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Stephan Livera and Marty Bent: Swan Signal Live E18

Posted 7/13/20 by Brady Swenson

Bitcoin Podcasters Stephan Livera and Marty Bent join Brady and Cory to discuss every­thing from dominant Bitcoin narra­tives and the state of mining to Austrian economics liter­a­ture and the future of Bitcoin.

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Episode Summary

YouTube Timestamps

00:00:00 — Intro­duc­tions

00:03:29 — Shilling each other’s shows

00:05:12 — Learning from each other

00:07:58 — Stephan’s plans for the future

00:09:41 — Marty’s plans for the future (plus Great American Mining)

00:17:28 — The Australian mining industry

00:19:18 — Personal experi­ences with Bitcoin mining

00:21:42 — Commonly misun­der­stood concepts in Austrian economics

00:27:22 — Was Satoshi an Austrian econo­mist?

00:30:38 — Austrian economics educa­tional resources

00:37:31 — Marketing Bitcoin

00:47:13 — Dominant Bitcoin narra­tives

00:52:41 — Future FUD predic­tions

01:00:55 — The war on cash

01:06:35 — Popping polit­ical bubbles and the Bitcoin Renais­sance

01:10:41 — An optimistic or pessimistic Bitcoin future?

01:24:30 — Closing thoughts

Transcript

Brady Swenson:

All right. Welcome back to Swan Signal Live. We’re here at episode 18. It’s hard to believe 18 episodes already here on Swan Signal Live. It’s a weekly show that pairs up great Bitcoiners for compelling conver­sa­tions. I’m Brady Swenson, head of marketing here at Swan. Also head of educa­tion here at Swan. It’s one in the same at Swan. It’s marketing educa­tion. We educate to market. We market to educate. All right. So before we dive in a quick word about Swan, about what we do here. We have built the best way to accumu­late Bitcoin with automatic recur­ring buys. It’s a very simple setup. You just connect your bank account and auto fund a USD to the Swan account. Swan will then auto stack your BTC, and you can set up an auto withdraw of that Bitcoin back to your own wallets. So we do all of that with extremely low fees.

Brady Swenson:

We’re up to 57% lower than Cash App’s fees and up to 80% lower than Coinbase’s fees. If you’re auto stacking, it is clearly the best choice in the United States to go with Swan. You can get started stacking@swanbitcoin.com/HRF for the Human Rights Founda­tion. And you’ll get $10 of Bitcoin dropped into your account after you start saving with your Swan plan. And the Human Rights Founda­tion will receive a quarter point, that’s 0.25% of every Swan plan purchase you make for up to three years as long as that Swan plan is active which is an amazing deal for the Human Rights Founda­tion. You can also create your own URL with our program, Swan Force, a referral program, just like that. You’ll get your own URL. You’ll get a welcome bar, welcome banner with a message from you and your face greeting your refer­rals at the top of the page. It’s really cool. Check it out at swanbitcoin.com/enlist.

Brady Swenson:

And finally, we are chatting live and on telegram at t.me/swansignal. That’s the most active chat during this broad­cast, or we’re also checking the YouTube chat as well. But if you want to hop into a little bit livelier chat scenario, checkout t.me/swansignal. Okay, so let’s dive into the show. We’ve got two pod stars here, some pod fathers in Bitcoin podcasting, a hall of fame. They’re going to be, I think number one and two right up there. First I’ll intro­duce Stephan Livera of the Stephan Livera podcast, host and creator. How’s it going, man?

Stephan Livera:

Thank you for having me. It’s great to chat with you guys on the show.

Brady Swenson:

Absolutely. Excited for it. And then of course, Marty Bent the owl man himself. Marty, are we going to get a little owl noise here? Are you feeling owlish?

Marty Bent:

Hoo, hoo. What’s up? Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be back.

Brady Swenson:

Nice. All right. Yeah. This is your second show, man. Welcome back to the podcast. It’s like, I think been 15 or so. I think you were on with Connor Brown episode three. If I remember correctly. All right. Cory is here with us as well, founder of Swan. Cory, how are you today, man?

Cory:

I’m well. I’m enthu­si­astic about this conver­sa­tion. I can’t wait to pit these guys against each other in a battle royale of Bitcoin educa­tion and knowl­edge and prognos­ti­ca­tion. These guys both come across on their shows as such easy going, kind, lovable, guiding mentor types. And we’re just going to expose them for what they really are today.

Marty Bent:

Just vicious.

Stephan Livera:

And today it’s all falling apart.

Brady Swenson:

I was going to start with kind of a softball to tee you guys up to compli­ment each other, but maybe, Cory is on the right track here and we should just go the opposite route. Right. So I was going to ask you guys to talk about, compli­ment each other’s shows, like how would you shill, Stephan, how would you show Marty show to a poten­tial bit coiner, a new coiner?

Stephan Livera:

I mean, obviously I love Marty show. I listen to every episode. I think the way I would shill it is really, I would say, look, this is the show that… This is one of the shows that you got to listen to in Bitcoin. It helps keep you updated. And the way it’s done, is done in a way that tries to take more technical things that were kind of spoken about in a way that’s more acces­sible to the typical guy and gal out there. It’s probably more of a guys show, but still like absolutely an essen­tial listen for people who want to stay up to date on what’s going on in the Bitcoin world.

Marty Bent:

Oh. Thank you, Stephan. And I mean, the message will be very similar, but I would add that nobody comes to a podcast episode more prepared. Stephan Rivera does a lot of deep research on the subject at hand with any given guest and really dives into the nitty gritty of the concept, whether it be an economic concept or a technical Bitcoin concept. You always come away knowing more about Austrian economics or Bitcoin by listening to Stephan Livera podcast.

Stephan Livera:

Thank you, Marty. Very kind. Too kind.

Marty Bent:

I mean, it’s true.

Brady Swenson:

So what’s one thing that you guys can remember, let’s go way back. I mean, these podcasts have been going for well over two years now. What is something that you’ve learned from each other either about how to podcast or just about Bitcoin itself? Stephan, you want to take this one first?

Stephan Livera:

Hmm, good one. So I think part of it stylistic as well, right? Like when you’re listening to other inter­viewers, you’re kind of like, “Oh, how’s he inter­viewing here, how is he doing that?” And you sort of pick up little ideas on that and you look at ways to ideally take away if you have verbal ticks and common things that you do, you sort of start to remove some of those for the benefit of your listener. Right? So the idea is try to make the best possible experi­ence for the listener in terms of deliv­ering inter­esting or educa­tional material. So I think that’s probably something. I think also just because we’ve all kind of gone on this journey together of learning a lot about Bitcoin it sort of feels a bit like a shared experi­ence, right?

Stephan Livera:

Like someone that Marty’s inter­viewed and someone that I’ve inter­viewed and it sort of becomes a part of a shared conver­sa­tion that many people recall. They’ll sort of think about okay, what about that time that this guest was on that show, remember how he was making this point and sometimes that just kind of all flows into a way of how we sort of share and commu­ni­cate different messages and like technical material about Bitcoin, whether that’s all I know there’s some vulner­a­bility, disclo­sure or there’s been some new software. It’s just kind of sort of taking that in and I guess thinking of the best way to deliver that for the listener.

Marty Bent:

Yeah. And to add to that, you definitely don’t… I try not to have as much overlap with the conver­sa­tion, so I definitely listen to Stephan’s podcast to see what he’s talked about with the certain guests if they’re going to be on my show in a relatively same or short amount of time after they’ve been on SLP. So just again, like Stephan alluded to, they’re trying to expand on that conver­sa­tion rather than rehash it and get more unique views and really flesh out the idea and take the baton from an episode of, again, if a guest has been on recently, then Stephan and I talk a lot, like it’s on the sidelines about the business aspect of podcasting and how we’re sort of launching our shows and positioning ourselves to adver­tisers if we’re looking for some and Stephan’s been a great resource, both from a Bitcoin sense and then a business sense as well.

Brady Swenson:

Nice. So what do you guys have plans in the future? I know Stephan, you’ve launched your Ministry of Nodes initia­tive, and I know that Marty, you and your buddy, Matt, your partner, Matt, are working on putting up some more educa­tional material. Do you guys see yourselves branching out from the podcast platform to provide additional educa­tional resources for Bitcoiners as they come into the space? Stephan, you want to start?

Stephan Livera:

Yeah, sure. So, so for me with Ministry of Nodes, the idea is to provide guides and things. So if you’re listening to SLP as sort of like the, under­stand a little bit more about the techni­cals of how something works or the economics of how something works. But then if you need a bit more of a in-depth or like step by step guide to guide you through how to do it for yourself, that’s kind of where the Ministry of Nodes comes in. And so that’s where we’ve got guides and videos and we offer consulting for people as well. We do like video calls or if they’re in Sydney, we’ll meet them in person and teach them some Bitcoin, how to do Bitcoin stuff basically. But yeah, so we’re looking at different ways to try and put out material and even paid products and things like that on that front.

