Listen to this story
COIN TALK is produced in partnership with Medium and hosted by Aaron Lammer and Jay Caspian Kang. Press “Listen to the story” above to play the episode. (You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, download the MP3, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Is Alt Season finally here? Will the same alts from the last mania come back to life?
- Is Bitcoin inherently ideological?
- RIP Bitcoin enthusiast Nipsey Hussle and crypto in marginalized communities
Aaron Lammer: Okay. So, I don’t know when Groundhog’s Day is. But I feel like if there was a Groundhog’s Week, it was this week. We saw a critter that we haven’t seen for some time, FOMO Kang, returning to the surface, poking his head out, looking around on our Telegram channel, and saying, “Man, you guys are making all this bitcoin on these alts. Kind of a little envious.”
Jay Kang: Yeah. I think it was, well, first of all, it was, well, maybe seasonably warm in New York City over the past couple days. I think that we had a return of the alt spring on the quad and some hackey sacks were brought out.
Aaron Lammer: Second alt spring on the quad, although last alt spring, I’m not going to go back to look this up, might have been a full year ago. So, maybe this is the first alt spring [crosstalk 00:04:02].
Jay Kang: It might have been more than a year ago. Yeah. Some Frisbees are out. There’s a little bit of mud, but people aren’t worried about that. I just can’t remember a time when the little boom, and let’s call it a boomlet, in alts and in bitcoin was not immediately followed up by a massive crash, or where it didn’t feel like there was going to be a massive crash that was going to follow.
Aaron Lammer: This is how I’ve celebrated this season. So, for people who don’t spend a lot of time on crypto Twitter and Reddit, the sentiment changed in the last two weeks. People were saying, everyone was calling it a dip at 6,000, but at three and 4,000, people were like, “It’s going to 1,000.” I would say that’s been the prevailing sentiment for at least several months, maybe six months. Among the “I know more about crypto than you” set, everyone’s been like, “I know more about crypto and it’s going to go even lower.”
Aaron Lammer: That’s what we’ve been hearing. This week, and maybe the week before, is the first time I’ve seen a pervasive sentiment shift, and both alt and bitcoin action to follow, but particularly alt action starting to see a little bit of that video game feel that brought us to crypto in the first place that a double digit gain followed by an even bigger double digit gain in back to back days. Keeping with that video game feel, seeing everything from the most prestige alts to the shittiest of the shit all whirring to life simultaneously.
Jay Kang: Okay. That part does … We can get to that later because that does concern me a little bit.
Aaron Lammer: It should.
Jay Kang: But you know how in the NBA reporting right now, it’s become de rigueur for people to be like, “I know things, but I’m not going to tell you”?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: The people who know things are telling me this.
Aaron Lammer: It makes me so mad when people say that shit retroactively. They’re like, “Yeah. Actually, I knew Lebron was going to the Lakers. But I couldn’t tell anyone.”
Jay Kang: Yeah. For example, so one of those drove me absolutely insane, which was that after Lebron left Cleveland, they had this podcast that was around [inaudible 00:06:15] the biggest reporters who covered Lebron in Cleveland. So, these are people who worked either for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, or even worked for ESPN. They were talking about it and they’re like, “Yeah. We knew all this was happening. We knew the Kyrie thing before.” Just like, what is your job? Is your job not to report things that you know to the public? Now-
Aaron Lammer: No.
Jay Kang: … I’ve never been a beat reporter and I’ve never been an access journalist. But I asked somebody who knows these people and generally knows that they are well intentioned good people. I have a certain amount of patience for the, look, you can’t just blow it all because you’ll blow all your sources. You have to go out to the bigger story. My question to them was what was the bigger fucking story than Kyrie Irving leaving Cleveland? What are you cashing it in for? Is Lebron running for president? Is that even a bigger fucking story than Kyrie leaving Cleveland?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. Additionally, if you knew that Kyrie was going to the Celtics, or you knew that Lebron was going to the Lakers, aren’t there betting markets? Can’t you be a rich man on that kind of thing if you really know that chain of events?
Jay Kang: I don’t think you could become a rich man, considering that some of these people do make a lot of money and they have caps on this sort of stuff. But it’s more like, what’s your job? Your job is to inform the public about this stuff. Your job is not to broker information to try and get more transactions that you can put out on Twitter, because I imagine that’s what this is. They don’t want to burn somebody who’s telling them, “Oh, look. The Charlotte Hornets are seriously considering trading Jeremy Lamb this upcoming season.” Who gives a shit about any of that? Just break the bigger story.
Jay Kang: Anyway, my point being, I believe that there are sources and there are people who know these things. They are generally agents, right? They’re people who, when they say something, I always believe that it’s backed up by something real. So, Stephen A. Smith is one of these people, even though he gets a lot of flack. If he says something, I generally believe it. Jalen Rose is another one where I feel like if he says something, he’s like, “I know this,” and okay. He knows things.
Jay Kang: In crypto right now, that version of it, the people who knows things, the people who speak for them, which are generally a little bit more established people on Twitter, like Ryan Selkis being one of them, they’re basically all reporting that this shadowy cabal of crypto OGs, they’ve all changed their sentiments over the past few weeks. That, for reasons that it should not, and I should know better, that actually inspired me to buy some bitcoin this week, and I am now no longer a no coiner.
Aaron Lammer: I would say, welcome, welcome back to the program, Coin Kang. We’ve missed you.
Jay Kang: Oh, I’m back.
Aaron Lammer: I’m glad you’ve got some skin in the game. I agree. I don’t know how these things … It would be fascinating to look at how sentiment shifts in that way and what actually shifts it. It’s easy to get faked out. There were some people who were like, “We’ve bottomed out a 6,000,” or whatever. But when the real everyone leaning one way thing happens, you can just feel the gravity shift a little bit. I think that’s, in a lot of ways, what drives the alt market. I think the alt market is more emotional than the bitcoin market, honestly.
Aaron Lammer: When you’re always like, “News doesn’t really move the market,” I think that there’s something to be said for that in relation to bitcoin, and potentially even Ethereum, that there’s bigger things going on. But the further you go down the list, the more it’s just like licking your finger, putting it in the wind, and being like, “Okay, I feel the wind up 40%.” You know what I mean?
Jay Kang: Yeah. [inaudible 00:09:42].
Aaron Lammer: So, alts are moving. Bitcoin hasn’t moved a lot, but it feels like a lot firmer. I would say bitcoin at 4,100-
Jay Kang: Well, it cleared 4,000. Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: It’s above 4,000, it’s held a few times. I think this was the first some odd number of green weekly candles in a row since 2017. So, a bunch of prime indicators are flipping that haven’t flipped for a very long time. My god, has it been a long time since the bitcoin high.
Jay Kang: This is the best series of weeks for bitcoin in the market, I would say, in over a year. Right?
Aaron Lammer: If I was giving someone advice, and this is not advice, but if there was a noob, this does feel like one of those moments to buy into crypto. You know what I mean? Where it’s like, okay. Bottom’s been kind of established.
