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Episode #6: How Low Can You Go? / An Interview with Jameson Lopp
Aaron and Jay answer some Twitter questions at the entire crypto market crashes before their eyes, then find some solace in an interview with developer and Bitcoin veteran Jameson Lopp
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 or read the transcript below. (You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, download the MP3, or email us at email@example.com for our upcoming mailbag show.)
Show Notes (60 minutes)
Transcript: Interview with Jameson Lopp (@Lopp / Lopp.net)
Aaron Lammer: Welcome, Jameson Lopp.
Jameson Lopp: Glad to be here.
Aaron Lammer: I think the easiest thing to do here is to start at the beginning. What was your very first experience around Crypto? When did it enter your psychological world?
Jameson Lopp: I don’t remember the exact date, but it was mid to late 2012. As far as I remember, I believe, it was a Slashdot article that finally got my attention. I’m sure that I had read about it before and dismissed it. I was basically on the verge of dismissing it again, but as I started looking into the white paper and the system, I realized that while it was a very unique type of system, it also had some very interesting new properties that was fairly elegantly designed.
Once I realized that it wasn’t just some single centralized system that was going to get hacked and destroyed, I started devoting more and more time to educating myself about it. Really, as I learned more the hard way because there weren’t very many educational resources, I just chronicled my journey, and decided that I would try to share my experience and what I was learning with the rest of the world, and just started talking about it to anybody who would listen, and a lot of people who wouldn’t listen.
Jay Kang: With someone with your background both technologically and scientifically, when you first looked at Bitcoin in 2012, and you say, “Well, this is elegant,” what about it seemed elegant to you because, I think, for noobs like us or for people who just are worried about the price, they might understand the blockchain. They might understand what Bitcoin is, but they might not quite grasp why it’s such an elegant solution.
Jameson Lopp: Yes, I’m a Computer Science Major. I have been in the web application development sphere for pretty much my entire career about 10 years now. I was very familiar with web protocols, and web applications, and that general tech stack. Even though it has evolved over the years, it’s always been fairly similar in the idea that you have some sort of client-server relationship. I never really come across a decentralized distributed consensus system like this before. Just the idea that instead of having centralized managed servers, instead, everybody, who wants to, is their own server. It had some similarities to BitTorrent, but-
Aaron Lammer: I was just about to ask a BitTorrent question. I felt like people who grew up with BitTorrent, it’s the easiest metaphor to start with because BitTorrent is the only time I’m like, “It’s not really on anyone’s server per se. It’s on everyone’s server in a way.”
Jameson Lopp: Yeah, but BitTorrent is even relatively simple in comparison because all you’re doing is sharing static files with each other. This is BitTorrent on steroids where, now, you’re not only sharing files, but you’re actually dynamically updating them, and coming to a consensus about what the correct updates are. I really saw it as a new type of database. It just happens to be a database where we’re all trying to come to a consensus about what the data is that is going into it.
Once I realized that that gave you some very interesting robustness properties that could potentially make it so powerful of a system that even nation states would have trouble shutting it down, much like BitTorrent and distributed file sharing with the DMCA and all of that, I became very excited, especially when I started looking at it from more of an ideological standpoint of the idea of what is money.
Money is this abstract concept that I believe just belongs to humanity in general, and that anyone who is really interested enough to participate in deciding what the properties of money should be, they should be able to participate as to historical systems where it’s just one person or a small group of people behind closed doors that were dictating what the properties of our money is.
Jay Kang: I think that a lot of people who get into Bitcoin do have these political revelations or even economic revelations. Were these beliefs that you had before you came into Bitcoin, these thoughts about money, what is money, maybe money should not be controlled by the state. What were your politics like before?
Jameson Lopp: Yeah, I never rally thought about money. I think most people don’t. You just take it for granted as long as it works pretty well for you. I lived in a first-world nation with a great economy. I haven’t had to deal with a lot of the problems that some people in other countries have with their monetary system, but I had a fairly long political journey over the years from a very conservative family to going to a very liberal institution at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, to then getting out in the world, and becoming disgusted with both of the main parties, and becoming more libertarian.