Stephan Livera:

But I think, yeah, for me, the podcast takes most of my time because I do a lot of research and you’re booking guests and doing audio editing and transcrip­tion review and things like that. So I think, yeah. So for me, it’s kind of like the podcasts probably most of my time and then Ministry of Nodes, it’s kind of like a 50/50 thing between me and Katon. So yeah, we just kind of do what we can to try and ease people in to their Bitcoin in the self sover­eign way journey.

Marty Bent:

Totally.

Brady Swenson:

What’s on the plate for you, Marty?

Marty Bent:

It’s very similar. I mean, I just want to keep doing what we’ve been doing. I’ve only ever added content or new mediums for pushing content if it’s been demanded by the freaks so it’s been very natural. The podcast started because people are reading the newsletter, like, hey, I’d love to hear a podcast. So that started, and then, Hey, I love your inter­views. I’d love to see if you could do like a weekly news show. And that’s where Matt came in. We had RHR and Matt’s making incred­ible guides and we plan to keep doing that. The thing with the guides though, it’s funny with all this moving software and hardware, it’s hard to hone in on a guy that stays timeless for more than like six months. So Matt and I have a lot of conver­sa­tions about that and like how to prior­i­tize that. Yeah. Beyond that, I mean, yeah, just keep doing what we’re doing. I think people are liking it. Obviously outside of the podcast other work that I do, like Great American Mining and Dig. So that takes up a lot of time as well. So it’s just being able to have all that stuff outside of the podcast and the newsletter that, being a new dad. So I think we’re on a pretty good cruise control now, and we’ll just adapt and evolve as sort of the freaks tell us what they think we should do.

Brady Swenson:

Growing the Bitcoiner ranks one new coin at a time and the old fashioned way, man. I appre­ciate that. So yeah, let’s talk a little bit about mining those. Take a little tiny tangent here because I was going to get into it later anyway and Marty just mentioned that you’re working for Great American Mining. Can you tell us what this company does and what their goals are for like the next decade as the mining industry really solid­i­fies itself as a global force, global player?

Marty Bent:

Yeah, so obviously we’re a miner here in North America, predom­i­nantly in the United States and probably predom­i­nantly in the United States for the foresee­able future and will expand in the US and basically we have this thesis that the oil and gas industry will become big player in the Bitcoin mining world. And that’s because they have a huge waste gas problem that they need to solve. They’re incen­tivized to solve. So we have a hyper focus on the oil and gas industry and helping them become more efficient with their waste gas. So actually position ourselves for them as a flare mitiga­tion service, and we do that via Bitcoin mining. So right now we are expanding two more spots, where there are ways to gas and we’re launching new containers. And so our thesis over the next five years is that five to 10 years oil and gas compa­nies will become some of the biggest miners in the world, or a lot of hash rate will be produced at some point in the value chain of the oil and gas industry. And we’re trying to position ourselves as the go-to sort of contract or service company that helps them build out infra­struc­ture that allow them the Bitcoin mine, and allow us to mine Bitcoin as well via the engage­ments that we get in with these oil and gas producers.

Brady Swenson:

So beyond, I mean, obviously this is sort of a picks and shovels kind of play ahead of the gold rush, but are there plans then to, I guess, assist partic­ular kinds of miners? I know you said it was oil and gas type miners, but are you guys working on the supplying, let’s say something like what Steve Barbara is doing up in Canada? Rigs like that to help kind of collect excess gas, et cetera, and be able to, provided that Bitcoin, I guess, hashes at a much cheaper rate.

Marty Bent:

Yeah. Well, I mean, what Steve’s doing is sort of exactly what we’re doing on different scales. I mean, he’s a competitor, but a friendly competitor that we talk a lot with and there’s, again, the space is so wide open. There’s so much waste energy out there to be consumed that there’s enough room for plenty of people, at least at this given point in time. So we really special­ized in his design of the containers, depending on the source of the gas. So you can have gas at the point of extrac­tion on the well pad and so that demands a very partic­ular container design. You can have it midstream at a refinery, or they have some residue derrick gas that demands sort of different designs. And so we have a team of engineers, specif­i­cally a chemical engineer, who does an incred­ible job of designing containers and immer­sion systems that really allow the miners to perform at the highest level, depending on the climate or where they are along the oil and gas supply chain.

Marty Bent:

So if we’re at somewhere the mid stream and like a refinery, it’s a lot more sturdy, it’s a lot steady. You don’t have to move the containers that much, so you can design a little differ­ently. And then if you’re on a well pad it’s different and every well pads a little different in and of itself. And you have to take into consid­er­a­tion the weather and the climate condi­tion. So in North Dakota, we’re able to do air cooling, but down in West Texas, we have to design immer­sion systems. So basically going to these different points of the oil and gas value chain, sort of dissecting their specific problems with their waste gas and designing a solution for them specif­i­cally.

Brady Swenson:

How do you think that mining and hash rate in its current state is playing into Bitcoin price and the cycles? Are you, now that you’ve had kind of dipped your toe into this world, are you more of the mind that’s the hash cycle, the halving cycles do affect price in a funda­mental way?

Marty Bent:

Um, I think they definitely do psycho­log­i­cally. People reacting to slag and inca and then, yeah, they’re going to pull the halving’s obviously pull, make it a lot less Bitcoin for mines to sell once it’s being mined. And so what we’ve sort of noticed and what many in the mining industry have noticed is that miners are getting a lot smarter. They’re opera­tionally and then with their energy choices. So we use waste gas because it’s dirt cheap. And so I think this halving partic­u­larly showed that a lot of the mining industry, a lot of hash rate had sort of found low cost energy, and they’ve sort of honed in on that solution to being a profitable miner, which is fine, low cost energy and time the hardware market. So I just think overall the mining industry is becoming a lot smarter as, not even halving, just as time goes on as the hardware cycles through.

Marty Bent:

So yeah, that’s in regards to the price. I mean, because miners are finding lower energy costs are able to hold more and more experi­enced miners who have been through the cycle and sort of under­stand the hedging side of it, are able to do more in terms of selling less Bitcoin as well. So again, a smarter mining industry could pull more supply off the market, but again, that’s the beauty of mining as well. You don’t know every single miner and it’s hard to know the exact situa­tion every­body’s in so you can never really be certain.

Cory:

Yeah.

Brady Swenson:

It’s a beautiful game. Stephan, with your ear on the ground down there in Australia, what are you hearing in terms of mining industry change ups and plays in Australia?

Stephan Livera:

So there are actually a couple businesses I know of that are looking at, as to Marty’s comment earlier, there are a couple more businesses that are looking at it and it’s slowly profes­sion­al­izing a little bit more. And there are some businesses that are consid­ering more like around the capital aspect of setting up a mining opera­tion and trying to use that aspect as well. But I would say I’m not as like super close connected with that element of it. So I wouldn’t be able to speak with much detail or much authority on that. But I think it’s just gener­ally part of the overall story that more and more people are looking at ways to try and get into mining, whether that’s like profes­sion­ally or even people trying to do in their own kind of DIY individual way as well. I think one factor that’s perhaps a bit limiting here from an Australian point of view is just that the cost of electricity has risen a lot.

Stephan Livera:

So I think that makes it less profitable. Like just gener­ally speaking, it’s harder to make it profitable here in Australia, unless you have preex­isting deals and you can get a good rate basically. So in Australia, I think it’s just diffi­cult because of electricity prices are high and it’s hot as well. So that’s not the idea of place. It’s not like Iceland or one of those places where it’s already kind of cold and cheap electricity and things like that. I mean, I’m sure people will try it anyway.

Brady Swenson:

Yeah, no doubt. And I have been hearing quite a few people come up to me and ask about getting started in mining. We’ve seen some in our Telegram chatroom for instance, which you can join right now where we’re chatting away and you can ask questions of Marty and Stephan, if you’d like. It’s at t.me/swansignal. And we were in there a couple of weeks, or maybe just last week and somebody was asking about mining and typically it’s relatively new person will come in and find that the idea of mining for Bitcoins really exciting and inter­esting and how do I get started? And it’s one of those cases where we often say in Bitcoin, “Hey, it’s not too late” right? “You’re not too late. It’s still early. Just get some Bitcoin start learning. It’s not too late.”

Brady Swenson:

But with mining, however, it’s kind of a different story. Like it’s kind of a bit too late if you’re not a serious business with lots of capital in the background and the ability to hire exper­tise to get into the game. But at the same time, it is still inter­esting to learn how this whole process works and to under­stand it. And there are these products called USB mining sticks, USB Bitcoin mining sticks, which you can plug into a laptop and provide an absolutely minus­cule number of hashes into the network. But you can see how it works, which is really inter­esting. So have you guys ever tried any of the, either of those things up or tried your hand at mining person­ally?

Stephan Livera:

I haven’t tried. I think it’s mostly the Australia energy costs kind of kept me out of that game. But what about you, Marty?

Marty Bent:

I was going to say, I mean, I bought a 21 computer, which is just like a bigger version of the USB drive you just described. Yeah. I mean, yeah. I’m able to get insight into, the close of Bitcoin, we get due to the hash rate we’re contributing to the network, so. It’s pretty cool to watch. We use Slush Pool. That’s about just looking at the slush dashboard, you can see the name right in the block and the amount of Bitcoin you get relative to the hash rate you’re contributing to the pool. So it is cool to see it work in person.