Jay Kang: Or [crosstalk 00:10:37].
Aaron Lammer: Do you think that at all? I’m so convinced that I need to pinch myself here and go like, “Is this a trap?”
Jay Kang: Basically, I … Okay.
Aaron Lammer: Because FOMO Kang does get trapped frequently.
Jay Kang: Okay, but I will say that FOMO Kang did call the bottom almost exactly.
Aaron Lammer: It’s true.
Jay Kang: The Kang Line really was the bottom.
Aaron Lammer: Well, it’s interesting. You sold your Kang Line coins, right?
Jay Kang: No, I lost it betting.
Aaron Lammer: That’s same. Same thing as selling them. You sold them for no money?
Jay Kang: I sold them for $0.
Aaron Lammer: You sold them for $0? We looked at, I think, at the Kang Line indicator and we’re expecting it to … We were like, “Oh, the Kang Line will be confirmed by a hard bounce off the Kang Line.” I think we’re getting the slow motion, soft, too much gravity Kang Line bounce. Now, we’ve come up enough off of it that I’m, feel pretty comfortable saying that that was the bottom.
Jay Kang: Yeah. We’re at 20%, or about 15% off of that, right?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. A normal investment, if it took a year to get from the Kang Line to here, you’d be like, “Yeah. We had a good year. 15%.”
Jay Kang: Oh, yeah. 15% would be great.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Is there still a rocket fuel left? I guess this is my question, right? If there is not rocket fuel left, does that mean we’re going to 1,000?
Aaron Lammer: I feel very bullish right now. I honestly have not felt this bullish probably since the last mania.
Jay Kang: Yeah. I honestly have not checked into our Telegram and seen you and the other people in there discussing alts in maybe a year. Doug Kim has started poking his head back around, which is a huge indicator, I think.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. So, everyone knows that this is a nontraditional bitcoin show. We track different indicators. So, one of the big indicators that I look at is do people want to hear about crypto? Anecdotally, a few new people who I know have emailed me and said, “I’m interested in crypto.” But we have an extra super secret indicator, which is traffic to CoinTalk itself. I can say that the best show, the highest show ever was the highest bitcoin ever. As the market has slowly contracted over the year, so have listeners to this show. I get that. It doesn’t even make me feel bad-
Jay Kang: No, it doesn’t make me feel bad either.
Aaron Lammer: … because I’m like, “I wouldn’t want to hear about crypto either. I don’t even like talking about crypto [crosstalk 00:13:03]. It’s depressing. I lost a bunch of money.”
Jay Kang: Well, think about the fact that … Yeah, and the fact that Coinbase has lost 96% of its usage over the past year.
Aaron Lammer: I found out that I actually mistook that slightly. There’s a difference between … Okay, so I’m just going to call out, I call out our errors on here, and our friend Ledger Status explained this.
Jay Kang: Okay, because I thought that it was too high. Right?
Aaron Lammer: Well, there’s transactions on the blockchain, and then there’s volume in exchanges. Most of that volume in exchanges doesn’t actually happen on the blockchain. This isn’t related specifically to Coinbase, but I conflated two forms of volume in last week’s episode, which are actual on chain transactions, which are what are sometimes faked or they’re sometimes securing other chains, and then exchange volume, which is basically self reported. It’s like Netflix reporting how many people watched a movie. So, all that is to say we don’t actually even know how many people use Coinbase right now.
Jay Kang: Okay, but we can comfortably say that it’s way down.
Aaron Lammer: We can comfortably say it’s way, way, way down. We’ve profiled this person before on the show, right? Here are the two types of people who use Coinbase: people who used Coinbase before and lost a bunch of money in the crash and new customers. I think that’s pretty much our listening audience here too, right? It’s people who were already in crypto before the crash and are holding on, and those people are pretty bummed for most of the last year, and then there’s new listeners. Whichever pool it is, we’re seeing from three weeks ago to two weeks ago, we had a 25% jump in listenership.
Jay Kang: Wow. So, that’s-
Aaron Lammer: Last week’s going to be even bigger and I predict this show’s going to be even bigger than that.
Jay Kang: Were our shows particularly good?
Aaron Lammer: No. It’s actually a safe experiment because we half ass all the shows.
Jay Kang: Exactly.
Aaron Lammer: We don’t have any big guests and there’s no topic.
Jay Kang: That’s true. We have no guests.
Aaron Lammer: Unless you think my naming an episode “Marktoshi Zuckermoto”-
Jay Kang: It might be that-
Aaron Lammer: … juiced the numbers, then it’s because people are interested in hearing about crypto again.
Jay Kang: I think you were bummed that not enough people were-
Aaron Lammer: I was wrong.
Jay Kang: … into your Marktoshi Zuckermoto.
Aaron Lammer: No. I didn’t get enough Twitter affirmation.
Jay Kang: Yeah. I knew that Twitter is a bad bubble, though.
Aaron Lammer: The listeners are there. So, you’re hearing it from here first. Crypto’s coming back and we know because there’s actually user interest, and those are the people who listen to crypto podcasts.
Jay Kang: Okay. I would buy that 5%. The only thing that I’m fearful of is-
Aaron Lammer: I’m a-feared.
Jay Kang: I’m a-fearing that some of the coins that are going up, now they’re not moonshotting like they used to now.
Aaron Lammer: It’s still early days.
Jay Kang: The great days of crypto honestly were when you and I were on Bittrex and we would both click over to the front page where they show all the coins and then the ones at the top are the ones that have gone up the most. There’d be some coin that we had never heard of that was up 1,400% that day and then we’d be like, “Fuck, we missed it.”
Aaron Lammer: I think that’s back on the way.
Jay Kang: Really?
Aaron Lammer: 1,400%?
Jay Kang: Or 60%.
Aaron Lammer: Ledger gave me a couple hot tips on some young ponies that we’re running.
Jay Kang: [crosstalk 00:16:19] new coins?
Aaron Lammer: No, they’re not. Well, they’re new to me.
Jay Kang: Okay. But you’ve never heard of them.
Aaron Lammer: I had never heard of Enigma previously.
Jay Kang: I’ve never heard of Enigma either. Wait. Why didn’t he send this to me?
Aaron Lammer: It just happened in our Slack channel. People don’t even know to send you tips because you don’t have any bitcoin to buy alts with.
Jay Kang: Okay, fine. I’m back, though.
Aaron Lammer: Okay.
Jay Kang: Okay.
Aaron Lammer: More on that soon. I got some old favorites and some new friends. Some Cardano, a little Enigma.
Jay Kang: You’ve got Cardano.
Aaron Lammer: I tried to buy some Loom, but my buy did not hit. Then it spiked instantly and I felt stupid.
Jay Kang: Loom. Oh, that’s new too, right?
Aaron Lammer: I think Loom was around for our last time.
Jay Kang: Did you buy Grin?
Aaron Lammer: What’s that?
Jay Kang: Did you buy Grin?
Aaron Lammer: Well, I didn’t buy Grin because I’m actually, the only thing I have an active account on still is Bittrex, and Grin is not available [crosstalk 00:17:06] customers.
