Episode #59: 🧔Flashbacks and Fake Beards, a Crypto 2018 Year in Review
With a year wasted on Bitcoin podcasting under our belts, we revisit topics from past episodes and remember where the price was when we talked about them. Plus: how to disappear completely and then reappear as an ICO fraudster with a new beard.
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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 email@example.com)
- 🎱 With a year wasted on Bitcoin podcasting under our belts, we revisit topics from past episodes and remember where the price was when we talked about them.
- 🎭 How to disappear completely and then reappear as an ICO fraudster with a new beard: “Two identities, one man: the story of $800 million hedge fund fraudster Boaz Manor who led the alleged $31 million Blockchain Terminal ICO”
Aaron Lammer: Before we get going there was an article that came out that was like hitting a parlay [of like every Coin Talk topic all at once this week.
Jay Kang: So what would those be like? Scams?
Aaron Lammer: Scams,, fake beards, ICOs. Products that like don’t even make sense described in a sentence.
Jay Kang: Actually, you know what, I mean not to give away the actual thing before you describe it, but I’m going to, before we get into it say that it does make sense.
Aaron Lammer: Wow, counter take before the take. Okay. So this was in The Block. Reporter’s named Frank Chaparro. It’s a him. It’s one of the better reported crypto stories throughout the year
Jay Kang: It is quite good.
Aaron Lammer: Basically there was this ICO, 31 million dollar ICO to build what basically sounds like the Bloomberg Terminal of crypto.
Jay Kang: That’s how they described it. It was called BCT and it was like, I guess like it … I don’t know what the first word was but-
Aaron Lammer: Blockchain Terminal.
Jay Kang: No, I think it was like, was it like Bloomberg Crypto Terminal? I guess they couldn’t call it Bloomberg. Okay.
Aaron Lammer: I don’t think [inaudible 00:02:04]. It wasn’t quite that bold.
Jay Kang: It was B something crypto terminal. Whatever it was it was essentially like a Bloomberg terminal, which for those who don’t know is like a proprietary thing that you can get to get stock information and financial information. It was for crypto.
Aaron Lammer: And faster than you can get on the internet.
Jay Kang: Yes.
Aaron Lammer: In the case of Bloomberg Terminal.
Jay Kang: Yes. And so you get like a small trading advantage. So if you are a Forex trader or something like that, rather than having The Wall Street Journal publish a story about it and you read about it there, you get it much faster on The Terminal.
Aaron Lammer: Or like actual like proprietary data that is like on a slight lag, if you’re like loading it on the internet.
Jay Kang: What to you about this doesn’t make sense? It seems to make sense to me.
Aaron Lammer: Well, my first question is like what is the source of all this proprietary crypto data, right? I mean, Bloomberg has built [inaudible 00:03:06] massive system that they charge, I think it’s like 10,000 dollars a year to get a Bloomberg terminal.
Jay Kang: I don’t know. I assumed it was more than that.
Aaron Lammer: Maybe more than that. Maybe that’s like if you get a bunch of … Anyway, so this is like one of like the sea of ICOs that passed by in the last 18 months, most of which we will never talk about again. This one has a few special characteristics. So they did manage to get these terminals, they got a bunch of like celebrity crypto people to shell it, including our frequent topic, Ran-Ran Neu from
Jay Kang: CNBC Africa?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, yeah. CNBC Africa. He is just one of the people who was like, there’s like a tweet from him like, “Just set up my BCT terminal. It is so great. I am now like trading like a master!” So two conclusions from this story are the person who was behind all of this is actually a Canadian dude who was convicted of a 800 million dollar fraud and served some prison time and is definitely banned from doing anything of this kind ever again.
Jay Kang: His name was Boaz Manor.
Aaron Lammer: Just, I mean, top ten names for this person.
Jay Kang: And one the scams that according to the story he ran is that he was siphoning money out of his hedge fund and buying diamonds in Hong Kong and then having his sister fly to Hong Kong to pick up the diamonds. And now the diamonds are missing.
Aaron Lammer: Perfectly reasonable, perfectly legit. I’m sure there’s a very reasonable explanation for it. So basically his whole methodology for getting back in the game with this ICO was that he grew a beard or made a fake beard. I’m-
Jay Kang: He died his beard red.
Aaron Lammer: And so as this stuff started coming down and people started being suspicious. He had basically been going all over the country shilling this terminal to people. People googled him and were like, “That was that guy!” Except he had a beard now.
Jay Kang: Yeah, I mean, it’s quite bold I would say. And do you remember when like Bobby Valentine got thrown out of a baseball game and then he put on a phony hat and glasses and tried to sit back. It was as a joke, you know. But I’m always impressed by these criminals who think that all they have to do is grow a beard and dye it red. And then the high profile, again, you know.
Aaron Lammer: I thought about this also with all these like El Chapo conspirators who got like plastic surgery. They all look totally crazy now. They’re much more like obviously like a criminal now that they’ve had massive facial surgery.
Jay Kang: Yeah, like if you’re in Mexico for example and you’re in let’s say like Sinaloa or something and you see a man who has clearly had many many plastic surgeries-
Aaron Lammer: Like what other explanation-
Jay Kang: … at the age of 45.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, what other explanation for being a Mexican man in your mid-50s with like massive layers of plastic surgery are there?
Jay Kang: It would be like, are you on television. And then he’d be like, “No, I’m not on television.” And it’d be like, “Oh, I see.”
Aaron Lammer: So this plot was far less elaborate than this. And long story short they did not deliver a working terminal. It’s unclear to me like what the plan even was here. When you read their description of what the BCD terminal does they’re like, “Oh, you can get up to the minute price data and social feeds and articles from Coin Desk.”
Jay Kang: I’ve got it. I’ve got it here. I want to read it out.
Aaron Lammer: Okay.
Jay Kang: All right. This is somebody who was very into BCD. His name is Michael Caponiti of Archimedes Fund Management who was one of the people like [inaudible 00:06:45] who is going around saying that it’s great. “For crypto traders it makes it easier to trade because you’ve got all the information right in front of you in one place. You’ve got the chatrooms, the social media news flows, and all the specific websites like Coinbase and all those types of flows.”
Aaron Lammer: Did they basically sell people the internet?
Jay Kang: Yeah. They’re like basically selling people like a Windows system where you like put your chat in one corner-
Aaron Lammer: A dual monitor setup?
Jay Kang: And I guess like, I don’t know, to me when I read that I was thinking, I was like how desperate were people to find one thing that made any type of sense to be suckered in by this. Or do you think anybody was suckered? Like how could you read that and say, “Oh yeah, that’s what I need. I need to buy like essentially Google Chrome and open new tabs.” It’s basically what they’re describing here.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. Now we have to denounce ourselves. It’s that point in the program. That pitch, a Bloomberg terminal for crypto does superficially makes more sense than some of the coins than some of the coins that we’ve held.
Jay Kang: Well, okay.
Aaron Lammer: What does UBIQ do?
Jay Kang: No, no, no. I was going to say like I feel like if I can’t explain to you in any sense what the coin does then that doesn’t count.
Aaron Lammer: Well, here’s what I’m saying. This may be in the perfect sweet spot in that it sounds good and totally doesn’t exist. We’ve already uncovered on this show-
Jay Kang: No, but it doesn’t sound good!
