Episode #73: Crypto Shaman

Price signals at the office, the amorality of Bitcoin, cars trading electricity and more with our friend Marty Bent from Tales from the Crypt

Coin Talk
Coin Talk
Apr 24, 2019 · 46 min read

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COIN TALK is produced in partnership with Medium and hosted by Aaron Lammer and Jay Caspian Kang. Press “Listen to the story” above to play the episode. (You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, download the MP3, or email us at hi@cointalk.show)


Aaron Lammer: Marty, Hello.

Marty Bent: Aaron, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be in this cave. This is a very, very cool studio.

Aaron Lammer: Did you know that there was a secret Bitcoin cave in your own neighborhood?

Marty Bent: I did, but not until three or four weeks ago when we got lunch and you told me about it. I’m very happy to finally be here.

Aaron Lammer: So, you run a crypto podcast, which everyone should go out and listen to. I would say if this is the least knowledgeable Bitcoin podcast, I think yours is the most knowledgeable one that I listen to.

Marty Bent: We try. I don’t know about most knowledgeable, maybe just been through this shit for too long.

Aaron Lammer: I appreciate also like … So, you do the show with Matt ’dell and he’s the crazy one and you’re the reasonable one. Is that a fair assessment of your dynamic?

Marty Bent: Crazy Matt is a cipher punk. He’s like a crazy privacy focused individualistic, I would say.

Aaron Lammer: Well, I’m enjoying this opportunity because I feel like if I were to place you and Matt and me and my co host Jay on a spectrum, Jay is more skeptical than me, and I’m more skeptical than you. So, I’m actually going to be the reasonable one just in this pairing.

Marty Bent: No. It’s crazy to think that I’m tame next to Matt when I don’t think I’m tame at all when it comes to this stuff.

Aaron Lammer: Yeah, well I feel like this comes up the most often when people talk about keeping private keys, where it’s like we’ve been talking recently about these Quadriga exchange hacks, and there’s a certain Bitcoin person who’s like, suckers you kept your coins on exchanges, come on guys. And you’re like, okay, okay, okay. I won’t keep my coins on exchange, I’ll put it on this wallet. And then someone reads something like your newsletter, and it’s like frequently about how you could hack hardware wallet, I’m like, ah, fuck. There’s always one level more paranoid to take your Bitcoin activities.

Marty Bent: Right. If anything, Bitcoin has made me way more paranoid than I was when I was a young teenager before I had been introduced to Bitcoin. And no, it’s a crazy spectrum, right? And I think the thought process through which one I say approach Bitcoin is a lot different than what a lot of people are used to in the income and financial system. So, number one when I talk a lot about in the newsletter and on Tales from the Crypt is that Bitcoin as a bear asset, as a digital bear asset is a new beast for humanity. So, the ways in which you interact with that asset and more importantly custody it, they vary different risks come with different levels of the custody that you decide to engage with.

Aaron Lammer: I often wonder if some of the people I know who are more resistant to Crypto who I actually think would enjoy it or find it interesting. I know some people, you’re younger than me, I feel like I’m an old to some people and a young to other people. But, I know a lot of guys like Paul Ford who are part of the very first blogging generation and some of those people I’ve been like, come on, how can you not be interested in this? You saw something come new on the internet, aren’t you interested in this other new thing? And they’re like, “Eh, I just don’t want to dip myself into this paranoia and darkness.” It’s like some people I think rightfully are like, even though that’s interesting, it’s not a direction I want to take my life. I do not want to have to think about hiding some a secret private key with instructions for my grandchildren after I die.

Marty Bent: Right. Well, that’s the nature of what it is right now, and that’s why all these risks are involved. If you are willing to take the risk to self custody and take this into your own hands, there’s a chance that you will be rewarded in the long run. And, I think the UX around custody in particular is getting a lot better specifically with Multisig solutions that are coming to market and being open sourced. And then, just overall enterprise level custody for institutional clients is better as well, and it will get better over time. So yeah, right now with the exchange stuff in Bitcoins, very checkered past for its first decade, I understand why people are apprehensive and again, it’s called risk for a reason.

Marty Bent: And going back to old heads that get it, one that does is Adam Curry the podcasting godfather, and he gets it because of his fascination with Ham radio. And, he realized that you can relay transactions via Ham radio waves, and he actually did it, I believe a month or two ago with Rodolfo Novak from up in Montreal, I believe, or maybe Alberta who runs Cold Card and Open Dime, sent Adam Curry a Bitcoin transaction over a radio wave.

Aaron Lammer: I was talking to a pretty famous business writer actually this week about this topic, and I was trying to give him my optimistic defense of Bitcoin, and I think I often land on … We’ve talked a lot about the Venezuela situation, and I think if you were to be like, no, no, you can’t give 19 reasons why Bitcoin is important, you can only give one. I would probably give, you don’t really know where the world is going. Economies collapse all the time, currencies collapse all the time. People are going to want a way to take their wealth with them across borders that’s safe from governments and whatever horrible things are coming in the next 100 years on this earth.

Aaron Lammer: And, I think that’s convincing of people, but he threw it back at me in a way that was interesting where he was like, “Yeah, yeah, I totally get that. I can see why it’s really important, but why would you want to hold Bitcoin as an American then?” A lot of my reasoning about why Bitcoin is important is that there’s almost a privilege to living in such a stable financial system. And it’s like, yeah, maybe we don’t need Bitcoin here, but there’s all these people around the world who do. And then, I had never really had thought about, well why should you hold it in America then? Why should you be the bleeding edge of that risk spear?

Marty Bent: I don’t know. Again, Americans are very addicted to risks, just as a culture, as a society, as a capitalist nation. And I believe, many Americans who have caught the Bitcoin bug see the potential for it, and again America is a very well educated country. So, I think a lot of people, especially in the tech space, are able to see these trends pretty early on. And Bitcoin, if it is successful in its endeavors, the total addressable market that it could potentially consume, the amount of value that it consume is astronomical compared to where it is now. So, it’s one of the largest asymmetric bets from a speculation standpoint that’s existed in millennia some people would argue.

Marty Bent: So, the fact that Americans are participating in that, doesn’t surprise me. And then, even with that being said, just because we don’t necessarily need it now because we have the US dollar and it’s the reserve currency of the world doesn’t mean Bitcoin isn’t better or it won’t be a better product in the future. And getting exposure to that, I mean, again, it’s risk and if you’re willing to take that risk again at this point, you will be rewarded, then.

Aaron Lammer: It’s funny as Americans-

Marty Bent: Not you will be rewarded, you could potentially be rewarded. This is not a foregone conclusion.

Aaron Lammer: No, none of this is investment advice.

Marty Bent: No.

Aaron Lammer: I feel like as Americans, we’re addicted both to risk and to debt and they’re companions. They’re like …

Marty Bent: Hand in hand.

