Bitcoin HARDTalk #5 — Andreas M. Antonopoulos & Simon Dixon: Don’t Buy Bitcoin!
Link to the YouTube video: https://youtu.be/Suk1YNRmuxQ
Simon Dixon: Hello everybody! Simon Dixon here, and welcome to the fifth episode of Bitcoin HARDTalk where we give hard talk about the hardest form of money. I wanted to do an episode on all the reasons why you should not buy Bitcoin—I like to give a balanced view, not just the bull case. I know it’s very easy to get caught in the bull case. But what can go wrong with Bitcoin? And there’s certain things that have come up over the years, some genuine objections, some which are just misguided, and some that have just been proven wrong, just by experimentation and experience over time. And so in this episode, what I wanted to do is cover some of the different political scenarios, and also cover the technical reactions as a result of some of these common objections to why Bitcoin might fail. In order to do that—because I’ve got different ideas and different theories — I wanted to bring somebody in that could answer some of the more technical questions. You will know that I am a finance guy that got pushed into technology, and found technology. But I wanted to get a technical guy that’s also good at thinking about some of the political and technical. And really when that came up, there was only one person that I had in mind, and that’s really my go-to expert whenever I want to learn something technical and have somebody that can actually explain really technical and complex subjects in a real easy and understandable way, with a bit of philosophy and also a bit of politics injected in. And to me there’s only one guy that came to mind, and that’s Andreas Antonopoulos. Andreas is the author of Mastering Bitcoin, Mastering Ethereum, and The Internet of Money. He’s a technical guy but he’s also very proficient in both the philosophy, the politics, and the technical side of Bitcoin. He’s been around since 2012, so he’s seen all these different things play out over the years. And really, Andreas has often been the first person that people come across, certainly in the earlier days when they discover Bitcoin. The reason for that is because he has a real gift as an educator to actually articulate different schools of thought, and educate people, and is responsible for more people getting into Bitcoin than many people I know. So the first thing you probably think is, This is gonna be Bitcoin HARDTalk, so why do you have somebody that’s not gonna give hard objections to Bitcoin? Well, we really try to tackle some of these issues, so we covered all of the common objections: whether it be quantum computing, whether it be making Bitcoin illegal, whether it could be mining centralization, and we covered all of the common things that would really stop someone from getting into Bitcoin and play out different scenarios. I’ll cover more of the political/financial side and Andreas will jump in with the technical, and then we’ll come up with a general philosophy. And we end the recording with what we consider to be the biggest risks to Bitcoin. Now I do want to warn you: sometimes Andreas can get pretty technical, but I challenge you to persist through that, because at the end, we cover all of these, and we bring it all together into simple-to-understand, different scenarios that everyday people may not be so technically gifted at as Andreas can understand. So just push through the technical jargon, and we’ll see you on the other side. Okay, so I’m really excited to be doing this. Andreas and myself have crossed paths in many different environments across the years. And finally we get to create some content together. And I was thinking to myself, what is the best thing that Andreas and myself could do? And I think with the current stage at the moment, there’s lots of new people, we’re in a new adoption cycle where lots of new people are coming in. And throughout the years, we’ve pretty much seen every single reason, or every single objection that one could give, to not wanting to be involved in Bitcoin, or the same things that people have. And what I wanted to do in this is cover some of those objections. And I want to do it from the perspective of not just always thinking of the bullish case for why people should be involved in Bitcoin and what can happen, but also just tackle some of the genuine risks and what are real risks, what are fake risks. And so in doing that, I thought Andreas is probably the person that I would go to, if I ever wanted some of the technical perspective, not just simply because he knows the technology, but because he can also communicate and help people understand. And I think Andreas, you like to think of yourself as an educator, and I think you’ve done a great job educating in this space.