Jay Kang: You don’t have a Binance account?
Aaron Lammer: I don’t have a Binance. No, Grin’s not on Binance.
Jay Kang: Oh. Do you want to buy my Binance account?
Aaron Lammer: No.
Jay Kang: Okay.
Aaron Lammer: So, I understand that you had some trouble transferring your Coinbase coins to Binance to catch in, catch this FOMO.
Jay Kang: I can’t do it. They make you sit for five days before you can transfer the coins out.
Aaron Lammer: It’s like buying a handgun.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Exactly. [crosstalk 00:17:25].
Aaron Lammer: They’re like, “Are you sure you want to transfer these coins to Binance?”
Jay Kang: But yeah. Most likely, I’ll transfer them to the bitcoin sportsbook.
Aaron Lammer: So, after this cool down period, what do you expect you’re going to be getting into in Binance?
Jay Kang: Well, okay. This is my fear, and going back to my fear, my fear is that-
Aaron Lammer: You were talking about your fears.
Jay Kang: My fears are that some of the coins that are going up are things that we know are not real. If it was basically that entirely new group of coins was ascendant and that they all had different use cases and they were things like Grin that were interesting that you and I talked about on this show, that they had different infrastructures. The ICO era is over and this what’s new. We got rid of some of the scamminess of this. Or even that the technology has changed. We’re not using these types of blockchains. We’re going to use this type of blockchain technology.
Jay Kang: Or even back in the day, a year ago, we were conceptualizing the use of blockchain wrong. This is actually how blockchain … All those things, I would be totally into and I would buy into. But the fact that some things that have been widely discredited are also going up. That’s what makes me a little bit nervous.
Aaron Lammer: Well, wouldn’t we be suspicious either way, though? I feel like if there was a whole new crop of upstarts, which I’m not really [inaudible 00:18:45] that this will happen, we got to wait for a little moment, those coins are building up from fractions of a cent right now.
Jay Kang: I know. That’s why we should get in now.
Aaron Lammer: Well, okay. I meant on that also. I talked to Ledger about if we wanted to really juice our returns, as much volatility as possible where we should be putting our money right now. But that would make us suspicious too. If there was a bunch of new, the next generation alts, and those were all behaving like last generation alts, wouldn’t that be like, oh, god, we’re just repeating the same cycle?
Jay Kang: Yes, but I would be much more willing to make that mistake.
Aaron Lammer: You don’t want to get burnt by the same old alts.
Jay Kang: I don’t want to buy the same old coins. Yeah. I don’t want a bag that has any of the things that burned me before in it. I just want new alts.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. But I’m going make a counterpoint to that here, since we’re supposed to argue with each other on this show, which is when people talk about why is bitcoin valuable, one of the reasons that it has so much enduring value is how long that blockchain has been going without interruption or breaking down, right? It’s really impressive. Bitcoin’s been going over for 10 years. All of these return alts, these repeat offender alts, are older and a little wiser now, and the fact that they’re still running is in some ways a vote of confidence for them. No?
Jay Kang: Okay. A, I would say we don’t know that they’re running or ever were running. Right?
Aaron Lammer: Yes.
Jay Kang: Some of these were clearly not ever running. B, I would say that Weiner should have wrecked them. Whatever infrastructure they had, whatever projects they were building should be gone by now. For me, the investment in crypto is to try and moonshot, right? I’m not interested in some sort of incremental return. I think the better moonshot stuff is just alts we know nothing about. So, am I making the same mistakes that I made a year and a half ago?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I think these were the same attitudes we had before.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Exactly. I’ve learned nothing.
Aaron Lammer: I’m like, “I’d like to double my money,” and you’re like, “1,000x or nothing.”
Jay Kang: Yeah. If you’re trying to sell, I know that Tezos has been doing very well, and there’s a narrative in my head where I can say, “Look. This was a real project, regardless how you feel about it, regardless how you feel about the way that they handled everything.” We had Gideon Lewis-Kraus who wrote the Wired piece about on this show. There are a few journalists who I respect their opinion more than Gideon. If Gideon is telling me that, look, these are true believers and they really wanted to make a project and they’re going to stay committed to this project, I would believe him. Right? There’s a narrative where you just say that belief and that ability won out and now people, they see it as a real thing that could work. Right?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: All that, I accept.
Aaron Lammer: Tezos is another one that I feel like looks better with a little gray hair now. A year ago, Tezos had just fucked up majorly. Now, the fact they’re still out and out, I’m like, “Oh, I guess maybe they’re not scammers.”
Jay Kang: Yeah. No, no. EOS is another one, right?
Aaron Lammer: Yep, although all the EOS just got hacked out of BitHub. So, asterisks. Asterisks. Asterisks.
Jay Kang: Yeah, that’s true. But that’s not EOS’ fault. That’s BitHub’s fault. I guess I would just say that, yes, well, those things may be 2x or 3x, I would say maybe, probably. I think that if bitcoin goes on a run, I think EOS and Tezos will definitely also go on a run. Will they outpace bitcoin? I don’t know. But they’re less interesting to me because it’s less fun. It’s like buying a Ethereum last year, if that makes sense.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, which did incredibly well until it crashed down to the Earth.
Jay Kang: Until it did horribly.
Aaron Lammer: Look. I think our biggest … Okay. We’re terrible investors. Everyone should know we’re really bad a trading. But if I look at our biggest mistakes is we never knew when to jump off the ship. We rode the ship up and down. We had no exit strategy in all of these alts. So, for me now, I look at them and I’m like, my biggest alt bag is still Monero. Right? I’m like, “Okay, Monero’s been going forever, people actually use it, it has a real functionality, and it’s pretty wrecked against bitcoin.”
Aaron Lammer: It’s sitting maybe a third of a tie against bitcoin. So, I don’t really understand the alt market anymore. It’s like voodoo at this point, I would say. However, I do believe in bitcoin and I believe that as bitcoin comes back, it seems reasonable that Monero, Tezos, EOS, all of these prestige alts will probably behave somewhat like they behaved before.
Jay Kang: Okay, but why wouldn’t you just buy bitcoin then?
Aaron Lammer: Because I lost bitcoin value on the way down and I want to get it a little bit back up. Because I’m trying to get my money back at this casino.
Jay Kang: Yeah. That’s solid. It’s like being like, “Well, sir, you have been splitting sixes against a 10 in Blackjack. My advice to you would be to just hit the 12 instead of splitting it to two sixes,” and you’re like, “Listen. I lost all this money, so hit me sixes and I’m going to get it back splitting these sixes.”
Aaron Lammer: Pretty much exactly. Pretty much exactly.
Jay Kang: Okay. As long as we’re clear.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. Yeah. I’m betting on the home team. I’m betting to get back the money I lost, and I do think that there’s some value in just holding. That Monero bag is the same coins. It’s the same bag.
Jay Kang: I will say to you, Aaron, that as somebody who’ve … I think I was no coiner for a very long time, if you don’t count-
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. Pretty much all of 2018.
