THE FORK: A MECHANISM FOR FUTURE SOCIETAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION?

(ORIGINAL ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND ON MY MEDIUM)

Over the past year I have been thinking more and more of the concept of the “Fork” and its implications not just for Bitcoin but to society.

13 months ago (August 2017), the long-standing dispute over how to scale Bitcoin came to a head. Those who favored on chain scaling (increasing the block size) initiated a fork to split from the current BTC chain (those who favored smaller blocks and 2nd layer solutions). I know that Giacomo Zucco disagrees, highly, that this would be classified as a “fork”, but I don’t entirely agree with him on that.

*If you want to see his argument listen to Episode 9 of my podcast.

This disagreement had been festering for years, really since its inception when one of the first conversations Satoshi ever had was with Hal Finney where he pointed out the scaling issue immediately. The arguments were mostly academic for years, since there was no real impetus, yet at that time, to fix it since the problem wasn’t present in the real-world implementation of bitcoins daily operations.

Over time the debates became increasingly heated as both sides (and I recognize there are many different shades of grey) understood the blocks would soon start to fill beyond capacity and transactions would become backlogged with fees, obviously following the supply demand curve, increasing to drive down demand (a natural market force to decrease demand in a fee market).

Several meetings of large stakeholders in the Bitcoin community were held and an agreement was hashed out (no pun intended). That agreement was not followed through as a large portion of the community rose up to stop it.

To make a long story short, those favoring on chain scaling threatened to and eventually forked away from the main BTC chain, creating Bitcoin Cash/BCH.

From the outside this may seem like just a disagreement among a niche group of people, but it was much more than that.

 

There were all the same ingredients that one would find in the recipe for a bloody conflict.

  • · Extreme passion for a cause.
  • · Reverence for a prophetic type figure.
  • · Unshakeable confidence in correct interpretation of prophet’s intentions/wants.
  • · Tribalism and insular groupthink.
  • · Dehumanization of the opposing side using derogatory terms to generalize opposition as an “other”.

Throughout human history we have seen these sorts of scenarios play out. Often, especially when there’s a minority/majority component added one or both sides seek conflict resolution through whatever means necessary to accomplish their goals.

Often the majority seeks to use the existing power structure that they control to exercise their ability to “legalize” their solution and in turn make the opposition’s illegal.

 

The minority is then left with 3 options

  1. 1. Accept decision and attempt to sway more support to their side to give them the majority position.
  2. 2. Accept decision and give up.
  3. 3. Use extra-legal means to find resolution to the conflict.
  4. These extra-legal means are often violent ones, meant to break the will of the majority to accept the minorities political will in one or all decisions.

Historically in monarchies the Kings will was law, opposition nearly always took the form of violent revolution; whether it be assassination or gathering of armies for a revolt. There was no real steam valve that allowed opposition’s the ability seek resolutions in their favor.

In representative democracies (using this in a very loose general terms) the people have recourse to change the systems they live under whether through electing new Representatives, amending Constitutions or nullifying national law through principles of subsidiarity (if present in their political culture).

Even with this pressure valve it didn’t end, contrarily it seemed to increase the use of violence as a means of conflict resolution. The 20th century was an era of massive death and violence on a scale that had never been seen before.

The Future vs. Current Reality

In the near to near distant future the majority, if not all our lives will take place in the digital space vs the physical. The advent of TRUE VR platforms and spaces to experience a new reality will rapidly accelerate humanities slide into the digital. Science Fiction, while many times fanciful and unrealistic often contain grains of Truth that we recognize when we read/see. Ready Player One and other VR style dystopian future themes have more than that grain of Truth. How fast would humanity embrace the virtual over the physical when it can meet all the base instinct needs of the consumer? How quickly would you choose the virtual over the physical when the virtual at no cost (or a fraction of the cost compared to the physical world) can offer you the dream job, relationship, car, etc. you’ve always wanted?

To further digress, I want to quickly address the obvious criticism regarding the need for physical touch and physical proximity to others for the sake of mental health. Countless studies show that humans (and primates) need close physical touch for proper development and lack of human interaction in any stage of life can have DRASTIC negative effects on your mental health.

But what does physical touch/proximity mean? It’s merely your senses registering that other person and releasing chemicals in your brain as an incentivization to continue that behavior. It’s an evolutionary response that helped us coalesce into groups so that our individual survival chances would be higher than if we were on our own.

