Euvie: Welcome to episode 11 of the Future Thinkers podcast.
Mike: Today, I think we’re going to be talking mostly about Bitcoin but we already tried an episode of this and we got kind of ranting about the government and conspiracies and decided it’s not very appropriate. [00:00:30] So, we’re rerecording.
Euvie: In the last few days, we have acquired our first our first Bitcoins. I bought it through [inaudible [0:00:39], which is a website where you can buy Second Life currency and then transfer that currency into Bitcoin. It actually ended up being pretty decent. I think the transaction fees overall were about eight percent. Considering that was three transactions in total, that’s pretty good.
Mike: Yeah, it’s surprised me how difficult it was to actually purchase it to begin with. We have started [00:01:00] billing clients – sending invoices and proposals and stuff – with Bitcoin as an option for payment.
Euvie: Anyway, we’re pretty new to Bitcoin and I wouldn’t want to position ourselves as experts or anything. We just want to talk about Bitcoins potential for the future as a platform and as a new paradigm of what money is.
Mike: Why has Bitcoin become so popular recently? Why is it picking up steam? Why is now the perfect time for it?
Euvie: I think one of the reasons [00:01:30] why Bitcoin has become so popular is because once you do have it, sending and receiving transactions is really easy. Right now, companies like MoneyGram and other wire transfer companies make a lot of money on fees when you transfer internationally. That’s what Bitcoin is really good for, because it’s close to zero transaction fees once you have it. It’s very convenient in that sense. Of course, in the past it has had a history of people buying things that maybe they’re not supposed [00:02:00] to be buying, like the Silk Road, where people are buying and selling drugs I think. I’m not totally sure, actually.
Mike: Yeah, because it’s somewhat anonymous, right. It’s not perfectly anonymous, there’s still a record of every transaction, but, for the most part, you are not tracked by the government. That’s why people have used it for different nefarious activities. One thing that really strikes me about Bitcoin that I think is why I got into this big rant in the last attempt at this episode, [00:02:30] is because it’s decentralized. There’s no master puppeteer behind the whole thing. There’s nobody that’s actually controlling it. The internet has been going on this theme for a long time of openness and we’re fighting to keep it open. I wonder what the world would look like with Bitcoin as a main currency as with different governments operating under this decentralized, “Everybody participates,” model.
Euvie: Yeah, I wonder how that would affect things like transparency. [00:03:00] I was actually going down the deep rabbit hole today of all things Bitcoin and all the problems with Bitcoin. One of the things that people are saying is that the US government already owns a really huge chunk of Bitcoins, specifically the FBI. It’s still possible for them to control it that way, just by sheer volume.
Mike: Okay, they affect the price of it?
Mike: That’s kind of funny. As a store of value, [00:03:30] Bitcoin isn’t the greatest, it’s pretty volatile. It’s only a small aspect of the whole equation of what makes Bitcoin so cool. Why don’t we talk about some of the other ways that Bitcoin is democratizing currency?
Euvie: Right. One of the things that makes Bitcoin special is that anyone can get Bitcoin. If you want to open a bank account, you need to have your passport and your ID, verification of your financial history probably and all these things. [00:04:00] A lot of people, for example, in sub-Saharan Africa don’t have those things, they don’t have any financial history on paper or electronically, so they can never open a bank account. But they can acquire Bitcoin as long as they have an internet connection. A lot of people access the internet through their mobile phone, you can just get a mobile wallet for Bitcoin and get it that way.
It makes it accessible to everybody in the world, which I think is really cool. There’s actually a really good article from just over [00:04:30] a month ago by Peter Diamandis and he talks about why Bitcoin is a disruptive technology. Basically, he describes how it follows the six Ds of exponentially technologies, that is: digitize, deceptive, disruptive, dematerializing, demonetizing, and democratizing.
Mike: It’s pretty obvious, digitize, what that is. Deceptive, it’s had an under the radar approach into becoming widely adopted.
Euvie: Yeah, and it’s also misunderstood that [00:05:00] people don’t really know what it is yet.
Mike: How is it disruptive?