Jameson Lopp: Then, finally, just realizing, “Well, even the libertarians are doing a lot of stuff I disagree with. At the same time that I started getting in the Bitcoin, I started reading more about anarcho-capitalism and volunteerism, and really going more to the side of ultimate freedom and anarchy.
Aaron Lammer: Curious what you think — most people who are Bitcoin skeptics are people who think Bitcoin is going to zero dollars. I’m personally of the belief that Bitcoin is going to be very successful, and it being really successful may totally destabilize nations. How do you respond to something like that? Is that politically aligned with you? Do you see a potential downside to the success of Crypto?
Jameson Lopp: If Crypto does really go mainstream, I mean, it’s going to change a lot of things. You will, of course, hear some of the more utopian ideas of, “Well, if we can completely remove the power over money from bankers and nation states, then they won’t be able to fund wars by issuing huge amounts of debt, and essentially taxing the populace.”
Jameson Lopp: I think taxation is going to continue as long as nation states have basically a monopoly over violence and can threaten to put people in jail or otherwise harm them if they don’t pay their taxes. I’m not so sure about that. Maybe in the very, very long term, but the foreseeable future, I think that politics in general is going to continue. You have to, of course, spend a-
Aaron Lammer: That seems like it’s not as bad.
Jameson Lopp: It’s been a strange trip over the past decade or so in politics. I don’t think anybody really knows where it’s going to end up.
Jay Kang: One thing that I’ve been struck with was that around the time when Silk Road was going on, that’s when I started reading about Bitcoin. I will say that I had a friend of Aaron and I, this is the guy who first interviewed, DPR, and part of the reason why he never invested in Bitcoin and didn’t like Bitcoin was because of the politics around it, which he disagreed with. Do you think that right now, the politics and the ideology of it is much less of a factor than it was back then? If so, then how does that affect your affinity with it or your feelings towards Bitcoin itself?
Jameson Lopp: If anything, the politics within the Bitcoin and Crypto ecosystem had become more complex and more fascinating. Now, a number of years ago, I believe it was actually Marc Andreessen who said something to the effect of eventually the libertarians will turn on Bitcoin and move on to something else. The idea that as it become more mainstream, the politics of mainstream people will then come into Bitcoin.
I think that that has happened a fair amount. It’s going to be really interesting to see how that plays out in the long term. The main point, I think, being that the vast majority of people in the world as used to having these authoritarian systems where someone or some group of people has the power, and they can make decisions of how the system should work.
Jay Kang: There seems to be this messaging disconnect. The critics of Bitcoin seemed to have focused a lot on energy. They seem to focus a lot on things like, “Well, the Bitcoin conference, they wouldn’t even take Bitcoin.” I think that in the ways that most people understand money, those are powerful ideas. You can’t buy a sandwich with it, so how is it possibly money? From your perspective, as somebody who’s obviously a Bitcoin supporter, how do you push back that against that, sir?
Jameson Lopp: I mean, there’s always going to be things that people can complain about because it is a system that is fundamentally different from anything else that exists. A lot of these things are due to the fact that Bitcoin is not really money right now. It is this new class of asset that we’re still figuring out all of the things that it is capable of doing. A lot of us are very excited about the second layer solutions that have been in development for several years, and we’re hopeful that they will allow Bitcoin to become more money-like in terms of being able to do fast transactions for very low cost.
Aaron Lammer: What are some of those second-layer solutions that are being worked on that excite you?
Jameson Lopp: Yeah. The primary one that people … We’ve got three or four different teams that have been working on for nearly three years is the Lightning Network. That has been a long road. There are a lot of people who still want to rip it apart and say it’s not going to work for one reason or another, but the fact is that there are already, last I checked, hundreds, if not maybe over a thousand different nodes that are operating on the test network and several hundred nodes that are operating on the main network. This is a proof of concepts that is, I think, going to quickly coalesce into something that is going to be mainstream usage and available for the average Bitcoiner to start using some time later this year.
