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CoinGeek Conversations

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CoinGeek Conversations is a weekly podcast update on the thriving BitcoinSV ecosystem - for beginners as well as those already deeply immersed in it. CoinGeek's Charles Miller meets entrepreneurs, technologists and businesspeople to ask about their work and their visions for the future. You don't need to be an expert in computer science or business studies. But you do need an appetite to learn about the most exciting new technology of our time.
95 Episodes
Craig Wright is a lockdown sceptic. Masks and isolation policies “don’t make a difference”, he says. Dr Wright, the Chief Scientist of nChain, says he’s studied epidemiology and is convinced that, despite appearances and government claims, death rates are no worse than usual because “everything else has gone down equal to the number of Covid deaths”. He had the disease himself “months ago” and dismisses the experience as “terrible for a day”. The real damage from government response to the pandemic, he says, is long term. The disruption in trade affects developing countries: “if you look at the people in Sri Lanka who are not getting fed, the increases in poverty in African countries, the increases in poverty in Bangladesh etc., what we're seeing is individuals who now are being marginalised and pushed into poverty for the first time in a long time.”  As the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, Dr Wright is also sceptical about BTC’s recent dramatic price volatility, dismissing it as “purely manipulation”. He says that it would take thousands of times the amount of currency inflows seen in the crypto market to change the price of gold to the same extent. With BTC, “what we have is a very small market and it’s easy to be manipulated”. Dr Wright was talking in a wide-ranging interview for the CoinGeek Conversations podcast. In looking back to Bitcoin’s early days, he said that around the time that he released the Bitcoin White Paper in October 2008, he had just returned to Australia from a trip to Microsoft headquarters in Seattle where he’d been discussing a possible role in the Bing search engine and click fraud team.The 2008 financial crisis put an end to all hiring at Microsoft so it didn’t come to anything but, he said, “I had a whole lot of ideas which Bitcoin would have been part of”. He wanted Microsoft to introduce a Bitcoin-based Internet as a competitor to the ad-based model:  “I thought rather than the way Google's doing things, if they could implement micro-payments and have all this run that way, that would actually be a far more effective methodology.”So does he regret not being able to develop Bitcoin at Microsoft? Wright says that there would have been advantages to him personally in terms of resources and remuneration but that it would have been “an easy life versus something better but more challenging.”Around that time Wright wrote an essay as part of what he calls this “self-reflective” period in his life. Only published last year, Sisyphus Impenitant refers to the Greek myth of Sisyphus who was punished by Zeus for trying to defy death by having to push a rock uphill, only to have it always roll back to the bottom. For Wright, it was a way of examining personal pressures: “Warrior. Father. Husband. A trilogy of competing stresses.” He rated himself more highly as a warrior and husband than a father. Wright is known for his long list of academic qualifications and love of acquiring more. He referred, for instance, to an essay he wrote as part of a Masters in English Literature, about one of Shakespeare’s sonnets in which he speculates about the poem’s relation to Elizabeth I and contemporary historical events. In a previous interview he said he was taking 25 degree courses simultaneously. Now he says he’s finished some of those, but that last year he read 2400 books. That works out at an average of six and a half per day. Asked how that’s possible, he says, “I read very fast” and “some books are smaller than others”.
A staunch critic of Silicon Valley, writer and journalist David Gerard offers a stinging critique of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project: “Libra is not a story about cryptocurrency; it’s a story about Silicon Valley hubris and people who think they can start their own money and take over the world that way.”    Known in the crypto world as a Bitcoin and blockchain critic, in his new book Libra Shrugged Gerard offers a comprehensive analysis of Facebook’s Libra project. Speaking to Coingeek’s Charles Miller, he characterizes the Libra team as “a group of people who think they can take advantage of the system without getting called out on it.”   When Facebook announced Libra back in June 2019, “its original plan was to run a currency basket-based token on blockchain.” Gerard explains. The project, however, was met with fierce criticism from regulators around the world.  Regulators’ biggest concern, Gerard says, is to avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis which was brought about by the kind of structure Facebook’s Libra was proposing. Regulators fear that a monopoly could threaten global financial stability - as happened in 2008 when a few companies were purported to be ‘too big to fail’: “Regulators around the world are frightened of one thing and that’s another 2008 happening. And Facebook came along and presented them with a plan for ‘here’s how we could do a 2008 all by ourselves’.” Following opposition and backlash, the social media platform floated a new plan for a series of currency substitute tokens such as a dollar token, pound token, and Euro token. But as Gerard explains, this plan didn’t go down well with regulators either. “The real objection the regulators have is the scale of it.” The currency reserve needed to fulfill Facebook’s plan would have been worth over a trillion dollars - posing a major problem for global financial stability in itself.  In October 2020, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was summoned by members of the US Congress to a hearing to explain the company’s plans. Gerard observes Zuckerberg to be a good talker, serving up well thought-out statements, however lacking substance. Zuckerberg has since made it clear that Libra would not move forward without proper regulatory compliance. But one by one, large companies dropped their support for Libra, leaving a select few onboard. In December, Libra was renamed Diem. In an attempt to win over regulators, Diem presented a simpler and revamped structure. Its launch date was initially set for January 2021. As Gerard explains, it’s the same Libra group proposing different technologies to solve problems, except that now it’s the Diem Association instead of the Libra Association. You can buy David Gerard’s Libra Shrugged here: 