Aaron Lammer: We tell young people, hey, you should gamble that the value of your college loans will be smaller than the increase in your wages that you get from it. And I remember I had a friend who was German and she was like, oh, I don’t have any credit cards. I was like, oh yeah, but debit card rules. She’s like, no, no, we don’t have credit cards in Germany. And I was shocked to find out that Germans just don’t use credit. There is no such thing as credit cards in Germany.

Marty Bent: Aaron, I got my first credit card last year. I’m looking at my phone, I’m not answering a text. I’m looking for a chart that somebody shared with me today, that chart’s wage inflation against college tuition, and it’s abysmal.

Aaron Lammer: Yeah, there’s no way wages could keep up with college tuition in this country. The minimum wage would have to be $100 an hour for a wage just to catch up with how much college has cost in America.

Marty Bent: Yeah, it’s insane. And, as somebody who … Shit, I’m already five years out of college, almost five years out of college. It’s crazy to see how expensive college has become even since I left and while I was there, it got considerably more expensive year over year. And it’s sad to see because it’s seeping down into the high school level too. I was lucky enough to go to a private high school in Philly. I did do work study, it was like a quarter of my tuition. But when I was a freshman, tuition was $8,000. By the time I was a senior, it was $12,000, and now it’s $24,000.

Marty Bent: This education racket is seeping down to every level, and I mean it’s not even really a strong argument against this, this is pretty much a fact. The government giving out all these loans and enabling this credit expansion and with student loans in particular is the reason why these prices are going up. And colleges are saying, hey, the government’s going to give out these loans willy-nilly to anybody who wants them. We’re going to raise prices and see how much they’ll pay for this. And it’s again, it’s part of the reason why I’m in the Bitcoin is I think the control of money and the expansion of credit in particular has gotten out of control and Bitcoin is a return to sanity in the sense that you can’t enable a misallocation of capital at the scale it has been enabled under this current monetary regime.

Aaron Lammer: So for you, where were you in your life when crypto entered into your life, what were you doing?

Marty Bent: So, I was a senior in high school in the fall of 2008 and just so happened to be taking an economics selective when the world was going to shit. We’ve a teacher, Mr Robson, shout out Mr Robson. A bit creepy, but was really into economics and really like, hey you guys should be focusing on this. And obviously shit was hitting the fan that year, knowing that my dad was in finance, so he was affected a little bit. And so, I went into college with the know your enemy mindset to learn about economics. I was like, how the hell did it get this bad? I went to college at DePaul University in Chicago. And because I was in Chicago, I was afforded the ability to work at an internship early on like while I was at class. So, I was studying economics and working at a managed futures fund.

Marty Bent: My junior and senior year I had been into Bitcoin and part of that job at the managed futures fund, I was an analyst, and we were a fund to funds, and the funds that we invested in, a lot of them traded currencies. So part of my job was writing commentaries on why our fund perform the way it did against market movements, which meant I had to follow currency markets, which meant I had to follow central banks. And over the course of three years, I just realized there they were setting goals, not hitting them in the … They didn’t really have a grasp on the implications of the policies they were implementing. And at that same time I was learning about Bitcoin and it all just clicked for me, you cannot have 12 men in a room trying to micromanage a multi trillion dollar economy with interest rates. It’s probably not advantageous. Money as a tool should probably be apolitical and something that really can’t be controlled by any one entity. And, it’s what pushed me into Bitcoin.

Aaron Lammer: We talk on the show, I call myself a crypto moderate, and to me, I wouldn’t say that you’re on the full O’Dell extreme there, but some of the things that you’re espousing, they would be a pretty extreme 90 degree right turn for the American economy for it to move away from its current trajectory towards the trajectory you’re describing. And it’s probably just that I’m in some ways becoming conservative old man who’s like, no, I think the world should stay as it is. But some of this stuff feels a little bit like the economic version of forming a militia and trading in the woods. And, I understand in some ways the militia isn’t really there to fight a war, it’s a preparation like boy scouting exercise, and I think some of crypto culture has echoes of that. It’s not, we’re starting a revolution tomorrow, but it’s like we’re going to go start jogging together and matching suits so that we’re like, oh on the same page when it comes.

Aaron Lammer: But, I guess my question would be as someone who has a lot of a background in traditional finance, does that scare you at all? Does that idea of totally jumping off the bridge … I totally agree that the existing system is flawed, but also I think I’m historically sensitive to the idea that revolution, we have to kill a lot of people for that revolution. On the show we’ve called it the Bitcoin caliphate before. It has a little bit like, you’re with us or against us, and if you’re against us we have guns. Whoever is in charge of that system isn’t willingly going to be like, sure, take the wheel Bitcoiners.

Marty Bent: No, I agree. And it is scary, and that’s the thing is that … Again, my years at the managed futures funds and studying college, that’s the scariest part for me is when you realize how the system works and how money works in particular, it’s scary as shit because you realize that you have again, 12 men in America in particular trying to micromanage an economy, more importantly the pricing mechanism of that economy via interest rates and this creates a lot of subdued volatility over time. That’s why we have huge booms and busts, and just looking at the overall trend of where we are over the last hundred years and then over the last 500 years, if you break it into super cycles. If you look at the Federal Reserve Balance Sheet and you go to Saint Louis Fred, Search Saint Louis Fred on Google and look up the monetary base over time, it doesn’t go all the way back to 1913 but that’s when the Fed’s monetary base started.

Marty Bent: So, from 1913 to 2008, a 95 year period, the Fed’s monetary base, which represents the amount of money they print over time, expanded from zero to 100 billion, oh excuse me, $800 billion. So 95 years, the Fed’s balance sheet expanded $800 billion. Between 2008 and 2014, it went from 800 billion to 4.3 trillion. So you have a quintupling of what took 95 years to develop over the course of six years. So that alone, if you look at the chart, it just looks unnatural and unhealthy. So, there’s just heuristics in my brain that go off like this is a weird experiment, it could probably go wrong if these people don’t know what they’re doing and time is proving that they really don’t know what they’re doing. So, in that situation it’s like, all right, we need a solution to this. Money is fucked I would say, and Bitcoin has presented that perfect roundabout way to not a perfect escape valve, but something that we can build in parallel and start educating people about to get them more comfortable with.

Aaron Lammer: Let me ask you a question there, this is great because normally I feel like some of these views we trade is like a sock puppet when we talk about them, and it’s better when someone actually believes them. I have an inherent bias that the world is run by people and by human nature, and so the fact that you’re critical of the people who are currently in charge of the economy, not a surprise, right? People running the economy are going to catch some flak, and Bitcoin presents this, no one’s driving the ship view of economics. And I have to say, since I’ve said several negative things about Bitcoin, it’s amazing that it’s gotten this far.

Aaron Lammer: The truly most miraculous thing of the entire crypto story is the Bitcoin chain is still alive and works and is more or less what was described in academic paper more than 10 years ago. That’s incredible. The odds are one in a million that it was even going to get this far. But in a larger sense, if Bitcoin moves towards the Bitcoin caliphate vision that we’re describing, do you think that eventually people will start running Bitcoin? Do you think Bitcoin can really operate without that human intervention creeping in and in some ways replacing one system that’s 12 men in a room with 12 different men in a different room with a different currency?