Jay Kang: Yeah, if you count out the short period where I bought the Kang Line for a very small investment and then lost it all gambling.
Aaron Lammer: I’m going to have to go back to the tape because I think you said you sold it then. But it’s fine if you want to say that you sold your coins when you actually lost it gambling.
Jay Kang: No. I lost almost all of it on sports betting. Like you said, I bought a very small amount at that point. It is interesting that right now, I’ve basically just fallen into the same bullshit that I did before. There’s no memory when I’m just like, or even desperation to restore a coin. I’m just like, “I’m back. Let’s do the same thing.”
Aaron Lammer: I feel like it took 2018 to purge our bad vibes. Everyone thinks that the thing that’s going to happen is the thing that happened last. Right after, there was a bull run and a huge crash. For a little bit, people were like, “Buy the dip,” and then after a certain point, people were like, “The last thing that happened was a huge crash. Don’t buy bitcoin.” I’m just feeling now, we’ve purged that memory. It’s enough seasons in the past that it’s not a reliable gambling guide for the present. The lineup has turned over, the situation has changed enough. I don’t know what it is that changed. It’s just a feeling. The feeling is no longer that you should avoid crypto because look what just happened.
Jay Kang: Yeah. No. That, I agree with.
Aaron Lammer: There’s been a mourning period.
Jay Kang: We seem to be in a respite from that. But what we don’t know is if a whole new bunch of bodies are going to show up. But I think that, I don’t know, this is definitely that most upbeat I think people have been in a year and a half. I don’t think that’s deniable. That maybe is worth something, or maybe it means we’re all falling for another huge trap.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:25:56].
Jay Kang: But whatever. I’m going to fall for it if we fall for it.
Aaron Lammer: Well, you also see, I know that we act like crypto has not matured or changed at all because people are pumping NEO again.
Jay Kang: Are they?
Aaron Lammer: I don’t know. Ledger just told me to buy NEO. So, I assume that they’re going to be pumping it soon.
Jay Kang: Oh. Wow. I was walking with my kid around the Brooklyn Museum. It was early in the morning, it was a nice day out, and I saw this guy jogging by me in a NEO sweatshirt. Is that a buy or sell signal?
Aaron Lammer: Can we talk about something? I know this is a free ranging program. You know when you talk about something in real life and then it appears in your Instagram ads feed or something and you’re like, “What? Are they spying?” I’m not the only person saying this. [crosstalk 00:26:45] People talk about this online. They’re like, “Is the microphone on?” Or whatever. My wife is one person who’s convinced that she talks about things and has no additional interaction with it and then it appears in her thing.
Jay Kang: Me too. Me too.
Aaron Lammer: It feels a little like a glitch in the matrix. But the guy running by you in the NEO sweatshirt is exactly the in real life version of that. It’s like, because Ledger has been shilling NEO in our Telegram.
Jay Kang: Then the guy runs by [crosstalk 00:27:13]. Oh, no.
Aaron Lammer: Run by him and you’re like, “Are you spying on our Telegram, sir?”
Jay Kang: Yeah, exactly. They have some sort of viral marketing thing where they just have people running through. Okay. Okay. He’s coming. He’s coming.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. He’s coming.
Jay Kang: Okay. Just go jog at an exact angle where he’ll definitely see your NEO shirt.
Aaron Lammer: Come by him. Come by him. Make sure he sees you.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Oh, he missed you? Okay. Double back. Double back. He didn’t see you the first time. Just running by [crosstalk 00:27:34].
Aaron Lammer: I literally wouldn’t put it past crypto companies to just send people jogging around San Francisco in [crosstalk 00:27:40] T-shirts.
Jay Kang: Now, that, I believe. That, I believe. Yeah. Or to just have taggers basically put their stupid symbol up as graffiti. That probably has happened.
Aaron Lammer: So, Tezos is an interesting one because Coinbase has basically added the staking service, which is pretty crazy. I don’t totally get how this works. But basically, you give them your Tezos and there’s no risk, and it pays a reward for staking your Tezos of, I think, seven or 8%, which is funny because that’s basically like Bitconnect’s plan. But it’s like they have a real way that it actually works. I guess it’s akin to mining, in a way, except instead of mining with equipment, you’re getting a reward for letting them hang on to your Tezos. It’s not interest, which people were very clear to point out online. But it’s interest-like. I guess I’m like, is Tezos that more legitimate now, now that it’s part of Coinbase?
Jay Kang: I don’t know if that’s what it is. I think that Tezos basically tanked because of the statements that they gave to the media and because it wasn’t ready in time.
Aaron Lammer: Because they let a conman take control of their company?
Jay Kang: Yeah. That’s what happens when one does that. But I think that at this point, yeah, maybe the Coinbase thing did legitimize it. But I will say that you and I have discussed this on the show a few times. The Coinbase effect is not really happening anymore.
Aaron Lammer: I don’t know. It did pretty well by Tezos.
Jay Kang: But it didn’t really do that much for Basic Attention Token, right?
Aaron Lammer: That has been pumping like a crazy person. It’s at an all-time high.
Jay Kang: But not correlated to the moonshot Coinbase.
Aaron Lammer: It’s true. It’s not day one, but I would say things that are on Coinbase have outperformed the average alt.
Jay Kang: Okay, but that’s not necessarily related. I guess I would just say the thing that I’m fascinated to figure out, which we’ll never know unless you and I do some investigative reporting-
Aaron Lammer: That’s your job.
Jay Kang: It is not my job, is how much volume is on Coinbase Pro for these alts? Because you can’t buy those things on the regular Coinbase people.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. It’s hard to know in New York because you’re not allowed to do it in New York. So, it’s not like, no one I know is [crosstalk 00:30:05].
Jay Kang: Yeah. How many transactions are happening with USDC, which is whatever the Coinbase tether thing is.
Aaron Lammer: Circle.
Jay Kang: Yeah. How many transactions are happening there? What are the comparisons of that to the volume on Binance? That will give you a better sense of whether or not these alts being on Coinbase actually matter. Because my sense of it is that it’s probably pretty low. I don’t think that there’s that much trading because I think if you’re an alt trader, you’re not doing it on Coinbase.
Aaron Lammer: I agree. However, if you run a simulation of the last bitcoin mania and you say, “And these alts are on Coinbase,” they would have gone crazy. If people could have been buying … Remember how-
Jay Kang: But these alts aren’t on Coinbase.
Aaron Lammer: Well, you can get them through Coinbase, can’t you? BAT?
Jay Kang: Yeah, but you have to buy them on a desktop through Coinbase Pro.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, but everyone has … The difference between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro is nominal, right? It’s just in a different [crosstalk 00:31:02].
Jay Kang: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:31:02] the click through rate for that between people who have the Coinbase app.
Aaron Lammer: All right. I’ll buy that. I’ll buy that. But do you remember during the last mania how people were all just Googling how to buy Ripple?