If you launch a company called BIG - the handy acronym of the Vancouver-based Blockchain Intelligence Group -, you need big ambitions. And the co-founder and President of BIG, Lance Morginn has plenty. They’re centered on the idea of using the blockchain’s public face in a more user-friendly way, by creating tools that more easily ‘read’ the information it contains.Beginning with a tool for law-enforcement, the company has already expanded to create software that provides a reputation score to guide decisions about Bitcoin transactions.BIG’s ability to analyze and present clear representations of blockchain transaction histories has already had results, including in court, Lance says: “we’ve defended some of the largest exchanges on the planet successfully.”With more interest in Bitcoin and blockchain from regulators, the prospects for BIG look good. With regulation, Lance notes, people are required to carefully monitor transactions they make: “it’s no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have.” A veteran in the technology sector, Lance has witnessed the crypto space grow exponentially. With vast amounts of data stored in transactions, he asserts that ‘search and analytics’ are a necessity.QLUE or Quantitative Law Enforcement Unified Edge Since the company’s inception in 2015, Blockchain Intelligence Group found its niche catering to law enforcement through its first product QLUE – for Quantitative Law Enforcement Unified Edge.QLUE is a visualization engine that allows investigators to follow the money flow. With QLUE, every transaction can be viewed in a matter of minutes unlike other tools which could take months, Lance explains.A great advantage of QLUE he notes, is its ability to identify different entities in the visualization, allowing law enforcement to see who people are interacting with. This information enables law enforcement to subpoena the KYC information and de-anonymize a pseudo-anonymous person. QLUE is also being used in court cases involving Bitcoin. The tool simplifies the information presented to the jury by using graphics or an excel format. This in turn, helps the jury make confident decisions without having to fully understand the way crypto works. Compliance officers subpoenaed in such cases also make use of QLUE to expedite a report.While QLUE has made significant appearances in courtrooms around the world, in the US, BIG has been recognized at the Federal level as an expert witness testimony provider.Bit Rank VerifiedWanting to further provide a ‘search and analytics’ oriented service, Lance developed Bit Rank Verified. The tool helps assess the risk of cryptocurrency transactions by providing an easy-to-understand risk score. “It’s a crypto equivalent of a credit score,” Lance says.  Bit Rank Verified is used by digital banks, exchanges, ATM operators, financial institutions or just about any organization seeking confidence that funds being received did not originate from illicit, immoral or unethical sources. The software checks an address before allowing clients to transfer funds. This reduces the workload on compliance officers.Online Certificate Course at BIGThe company also offers online courses to anyone who wants to learn about Bitcoin and blockchain, the dark web and how tools like theirs can aid an investigation. A series of modules and a culminating exam awaits eager learners, who are rewarded with certificates to show they are BIG Certified Cryptocurrency Investigators.Collectively, the Blockchain Intelligence Group works with different blockchains. However, Lance admits Bitcoin SV’s mandate on regulation and transparency sets it apart.  “Of the top 20 cryptocurrency based on market cap, BSV was an obvious one for us, just based on the other objectives and missions that they've got around the appearance of Bitcoin SV.”
Sharing their picks of interesting BSV moments captured on video, CoinGeek’s Natalie Mason, Charles Miller, Kurt Wuckert Jr and Bitcoin Association’s Patrick Prinz close out the year in a special CoinGeek Conversations episode. And what better way to start than conversation than hearing from the one and only Craig Wright? The episode opens with a clip of Craig professing the importance of owning your digital identity.   Kurt chose to share an inspiring video clip filmed during a Cambrian SV event in Lisbon. In the video, Paul Martin of Relay X gives a passionate speech. “One of the things that motivates me the most about Bitcoin is not just the fact that it incentivizes, this sort of risk taking to make the future a better place for our descendants, but the fact that now we have this anchor of truth.” For Kurt, 2020 was a landmark year for Bitcoin: “We agreed that opening up the protocol and allowing it to scale, however it may, has changed the way discussions occur in Bitcoin so much for the better that I can't even describe how happy I am to see that.”  Next, Charles shared a part of his interview with economist and writer George Gilder. In a remarkable quote, George compares the cryptocurrency movement to the internet movement.  As Kurt was there with George on the day, he gives a moving personal insight into just how dedicated George was on the day. A testament to Gilder’s passion and dedication to speak out on what he believes in.     Natalie is next to share her favorite clip of the year-  a heated debate between Unbound Capital founder, Jackson Laskey and Twetch CFO, Aaron Burns about whether or not there is space for venture capital in Bitcoin.With most of the panel agreeing that venture capital, thankfully, isn’t going anywhere soon as Charles puts it, to witness “two extremely thoughtful and energetic people with opposing views.”  The debate is certainly a moment worth checking out in full- between two great forces in the BSV space.  Lastly, Patrick shares a recent CoinGeek Conversation interview with Peter Bainbridge-Clayton of Kompany. In the clip, Peter explains how other blockchain’s fell short – taking us through his experiences that led to finally finding a workable model: Bitcoin SV. Working on the frontlines of business adoption of this technology, Patrick has seen many enterprises experience the same situation. “They typically start out with Ethereum then moving over to Hyperledger and realizing that neither of them satisfies the demands of the requirements they have for their business.” Patrick firmly believes that once companies find BSV, they don’t look back. Expectations for the year ahead Charles hopes to have get togethers in person and see people having drinks together which he says is that “extra bonus of business lubricant that will just power things up to the next level.”From a Bitcoin Association perspective, Patrick sums it up in two words- enterprise adoption. Bitcoin historian Kurt hopes to make people understand what Bitcoin SV has been through in the past to get to where it is today. He looks forward to “writing those rhetorical wrongs of the Bitcoin journey.” In closing, Natalie leaves the last word to founder of Ayre Group and CoinGeek, Calvin Ayre, who sets his expectations for 2021 and beyond: “We see unique consumer facing applications and unique enterprise solutions that take advantage of the superpowers of this technology, which is its nano transaction capability and its immutable data storage on a public blockchain. With those two things combined together, this technology has a global monopoly- which is patent protected”. From the whole CGC team, happy holidays! We can't wait to see what next year brings for BSV!