Marty Bent: Yeah, so I think that’s where a lot of people get confused. It’s like when we say Bitcoin as an economic system won’t be changed, what people mean is …

Aaron Lammer: Me and the senior caliphate leadership.

Marty Bent: Yeah, yeah, exactly. What I believe people mean by that is there are certain rules within Bitcoin that are preset and are defined and should probably stay in the protocol and perpetuity, but most importantly the 21 million Bitcoin cap. And then, people take that and say, all right …

Aaron Lammer: That’ll be in the constitution of the caliphate. It’s a caliphate with a constitution.

Marty Bent: People will say, all right, the protocol is running and it’s running by itself and it’s self sufficient and there’s no human intervention. That’s exactly what you want, you just want to have certainty that you want it to act like basically a metronome. It’s going to produce censorship resistant, distributed blocks of transactions roughly every 10 minutes. It’s going to have a difficulty adjustment on the mining algorithm every 2016 blocks. It’s going to have a having every 200, 10,000 blocks. And basically, you have certainty knowing that that protocol is going to do something at any given point in time or you can predict what it’s going to do at any given point in time.

Marty Bent: On top of that protocol, you can anchor into that trust protocols, so that’s the way I view Bitcoin. You can build, if you like, if you’re so willing you can build financial products and something similar to the financial system that we have today. The only difference with Bitcoin is there is no lender of last resort at the protocol lever or at the base layer to print more units to inflate the currency. You can create a-

Aaron Lammer: It’s a PC but it does not come with a printer.

Marty Bent: Exactly. But, you can create, if you’re willing to take the risk to loan out money and create similar financial products that we have today, you can certainly do that. You just have to have a bit more certainty that you’ll get reimbursed for your loan or something like that.

Aaron Lammer: You can print more tethered to try to get the Bitcoin, but you can’t print any more Bitcoin.

Marty Bent: Exactly. And basically, what bitcoin enables is we’re still going to be able to take risks. We’re still going to be able to have credit markets and stuff. It’s just like if you’re loaning out Bitcoin to bad creditors and they go bus, you just have to eat that. There’s no lender of last resort to come and save you, so you try to cut the fat as soon as possible and hopefully people are making wiser investments decisions. That’s a lot of the flack that the Fed gets is in the way they print money is that they create an inherent misallocation of capital because they’re skewing the pricing mechanism of the globe. And basically, by printing money you’re enabling people to invest in things that probably otherwise wouldn’t be invested in. And you’re again, misallocation of capital, which just forces people to think more intently about what they’re going to invest in and how they’re going to spread the risk out.

Aaron Lammer: I just find that the Bitcoin culture has succeeded in creating high minded rhetoric and low minded people. The founder of the religion is not the person who spreads the religion, it’s the like Roger Ferris of the world who spread the religion. I was just seeing that Justin Sun is still around from Tron. I think he gave away a couple of Teslas or something like that.

Marty Bent: He’s given a couple of Teslas.

Aaron Lammer: We got to talk about this actually, pause on the larger discussion. So, he was giving away a Tesla I think, and then someone looked into the code which had produced the winner and was like this Tesla give away was rigged. He was like shit, we’ll do it again. The first guy I was like, “What the fuck? I won the Tesla.” He was like, “Okay, okay, we’ll give away two Teslas.”

Marty Bent: Well, yeah it seemed like because he did another thing, another similar campaign before that where he promised followers who retweeted him some money too. I think a considerable amount, it seems like he was just trying to buy followers.

Aaron Lammer: Well, we use the blanket term on the show, Super Airdrop Festival. So, a Super Airdrop Festival is whatever you’re giving anything away to try to get basically new monthly active users, this is what all the exchanges do.

Marty Bent: Tron bought BitTorrent.

Aaron Lammer: Tron bought BitTorrent, which is a real thing and it works.

Marty Bent: What the fuck?

Aaron Lammer: If someone had just made BitTorrent in Crypto, it would be far and away the most useful app ever created.

Marty Bent: BitTorrent is a perfect example of having a distributed system that doesn’t need a blockchain.

Aaron Lammer: And, BitTorrent is also an incredible example of protocol cooperation across disparate entities with competing goals all to use a single system that doesn’t … I think I would say Torrents are censorship proof and basically the same way as … I mean unless you somehow can shut down enough spokes on it, I guess you can keep people from uploading in a country, but I don’t think you can really shut down a Torrent.

Marty Bent: Yeah. And there’s actually, John Backus, I might be butchering his name. He’s in San Francisco, I’m not sure where he works or what he does, but he wrote a very interesting piece on the distributed file sharing systems in the late ’90s or early 2000s, and how BitTorrent actually won out against the Napsters, LimeWires.

Aaron Lammer: Nutella.

Marty Bent: Nutellas of the world. And, it was basically because they were very vague in their UX and kept themselves below the radar.

Aaron Lammer: Well, it was always unclear what the relationship between the company and BitTorrent and the protocol printing. I got into it because my dad was a deadhead. And so, the deadheads where the first people who were moving weight on BitTorrent because they were trying to do lossless full concerts, and if you have one grateful dead concert, you have a thousand grateful dead concert. It’s like serious amount of data, and this was late ’90s even I think or maybe early aughts I guess. Yeah, no, maybe even late ’90s. I don’t even remember when BitTorrent came out, but.

Aaron Lammer: So, he was into it, and then I was like, so what else can you get on this? And it’s an amazing system in that … You know how everyone’s like Bitcoin is so hard. We need to educate people. You got Brian Armstrong being like, “I’ll give you $50 in Stellar Lumens to learn about Stellar Lumens,” which is basically like come to my reeducation camp, you’ll be paid, you’ll get an Amazon gift card on the last day. I never got an instruction manual for BitTorrent. You download the BitTorrent software, you click on the Torrent and it starts downloading, and it actually teaches you how it works pretty well. It’s like how many seeds are you connected to? Okay, well if everyone just leeches, no one’s seeds, game over.

Aaron Lammer: All of the dynamics that are at play in Bitcoin mining and are hash are basically present in a private Torrent tracker where they measure how much you download and upload and you’re expected to maintain a ratio. The only part that’s different is it’s like a bunch of Chinese factories that are maintaining the ratio, everyone just buying their work but.

Marty Bent: China just banned Bitcoin. It’s banned again.

Aaron Lammer: I saw that. So, how do you read something like that? I’m just curious, because I’ll get a few text even though I don’t actually really know that much about crypto, it feels like, so China banned Bitcoin mining and I’m like, no, that’s fake. Well, it’s not fake, it’s a crypto story.