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: I think that that second jump between a primary bitcoin exchange and alt exchange is still huge. If it’s bitcoin easy to buy those alts during the next mania, I do think we probably will see another Ethereum or another thing that just goes buckwild.
Jay Kang: Or it could just be Ethereum.
Aaron Lammer: Or it could be Ethereum. Ethereum has been weirdly quiet recently.
Jay Kang: I know.
Aaron Lammer: Have you noticed that?
Jay Kang: [crosstalk 00:31:36] buying some. I actually might buy some after this show.
Aaron Lammer: It seems like we’re going to have to talk about this when we do The Book Club with David Z. Morris, which I’m scheduling. Pick up the book. But Vitalik was at that conference with the guy who wrote Radical Markets, and it’s almost like Vitalik is thinking about a political run right now more than pumping the Ethereum price.
Jay Kang: That would be his-
Aaron Lammer: Is Vitalik a US citizen?
Jay Kang: He’s not allowed to run for president for the same reason I can’t run for president.
Aaron Lammer: Why? Too much trolling in your past?
Jay Kang: Can you imagine the stuff they would dig up on me? No, we weren’t born in the United States.
Aaron Lammer: Oh.
Jay Kang: Vitalik was born in Canada.
Aaron Lammer: I didn’t know you weren’t born in the United States.
Jay Kang: No, I was born in Korea. So, I can’t run for president.
Aaron Lammer: When did you move to America?
Jay Kang: When I was two months old. My parents already lived here, but they had me in the United States. Or they had me in Korea.
Aaron Lammer: So, [crosstalk 00:32:26]. So, you could be a governor, but you can’t be the president.
Jay Kang: Yeah. I can’t be president. You have to be born in the United States to be president. That’s why the Obama birther stuff mattered.
Aaron Lammer: Right, right, right, right, right.
Jay Kang: Okay. Do you want to talk about rap tragedy?
Aaron Lammer: Sure.
Jay Kang: Okay. So, last night, and this is a very sad story, Nipsey Hussle, the rapper in Los Angeles and guy who was doing a lot of entrepreneurial stuff in that area trying to restore Crenshaw, which is the neighborhood he grew up in, was murdered. In some of the stories that were coming out, people were counting the ways in which they had interactions with him. One thing that kept coming up, which was that he would talk to them about fiat currency and bitcoin. So, I did some research on this because I didn’t know about this. But he seems to have had in these interviews, or at least what he’s been saying in these interviews, that he got into bitcoin in 2013. Right? So, pretty early.
Jay Kang: What he saw in it was a possibility for his community, which is South Central Los Angeles, Crenshaw corridor, to try and have some sort of economic determinism that was outside of what he felt was a rigged economic system, a rigged banking system, a rigged loan system, and that if they could accumulate wealth in cryptocurrency, that if cryptocurrency had mainstream adoption, that they would have financial independence. I found this to be really fascinating and it actually dovetails with a lot of what you and I talk about, which is that when we’re bullish about crypto, we’re not just making fun of it, that this is the case that we generally come up with, which is that outside of politics, Nipsey Hussle is not an alt right guy.
Aaron Lammer: Definitely not.
Jay Kang: He’s not a Ludwig von Mises libertarian who only eats meat.
Aaron Lammer: No. He’s a Rollin 60 Crip.
Jay Kang: Yeah. But his ideas are generally progressive, but also outside of the state and anarchic. How do we build a self sufficient system? The one thing I thought about all that was right now, the level at which it takes for something to be completely disqualified for people’s curiosity for a certain amount of the media and for a certain amount of people on the left, and especially on the progressive left, is just any sort of whiff of alt right or any sort of whiff of libertarianism. Then they completely dismiss the idea altogether. I actually think that this is very emblematic of that, which is just like when people were writing about bitcoin during the last two years, nobody bothered to really focus on this.
Jay Kang: Nobody bothered to think that, hey, this guy who’s doing all this great stuff within his community and building all these businesses, part of his foundational belief is that we need to get off the fiat currency system, and that actually, especially marginalized groups should get off the fiat currency system and should try and build wealth through a separate system. Now, that’s you and my, both of our cases for crypto is basically that. Right?
Aaron Lammer: It’s certainly one of the biggest ones. Yeah.
Jay Kang: Independent people who don’t want to be part of these systems have some alternative for that. I don’t know. I think the thing that frustrated the most about it was that, I even see it with Andrew Yang’s run for president, which I think is absurd and I think [inaudible 00:35:44] is probably a bad idea and he certainly should not-
Aaron Lammer: Are you eligible to be vice president?
Jay Kang: The Yang gang?
Aaron Lammer: Because we’ve been talking about the whole Yang/Kang ticket.
Jay Kang: Yeah, Yang/Kang.
Aaron Lammer: You didn’t bring up the possible forged birth certificate here.
Jay Kang: All it took for people to stop taking Andrew Yang’s presidency seriously, even though he’s still doing better than Cory Booker, or certainly Christian Gillibrand or Amy Klobuchar, is that people like, oh, some of the alt right guys are making memes about it, and then everybody dismisses it.
Aaron Lammer: See, I don’t think people have totally dismissed it. I think the Yang candidacy’s quite alive. But we can discuss that.
Jay Kang: No, I mean the mainstream media, like my colleagues at places like the New York Times or whatever.
Aaron Lammer: They were going to dismiss Yang no matter what.
Jay Kang: No, no, no. That’s what I mean. That was their excuse, right?
Aaron Lammer: Yeah.
Jay Kang: Oh, it’s just a bunch of alt right guys making memes, when I don’t think the reality of that is true at all. I think Yang actually has a real constituency.
Aaron Lammer: It’s just a bunch of memes making me … Everything’s a bunch of memes now.
Jay Kang: Basically, what you’re describing is young people when you say a bunch of meme making people.
Aaron Lammer: Bunch of frivolous bullshit. Bunch of fucking SoundCloud rap.
Jay Kang: But I think it really hurt crypto over the past two years, and I don’t think it’s necessarily crypto’s fault. You and I have basically, over the past few weeks, said that people need to stop blaming the media for everything, and people in crypto especially need to stop being like, “Oh, the media had it out for us.” But I think that you can make a viable argument that the focus on stuff like the bitcoin whatever in San Francisco or Bitcointopia, not that that many people figured … or Puertotopia or whatever the thing in Puerto Rico, and absolutely no focus on things like the stuff that Nipsey Hussle was doing, I do think that that is reflective of a bias in the media, or that the mainstream of the mainstream, what I call the premium tier, they just wanted to dismiss is, and that’s reflective in those types of stories.
Aaron Lammer: I don’t play media critic. You’re, of course, the licensed media critic on this program.
Jay Kang: Well, not licensed. But-
Aaron Lammer: Under the table media critic.
Jay Kang: … Twitter. Yeah, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: I keep coming back to something that, I don’t remember if it was Marty Bent or his cohost, Matt O’Dell, said when we did a live show with them, which is basically, “Hey. Bitcoin’s just a bunch of code. It’s just a program that runs itself. It’s totally agnostic to ideology.” We have a lot of trouble processing the idea that anything can be agnostic to ideology. We imbue everything with ideology.