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is dedicated to improving the welfare of children across the globe. The organization has launched  initiatives called Giga and Project Connect to enhance the quality of education by connecting schools to the internet. This initiative comes from UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, a unit dedicated to studying new technologies including blockchain. Mehran Hydary, product manager at UNICEF, talked to CoinGeek’s Natalie Mason about how technology is being used to advance its initiatives. As Mehran explains, Giga’s mission is to connect every school around the world to the internet. Its main focus is to raise funds needed to get the infrastructure in place as well as to educate people on the importance of internet connectivity. Alongside this initiative is Project Connect, whose focus is to map out schools and identify which areas lack the internet. This is where blockchain comes into play. Validating locations can be tricky, Mehran points out. For this reason, UNICEF’s blockchain team came up with an app called Project Connect Game. It is designed to encourage people to validate maps through its incentivization and gamification mechanisms, Mehran explains:“The idea is to take the data we have from the government, load it into a mobile app, people can go to this app and loosely identify if it looks like a school or not.” The incentivization takes place in the form of a reward system where users can receive a stablecoin cryptocurrency depending on how well they play the game. Mehran admits there are a few obstacles. “The challenge is how to distribute money, are there tax implications or regulatory concerns. Can we get crypto as a reward to get people to contribute to this platform?”These questions are some of the areas of concerns that Mehran and his team are looking into. He says UNICEF is at a stage where it is validating different blockchain technologies. For now, he says the blockchain team’s main explorations have been primarily with Bitcoin Core and Ethereum. Mehran points out that Bitcoin Core is easy for most people to understand while Ethereum, he believes, has a large developer community that yields substantial products and services. “A lot of tools and use cases that have come out of that space are tangible examples that we can share with our team.” But Mehran admits, there is more room for research. “We are not prescriptive and we are willing to do research in that capacity. We haven’t had a BSV project come up yet but our team is open to exploring different blockchain if the use cases are right.” UNICEF works in 190 countries including the world’s toughest places to reach. The organization has a constant drive to bring forth its mission, to help children survive, thrive and fulfil their potential. With initiatives like Giga and Project Connect, UNICEF aims to deliver not only quality education through connectivity to remote areas around the world but also introduce the use of technologies like blockchain to these communities. Mehran wants to see more of the blockchain technology brought forward to countries UNICEF is working with. “I think a lot of blockchain companies focus on people that are already tech savvy, people that are scrolling through Twitter 10 hours a day. I don't think that's the audience that crypto really empowers. I think those people already have access to financial tools. They don't have an issue getting an education and keeping that education. I think there needs to be a lot of work that needs to be done in countries that we're not thinking about. And UNICEF is one team that's doing work in all these countries. But I think it would be good to see more and more startups and blockchain companies hire dedicated teams that focus on bringing these amazing technologies on the ground and thinking the same challenges that we're thinking on.”
If you believed in the potential of Bitcoin SV, what would you do? You might set up a venture capital and hedge fund to invest in BSV startups because you thought they had such great prospects. And if that wasn’t enough, you might try to get into transaction processing with your own Bitcoin node infrastructure. That’s what exactly what Dave Mullen-Muhr, of Unbounded Capital and Unbounded Enterprise, is doing.  On this week’s episode of Coingeek Conversations, Charles Miller talks to Dave about the Unbounded brand and the book he co-authored with his business partner, Jackson Laskey, How Bitcoin SV Will Win.What are Unbounded Capital and Unbounded Enterprise? Unlike Unbounded Capital a finance company that invests in the Bitcoin SV ecosystem, Unbounded Enterprise now takes the business a step further. “There is just so much opportunity, that’s what really it all comes down to. We were watching everything being built and we figured we can do more than just invest in companies,” Dave says.With Unbounded Enterprise they will help businesses move from idea to execution by making it easy to integrate with Bitcoin SV. Unbounded Capital and Unbounded Enterprise share the same goal. That is, to drive the adoption of Bitcoin SV and help push the blockchain space forward. One way of doing that is by making it easy for enterprises to implement the technology into their business. As Dave explains, Bitcoin is unbounded but there are still some limits in place – particularly in implementing the various technologies that are available but not always easy to use: “we want to remove those limits.”How Bitcoin SV Will WinThe ebook that Dave co-authored with his business partner Jackson Laskey, How Bitcoin SV Will Win: Why the Cryptocurrency Consensus is Wrong, is described on Amazon as “a comprehensive explanation of where the cryptocurrency industry currently is, why it is there, and why it is so at odds with Unbounded Capital’s vision of Bitcoin.” The book started as a collection of blog posts by both authors while on a year’s journey learning about Bitcoin. Dave says the book is a way of reframing people’s ideas about Bitcoin to enable its readers to look towards what he calls a “hyper efficient network that offers a fundamentally new toolset for business.”As Dave says, there are parallels with the emergence of the Internet:  “When you give people tools, they’re going to build and they’re going to find a way to generate value from those tools. We’ve had this amazing toolset since when I was born, which is the Internet. And [Bitcoin SV] is a huge upgrade to that toolset, that now we can transact in tiny payments. We can have really, really highly interoperable data paradigms. And we can have data ownership. I think entrepreneurs are going to use these tools and the new wave of innovation will be similar to what we saw in the nineties and early two thousands.” 