Aaron Lammer: How do you describe Lightning to people when, I don’t know, you’re talking at Thanksgiving or something to someone?
Jameson Lopp: Yeah. It’s tough to go into details because it is a very complicated protocol. It uses a lot of game theory and cryptographic locking and unlocking to allow you to transfer what are valid Bitcoin transactions, but you’re transferring them between two different parties to update these payment channels. You’re not globally broadcasting them across the entire network.
The comparison that I often use is actually to the internet itself. A lot of people don’t even know how the internet works. That’s fine. I think it’s going to be the same way with Bitcoin and the same way with Lightning. We’re at a stage right now where it’s so new that most of the people who are getting into it, they really, really want to understand how it works because they want to be able to trust it. Eventually, once mainstream adoption happens, and most people are just using it without even thinking about it, there’s I don’t think going to be a need for this level of explanation.
With regards to the internet itself, if you look at the architecture of how the internet is set up, it is a seven-layer stack of hardware and software. The very lowest layer, layer zero of the stack is the ethernet layer. On the ethernet layer, when you broadcast a message out, it gets sent to everybody on your network. This is a flood-filled global broadcast type of protocol. That is the same type of protocol that Bitcoin itself uses. When you create a transaction on Bitcoin, your node broadcasts it to all its peers. They validate it. They, then, relay it to all of their peers. This gossip protocol basically allows you to flood the entire network in a matter of one to two seconds.
Now, if the internet only had that layer where everybody had to broadcast everybody, and everybody had to relay everybody else’s traffic, then we would not be able to do what we’re doing right now. We would not be able to be transmitting audio, video, other high bandwidth applications because all of the other peers on the network would not be able to handle our traffic, plus everybody else’s traffic. It simply would not scale.
The way that the internet engineers fix this is that they added other layers on top to that ethernet layers. The next few layers are TCP and IP, which are these routing layers. They basically allow you to say, “My final destination is this IP address. Now, figure out an efficient route for between my IP address and the target IP address, so that the data only has to go through a minimum number of nodes to get there.”
That is actually the way that Lightning Network works is that you’re going to anchor into the Bitcoin block chain to get your node on to the Lightning Network, but once you’re on the Lightning Network, when you want to send messages, they’re going to get routed through a fairly short path of other nodes on the network. Instead of you telling the entire network, “I want to send half of Bitcoin to Bob,” instead, you’re only going to tell one of your local peers. They’re going to, then, relay it to one of their local peers. Eventually, it will get to that destination in a matter of probably three or four hops because it’s like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon issue where you can get pretty much anywhere in an entire network of billions of people in less than seven hops.
It ends up being a lot more efficient because you are only routing through a minimum number of participants on the network. As a result, you can do much faster and efficient communication; whereas, the internet itself is allowing you to send whatever data you want and any type of protocol. The Lightning Network is going to allow you to send specific types of messages that are updating balances in these payment channels that are all connected together, and essentially let you route money along multiple hops until it gets to the final destination.
Aaron Lammer: Picking up on your own journey, you got into this in 2012. At what point did it become your job?
Jameson Lopp: Yeah, in 2014, I believe, that’s when I started Statoshi, which is a fork of Bitcoin core. I basically realized that there is a need to have more insight into what was going on with Bitcoin nodes. I created that project, and just put it out there on the dev list and social media. That helped me get further down the rabbit hole.
After doing that more technical deep dive for about a year in early 2015, I realized there is a lot of venture capital coming into the space, and that I was already spending most of my waking days working on and talking about Bitcoin-related stuff, so I might as well just get paid to do that full time. That was when I reached out to BitGo and started working for BitGo in February of 2015. I’ve been there for three years now. The whole space has really changed.
