists are; hash, mining, wallet, fork, whale, ICO, moon. Most of those words are fine.
Jay Kang: They’re fine with me. ICO is the only one where I’d be like, Ugh.
Aaron Lammer: Tell me why.
Jay Kang: Well, because I think that that is part of the reason why people have a confusion that this thing is a security, right? That you’re investing in something other than a currency that might be worthless. And that if you invest in Augur for example, that you in fact are buying part of the Augur company, which is not true. I think that the sort of twinning of ICO and IPO is probably at least somewhat responsible for that. And so I would like to change the name from … If it was up to me I would change it from Initial Coin Offering to like … I don’t know what the other term would be, but it would basically be like, “Hey, you want some coins for this thing?”, you know?
Aaron Lammer: Give away, a giveaway.
Jay Kang: ICO.
Aaron Lammer: A paid giveaway, that’s basically what it is. They’re paid give aways.
Jay Kang: That’s … I think that’s the one word that I think I would change. As for the rest of crypto, you know, I don’t know. The language that’s troubling about it is the stuff that we were talking about,, but that’s not specific to crypto its just kind of concentrated there.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, I’m going to take a different path here and I’m going to say mining. I think mining is a very elegant and pervasive metaphor, but I think it misidentifies what’s happening in such a way that it’s like, “To find a Bitcoin takes so much energy. This is unsustainable”. When really what’s happening is we’re broadcasting the entire block chain through all of these mining nodes that have a combined hash, and that is necessary. And that’s … I was a big BitTorrenter, you know, you have your seeds, your seeders, and your leachers, you know?
Jay Kang: Always a leacher. Did you seed?
Aaron Lammer: Oh yeah. Well, you know, on Oink, on the really good ones you had to see the certain amount of ratio.
Jay Kang: Yeah, I would do that. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: And I think that’s a really … A civil way to handle the world. You know, take as much as you give; seed. And in the case of Bitcoin, which you could say is maybe even more elegant than the block chain in my personal opinion, everyone’s just doing this kind of voluntary seeding, maybe to get their account reps up so they can download more stuff, or whatever. In the case of Bitcoin we basically have to pay people to broadcast all of that stuff, and we pay them in the mine coins they get. But I feel like mining is … the metaphor makes it seem frivolous in a way that it’s actually quite necessary.
Jay Kang: Okay, I agree with that. I will say … I think of the things that I cared about maintaining a good reputation on that my ratio on Oink’s Palace was like one of the things where if it went under-
Aaron Lammer: Definitely.
Jay Kang: -a certain number I would start freaking out, “Oh no, they’re going to kick me off”.
Aaron Lammer: You know how they have those systems in China now where they like rank each citizen based on their rank in decent, and their job, and everything?
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: That’s basically their sort of standing in society?
Jay Kang: Sure.
Aaron Lammer: I’ve never felt like my standing was more judged than when I got banned from Oink for not seeding enough.
Jay Kang: Oh, you got banned?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, because I had this problem. I had a proxy, and my wifi was messed up.
Jay Kang: You didn’t download some kind of massive discography?
Aaron Lammer: No, no it was because it wasn’t counting my seeding. It was a disaster.
Jay Kang: Oink’s Palace really was the utopia … I think we’ve discussed it before on the show but it really was like the best the internet has ever been, I think. I mean, outside … Except for the musicians who were getting ripped off.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I know a lot of musicians who really liked it too. And there was a lot of rare music there that’s like lost to the world now.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: It’s not on it. Okay, this is from Eric. “Hey Aaron and Jay, I’ve noticed you guys talk about the different world views and futures that both Bitcoin and Ethereum envision and I think I’ve got a pretty clear picture of what kind of a future Bitcoin maximalists believe in based on what you guys have discussed. But I’m much less certain about what future believers in Ethereum envision.” This is a real question. “Can you spell out what the ETH believers want for the next 1 or 20 years in crypto to look like? Is there a cohesive philosophical narrative behind ETH there way there seems to be with Bitcoin?