Euvie: First of all, right now, Bitcoin is cheaper to use than any other technology that it’s competing against. It’s cheaper to use than credit cards, PayPal, wire transfer if you’re just transferring Bitcoin. Bitcoin changes the way that we think about money, because right now the traditional money that exists is either controlled by a certain entity or a person, or it’s [00:05:30] backed by something else. Bitcoin is not controlled by any specific person or entity and is not backed by anything. That said, it makes it more volatile potentially, but a lot of people believe that that’s the beauty of Bitcoin, that it’s not based on anything. It’s very equalizing. That’s where we go to the democratizing aspect of it, as well, that anybody has equal access.
Mike: You can’t exclusively spend in Bitcoin at the moment. You wouldn’t be able to buy [00:06:00] everything you need solely on Bitcoin, although there’s a lot of big companies – Amazon and a lot of other ones – that are beginning to get pressure from the Bitcoin community to start allowing that as a payment option. At the moment, it’s not possible to buy everything, so you do have to exchange it to your home currency in order to spend it a lot of the time. Right now, that’s the thing that sucks. That’s what controls the value and makes it so volatile. If it wasn’t so tied to the dollar, it would have a more smooth [00:06:30] growth curve as more people adopted it.
However, the thing that’s changing is that there are Bitcoin ATMs opening up, there are debit cards – I don’t know if they call it debit cards but there’s Bitcoin cards that you can use like debit cards or like visas.
Euvie: It’s still in beta but it’s coming out soon.
Mike: There’s a lot of countries that are opening up Bitcoin exchanges. In south east Asia, I’m pretty sure it’s all of our surrounding countries, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, [00:07:00] Malaysia, they’re all adopting Bitcoin. That’s really, really exciting to see is even as employers, too, being able to save on payment rates through PayPal or whatever and actually just send Bitcoin, that would be really cool.
Euvie: Yeah, I think once it becomes a bit more stable in terms of its value… Actually, I think Bitcoin has followed the typical hype curve of any new technology that, at first, it has close to no value [00:07:30] and then, at some point, it gets exposure and it just explodes and people start buying it like crazy, which is what happened last year when I think maximum value of Bitcoin was $1,200 per Bitcoin. That was just inflated expectations and then it dropped down.
Mike: That happens a lot with technologies, right, where there’s this inflated expectation when something new is released and then people abandon ship on it when they realize it’s not perfect, it’s not exactly what they need it to be. [00:08:00] It creates more time for people to develop it and more people to adopt it and for us to have an infrastructure. That’s when you really see the launch period. Do you know what curve that’s actually from?
Euvie: I don’t know who invented this curve but I was just looking at the progression curve of technologies, how there’s this hype period and then there’s the failed expectations dip, then it comes back up a little bit and stabilizes. I’ll link to the page where I found it. If we think about Bitcoin in those terms, [00:08:30] it makes sense. Right now, we’re in a bit of a dip, especially in the last couple of days. Bitcoin has been somewhere around $450, $470 compared to… I think it was over $600 a couple months ago.
Mike: Yeah, we saw that as a bit of an opportunity and bought up a bunch of Bitcoin. I think that saying goes, “Buy when there’s blood in the water, even if it’s your own blood.” I like that.
Euvie: I like that, yeah.
Mike: There’s a lot of advantages with Bitcoin, especially when you’re dealing with the government. There’s no third-party seizure. [00:09:00] So, unless they can actually get a copy of your physical hard drive containing the Bitcoin and then they have to have access to your codes and everything to be able to transfer that.
Euvie: There are actually several methods of so-called ‘cold storage’ where you can store your Bitcoins on a hard drive or computer that has never been connected to the internet and that nobody can get access to it unless they physically break into your house and take this hard drive.
Mike: No taxes, as well, because it’s not trackable.
Euvie: Yeah, unless you volunteer [00:09:30] to pay taxes on Bitcoin, you’re technically not obligated. I’m weary talking about illegal stuff but we have a lot of American friends who, even though they live outside of the United States and have been for years, they still have to pay American taxes, which really sucks. For us Canadians, it’s much better because if you’re not legally living in Canada then we don’t pay taxes in Canada. It’s no wonder that the American government has issued so many warnings against [00:10:00] Bitcoin, because they see the potential.
Mike: Yeah, there’s actually been a lot of propaganda coming out recently about the dangers of using Bitcoin. It’s pretty funny to see. Whenever you’re at the edge of seeing a new technology take off, you get that pushback when somebody realizes, “Shit, this could be really disruptive.” We were waiting for that to happen and we start seeing news reports coming through on Reddit, on the Bitcoin subreddit. It’s just really funny to see that kind of stuff. What were some of the people [00:10:30] saying about Bitcoin?