Aaron Lammer: … that having a real product is a major hindrance. And this product could never be built because there is no proprietary like source of faster crypto data, so far as I know. So it’s like right in the right pocket between real and totally made up. You can describe it but you can’t possibly-
Jay Kang: I know. My favorite thing about this is they felt like they needed … Like why do you need an ICO for this? You’re essentially making a piece of hardware.
Aaron Lammer: Because the token was going to like power the terminal … Oh, that was the … I’ve forgotten when it was like an important detail.
Jay Kang: When it’s like an arcade machine.
Aaron Lammer: The terminal was free and you needed the token from the ICO to power your terminal.
Jay Kang: So it was literally like-
Aaron Lammer: You had to like stake your own terminal.
Jay Kang: It was like a washing machine.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. And they were like, “Oh, these are going to get speculated on as more and more traders use the free terminals.” And supposedly all the people … So they interviewed all these people who got sent a terminal-
Jay Kang: That’s amazing.
Aaron Lammer: They sent it to all these crypto funds. They’re like, “Here’s a free terminal.” And everyone was like, “Yeah, they said that a guy was going to come set it up. But the guy never showed up. So it just sat there for like six months not turned on, and then we shipped it back.” I didn’t see any photographs online that show a like active turned on terminal.
Jay Kang: So what do you think they did? Do you think they like went and they bought like really cheap televisions and they slapped on a logo on it and then shipped it out?
Aaron Lammer: I think that’s possible. Do you know like the speaker scam where a guy comes up to you and is like, “Hey, I just got these speakers. They put too many in the truck. They’re 5,000 dollar speakers. I’ll give them to you for 200 dollars. So just take them. Like don’t tell my boss.”
Jay Kang: Yeah. Someone has asked me that. Actually in this neighborhood.
Aaron Lammer: So you get the speakers and they work, they’re just like 20 dollar speakers in sort of fancy looking casing. And this scheme has been defended by people who say it’s not actually illegal. You’re just like being greedy. You’re getting suckered into buying some really cheap speakers for way too much money.
Jay Kang: Yeah, I’m sympathetic to that take.
Aaron Lammer: I believe that the BCT terminal is probably just like an LCD screen hooked up to a Raspberry Pi or something. Right? Well, what else could it be?
Jay Kang: I think that’s ambitious to say they even had a Raspberry Pi on it.
Aaron Lammer: Okay, it’s got like a place that you could in the future put a Raspberry Pi.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah. And this probably doesn’t exist anymore, but when you would go … It did in Korea. Say like when you go to Korea sometimes, Korea is very big into like having fake displays. So if you go by a restaurant there’s like plastic food. And if you go into a electronic store there’s a lot of televisions that are basically made out of cardboard. And I feel like this is like-
Aaron Lammer: Oh yeah. It’s like the TVs at Ikea.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Aaron Lammer: It’s like an Ikea flat screen TV. Because an Ikea flat screen TV is cheaper than the cheapest LCD TV. The [inaudible 00:11:00] goes for like 10 bucks each.
Jay Kang: Yeah, because it doesn’t work, right?
Aaron Lammer: It doesn’t work. But it’s got like the amount of plastic that you’d expect.
Jay Kang: Yeah, I guarantee that what they did is like they went to an Ikea and then they were like, “We’ll buy all your plastic-
Aaron Lammer: Okay. This is a blind quiz. On the scale from the zero being the most bullshit to 10 being the most legit ICO, where does this fit on the scale for you?
Jay Kang: Wow. Okay, the fact that their founder was a criminal and who-
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, and not a real person.
Jay Kang: And not a real person.
Aaron Lammer: But then again [Sumo 00:11:35] was not a real person [crosstalk 00:11:35] still cooking.
Jay Kang: No, no, no. Let me get to this. That goes against it, right?
Aaron Lammer: Yes.
Jay Kang: The fact that they could articulate a vision for it, right, and that some people if you didn’t stop to think well what is this for and why can’t I just load this up on the internet. It kind of makes sense, you know? And it wasn’t that expensive.
Aaron Lammer: They’re free.
Jay Kang: And then like the idea that your coins would power it, you know like you’re playing [Street Fight 00:12:05] or something like that. You know, that’s crazy. So that’s a point against it. I would give it like a six maybe. What about you?
Aaron Lammer: Well, the coin’s is no crazier than an a lot of alrts.
Jay Kang: Exactly. But also like in terms of like the biggest strike against it obviously is that this guy dyed his beard red, you know, and that he decided to walk around with a new name. But I will say that is it scammier to be a real person who is going to real meetings and is giving real people real instructions … Well, not real instructions but, you know, fake instructions. Is that scammier than just having absolutely nobody and just having like some fake names and having absolutely nothing to do with any project?
Aaron Lammer: Well, there were people who were deceived by his beard, which means that there were people who were working in good faith who thought he was a different person. So that’s a plus. There were certain people who thought it was real. Unlike some of the things where … Remember last week I said many alt coins would vanish from this Earth without leaving a trace?
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: They made an actual fake terminal. So that means they had at least promotional swag, which means when all this is gone there still will be a BCT terminal in the crypto museum that I’m going to build in my basement. Current collection one XRP hat.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Well, like I would say that’s it’s a six.
Aaron Lammer: Six? Okay. So it’s above average.
Jay Kang: It’s above average. It’s less scammier than average because I think you and I, remember that insane story about Skycoin where like he was saying that the Triads had broken into his house-
Aaron Lammer: Listen to the Coin Talk archive, Kidnapped by the Triads. That’s …
Jay Kang: So we weren’t even really sure if this was a real person. We were pretty sure that he had not been kidnapped by the Triads.
Aaron Lammer: Well, the people he was calling the Triads was his own marketing team. And they were kidnapping him to get their back wages.
Jay Kang: Like I think that’s like based … Even that I think is like a three, because one on a scale for me is essentially a coin that has no team associated with it that was just created, might not even be on the blockchain but was just traded on some exchange. And like one person created fifty of them at once and just was basically dumping out of them the second anyone bought into them. That’s a one for me.
Aaron Lammer: I’m going to go with you here. To me it was a five, but there’s always the rare chance that you do something that’s like totally bullshit and it accidentally works. And I feel like this one kind of fits that profile. Like I could still see a really rich guy being like, “I don’t care. I’m still buying this crypto terminal.”
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It could be pretty much … I think this is the second time I’ve mentioned this movie but you know Small Time Crooks, the Woody Allen movie where Tracey Ullman starts baking cookies so that Woody Allen can like crack into his safe, but then-
Aaron Lammer: How often do you watch Small Time Crooks?
Aaron Lammer: Okay, Jay. I thought long and hard about how we could have a holiday show, holiday Coin Talk, Yuletide Coin. And I thought maybe this is probably our last or our second last episode of the year. And we also launched … Our first episode was New Years last year. So we’re also celebrating one year of Coin Talk.
Jay Kang: It feels like it’s been three years.
Aaron Lammer: I feel so much older.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: What would you think about us like taking a walk through 2018 together, both through the lens of the episodes we did and Bitcoin price, and kind of remember where our heads were at in different points in time.
Jay Kang: Okay.
Aaron Lammer: So on January 9th we put out our preview episode which was entitled Ripple Mania and Sumo Feudalism. So to give people an idea of where Bitcoin was, we had been taping the basement tapes when we crossed 10,000 and it’s come back down to 10,000 in January 2018.