Marty Bent: Yeah. China’s banned Bitcoin so many times, it’s like the boy who cried wolf at this time and it’s not that big of news in my opinion. There’s lot of the Chinese miners who got freaked out during the last wave of Chinese bands have moved over to other borders, and there’s actually a lot of people starting operations here in the US too, so it’s actually good.

Aaron Lammer: Yeah, I mean green energy mining feels like it’s the future and that probably is not going to coincide with Chinese mining being the future.

Marty Bent: No, Chinese mining’s clean too. There’s a lot of coal mining in China, but a lot of it is-

Aaron Lammer: I know about the coal mining, it’s very clean.

Marty Bent: There is a lot of dirty money in China. There’s also a lot of the untapped hydroelectric, and other … So, you’re saying there’s certain ways of framing Bitcoin a little bit earlier, that’s another topic that I’ve been talking about with some people more recently like what if Satoshi pitch Bitcoin as a synthetic battery instead of a monetary system before, because I believe that Bitcoin presents an immense opportunity to become as energy efficient as possible as we can on this planet. And that’s because Bitcoin mining finally provides an incentive to go tap these previously untapped resources, which Bitcoiners should.

Marty Bent: 77% tend to be renewable energy, mostly hydro electric and geothermal and wind. Even if they’re off by an order of magnitude, let’s say it’s 38% renewable, the average “industry” in the world is only using 18% renewables, so. And the reason for this is because they’re just cheap, nobody can use them. And the problem with these renewable energies in particular is that they’re stranded in disparate areas where there’s no cities, there’s no industry, there’s nothing, so-

Aaron Lammer: There’s places in Texas where they’ll actually pay you to take power off the grid.

Marty Bent: Yes, exactly. Texas is a great example of … Texas is I believe the only state that has a completely free market on their grid, you’re allowed to do whatever you want, and the market’s figuring out is not run by the state. So, I know there’s a lot of wind farms in Texas that are looking to offload some capacity. And again, the thing about the renewable energies is they’re so cheap, it’s like the incentive for these miners is to go find them so that they have the biggest margin possible when they’re mining Bitcoin. So, if you can go … I believe to be competitive right now, you have to have between three to 5 cents per kilowatt hour. A lot of these renewable sources, again, they are untapped. And if it’s a wind farm in Texas and they’re not able to sell it for half a cent Kilowatt hour, you’re beating the market by 6x in pricing there, so.

Aaron Lammer: Yeah, I mean it feels like the market for electricity is basically trying to find its sub 1 cent product in the same way that we had cell phones for a long time, but they were $500 a month when they came out and it was like, okay, there’s some tipping point here where people are going to search out this cheap electricity. And, I was talking to my friend Francis who’s a musician about this because he’s really interested in self driving cars and we were talking it through like at some point self driving cars will be like their own businesses, right? The cars will just drive around looking for you, and they will need to be operating as weird almost like smart contract, small businesses or fleets that are trading with each other. They’re going to have to stop and refuel energy.

Aaron Lammer: And it basically makes sense that the unit of money or exchange that they will be using is electricity, right? That’s their native token already is electricity. And in some ways when someone will say, oh, the price of Bitcoin costs $2,000 to mine, I’m like, no. It seems to me like a Bitcoin costs $5,200 to mine. I haven’t looked at my portfolio today, 5,200 ish dollars to mine because that’s how much Bitcoin cost. The value of Bitcoin is basically an electrical unit on some level.

Marty Bent: Again, going back to the synthetic battery, not everybody’s cost for mining a Bitcoin is $5,200 right now, it’s disparate, right?

Aaron Lammer: Right, right. I just mean that if the price of Bitcoin is $5,200 and you are trading it for electricity, right? If you’re like, I give you a Bitcoin, how much power will you give me back? You’ll give me $5,200 ish worth of power. So, to a car there’s no distinction in all of these electrical via Bitcoin transactions, they’re just x. I guess it’s the Bitcoin caliphate, it’s one bitcoin, it’s one Bitcoin.

Marty Bent: Yeah, one Bitcoin is one Bitcoin. You’re describing the machine payable web that 21 Co had in mind when they came out with their small, very underpowered miner.

Aaron Lammer: I think that you’ve done a callback because, didn’t 21 Co become earn.com and then got acquired by Coinbase and then opened the Stellar Lumens reeducation camp?

Marty Bent: We just came full circle, yes. So, 21 Co turned into an email company which eventually got bought by Coinbase, which is now trying to push their coins on people.

Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I mean like why do people try all this? I guess would be the question or why couldn’t they figure out how to make money mining? Feels to me like everyone in crypto starts off being like, I’m going to get rich, and then they’re like, oh, and this and that, and some other scheme. Is mining even a good business do you think in the long run?

Marty Bent: That’s a good question.

Aaron Lammer: It should be, right?

Marty Bent: No. So, at 21 Co in particular, earlier Bitcoin there was this transition from CPU to GPU to FGPAs to A6. And, I think a lot of people made a lot of assumptions around mining, then turned out not to be as smart in the long run. 21 Co very much made bad decisions. I bought a 21 Co, and it’ll one day-

Aaron Lammer: You made the bad decision.

Marty Bent: Yeah, it was actually good to learn how to interact with the blockchain via the command line, but it was a terrible miner.

Aaron Lammer: Where were running this mining?

Marty Bent: Just in my apartment. It’s this big, it was on a Raspberry Pi. The pitch was that you would mine. So again, I went back to the machine payable web, you would mine at a very low hash rate into the 21 Co pool and you get Satoshis back for contributing to the pool, which would enable an app that you would use in the 21 co app space, which would be like a machine payable web set up. But that never came to fruition because the miners were way too underpowered and it just didn’t make any sense. I don’t think it was profitable at all.

Aaron Lammer: Yeah, the smartest guy is in the room.

Marty Bent: Yeah, that’s the other thing that Coinbase consolidation. Coinbase is basically A16z portfolio consolidation company in the crypto space. I just think, again, going back to monetary economics, I think a lot of people, especially in Silicon Valley and San Francisco approach “Crypto and Bitcoin” in a naive way. And, I do think you have to take monetary economics into play with this stuff and a lot of the move fast and break thing mentality that exists in Silicon Valley has pushed some of these VCs and companies to test out things that probably weren’t wise to test out.

Aaron Lammer: Well, one thing I learned from this era, I was interested in Silicon Valley before I was interested in Bitcoin, and the main thing I’ve picked up from every single VCs actions within Bitcoin is Bitcoin winning is not going to be a big winner for investors. There’s a bunch of other directions it could go, if Stellar Lumens becomes huge, then that’s good for the earn.com acquisition pay out to Coinbase. But at some point, I’m not saying there was a secret cabal meeting to decide this, people were like, so if Bitcoin just keeps getting bigger and bigger and nothing else happens, we don’t benefit that much even though that’s what we do. Why was it so hard for them to succeed alongside Bitcoin instead of tucking the ship the other direction?