Brady Swenson:

I agree completely. Yeah. It’s cool to see that part of it work and just gives you, I don’t know, a more holistic sense. It’s like getting into an engine and just figuring out how to change the oil. It’s a pretty simple process, but watching it happen makes a differ­ence in how you visualize how the whole system works. Okay. So let’s dive into Austrian economics. We’ve got a leading Austrian economic thinker in our group here today and Stephan and as Bitcoiners, all of us have become amateur Austrian econo­mists and try to absorb those teach­ings as much as possible as we see Bitcoin as this real world example of sound money described by Austrians really teach people, teach us not, not just us, but other people, what money actually is. So what aspect of Austrian economics, what lesson that Austrian economics teaches us is often misstated or not well under­stood among Bitcoiners? What would you say Stephan?

Stephan Livera:

Oh, good one. I would say the Gresham’s law one. So Gresham’s law is often incor­rectly stated as bad money drives out good. That is actually a specific case of the general rule when the price of one thing is set by the govern­ment in terms of another. So walking that through, in an example, it might be, let’s say the govern­ment has set the price of, let’s say the gold and silver ratio wrong. What would that do? It causes people to-

Stephan Livera:

What would that do? It causes people to hold the under valued currency and they want to prefer­en­tially spend the artifi­cially overvalued currency. And that is actually… Now, Murray Rothbard touches on this point I think it’s in Man, Economy, and State, but so basically that’s a commonly misun­der­stood thing. So people sort of throw around these terms on Gresham’s law and then I think really the better way to think of it is more just under­stand that there’s a price control in place there. And it’s a govern­ment control on the money and that’s why histor­i­cally it’s shown that effect, but in practice it will be often the other one. And I think Pierre has spoken about this often, Thea’s law, which is more like the other way around. It’s you want to… In under kind of normal condi­tions, when there’s not a price control in place, that’s probably one… I guess that’s kind of just a common one that just kind of, I guess you see that a little bit.

Stephan Livera:

Another one is often around velocity theory. So, I try and hit that a little bit as well because people think, “Oh, this idea of MV = PQ, this idea that the stock of money, the velocity of money, the price and the time, or the quantity,” kind of the turnover rate, but it’s a bunk concept, but you see people in the crypto world who are all about “Oh, we’ve got to slow down the velocity of our shitcoin,” but it’s just a bunk concept. They’ve not even… You’ve got to stop and think back what’s happening at the individual level, what’s happening at the person to person level when we’re thinking about, okay, do I want to give you… Say I want to buy this stake from you for whatever, 300,000 sats, what is my valua­tion of that stake that I’m buying from you first? That’s what’s more impor­tant, not the turnover aspect because all money, all cash balances, are held by somebody somewhere at some time, so.

Brady Swenson:

Nice. That’s fantastic. Marty, what about you? What is one aspect of Austrian economics that took you a while to really grasp and now it makes a lot of good sense is impor­tant to your under­standing of Bitcoin?

Marty Bent:

Well, I was indoc­tri­nated with Keyne­sian economic theory in college as I studied economics and I didn’t come to find… Or really dive in Austrian theory until after college. I think the overcoming the… What’s it called? The paradox of thrift? Yeah.

Stephan Livera:

Yeah.

Marty Bent:

Yeah, the paradox of thrift, getting over that point. And I think for me, the eye opening moment, when you really hone in on Austrian economics is that it gets down to the individual, like Stephan mentioned earlier and that was a really powerful moment. For me is when we saw Austrian economics just sort of described a complex system where individ­u­al’s acting in their own interest will turn out to make pretty good decisions in the longterm and in aggre­gate. And so the paradox of thrift for me was a big one to get over, I was just stuck in that mindset of we’re getting a reces­sion and people aren’t spending. We have this defla­tionary spiral and things get crazy and the idea of time prefer­ence, which Steph really drives home and under­standing that people have different time prefer­ences and start their capital accumu­la­tion or deploy­ment at different points of time. It really sort of makes those Keyne­sian ideas seem very stupid at the end of the day.

Marty Bent:

So again, time prefer­ence, individ­uals acting on behalf of themselves and really comparing that to the granu­larity with which Keyne­sianism tries to describe the world and just use people and economic inputs as data points to put in the model instead of really just coming to terms with the fact that individ­uals act in their own interest. And they tend to get creative and bring new ideas to market, but those models can’t really even factor in.

Stephan Livera:

Inter­est­ingly, I also wonder sometimes… Now again, I’m a fan of Austrian economics, but I think in some ways it’s sort of… Satoshi didn’t neces­sarily under­stand all of that. He just kind of felt… It’s almost we in some ways are kind of projecting our own thought onto what would make a bit of money onto Bitcoin in some ways. But I think it’s also that it happened to be a better way to make money. And that’s just why it’s worked so well so far because it’s grown for… What is it now? 11 and a half years or whatever it is. So, I think that’s kind of this inter­esting idea that… Satoshi, wasn’t neces­sarily an Austrian, it’s just the product of what he made makes more sense if you conceive of it as a typical Australian econo­mist would.

Brady Swenson:

You don’t think that Satoshi had the ideas of Austrian money though? Under­stood these concepts? It seems so inten­tional.

Stephan Livera:

I don’t actually know because I wonder whether… Maybe Satoshi… Because I think this is one of those things where people have a tendency to idolize or sort of say, “Oh, Satoshi was amazing. He was a sooth­sayer, he knew…” We don’t know that. What if all Satoshi wanted was to make liter­ally the kind of bearer asset aspect of Bitcoin and it just so happened that he hit on the right formula that made it work from that overall fixed supply perspec­tive that we think makes so much more sense. So, maybe there are some things that he sort of got right by accident, or maybe not by accident. Well, yeah, maybe by accident, but also just by trying to make it similar to gold-

Brady Swenson:

Yeah.

Stephan Livera:

… He just kind of hit on the right formula, the winning formula, if you will.

Brady Swenson:

Yeah. It’s fasci­nating to think about. And I’d never really consid­ered that the inten­tion of the limited supply cap or the hard supply cap was not because that Satoshi was somehow an Austrian to some extent. I always figured that was the case because the sort of Keyne­sian ideology that we’re all brought up with is that you need to target 2% infla­tion. So, it seems the default would have been for him to be like, “All right, we’re going to set a 2% infla­tion for every year from now to eternity.” But that’s not what happened, so just-

Stephan Livera:

Who knows?

Brady Swenson:

… Yeah.

Stephan Livera:

Because some of those early cypher­punk guys, someone like Tim May, I think he arguably was influ­enced by the Austrians and he was an out and out and anarcho-capitalist. Or if you look at say, Hal Finney’s some of his early posts, he points to George Selgin and Larry Wyatt who sort of came from an Austrian School. Although, now they’re sort of a little bit more of a tangent-

Brady Swenson:

Yeah.

Stephan Livera:

… Of the Austrian School. But there were some of these ideas where they’re influ­encing, but we don’t neces­sarily know that Satoshi was into Austrian economics like we are now-

Brady Swenson:

Yeah, of course.

Stephan Livera:

… Right?

Brady Swenson:

Yeah. Yeah. But we do have evidence those ideas were kind of floating around the scene though, whether or not Satoshi would call him or herself or themselves an Austrian econo­mist. So Marty, let’s check out this one with you. What do you think you would tell, or you would suggest to someone who’s kind of coming in, a new Bitcoiner who hasn’t really dived into the Austrian economics rabbit hole too much? What would you recom­mend to them? Two pieces of contents that you would recom­mend to them to get started learning Austrian econ.

Marty Bent:

It’s probably just recency bias because I’ve been reading it this summer, but Human Action, it’s a mammoth of a book to get through, but it’s been very worth­while. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long. Pierre Rochard basically walked me through it on the first episode of TFTC with a guest. It’s taken me almost three years later that sort of worked through it. I mean, it gets through all the basics. I mean, it’s very detailed. So that, and with the Bitcoin perspec­tive, so we’re just talking Austrian economics there.

Brady Swenson:

Yeah. Just somebody who’s into Bitcoin that hasn’t gone into Austrian econ yet.

Marty Bent:

I’ll say Human Action and then The Road to Serfdom by Hayek. I really like… Yeah, I feel it’s describing… I mean, partic­u­larly today when the world is attempting or not the world, but a lot of people in the world are attempting to move a lot of western society more socialist tenden­cies. I think The Road to Serfdom is a great book that really breaks down. And that is a great thought exper­i­ment in why that probably isn’t the best way to do things in Austria until it probably makes more sense.

Brady Swenson:

Nice. What about you Stephan? I’m sure you’ve had to answer this question, I suppose.

Stephan Livera:

Oh, many times, many times. So, I think we within the Bitcoin world chatting about a lot of Austrian economics, specif­i­cally monetary economics, I think if we’re inter­ested to just under­stand economics gener­ally then my one and two recom­men­da­tions in terms of books would be one, Economics in One Lesson. I think that should be the first one that you read if you want to learn about how is an Austrian thinking about… Or how does an econo­mist think? I think that’s a good one. Number two, I would actually recom­mend Choice by Bob Murphy, so that is… Because, I find it’s hard to give Human Action to a newbie. I find Choice is actually almost a re-envisioned version and… No, it’s Bob Murphy’s inter­pre­ta­tion of mazes in some ways, but he’s put it in modern terms in a way that’s easy for a new person to get into.