Jay Kang: Yeah, I mean I basically measured crypto everything in the Lammer enthusiasm index, right. And so I think this was still around the time when you and me quietly were both thinking all of our real estate dreams are going to be fulfilled by crypto. You know, like that four million dollar brownstone in Park Slope is going to be ours because [Youbit 00:16:36] it going to go through the roof and make us all rich.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I was definitely thinking I will totally sell my car for one Bitcoin.Would have been a great deal for me.
Jay Kang: Yeah, at that point I think my car too, which is a bit newer than your car, I would have traded for one Bitcoin because I mean, like this car is not appreciating but that Bitcoin I can get two of these cars soon.
Aaron Lammer: I’m going to go out and say that another crazy thing is I didn’t even feel like at the time that Bitcoin was what was surging. We did Ripple Mania for the first episode. Ripple was what people were losing their mind over, and there was the real feeling, particularily because Ripple is so cheap, that Ripple, that there could be ..
Jay Kang: A Rippling.
Aaron Lammer: And that was where like the true speculative mania was. The overnight double return during that era when we taped the first show was with Ripple I think.
Jay Kang: Yeah. More than double, right?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: Like during that time Ripple went from like 22 cents when you and I both owned some of it to all the way up to three dollars.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, and like had the whole history of Bitcoin in like a month and a half it seemed like.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: So by this point like Bitcoin already dropped one third of its value in 24 hours on December 22nd, 2017. And then we were waiting for there was going to be a 50 percent drop in the 16 days starting in February that would bring it to 7,000. So really just as we were starting everything was going to shit. We didn’t know it but it was a terrible time to start this podcast.
Jay Kang: I know, if we had just started six months earlier and we had had things like … Do you remember those, like we’ve talked about this before, but do you remember those fake crashes where Bitcoin would go down like 60 percent and shoot back up-
Aaron Lammer: Bitcoin ban in China crashes?
Jay Kang: Yeah, or even like after that. I just remember I think around Thanksgiving like it crashed again, and you and I were trying to like catch the bottom and ride it all the way back up top.
Aaron Lammer: I feel like Bitcoin hasn’t gotten banned by China for six months. But [inaudible 00:18:37] they start market [inaudible 00:18:37]. Yeah.
Jay Kang: If we had started back then I think that we would have had a little bit more optimism around the show. And for those who think that the show is too negative, you know just think about when we started. We essentially started in the great depression. We were born into crypto-impoverished times.
Aaron Lammer: All right. Our second episode was with your friend Nathan Park. It was about the Korean market.
Jay Kang: And I will say that to this point, now that we’re one year in, that was one of our most informative episodes.
Aaron Lammer: I would say that in terms of actual usable knowledge we may have peaked in the second episode. It’s been all downhill since then.
Jay Kang: Well, at some point we abandoned the idea that this would be an informative podcast.
Aaron Lammer: But it did come full circle because last time we were talking about [Bithum 00:19:24] prop up that 6,000 price with some combination of wash trading and super airdrop festival. And that kind of gels with what Nathan Park said, which was, A, these markets are highly manipulated, there’s huge spreads and that’s because they’re widely used for Chinese money laundering. Chinese money laundering is not price sensitive. It’s just as useful at any price. These aren’t people who are are speculators. They’re people who are coming in and out of the currency rapidly to disguise financial transactions.
Jay Kang: Yeah, and at that volume, right, of large amounts of money being processed through Bitcoin had a price effect. And then people in Korea were trying to speculate on what was essentially like massive amounts of money being moved out of China through Korean Bitcoin exchanges. And all of that got shut down because of like know your customer … Not all of it I’m sure, but a lot of it got shut down because of that sort of stuff.
Aaron Lammer: And I think that was an emerging theme for us to sort of counter there, that some of the use cases for Bitcoin exert positive price pressure, some of them are just really useful at any price. And now that Bitcoin is 3,000 dollars, pretty much exactly the same if you’re a Chinese money launderer.
Jay Kang: Yeah. And we would say, I think the thing that we have learned is that the ways in which Bitcoin are actually used are all not sensitive to price. Like it doesn’t matter, you know. If you’re buying some drugs with Bitcoin it really doesn’t matter what the price of Bitcoin is, right? Because you’re putting money into Bitcoin and then you’re selling it off getting your drugs, and then that drug dealer most likely is not … Like his transaction is not dependent on the price of Bitcoin.
Aaron Lammer: Well, the only way it would matter is if that drug dealer like HODls you know.
Jay Kang: Yeah, but then you just find another drug dealer.
Aaron Lammer: But if all the drug dealers HODLed then there would be a shortage of new Bitcoin to buy for the people who want to buy the drugs. But I think with drug dealers and Chinese money launderers we’re basically talking about people who want to go back to Fiat as quickly as possible.
Jay Kang: Yeah, or like put it in like a Park Avenue apartment or something like that.
Aaron Lammer: Sure. Okay. On January 19th with Bitcoin still above 10,000 dollars … I think we don’t even need to say anything about this one. I was just going to say we survived the crash with Doug [inaudible 00:21:32].
Jay Kang: The first in like a five-part series.
Aaron Lammer: Have you heard? Doug has not said anything to the [Telegram 00:21:40] for like-
Jay Kang: I’ve talked to Doug quite a bit-
Aaron Lammer: He’s good, he’s good?
Jay Kang: He’s doing all right, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Okay good. Okay, so first time Tether comes up on January 30th, and I remember this was, you know, Tether had obviously not destroyed the market at this point but I remember one of the last things we said about Tether was, “I have a feeling we’ll be hearing from him.”
Jay Kang: Yeah, it was one of our prescient moments.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I think that was one of our correct calls.
Jay Kang: Yeah. And we also were skeptical about Tether.
Aaron Lammer: Yes.
Jay Kang: Like we thought that something was going on if I seem to remember right. Not to turn this whole thing into a litigation of whether or not you and I were right.
Aaron Lammer: Well, I like our general call that it doesn’t like … I feel like crypto dudes always want to argue with us that Tether is or is not a fraud. And my argument is it does not matter. If there’s the perception that there may be a fraud in the system the system is less safe.
Jay Kang: Yeah, and if your response to you’re a fraud, and this is from Tether and Bitfinex is to be like, “Well, we don’t even really exist so how would you know?” And then you’re like, “Look, I’m going to put a little more cash behind this fraud bit here.”
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It also kind of exposed me, like the first time I realized that like Tether and Bitfinex were run by the same person, that like almost all of these profitable crypto ventures are just like Wizard of Oz, where you have like one guy like jumping in as like owning all of them. If the money moves between the miners or the exchanges or whatever, it kind of seems like the same people are able to just take advantage of it over and over.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Jihan Wu basically.
Aaron Lammer: Jihan Wu. Although Jihan Wu I would say is a character faded from view. Jihan Wu needs a new publicist and he needs to come on this show.
Jay Kang: I feel lik Jihan Wu has done that purposefully, don’t you?
Aaron Lammer: Surrounded himself with mystery?
Jay Kang: Yeah, why would he be public right now? He’s probably implicated in like all sorts of international financial problems, you know. He doesn’t need to be out there like having fights with Neeraj on Twitter, something like that.
Aaron Lammer: Then on number eight we had our friend Adrian Chen on. I am disappointed. I was hoping that during the run of the show we would have been able to say, “Adrian, if you had just bought when you made your first Coin Talk appearance you’d have this much money.” He’d actually have less money if-
Jay Kang: He would have a third as much money.