Marty Bent: It’s just a product of the environment, which is prey and pray, like invest in as many things as possible. In this space they extrapolate that to invest in as many protocols as possible, and in the startup realm, it’s not winner takes all. It’s not zero sum, you light a thousand blooms. Again, coming back to monetary economics, if again, Bitcoin is a sly roundabout way to take money out of the hands of the government. [inaudible 00:35:28] Kayak said we’ll never get money fix until we take it and find a slide round way to take it from the government, I believe Bitcoin is that. And basically what that means is now that there’s a free market for competing currencies that hasn’t existed in a while, and now that that optionality exist, power laws are going to take over. Individual governments are going to have their own currencies and there’s international law to protect that.

Marty Bent: Now, Bitcoin exists, there’s a free market for this. The law that Bitcoiners believe in will take place over time is Thiers law, which is the opposite of Gresham’s law, which says, good money drives out bad. And, Bitcoiners believe that Bitcoin in this crypto space has the best chance to be the best money, and it will be a zero sum game in the long run. Obviously, there’s a lot of shit coin pumps still going on, and I believe they will persist for a while, but in the long run, most of the value will accrue to Bitcoin. And what we’ve seen over the first decade would be upstarts coming and failing over time and new iterations of them. So, first it was Namecoin, Peercoin, and your first Pos coins early in the 2013 Scanburry explosion, and then it iterated to ICOs.

Aaron Lammer: Pour one out for the dead aughts.

Marty Bent: Pour one out for the dead aughts, but what we found over the last 10 years is that Bitcoin will stay at number one in the bottom 10 or 20 below then will just churn 2000 below then it will just churn. I think that’s a product of the market testing out new ideas and quickly realizing, Bitcoin may be the only game in town.

Aaron Lammer: Well, when I look back at the history of protocols, right? What are the three most important protocols of our time? I would say email is the number one most important protocol, number two is probably HTML, and distant third, but one of the most important in my own life is Torrenting, right? And when we look at those three inventions, particularly email never really made any startups or IPOs a lot of money. Has anyone gotten rich on email particularly? It’s facilitated the growth of the digital economy, so you could say it’s created trillions of dollars of value HTML too particularly, but no one’s really made money on email or HTML. It’s almost like they had to invent a bunch of side pots to cash in on those trends.

Aaron Lammer: And once you categorize Bitcoin as similar to email, it looks really different from an investment perspective, at least for people who are funding companies, it’s almost like, hey, don’t expect that Bitcoin or blockchains or anything is actually going to make a lot of money for someone. Email didn’t, it’s free. Hotmail is free. We had free emails, one of the first things that was offered for free forever.

Marty Bent: AOL had a quick run.

Aaron Lammer: AOL had a quick run. So, we’ll see a few spikes CompuServe, [crosstalk 00:38:39].

Marty Bent: Right.

Aaron Lammer: The Prodigy, but none of those companies have real lasting value because they don’t own email, right? So, taking that a step further, does Bitcoin almost recede into the background as it becomes more prevalent, do you think?

Marty Bent: Yeah. That’s one theory is that it will have this UI built on top of it as layers get built on top of it as well, and it will be pushed to the background where you don’t even know you’re using it in most of the ways that you interact with it. I don’t know, again going back to that, this is a bearer instrument. This is a different animal than anything at least in a digital realm that is literally the first digitally scarce asset that’s ever existed. So, the ways in which we interact with it, I don’t know. Again, I got breakfast this morning, I could just see so many paths at which we go down, and again I just cling on to the fact that this is a different type of asset that we’re still trying to figure out how to grasp and how to handle. But, I could definitely see in the future as the UX and the protocol gets built out that yes it can be pushed to the background, you don’t even notice you’re using it. In apps like Cash App, there is-

Aaron Lammer: I was just going to ask about that.

Marty Bent: Yeah, Cash App, if they build out their product suite and their functionalities around Bitcoin, you could just … Cash App is a quasi second layer to Bitcoin if they can facilitate everything within their servers, if that’s what’s in your trust model. If you’re okay using Cash App, potential they could serve as a second layer solution, then you don’t even know you’re using Bitcoin.

Aaron Lammer: You had Jack Dorsey on your show.

Marty Bent: Yeah, Jack, friend of the Pod.

Aaron Lammer: Friend of the pod. What is your take on where he thinks this stuff is going? Does he see the same stuff in the Cash App? Because, I certainly see it. I’m actually exclusively using the Cash App to buy Bitcoin at this point.

Marty Bent: Me as well.

Aaron Lammer: And even though the rates are bad sometimes, but.

Marty Bent: Yeah, they do their rates based on the spread. So, they don’t get you on fees. You don’t have to pay a transaction fee, or-

Aaron Lammer: You pay about 50 bucks extra on the spreads, but you don’t pay a fee.

Marty Bent: Yeah.

Aaron Lammer: 50 bucks per Bitcoin, which isn’t much, that’s 1% at 5,000 or something, which is I think lower than Coinbase fees are.

Marty Bent: Yeah. I think they put out paper that describes why they chose this instead of straight fees, and they think it’s a cost savings in the long run.

Aaron Lammer: Well for me when I started using Cash App, I feel like the next evolution was going to be like … Right now I tilt how much money I have like, oh I got a little extra money, I’ll buy 10, 20 bucks worth of Bitcoin, right? That’s where I’m at with Bitcoin now because I bought too much about too much high and I’m underwater now, I can’t buy a lot more. But, I do think at least when it was $4,000 ish, I was like this is clearly the time to be buying Bitcoin, not investment advice. But really what I like to do is just take a portfolio of all the money I have and say just keep 10% in Bitcoin all the time. Don’t make me decide when to buy Bitcoin and when not to buy Bitcoin, just keep leveling off my pool.

Marty Bent: Yeah. I think they’re on their product roadmap. So, they’ve got their boost program which helps you save money if you use their card at certain merchants. And I believe they’re hacking, at least I saw their product lead on Twitter. I don’t know if he was teasing this, but it seems that every week if you use your boost card at merchants that you get cash back deals from at the end of the week, they’ll sum up the cash that you saved and buy a little Bitcoin for you automatically.

Marty Bent: And then, they also have that automatic buys and stuff like that, so I believe that stuff’s coming. And then, going back to what Jack thinks this is, I think I only had a half an hour to sit down with him, but I think in that 30 minutes, he was hinting a lot. I think he was hinting a lot.

Aaron Lammer: He seems excited about it.

Marty Bent: Yeah, very excited and I think lessons learned from Twitter that are helping him realize the potential here. And I don’t know, maybe I was reading too far between the lines but it seemed like he’s very nostalgic of early Twitter days and he said it felt more like a protocol like Bitcoin back then where it was more open and we didn’t really have control of it. And he said one thing where he’d like to separate the hosting from the serving of the content, which I thought was him hinting that maybe all this pressure of handling the best communication tool that humanity has ever seen is a lot for one company.