Kompany provides advanced solutions to financial institutions and corporations on identity verification. It offers a quick and efficient way to do business verification. With this being a legal requirement for global businesses, Kompany have positioned themselves as the go to company, on a global scale. Having previously built up the verification system for the UK's Companies House, Kompany CTO and co-founder Peter Bainbridge-Clayton is well versed on the processes. Peter sat down with CoinGeek’s Natalie Mason to talk about his company’s journey, how it fits in perfectly on the blockchain and why they are moving forward on Bitcoin SV over other chains. So why did Kompany opt for blockchain? “Blockchain is good on proof” Peter says. “When you look at legal intricacies this [Blockchain] is the best way of doing it, it’s the only way that guarantees it can’t be gamed.” Kompany assures their customers that they are capable of proving to regulators that these “checks” were carried out. He points out, “the last thing customers want is to be fined for not doing checks and not being able to prove they did it.” Like many start-ups, Kompany had to undergo several phases before it can catapult to success. In its initial stages, Kompany used Ethereum for its reputable smart contracts, as Peter explains, but Ethereum’s speed capacity was a drawback. Its slow speed would refrain Kompany from responding to its customers instantaneously. This led Kompany to try faster chains like Hyperledger. Granted it proved faster than Ethereum for Kompany’s needs, Hyperledger is on a private chain and that was an issue and not quite the right model. Finally, nChain introduced Peter to Bitcoin SV. This ushered-in an opportunity for Peter to learn about BSV blockchain capabilities. At present, he is convinced that BSV is the right fit for Kompany. “BSV has everything we wanted- speed, consensus, cost, built-in time stamp and native token” he says. “We built a marketplace for this kind of information so that information becomes tokenized and can be traded.” Kompany will undergo some finishing touches before it is implemented. Its plan, to have a fully on chain request response system. It’s a promising agenda and is definitely one worth looking out for. To know more about Peter Bainbridge-Clayton and how Kompany is building a valid use-case on the blockchain, checkout this episode of CoinGeek Conversations.     
If you’re interested in Dr Craig Wright, and want to find out more about him, there’s no better place to go than It’s a website devoted to all things Craig and Satoshi-related and includes a chronological list of more than 400 of Craig Wright’s publications, pictures of his academic certificates and videos of his interviews and presentations.So who is Ramon Quesada and why has he assembled this incredible collection of Craigobilia? That question is answered in this week’s CoinGeek Conversations, where Ramon explains his project and how he felt he needed to know more about Dr Wright when he heard of all the controversies surrounding him.Ramon admits that it’s taken him “some years” to collect all the information on his site, although he only made it public in 2020. It all started with the emergence of BCH in 2017. Suddenly Ramon was aware of “somebody who says he was Satoshi Nakamoto. It was Craig Wright”. Ramon was already interested in BTC, but Wright’s claims presented him with a dilemma: “I got angry because I didn't have enough knowledge to make a decision. So I said to myself, you have to learn, you have to study ...because you have to be on one of the two sides”. Ramon was born in Cuba and emigrated to France before moving to Valencia, Spain, where he now lives. He started a Facebook group called Bitcoin Valencia in 2013 and then the Bitcoin Association of Valencia in 2015. He isn’t a technologist, but worked for various businesses, including becoming part owner of Coin Telegraph in Spain from 2016 to 2017 For Ramon, the possibilities of Bitcoin have an idealistic side: “I come from Cuba. I have seen how some under-developed countries are not helping to grow their economies. So also I saw Bitcoin could maybe help this difference between the first world and the third world.”But it’s not all altruism for Ramon. He says that when he is finally able to make a decision about Dr Wright, based on all his research, he will be investing his money in Bitcoin: “yes - I am investing my life.” All your worldly goods will be invested in Bitcoin? “Yes ...It's like any anybody in their field, they do the research and they bet for that.”Ramon has never met Craig Wright, but would like to do so (“yes, sure, of course”). So what would he ask Dr Wright if he had the chance? “I don't know. I have a lot of things to ask him, a lot!” But for all the many videos and documents on his website, Ramon is not expected to ever get to the end of his investigations of Dr Wright: “I know that there are a lot of things, neither you, me, nobody are going to know because he doesn't like to show all what he has.” 
GeoSpock is a Cambridge technology company with its roots in the city’s science research community.  CEO Richard Baker explained that his co-founder Steve Marsh was researching an area that appears to be very different from where GeoSpock is focussed today: “back in 2010, 2011, [Steve] was doing his PhD in computer engineering at Cambridge and he set about the challenge of building a supercomputer to emulate one second of human brain function.”What connects Steve’s research with GeoSpock’s current  interest in data from sources such as roads, traffic signals and supply chains is, as Richard puts it, “how you deal with extreme datasets”.The secret lies in creating a “parallel environment ...which is all about serial communication.” That allows the speeding up of access to data in large data stores, and to GeoSpock’s claim that whatever query is applied to the data they are working with, they will have an answer in less than a minute. Richard points out that people are no longer the biggest producers of data: that honour (or shame) is now claimed by machines. As devices connected to the Internet of Things generate more and more data, that creates new problems for technology, and society: “the challenge there is, as this data is pervasive, how do you harness it and how do you translate it into meaningful insights and into decisions ultimately?”GeoSpock’s software will allow the company to be working in an area that Richard believes can be described as “change for good”. The technology should work across a broad range of industries. Richard gives examples of the kinds of problems he’d hope to be solving: “how do we generate city environments that are good for citizens? How do you ensure that they are clean, that there's low CO2? How do you plan clean and efficient transport systems? How do those transport systems actually function?”So how does Bitcoin come into GeoSpock’s plan? And why did nChain recently announce its connection with the company as the lead partner in a $5.4m Series A investment round? Richard explains that while today, the company uses Amazon Web Services, he is planning a shift towards BSV, whose combined data storage and transaction opportunities could prove ideal in the future: “Why isn't Bitcoin SV, both in terms of protocol, but also in terms of what organizations like TAAL are doing, the alternative store? We really see a situation where today we're dealing with event information coming from sensors, but actually the next step is really dealing with the commercial transactions.”If the idea of an intimate connection between data and money seems unfamiliar, think again. Isn’t that what happens, in a very manual way, every time you fill up your car at a garage? Well, why not automate the process? “We should be able to plug in our car and our car settles for the amount of time that it's been on the charging station in a public space. That ultimately will become a machine to machine commercial transaction. And I think we see an opportunity here where Bitcoin SV becomes the digital ledger of choice for those types of transactions in the machine to machine economy.”