Aaron Lammer: So Adrian got the last laugh on us. I feel like since we had him on above 10,000 we should out of respect have him on now, bowing low.
Jay Kang: Yeah, but also, you know what, like the first time Adrian wrote about Bitcoin it was worth 14 dollars each. So he would still be doing very well.
Aaron Lammer: He’s still a loser in my book.
Jay Kang: He’s still a huge loser.
Aaron Lammer: We did a show on February 20th. So this is like after really a bunch of the ground has been lost. We don’t know it but like we’ve lost most of the ground at this point.
Jay Kang: But how would … Okay, February 20th, around the time when we talked to Adrian, how would you have characterized your mood at the time?
Aaron Lammer: My mood was we gotta stick it out through this long winter. It’s painful to look at this Bitcoin 8,000 but I know it will be back about 10,000 soon.
Jay Kang: I think I was similar to you but I was starting to lose hope.
Aaron Lammer: I was like, “Man, I might have to even wait till this summer for a new all-time high.”
Jay Kang: Yeah, that’s true.
Aaron Lammer: So we did a show on Zcash and Monero which we identified as, for me it was the most interesting subset of coins. And it probably still is. That said, nothing has developed in this space since then. I don’t have anything new to say about Zcash-
Jay Kang: I actually wanted to pause here for a second and ask if, because you were very bullish on these privacy coins and I actually, I agreed with your general sentiment, which was that of the things that you can imagine in your world that you would ever need to use cryptocurrency on, you’d be like, “Well, maybe one day I need to buy like a fake identity or I need to buy drugs, or I need to buy a gun or passports or whatever.”
Aaron Lammer: I would even say like from a more zoomed out perspective, if you could have all of your crypto transactions be private why would you not?
Jay Kang: Sure, I agree. How do you feel about it now?
Aaron Lammer: Well, I still believe in the general hypothesis but it really hasn’t mattered with regards to price. Just I could say the same thing about Ripple, which I think I don’t believe in even one percent. I don’t think it really mattered for price. Like I’m looking right now, Monero is below where I bought it more than a year ago. It’s 42 dollars now, after reaching a high I think of somewhere in the 300 dollar range. So I feel good about our use hypothesis of privacy coins. But I feel like maybe those things don’t really end up-
Jay Kang: But I’m not necessarily talking about the price. I’m just talking about, “Okay, let’s talk about Zcash,” right, because Monero is just one guy basically and we don’t know that much about him except that he has like expensive watches.
Aaron Lammer: No, he’s not, there’s a whole Monero [inaudible 00:26:28].
Jay Kang: But with Zcash, right, like Zcash was the most pedigreed of all these, and credentialed of all these projects. And it’s hard to imagine that the people who are involved in it would just not do anything for a while, right? And you would think that of all the people they would believe in the [inaudible 00:26:46] mentality more than anybody else. But there has been no … The only news that you’ve heard about Zcash is that when Coinbase accepted it they said that you can’t use it anonymously. So it’s actually just a worthless like token that outright it’s just like-
Aaron Lammer: You can have it transferred to you anonymously but you can’t get money out with it anonymously.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You basically have to [crosstalk 00:27:04].
Aaron Lammer: So you basically have to like reveal yourself.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, yeah. I mean, look. If you told me that Zcash is going to be on Coinbase and Gemini at the end of the year and the price would be under the 100 dollars I would have told you you were crazy. Zcash has had the best string of news possible.
Jay Kang: Best PR.
Aaron Lammer: Best PR, fawning profiles with Zooko.
Jay Kang: Yup.
Aaron Lammer: It doesn’t matter. It has not mattered for price. I file both of these coins just in the same place that we ended up in that Korean discussion where we said, “If you’re really using the privacy stuff coming out if you’re trying to obscure stuff price doesn’t matter. You’re not like sitting in the coin.”
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: So I feel like my overall hypothesis there was wrong. Its utility made it less valuable. It’s really useful and therefor it’s not going to get speculated on.
Jay Kang: Okay. I’m going to go one step further than you and I will say that Zcash probably has almost never been used to make a anonymous transaction.
Aaron Lammer: Not like a high-stakes one, no. I’m sure some people have done it like as a test. But it’s not being used in that way.
Jay Kang: Like if I bought you lunch for example and you’re like, “I will pay you in Zcash, and it’ll be anonymous,” and I would be like, “Oh, that’s funny.”
Jay Kang: Like that’s it. That’s the only way that it was ever used. And I guess my general concern about these projects is that once the price went all of their messaging about how great their technology was all disappeared. And it’s not just because the press stopped covering it. It’s literally these people all disappeared. And that’s concerning, because like if something like Zcash, which has such a credentialed background, also has that happen to them then that makes me feel like maybe they were like at seven on the scammy scale. Instead of what I would say was like-
Aaron Lammer: Zcash? Kind of like a two on the scammy scale?
Jay Kang: Wait, which one’s the highest?
Aaron Lammer: 10.
Jay Kang: Oh, 10. No, no, a three.
Aaron Lammer: Really?
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: I don’t question any of their motives. I just question the stupidity of my own investment hypotheses which are the things that I think are the good product or what I’m investing in, and I don’t think that it matters very much for coin pricing, because like everything
Jay Kang: I feel like, but with Zcash they did have all that stuff where like the founders had like an enormous portion of the coins, you know?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, no one’s doing this out of the goodness of their heart. That’s a theme. On February 23rd we had Maria Bustillos on the show talking about Civil.
Jay Kang: Oh my God.
Aaron Lammer: I’ll say at that time I didn’t even think that the Civil token sale was going to … Like I was like, “Oh sure. You’re going to do a sale, whatever.” Like I didn’t think that there would be a whole story about it.
Jay Kang: I thought that they were going to do the sale but I did not expect them to become like one of the top five crypto stories of the year.
Aaron Lammer: I thought we would talk about Civil to people in crypto and no one would have any idea what we were talking about.
Jay Kang: Yeah, we were talking about Civil to journalists and they would also not really know what we were talking about.
Aaron Lammer: Exactly.
Jay Kang: But we were wrong on both accounts.
Aaron Lammer: On February 28th we did the When Strongmen ICO about the Venezuelan Petro coin debacle.
Jay Kang: Oh that’s a good episode.
Aaron Lammer: Another story I’ve never heard of again. What’s going on with the Petro coin?
Jay Kang: No, no, no. That one keeps going. I mean like they’re still trying to put their petroleum assets into cryptocurrencies and nobody still knows what’s happening with it, or like there’s not really been that much transparency. But, you know, like the people in charge in Venezuela are not wavering from that idea. They still think it’s a good idea and the only asset that they have anymore is oil reserves and so they feel like they need to [inaudible 00:30:38] their cryptocurrency for reasons that I don’t understand but are probably linked to like mass corruption.
Aaron Lammer: To me them continue to do that is like trying to keep working on the terminal project. I mean, you can keep saying you’re going to do it but … Okay, then March 15th we did an episode on the Mt. Gox trustee dumping on everyone. Remember that?
Jay Kang: Oh God.
Aaron Lammer: That’s another story. Is that over? Has all that been dumped or we still could get one of those in the state we’re in now.
Jay Kang: Hopefully he was smart enough to dump out completely before now. And at this point he might, like [inaudible 00:31:17] would be like, “Well, I might as well ride this thing out.” But that was back in the days when one person could affect the crypto market in that way, which seems like a long long long time ago.