Jay Kang: Well Joe, our friend once said that he felt like the difference is between Bitcoin and Ethereum is that Bitcoin is like a Saifedean Ammous-type who only eats meat, and is very bullish on economic systems and libertarianism. And the Ethereum guy is like somebody who’s sipping coffee in Berlin, you know? And has like a kind of wonky vision for how the future should organize itself technologically. I still think that’s a useful metaphor, you know? I think that Ethereum people are much more about trying to replace what exists right now and make it better. Where as Bitcoin maximalists are more about tearing everything down to the ground and starting over again. So like for example, even the D-app space, right? Which we have been involved in having spent the last two episodes talking about Auger. It’s not an attempt to replace and create a new type of political science. It is literally just a way to build prediction markets in a decentralized sort of way. And I think that that is somewhat indicative that in the future, if everything is running on Ethereum, do you really think that your phone, your ETH phone, or your Vitalic phone, or whatever the fuck it’s going to be called. Do you think it’ll look that much different than your phone does right now?
Aaron Lammer: I think that you’re right to say that Bitcoin maximalism is more of like a real world libertarian take over. And it feels to me like Ethereum maximalism is a taker over of the internet and our digital lives.
Jay Kang: Sure.
Aaron Lammer: It says how much of our lives are lived digitally that potentially Ethereum is the more radical idea. It’s an idea that I first encountered around Facebook. There was this idea that Facebook would eventually be everything, it would be your identity, and it would be your bank account, and it would be your social connections and your phone, and your contacts, and everything. And I think that promise is pretty dead, like I don’t think anyone is like, “I can’t wait till Facebook controls more of my life”.
Jay Kang: Well I mean, unless you live in one of these countries where the entire internet is provided by Facebook.
Aaron Lammer: Fair game … Fair play. So, I think that when we imagine the Ethereum maximalist world, we should imagine an internet that’s like a giant super computer that we live all of our parts of our lives through. And you can either imagine that as a radical change, or we also discussed that, in the context of if it’s just money on your phone, maybe it doesn’t even feel that different than it feels now. But we are doing things like what we did on Auger, and making bets with smart contracts that are held in this digital escrow.
Jay Kang: What’s the update on our bets?
Aaron Lammer: Well, I have some bad news about that.
Jay Kang: Oh no.
Aaron Lammer: So, the good news is Ethereum has tanked since we made that bet. And the chance of it being over $500 on Jan 1has gone down. And so our bet, we could cash out now with a tiny little profit.
Jay Kang: We could.
Aaron Lammer: The bad news is that my node on Augur will not sync past 78%, so I can’t log in to cash out. So we’re basically locked out of Auger by the chain right now.
Jay Kang: What a great prediction market.
Aaron Lammer: Yes.
Jay Kang: Like you can put money in, but then it’ll … The entire system will crash and you can’t actually profit.
Aaron Lammer: You need to hedge by putting some sort of a bet about whether you’ll be able to log into Augur in the future.
Jay Kang: Aaron, do you think that Ethereum maximalists want sort of a quiet, seamless take over? Or do you think they want sort of a disruptive event where everybody has … Where people announce, “Hey, we’re going to Ethereum”? Or do you think they just want to quietly create better versions of the things that we have now so that slowly the apps on your phone will become Ethereum based centralized application?
Aaron Lammer: Here’s how I imagine Ethereum maximalists are like playing the movie of Ethereum in their own minds.
Jay Kang: Yes.
Aaron Lammer: I think it’s heavily influenced by Silicon Valley, and that the assumption is at some point, if you visit San Francisco, you start seeing some weird Ethereum stuff happening in the background. And you can go to like an Ethereum casino and make bets, and there’s Ethereum bars and games, and futuristic delivery … You started seeing a little Ethereum getting used. And it seems really goofy and clunky, and people make fun of it all over the country just like they made fun of Uber and other various things that started in San Francisco. And then eventually it starts spreading, and it just seamlessly becomes part of your life in a way where it’s like, “Oh, I can’t believe we ever got along without smartphones”. I think people who really believe in Ethereum believe it’ll just become central to our entire financial lives in that way.
Jay Kang: Sure, do you believe that will happen?
Aaron Lammer: I don’t really see … like, I understand the amusement park metaphor, I’m unclear what’s happening in the amusement park that’s luring all the children in.
Jay Kang: Yeah, I don’t know what’s new. Like, what’s the new superman ride that they’re doing?
Aaron Lammer: Well, it really hinges on … Okay, so you give people the smartphone and it makes something like Uber possible, that’s like a new kind of experience. So we just tried Auger, and we can’t sync our fucking node, so we can’t kill our bet. So it’s not working very well. But let’s just pretend it does work really well and all these kind of things work really well. Are there some developments with smart contracts and these kind of financial … programed financial moves that are so new that they create Ubers and indispensable things in our lives?