Euvie: Yeah. I saw this article where the US Securities and Exchange Commission issued a warning saying that Bitcoin is not to be trusted and, “Bitcoin does not have an established track record of credibility and trust.” Then, of course, in the comments to this article, everybody’s saying, “Wait a second, shouldn’t it say Washington instead of Bitcoin?”
Mike: Yeah, it’s amazing, [00:11:00] the excuses people use for the volatility and riskiness of using Bitcoin, because it applies way worse when you’re talking about the dollar.
Euvie: Yeah. That said, of course there are genuine problems with Bitcoin and things that still need to be solved, like the irreversibility of transactions. There was a big discussion on Reddit about that, which I’ll link to in the show notes. Anyway, Bitcoin is still in its development phase, it’s in its infancy. Why don’t we [00:11:30] imagine what the world will be like once Bitcoin breaks through?
Mike: I think you have to take a lot of things into account to imagine that kind of world. I feel like there will be a ton of resistance to it, as far as it becoming adopted widely all over the world. I think there’s going to be a lot of things to deal with with how the government wants to tax its citizens. Fortunately, the nature of Bitcoin is it’s very hard to stop it. If you were a government trying to stop it, there’s little to nothing you can do about it [00:12:00] besides shutting off the internet, which is obviously not an option. I think one of the things that would be interesting about Bitcoin is helping people in third-world countries to get access to technology and money and information.
We see this rising economy in a lot of countries in Asia and there’s a lot of countries that are way behind. We’re seeing this rapid growth because of the internet here. When you see the basics start to come to some African countries, that’s, I think, [00:12:30] going to change a lot of the world – when we have the bottom level of the entire planet is brought up to the same kind of level we’re at, where they have access to food, clothing, water, and internet, we’re going to see a lot more skilled workers join the workforce.
Euvie: Yeah. I think a lot of that will come just from having access to a worldwide currency and access to the internet, because those things are platforms on top of which you can build. If you have the internet and if you have a global currency, you’re able to start a business online, [00:13:00] you’re able to purchase goods online, you’re able to purchase medicine online, all these things you can build on top of that. That’s the thing that I’m most excited about when it comes to Bitcoin is Bitcoin as a platform and what can you build on top of it.
Mike: Yeah. We don’t have to take down the current system, we simply have to bypass it and that’s what Bitcoin allows us to do. That’s the most exciting thing, to me. These types of new technologies come out and they allow us to bypass these archaic systems [00:13:30] with zero influence or control by people in power.
Euvie: Right. It’s not like revolution by forcing the current system to collapse, it’s just revolution by finding a better path and following that.
Mike: It’s a path that you can’t be followed. What other technologies you think that we need that are like that? The internet hopefully can stay that way. I think Bitcoin’s pretty robust. What other things do you think we need [00:14:00] to develop to bypass some of the problems and influence of politicians?
Euvie: I would say nanotechnology. That’s a pretty broad area but I think once we’re able to manufacture things at a very low cost and with low entry requirements – they have three printing now but even on a higher level, so you could manufacture literally anything without having to go to a factory in China and arrange all of that. I think that’ll really change the way [00:14:30] that everything operates in the world.
Mike: If we get currency to be decentralized, if we get 3D printing, if we’re able to keep our communication decentralized, I think one of the more important things that are left on the table still would be food production. If we can be self-sustainable and be able to produce nearly everything in our little backyard garden, that’ll be the final step for us to be off the grid and fully sustainable and live happy lives without the control or influence of other people.
Euvie: Yeah. Actually, [00:15:00] in Peter Diamandis’ book, Abundance, he talks about the future technologies of how we can produce food. He talks about traditional farming versus hydroponics versus aeroponics, where plants are suspended in the air in a mist of nutrients and water vapor and how that’s way, way, way more efficient than even hydroponics. I wonder, with manufacturing being accessible to everybody through 3D printing, how easy it would be to set that up. If you could print all the things that you need [00:15:30] and just assemble this hot house in a day and you could grow all the vegetables that you need.