Jay Kang: Okay, but with that, I disagree, to a certain extent, right?
Aaron Lammer: [crosstalk 00:38:23] Okay, well, let me finish and then you come back to it. It reminds me a little bit of, you know the movie, Being There?
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: With Peter Sellers? Peter Sellers is-
Jay Kang: Wonderful, wonderful movie.
Aaron Lammer: Is he-
Jay Kang: Chauncey Gardner.
Aaron Lammer: … is Chauncey [inaudible 00:38:35]. He’s Chauncey Gardner, and basically, he’s like a blank slate, which with everyone projects their own desires and he just listens and he becomes the president based on this, or he becomes … Does he become the president [crosstalk 00:38:49]?
Jay Kang: [crosstalk 00:38:49] become president. What are you talking about? He becomes the head of a bank.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. He massively succeeds on the basis of-
Jay Kang: Yeah, because all these financial people are coming to him like-
Aaron Lammer: They’re like, “He’s a genius.”
Jay Kang: … “What do you think’s going to happen?” He is [crosstalk 00:39:03].
Aaron Lammer: That’s pretty much how I see bitcoin. If you’re looking for alt right and memes, you’ll find that. If you’re looking for the future of the financial system, you’ll find that. If you’re looking for Venezuelans who want to bring their wealth out of the country, you’ll find that. It’s pretty much game to serve whatever role you want to cast.
Jay Kang: I disagree with that because I think it’s more like Reddit in that Reddit will say that it is an agnostic platform, or Facebook would say that too. [inaudible 00:39:34] “We’re just a platform, man, and people just do what they want on the platform.” But the people who work on, let’s say, Bitcoin Core, they are generally of the same political mindset, wouldn’t you say, and economic mindset.
Aaron Lammer: I would agree, but here’s the difference. I feel like when you look at Facebook or Reddit, the people are fucking sitting there pulling the strings. The code for bitcoin’s just sitting there. Anyone can go set it. It’s an even playing field.
Jay Kang: But they do have developers, right? You would say that on balance, the people who are into crypto right now and are the most vocal of crypto are one type of person.
Aaron Lammer: That’s correct.
Jay Kang: This is what I’m saying. It is not a misrepresentation by the media to say that this is true. What has been always frustrating to me, and this is something that we talked about with Maria Bastillas when we had her on the show when she talked about Civil, which is that I really think that a lot of people on the left or on the progressive side are so shut down by this and are so afraid of it that they don’t actually see what you’re seeing, which is we can make this work for us too. If you are really concerned about global warming and you feel like you have to completely separate yourself from the global banking system and you need to start a commune [inaudible 00:40:45], there’s uses for bitcoin for you.
Jay Kang: There’s uses for all this sort of stuff. They just lack the imagination to get there because, I sound like fucking Steven Pinker right now, but I think that they see it as verboten in a way that it shouldn’t be. That’s where I do agree with you. I think that saying, “Bitcoin is just code, man,” I think that that’s a little bit too far.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. I also do think things are happening in that direction. If you look at Radical Markets, which we’re reading right now, and some of the things that are coming out from a theory, philosophy, economics perspective, there are people who are projecting … We made our Scorched Earth Wasteland bitcoin movie. There’s an Ethereum movie where all property is collectivized. There are extreme socialist crypto outcomes that people are, at least, writing the movie of in their minds.
Aaron Lammer: Just what you said about Nipsey Hussle, I was thinking about, tell me if I’m wrong, you were born in Korea and I did not know that until right now, but generally, immigrant communities and other marginalized communities, the way that people establish a foothold in America is acquiring real estate often. That’s generally seen as a path in immigrant and marginalized communities to stability and to the American dream.
Jay Kang: Or businesses.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. Exactly. Ideally, both. You buy a storefront and you open a small business, and that’s how you make your kids have a better life than you had and how you invest in the market.
Jay Kang: Yeah, and the way that you get that is through … I think I know, but the way that you acquire those things is through intra-community loans-
Aaron Lammer: Exactly.
Jay Kang: … and intra-community banks. Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: It’s a way for the community to build up its collective wealth, which is a form of bargaining power in America. We’ve always looked at physical assets as the way to do that. Yeah, buy a storefront. Invest in America. Property’s going to be worth more. Real estate has always been a good investment in America. It feels in that Nipsey Hussle example like bitcoin actually represents a virtual foothold for people that investing in bitcoin, which is outside of the state and outside of other financial systems, which may be either predatory or biased against certain communities, allow you to establish some of the same things people established by buying and opening stores.
Aaron Lammer: But as we’ve seen in 21st century American life, people are less likely to want to buy cars, buy houses, run stores. Retail is not a great business in America right now, thanks to Amazon.
Jay Kang: Yeah, no, no. I agree. Yeah, yeah.
Aaron Lammer: So, in a way, I see bitcoin as the 21st century buy real estate, buy property.
Jay Kang: Okay, that’s going too far. But a component of it, yes.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. Also, I think we’ve seen how through gentrification and various other things, people can undermine the promise of property holding and that people can go into communities and buy them up and that banding together collectively, economically may have some sort of, yeah, you and your community all stake your bitcoin and it offers small bitcoin loans. It’s not crazy.
Jay Kang: No, it’s not crazy. There’s two things that I would say about that. The first is that, let’s use a very clear example that is a big problem in poor communities, especially poor communities of color, and by that is payday loans, right?
Aaron Lammer: Huge problem.
Jay Kang: So, if within your community, you say that we own these businesses and you can come in and you can work for me and I know that you’re short on cash and I’m going to pay you in crypto and these stores accept crypto, there’s no payday loan problem. You don’t have to deal with the banks. You don’t have to deal with any of that stuff. That currency is there because it is being used a lot. So, he talked a lot about use cases. So, he wanted mainstream adoption. So, I know that he was thinking along these lines.
Jay Kang: Look. This is not to say that he’s some sort of prophet of crypto, but I think that he was clearly a sharp person. It is just an example of a prominent person who has gone down the path of crypto to the point where they’re making these sorts or thoughts, which is that if there is more adoption, if it is more of a mainstream thing, then the amount that we already have will go up. Glenn Lowery has written about this quite a bit, which is the economist at Brown who is controversial for other reasons, but I don’t think his work is controversial, which is that you have these generations of poverty, generational cycles of poverty, and they’re very difficult to break because of all the predatory stuff that is built on top of it, right?
Jay Kang: What is the best way to break all of that, which is to completely create an economic system that is outside of those predatory systems. I don’t know if it’s a good idea or a bad idea, but it’s an ide.a
Aaron Lammer: It’s a big idea.
Jay Kang: Yeah. It is a big idea.
Aaron Lammer: Well, are you familiar at all with the history of credit unions in America?