It all boils down to perception. If our brain TRULY believes we are near that person that touch, kiss or hug is real….

It’s real.

If the digital world can fool our brains, into believe what we see in the digital space is the same as the meat space, there’s no reason that those same boxes for endorphin/serotonin releases wouldn’t be checked inside the 4th Wall, ensuring the same level of mental health.

The Fork

So here is where forks can come in. Once our lives are based around this post 4th wall world we will inevitably become tribal, form cooperatives and groups, meet and coalesce with people of similar interests and beliefs. We already see and have seen that on the internet. These groups are most often not broken up by nationalities or geographic loyalty (albeit language can be artificial barrier). They form based on mutual interests.

The future “Nations” of the post 4th Wall world will not care as to the geographic location they dropped from their mother’s womb, they will care about those in their new home, the digital home.

This will NOT mean conflict disappears just because we can all drive digital Lamborghinis and have the bodies we wish for (and of course digitally scarce items like Bitcoin will appear to allow for status symbols to be presented) doesn’t mean conflict will end.

Human nature begets conflict as a matter of conflict resolution since it’s inherent to the human experience and a strong emotion. It’s a path of least resistance to escape the pain of whatever adverse reality someone is experiencing.

What if we could design and outlet where everybody wins. everybody gets what they want?

What if your group wanted to use this island, but another occupied it? What if you could fork that reality into another, a digital multiverse where every digital possibility that could exist did (or I should say many of them would). Where reality itself is forked and those new groups can live as they wish away from those they had come to have irreconcilable differences with?

It may very well be that after a day, week or month of conversation this idea is proved (perhaps within our own ability to conceive now) to be invalid. That’s fine, the purpose of this thought experiment is to think of solutions to tomorrow’s problems.

The digital world’s overtaking the consciousness timeshare of humanity is rapidly approaching. Most of us ALREADY spend a disproportionate amount of our waking hours immersed in the digital. It is a much smaller leap from now into total VR immersion than it was from 100 years ago to today.

Episode 12: The Triumph of Free Markets w/ Jeffrey Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker and the Triump of the Markets

In this Episode I am joined by Jeffrey Tucker a prolific speaker, writer and economist. He was the first real economist to take a serious look at Bitcoin and embrace it as a real money.  Jeffrey has traveled the world speaking about Bitcoin, Free Markets and the cause of liberty. I am honored to be speaking to him today

In today’s episode Jeffrey and I discuss:

  • Jeffrey’s journey from music to economics  and Bitcoin
  • The Austrian School of Economics
  • The Utility of Cryptocurrency
  • Ludwig Von Mises Regression Theorem of Money
  • Crypto-Utopianism, hope for the future and what Bitcoin offers us.

NOTES:

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

         


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Does Mass Adoption Require Private Keys?

ORIGINAL ARTICLE APPEARED ON MEDIUM

I’ve been thinking about the custodial vs non-custodial question for cryptocurrency in terms of best outcomes vs. likely outcomes alot for the past few months.

If you’re not familiar with these terms, custodial wallets are like COINBASE, a third party holds the private keys to your wallet and you don’t have control of your coins. In short, that company holds your coins on your behalf and has total control over them.

A non custodial wallet is typified by the user holding the private keys to the wallet. This could be just you downloading the Bitcoin or other crypto client software and running it on your computer or something like the JAXX wallet, which while it is software from a company, you hold the private keys, JAXX can’t access or recover your funds.

In traditional finance, unless you hold the Cash or Gold on your person you are trusting your money to a 3rd party custodian. We all grew up (until we discovered Bitcoin) with this being the norm. Outside of small niche prepper/survivalist communities, no one, especially in the mid/late 2000’s carried much cash or owned physical gold. The majority if not ALL of our transactions, big and small were done via 3rd party custodians (e.g. Banks, Credit Cards, etc.). It’s important to note that this was not all because of convenience there is also a large element or NECESSARY in this system. You could choose to live out in the woods, hold all your own money, but if you wanted to buy anything that wasn’t located nearby, or pay your mortgage to a bank that wasn’t in the town you lived you HAD to interact with 3rd party custodians.