Stephan Livera:

And so then I typically recom­mend those two as the first two resources. I’m kind of assuming they would have already read the Bitcoin standard, let’s say. And then I would sort of then sort of recom­mend a bunch of other things that kind of work their way up into getting to Man, Economy, and State and Human Action as kind of the pinnacle texts, if you will, within the magnum opus level text within Austrian economics. But look, every­one’s got their own pathway, some people like articles, some people like podcasts, some people like YouTube. I mean, you just have to sort of meet the other person where they’re at and give them a recom­men­da­tion appro­priate to where they are.

Marty Bent:

Yeah.

Brady Swenson:

Yeah.

Marty Bent:

For me starting my path learning about Austrian economics, started with podcasts and then into the books. But yeah, if you’ve got a dive in the Human Action, you’ve got to adapt to the vernac­ular of 1940s, which is for a dumbed down society today, it’s a transi­tion for some people.

Brady Swenson:

Yeah. Well, if you’re listening to this, you’re probably a podcast fan and there are two podcast episodes on Stephan’s feed that are intro to Keyne­sian economics that are fantastic. And I would recom­mend those as my personal recom­men­da­tions. Cory, what would you recom­mend?

Cory:

Yeah. Honestly, I will just give the recom­men­da­tion that it can be really daunting to take on one of the big Mises texts from a standing start and thank goodness, some really smart people. I think it was Mises Insti­tute people, put together the Mises reader, I think-

Brady Swenson:

Yeah.

Cory:

… Let me bring it up. Yeah. So, that’s what I’ve been making my way through more recently. And there’s also a Mises Audio Books podcast that has a bunch on there. So, we’re all kind of getting a lot of our Bitcoin infor­ma­tion through our ears and I find it increas­ingly diffi­cult, especially with kids, being busy to sit down and read for unbroken hours of time and not withstanding what Naval Ravikant said on Twitter last week that listening to books is for stupid people, or whatever it was. It was very insen­si­tive in this day and age to… Some people do learn better by listening. So I’m really enjoying catching up on a lot of Austrians that I was not spoonfed with my Keyne­sian educa­tion in my ears, the same way I like to listen to all three of your podcasts.

Cory:

And then the one I am actually that I would… I just think it’s a pretty easy read and it’s a relatively recent one, so it doesn’t have the heavy language, but the Ethics of Money Produc­tion has just been a great book. And I’m already halfway through my second read of that one. So, I do recom­mend that one a lot.

Marty Bent:

Yeah, Hülsmann’s point about misal­lo­ca­tion of capital in that book really, really helped me I under­stand on Austria’s banking system.

Stephan Livera:

Yeah. Hülsmann has also got some great talks as well. If you look up Hülsmann on YouTube, you can see he’s got one called, Cultural Conse­quences of Fiat Money. And I think even for safe… I think Hülsmann’s work influ­ence safety as well in the Bitcoin standard because Hülsmann was the one who pulled up and spoke about, this is how fiat money has certain cultural conse­quences and impact. And that is I think what flowed into the Bitcoin standard as well. So phenom­enal work. I’m a huge fan.

Brady Swenson:

Same, likewise and Ethics of Money Produc­tion is a top recog­ni­tion on my list as well. Fantastic book and a very acces­sible read, unlike some of these other older texts, Hülsmann is contem­po­rary and very acces­sible texts and very powerful as well. All right. So I want to kind of switch topics over to Bitcoin marketing and marketing narra­tives. And we’ve been having this conver­sa­tion on Twitter and in Telegram about how Bitcoin has, or does not have a marketing team or needs, or does not need marketing. Where do you guys fall on either side of those questions? Are you in the quadrant that Bitcoin does have some kind of organic marketing and needs it or the opposite side where there is no such thing as Bitcoin marketing and it doesn’t need it, even if there were? Marty, you want to take this one first one?

Marty Bent:

Yeah. I mean, obviously there’s no marketing team. I don’t agree with people who think Bitcoin needs more marketing. I think the product speaks for itself. And I think every­body here is evidence that individ­uals are so drawn to Bitcoin that if somebody else isn’t, they’ll just pick up and start trying to educate people about Bitcoin. I don’t think we’ll be the last content creators to focus on this subject. And again, going back to the first point, Bitcoin works and I don’t think you can repli­cate what Bitcoin has done and it’s going to continue working as long as people download full modes, transact on the network, invest in mining infra­struc­ture. So being in the mining side of things and noticing how Bitcoin mining specif­i­cally has secondary and tertiary benefits for indus­tries, sort of tangen­tial Bitcoin or not even involved with Bitcoin, I just think it’s going to be… I think it’s success is almost inevitable and again, as long as it’s suffi­ciently distrib­uted and enabling peer-to-peer trans­ac­tions roughly every 10 minutes, I don’t really think it needs a marketing team, it markets itself and the people who need it are able to find it.

Stephan Livera:

Yeah. So, my take is I think the overar­ching driving factor here is number go up. The scarcity of Bitcoin, that is just the… You zoom out, that’s really what’s driving all of this stuff. However, I think on the margin, a skilled commu­ni­cator, a skilled educator can help that because you can help more people get to the real… Instead of them wasting their time with whatever Keyne­sian or Monetary Modern (MMT) Theory and whatever other theories are out there, if you can kind of zero them in on, “Hey, this is why it’s impor­tant. This is why you can use it.” I think that kind of person can make a differ­ence. And I think that is probably the… Because a lot of people got really triggered by the whole marketing thing in my recent episode with Dan Held and I think some of it is… How would I say it?

Stephan Livera:

Some of it is people don’t want to admit that sometimes messages are spread in a delib­erate way and it takes someone to spread that. And also I think we should distin­guish between what people are thinking or when you think of marketing, they’re thinking like, “Oh, corpo­rate marketing, that’s slimy, that’s… Oh, I don’t want that. I want kind of the pure and sover­eign message.” And obviously I think all of us here, we’re all trying to teach the sover­eign message of Bitcoin, but it just comes down to what is marketing. And I think it doesn’t neces­sarily have to be seen as it’s corpo­rate marketing, it can just be more like, “Hey, I’m teaching my family, I’m teaching my friends about Bitcoin.” And that is in some sense, a decen­tral­ized marketing team.

Stephan Livera:

But I think some of the pushback comes around certain tactics and certain techniques used for that marketing. And that was obviously some of the discus­sion that was going on, on Twitter or in Telegram chat groups and so on about whatever other technique, whether that’s follow, unfollow or other things like that. But I think for me, it’s really more about, are there ways that I can be more effec­tive as a commu­ni­cator and that I can help teach people more efficiently or reach more people and deliver them this kind of self sover­eign Bitcoin message. And for that, I think there are things that we can do to contin­u­ally improve. It’s a journey and we’re all contin­u­ally learning and looking at ways to be more effec­tive.

Brady Swenson:

Cory, what have you learned about… Thanks Stephan though for that. What have you learned Cory from running and trying to market Bitcoin within a company? Does the idea of inten­tion­ally marketing Bitcoin really hold a candle to number go up in terms of the value there?

Cory:

Well, I mean, regard­less of whether anybody thinks that Bitcoin needs marketing or not, well, probably over 5 million people today somewhere around the world will do something to market Bitcoin. They’ll say something, they’ll do something, they’ll post something. They’ll take some kind of action to try to influ­ence the thoughts and actions of somebody else, which is marketing. So, it’s just going to happen. There’s a social layer to Bitcoin on top of a protocol layer and the social layers where the incen­tives are too. Obviously, try to stack as many sats for yourself and hopefully watch other people discover that and number go up. But we all have the incen­tive to try to get other people to believe that the sats are valuable and to recog­nize and learn and luckily the product has the goods.

Cory:

So, you don’t have to be feeling skeezy about it when you spread Bitcoin knowl­edge and you spread your own love and try to help infect other people with the Bitcoin virus, you’re actually doing something good for them. So, I think it was always going to be extremely well marketed. And there were some of the best marketing that existed for Bitcoin was… Even in the first couple of years or even prelaunch, as people started to think about it and how talking about a future of $10 million Bitcoin and even Satoshi talking about different aspects of it that might be inter­esting, Glenn writing an article in 2011, that is still a touch­down piece today.

Cory:

Those are all… Educa­tion is marketing in Bitcoin. That’s why Brady’s title is just head of educa­tion because you spend all your time just trying to figure out how to help people under­stand Bitcoin. And I always say one’s propen­sity to store value in the Bitcoin protocol is directly corre­lated to their under­standing of Bitcoin. So the whole point is getting people to under­stand it more so that they’ll feel more comfort­able with the risk or trade off and want to store more value in it over time and want to work harder to get to be able to do that. So, I do think that it’s probably Mr. Huddle, I think on Twitter that I think had the key tweet or the key reply a week ago, which was false adver­tising is really what people don’t like.