Mike: It brings up another thing for me, when creatives and artisans are going to become more valuable until we’re able to realistically 3D print a large pepperoni pizza. There’s going to be more weight and importance put on people who are artists in different areas, whether it be food, music, movies, any kind of art form, I think that’s going to be more and more [00:16:00] valuable and people are going to pay more for that kind of thing.
Euvie: How do you mean that?
Mike: Instead of the office worker or the factory line worker, I think people are going to have to find skills that are more basic to human needs and desires. Art and music and food and self-expression are pretty important on a baser level for people. I think when you’re able to provide a valuable service in those satisfying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you’re going to be a lot more valuable.
Euvie: Do you think that’s kind of a [00:16:30] recession to the way we were in the stone age though?
Euvie: If you’re talking about food production, if everything or the majority of it can be done by machines then why would humans be involved in it? Do you mean just how, in the last few years, indie arts and indie crafts and indie bakeries have become really popular? Do you mean in that sense?
Mike: Yeah, I just think we’re going to be a little while off, maybe it’s not that long at all, but I think we’ll be a little while off [00:17:00] until we’re able to 3D print any kind of food that we want. Plus, I think the subtlety and creativity in self-expression of one chef versus another, it’s not something you can necessarily define and give to a 3D printer unless you have their recipe. I think you’re going to want the connection that they have with their craft and you’re going to want to taste or experience their expression of that craft. That’s an area where I think, until we get an artificial intelligence that’s able to think for us, [00:17:30] that’s going to be the final thing that humans are going to be left to bring value to the rest of the human race, those creative expressions.
Euvie: Right, that’s interesting. As we progress more towards near zero cost economics of manufacturing being cheaper and cheaper and being able to produce things on a grander scale, it’s funny that those things become actually more valuable. It becomes a luxury thing, I guess, when people want to experience something artisan. [00:18:00] They buy artisan bread, even though it cost three times more than regular bread.
Mike: The only thing I see being a problem in that, as more and more jobs are lost and people are transitioning into self-employment I picture there being only so much room for everybody to be in a creative space and to rise to the top and actually make a real living in those different creative spaces. In that sense, I think we’re going to need some sort of basic guaranteed income to be able to survive [00:18:30] and be able to focus and hone our crafts.
Euvie: I wonder though, because if we have a near zero cost economy on most things, meaning that most things can be produced at a very, very low cost once the infrastructure’s established, the ongoing maintenance and production of thing costs very little, doesn’t that mean that we’re just going to need less money to begin with? I wonder, because we see this economy as always on the rise, at least in the last hundred [00:19:00] years we’ve seen the economy to be constantly on the rise, the amount of money circulating is constantly increasing, the amount of goods circulating constantly increasing. If the basics are covered, in terms of cost, if we don’t have to pay for them, if they’re just abundant, then doesn’t that mean that we’re just going to need less money?
Mike: I don’t know if it means we’ll need less money, I’m not an economist in that sense, but I do think it makes our current skillsets less valuable unless we’re in a creative space. That’s where the [00:19:30] basic income would have to come in. We have to be able to have a place to live and sleep and shelter ourselves, we have to be able to clothe ourselves and eat and all that stuff. I think the expenses of those are rapidly decreasing and that should be the basic. We should have access across the planet to all of those things – medical care and everything like that. When you want to move onto the next level, I think that’s when you start needing to hone your craft.
I think we just, as a society, need to evolve to a place where we [00:20:00] can accept that everybody deserves that minimum of standard of living and that you shouldn’t have to be an incredibly skilled craftsman and be the best in your city to be able to afford to feed yourself. We need to transition into a space where we all deserve to live and, beyond that, it’s up to us to figure out how we want to really bring value to the world and move onto another stage of living standard.
Euvie: Who do you think benefits from this, because, right now, the people that [00:20:30] control the economy – the banks, the big industries – they don’t necessarily want this because they want the worker bees to keep coming back to the office for their pay cheque.
Mike: Yeah, obviously, the individual, everybody, the collective benefits. Every single person would benefit from this. Really, we’re not even talking about taking it away from the rich, we’re just watching up to them. Yeah, I know they’re going to try and stop it. It would be like trying to censor the internet, it’s just not going to happen. [00:21:00] You can’t possibly control and police every single individual on the planet. I think it’s going to be a ridiculous attempt to stop that but costs of everything are just decreasing at all times. I think it’s going to be hard to ignore the crowds of people beating down their door to say, “Hey, we’ve got all of this abundance, we’ve got all this automation, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to have a basic, minimum, guaranteed income to survive,” as more and more jobs disappear.