Bitcoin destroyed that model, it was no longer NECESSARY to trust 3rd party custodians. You COULD if you CHOSE to operate totally independent of that system. However, I have been thinking more and more about human nature and realistic expectations for how our Bitcoin based monetary system of the future will look like.

Bitcoin Purists would denounce this as heresy, but I don’t believe that we will (in our lifetimes) see adoption without custodial solutions. Humans inherently seek the path of least resistance in all things. We are relentless in seeking efficiencies and will, en masse, choose those with less friction when presented. Uber is a grand example of this.

Nobody liked riding in Cabs, they often smelled, the drivers apparently did not understand basic traffic law or the social niceties of driver etiquette, and quite often just talked on their phone the whole time you were in the cab (which is preferable to being roped into a political/conspiracy conversation).

All those negative things aside, it wasn’t those that led people to choose Uber over Taxi’s, although the ability to rate and the incentivization of higher quality experiences DOES HELP.

No.

What truly made Uber a game changer is that it saved time. It was more efficient. You can sit on your couch binge watching Netflix, press a button and have a car sent to you. You can still sit there watching your show until the car arrives and then you head down.

Uber doesn’t waste your time. No call, no talking, no walking outside to search for a ride. It makes it as simple as possible for Point B to arrive at your Point A.

There are numerous other examples such as Amazon, Butcher Box, etc. all finding success because they understand a VERY important aspect of the modern human experience. WE DONT WANT FRICTION IN OUR LIVES.

Like it or not but Non-Custodial wallets are FRICTION HEAVY. You have to download, set up, write down private key/recovery seeds, keep them in a safe, maybe split them into multiple parts in multiple safe deposit box so, engrave them on CryptoSteel, etc. etc. etc.

This is not simple, this is not easy and it’s not something you are going to get the vast majority of people in the world to do. The world is rapidly moving from more to less.

writing down phone numbers and memorizing them→ “Call Dean”

Passwords→ face unlock

Buy multiple ingredients based on recipe→Box with measured ingredients on your porch

If you’re moving in the simplified direction you win. If you’re moving the other direction… you will lose.

To me the important aspect of Bitcoin is that if you want to possess an exceptionally independent and secure form of money, you can. No one can stop you from running your own full node, securing your own private keys and operating totally outside the custodial wallet system. The current Fiat system does not allow you this, but Bitcoin does.

We will not see mass adoption of Bitcoin without 90%+ of those people using a UX/UI heavy custodial wallet solution(s). If you think it’s just a matter of education, you need to leave your tech enclave bubbles you live in and drive a few hours, go to the nearest supermarket and just watch people. If you interact with the average person you will see that these are not people who are going to run their own full node, use airgapped computers to set up paper wallets and have multiple storage locations for split sections of their private keys. It’s not happening, It’s not a matter of education; Its not even that most people COULDN’T, most people just don’t care enough to do so.

The point of this article isn’t too crap on purists or the public. It’s too bring a better understanding of how people work based on current trends and an understanding of human psychology. I would rather that everyone ran their own full node, secured their own private keys, had full control of their wealth and Independence from all systems that could cut them off from it. It would be better for the cause of Liberty in the world, but it’s not going to happen. As I mentioned already, an important and miraculous aspect of Bitcoin is that even if you don’t want it, You can at any moment take full control of your money. That is a monumental leap forward in the history of financial sovereignty.

Episode 11: Pamela Morgan J.D. on Crytpo Asset Inheritance Planning

Crypto Asset Inheritance Planning

In this Episode I am joined by Pamela Morgan who is an accredited and experienced attorney with extensive experience in private practice as well as working for the United States 6th Circuit Court.  She has written extensively on the law and blockchain as well as book on crypto asset inheritance planning, that is the subject of our conversation today.

In today’s episode Pamela and I discuss:

  • Her Bitcoin journey and why she has gone full time into blockchain.
  • Crypto-Utopianism, hope for the future and what Bitcoin offers us.
  • Wills and Inheritance Planning
  • What makes crypto assets unique
  • DONT LEAVE PRIVATE KEYS IN A WILL THEY VIEWABLE TO THE PUBLIC!
  • Why you should think about providing a name of a trusted person to assist family members in accessing crypto assets
  • Why you should walk your spouse through how to access Crypto assets wherever they are stored
  • Why Smart Contracts are not anywhere ready to be used for will and estate planning.
  • Why you need to start planning now.