Jay Kang: We had a question actually that came up when we were chatting about the coin check hack, which was … I believe the hack was for an alt coin called NEM. Really, this applies to any sort of a hack that is on the blockchain, which is to say it should be clear where all of those coins went, what address they went to, et cetera. What does someone who steals $500 million worth of NEM do with it? How can they possibly cover their tracks? It reminds me how no one wants to steal actually the most famous art works because there’s no market for that because anyone could see that they had stolen it if it ever appeared on the market. What happens to all these hacked coins?
Jameson Lopp: Yeah, that’s a good question because, of course, a lot of the exchanges talk to each other. One of these hacks happens, then one exchange will reach out to as many others as they’re in contact with and say, “Hey, if you receive any funds that are coming from this address, freeze them and don’t let the person withdraw them.”
Aaron Lammer: Call 911 immediately.
Jameson Lopp: Yeah. This has resulted in some funds of some hacks being recovered, but my understanding is that it seems like a lot of these large hacks, the attacker is very patient, and they just let the funds sit there for a really long time. Maybe they’re waiting for better anonymizing technologies to come out. Maybe they were never really planning on cashing out in the first place, and they just did it for fun. It’s hard to say, but if you steal half a billion dollars of any type of currency, you’re not going to be able to use them.
Aaron Lammer: That’s almost the most thrilling possibility that someone just wanted to burn $500 million.
Jay Kang: Yeah. They’re just doing it for the lulz.
Jameson Lopp: It’s entirely possible because if you stole that much money, it’s going to be a lot harder to actually use it to get away with it than to just do the initial hack.
Aaron Lammer: I could see how you could possible do it with Bitcoin where there’s way more places to put it, and there’s really a more thriving black and money laundering market or Monero, let’s say. For something like NEM, it just seems like-
Jay Kang: It’s hard to do at Bitcoin though. I mean, Bitcoin is imminently traceable.
Aaron Lammer: Then, like the Mt. Gox hack hack, and they just start another exchange to launder the money through?
Jameson Lopp: That was a long story because there were several hacks but what we do here often is usually you’ll see some test transactions go to some of the services like ShapeShift and Exchange Alley to try to switch block chains. Sometimes, they’ll be able to get amount of volume through and convert into privacy coins like Monero or whatever. My own opinion, if I was someone who did hack hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of Crypto, I would sit on it.
I think that the best option is actually to wait for decentralized exchanges to go mainstream. That will probably happen in a year or the next couple of years. Once these decentralized exchanges are up in running, and you can exchange your money without a trusted third party who could freeze it, then, maybe all of that stolen money will become a lot more liquid.
Aaron Lammer: Do you think that decentralized exchanges are going to solve or exacerbate these hack problems?
Jameson Lopp: I believe that they’re going to decrease the systemic risk in the system. Just simply by spreading out the value across a larger number of participants and nodes rather than centralizing it in these high pot custodians that become really high value targets, I think there are still going to be hacks, but they’re going to be much smaller scale simply because the money is so much more distributed.
Aaron Lammer: What’s it like for you as a person who’s something of an OG in this space to see these progressive waves of people coming in who are newer? Jay and I have been interested in Crypto for closer to a year, and I already feel extremely old. Most of the people I talk to are coming in the last few months. What’s it like to be old in this world and to be talking to people who are at really varying levels of experience?
Jameson Lopp: You get to see a lot of patterns. A lot of people follow very similar paths over the years. The tricky thing for me is that I have to be willing to repeat myself over, and over, and over. That’s one of the reasons why I created-
Aaron Lammer: Thank you.
Jameson Lopp: That’s one of the reasons why I’ve created the educational resources on my site was because I found myself copying and pasting a lot of articles and resources many, many times. Now, I can just say, “Hey, go to my website. Go to this section. Spend the next few months learning about this particular part of the ecosystem.”