Aaron Lammer: I think there was actually some other [inaudible 00:31:34] who was dumped … They were like saying that a bunch of this like most recent fall was some dude who has like a 2013 wallet with two billion dollars in it.
Jay Kang: And he just sold it all?
Aaron Lammer: He’s been dumping, yeah.
Jay Kang: Oh wow. Good for-
Aaron Lammer: Not all of it, but people saw him starting to dump and they’re like, “Oh, that’s a lot that he could dump.”
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: We did that episode about the blockchain. Have we talked about the blockchain in like six months? Does anyone care about the blockchain anymore?
Jay Kang: No. When’s the last time you saw a IBM blockchain ad?
Aaron Lammer: I haven’t been watching that much NBA streaming, but I haven’t seen it for months.
Jay Kang: You know what, that would be a good episode for us next year is like what happened to the IBM blockchain.
Aaron Lammer: Oh, I thought you were going to say an oral history of the IBM blockchain commercial.
Jay Kang: Yeah, obviously that was what I was going to say. No, what happened to the IBM blockchain? I mean, do you remember how many ads there were about it? Like IBM basically went-
Aaron Lammer: They merged with that terminal. It’s actually inside the terminal now.
Jay Kang: IBM basically went Kodak coin and essentially it seemed like it was swinging a lot of its operations towards like this blockchain lab. And at the time you and I, mostly being assholes, you know, joked that we thought if you walked into IBM’s blockchain lab there would be like four dudes on a computer. And then like 60 marketing people, you know? But it seems like maybe that was true!
Aaron Lammer: Well, the thing here, like we heard so much about the blockchain, not Bitcoin, and this idea that somehow blockchain could survive without a surging asset attached to it.
Jay Kang: No.
Aaron Lammer: Does that seem like viable nowadays.
Jay Kang: I mean, yeah. I don’t know. I mean, do I still think blockchain could be used for certain specific tasks in a cool way? Yes. I think you do too, right?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: Do I think that there is a whole new industry that can be built out of blockchain and that it will replace the internet? Like that seems impossible right now.
Aaron Lammer: I remain interested in the decentralized web stuff. But the blockchain itself, there’s something that seems almost cruel about this sort of it’s a machine for trust stuff. Like we kicked off this show about a guy who did an ICO with a fake beard. Why would you be using trust to categorize this nascent marketplace? It’s one of the least trustworthy places. And I think we went out pretty early on the idea that who cares if this like fruit plantation uses the blockchain to track their fruit from seed to crop. If people are corrupt they’re going to figure out how to corrupt the blockchain. And nothing has changed my opinion about that at all.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was the art thing too, remember where like-
Aaron Lammer: Totally-
Jay Kang: Well, you could just swap the painting at any point in this blockchain and everything else would just be fine with it. Because they wouldn’t know.
Aaron Lammer: A place that says it’s going to protect you from scammers is a pretty good place for scammers.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: If the people are like, “This is scammer proof,” scammers are like, “Really?”
Jay Kang: Well, also it’s something, it was started as being this for the art market is scammer proof. It was most likely started by a scammer to scam you.
Aaron Lammer: So now we’re getting into the long 6,000s. The long flat 6,000s Bitcoin .Jay Kang: Yeah. So what’s the date?
Aaron Lammer: So on April 6th we did an episode with Ledger Status, The Fundamentals Remain Strong, where we concluded, this is when Bitcoin was worth twice as much as it is right now, that the fundamentals were the same so we didn’t understand why.
Jay Kang: The 6,000s were in April?
Aaron Lammer: I think so. Yeah. I’ll double check.
Jay Kang: Good lord. So we hovered there for how long? Like six months or something like that?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. Let’s see.
Jay Kang: So I was a no-coiner for the majority of the show.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. That was pretty damn close to the year. I mean … Well, in April it started at like 9,000, 7,400 by May, 6,300 in June, 7,700 in July, 7,000 in August. So we’re basically in a 6,000, 7,000 chop there. For kind of a long time. I mean, that’s most of the year.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: That was our long boredom period. We did Alt Spring on the Campus Quad. That first day that it came out, that was April 13. Then after that we had The Return of FOMO Kang in April. I think this is like when it went from 6,000 to 7,500. We saw the a little FOMO Kang against. ZRX gets added to Coinbase April 27th. We predicted a big year for ZRX. I think there’s a lot of positive stuff happening for ZRX. Did you see that stuff with Coinbase where you can put any asset onto a website and it does like a transaction with ZRX in the background to like you can buy any ERC-20 token on the web?
Jay Kang: No. But why would you? Like what, to like you can use it to buy Amazon products or something?
Aaron Lammer: Well, it uses it to do like some sort of a semi-offchain swap-
Jay Kang: Oh.
Aaron Lammer: … that allows … Like that’s what’s going to open up all these other Coinbase share coins.
Jay Kang: Oh, well that’s good for ZRX.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, a lot of good things happening for ZRX. Not a lot of price action resulting from that. I mean, either this stuff’s all like a coiled spring that’s going to explode here-
Jay Kang: No.
Aaron Lammer: Or we’re just like grabbing good [inaudible 00:36:55] as the ship goes down, right?
Jay Kang: Yeah, I think that that’s probably more … The number of people who are going to trade based on news and technological developments is very low right now.
Aaron Lammer: In May I got Bitcoin ransomed. Remember that?
Jay Kang: Oh, that was great.
Aaron Lammer: So this is an interesting one. In May you went to the Ethereal Summit where there was the CryptoKitties auction. And I remember-
Jay Kang: That was in May?
Aaron Lammer: That was in May. And I remember one detail from that that stuck with me, which was that Novogratz] was like, “You should buy CryptoKitties. They’re probably going to be worth millions.” Like it still kind of felt like all of the underlaying scarce elements of crypto were all going to be worth a lot of money.
Jay Kang: To not misquote Mike Novogratz, what he did was that some guy bought a CryptoKitty for 140,000 dollars or something. And he said, “Oh, he got a really good deal. It’s probably going to be worth more than that.” And yeah, on a scale of things that are epically wrong, between that and the CryptoKitties are going to be worth millions is not that because they’re really really wrong.
Aaron Lammer: Would you rather have a bunch of money in underwater shitcoins on Cryptopia right now, or a bunch of money in CryptoKitties?
Jay Kang: It’s not even close. I’d much rather be underwater on CryptoKitties. Because these CryptoKitties, you know, like it’s a thing.
Aaron Lammer: Do you still have your CryptoKitty? Didn’t you have a CryptoKitty? Let’s check in with your CryptoKitty.
Jay Kang: I think I have like six CryptoKitties.
Aaron Lammer: Have you checked the value of these CryptoKitties?
Jay Kang: No, but I co-own them with like a guy who works at Vice. So he has all the login stuff so …
Aaron Lammer: What did you pay for those CryptoKitties?
Jay Kang: 40 dollars I think. And then we bred them. But CryptoKitties at least has like some interesting provenance idea behind it, you know? And like uniqueness, ideas behind it. And it’s not insane … Well, it’s insane. But it’s not as bad as like having Sumokoin or like Zcash Classic or any of these coins that spiked our Cryptopia and [inaudible 00:38:58] and that are completely worthless and are not real projects. CryptoKitties is a real project.
Aaron Lammer: I am waiting for CryptoKitties generation two. Ideally like nested within some kind of a video game. So it’s not just … I mean, one of the big problems of CryptoKitties is like there’s no interface for it. It’s no fun.