Why do journalists get complaints and abuse on social media just for mentioning Bitcoin SV?Eileen Brown writes about the tech scene for ZDNet, and says the BSV effect is quite unique in her experience: “when I wrote about the [BSV] Genesis protocol upgrade, the trolling I received on Twitter lasted for nearly three weeks, and I never had that before.”“What is it about Bitcoin SV that people hate so much?” Eileen asks. “They want to bully somebody like me into not attending [the CoinGeek conference], not writing about it. The trolling is amazingly vicious.”Eileen says that as a journalist she is neutral between different cryptocurrency camps and has deliberately never owned any crypto. Rather than being intimidated by the trolling, Eileen is just interested: “it's fascinating to watch, from a human perspective”.But when it comes to explaining the motives behind it, she is very clear: “somebody, or some group of people, are heavily financially invested in making certain that Bitcoin SV does not succeed.”Eileen has been trying out some of the BSV social media apps, and has noticed how differently they are making her behave: “it actually dramatically changed the way that I would post. I found I was less flippant. I was a lot more considered in the way that I posted. On Twetch, for example, if you post a 'like' or a 'rebranch' as it's called, it costs you money. So you're much more measured in what you decide to like”.On Powping, tipping is voluntary, which Eileen has also enjoyed: “I find that if I ask a question and somebody gives me a reasonably measured answer, I will tip an amount that I think is the value of the response that I've been given. And the nice thing about this particular platform is that it tells you the complete amount of money that particular post has earned, not just for the creator, but anybody that looks at anybody's posts can see the economy of that blog post was two dollars”.For all her enthusiasm, Eileen believes the revolution isn’t going to happen overnight: “I think it's going to take a while to change people's behavior. If you remember back to about 2007, 2008, when Facebook released itself onto the general public and took itself out of universities, one of Facebook’s key mantras was 'it's free and always will be'. So we have a whole generation of people who've grown up in this Freakonomics environment: everything's for free.” Eileen is impressed with BSV ideas about keeping a stable protocol for people to build on, so that the whole system isn’t “at the whim of some young person in his bedroom”. She compares it with the general adoption of HTTP for the Internet, over rivals like FTP, which still exist but are no longer widely used. Over the long term, Eileen is bullish about the prospects: “I think that in a few more years, once we've gone past the uncertainty and startup mentality of a lot of the Bitcoin SV projects, I think we'll start to get enterprise stability across the whole protocol.”  
Douglas Rushkoff has been following technology and media for more than 30 years - ever since, as a young theatre director, he decided he’d had enough of its elitist culture: “theatres started to feel very predictable ...I was really looking for something more participatory. Interactive. Unknown. Unpredictable.”It was the late 1980s, and there was a new medium that fitted the bill. “My strangest friends from college, the weirdest, most theatrical, Grateful-Dead-head, acid freak colleagues ended up moving out to the Bay Area and working for the likes of Intel and Apple and Silicon Graphics and Sun. And I really wanted to know, why would weird psychedelic people be making computers?”San Francisco, and Silicon Valley to its south, were experiencing a unique mixing of counter-culture with the technology and futurism of the US defence industries. Into this heady mix came an even more exciting ingredient: a place - or not a place - called cyberspace, which could be reached through something called the Internet: “the Internet seemed to be the way that human beings were going to connect up to one another in one giant Gaiain global brain and sort of realise planetary consciousness.”There are plenty of big hopes for a better future attached to the idea of Bitcoin. ‘Banking the unbanked’ is just the start of it. So does Douglas see echoes of his cyberpunk experiences in the hopes of today’s BSV community? He is polite, but frank: “I mean, yes and no. You know, in all honesty (long pause) I don't see ‘a better ledger’ as the solution to the problem”.But Douglas has taken on board the idea that BSV comes with a different agenda from the rest of the crypto world and that getting back to Satoshi’s original vision means BSV’s ambitions go far beyond currency speculation:  “What Bitcoin was for was not to get a few investors rich off an inflated token. What Bitcoin was for was to distribute the power of authentication globally so that money would be as cheap as we needed it to be at any moment, that money was here to really optimise our transactions - that what we were trying to do was increase the velocity of money, the readiness of capital to move into an almost superfluid economic state where anyone who needs capital at any moment, that vacuum is immediately filled by the capital they need to do the thing they need to do ...And that's beautiful. That's a beautiful thing.”Douglas’ latest book, and his podcast series, are called Team Human. They explore the intersection between technology and human values or, as the podcast website says, “grapples with complex issues of agency, social justice, and all those quirky non-binary corners of life”. As he puts it, “the possibility of these spaces is to engender a new sense of civic responsibility for one another”.With that focus, it’s not surprising that Douglas has reservations about some potential involvements of BSV in human interactions. Whilst he’s happy enough with the idea of blockchain as a better substitute for human trust than central authorities such as banks, he sees it as an interim solution. “it's one stage toward then moving into a world where we trust one another as humans, where we're involved with each other locally and we're not [requiring that] every bit of value that we exchange with each other has to be recorded”.He says he’s most excited about the use of blockchain technology for applications that enhance record-keeping and recall: “that, to my mind, that's what a good blockchain really is, where everything that's happened is retrievable, as if it just happened right now. It's a different way to live. It's a highly accountable world.”