Jay Kang: Sure. I mean, I don’t know … You know, I think the Toshi ecosystem that Brian Armstrong was touting a while back, you know … Would there be a sort of decentralized version of Twitter or something like that?
Aaron Lammer: Sure.
Jay Kang: That might end up working, that would ensure better anonymity, stuff like that? Sure, I mean, I can see it. I mean, I don’t … I think at this point there’s so much bad feeling that’s associated with technology where you have all these people like, “Come off from Facebook” coming out and saying like, “Hey, I wish I hadn’t done that”, you know?
Aaron Lammer: Yup.
Jay Kang: And look, I don’t fully take those types of statements in good faith. I think those people are probably trying to figure out what’s next, or getting people ready to … When they announce what’s next. But I do think that the sort of angst that they’re discussing is real. And so I don’t think that we’ll take a step back technologically and go super Luddite, although I think some people will probably do that, maybe myself. So I do think that there probably is a space where technology radically changes in terms of what we do whilst staring at these small screens. And if Ethereum’s part of that, then I would not be surprised, honestly. I mean, I would be much less surprised of that than I would be of a Bitcoin take over of the currency of the country.
Aaron Lammer: We have to imagine a future in which a lot of stuff is automated, like self driving cars that smart route and you just step in and out of them. And they charge you based on some sort of overall grid efficiency. Like, you have to imagine that not only is all that stuff coming, but there’s going to be an extremely low friction economy of it. And I’m not totally convinced that that is going to happen. I imagine more it’ll be sloppy US dollar based, but the most optimal way to run that system is as this one giant super computer. I don’t know if we’re capable of making it, or whether we really want it. But … Like for instance, I shop at Whole Foods and I buy most of the products I buy on Amazon. And I have an Amazon credit card which gets me five percent off at Whole Foods. I am like … have committed as much of my retail revenue as possible-
Jay Kang: Do you read the Washington Post?
Aaron Lammer: I don’t have a subscription to the Washington Post. But what I’m saying is, of the money I spend for a year I might be spending a third of it directly with Amazon. That’s a kind of like a closed financial system much in the way that I think ETH maximalists believe the Ethereum future.
Jay Kang: Okay, I have a question for you then. If you could invest in an Amazon coin.
Aaron Lammer: Yes.
Jay Kang: That allowed you to spend it on all Amazon products, and that this would allow you a three percent discount, would you buy a ton of that coin?
Aaron Lammer: I basically do by using the credit card, which gets you a five percent discount.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: But I don’t have to pre-buy. However, to finish your metaphor off, that five percent is not cash back, it’s in Amazon credit.
Jay Kang: Oh, it’s in Amazon credit?
Aaron Lammer: Which is automatically logged in your account, and then you can spend only on Amazon.com. So even if you earn credit by shopping at Whole Foods, the only thing you can do with that credit is spend it in your Amazon account.
Jay Kang: Yeah. You’re kind of bringing up this nightmarish company store type of future. Banana Republic.
Aaron Lammer: If you really imagine Ethereum maximalist world, Ethereum is competing with like Amazon bucks.
Jay Kang: Or Amazon just decides to convert there own thing to Ethereum.
Aaron Lammer: And I am bullish on Amazon bucks.
Jay Kang: Okay, well then maybe we should buy Ethereum.
Aaron Lammer: I have been slowly buying Ethereum.
Jay Kang: Or have you been able to do that despite the problems with Augur?
Aaron Lammer: So, I’ve just … All I’ve been … Slowly been doing is whenever Ethereum crashes I sell a little tiny bit of Bitcoin and buy a little tiny bit of Ethereum.
Jay Kang: Fair.
Aaron Lammer: So I’m now more like … I was at more like 70% Bitcoin and 10% Ethereum, I’m closer to like 60%, 25% now.
Jay Kang: I didn’t know that.
Aaron Lammer: So, if you’re wondering who the ETH maximalist in the room is, it’s me.
Jay Kang: Yeah, I was wondering why you were supporting …
Aaron Lammer: You were wondering why I have that full body Vitalik poster there.
Jay Kang: Well, I wasn’t wondering about that. I was wondering why your stance towards Ethereum based projects was changing on the show.
Aaron Lammer: Buy ETH.
Jay Kang: I just assumed that you have a secret contract with Consensys or something like that that you didn’t tell me about.
Aaron Lammer: No I actually think the two things that happened is Ethereum shat the bed so it seemed cheap and I used it for the first time in Augur and I was like, “Oh well, that was not a great experience but it’s more than I’ve done with anything else”.