Cory:

And I think that’s what a lot of us really don’t like about the McDLT funds trying to shovel their shrimp burgers. And it’s what we don’t like about the cryptos and the trons and all this crap and I think we want to… False adver­tising really offends Bitcoiners very, very much. And I think that’s what people are trying to look out for is… And that goes for Bitcoin too, people have very specific ideas of how Bitcoin should be marketed and there’s diver­sity there, but we don’t want the James, all teachers out there trying to get grandma and sonny boy to put more than their net worth on credit cards, buying Bitcoin, be respon­sible about it. We don’t want people to get wrecked and it’s really easy to get wrecked on Bitcoin. You can get over lever­aged and you can buy too much more than you can handle. And you can do it wrong by buying on leverage and you can buy it in the wrong place and get the wrong signals. There’s so many bad ways to get into Bitcoin and there’s so many bad ways to buy Bitcoin. So, the-

Cory:

… and there’s so many bad ways to buy Bitcoin. So the educa­tion and the marketing of the compa­nies and the people in the space is absolutely crucial. Even if you know that Bitcoin’s going to be fine and Bitcoin is going to do what it’s going to do, and it doesn’t really matter because in the long run it’s fine. But what about the short run? Like Andreas always said, “If you can stop one episode of hyper­in­fla­tion anywhere in the world, then every single thing that you can possibly do for Bitcoin today to make that Bitcoiniza­tion happen as soon as possible is essen­tially a moral imper­a­tive.” And that’s kind of where I am. I’m not patient about this, I don’t want it to take a long time, I want to bring it around soon. I want everyone to under­stand how treaso­nous and lecherous the FUD in the current system is, and I want it to end as soon as possible.

Brady Swenson:

Here, here. And letting that one soak in for just a minute and appre­ciate those words. Well, I think we can all agree this is a seman­tics thing largely, and in any case I think we can all agree that there are narra­tives, whether or not they arise organ­i­cally, that dominate the discus­sion about Bitcoin. So let’s talk for a minute about those narra­tives. Marty, we’ll start with you. What narra­tive do you think is the prevailing narra­tive right now for Bitcoin? And how will those narra­tives evolve as we march up the S curve of adoption for the protocol?

Marty Bent:

The predom­i­nant mainstream narra­tive, I guess, is digital gold. But I’ve tweeted this out, said this many times on the podcast, the loudest narra­tives come and go, but the soundest narra­tives have been around for quite a while. And one narra­tive that I have been sort of partial to is Hal Finney’s view of Bitcoin banks in the future. And he wrote that initial Bitcoin Talk post, I believe it was December 30th or 31st, 2010, I want to say. So that’s like in the very begin­ning of the very early stages of Bitcoin. And I mean, yeah, Bitcoin again, it’s a peer to peer distrib­uted messaging system that has a bear instru­ment token attached to it. And you can use that token for many things, you can HODL it, you can spend it, you can save it, you can use it for collat­eral. People focus too much on the narra­tives, and don’t focus enough on the actual things Bitcoin enables. It enables all these things at once. If you want to spend it, people do want to spend it, go spend it. If you want to HODL it, HODL it. Narra­tives really don’t matter, just what matters is maintaining what Bitcoin enables, which is all those things. But yeah, I mean, as we go up the S curve, to me person­ally it makes sense to HODL more than you spend — spend very small fraction of your Bitcoin if you have to. And I pay, I use Light­ning many times a week, I have a shop of my website where we accept Bitcoin as payment, so we’re encour­aging people to spend Bitcoin. But again, going back to Austrian economics, it’s an individual choice for each individual, and that choice will be deter­mined by their circum­stances at any given point in time.

Marty Bent:

But yeah, I think right now Bitcoin is digital gold, and it’s a savings account is why I use it mostly, but in the future especially as Light­ning gets more mature as more value comes onto the network, the predom­i­nant use case will change. I don’t want to say narra­tive, but use case, or the way people are using it. So Bitcoin as super collat­eral I could see being the next transi­tionary phase on top of the digital gold use case. I could see that becoming the next most predom­i­nant cases, is Bitcoin as collat­eral.

Brady Swenson:

Nice, I like that. Stephan, what are your thoughts?

Stephan Livera:

Yeah, I agree very much with Marty. I guess the way I’m thinking of it is you can… Obviously Bitcoin is permis­sion­less. If you want to use it, if you want to CoinJoin spend and use it for spending right now, that is your absolute right within Bitcoin land, so long as you’re paying the trans­ac­tion fee, right? But I think it comes to in my mind, what are most people going to use Bitcoin for? And I think digital gold will resonate most strongly in that case. So I think we have to think back to someone like VJ, right? He might sort of look at… Okay, Bitcoin’s this embryo, and even though super­fi­cially the different embryos might look the same, you have to look at what it’s going to grow up to be. And in the case of Bitcoin, we know it’s just not going to be used day to day, on-chain trans­ac­tional commerce. Longer term, that’s just not going to be feasible, so it can only be this way.

Stephan Livera:

And I think the other point to add is also that some of the guys, like the Glassnode guys, when they are doing some statis­tical analysis and saying, “Okay look, 61% of Bitcoins have not moved for a year, 45% of Bitcoins have not moved for two years.” I think to me, it’s quite clear that HODLing, and digital gold, and savings technology, are far more predom­i­nant and make a lot more sense given what Bitcoin is. Nobody’s saying you can’t use it for permis­sion­less spends and so on, it’s just that that’s not what people… Assessed in the totality, what are more people using it for? I would say it’s for digital gold and HODLing. And so I think the impli­ca­tion then is also, in terms of when we are educating or marketing Bitcoin, what do we think is going to resonate best? And so because you don’t want to sell someone the message “fast, cheap, and free forever” because that’s not what it is. And so obviously Light­ning and so on, people can use that, but I think for most people it’s going to be a digital gold thing, at least for a little while.

Brady Swenson:

Agree. And that’s the narra­tive, I think, that is probably the best for Bitcoin right now, as Bitcoin is kind of on a path to compete with gold’s market cap. And I think we’re hearing a lot about that spread, the spread between Bitcoin and gold’s market cap, in the coming years. Cory, what are your thoughts on this?

Cory:

You know what, skip me for this one. I know the next topic coming up, I want to hit that one hard.

Brady Swenson:

All right. Yeah, okay, we’re going to take the flip side of this. The kind of positive narra­tives or way to describe Bitcoin, and talk about the FUD that we’ll be facing in the coming years. So first of all, which FUD do you think… Or it could be something completely new that we haven’t heard of yet that you might have kind of cooking up in the back of your anti-Bitcoin mind, your adver­sarial thinking. What FUD do you think will be most preva­lent in this coming bull cycle, and poten­tially the most damaging in the next decade?

Brady Swenson:

Sorry. Yeah, go ahead Marty.

Marty Bent:

I see one or two. I’m biased towards one, so I’ll save that for the last half. But I think with all of this deplat­forming going on and specif­i­cally via payment proces­sors, the predom­i­nantly conser­v­a­tive-thinking person­al­i­ties if you will, I think it will be natural for them to adopt Bitcoin and accept it as payment. And a lot of the people who canceled and deplat­formed, those people will begin complaining about Bitcoin saying that it’s funding uncouth thinking, or it’s funding wrong think, whatever that may be at any given point in time. That could be a lot of FUD.

Marty Bent:

But I think energy too, especially if hash rate goes up exponen­tially. And that’s something we’re trying to get in front of the great American mining is like, “Hey, look, we’re here helping these energy providers become more efficient.” So yeah, and that’s something I’ve been vehemently trying to educate the readers of the Bent and listeners of CFTC for a couple of years now is, “Hey, Bitcoin actually helps us become more energy efficient despite… oh, we thought about boiling oceans and having the same energy consump­tion as Denmark.” People really just look at that at a surface level and don’t under­stand what’s going on under the hood, and the energy sources that are being utilized, and what would happen with those sources if Bitcoin miners were not consuming them.

Brady Swenson:

Totally. Yep. What are we going to face on the FUD depart­ment, Stephan?

Stephan Livera:

Oh, there’s a lot. I mean there’s a lot, right? The typical ones you’ll hear is like, “Oh, my quantum” and “not enough fees” and “fees too high”, right? These are kind of the high level, surface level BS that I think once you sort of do some more research into it, you realize that those aren’t really the vectors. I think some of the real vectors will be things like maybe some upstream depen­dency of Bitcoin that needs more work in terms of people being able to kind of verify the whole of the entire tool chain, or things like that, that are kind of more at a technical level.

Stephan Livera:

From an economic angle, I could see absolutely the whole energy argument of “Oh, I don’t like that so much energy is being used for our global monetary system.” And that is a subjec­tive percep­tion, right? Because we would say, “No, look, it’s worth it.” We don’t… Yeah, it’s going to cost a lot of energy, but that energy is actually worth it. And that is a subjec­tive percep­tion, so for some people they’ll just never agree. You can tell them all the arguments in the world, it’ll never be good enough for them. So that is one aspect.