Euvie: Who do you think will provide that?
Mike: I think [00:21:30] we can provide it for ourselves. I think, once again, we can’t rely on our governments to take care of us. That’s the recurring lesson over and over. We’re doing better than they are with the internet, with communication, we’re doing better than they are with this new form of currency. We’re proving over and over that this system of government that we have is just too slow, too stupid, too self-serving, and we can do it better. I don’t even think it’s a matter of appointing someone to be responsible, I think it’s all of us [00:22:00] working together and creating more open systems like Bitcoin to provide this minimum standard of living. I think we can do it. More 3D printers become accessible, then you can eventually start printing the tools that you need to build your own house, or you can have a 3D printed house eventually.
That technology is already out there and getting cheaper and cheaper. That’s why I brought up food. What’s the last step with being self-sustainable? You can potentially 3D print clothing in the very near future. I’m actually [00:22:30] not too sure about that. Clothing’s easy to come by. You can print all the tools and stuff that you need at home. Computers are getting cheaper. You can print your home eventually. That one last thing I think we need help with is food. How do we do that? How do we make sure everyone is fed and watered?
Euvie: It’s funny, actually, because I grew up on a farm, so I know exactly where food comes from. It’s just a matter of [00:23:00] doing it more efficiently, because when I was growing up we did it the traditional way. You dig and you have to collect bugs by hand, you have to water it in the morning and in the evening. You have to weed it every day. It’s a lot, a lot of work just to provide enough vegetables for a small family. Yeah, if we can find a way to automate that or make it more efficient with aeroponics, for example, I think that would change everything.
Mike: I think we’re already there, [00:23:30] I just don’t know about it. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some sort of automated fruit picking or any kind of farming devices that take a lot of that work, manual labour, away.
Euvie: For sure, I think it’s just a matter of accessibility to the average person. With 3D printing, once it is accessible to the average person, that will be a game changer. It’s funny, actually, you talk about clothing being easy to come by. Clothing is only easy to come by because of the near slave labour conditions that we have in [00:24:00] clothing manufacturing factories in the third-world. People getting paid pennies and working 16-hour days, child labour, and all the horrible things that go with it. On the other hand, I think clothing production can be automated, as well.
If we have factories building cars right now, that are entirely automated and just one person monitoring the machines, we can definitely automate clothing production. Right now, it’s more cost efficient to hire some poor person in Bangladesh to work.
Mike: [00:24:30] Another thing that I think is really interesting I haven’t really thought a lot about with Bitcoin is the ability to start a business without having to go through all the bullshit of setting up a merchant payment system and be able to accept payments. You can just set up a Bitcoin wallet and instantly accept payments. I keep hearing about Bitcoin start-ups, and I always thought, “What is a Bitcoin start-up?” When you think about how much space there is for it to be adopted widely, [00:25:00] Bitcoin start-ups, it’s about exchanges, it’s about different ways to apply purchasing and accepting currency. There’s so many different ways that you could start up Bitcoin related start-ups. ATMs, debit cards, different virtual wallets, all kinds of stuff.
Euvie: That’s exactly what I was talking about earlier when I was talking about Bitcoin as a platform. What can you build on top of Bitcoin? It’s a lot. It’s the same [00:25:30] as internet being a platform, or email being a platform and all the things that get built on top of those. That’s what I’m most interested in when it comes to Bitcoin, that it’s not just another way to do the same thing, it’s a whole new paradigm for how we process money.
Mike: I’m thinking, too, about the basic income guarantee. I suppose it’s a bit of a socialist idea, but you can see the success of a lot of platforms like Wikipedia where nobody’s paid [00:26:00] to contribute, everyone just contributes because they want to. Or Kickstarter, you might contribute to a Kickstarter campaign without any expectation of a reward if you’re purchasing on a lower level. Some people just want to be involved and some people just want to do the right thing and help another person. I think looking at this from the perspective of the top 80 percent helping the bottom 20 percent and there being a platform for that to occur.