Aaron Lammer: I think they’re in a no win situation. That doesn’t let them off the hook but there’s an alternate future in which … The early days of Twitter did feel like a protocol, they didn’t have an app. When I signed up for Twitter, there was no Twitter app and it was a bunch of guys got Twitter clients, go to town. If someone made a Bot, go to town, it operated mostly like a protocol. If they had just gone the Ethereum route and had the nonprofit association for the furthering of Twittering.

Marty Bent: Like Mozilla route or something like that.

Aaron Lammer: Yeah. I think, will Twitter exist in 10 years from now, right? People ask this question about Bitcoin, would you buy Bitcoin knowing that you had to hold that for 10 years? For me, the answer’s yes. Would you predict Twitter exists in 10 years? Right now, I would say no. I’m not going to buy that ticket I think.

Marty Bent: I don’t know.

Aaron Lammer: But, if you told me that Twitter was a protocol, and people … Of course it will exist in 10 years. The same way that I expect email will exist in 10 years.

Marty Bent: I don’t know. I think there’s a little cipher punk in Jack. I think I could see it in his eyes when we’re speaking with Bitcoin. What I was most taken a back by during our conversation that was like the one question is Twitter has obviously been a communication tool that has brought the fight to the state and politicians in particular. I’m going to just say it, fuck it. So, we saw Twitter affect politics like Trump …

Aaron Lammer: Trump is a product of Twitter.

Marty Bent: Trump is the product of Twitter, Syria. In 2012, I think I mentioned him when John Kerry, then were thinking about bombing Syria, I truly believe that people pushing back on Twitter like, oh we shouldn’t do this actually had an effect on their decision. So, he’s been around this tool which has really changed the leverage that individuals have against the state in curbing the states’ tendency for violence. Bitcoin takes that to another order of magnitude. And so, I framed it that way, seeing this Twitter revolution and being a part of it, what do you see in common with what’s happening with Bitcoin? And do you realize that this is altitudes of magnitude more heavy than a communications protocol now that we’re making a money protocol?

Marty Bent: And he was just like, yeah, it just makes sense that the internet will have a native digital currency. I think most likely at this point will be Bitcoin. And he was just like, I hope the nation states help people out submitting itself to the inevitability of a tool like this coming into reality. And I think it excites him shifting from Twitter to Square. Squares main mission is just enabling merchants and people to get access to money and financial services and stuff that.

Aaron Lammer: Yeah, I mean it’s the original Satoshi vision, and that I am a longstanding believer that’s Satoshi was inspired by a PayPal transaction gone wrong probably. And, Jay’s estimation is Satoshi’s Dorian Nakamoto, probably a toy trade transaction gone wrong. But, same problem, right? Square is still trying to solve some of the same problems as PayPal as Bitcoin as all of these things. Everyone’s circling around the same corpse. I disagree with you that Twitter has diminished the capacity for violence out there. I think you can read most of this history both directions like the fact that Trump is president, at least for me is increase in the capacity for violence. At least if we’re just acting as like actuaries here, the potential.

Aaron Lammer: But, I take your point and I almost would extend it one step further, which is to say email is used for terror planning, fundraising, everything bad about Twitter exists in email, we’re just like, well there’s nothing we can do about that. We can’t stop Nazis from using email, so it’s not an issue. It’s when you move away from being a protocol and become a platform that it becomes an issue. And I’m just like, anytime someone wants to start platform, I’m like don’t start a platform. This world does not need more platforms. It might need more protocols but it doesn’t need more platforms.

Marty Bent: Well, yes, and thank you for correcting me, the framing of that was off like Twitter.

Aaron Lammer: It can be both at once.

Marty Bent: It could be both ways, but it has affected politics in the way we interact with it, and Bitcoin is about to take that to a whole another level. And that’s another theory of the bigger, again, I’m talking about like many paths we can go down if we believe the sovereign individual path it is that things are going to get a little hectic. And that we were born in at an inflection point and the first hundred years after that inflection point, which his book argues was in the 1970s when the internet was created there was a lot of tumult and chaos, which I think we’re experiencing in this world today.

Aaron Lammer: I have always felt that way, but yes.

Marty Bent: Yes, yes. But the pace at which it’s speeding up, tying it back to Jack, I think he has learned a lot of lessons from Twitter and Bitcoin is a fresh slate to build tools having learned the lessons from Twitter. And, I think he is dead set on applying those lessons, and up to this point he’s been pretty bad ass. It’s good to see him come out and be principled about Bitcoin, so principled that he’s about to support six steps I believe, that are just working on the open source protocol. So, that’s stuff I want to see. Again, I think there’s a little cipher punk in him and I think he’s slowly but surely working in into his products.

Aaron Lammer: All right. Are we allowed to discuss price just a little bit?

Marty Bent: Yeah, we can discuss price.

Aaron Lammer: So, price wise, good week.

Marty Bent: Great week.

Aaron Lammer: I know that price is a dirty word, though it makes sense to me why people are obsessed with it. And, I think maybe zooming out a little bit like not saying, hey, Bitcoin went from 4,400 to 5200 which is fucking great. How much should Bitcoin be worth? I get into this argument with Jay all the time and I’m eager for another person to answer this question. I’ll be like Bitcoin is blah, blah, blah, blah, and that’s why the price is going up. And he’s like, it does all those things at Bitcoin 1000, Bitcoin 10,000, and Bitcoin 100,000. So, in some ways you could say those things are almost tangential to price because if you’re in Venezuela and you’re converting your life savings to Bitcoin, trying to get out of Venezuela and then pick them up somewhere else, the price of Bitcoin is just the price of Bitcoin.

Marty Bent: Yeah. And so, are we talking how much a Bitcoin would be worth right now or potentially if it’s successful?

Aaron Lammer: How should we even think about how much it should be worth? What does your brain do when you try to answer that question?

Marty Bent: Yeah. Again, it’s the famous buzzword in Crypto, the total addressable market, and what is that. And again, if this is truly like a zero sum power laws game where Bitcoin presents and this is an ideal situation, presents a perfect store of value, and you have cryptographic proof that you own a certain point in the ledger if it’s a better product from a store of value and perspective. So right now, US dollar is reserve currency of the world, and that’s another reason why I’m really into Bitcoin is it because I don’t think people have a tool through which to store their value over time. We have a time in which 40% of Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency expense. If you want to save your purchasing power or your wealth over time, your store of value, vehicles, usually mutual funds, treasuries, things that are very volatile, and you’re forced to chase yield.

Marty Bent: If bitcoin presents a perfect product for storing value, then you can extrapolate that, okay, if this is the best store value on the market and people are currently stashing their value in different stores of value and now this perfect store value exists, you can start to assume that it’ll eat at some of those other store values. So, you talk about fine art, precious metals, real estate, land, if you’re able to … Some people believe, I’m not sure I fully believe this, but some people do believe that it could take over that store value use case in those markets, and we’re talking hundreds of trillions of dollars if that’s the case.