Stephan Livera:

I think the other big one that is going to be coming up is a lot of the rhetoric around inequality. So there will be a lot of people who are saying, “Oh, it’s not fair. You got Bitcoin early. It was… You got lucky and now you need to share that Bitcoin with everyone else or other­wise we’re going to brutalize you. We’re going to lock you up, we’re going to put on cap, punitive taxes on you. We’re going to do all this whatever stuff…”, because it’s people start to resent you for storing your wealth outside the system. “Why aren’t you in the same boat with all of us, because we all lost our money on the fiat bubble that…” So that’s poten­tially another angle.

Marty Bent:

Yeah, that’ll definitely… I mean, if the last three months are a precursor of anything it’s to that vitriol that could pop up out of nowhere. And the govern­ments, uncouth govern­ments like Venezuela, accepting Bitcoin for passport payments, if you want to get the… what’s his name? Brad Sherman, if you want to get him all riled up and spewing FUD on Capitol Hill, that’s a good way to do it, I would imagine. So that’ll become more of the narra­tive and then trying to educate people like, “Hey, yeah, Maduro owns Bitcoin, but so do a lot of his citizens who are trying to get away from him, it’s actually helping them out a lot.” So if you want to put that use case out of use for them… that’ll pop up as well.

Cory:

If one of those is going to happen first, I suspect the evil people use Bitcoin one will be the first one. And then once Bitcoin goes way, way higher, probably in the hundreds of thousands, then you’ll start to see the, “Oh, this is unfair.” I suspect that just like every­thing else in the US, every issue basically just gets politi­cized, and one side takes one side of the issue and the other side takes the other. So I actually think that one probably will go okay, because I don’t think it will be 1% Bitcoiners versus 99%. I actually suspect it’ll be 50% are in favor of Bitcoin, and 50% are not.

Stephan Livera:

Yeah.

Cory:

And it may actually be a big accel­erant if… and I suspect we probably know which side will take up the mantle of “Bitcoin’s unfair”. And it’s not… the winning side is not going to be the one that I grew up polit­i­cally aligned with. But when it comes to freedom and being anti-tyranny and not forcing me to say things that I don’t want to say and things like that, that’s going to be the right side of the aisle in the US, I think, that’s going to end up carrying the Bitcoin torch forward a lot faster. Which is pretty inter­esting for a lot of people on the coasts that work on Bitcoin and love it, and run some of these compa­nies and et cetera. But that’s gener­ally where, in economic thought and polit­ical thought, there’s much better align­ment for Bitcoin.

Stephan Livera:

Yeah, I agree. I think the whole angle very much is going to be about… It’ll first be the stuff of, “Oh, it’s used by the terror­ists and the drug lords and the bad people use Bitcoin.” I think that’s going to come first.

Brady Swenson:

Yeah. And this is what I love about Bitcoin, it’s… There are people in terms of polit­ical ideolo­gies… And I was really into politics before Bitcoin, Bitcoin made politics seem much more irrel­e­vant to me because it’s all fighting over issues that are caused by one partic­ular root problem, which I think is the fact that the money is completely messed up, it touches pretty much every aspect of cultural ill. Not every single one, but I think all are at least touched by it at least a little bit. And so the kind of bickering back and forth and the puppets, games that go on in politics every­body seems to be so tired of, Bitcoin offers an alter­na­tive, not just the money but also to the way we organize society and come to consensus. And what’s amazing is there are people in Bitcoin who I never would have been friends or associ­ated with because of their polit­ical ideolo­gies and which side of the aisle we were on, that are very good friends and reason­able people and want the same outcomes that I want. And so anyway, I think Bitcoin’s fasci­nating in that regard.

Brady Swenson:

To kind of bring this back though a little bit, I wanted to touch on a topic that we didn’t get to address as deeply as I wanted to. But we were talking about how… The FUD the govern­ments are going to use against Bitcoin, and one of them obviously is Bitcoin is for crimi­nals. And so I think another step the govern­ments might be able to take at that point is banning cash, right? Just completely ban cash, make all money digital and use that as a reason why, a kind of scare tactic to bring that in. So Cory, did you want to start us on this one?

Cory:

No, I’ll chime in after.

Brady Swenson:

Okay. So let’s go Stephan first, then.

Stephan Livera:

Sure. So look, I think it’s fair to say COVID has accel­er­ated the war on cash, in Australia it’s arguably done it by about five years. This is liter­ally on the news, they were saying that they’re starting to shut down some more bank branches and shut down more ATMs. So right now there’s an equity issue for people who are older, they’re not as used to using digital money obviously, talking Tap & Pay and so on, they’re used to cash. And so because of COVID it’s kind of accel­er­ated that war against that. So I antic­i­pate more people will adopt Bitcoin because of this war on cash aspect.

Stephan Livera:

But obviously govern­ments will try to put in their own lipstick on a pig and they’ll have their CBDC as they call it, the Central Bank Digital Currency. But basically it will still have a bad monetary policy, but ultimately people will see number go up and they’ll be like, “Well, hey, give me some of that. I want some of that orange coin, I don’t want that govern­ment brown coin.” So that’s, I think, the driving factor that I see happen. So it’s we’re going to see this increasing war on the ability for people to transact privately using cash, that demand will naturally flow over into the Bitcoin world and people will be on their Samourai Wallet and so on, using CoinJoin spends, and CoinSwaps from Chris Belcher, and stuff like that. I think that’s stuff that we can antic­i­pate over the next few years.

Marty Bent:

I completely agree. I mean, central bankers and people at entities like the IMF have been sort of foreshad­owing this for years. Ken Rogoff with his book, how to get negative interest, I forgot the name but it basically described how to get negative interest rates in a cashless society in America. COVID’s certainly a good way to accel­erate that, and would… I mean obviously they mean physical cash, but Bitcoin is cash. Would they try to sort of pigeon­hole Bitcoin into that band as well? We shall see, I doubt it.

Marty Bent:

But if somebody loves cash, like I love going to the ATM to get cash and spending cash at a bar or at a restau­rant. I like being able to hold the money. I think it would be terribly sad, but it probably is inevitable. The forces and the powers that be have been sort of foreshad­owing that they want to move us in this direc­tion for some time, and luckily we do have Bitcoin as a sort of… not even a fail safe, but a separate network that we can transi­tion to sort of keep some sort of leverage against the state and its ability to control our money, because that… I mean, ban cash and go purely digital, it’s… I mean, arguably we already have like a Chinese surveil­lance social credit system here, it’s just less overt. But once you go completely cashless, it’s extremely easy to imple­ment something like that in a very overt way.

Cory:

Yeah. I’m just thinking about this, and it’s so scary how closely the path that we’re headed mirrors so many sci-fi novels from the last 50 years. It’s just freaky. And then when you look at the finan­cial censor­ship that we’ve been watching accel­erate over the last 10 years, and now you’re looking at cancel culture, which is essen­tially shutting off the means of dissem­i­nating infor­ma­tion for people that don’t say the right things, and that’s expanding very, very rapidly, it seems to be gaining steam. And when those two things merge and you have cancel culture but for finance, and that starts to happen very quickly, it doesn’t seem very far off. It seems like they’re both accel­er­ating, and it seems like they’ll merge at some point, and then it’ll just be really, really terrible for a lot of people.

Marty Bent:

Yeah, I’m pretty sure Andrew Torba from Gab, him and his wife got cut off from VISA, they can’t even access VISA debit cards.

Cory:

Wow.

Marty Bent:

It’s happening.

Cory:

I was not aware of that. So they actually… the company wouldn’t serve individ­uals, not a company? Individual humans?

Marty Bent:

No, Torba person­ally, and I believe his wife as well.

Cory:

Yeah, I mean, shoot. So scary.

Stephan Livera:

And the funny… yeah, the troubling thing with all the cancel culture stuff as well is it’s not just you, it’s your family and your friends and your… it sort of seemed like, “Oh, you were friends with this other guy who said this other objec­tion­able thing. Now we’re going to cancel you too.” So these are all very concerning things, and I think Bitcoin is a big part of the resis­tance against that. And I think for people who are not neces­sarily liber­tar­ians gener­ally, they’re going to become liber­tarian about money, and that’s what counts.

Cory:

I love that point. And I’ve said this recently on somebody else’s podcast, but it was basically that so many things that we argue about across society, economics, politics that appear to have two reason­able sides or five reason­able opinions that you can hold or whatever, because there’s no way to settle the issue. Bitcoin’s existence and its spread, and the reality that it is begin­ning to impose upon the world, is basically… I tweeted out yesterday that something like Bitcoin upholds the ideas of the American revolu­tion, and then just a couple seconds later, I was like, “Well, actually Bitcoin also secures the ideals of the enlight­en­ment”, and those things are objec­tively true, no matter what Jacques Derrida and decon­struc­tion­ists, and all these people that came to ruin things. My parents and their gener­a­tion, basically. They met on Haight-Ashbury in the seven­ties, what are you going to do? Climbing out of a deep hole here.