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Similar idea, which is band together. So, payday loaning is the lowest form or predation. But in a bigger idea level, real estate loans are extremely biased in America. They’re openly biased. They were heavily based on credit scores, which are biased. So, people get together and they’re like, “Hey. I’m willing to stake my money to a credit union bank that lends to people in my community.” Now, maybe that’s a slightly riskier place to put your money, but you believe in it, etc. I think that crypto opens the idea for people to generate those kind of ideas totally outside of the banking system.
Aaron Lammer: Even credit unions are within the banking system. They’re a form of collective banking that people … My parents were in a credit union in Iowa City when I was born. It’s just a big deal. Small business loans, all these kinds of things. I’m not surprised that someone like Nipsey Hussle would have this kind of exposure to bitcoin because in poor communities in America, a lot more money is held in cash, people are more suspicious of the banking system, and there are, I’m not saying Nipsey Hussle is a drug dealer, but he was certainly from a culture in which drug dealing plays a major role.
Aaron Lammer: These are where people want to keep a lot of money off the books in a way that the government can’t easily seize or investigate your finances and assets because that is a crooked way that people go after people in poor communities is through seizure, not even actually convicting them of crimes, but just taking their money. So, we always say do you really need bitcoin if you’re a wealthy, White American? Probably not. But there are so many different forms of life in America that have different use cases for something like crypto. I think that one’s fascinating.
Jay Kang: Yeah, no. I’m totally with you, and that’s where I just feel like this failure of imagination thing is also on the crypto people’s side. It’s like, why is that message not out there? Why are crypto people talking about libertarian values and thinking absolutely nothing about the gigantic market of people that you could very easily make a good case for crypto about, and instead, just trolling all the time? Even this new group of post-millennial socialists that are out there, chose a real movement.
Aaron Lammer: They have the same problems with the banking system too.
Jay Kang: None of them have any money either. I just don’t understand why they don’t think about things in this sort of way. I think part of the reason why they don’t think about things in this sort of way isn’t because … Part of it is, I think, because they are a little incurious, especially the socialists. But I think part of it is just that crypto has not made the pitch to them.
Aaron Lammer: Well, as we said early on, there’s no CEO of bitcoin, and therefore, there’s not marketing team for bitcoin. So, how the message of an idea that has no leadership or team comes out, it’s a fascinating contradiction.
Jay Kang: I’m just saying that there’s many people who are going out there and talking about the bitcoin gold standard.
Aaron Lammer: Sure. But those people don’t work for bitcoin. They work for themselves. Yeah.
Jay Kang: No, no, no. I agree. But what is interesting to me is one of the only people who was going out and making this case for bitcoin was Nipsey Hussle.
Aaron Lammer: That’s what I’m talking about when I say crypto moderatism. Crypto moderatism is-
Jay Kang: This definition has changed every single week, but go ahead.
Aaron Lammer: Crypto moderatism’s critics have many criticisms. But to me, crypto moderatism isn’t the idea that crypto will only have a small impact. It’s the idea that it will work within the existing system, rather than supplant it. To me, all of that crypto extremism is basically just crypto ISIS. They’re like, “I want to fucking restart society under libertarian ideals.”
Jay Kang: Crypto ISIS.
Aaron Lammer: It’s people who want to restart the world.
Jay Kang: Yeah. They want the caliphate.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. It’s the caliphate vision. I’m pushing the American vision, like we keep being America and paying taxes and having rule of law, but things like crypto potentially undermine the banking system and it becomes easier to get a real estate loan in Crenshaw because a bunch of people who live in Crenshaw have put up their houses as collateral for some sort of a collective lending scheme.
Jay Kang: Yeah. No. That’s where I hope things will go. I just find it more interesting, and I actually think it’s easier to get behind than, certainly than [inaudible 00:50:47] like vision of an entirely transplanted world with no wars, which is, it’s just stupid. Something that’s pragmatic examples like that where the vision is not just fuck everybody, but it’s like, hey, maybe we can help people, it would be a nice change. All right. Do you want to read some questions?
Aaron Lammer: You want to do a little mail back?
Jay Kang: Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. All right. Let’s do a little mail back. We haven’t mail back in a while.
Jay Kang: No.
Aaron Lammer: Keep the mail back coming. If we get some more questions, we’ll start doing a quick mail back at the end of every show. This was when we talked about people getting kicked off of Coinbase. You said, “Yeah. That happened to me too, both from Coinbase and Circle. I’m just a shady guy. But they don’t tell you why you got kicked, just bye. So, maybe they just don’t like me.”
Jay Kang: No, he did something shady.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I feel like that guy’s burying the lead here. Why did you get kicked off of Coinbase and Circle?
Jay Kang: Yeah. I have a friend who had the same thing happen to him. He got kicked off of Coinbase. He was really mad about it and I was like, “Well, what were you doing?” He was like, “I was buying fake IDs.” He was like, “How did they know?” Actually, it was a really good question. How did they know that the wallet address, which actually makes me think that maybe crypto is the biggest honey pot ever. But immediately, the second that he sent it to that wallet, they booted him off of it and they didn’t tell him why.
Aaron Lammer: Well, for starters, unquestionably, crypto is the biggest honeypot ever. Even in the bull case, it’s the biggest honey pot ever. In addition to being the biggest honey pot ever, here’s my prediction about Coinbase. I think they’ve mapped a lot of the giant network that is bitcoin. I think they know what a lot of the addresses are.
Jay Kang: Oh, for sure. Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: I think Coinbase is probably, and I’m saying Coinbase, but I could say the same thing about Gemini and Kraken also, let’s say the big five American exchanges, with their data set, you should really be able to map almost every common bitcoin transaction. Anyone who’s accepting bitcoin cyclically should eventually be on the Coinbase radar. It’s not that hard to be like, “Okay. There’ve eight transactions with this bitcoin address. What is it? Oh, it’s a fake ID place.” Wait, why was an adult buying fake IDs?
Jay Kang: I can’t tell you that. But yeah. It was not for bad purposes.
Aaron Lammer: So, they have this massive web. The first level, which I think relying on exchanges reduces the censorship resistance of bitcoin, is simply that you can just block certain people from buying. But I think in a larger sense, we’re allowing these companies to become basically the Google of the crypto network-
Jay Kang: I know. It’s bad.
Aaron Lammer: … where it knows where everything is and everyone’s doing. That’s just obviously bad.
Jay Kang: It’s bad.
Aaron Lammer: Anything interesting you can do in bitcoin, if it has to get validated or kicked off, then it just becomes PayPal. PayPal kicks people off all the time. They fucked Satoshi over on that toy train transaction. This is literally why they made bitcoin. Because he couldn’t get PayPal to do what he wanted, he made bitcoin.
Jay Kang: So, then created bitcoin to [inaudible 00:53:56] he was trying to buy this fake ID and he’s like, “Fuck Coinbase.”
Aaron Lammer: I feel weird about the fact that we’re basically deplatforming protesters here. But I do think that widespread exchange deplatforming would make crypto meaningless. I don’t think it’s going to happen because I think people will just leave Coinbase and these places as they become the Palantir of crypto.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I think anything that breaks up-
Aaron Lammer: Now, next question.
Jay Kang: … Coinbase’s monopoly is good.