Andreas Antonopoulos: Well thank you. I think of myself as the greeter — the Bitcoin greeter that meets you when you come in, I’m like, Hello, folks! Welcome to Bitcoin! How can I help you find something today? The funny thing is that the journey you described, which is: overcoming all of these risks and objections, it’s not something that only newbies go through. I think it’s something everyone in Bitcoin goes through. So there’s no such thing as someone who came into Bitcoin fully convinced, and wasn’t a skeptic. And that shouldn’t be the case. We should all be skeptics, right? At first. Because, what we’re talking about is something that defies many of our expectations and beliefs — even Satoshi Nakamoto was a skeptic! They didn’t come in and say, This is going to work! They came in and said, Well, this might work, and if it did work, here’s how it might play out. [06:46] And they didn’t make all of those predictions correctly. Every single person after that came in with, I have a lot of questions about how this could go wrong! And the process of becoming persuaded about the robustness of this system comes from two-parts experience: the (1) first one is, as you’re thinking and understanding more and more of this system, these little fears pop up, these little risks, and you’re like, Huh, I wonder if, if this happened, could that be the Achilles heel? What’s the catch here? And you come up with these risks. And so gradually overcoming those and understanding, Oh, well, no, that wouldn’t actually work. Bitcoin would survive that. So one perspective is analytical—theoretical: I don’t think that would work because here’s why the technology would adapt. The second part—which is even more interesting — that I’ve experienced, is: actually seeing these things play out. Like, what happens if the one and only exchange loses everything two years in? That actually happened! And, I was like, We probably won’t survive this. And then we did. And that taught me something about the robustness. So I think that’s a great basis for us to help people go on that skeptic journey, because it’s a healthy perspective to have. Talk about some of the theoretical attacks but also talk about some of the experiences we’ve had that have persuaded us that this isn’t just theory. That, in practice, we’ve seen some some of these things play out.
Simon Dixon [08:27]: Yeah. Okay, well since you brought that one up, maybe for some historical context, how did you feel when there’s this one exchange that was pretty much the only place where, I mean — some people say that it was about 70% of the whole Bitcoin supply was being traded on Mt. Gox — and then it turned out that the whole thing is just shut down, withdrawals, and it’s all over. Can you remember where you were and how you felt when that actually happened?
Andreas Antonopoulos: Oh absolutely I can. So, first of all, my skepticism of Mt. Gox—which was a website that was originally bought as a Magic: The Gathering online exchange, and then converted and pivoted to being a Bitcoin exchange, and was the only Bitcoin exchange. My journey of skepticism began long before Mt. Gox failed. Mt. Gox had had a lot of growing pains, and every time the volume would go up, the lag of trading would shoot through the roof, which would cause a lot of people a lot of tears, right? If you put in an order at a specific price, and then it takes 20 minutes to fill that order, but in the meantime the price has dropped significantly, and you end up losing money—that hurts. So I remember that I had been railing against this site and saying, Listen, this isn’t safe! Do not store your money here! This was the beginning of me beginning to say things like, Not your keys, not your coins. I had started saying that back then, and telling people why they shouldn’t leave money on an exchange. But, even though I was saying that, there’s two aspects: there’s a lot of people who had money on the exchange who were basically treating it as a vault, as a wallet, not an exchange. But there were also all of the exchange functions. If you wanted to convert USD or any other currency into Bitcoin or back, that was pretty much the only service. This was before any others existed. I remember getting the call — this was before it became public — I got the call from some people who were running one of the biggest wallets in the space, who I was working with at the time. And I was in a diner meeting with some family friends for brunch in San Francisco. And I got the call, and I said, Excuse me one second, I gotta take this call—it seems urgent. I took the call and they said, Um, we just heard—it’s probably going to go public in the next hour or so — Mt. Gox is bankrupt. The money’s all gone. And it’s gonna shut down. And I remember feeling, like, Oof. That’s it — we’re done! You know, by that point, I’d put a year and a half of my life into this, all of my savings, I’m in debt, I don’t have a job, I haven’t yet been paid to do anything in the Bitcoin space. And it was the first time that I actually felt, Oh! Fuu— this could be it. [11:54] And really, because I’d seen that happen before with Liberty Dollar, and E-Gold, and bunch of other, more centralized digital currencies before that. So it was this sinking feeling, and I cried that day. I was very upset, I was like, I’ve basically lost everything. I had no money on Mt. Gox, but I felt — this will kill Bitcoin. This could kill Bitcoin. And it didn’t. And that really, really changed my perspective on how robust this system is.