Jay Kang: That’s true.
Aaron Lammer: Should we do one more question before we get out of here?
Jay Kang: Let’s do one more question, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Okay, I’m going to pick a good one. This one is just about Star Trek, thanks for the Star Trek one. This is just a guy who thinks I should have been harder on Saifedean.
Jay Kang: Was that me?
Aaron Lammer: Was that you? You felt that way?
Jay Kang: No, no, no.
Aaron Lammer: Tell me what you really think Jay.
Jay Kang: No, I wasn’t there for the second half of the interview, I was only there for the first half where he was being unfriendly.
Aaron Lammer: I generally get pushed around pretty easily by libertarians. I’m kind of afraid of them. I’m worried about them calling me a Cuck or whatever.
Jay Kang: Alright, well …
Aaron Lammer: Okay. “Jay, and Aaron, and team, sorry if you’ve already covered this but I think a great topic to cover would be software/hardware while its exchanges and general stuff that you find useful or like personally. Obviously without being too specific so you guys don’t get hacked again. Ha, ha, ha. Holding crypto is such muddy waters, especially when starting out so I think you guys could give some great pros/cons of popular stuff.”
Aaron Lammer: I feel like we’ve slowly addressed the topic over time, but my honest response, I’m interested in yours, is if you’re a beginner I would buy coins on Coin Base and leave them on Coinbase. Radical, bold, terrible idea I’m telling you. Not investment advice, not coin security advice, just lazy man’s advice here.
Jay Kang: Yeah, it depends what you want to do with it. If you want to day trade crypto then it’s a pain in the ass and you have to pay transaction fees to download and … to a wallet, and then put it back on the network. So sure, if you want to do what some people that I know did and buy at a decent price, and hold for five years and just forget about it. And that’s probably a bad system.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: I will say that to this day, Coinbase has not been hacked, right?
Aaron Lammer: They have a lot of money to cover a potential hack unless it’s for everything.
Jay Kang: And that them not covering you is catastrophic to them.
Aaron Lammer: Catastrophic.
Jay Kang: And that there are a lot of people with deep, deep pockets that would love, in the event of a hack, to buy up Coin Bases problems at a discount price.
Aaron Lammer: With that said, you still could personally get hacked and Coin Base won’t cover that. Like if someone gets … Owns your phone … Gets into your phone and resets the two-factor authorization and just gets into your account, they won’t cover that. They’ll cover all of Coin Base gets hacked.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I don’t think that there’s a good … I think the answer to this is that there’s no great answer to any of this, right? There’s nothing, other than sort of buying space in that vault, which I assume that our listener and you and I certainly don’t have the resources to do.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, if you’re listening to this show and you have Bitcoin in the XAPO vault, send us an email hi at cointalk dot show, we’d love to talk to you about it.
Jay Kang: Or please sponsor the show.
Aaron Lammer: Iif there’s one mega-whale out there who listens to this show would just sponsor the show for your entertainment, come on? We’ll do weird private episodes for you, a little creepy, but I’m going to take a … I’m going to just zag here and say I think for the average person a rational choice would be to buy Bitcoin on Coinbase and put it into the Coinbase cold storage, the deep storage version of Coinbase.
Jay Kang: They have that?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, they have a cold wallet.
Jay Kang: Oh, I didn’t know that.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. And I think it’s like a week delay or something if you want to withdraw it. And it’s just … Just do that.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: You’re going to … Oh yes, it’s great to have a Ledger. I have a Ledger, but you could lose that, you could fat finger it, you know, screw up using it. I just think most people know how to use a password, and a lot of people know how to use two-factor authorization. Get yourself really well set up, at least start there.
Jay Kang: I would start there.
Aaron Lammer: Don’t, on your first week, go trying to transfer a Bitcoin from Coin Base onto your ledger.
Jay Kang: And if you’re worried about the money that you would lose, and you don’t have a good exit plan. Then losing that amount of money would be catastrophic to you. Don’t put that much amount of money into crypto, that actually is investment advice.
Aaron Lammer: That is investment advice, and that’s investment advice that I agree with. And it sounds like in the next year you’ll probably be able to invest in products that give you exposure to Bitcoin in exactly the same way without you having to deal with any of this stuff. So I think it’ll be totally fair to say also if this feels to risky for you, just don’t do it because you’ll be able to do it in a less risky way in the future.
Jay Kang: Agreed.
Aaron Lammer: Alright, see you next week.
Jay Kang: Yes.
Aaron Lammer: Bye.