Jay Kang: It’s not fun.
Aaron Lammer: That’s probably the product we’re looking for, right? That’s like going to start the market.
Jay Kang: Yeah. And the other problem with CryptoKitties I think, the reason why partially it was not fun was that like all the fucking kitties looked the same, you know? Like all you do is get like a different color.
Aaron Lammer: I thought we would be on like CryptoKitties two or three by now. Not literally but the people would take this idea of scarcity and fun and trading and Pokemon-like dynamics and go totally crazy with it.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah. Like we’ve talked about this a lot on the show but like a Skins economy where you even like dress your fucking CryptoKitty up and you have specific hats. And then the CryptoKitties go walk around somewhere. Like it’s not that hard to design, you know. Like VRChat, which is that game where you just make a weird avatar and walk around some VR landscape and people talk to each other. It’s really not that hard of a game to design. Just have a place where the cats fucking walk around and you can put a hat on the cat, and everyone’s like, “Oh, nice fucking hat,” you know. And you’ll be like, “That’ll be 20,000 dollars.”
Jay Kang: I would play that game, you know. I think you would play that game too. And like the fact that that hasn’t been developed is bizarre to me. Maybe that’s what Decentraland is in some ways? Business like-
Aaron Lammer: I think that’s one of the possible outcomes. We still need to do our Decentraland episode. But in general I feel like all of this scarce stuff, it doesn’t work until you can show it off. Like Supreme, you have to have Supreme. Can’t be invisible Supreme.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Or it can’t just be like [inaudible 00:40:48] it, you know, that you can only show it to your cryptonerd friends.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. You can’t get people excited with just the Super Airdrop Festival. Eventually you have to actually drop something. Okay. Now this is probably my favorite episode of the entire year. It took place on a yacht.
Jay Kang: Oh, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: So that was May 24th.
Jay Kang: God!
Aaron Lammer: There were still Aston Martins being given away on a yacht.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Two of them.
Jay Kang: Yeah. What happened to that guy? He bought like the most expensive house in Toronto, right?
Aaron Lammer: Well, I mean he’s like an [F Megawhale 00:41:22] so he’s got a lot less money now. But he’s probably doing fine.
Jay Kang: I’m sure he’s doing fine.
Aaron Lammer: Jaxx Decentral Liberty. Probably the most ambitious project we described. What do you think the vibes are like at the Jaxx Decentral-
Jay Kang: Did it launch ever?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: It’s been six months. It launched. So Jaxx Decentral-
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, it’s an app. You can get it on your phone. It’s got its own token. It’s like the dust of your transactions.
Jay Kang: And can you still buy like cards, like remember like the prepaid cards.
Aaron Lammer: No, none of that second-level stuff came out. It’s just like an app I think.
Jay Kang: Like didn’t they have like … Like basically like a Apple TV?
Aaron Lammer: And a [set topbox.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: And a collectible card game.
Jay Kang: Did any of that come out?
Aaron Lammer: I don’t know. I did not do my Jaxx research before this episode.
Jay Kang: I mean, look, I think that those guys are probably all fine. I wonder what the coworking space mood is. Remember like the first part of their video was like, “This is an amazing coworking space.” You’re like, “Why are we being salty?” And then suddenly there’s a man with [inaudible 00:42:24] walking through like a white wasteland.
Aaron Lammer: I mean, if I had to give a lecture on this whole crypto era I would show that like 15-minute self-produced 3D animation Jaxx Decentral Liberty and be like, “This cost over one million dollars to produce and someone was riding high enough that they made this vanity video and showed it on a yacht party where they gave away two Aston Martins.”
Jay Kang: Yeah, and then have them read the Bloomberg crypto terminal story, where like this was this year.
Aaron Lammer: I can only just imagine, I mean, ConsenSys had their 15% layoffs or something.
Jay Kang: 20%, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: It doesn’t seem like people thought a lot about what was going to happen. Like when everyone was like, “I’m not concerned with price. Like I don’t give a shit,” it’s like no one really considered the morale implications of this stuff. And I feel like Jaxx Decentral Liberty, before they had that yacht party, like how you act at the top is going to affect how confident people are down here.
Jay Kang: Or how much they’re willing to hear your bullshit again.
Aaron Lammer: Yes.
Jay Kang: You know? Like I don’t think that there’s anything that that guy can sell again. Because if I was like in opposition research again for some other company that was a competitor of his, I would just like email everybody and be like, “Hey. Dude, check out this fucking video,” you know?
Jay Kang: That video would have made more sense as like a signal of the top, you know, and a crash about to happen. But unfortunately like those type of things kept happening.
Aaron Lammer: Well, look, you can’t just produce … Like if you start producing at the top, I tell you, you can’t just make a penguin backpack movie in a night.
Jay Kang: Yeah, with a animated like stadium that he flies into.
Aaron Lammer: Remember this thread? June 20th Steve Bannon came out as being into Bitcoin? I haven’t heard about his holdings for a while. What happened to crypto-Bannon?
Jay Kang: I don’t know, but the real Steve Bannon is more influential than ever, which I think maybe the second he realized that he could say vaguely socialist things and that dumb leftists would glom onto his ideas, especially in Europe, then maybe he was like, “Ah, maybe I don’t even need this crypto thing anymore.” Like I felt like he was doing-
Aaron Lammer: Steve Bannon?
Jay Kang: Yeah! Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Socialist? What?
Jay Kang: No, he’s not a socialist, but there are like leftists who will say like, “Oh, well Steve Bannon is right about most things.”
Aaron Lammer: I’ve never heard of the narrative there you’re describing, but I don’t even … It’s just going to be, it’s just going to rile me up, so. We [inaudible 00:44:50] about Skycoin, never heard about Skycoin again after that. The guy’s probably still being held by the Triads.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah. Or he’s like in a really nice apartment.
Aaron Lammer: We did our Tezos episode. Again, I thought we’d be hearing a lot more about Tezos this year.
Jay Kang: Yeah, okay, so that one actually let’s pause and talk about for a little bit, because like we had Gideon on who is a great journalist, you know? And who I think shares a lot of our thoughts about crypto and was probably much more educated and smart about crypto than we were. And he seemed to have some faith in this project. He thought that bad things had happened with it, but that it was a real thing.
Aaron Lammer: Was it a real faith in the project or a faith in the intentions of the founders, though?
Jay Kang: More the latter. But I guess my point is like this was a huge huge huge sale, right? And the fact that they didn’t even make it to the point where they were being discussed at all anymore, or that they’re not a real product at all anymore, right?
Aaron Lammer: [Ledger 00:45:49] was telling us to load up on those Tezzies.
Jay Kang: Oh yeah. I’m not going in … I know that [Ledger 00:45:55] listens to this show, so I’m … But I will say that I’d just never get a [BIO 00:46:00] cryptocurrency face on a [DA 00:46:02] chart ever again, even though I think that a lot of his charts are probably right and that his instincts are right. I just can’t do it. Like I’m never going to buy an Altcoin again.