Bequant is a London-based financial business that describes itself as “a one stop solution for professional digital assets, investors and institutions.” Its founder and CEO George Zarya explained how the business offers a range of services, including prime brokerage, exchange, custody and fund administration, that mirror the way a more traditional financial services business. And yet Bequant works exclusively with cryptocurrencies, simplifying access to that market. “We’re trying to bring in more professionalism, a more established type of approach and apply it to this new emerging market,” George says.There’s an irony about trying to bridge the gap between the crypto business and the financial establishment because, as George says, Bitcoin began with the idea of decentralization “and removing the intermediaries from the whole cycle”.And yet Bequant is a kind of intermediary, for which George offers no apologies: “in the institutional world, the intermediaries play a very important role. That's why we feel that the prime brokerage solutions, the professional exchanges that aggregate source liquidity, brokers, liquidity providers - are very important to facilitate these functions.”But it’s not just a question of mirroring the structures that George knew from his previous work in more traditional financial institutions: this is a new field and there’s also the chance to introduce innovation that’s appropriate for the world of crypto:“We shaved off a lot of inefficiencies, if I can judge from my experience in the traditional space where we had an army of operations people, an army of onboarding people and a handful of IT guys sitting in the corner. Now things have changed tremendously: you have an army of IT guys and zero in operations. Everything is automated.”With offices in London and Malta, Bequant has been in business since early 2018 (although “it feels like a decade”, George says). It hasn’t been hard to attract experienced people from the City to join, and the staff now numbers about 35. They like the novelty of the new world of crypto: “I think that part of the reason why a lot of people move into the industry is the dynamics of the space. The traditional space is becoming utterly boring.”Bequant is a big business already, with the exchange having a monthly turnover of  “roughly eight hundred million to a billion” and volumes on the prime brokerage averaging more than a hundred million a day. “These numbers are maybe shocking,” George says, “but again, from the institutional perspective, it's a normal sort of size that your typical quantitative trading fund would generate.”When it comes to BSV, George is supportive of efforts to promote adoption through its scaling capacity and the ecosystem’s development: “adoption is one of the most important things for the industry, generally speaking. And we support any project that is working towards that goal and offers the tools to to build upon and grow the industry.” 
Recent news about the possibility of nano-payments on Bitcoin SV is inspiring ideas for a whole new field of applications. Calvin Ayre, founder of Ayre Group and CoinGeek, describes it as “commerce between machines”. Just as micro-transactions have, “this is going to create even more new business models”. The technology will take the ‘Internet of things’ to a whole new level through the application of smart contracts: “corporations most likely will own machines that will be conducting commerce with each other. So the value will eventually go back to the shareholders. But these little bits of business can be agreed in advance and then rolled out across little pieces of equipment scattered all over the globe. And then they can just start doing business with each other.”Until now, the billions of transactions between sensors, for instance, have either had no monetisation associated with them, or if they are monetized, it’s in big numbers and likely to be inaccurate. Nano-payments would change that: “this will optimize things and allow value to be tied to actual services, not estimates of them”.Calvin is more sceptical about other new ideas that are attracting attention at the moment. He’s not completely dismissive of all DeFi (decentralized finance) projects, “but of course, as always, the ones that actually do make sense would work better on BSV than these other platforms that don't scale.”But most of DeFi is to be avoided, Calvin warns: “for sure the majority of the people that are going to be trying to trot out some kind of a programme around this new marketing buzz around DeFi ...are going to have no interest in anything but a scam. So it's unfortunate that a lot of people are going to lose money.”As for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), “every country in the world could actually operate their central bank currency on top of BSV - in addition to all the other stuff we can do.” The danger is that CBDCs will start to be established on different systems “and you'll get these siloed central bank digital currencies. And if the vision of how the world unfolds follows the course that we're predicting, then eventually that won't make sense - because they were using a technology that doesn't seamlessly integrate to the rest of the world.”Next week’s CoinGeek Live conference from New York and London, will be a great chance to take the temperature of the growing BSV ecosystem, with three days of presentations from the worlds of technology, finance and enterprise. So, does Calvin expect to see incremental growth across many different fronts, or is he waiting for a big breakthrough that will change everything? “I think what you find is that the momentum of the slow, incremental change is happening right now and it's going to continue to happen,” he says. “But every now and then, there's going to be a solar flare, something that's, like, coming out - because I know a few things that are being worked on that I think when they come out, people are going to go, ‘holy crap!’”
A few weeks ago, we spoke to the co-founder and CEO of Centbee, Lorien Gamaroff, about a range of new services that are now available on the BSV wallet, allowing users to buy utilities and other products directly from well-known providers.This week, we’re showing a live demo of exactly that from the same recording session: how to buy prepaid mobile airtime using Centbee. Lorien is joined by Centbee marketing consultant Heidi Patmore, who has a personal example of just how useful the new services can be. Heidi explains that in South Africa, where Centbee is based, if you need to top up your prepaid electricity credit, it’s usually a question of using a banking app or visiting a local shop and paying at the till, in return for which, you’ll be given a code to enter into your electricity meter at home, to prove that you now have credit.So what happens if your banking app doesn’t work? That’s what Heidi discovered one evening:“A couple of nights ago my banking app went down. Now that’s the only way I usually buy electricity. And there was a bug at FNB [a big South African bank]. Everything went down, and my electricity started beeping at half past nine at night.”Thanks to the new services on Centbee, Heidi was able to prepay for her electricity with BSV. “Thanks Lorien for building that because I was able to top up my electricity. Otherwise I would have had to get in my car and drive somewhere at half past nine at night to try and somehow figure out how to buy electricity.”Heidi predicts this will be a game-changer for Centbee, and for BSV: “the convenience of this is going to be massive. People are going to start doing this. We’re going to shift consumer behaviour by having brought out this product.”Lorien is confident that electricity is just one example of what users want: “there's a big market for electricity, but there's also a big market for people like teenagers, for example, who right now, if they want to use Uber or they want to have a PlayStation subscription or something like that ...they have to go to their parents or whoever and get that transaction made. But I have noticed with my own son that he now has the ability to not only top up his data on his phone, but also to have a PlayStation subscription or or get an Uber ride without having to now phone me up and ask”.It’s a big step towards the much-discussed use of Bitcoin to serve the “unbanked”, as Lorien explained: “I think that this is going to open up a market that hasn't been accessible before. And I think that there will now be users that come on board. There's no statistics around those types of users, because they've always just been not part of the system. Now there's a digital payment system that they can easily be a part of.” 