Jameson Lopp: The educational aspect has become very important because the learning curve is so high. There’s no bottom to the rabbit hole. It really becomes a question of what angle is a person approaching this system from, and what’s the most efficient way for them to learn what they need to know without going too deep into the weeds. I mean, not everybody needs to be a developer, but we certainly do need a lot more developers in the ecosystem. One of the-
Aaron Lammer: I was hoping you’re going to say there was a bottom to the rabbit hole. In fact, we’ve been searching for the bottom of the rabbit hole.
Jameson Lopp: No.
Jay Kang: One question. One thing that I was curious about, which is that if you have the chatter of people who are involved on the development side. Even somebody like Vitalik would say something like if all we do is post lambo memes and talk about price, then I’m out of here. From your perspective on your side, how do you deal with or, at least, how do you process this real focus on whether the price is going up and going down, and how much of the conversation is driven by people who do technical chart analysis?
Aaron Lammer: How do you emotionally process these lambo memes?
Jameson Lopp: It’s weird. I mean, it’s always been like this. The thing that I reflect on a lot is in the early days, when Bitcoin talk was basically the primary social media forum, we had threads like the gold collapsing Bitcoin app thread where people would speculate about when Bitcoin was going to be more valuable than gold, and when it was going to be more valuable than the GDP of a whole country. Most of the people back then, we were like, “This is pie in the sky. We’re all crazy. This is never going to actually happen.” Now, a few years later, people are talking about your $100,000 Bitcoin and all this other stuff. it’s actually within reach.
It’s amazing that it has progressed so far so quickly. Of course, the result is that you have a lot of people that are coming into the system because of nothing other than price charts. Then, they want to start to draw their triangles, and their tetrahedrons, and their squiggly lines, and say, “This is the next wave of Bitcoin price changes.”
All I know, I’m not a trader. I think if you look at my history of trades over the years, I probably would have ended up better by not trading. I’m sure I ended up with more dollars but fewer Bitcoins from most of the trades than I ended up doing.
Aaron Lammer: Hey, I’m with you. I’m with you. What keeps you trading in that situation? Just the fun, entertainment of it all?
Jameson Lopp: These days, I really don’t trade based on trying to figure out the psychology of the market. I trade more from an investor standpoint of, “You know what, this project is really cool, and I want to support it. I’m going to put some money into it. If it goes to zero, that’s okay because I’m not looking for an ROI. I’m looking to support the development.”
Along that line, I’ve also started looking more at just donating for development. I got donated to the Grin Project. I’m also talking to Christopher Allen about basically doing more bounty donations on Bitcoin because I really want to see more developers get into Bitcoin. I don’t think I need to spend my time worrying about the price. There’s so many other important things to worry about that may end up having a long-term result on the price that I would rather focus on fundamentals.
Jay Kang: I think that one of the questions that we get a lot as well is when people want to invest in new projects, or not even just ICOs, but even these more established all coins. I think this is from what Aaron and I have as well, which is that it’s very hard for us to distinguish what is real and what is a scam. How do you do that? If you’re going to tell a beginner like, “Hey, everybody wants to have this idea like, ‘I only want to invest in things that are good tech that I feel like will be around in three years,’” what would you tell them? What are two or three things that they should look out for to make sure that this is a real project, and not something that’s just five guys putting their head shots up and be like, “This is our team. we all went to MIT.”
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I also have a background very lightly in Computer Science Software Design. It all looks like vaporware, at least, from the vantage point of how far away we are.
Jameson Lopp: Yeah. I mean, anybody can write a decent looking white paper and say, “Look at my idea.” The proof is in the pudding or more specifically it’s in the code. A couple of things that I look at is what is the actual reputation of the people behind it. Have they built any projects before that have been successful, or are they straight out of college, or skipped college, and this is the first thing that they’ve ever done in their whole life?
Jameson Lopp: I think reputation is almost more important than the technical ideas. I see a lot of these projects, especially ICO type of stuff. It is more keen to angel investing where you’re vetting the idea but really, you have to vet the team more than the idea because you can have an awesome idea, but if the team can’t execute, then, the long-term value of the project is zero because they’re not going to deliver on their promises. As a result, I don’t get involved in many of these at all because I just don’t have time to do the due diligence behind them.