NOTES:

This is a very important topic and one that I had started to look into independently before I talk to Pamela.  None of us want to think of our own mortality, but it does happen and there’s no time like today.  You DONT want to get hit by a bus tomorrow and in 20 years what is now millions of dollars in assets is STILL unavailable to your family because you never took the time to properly leave behind your private keys.

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

 

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Episode 10: Caitlin Long on Wall Street and Bitcoin

Wall Street: Good or Bad for Bitcoin?

In this Episode I am joined by Cailtlin Long, a 22 year veteran of Wall Street who handled Morgan Stanley’s Pension Business Solutions before going full time blockchain in 2016.  She then became president of Symbiont a Enterprise Blockchain Company and most recently has been responsible for pushing pro-blockchain legislation in Wyoming and a contributor at Forbes Magazine.

In today’s episode Caitlin and I discuss:

  • Her journey from wall street to bitcoin
  • Her work in Wyoming to make it the most crypto-friendly state in the country
  • How use of power in Proof of Work mining operations is highly overblown
  • State of institutional finances readiness to handle bitcoin and digital assets
  • The bitcoin custody problem
  • Fiduciary responsibility and forks
  • How a fork COULD bankrupt wall street
  • Fractional reserve bitcoin?
  • BAKKT platform and what this means

NOTES:

I have an extremely limited knowledge on the inner workings of Wall Street.  I know tidbits from family members who were in that business and the reading I did too understand better how the 2008 financial crisis came to fruition.

Part of the reason I decided to do this podcast was to learn more about this space and the spaces that crypto touches, the edge effects.  Wall Street is one of those edge effects.  I am extremely honored to be able to have Caitlin on this show today, she has been someone I’ve followed for quite awhile and her depth of knowledge of how Crypto and Wall Street do, can and could interact is unmatched.

I hope you learn as much as I did, and please listen to the episode Trace Mayer and Caitlin did on the subject of Financialization for a more advanced and in-depth look at the topics we cover today.

 

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

 

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Episode 9: The Great Block Debate Part 1 w/ Giacomo Zucco 

The Great Bitcoin Block Debate Part 1: Giacomo Zucco 

In this Episode I am joined by Giacomo Zucco, Director of BHB networks to begin our first of six parts in a series, outlining the Big/Small block debate that has split the Bitcoin community.

Today we talk about

  • Giacomo’s Bitcoin origin story
  • Small Blocks vs. Big Blocks
  • Bitcoin Attack Vectors
  • Political Philosophy behind Bitcoin
  • Why there are no real long term threats to Bitcoin

If you are new to the space you will probably be a bit confused as to what the difference between Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The reason these two coins exist simultaneously is the result of a long time disagreement with how to make the Bitcoin network handle larger volumes of transactions.

These two camps have generally divided on making blocks bigger to allow for more transactions per second with another camp that wants to keep blocks smaller and the network more secure while building another layer on top of bitcoin that will allow for massive, cheap transactions on that layer.

This is the first of a 6 part series highlighting 3 different voices from each side, each with a different perspective on WHY they believe their thesis and solution is the correct one.

Today I am joined by Giacomo Zucco, CEO of BHB Networks. Giacomo is a long time Bitcoin Advocate and passionate believer in Bitcoin as sound money and a store of value. This obviously puts him squarely in the small block/2nd layer solution to the scaling debate.

Giacomo was a gracious guest, giving up his own personal time and on top of that is a brilliant speaker and thought leader in this space. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him and I know you will enjoy this episode immensely.

NOTES:

 

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

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Episode 8: Security

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cryptocurrency Security Best Practices

In this Episode I talk about

  • Computer Security
    • Malware/Antivirus
    • Bitdefender
    • Nord VPN
  • Password Security
    • Password Managers
    • Lastpass
  • 2 Factor Authentication
    • Software (TOTP)
    • Hardware (U2F)
      • YUBIKEY
  • OPSEC (Operational Security)
    • Be Quiet/Humble/Anonymous
  • Physical Security
  • Backup Security
    • Multiple Location/Multi-Region

 

NOTES:

 

There’s a bit of a sharp learning curve as you come into the crypto space.  With the great power over your wealth compared to the old system comes a great responsibility and diligence on your part to keep it safe.