How do you explain Bitcoin to a general audience? That was writer Liz Louw’s challenge as she set out to produce What is Bitcoin?, an ebook for the London-based Bitcoin investment company Bitstocks.Liz is not the first to confront the problem. She quotes Satoshi Nakamoto himself, who found that “writing a description for this thing for general audiences is bloody hard. There’s nothing to relate it to.” As a digital marketing and content strategist, writing about business was already one of Liz’s professional skills, but this job meant more to her than just another assignment. The book represents “the fruit of at least three years of research” and is not the kind of “impersonal, objective piece” that she is sometimes asked to turn out, she says.Liz decided to address the complexities of the subject by looking for narratives. So to help readers understand the principles of Bitcoin she went back to the story of Craig Wright’s work for casinos, before he wrote the White Paper as Satoshi Nakamoto. How could he solve the problem of making the gaming in online casinos auditable, and making players confident that the system was fair? The principles of Bitcoin were designed to answer those questions. Centrally, designing a system that was “open, public” was key to the solution: “its simplicity - that is the breakthrough”.When it came to maintaining the computer network behind Bitcoin, again, it is the principle of honesty that makes Satoshi’s system work: “the marvel of Satoshi’s creation is that it enforces honesty through an incentive scheme that makes it more worthwhile to play by the rules than to play dirty.”Having looked at the origins of Bitcoin and the way it works, Liz’s book ends with ideas about the future. She writes about Bitcoin enabling “the fourth industrial revolution” - the other three being, in order, machines powered by water and steam, electricity, electronics and information technology.In particular, Liz describes a grand vision of what the data-recording capabilities of Bitcoin will enable: “sooner or later, we will get to the stage where we can interact with computers with access to all of the data that humans have emitted throughout the entire history of humanity. Everything humanity has ever produced will be on the record, available for us to interact with.” Liz hints at some big announcements to come from Bitstocks that will build on this idea - a pivot from money to data, it seems. “We’re starting to refer to Gravity [Bitstock’s app] a data bank.” The buying and trading of Bitcoin, “that’s the first offering we have,” she says, “but there is much more being built behind the scenes.”
A former technology analyst on Wall Street, John Pitts brings his experience of assessing Internet companies to making educated guesses about the prospects for Bitcoin SV and BTC. And he’s confident that it’s possible to make valuations based on the existing information: “it's my belief not only that you can, but if it cannot be valued, then it probably isn't anything.”In an article on CoinGeek, John worked through a series of calculations to assess the value of the BTC network and compared it with BSV. He started by taking transaction fees across the network as the ‘income’ of the network - equivalent to sales in assessing the value of a tech startup. With small blocks, and therefore limited potential for transaction fees, BTC comes off badly, with the whole network being worth as little as $45,000 according to John’s calculations.John is unapologetic: “that's about where I think BTC is going, which is effectively zero. And the reason for that is because BTC isn't using the most important thing about Bitcoin, which is the data, the information.”When it comes to BSV, it’s a different story, because the blocks will be much bigger: “if you adjust those numbers and you start using one gigabyte instead of one megabyte or you use one terabyte get very big numbers.”But John is cautious about predicting too much too soon for BSV: “these things take time. They always do. You know, it took Apple 40 years to get to a trillion dollar valuation. Maybe it doesn't take BSV that long because it's more important than what Apple has done. But the point is, it's going to take a lot longer than people think. However, the valuations can be astronomical for BSV. So there's good news and there's bad news.”John goes on to compare the value of data stored on BSV to the relative value of land and the buildings on them in a city. When the city prospers, land increases in value and that makes it worthwhile for real estate developers to replace smaller, cheaper buildings with new ones. In the same way, as the BSV network grows in value, with a limited supply of coins (21 million), data that’s not valued by its owner can be replaced by more valuable data, making better use of the ‘real estate’ on the coins.But John’s interest in BSV is not just theoretical, nor even just financial. He is also an app developer, with SLictionary (above) now available to users. It’s a BSV-powered dictionary, whose marketing describes it as the “biggest advancement in dictionaries since books”. The idea is to invite users to create competing definitions and upload photos and videos to help explain words too. Popular definitions will be rewarded with BSV. Although the user has to pay a small search fee, John says, the money “takes away all the bad entries and accentuates the good ones.” Unlike with Wikipedia, “people can’t spam it. People cannot manipulate it. I think that's the beauty of the whole thing.”At the moment, there are still thousands of words waiting to be defined on SLictionary. But for John, that’s not a problem. He’s in BSV for the long run, based on his research into the potential of the network. It worked when he made that kind of judgement on the young Now he’s getting the same kind of feeling about BSV, as he said in his article: “this is one of those times I’m betting my life, my good name, and even my children’s destiny on a set of research.”“Destiny” is still waiting to be defined on SLictionary.