Aaron Lammer: “Jay, Aaron, not sure if you’ve noticed that crypto even has a place in TurboTax. See screenshot attached.” Basically, they’re asking you all these different things about what you did this year, and one of them is bought and sold cryptocurrency. And I actually did this because I wanted to do TurboTax in order to see, I have a tax guy, but I was like, “How different would it be if I put it in myself?” So, I did it and actually synced my Coinbase directly in TurboTax.
Jay Kang: Really?
Aaron Lammer: Super easy. One click. You just log in in Coinbase. So, anyone who’s out there about to pay their taxes, I know it’s April, if you’ve used Coinbase, and I think a few other exchanges, they will sync directly with TurboTax.
Jay Kang: Was it brutal?
Aaron Lammer: No. I took a loss.
Jay Kang: Oh, that’s right. That’s good. Maybe I’ll do it too.
Aaron Lammer: Do you remember what happened in 2018? There’s nothing that would cause me to need to pay taxes that happened in 2018.
Jay Kang: All right.
Aaron Lammer: “Love the show. Big fan. I can’t remember if you guys have ever discussed this before, but can you talk about how and why you end up choosing the Hatsune Miku song for the show’s theme music? I never heard it before CoinTalk, but it’s perfect.”
Jay Kang: Oh.
Aaron Lammer: I can tell you the origin story of it. Well, Jay, you actually caught an alternate version by a Finnish polka version of the song on someone’s Vine video or something.
Jay Kang: No, on their TikTok. Yeah.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah, on their TikTok. So, the song is actually a traditional Scandinavian polka that has been brought out through many generations. Actually, I think a Finnish quartet won the Eurovision Song Contest with it in the ‘80s-
Jay Kang: Really?
Aaron Lammer: … singing it as an a cappella song.
Jay Kang: Is that when it became [crosstalk 00:56:05]?
Aaron Lammer: That was the first time it was a number one charting single. So, I was in Vietnam and I was riding a moped. Basically, riding a moped in Southeast Asia is my favorite way to live. That’s what I would be doing every day if I could. Love cruising around on a moped.
Jay Kang: Okay, what city, though?
Aaron Lammer: This was in the countryside near-
Jay Kang: Wait. This wasn’t in Saigon or Hanoi?
Aaron Lammer: No, no, no. This was in a small town.
Jay Kang: I was about to be extremely impressed at your moped skills if you could ride one in Saigon.
Aaron Lammer: I did ride one in Ho Chi Minh. Is Ho Chi Minh [inaudible 00:56:44] Saigon? That’s where I-
Jay Kang: Yeah, it’s Saigon.
Aaron Lammer: Yeah. It’s Saigon.
Jay Kang: How did you do that?
Aaron Lammer: I just got on it and I went with the flow of traffic.
Jay Kang: It’s fucking crazy there, dude. It’s so crowded.
Aaron Lammer: I got bumped a few times, which was [crosstalk 00:56:55].
Jay Kang: And you didn’t fall.
Aaron Lammer: I didn’t fall. It’s pretty hard to fall on a moped.
Jay Kang: I would not have the courage to scoot around Saigon.
Aaron Lammer: So, I’m scooting around the countryside and I pass kind of like a school community center with 800 kids all doing a synchronized dance routine to the CoinTalk theme song.
Jay Kang: Really?
Aaron Lammer: So, I was like, “Holy shit.” I was like, “This is the most incredible [inaudible 00:57:17] thing in my life.” I took a video of it and I tried to Shazam it, but I didn’t have any data service. So, I was sitting there on my Shazam and I was like, “No. How am I going to find out what this song is?” So, I eventually came back and played the video and then Shazam’d it with a different phone. After several tries, it came up as the “Field Day” riddim. So, it was a dancehall song. Then the version that we use as our theme song is Hatsune Miku, who is a Japanese robotic fictional character that sings, singing over the dancehall riddim, “Field Day”. That’s what the kids were dancing to out in the field. So, that’s how I came across it.
Jay Kang: I saw a version of it on TikTok this weekend and it was this guy [inaudible 00:58:08]. I don’t know what country is in it. It looks like Kyrgyzstan or something like that. He makes kebabs in extremely elaborate ways and in one of his kebab making videos, it was in the background.
Aaron Lammer: All right. Last question.
Jay Kang: Okay.
Aaron Lammer: If anyone wants to search for Hatsune Miku, I forget how you find it. I’ll put it in the show notes. “Question of mail back consideration. You guys seemingly have done so much miscellaneous buying and selling throughout the duration of the show. But I never hear you talk about tax implications.” Not an accident. “How complicated have your taxes been to do? Have you paid some crypto tax expert to take care of them for you or file them yourselves? Not wanting to deal with the tax headache is more or less the only reason why I haven’t dabbled nearly as much as I’d otherwise be inclined to, which I suppose is probably a blessing in disguise.” That’s from Brian.
Jay Kang: Right? Well, okay, Brian. This is the truth. It is not just to say something incriminating. I did do my taxes when I had coins properly and it sucked.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. So, Jay, I think this echoes your experience, which is one of the reasons you’ve been slow to FOMO and as you’re like, off trading is just a tax nightmare, you’ve brought up the idea that theoretically, every single alt trade you do is a taxable event. I personally, I hope the IRS is not listening, look at crypto more holistically, which is I know how much money I put in. I have yet to cash out any money. I’m significantly down. So, I know that I don’t owe any taxes right now. I theoretically could probably take a loss in 2018 if I wanted to.
Aaron Lammer: But I’m just going to hold off and when I cash out, I’ll pay taxes on any money I cash out. I did input my Coinbase to TurboTax and I realized the small loss in 2018, which I’m just not reporting, I’m just waiting until I actually make or lose any money in fiat before I deal with the tax situation. Jay has warned me that this is incorrect.
Jay Kang: I don’t know either.
Aaron Lammer: Should we have a tax expert on to tell us?
Jay Kang: It doesn’t sound-
Aaron Lammer: The reason I haven’t wanted to have a tax expert on, I don’t want to find out I’m wrong.
Jay Kang: Yeah. Let’s just stay in the-
Aaron Lammer: But I will say, crypto taxes are extremely complicated and there’s a number of contradictions. I’ve brought those up. You were like, “Lammer, they know how much you bought on Coinbase. You got to figure out your taxes.” It’s like, well, how do you know that I didn’t send some of that money that I bought on Coinbase and buy something with crypto? There’s no way to holistically know exactly how much of what someone bought on Coinbase is still in their possession. They could have gambled it away, as you did. You’re not paying gains on the money you gambled away. If bitcoin goes to $20,000 tomorrow, you’re not going to pay taxes on what you gambled and lost, right?
Jay Kang: I hope not.
Aaron Lammer: Okay. So, there’s gray areas no matter what.
Jay Kang: That would be horrible.
Aaron Lammer: Thank you, Jay.
The official podcast of Bitcoin crashes. Hosted by @aaronlammer and @jaycaspiankang. Mailbag/contact: email@example.com
About this PODCAST