Euvie: Yeah. Having grown up in Soviet Union, [00:26:30] I have my own opinion on that system because I’ve seen socialism in action and it’s not as peachy as people who have never lived in a socialist country imagine it to be. For example, in Soviet Union, people were paid regardless of how well they performed at their job and people were paid the same. It didn’t really matter if you were a dentist or a toilet cleaner. Most people got paid around the same amount. What that resulted in is that a lot of people were just [00:27:00] slacking at their job. I think you can’t avoid that. You’re saying the top 80 percent helping the bottom 20, I think it’s more like the top 10 percent dragging the bottom 90 percent with them.
One solution that I see to that is that the people focused on doing what they’re passionate about. That way, they can be the 10 percent in their area. If they are not happy doing that, they can do something else. I think when people have more choice of what kinds of things they can do and less restriction… That was the one [00:27:30] problem with the socialist system, that there was so much restriction with everything. It was still very much centralized, even though the idea was power to the people, in reality, it wasn’t like that.
It was government controls everything and owns everything. You will still get alcoholics and time wasters and drug addicts and people who don’t want to do anything with their lives. On the other hand, you will get people who might build amazing things, like we’re seeing with the internet right now. People just spending years of their life building something amazing [00:28:00] without even knowing if it’s ever going to pay off.
Mike: I think the problem with socialism in the past has been that there’s a lot of things that we need people to do, physical labour jobs that we need people to participate in and do a good job. They need to be engaged in it. The problem that’s being created now is all of those physical jobs are going away. I don’t think we’ll even need to have that worry about whether someone’s going to want to do a good job at something they don’t want to be doing, because we don’t necessarily, [00:28:30] in the future, have to do anything that we don’t want to do. We might have to ask ourselves some tough questions, we might have to figure out how to not be bored and be satisfied with our life, find enjoyment, become educated and self-educate, that sort of thing.
As far as plumbing and digging ditches and that kind of stuff, I see that going away quite quickly. Until we get to the point where that stuff is automated, which it isn’t quite yet, the basic income guarantee won’t actually work. When we get [00:29:00] to that point, I think new technologies and the internet and the fact that we’re all connected to each other, we can all police and help each other on the internet, and have enough redundancy like with Wikipedia – if somebody makes a mistake, another person can just as easily correct it – I think we could relook at the different types of social organizing systems like socialism. Especially with a widely distributed method. Instead of it being centralized, being decentralized. Then we can look at these old systems and re-evaluate whether they’re able to work or not.
Euvie: [00:29:30] That’s a really interesting idea actually. Wouldn’t it be crazy if, in a hundred years, all of a sudden, once all the crappy jobs are automated and people can just work in whatever creative field they want, all of a sudden, socialism works and people look back and say, “Karl Marx was so ahead of his time.” That would be so funny. Yeah, I agree with you. I think right now, as it stands, it wouldn’t work.
Mike: [00:30:00] It’s the individual is the problem. When you’re trying to beat your neighbour and get ahead, that’s the whole motivational system of money is that you’re trying to get more than the neighbour, you’re trying to get your share of a finite pie. There’s not enough to go around, so you got to fight to get yours. I think that’s the problem. I don’t think any more one individual is going to be able to make much of a difference, aside from leading and inspiring people, I don’t think, as far as building a tech start-up that changes the world, [00:30:30] that it can be one person anymore.
Our world is becoming too complicated and the individual is becoming less important than the team. The ability to make a team work is going to be a lot more important. This idea of, what you said, Karl Marx, I don’t think that’s going to be possible. I think we have to, as a society, agree on big ideas before they can be adopted. It can’t be one person forcing those ideas to happen, it’s got to be adopted. [00:31:00] It’s not necessarily a voting system, like one person proposes the idea and everyone goes and votes. It’s like what you see with the internet, where it’s just a natural evolution towards the place it’s going.
Euvie: I think, of course, there’s always some person that comes up with an idea and sparks a movement. Talking about Karl Marx, he wasn’t a political leader, he was just a philosopher that came up with this idea and then political leaders adopted it and piggybacked on it. He wasn’t actually trying to push any kind of [00:31:30] agenda with it. I guess it’s the same with the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, who created Bitcoin, that nobody really knows if he’s a real person, or if it’s a pseudo name, where he is, how many Bitcoins he owns. He just started this thing and then let it go, and now it has a life of its own. He has no control over it.