Cory:

But you know, I think there’s all this relativism is just going to be set by the wayside. And it’s just going to be like a joke, like this funny little toy, it’s going to look like flat earthers in 15, 20 years. And I welcome that, I welcome having a wider group of people around the world that have a common under­standing of how the world actually works, and what we’re actually here for, and that under­stand where it’s praxi­ology and human rights and the enlight­en­ment, and kind of just get back to classical culture. And I think it’ll just be… I’m really excited to settle some of these really divisive arguments that have never healed, especially in Western society, since the sixties and seven­ties. And have just kind of metas­ta­sized in academia and just corners of different areas where people live in bubbles. And Bitcoin is just going to bust those bubbles real quick when it starts to really take hold.

Marty Bent:

Yeah. I mean, I’ve already alluded to a lot of the problems that people bicker about. Money is at the core, so hopefully Bitcoin is successful and we do get a hard money standard for the digital age. Things will be severely less politi­cized, which I hope to God happens, it’s so nause­ating and annoying to have to put up stupid bicker…

Marty Bent:

It’s annoying to have to put up stupid, bickering back and forth red team versus blue team election cycle after election cycle. It’s monot­o­nous at this point.

Brady Swenson:

I love the idea of Bitcoin kind of coming in and flattening like a clean slate, tabula rasa, like coming in and sort of wiping every­thing clean of all of those metas­ta­sized problems that Cory was talking about. It really kind of puts everyone back on a level playing field. It’s the most fair money, the most fair of a form of money. It can’t be manip­u­lated both supply wise, but also by access and the ways that it can be accessed, right. It’s acces­sible freely to everyone. So, yeah, I think as I come back to over and over again, this idea of the Bitcoin Renais­sance, I see the slate being wiped clean. And up from that clean slate a new society emerging where we’ve put a lot of these sort of left and rights issues behind us and, and have a way to approach them with a new lens, right. Those problems aren’t going to go away, but we’ll have a new way to approach the solutions, I think, that is outside of the spectrum, the black and white spectrum that we’re mired in right now.

Stephan Livera:

Look, I think some of that stuff will never go away. Right? Like even imagine we’re all living in our Bitcoin citadels, there’ll be those people who will kind of more in a relative sense, more left and right. Will have their arguments, but so be it right. I think it’ll just be in an overar­ching, better environ­ment. I think that’s probably the way I would think of that.

Brady Swenson:

Mm-hmm. Yeah. All right. Let’s finish up with this then. We are coming into what Obi-wan Kenobi, my friend from Twitter, has called the decade of discon­tent. And if you’re familiar with the sort of gener­a­tional thinking that’s laid out in the book The Fourth Turning, you’ll know that we’re sort of in this fourth turning now this crisis phase, and this has been shown repeat­edly throughout history, especially in American history that we go through these kinds of 80-year cycles. And that we’re at the end of this current 80-year cycle that began around the end of world war II.

Brady Swenson:

And it prognos­ti­cates a crisis that will sort of clean the slate and lead to the emergence of a new awakening, a new awakened age. And this has to do with; the phenom­enon is sort of driven by the relation­ships between human gener­a­tions. 02:45And, there are always technolo­gies or systems or organi­za­tions that are sort of caught in the middle, in the midst of these partic­ular turnings, and they influ­ence how those turnings come to pass. You either can kind of resolve that turning in a relatively produc­tive way, or you can resolve that in a way that’s not so produc­tive. So in the next 10 or 15 years, are you guys more on the pessimistic side that we’re going to resolve this partic­ular turning in with a crisis that ends badly? Or on the other side with maybe the use of Bitcoin that will see this turning be more produc­tive and on a positive note?

Marty Bent:

I’m optimistic, but I do think people have a crisis. I think we’re in the midst of a crisis. I think you can only know these things for sure in retro­spect, and while you’re going through it, you can’t really recog­nize the gravity of it. I just have a hunch we may be going through that crisis, especially if the economic shutdowns, the mass unemploy­ment here. I mean, it’s hard to deny it. We’re going through a crisis, tens of millions of people, unemployed millions of people, perma­nent unemploy­ment which is not a good trend to see. But I think people or I’m optimistic because I think it’s gotten to such a point, hit such a head that more and more people are going to be like soul searching and be like, “How did it get this bad?”

Marty Bent:

And I had a great conver­sa­tion with Jeff Andrew this morning in person. That episode, he brought up a very good phrase and term, and I think correctly describes why there’s so much vitriol going on, and it probably plays into The Fourth Turning as well. Definitely does the concept of elite overpro­duc­tion and a gener­a­tional thing where you tell, here in America at least, we told my gener­a­tion, I’m a millen­nial. You got to go to college. You’ve got to get a degree. Once you get that degree, you’ll be able to go to the workforce and make a good salary. Make a good life for yourself, and that’s turning out not to be the case.

Marty Bent:

And a lot of the reasoning behind and you get this sort of elite degree, if you will, that would lead you to the elite class, was that you’d be able to separate yourself from the working class. Let’s say I’m better than the working class. Finan­cially I’m better off. Materi­ally I’m better off. And that’s just not coming to fruition, so now what we’re seeing is a bunch of these college grads who have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, be like, “Hey, I was promised this, this elite status. And then I was going to be better than the working class.” And when they’re not able to do that finan­cially, they try to do that cultur­ally by creating a subjec­tive morality where they hold the higher ground in their mind.

Marty Bent:

I think that’s a lot of what we’re seeing going on now. And again, we can only know this in retro­spect, but it feels to me at least in conver­sa­tions with people that the pendulum swings to such a degree where it’s like, “All right, all right. Let’s take a step back. Let’s figure this stuff out.” And I think, yeah, the 2020, especially the early 2020’s, we’ve got a lot of shit to shake out of our system this decade. Probably I think it will be front-loaded just because technology is obviously a double-edged sword, but I do think if we can get good infor­ma­tion out there and help people realize why we’re in this is probably a lot faster. Technology enables us to do that. It could expedite the sort of transi­tion to better times, but Steph and I were actually talking earlier today, it happens a lot slower than, than you expect. So maybe I’m being a little bit too optimistic.

Stephan Livera:

Yeah. Look, I agree with a lot of what you’re saying there, Marty. I think we are going through a crisis. That crisis will only be clear on the other side of the crisis. If there are some bad trends that we could point to and say, “well, look, sometimes you see currency wars, and that may lead to trade wars.” And poten­tially, I hope not, but it may lead to real wars. But I think the flip side and the other one is obviously state surveil­lance, right? The govern­ment is… there’s so much regula­tion and bureau­cracy and surveil­lance going on that you basically feel like you can’t do anything without having a ‘papers please’ moment somewhere right. And I think many of us resent that and don’t want to; we grew up in a time where things were a bit more simple, and they weren’t like that. They weren’t that bad.

Stephan Livera:

And so I think many people will want to go back to that. And so that will also drive the pendulum swing the other way in the direc­tion of liberty. And so I think people will go back and seize back their liberty. And a big part of that, obviously, is the Bitcoin message and the Bitcoin story. So it’s on us in terms of how well we can commu­ni­cate to people. And at this moment when they are starting to stop and recon­sider, “Well, hang on. We’re just seeing the same old stuff happen again over and over every polit­ical election cycle, and it’s getting worse and worse. Maybe it’s time for something different.” And Bitcoin might just be that thing.

Stephan Livera:

I’m person­ally seeing a lot of people who are starting to more seriously recon­sider these ideas where maybe they heard about Bitcoin a couple of years ago. They never really got into it. Now they’re thinking, “Yeah, actually, I do want to learn a bit more about this.” “Yeah. Oh, you’ve got this podcast. Let me listen to a few episodes from that.” Or “How do I get some, okay. I’ll buy some here.” “Oh, hardware wallet. Okay. Yeah, let me get that.” And it starts that journey. So it’s about, it’s on us to try and orange pill people out there and help them see that there is a really deeper root cause to many of the problems that we’re seeing and really why Bitcoin is a way to start trying to fix some of these problems.

Brady Swenson:

Bitcoin Morpheus. I know you’ll have something to follow up with here.

Cory:

That’s just a Twitter handle. I don’t know, man. I very much am optimistic just because I think it’s such a powerful idea and it just over and over again, I just find really intel­li­gent people. Now that I’ve been able to watch it for a little over three years being in the space, I just find over and over very intel­li­gent people in my life get ahold of Bitcoin, whether it’s through me or through somebody else. And they end up going down the rabbit hole too.

Cory:

And then obviously I’ve met so many people in the space that have been in it for two years, five years. I mean, you’ve got people like Connor Brown that are relatively new, and you’ve got people like the Pierres and the Bitsteins that have been around for a long time.

Cory:

And I do have a lot of friends that are super into Bitcoin who are not known Bit coiners as well. And they’ve reached out to me since my profile in the space just getting a little bit more known and you realize, wow, there’s yet another super smart person that I always respected from a previous career or something like that. And of course, yeah, it makes sense they’re into Bitcoin.

Cory:

So I just think it’s this thing that is true and that is inevitable and that people will get sucked into over time. And it’s a little bit of a… it’s a really strong litmus test for your powers of reason. And also like how strongly you hold onto miscon­cep­tions that you may have. Cause there are certainly people that are full-on Keyne­sians or crypto nuts or whatever that scored better on tests than all of us, you know?