For the final addition of Top Picks from CoinGeek Conversations past, it had to be Dr. Craig Wright. Who better than the candid inventor, aka Satoshi Nakamoto, to set the Bitcoin story straight?  Let’s start with his explanation of what Bitcoin is and why it is not a cryptocurrency. As Craig puts it: “Cryptography is secret writing. Bitcoin is the exact opposite of that. Bitcoin is basically a public ledger. So, it’s designed to be private, but it doesn’t actually encrypt things. You can encrypt data and store it in the blockchain; but the difference here is, Bitcoin itself is a set of digital signatures, it’s a chain of evidence and it’s everything that those other systems that aim for an anonymous transfer is not.”Craig believes that Bitcoin will be widely used by world states, in time. But how do we get there? Craig lays out his idea of how governments will use Bitcoin technology to print traditional currencies.   The conversation also addresses Craig’s use of the term blockchain in the original white paper. Some have noted that the term did not appear at this crucial stage in the development of the Metanet. Craig answers, “If you look at the original code in the comments, ‘blockchain’ is used twice. Although it was block (space) chain”, noting how he used a space between the two words back then, as can be seen in much of his writing.   Another question that was asked regarding the early years: why was there no patent on the original Bitcoin? There appears to be a few reasons. “There’s no way to pseudonymously patent” says Craig, who goes on to note the high cost factor as well as another key reason “any software that is based on complex cryptographic algorithms: digital signatures, hashing… needs to be open source. People need to be able to find where the errors and vulnerabilities are.” Later on, in the interview, we learn how far his patent ambitions have come. Having filed several thousand already, Craig has a new goal: “by the time I finish I want to hit ten thousand.”   In looking at Craig’s colorful career, we get a glimpse of what might have guided the creation of Bitcoin. Laying out his own work motivations, Craig says, “it’s more about the world we want to live in. I don’t think it’s about altruism, I think we all have a duty and we all have to pay the cost of being in a world that we want to be honest and open.” Towards the end of the conversation, Craig conveys the ultimate purpose of Bitcoin: “Bitcoin, with a stable protocol, takes away power…” he says, “money is all about power and this is one of the things Bitcoin has done. It has removed that power. It will remove that power globally.  This timeless interview between Dr. Craig Wright and CoinGeek’s Charles Miller originally took place in 2019. Charles will be kicking off the 4th season of CoinGeek Conversations, next week, speaking to those who are propelling Bitcoin into its future.    
For the next few weeks, CoinGeek producer Natalie Mason is introducing her own Top Picks from CoinGeek Conversations, giving us another chance to enjoy previous episodes of the podcast series. Natalie’s choice this week is Lise Li, discussing the opportunities for Bitcoin SV in China. Lise is the China Manager for the Bitcoin Association. She has worked in ecommerce and been Chief Operating Officer for a Bitcoin mining pool, but, most important, she believes in the potential of BSV in China.It’s partly a matter of culture. As a resident of Beijing, she says that when she’s had foreign friends visiting they are “shocked” to see that Chinese people will take only their phones when they go out. They don’t bother with wallets because they’ll be able to pay for everything with apps like Alipay and Wechat Pay. Whereas, in Europe, especially in Germany, she’s noticed that “everyone loves to pay in cash”. Their phone-friendly lifestyle will make the everyday use of Bitcoin less of a change for Chinese people. Besides, “the young generation accepts new things fast, and they love tech”. Whilst there are still regulatory restrictions slowing the development of Bitcoin in China - such as the ban on converting fiat currency into crypto - officialdom appears to be softening its attitude. The new Special Economic Zone announced this year for Shenzhen is to include plans for research on cryptocurrencies. Lise describes her job at the Bitcoin Association as one of “gathering pioneers” to share their expertise and experience with Bitcoin SV. She believes that BSV development in China is “a more active field” than in other countries - with many university students taking part in projects. And in terms of hardware, she says that “almost all” the manufacturers of mining equipment are in China. Lise predicts that data storage will be the most important use of BSV, more important even than its use as money. And although she is promoting BSV activities in China, her vision for the future is international, nothing less than to “build a globalised business ecosystem”. 
For the next few weeks, CoinGeek producer Natalie Mason is introducing her own Top Picks from CoinGeek Conversations, giving us another chance to enjoy previous episodes of the podcast series. Natalie’s choice this week is Jimmy Wales, talking about his phenomenally successful creation, Wikipedia. Jimmy spoke at CoinGeek’s London conference, where he reflected on what Bitcoin SV supporters have in common with the early proponents of a free, online encyclopedia - since Wikipedia’s feasibility was just as much of a challenge to conventional wisdom as the notion of a global Bitcoin economy is today.“I think that there's definitely parallels and there's differences as well. So one of the huge parallels has to do with the idea of decentralization generally,” Jimmy said. When you think of an accounting ledger, you might imagine that would involve “one big server somewhere with a big bank looking after it”. But with the design of Bitcoin, “we can do that in a completely new way, in a decentralized way, in public. That's pretty cool. That's pretty fascinating. And I think a lot of those kinds of vibes around decentralization are something that are held in common.”Jimmy is adamant that blockchain would not be a good idea for Wikipedia. That’s partly because he’s sceptical that there is a demand for a micropayments technology: “the consumers don't want it. They don't like it. It feels funny to them. One of the great things about, say, Netflix is you pay your monthly fee, which is quite nominal, really ...And there's something nice about that it's already paid for. And I just watch as much as I want. A lot of Amazon services could be implemented on a micropayment level because they've already got our credit cards. They can sum it all up and bill us at the end of the month for our usage on Kindle or something like this… It seems to me that by and large, consumers are sceptical of that model. It doesn't feel right to them.”For all that, Jimmy admits to being interested in Bitcoin technology and compares what’s happening to the kind of enthusiasm he saw around the open source movement: “I think that now the energy around blockchain and a lot of the people, they are quite optimistic people and they are looking for new innovative solutions. And I mean, this is the important thing, I'm known as a critic but one of the things that's really important here is to say, look, I find the technology fascinating. I mean, the whole idea of blockchain is just... I mean, when I first saw it and first understood, I was like, well, this is the first, like, really different idea I've seen in a long time. It's super-interesting.”
Welcome to Top Picks. Throughout the month of August, we will revisit past CoinGeek Conversations. With so many great interviews to choose from, our first Top Pick is Lawry Trevor-Deutsch, of United Corp, who has a greener way to mine Bitcoin.
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