Mike: That’s the thing I love is that, because of the internet, we don’t need this governing body to take care and run the system. We run the system. [00:32:00] That’s the amazing thing is that just by having the network in any sense, whether it be currency, the internet, any sort of distribution of information, having it be decentralized and us maintain and take care of the network and distribute, that’s the real power. Then, I think in the future we’re going to have to relook at these old ideas that actually requited somebody to be at the head and make the decisions. We can relook at those things now with the internet and try them out in a whole different realm.
Euvie: [00:32:30] Yeah, it’s really interesting. It all keeps going back to this idea of a platform. Once you build a platform, it runs itself and then you can build things on top of it. Just like the internet. At some point, somebody invented the internet and implemented it, and now the internet runs itself. Nobody owns the internet. People try to control it but you can’t. Same thing with Bitcoin.
Mike: That’s an interesting thing to ask that I would like to ask to our entrepreneurial listeners out there. What kind of ideas do you have [00:33:00] for platforms for your new start-ups or new business ideas? What kind of platforms do you see the world needing and their being spaces for? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Euvie: Yeah. Specifically, decentralized platforms. A lot of people are trying to build platforms that they control, but I think what the world needs is a decentralized old democratizing platform that nobody controls. Actually, that ties back into your idea of everybody’s basic needs [00:33:30] being met, because we can implement these platforms that take care of everybody’s basic needs, platforms that can run themselves and, that way, nobody has to work to maintain them.
Mike: Yeah. It would be like a taxation system, except you could maybe opt into it to receive different kind of benefits. It could be a decentralized taxation system that takes care of the people from the bottom up. Maybe that’s not the right way to look at it but this whole idea of taxation, [00:34:00] there could be a whole opportunity for a platform there, where you can opt in and there would be benefits that you’d be opting into, be taken care of.
In the last 15 years, many industries were turned upside-down by the rise of peer-to-peer technologies for sharing information. Napster changed the face of the music industry. Search engines allowed everyone to find information in an instant. Social media networks allowed us to form virtual tribes and start huge movements. All of these were disruptive technologies: they offered a new paradigm for producing and sharing information. Unlike the broadcast era, suddenly anyone could produce, share, and spread information.
We are experiencing another shift right now, and it’s one that involves currency: enter Bitcoin.
Bitcoin: Disruptive Crypto Currency
This open-source system for exchanging value is not only getting recognition among geeks. Business big and small are beginning to accept it as a legitimate payment source. There is a growing number of startups being built around it. And even though there are those that continue to discredit it and discourage people from acquiring it, they can’t stop it. Bitcoin may be the Myspace of crypto-currency, and there may be a better technology that comes along later, but it’s changing the way we think about money. Bitcoin is an entirely new paradigm – a decentralized global currency not controlled by any governing body.
In this episode, we talk about the advantages and downsides to Bitcoin, and what role this kind of system will play in the future society. We discuss decentralization and how this crypto-currency can be a platform for other exponential technologies. We also explore the possibility of a near-zero cost economy, equal access to basic needs and guaranteed income, and creative self-expression being the key value that human beings will possess in this kind of world.
In this episode of The Future Thinkers Podcast:
- Bitcoin and its advantages and problems
- The 6 Ds of exponential technologies
- Decentralization and its effect on the future
- The technologies needed to bypass archaic systems in society
- What value human beings will possess as technology progresses
- Why our current skill sets may not be important in the future society
- The need for a basic income guarantee in a world of open-source platforms
Mentions & Resources
- Bitcoin FAQ
- Silk Road, an online marketplace infamous for people buying and selling drugs
- From Deceptive to Disruptive by Peter Diamandis
- Bitcoin Lacks ‘Credibility and Trust’, according to U.S. SEC
- Genuine concerns and issues
- A list of companies that accept Bitcoin as payments
- The Hype Cycle in technology
- Xapo, the first Bitcoin debit card
- Mastering Bitcoin
- What is Bitcoin & Why do Banks Fear It?
- Related subReddit
More From Future Thinkers:
- Ethereum and The Decentralized Future with Vitalik Buterin (FTP016)
- The Death of The DAO and Codifying Ethics (FTP029)
- What Happens When We Give People Basic Income? with Scott Santens (FTP031)
- Blockchain – Building Blocks For a New Society with Vince Meens (FTP033)
- Possibilities of The Blockchain (FTP041)