Aaron Lammer: I think I agree. That’s the viewpoint I take. And then it’s just like, all right, we’ll just peg it to some gold old masters, like how much is all that stuff worth? And that’s basically saying how much money wants to flow into Bitcoin. And, it’s like how much money wants to flow into Bitcoin? Okay, divide that by 21 million, but actually it’s more like 14 million, but we might’ve lost the more coins. I’m not really sure, right? Okay. It’s like I can see that back of the envelope.

Aaron Lammer: When I got into doing shit on the internet, I came of age during the 2010 to 2012 startup boom, where no one tried to make any money or do anything of any value. Maybe it’s like Alt Coin is the parallel and everyone chased users, everyone chased user growth. So, part of me also is still stuck in that mindset where I’m like, what will really make me think that Bitcoin is worth more is more people using Bitcoin, not addressable market. When you look at gold and fine art, it’s huge addressable market. We’re actually only talking about 100,000 people in the globe, right? And that would never fly for a Twitter type product that relies and some ways drives its value out of the network in itself has created of hundreds of millions of people. So, on that rubric, that’s the rubric I’m a little less bullish on Bitcoin on and I’ve been little bit like that’s what 2018 has shaken.

Aaron Lammer: I’m not shaking in the like, it’s a great store of value, people are going to want to put in millions of dollars into it. The user experience based human thought virus of Bitcoin feels like it’s lost a little steam over the last year. Where are you on that? Where are you on new users coming into Bitcoin and does that even matter to how much Bitcoin that’s worth?

Marty Bent: I don’t think it matters, but I do think there’s more … Again, it comes away. It’s just like each cycle, each boom and bust in Bitcoin brings more people, a higher high watermark. And, I do believe there’s more interest right now than there ever has been. Obviously not like December, 2017 levels right now, but I do think, and this is an example just from my personal life. I used to work at Barstool Sports, I was known as Bitcoin Marty there. And I was Crypto shoving during that mania trying to tell everybody not to buy anything, but nobody listened to me. And one of the personalities of Barstool in particular, Kayla Presley, he stuck with it. And, he’s one example of somebody that I think of somebody who got burned during the last cycle but stuck with it and learned.

Marty Bent: And actually, my Barstool indicator went off two months ago when two of my ex coworkers texted me like, yeah, let’s meet up and talk about Bitcoin, so that was the first thing. And then, as soon as the price went up last week, like you were talking about on Barstool radio, so they’re still using Barstool as the barometer. I think this time around, especially after 2017 when the mania got out of hand, there was a level of understanding that those people, even if they got burned have and it’s easier for them to reemerge, and learn more. It seems that people, even though they got burned are still interested.

Aaron Lammer: Yeah, I remember how Ricky Murakami said something about once about it’s okay if only 20% of people like my books who read them, because if one out of every five people who reads any of my books becomes a lifelong reader unlike snowballing lots of readers. You don’t necessarily have to convert everyone. It’s okay if a lot of people come to the party once and leave. If you pick up some true believers along the way, you’ve won in the long run.

Marty Bent: Yeah. And this goes back to the concept of the intolerant minority. So, Nassim Taleb made this concept popular that the intolerant minority runs the world. So things like having a lot of food labeled in the country Kosher, there’s probably what? A few hundred thousand …

Aaron Lammer: Jews in America. 5 million.

Marty Bent: 5 million.

Aaron Lammer: So, one out of every 60 something people, but Kosher juice, you’re talking a hundred to thousands.

Marty Bent: Yeah, a few hundred but they are an intolerant minority. It’s demanding that these … And this is the example that Nassim Taleb uses that they demand that things be marked Kosher.

Aaron Lammer: Sure. And I’d like to thank them for demanding that every Jewish holiday be a no street sweeping holiday in Brooklyn.

Marty Bent: Oh that’s credible.

Aaron Lammer: It’s a beautiful thing. I appreciate any intolerant minority who’s gotten days added to the no streets sweeping, we salute you.

Marty Bent: Big fan of that. April 18th and 19th, I believe, this month are-

Aaron Lammer: It’s just a gift that keeps on [inaudible 00:56:54]. If you subscribe to that no parking calendar, that indicator is just blowing up all the time.

Marty Bent: Right.

Aaron Lammer: Yeah. So, in that example, is Bitcoin intolerant minority?

Marty Bent: Yes, so in many aspects, right? And many layers like the intolerant minorities, some would argue rule in the way Bitcoin progress’s too like with the SegWit2x, four quarters of a couple of years ago, people, myself included were like, no, it’s probably advantageous that we do not arbitrarily raise the block size, and I mean, already people are running 148. It’s debatable how SegWit got added, but this intolerant minority stops a change from happening in Bitcoin, and then Bitcoin and the whole macro level and where it fits into the world, I do believe that’s a possibility too. A minority of people dead set on making fair money come into the world can make that happen. And again, Bitcoin is hard to kill. I’ve said it recently, the only thing that could kill Bitcoin is a solar flare at this point. And to think that people are going to keep innovating, keep using this network, it just doesn’t make any sense to me.

Aaron Lammer: I’m going to bring it full circle here, so we can tie up. We started off with what kind of people is this attracting and forms of leadership, 12 men in the room. When I came upon those forks, those forks were like that was right when I got really into crypto is right before that. So, the first block size fork, I was like holy shit. I couldn’t go to sleep that night. I was like, what is going to happen? And, when I came to choose my personal allegiance, I did it basically based on the personalities of who was behind each side. If you had flipped the two people, the two factions onto opposite sides, I would have supported big blocks. If a bunch of Bitcoin cash ass holes had been like no, no, no box size change, and the other side had been … I would have been like, eh, they’re being reasonable. It really was a referendum on who the people behind it were.

Marty Bent: Well, that, and again so this whole network and protocol development comes out to trade offs and yes, it’s a type of personality, I agree. I think the people in the Bitcoin cash and Bitcoin SV communities tend to be scammy or scummier like con artists.

Aaron Lammer: Former online fireworks salesman.

Marty Bent: Former online fireworks salesman. There’s some pedas involved, there’s some weird people involved with those projects, and there’s … I probably shouldn’t have said pedas, but fuck you [inaudible 00:59:38].

Aaron Lammer: I didn’t say who you’re talking about.

Marty Bent: Yeah. Then Bitcoin code, obviously it’s just more conservative, people that I think, think more thoroughly about this and the trade offs inherent in the system and understand the inherent trade offs in the system. And not even personality, it’s just understanding. So, you have Roger Ver who is not technical at all, he’s never written a line of protocol layer of code and trying to dictate how this protocol moves forward and how it scales. Then you have people in the Bitcoin codes like Peter Will, Craig Maxwell who are hardcore cryptographers that actually understand the math and the science that goes into making this protocol work and who are going, hey, again, it comes down to that some extent you have to allocate you’re learning to somebody else who has a better understanding in Bitcoin code.