Aaron Lammer: Well, the thing about Tezos and the good intentions, and I feel like it took us kind of the first half of the show to figure this out, was that good intentions might even be a problem. The problem may have been they actually were trying to do it.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Tezos would have been better off if the founders and that scammer South African dude had joined forces and scammed everyone. Instead they just got in a huge fight that’s lasted multiple years. But as always I would like to say, the people who are deepest into crypto are terrible at running things, terrible at governance. I still don’t understand what governance means with regards to this. And not one of these projects have I been like, “That person really led this team through a storm. They had a great year.” Like who had a great year? I guess the big … Again, Bitcoin had a great year, the [inaudible 00:47:06].
Jay Kang: The year-end question I think is, yeah … If you want to ask who was like the MVP of 2018 who would you say?
Aaron Lammer: Earlier we were calling it for Bitcoin maximalists, but I do feel like the recent drops have kind of undermined their MVP case.
Jay Kang: What about like, aside from something like short sellers or something like that, which would be the obvious choice.
Aaron Lammer: I think the MVP of the year is everyone who made money in crypto in 2018, and that’s exchanges, probably miners. Like it’s all the people who are-
Jay Kang: By they were all, they were like crushed at the end of the year. Who had like a good-
Aaron Lammer: Exchanges didn’t get crushed.
Jay Kang: They did in the sense that like volume went way down.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, but they make money either way. Like they made money while the making was good. They made money hand over fist. Like these companies, and I’m including like Coinbase in there. Like when you look at the value of Coinbase as compared to the value of all the crypto as a whole, Coinbase has like made almost as many gains as all the investors-
Jay Kang: I totally agree with you.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. And that wasn’t clear until this year because their profits were the same and everyone else’s profits went way down.
Jay Kang: I’m more talking about like who had a great year from beginning to end. And the only person I can think about is Bitfinexed.
Aaron Lammer: He had a good year?
Jay Kang: He had a good year. He ended up with like a what, like a SCC investigation.
Aaron Lammer: I think Brian Armstrong
Jay Kang: Oh Justice Department investigation.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. Yeah. I would say actually that like the regulators had a pretty good year.
Aaron Lammer: They kind of like, they threw cold water and acted kind of rational without acting crazy. People wanted to say, “Oh, they didn’t know what they were doing,” but it kind of seems like they do know what they’re doing.
Jay Kang: Yeah, and they weren’t, like I don’t know, Noah Smith wrote an op-ed in Bloomberg about like what to make of all this crypto, what happened to crypto last year. And I didn’t think it was like particularily illuminating for people who were into crypto. But one thing that I think he said that was true was that none of the apocalypse scenarios happened in crypto that people thought it would happen, you know? There’s no huge exchange hack.
Aaron Lammer: Yup. That’s another reason I think exchange has won this year.
Jay Kang: There was no regulatory action. In fact the regulators seemed kind of kind to crypto and-
Aaron Lammer: There weren’t even any good fake Chinese bans.
Jay Kang: Yeah. I think that’s true. I think regulators were pretty good about it. So maybe they’re winners. I mean, unless you think that their laxness was also what led to things like, you know, Bloomberg Crypto Terminal.
Aaron Lammer: I know that I was pretty hyperbolic about the dangers that crypto presented to government. Do you think government and regulators maybe looked at crypto and went like, “Hey you guys. It’s a good chance these fucking guys flame out on their own.” Right? “Let’s not give them the power of shutting them down. Let’s just pull a little of the oxygen out of the room. We’re not going to let the ETF happen. We’re going to let this run its natural course, and not interfere, because it’s actually great for crypto if we do interfere.”
Jay Kang: I totally buy that.
Aaron Lammer: I think that they won. I think the government’s won.
Jay Kang: That’s a brilliant take and once you said it I was like, “Oh, of course that’s what they were doing.” Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: And they’ll wait and see, and if it gets dire they’re going to like intervene. But like Bitcoin’s not a threat. Like as long as Bitcoin is down 90% this is not its point of maximum threat.
Jay Kang: No, no. And also like-
Aaron Lammer: 80%, whatever it is now.
Jay Kang: I think that they probably didn’t want to make a mistake that was going to make it all even more fucked up. And they were just like, “Well, we’ll just see what happens. Who cares. It’s really not that many people in it.” Like you know, I think they made the right choice.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. This is one that I haven’t checked back in on in a while. July 9th [excerpt-Toshi 00:50:57] announces that he’s going to be dropping a memoir. Has that come out?
Jay Kang: No.
Aaron Lammer: What happened?
Jay Kang: I think it comes out January.
Aaron Lammer: Come out in January. Okay. Let’s just put a bookmark on that one. Oh, that actually reminds me. On January 3rd we’re doing our first ever live show.
Jay Kang: Really?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. You weren’t aware of this? You confirmed that you would be able to attend.
Jay Kang: I just like click yes on all Google invites.
Aaron Lammer: You’re coming.
Jay Kang: Okay.
Aaron Lammer: We’re going to do a set, Marty Bent, Tales From the Crypt is going to do a set. It’s all part of iterative capitals. It’s the tenth anniversary of the mining of the genesis block.
Jay Kang: Are we getting paid?
Aaron Lammer: We are not getting paid.
Aaron Lammer: I’ll put the link in the show notes. You can get tickets. I think it’s 10 bucks. But my plan was for us to do our long awaited Satoshi as literature episode, which I think we can’t help but … When you talk about literature, I know that you’re a literate man, you talk about doubles, mirrors. There’s no way to talk about Satoshi without talking about excerpt-Toshi.
Jay Kang: No, no, no. I feel like we drop our excerpt-Toshi take. Our hottest excerpt-Toshi take onto the audience there.
Aaron Lammer: Well, okay. So hopefully if the book comes out January 1st, there’s a possibility we will have read it. If we haven’t read it I think we should fictionalize a sort of a fan fiction account of what we imagine the book is going to be like.
Jay Kang: Instead of like the excerpts where excerpt-Toshi is telling you what the book will be about we’ll just make up a fake excerpt-Toshi excerpt.
Aaron Lammer: Late July, again Augur comes out. It’s another thing that’s like, wow this is like a big threat. A decentralized assassination market. Everything’s going to like blow up. And then people just kind of stopped using it.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Because it took 18 minutes or two days to sink the [crosstalk 00:52:50].
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I think our take was right there, which is none of these DFs are useful. And that was true when we started and it’s still true.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: We could talk about why, but it doesn’t for most people really matter why. Like have we gotten a satisfying answer [inaudible 00:53:05] so hard to use?
Jay Kang: No.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. We did a mailbag. September we talked about EOS. I feel there was some like EOS attention there. Remember EOS was going to launch. Whatever happened with that?
Jay Kang: Who did we talk to EOS about?
Aaron Lammer: Brady Dale.
Jay Kang: Oh yeah. And like we could not figure out how like the-
Aaron Lammer: Well, first you gotta get the bakers. Now the bakers need …
Jay Kang: No, that’s Tezos, right?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. EOS is something else.
Jay Kang: Yeah. EOS is something else where there’s like a council of nine, you know, and like that changed every 15 seconds or something like that.
Aaron Lammer: I used to feel bad when we got shit like this wrong, but I’m just declaring bankruptcy. I’m not going to keep how Tezos and EOS work separate in my head. And if that’s important to you just stop listening to this show.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Getting up pretty close to present day where we probably remember what we talked about. Final thoughts? The year as a whole. What surprised you?
Jay Kang: In 2018?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: If I’m being honest I will say that I thought in sometime around like a little more than a year ago when you and I were both up in crypto and we both had like 40% of our portfolio or more in shitcoins. I thought that some of these projects would be a little bit more real, you know?