Jay Kang: Do you think that, right now, we’re in the middle of this tether storm, I would say, both in the media, and I think amongst people who talk about this stuff. Do you see that as an existential problem to Bitcoin? How worried are you about that because it seems to be the one thing that people are talking about right now?
Jameson Lopp: I’m not too worried. I mean, there’s been a lot of interesting speculation going on, but from what I’ve read about it, it just seems like a lot of drama. Until there’s actual facts that are being presented that show that maybe tether is built on a house of sand, then we just have to go with what the market is saying. So far, the market seems to like it. I find it hard to believe that … Is it what? Like $1.5 or $2 billion worth of tether would be-
Aaron Lammer: It’s $2.4 billion. 2.4 out of $510 billion or something like that.
Jameson Lopp: Yeah. I find it hard to believe that that level of volume is supposed to explain all the price movement in Bitcoin because I’m pretty sure Bitcoin’s daily volume is even higher than that.
Jay Kang: Is there something that you do see as a larger looming existential threat? One of our friends that we speak to quite a bit said that the biggest problem is going to be when somebody runs an exchange gets hold off to jail, and that that will lead to huge problems. What do you see as the greatest existential threat? What keeps you up at night and worried about Bitcoin?
Jameson Lopp: I mean, a lot of these things are external to the Bitcoin network itself. Problems at exchanges, for example, can cause market disruption, and the price might go up or down a lot. In order for Bitcoin itself to not operate as well, you would need to see some sort of major attacks happening on the network or the miners like state confiscation of large numbers of miners, and then using that to attack the network.
Jameson Lopp: It’s been weird where from one standpoint, I actually see the fracturing of Bitcoin itself has become a bigger problem lately than anything like a nation state regulation or other factors. It’s going to be very interesting to see over the long term how well Bitcoin manages to remain this cohesive system when you have so many people who are forking off and creating their own competing networks. Then, in some cases, claiming to be Bitcoin itself, creating brand confusion.
I gave a talk in Atlanta just a few days ago about the multitude of problems that we’ve had to deal with a BitGo as a result of all of these forks. It has been an operational nightmare. It’s been a customer support nightmare. As a result, it has really slowed down our pace of innovation because we’ve just been fighting fires and trying to get people access to the money that has appeared out of thin air that they’re demanding access to.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. It’s a story as all this time that people are worried about the external politics, the government, but the hardest politics are often the politics within. Do you get suck into those politics? Were you losing friends over the Bitcoin Cash fork and that kind of thing? I’m assuming this is both a part of your work and social life. What’s it like to be so deep?
Jameson Lopp: Yeah. I mean, there have been a number of people that I’ve lost a lot of respect for because of some of the tactics that they’ve been perpetrating recently. There has been a lot of drama. You may or may not recall that I got SWAT-ed a few months ago. It may or may not have been related.
Jay Kang: I do recall that.
Jameson Lopp: The particular gentleman who decided to do that did not state that it was due to the scalability to date. He was just trying to extort me. I’ve never tried to pin that directly to the scalability debate, though, I think, some journalists have tried to make that more dramatic than it probably was, but I think-
Aaron Lammer: Wait. Just briefly tell us what happened for people listening.
Jameson Lopp: Well, long story short, I had someone call my local police department, and claimed that I had shot someone, and I was holding other people hostage at my house. The SWAT team came out and shut down my neighborhood. Thankfully, they were cautious, and they traced the call, and realized the call was coming out of state, which, of course, did not make sense because I was supposed to be at my house. They didn’t kick on my door or do anything crazy. Basically, once they surrounded my house, my dog was going crazy and letting me know. I just went out and had a nice chat with them. The very first thing they asked me was if I had any enemies. The answer is yes.