I want to show you the path to financial freedom but also financial security.  This all may seem like a lot at first but its really not after you do it a few times, it just becomes a habit like a pin number on your debit card.

I have lost private keys and passwords to old crypto accounts that had at the time a few dollars in them and are now worth hundreds, not a “lost 51 million” story but its still significant.  Proper security  can keep this from ever happening to you.

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

 

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

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Episode 7: Cryptocurrency Mining

What is a Cryptocurrency Miner and what do they do?

In this Episode I talk about

  • What is a Cryptocurrency miner?
  • What function do they perform?
  • What is their incentive for mining?
  • Who can mine crypto?
    • How you can start mining crypto today
  • What different types of miners are there?
    • Proof of Work
    • Proof of Stake
    • Delegated Proof of Stake
  • Nodes Vs. Miners, what is the difference?

 

NOTES:

Mining is a vital function in cryptocurrencies, there are various different types of block verification systems depending on the cryptocurrency, but the verification of blocks makes the whole system function.  If no one verifies blocks of transactions there is NO blockchain to run on.

I started mining in 2013 mainly litecoin but also other various Altcoins such as Dogecoin, Vertcoin even Ronpaulcoin!  I bought 6 GPU’s, a milk crate a mother board and various other components and after weeks of banging my head on the wall trying to learn a brand new skill I finally got it working!

I overclocked (went over manufacturer recommendations on settings) and overheated my rigs multiple times.  I would monitor its stats over my blackberry via google remote desktop…so much easier now!

At the time I was living in Idaho so my power consumption was low, I even produced so much heat I was able to grow tomatoes indoors in december! I mined enough coins so that I broke even on the operating and initial costs and I stopped at the end of 2014 with an upcoming move to a new state.

Looking back on some of the transactions i had in my litecoin wallet…if I had held onto those coins I would have over 10 million dollars today! I dont by the way, if I did I wouldnt be recording my podcast in a refrigerator box lined with eggcrate foam!

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

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Episode 6: Cryptocurrency Wallets

 

How do I choose a cryptocurrency walloet?

In this Episode I talk about

  • Terms and Definitions to understand crypto wallets
    • Public vs. Private Keys
    • Public key vs. Addresses
    • Mnemonic Device/Recover seeds
    • Hot vs. Cold Wallet
    • Custodial vs. Non Custodial Wallets
  • Mobile (app based) lite wallets
  • Hardware wallets
  • Multi-signature wallets
  • Paper Wallets
    • How to set up a bitcoin paper wallet
  • Best practices for keeping your private keys safe

 

NOTES:

My first wallets were the bitcoin and litecoin desktop wallets.  You can still download these and they function fine, they do however look all the part of a function over design 2013 wallet 🙂

In 2013 there was no commercial hardware wallet available, trezor was crowdfunding and finally launched in 2014.  If you had any significant amount of any cryptocurrency you would hold it in a paper wallet.  Paper wallets are still the gold standard as far as “near to perfect” security is concerned however a hardware wallet is the next best thing if you are unwilling to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of your funds.

Remember that Crypto is about YOU being in charge of your wealth.

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

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Episode 5: Cryptocurency Exchanges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a Cryptocurrency Exchange and How do use them?

In this Episode I talk about

  • Decentralized and Centralized Exchanges
  • Pro’s and Cons of Centralized Exchanges
    • Coinbase
    • Uphold
    • Kraken
    • Binance
    • Bittrex
  • Pro’s and Cons of Decentralized Exchanges

 

NOTES:

 

Cryptocurrency exchanges are the primary way that people are able to purchase and trade cryptocurrencies.  Centralized exchanges offer better usability, customer service options, the trade off being high fees for purchasing and trading (still lower than traditional markets).  Decentralized exchanges are wonderful additions to the space and offer extremely low fees and the knowledge that it can never be shut down.  I bought my first Bitcoin off of Coinbase in 2013, today I prefer uphold with their lower fees and great customer service.  Trading exchanges like binance, kraken and bittrex offer competitive trading fees however I would recommend that you don’t start trading until you actually learn how.

If you have any comments or suggestions please do so via social media, which can see below or Click Here.

If you would like to support me please click here to find out how or just do your amazon shopping through this link. Costs you nothing, but helps keep the lights on and my coffee cup filled.

 

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