Cory:

And they’ve got this one thing just really, really wrong. I mean, there was this guy, some former Goldman PM that has a 1.4 billion dollar hedge fund tweeted out today that “I made my first crypto purchase ever this week, XRP Ripple.”

Cory:

And he wrote it from an iPad on his Twitter, on his iPad. And the guy went to Univer­sity of Chicago and Johns Hopkins for graduate studies and used to write for Forbes and runs a 1.4 billion dollar hedge fund, and I was like the infor­ma­tion asymmetry right now is just off the charts. Like every­thing that’s not nailed down. Any site that is being sold for less than a hundred thousand dollars per Bitcoin grab it while you can. Learn what you can. Evange­lize hard. This is the time to really stake your claim on the Bitcoin blockchain and to help the people you care about do the same because those people will figure it out. I don’t think that guy’s stupid. I think he just shouldn’t have tweeted yet.

Cory:

You know? I highly doubt this dude is stupid. And I think that he’s going to probably end up reading some stuff about Bitcoin based on the comments and the intran­si­gence and the toxicity in the comments and realize that it wasn’t just like an innocuous throw­away line for an ex Goldman hedge fund manager. Like every­body’s pointing him toward Paul Tudor Jones and saying that’s because he’s so much smarter than you.

Cory:

Now he’s going to read Paul Tudor Jones’ thesis on Bitcoin, and he’ll start down the rabbit hole, and somebody will give him your podcasts. And then we’ll have a new bitcoiner. So this is such a great moment in time for people that under­stand it early enough or earlier than the crowd that’s coming.

Cory:

And I am optimistic. I very much think that the existence of Bitcoin lets us live in a definite optimists point of view. In sort of a Pete Miller, Peter Thiel thinks about things and lays it on zero to one.

Cory:

I definitely have, it’s impos­sible to strip away my optimism. I’ve always been optimistic for whatever reason. I think it’s just a deficiency, but there wasn’t something definite to drive toward. It just didn’t seem like there was a solution until Bitcoin because Bitcoin affects and fixes so many different things and settles so many different arguments, and it just opens up such a great bright orange future.

Cory:

If it plays out anywhere close to the ways that we’re thinking about, plus all of the things that we’re not thinking about. I think there are so many positive knock-on effects that we’re just not talking about, not theorizing or maybe that somebody has, but it’s just not widely known. Cause that person just doesn’t happen to blog. You know? So it’s just going to be a really fasci­nating, I wouldn’t want to be alive at any other time or doing anything else other than what we’re doing today. You know.

Marty Bent:

Yeah. Or we can expedite this all by voting Kanye in for presi­dent of the United States

Cory:

Yeah, obviously. The only person I would ever vote for.

Cory:

Well, he dominated a Twitter poll that I put out, by the way. Yeah, I put one out. It got a couple of hundred votes or something, and Kanye was going at 40%. Biden was next. Trump was next. And Brock Pierce was trading trailing Don by 1%. They were at like 17, 16.

Brady Swenson:

This is real world. This is real life.

Cory:

Yes.

Marty Bent:

So you don’t want to get out and Brock the vote?

Cory:

Oh my God.

Brady Swenson:

And here’s the problem, right? This is the state­ment of the problem right here. And we can’t seriously have a conver­sa­tion about how to fix these issues because look at the poten­tial solutions laid out before us and it’s one or the other. It’s 1A, 1B they’re basically the same thing, and we know what’s going to happen next.

Brady Swenson:

So I think Cory is really just right on, spot on here with his inspi­ra­tional words that Bitcoin gives us a third way. Plan B. An escape route. And will prove to be a consensus point for so many people on the planet as a new way to organize our society and govern ourselves through economic justice and sound money.

Brady Swenson:

All right. Well, I wanted to wrap things up there. Stephan, shoot us any final words you have and just wanted to say thank you for your time today.

Stephan Livera:

Yeah. Look, I’ve enjoyed the chat with you guys. I think it’s going to be a really exciting next few years in terms of Bitcoin. It’s going to be a pessimistic next few years in terms of govern­ment overreach. But I think if you sort of get through to that other side, I think it is going to be a brighter future.

Brady Swenson:

Marty, thanks for your time today, man.

Marty Bent:

Thanks for having me. I think just be ready for the Tik Tokers pumping shitcoin, so don’t get too angry at them in the long term. The funda­men­tals of Bitcoin are much better. That’s one thing I’m going to try to do more going forward. Just focus on Bitcoin and not really worry about ” Oh, the shitcoinery out there.” I think time and time again.

Cory:

I was sure you were going to say you were going to focus on Tik Tok more.

Marty Bent:

No, God no.

Stephan Livera:

Practice my dance moves and—

Marty Bent:

Delete that cursed app. Seriously, if you’re a Bitcoiner and you have that app that things logging your copy board, so if you just so happened to copy an address or something like that, they can spy on you that way. They could probably switch it out. They have that knowl­edge as well.

Marty Bent:

Delete that cursed app. It’s making people do weird thing.

Brady Swenson:

There’ve been old ladies eating light bulbs in the hinter­lands of China for years now on apps that pre predated Tik Tok that were kind of the same thing. Like Quashu and some of these other ones. Yeah. So yeah. You’re going to see some crazy stuff.

Marty Bent:

There’s people buying dogecoin. It’s insanity.

Brady Swenson:

Yeah, I’d rather eat light bulbs person­ally.

Marty Bent:

I wonder what I wonder what Jackson Palmer thinks about all the Tik Tokers pumping dogecoin.

Brady Swenson:

That’s pretty funny. Maybe he’ll come back and claim his last doge. I don’t know.

Cory:

Yeah. The last thing I want to say is we’re watching all this crazi­ness, and I don’t know why it didn’t get, well it got plenty of loud but Tuur a week ago, July 1st, just posted something you can get from TradingView, which is the stock market returns in gold terms. And obviously, it looks super down compared to Bitcoin because Bitcoin’s just gone nuts for 10 years now.

Cory:

But even in gold, which, as we know, is, a wildly manip­u­lated asset and kept lower than it ought to have been through govern­ment and bank collu­sion. The S&P right now is at 2008 levels right now and well below 2006, 2007 levels in gold terms.

Cory:

Even the NASDAQ, which has all the big tech stocks that have gone absolutely bananas, is well below 2006 levels in gold terms. So this is just infla­tion, and it’s inflating the assets. And this is exactly what happened in the Weimar Republic. It was just stock specu­la­tion, and it was Hans Day Trader Global instead of Davey Day Trader Global. It was the early 1920’s, and it ain’t real.

Cory:

I mean, you just got to be careful with where you put your money. And I like stock gains with a Z as much as anybody. I love me some penny stock Amazon and some shitcoin Tesla that makes no sense. And I’m glad I still have some of my 401K allocated there, but I’m also really glad the rest of it’s in Bitcoin.

Brady Swenson:

All-in Bitcoin. That’s my motto. It’s the way I go. This is not finan­cial advice. All right, guys, thanks so much. This was a ton of fun, as always. I really respect the work that you guys are doing carrying forward the flag of Bitcoin educa­tion and content. And your works really inspired a next gener­a­tion of Bitcoin content producers, including myself and many other fantastic people out there, really pumping out some great Bitcoin content to help shepherd this next wave of new coiners. Hopefully, find their way a little bit faster and more surefooted than we found ourselves in 2017, 2018 trying to make our way. So you guys who are watching now on YouTube can subscribe to the podcast swansignalpodcast.com. Vice versa, you can subscribe on YouTube at youtube.com/swansignal. That’s it for today. Thanks, everyone.

Stephan Livera:

See you guys.

Marty Bent:

Thank you.

Podcast version here: https://swansignalpodcast.com/episode…

Other Episodes

Episode 14–Tuur Demester and Robert Breedlove

Episode 15–Isaiah Jackson and Max Keiser

Episode 16–Gigi and Udi Wertheimer

Episode 17–Jimmy Song and Aleks Svetski

Links

Swan Bitcoin - the best place to buy and invest in Bitcoin:

Stephan Livera on Twitter

Marty Bent on Twitter

The Stephan Livera podcast

The Tales from the Crypt podcast

Ministry of Nodes

Great American Mining

Human Action by Ludwig von Mises

The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich A. Hayek

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt:

Choice: Cooper­a­tion, Enter­prise, and Human Action by Robert P. Murphy:

Man, Economy, and State, with Power and Market by Murray N. Rothbard

The Ethics of Money Produc­tion by Jörg Guido Hülsmann:

The Cultural and Polit­ical Conse­quences of Fiat Money by Jörg Guido Hülsmann.

Hal Finney on Bitcoin banks

Swan Signal Episode summary

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This blog offers thoughts and opinions on Bitcoin from the Swan Bitcoin team and friends. Swan Bitcoin is the easiest way to buy Bitcoin using your bank account automatically every week or month, starting with as little as $10. Sign up or learn more here.

Brady Swenson

Brady is the Head of Education at Swan Bitcoin, the best place to buy Bitcoin with easy recurring purchases straight from your bank account. Brady also hosts Citizen Bitcoin, a podcast focused on documenting his journey learning Bitcoin, featuring some of the biggest names in the Bitcoin world.

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