Marty Bent: It’s obvious these developers who understand the code know more about the trade offs than some opportunist who just bought a bunch in the beginning completely misunderstood the whole purpose of it. Misunderstood the word cash in the white paper and what it means cash in the white paper, refers to the bear asset cash, not the cash that we’re used to that are fearless when we transact and stuff like that. So yeah, there are different personalities but I do, I just think these people understand this stuff better.

Aaron Lammer: Well, I agree with that. Although I think to zoom out even further, I think to the outside world all Bitcoiners, all of Crypto is the scummy gap, the scummy assholes. If you create enough this pool versus that pool, eventually you end up in a pool that’s a little less trustworthy, and I think for me the next big frontier of Bitcoin is not going to be internal schisms like I want a bigger block, I don’t want a bigger block, but when does bitcoin open up to a truly larger community? And it’ll be really interesting.

Aaron Lammer: To me, I see an inherent contradiction between some of the stuff you were talking about earlier on the program about radical caliphate style, economic change and true mainstream, I trust these people. I don’t know if those two things can coexist. And I remember, who is the person who said that eventually Bitcoin would become so mainstream that it’s early libertarian proponents would be disgusted by it? I can’t remember who said that, but someone smart said that. I’m waiting for that moment. I’m waiting for the moment where Bitcoin it has become so popular that it’s difficult to reconcile with that economic change. And that’ll be like that’s … If that first fork was a miner skirmish, that’s the war I’m waiting for.

Marty Bent: That’s the other thing people have to take into consideration that this is the goal Bitcoin has become the money of the world, right? Obviously there is a development community and people that are very enamored with Bitcoin at this point in time that see themselves as a community, but as Bitcoin proliferates becomes more mainstream, it’s not a community, it’s just people using a tool, a tool that exist and that’s the beauty of Bitcoin, going back to it’s apolitical, it doesn’t matter who uses it.

Marty Bent: A socialist could use it, a hardcore libertarian can use it, somebody in Iran can use it, somebody in America could use it. And these people can have different views on the social layer of how they view the world. And that’s the whole point of Bitcoin, is to make all these people that hate each other be able to utilize this protocol and they could store their value in even if they disagree.

Aaron Lammer: All those people use email too.

Marty Bent: Right. They all use email as well.

Aaron Lammer: And HTML.

Marty Bent: Yeah, and it’s-

Aaron Lammer: I always feel like apolitical, is misleading actually because apolitical suggests not political, but it’s almost like all political.

Marty Bent: I should say Bitcoin is amoral or apolitical in the sense that the protocol literally does not know how people are using it. It’s just a messaging protocol that is sending messages, and we know what’s going on with it on top of a Bitcoin the protocol is just producing blocks and doesn’t know how we’re using it. So, it doesn’t know that somebody from Iran is trying to use it, so it’s not able to block, it’s apolitical in that sense.

Aaron Lammer: Well, someone would say that it’s inherently say anti-authoritarian, because it’s a tool that moves like it’s apolitical except these political beliefs it’s against those ones.

Marty Bent: Yeah. The application of Bitcoin is very political. The underlying protocol is amoral, apolitical, it has no idea.

Aaron Lammer: The last person I asked this question on the show was horrified and he also runs a Bitcoin newsletter, but I’m going to try again because you seemed game when I brought up price. January 1st, 2020 Bitcoin price prediction?

Marty Bent: We’re within a $500 range of $10,000. Ten five, nine five.

Aaron Lammer: It’s funny how people are like, these artificial numbers mean nothing though are deeply, deeply embedded by … But it’s like everyone in Bitcoin is arbitrary amounts in US dollars mean nothing to me, but 10,000. I have been the same way. That’s probably what I’m going to predict also. It’s about double from here, it feels about right.

Marty Bent: Yeah. It feels like late 2015 early 2016 is where things were starting to turn. Again, I don’t like to … This is just fun, whatever. I hope I made-

Aaron Lammer: Sure, not investment advice.

Marty Bent: Not investment advice at all, but I do think that the fundamentals, I mean we saw it last week. Somebody bought Bitcoin in chunks of more than a thousand Bitcoins, so more than $5 million at once, 10 times over the course of 12 minutes over three exchanges, last Monday. So, somebody wanted to get Bitcoin and really pushed the price up. So, that was a flash in the pan of seeing like, hey, somebody who really wants to get in can move the price of this market 20% in a couple of days.

Aaron Lammer: I heard this theory, and I’m curious your take on it. The theory was that that person bought those huge chunks and that there’s way more algorithmic trading than there used to be, and it basically those big buys triggered a bunch of robots to buy Bitcoin.

Marty Bent: I don’t know, they didn’t trigger a bunch of robots. They triggered a bunch of shorts and BitMax, so that’s where the books at that price level were pretty thin, so they triggered … That’s why we ran up so quickly is because the slippage that those buys cause ran into these shorts and it got margin called. But, it wouldn’t surprise me if it triggered some robot traders as well.

Aaron Lammer: This was great. Come back soon.

Marty Bent: I definitely will.

Aaron Lammer: We live close to each other.

Marty Bent: I live right down the street.

Aaron Lammer: I’ve got a cave. We’ve got plenty of weed in here.

Marty Bent: No, I think I got more to say too. I think this was fun.

Aaron Lammer: I appreciate it. It was a great time. Where can people who would like to subscribe to your podcast and newsletter find you?

Marty Bent: Podcast on Twitter is @TFTC21 Tales from the Crypt on most Podcast platforms.

Aaron Lammer: Have you seen traffic starting to turn to get a little hockey stick [crosstalk 01:06:54].

Marty Bent: It is getting out-

Aaron Lammer: Listenership.

Marty Bent: Newsletter.

Aaron Lammer: That was my indicator.

Marty Bent: Subscriptions have been going up.

Aaron Lammer: My indicators are all going off right now.

Marty Bent: Open rates are going up. If you want to subscribe to the newsletter, martysbent.com is where you can sign up. I’m actually working on a site to aggregate all the content, so it will be in one spot soon. And then yeah, I’m on Twitter @Marty Bent shit posting about Bitcoin. And yeah, the one thing I would like to end it on is this all an experiment. It’s something I’m passionate about. It could definitely fail in the long run, but I feel the urge to risk it for the biscuit with this.

Marty Bent: I do think we’re at a very pivotal point in human history, and I do think Bitcoin presents an optimistic future potential for an optimistic future. I know it’s scary right now because it’s wild west. The fact that it’s open source allows the shittiest people in the world, but Bitcoin has also introduced me to some of the best, and the purest people I’ve ever met in my life.

Aaron Lammer: I mean, in 2040 when there’s the oral history of Barstool, you’re going to get referred to as Bitcoin Marty anyway, so you might as well stick with the shit.

Marty Bent: That’s true.

Aaron Lammer: Come back soon.

Marty Bent: Thanks for having me.

Written by

The official podcast of Bitcoin crashes. Hosted by @aaronlammer and @jaycaspiankang. Mailbag/contact: hi@cointalk.show

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