Jay Kang: One thing I’ve been curious about is that if we do have this atmosphere, this ecosystem where there are competing forks that are a little bit more legitimate and something, I don’t know, like super Bitcoin or other things that-
Aaron Lammer: Platinum.
Jay Kang: … can easily be ignored. What happens to Bitcoin then? Let’s say that there are five competing forks all with the same name, similar to Bitcoin cash, what would be the crypto ecosystem look like then?
Jameson Lopp: Yeah, it’s anarchy. We have to figure out how to deal with some of these things. That was one of the major points of the talk that I gave recently was that this is also new. We haven’t seen stuff like this happen before with money. I think that, over time, you’re going to see some unofficial standards form around how to decide the value and whether or not it’s worth the time for people to support various forks. At the moment, it becomes more of a war of words and trying to capture attention and market share. I see each of these Crypto assets, and their ecosystems, and their communities as being almost organic entities. It’s watching cellular division and evolution happen in a cypherpunk ecosystem.
Jay Kang: How did you explain the swatting to your neighbors after it happened?
Jameson Lopp: Well, I just told them I’m somewhat of a public figure, and I’ve insulted the wrong person.
Aaron Lammer: It’s a Bitcoin stuff.
Jameson Lopp: The news media stopped by, and they wanted to know. it was actually weird because none of them even knew what swatting was. Swatting is actually becoming more and more common. There have been a few incidents recently where the police departments have shot and killed innocent homeowners who got swatted. I’m just thankful that my police department was more cautious and more intelligent than some of the other ones in the nation.
Aaron Lammer: You’re pretty out there. You come on podcasts. You do lectures. You’re very active on Twitter. Does that worry you at all to be someone who is making it so publicly known that you’re deep in the coins?
Jameson Lopp: Yeah. The smart people who I have known for the entire time I’ve been in the space, and many of whom were in it earlier than I was, you’ll never hear their names. They don’t talk about Crypto publicly. They have better operational security as a result, but this is a paradox within the system itself where if none of us are willing to be public and talk about it, then it becomes a lot harder for the system to evolve, and for people to come to consensus.
Jameson Lopp: I could have gone another route, or I could kill my public persona and come back as a pseudonym and have to start all over again from scratch. Then, of course, that would make it a lot more difficult for me to do in-person appearances. I think that each person has to weight the risks and determine what they’re willing to put in to help grow the ecosystem.
Jay Kang: Aaron and I both work in media. I think that part of our interests in Bitcoin or some of the things that we fixate on perhaps too long and maybe too deeply are messaging issues. You, as a person who’s public, who has his actual name attached to it, if there is one message that you wanted to get out about Crypto that you feel like has either been mangled, or misconstrued, or ignored, what would you want that to be like? What idea about Bitcoin do you think has either been lost or has just been ignored.
Jameson Lopp: I think the main culture shock that happens for a lot of people is that they want answers. They want to know what is going to happen to Bitcoin. What is the roadmap? What can I expect? The short version of that is that this is an open collaborative project. No one, even the most experienced developers or the richest whales who have been in the community for the longest, no one has the authority to tell you what Bitcoin is, what Bitcoin should be. You have to determine that yourself. Then, participate in the conversation with the rest of the people in the ecosystem to try to find the consensus for what Bitcoin should be. I have my own perspectives and beliefs of what I would like to see happen with Bitcoin, but those have been shattered multiple times over the years. I’m constantly being surprised by things that happened in the space. We don’t know what is going to happen long term, but if you want to make the system better, you have to participate rather than just being a passive observer.
Aaron Lammer: Well, thank you so much for participating in both the ecosystem and this interview. If you ever have anything you want to get off in your chest, please come back on the show sometime.
Jameson Lopp: Great, will do.
Jay Kang: Thanks, man,
Aaron Lammer: Where can people find the educational resources that you were talking about and generally find you?
Jameson Lopp: My website is lopp.net… My Twitter handle, very similar, also just @lopp.