Jay Kang: And I think what shocked me is that here we are like a year later after all this price action, after all this ink has been spilled about crypto. All these projects have begun and ended. And that we kind of are in the same place in terms of like a functional usable product in crypto. And I think that if … You know, I can hear people screaming right now being like, “Yeah, but it’s in its infancy!” But you know, we basically went year of an infancy and didn’t learn how to say dada.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah!
Jay Kang: Which I think is concerning.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, something’s wrong with our baby.
Jay Kang: Something’s wrong with our Ubiq baby.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I think I agree with your take. It reminds me a little bit, coming from a vaguely product software development-related background to like you’re working on some team that’s at like a satellite campus and the boss flies in. He’s like, “Let me see the product!” And it doesn’t work. And he’s like, “What the hell! This better work next time I’m here!” And it’s like he comes back again, he’s like, “It still doesn’t work! What the hell have you guys been doing!”It’s like, well we did a bunch of work. It just still doesn’t work.
Aaron Lammer: Like it’s hard to see the change between a more developed but still not working product. And I don’t think we have any real perspective right now. Like I’m prepared to be totally surprised and for it to be one of those things where it’s like, “Holy shit! We didn’t know this was all coming down the pipeline right behind us. And God, if there is anything in the pipeline put it out now.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Like okay, so you remember 18 months ago or something when we first both got into crypto, even before the basement tips. That one of the ideas that was always floated as being a possibility, like an easy thing to accomplish with the blockchain as it was composed in the middle of 2017 was like buying flight insurance, right? They’re like, “Oh, flight insurance is really annoying to buy. And you could use a Provenance system using the blockchain and you could make a ton transactions and go shopping for flight insurance.”
Jay Kang: I’ve never bought flight insurance in my entire life-
Aaron Lammer: That is the least fun sounding product.
Jay Kang: I’m not talking … But I’m just saying like just like give me a fucking flight insurance app, you know, or something. Just something. And I don’t know. The fact that so little has come out has been both surprising and a bit dispiriting to me. And the more that you promise that the future is going to look like this, and you know. Like there is a grace period in which people are willing to use their imaginations to fill that in. But when it is accompanied by them, A, losing a lot of money and, B, also like having these sort of catastrophic hints, you know, where you’re like oh here’s our new thing and then it doesn’t work, you know. Like Augur for example.
Jay Kang: Then I think people’s patience starts to wear a little bit thin. And this is not to say that crypto should be further along than it is. But I think that the bad actors in crypto have shortened the timeline of people’s patience for waiting on this world. I don’t know if that makes sense.
Aaron Lammer: I think that makes sense, and you have to assume there’s just more bad actors coming. So it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.
Jay Kang: Sometimes I think like maybe we shook out all the bad actors, and I’m like, no, there’s so many con-men in this world.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: Like you and I would be putting out Coin Talk Coin if we had just known what we knew.
Aaron Lammer: I feel like that’s being like an FBI investigator shutting down like a pyramid scheme and being like, “Finally there’s no more pyramid schemes in America.”
Jay Kang: We took out Initiative Q and now we’re all done.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I think I agree with your overall take. And I continue, I think we started off the year being really interested in these Robin Hoods and these coin bases and people who were basically trying to be your crypto user experience. And Toshi, which I didn’t even mention when we were going through, but that was coming out right about a year ago. Brian Armstrong’s-
Jay Kang: Was it, was it?
Aaron Lammer: A little bit more maybe even. And they were all this idea that you were going to have this contiguous like AOL universe kind of identity in crypto where you did everything. And we talked in the last episode about the only fun thing that anyone figured out to do is trade.
Jay Kang: Yeah, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Like they’re just trading apps.
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: And trading sucks when the market’s down. That is not a good time to be trading.
Jay Kang: Youcan’t like short it.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. Well, I mean even if you can short, like this-
Jay Kang: No, it would be fun if you could short it i think.
Aaron Lammer: I mean, you could get Bitmex if you want and short it.
Jay Kang: You can’t like short it on GDAX.
Aaron Lammer: I don’t think the solution is to make gamified shorting easier for people in legitimate apps. I think we’ll always find the gambling stuff fun. But the two things I’ve found fun in crypto have been trading and like getting into all these weird little projects. Which was ultimately a terrible idea, but I had fun at the time. And talking to people about crypto, which is our grand unified theory that everyone is lonely in crypto. And those have been great. It was enough to get me in the door. But I need something new. I need something new to be interested in.
Jay Kang: What do you think that’s going to be though? Or [crosstalk 01:00:14] going to be?
Aaron Lammer: If I had to bet right now I would bet that it’s gaming and it’s unique items in games. And that the next place we’re having fun is like trading something in some kind of a gaming virtual universe.
Jay Kang: Like in CryptoKitties.
Aaron Lammer: Or like we’re logging on to some VR game and you can like trade like different outfits and I’m like, “Jay, Jay. Let’s like go buy all these outfits and then we’ll sell them like on-
Jay Kang: I’m in to that. I like that, and I would love to be like a crypto VR chat hoarder of like hats and bracelets.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: But I don’t know. It’s just so hard to see any functional product like that in the next year.
Aaron Lammer: Well, we gotta do this deep dive in Decentraland. I feel like Decentraland is the closest thing that we could actually try now that involves like a little bit of that gamified like virtual world trading.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Okay, let me just ask you this question then about this, and then we can close up. But like if you were to bet your life on this, right, that right now if you got the best 20 mines in Ethereum together and you told them, “All I want is a game in which you walk around, you kill some wolves and the wolves give you gold-
Aaron Lammer: You beat a dog to death.
Jay Kang: You get like a little bit of gold for each wolf that you beat. And you amass that gold and you go back into town. There’s a whole bunch of other people into crypto in that town. And you can buy things from them. And you can like get rare items like hidden in trees and shit like that and-
Aaron Lammer: This is a weirdly specific description.
Jay Kang: No, it’s like a basic description of any multi, you know.
Aaron Lammer: A MUD.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Or like a MMO or whatever. Do you think that they can build that?
Aaron Lammer: Like launching this month or like?
Jay Kang: Like let’s give them-
Aaron Lammer: In 2019?
Jay Kang: Yeah. Let’s give them a year. Do you think they could make it?
Aaron Lammer: On Ethereum?
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: I think Ethereum itself probably needs to be updated before it could really support something like that. But I think that they are in a rush not towards that specific goal but towards that kind of a goal.
Jay Kang: The functionality-
Aaron Lammer: And it’s why I’m still holding Ethereum, honestly, is like I don’t understand what got so much worse for Ethereum other than its price. It still seems like the best chance of realizing this big vision. And it still seems like with Coinbase adding all that stuff, that they still see value in that vision. They who’ve captured the bulk of the value from crypto if anything.
Jay Kang: I thought last episode we said that all those ads were just their version of the Airdrop Festival.
Aaron Lammer: I mean, they are. But Airdrop festivals are powerful.
Jay Kang: That’s true.
Aaron Lammer: And it Super Airdrop Festival-
Jay Kang: Super Airdrop Festival-
Aaron Lammer: Super Airdrop Festival. It’s not your daddy’s airdrop festival. So to me that still remains the best shot out of this whole. But I think we might be talking towards like late 2019. I’m not expecting any January launches.
Jay Kang: Oh yeah, me neither.
Aaron Lammer: All right. See you next time.
Jay Kang: Yup.