Simon Dixon [12:42]: Yeah. I do remember what a time it was. Prior to this, it’s easy for people to come along now, and I guess a lot of people think they’ve missed the boat. But, you know, Bitcoin shouldn’t have succeeded. It was very, very unlikely to succeed. And every objection that people had back then were really real objections that were very hard to counter at the time. But yeah, everybody losing their money certainly felt like, Okay, this is the end.
Andreas Antonopoulos: Yes. Obviously a lot of people who used the exchange as a wallet lost their money. I think it was, at the time, something like three-quarters of a billion dollars. At a time when that was a very significant percentage of the total Bitcoin out there. One of the interesting things is, What can we extrapolate from that? Today a lot of people will say — and I hear this criticism all the time — that, if governments wanted to end Bitcoin, all they have to do is shut down the on-ramps and off-ramps. Make it very difficult to exchange, and that would kill Bitcoin. And part of my prior experience helps me with this, because I remember back with what happened with Mt. Gox: for a period of time, not only did we not have any exchanges, but we also lost a significant amount of Bitcoin that ended up being stolen. And it didn’t kill Bitcoin then — when a single exchange was enough to effectively shut down all official channels for converting fiat to Bitcoin. And leaving only peer to peer mechanisms — exchanging cash, among others. Now, not only would you have to do that in a massive, global coordinated effort by world governments — because if you leave any of those doors open, everything just flows through there — now we also have stablecoins which allow us to deal with the other aspect which was problematic then, which is wire transfers of dollars. So we can flow enormous volume through these exchanges. And, even then it wouldn’t work. People would revert to P2P. Yeah, it would stop the institutional investors, it would slow down our progress, it would hurt the price temporarily. But, if you realize, at that moment, that this won’t actually kill it, you get two results: the first one is, any price decline you see, if you know it’s not gonna kill, you start thinking, Well, I mean, this might be an opportunity. We might be seeing something that is temporary, but doesn’t change the long term valuation. In which case, you act on that. But the other thing is, you realize that, that result and that mentality changes the calculation upfront, which is: in order for this to work you’d have to have concerted, massive coordination between world governments. But, if they knew that, in the end, there was a significant possibility that this wouldn’t actually kill Bitcoin, and if they knew that trying but failing to kill it, ends up backfiring — because it feeds the narrative of This thing can survive even concerted action by national governments at a massive scale — well then they don’t even try, because that’s too dangerous to try. As they say, If you’re gonna take a shot at the King, make sure you don’t miss. [16:47] And this is exactly the case: every attempt to kill Bitcoin that fails, ends up inadvertently strengthening the narrative that it is not possible to kill this thing. So therefore, there’s this strategic game that gets play at a meta-level, which is: it’s actually better not to try direct attacks like that, because if they fail, they’re worse than not trying at all.
Simon Dixon: Well I remember, I was in Shanghai on a boat at a Bitcoin conference with lots of people from the Bitcoin community in this one boat, and the announcement came through that some of the CEOs of the exchanges in China were arrested, and they announced that there was a ban on Bitcoin exchanges in China. And suddenly, we were on this boat with lots of people that were at the conference, and we heard these sirens happening, and we thought that everyone was coming, that this boat was gonna be pulled aside and we were all going to disappear in a prison in China. But then the boat just went straight past and everything carried. But the price corrected, and it had a couple of thousand points that came off the price at that stage. But then that went into a raging bull market and we had these industries—and what I’ve seen is that every time, firstly — you talked about it — it has to be coordinated, because when one country does it, we’ve seen what happens. And the two trends that I saw as a result of that were (1) firstly, all of the volume went to Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. And Japan—who were the host of the exchange we talked about earlier — Mt. Gox, and another big one that got hacked, Coincheck, had been working a lot on their regulations of crypto-exchanges. And so, China—they allowed the mining industry to continue, but they banned the exchanges. Now the interesting thing about that is, if I were a government, and I was trying to collect lots of data, mining is: you put some fiat money in, you buy some machines and Bitcoins come out and they can go anywhere. But with exchanges, you gotta do all the Know Your Customer and you’ve gotta collect all the data. So what happened is that all of the data went to South Korean exchanges, Japanese exchanges, and Singapore exchanges. And China lost the data collection that they might have wanted. As we know, it’s a big agenda of governments to collect all of that data. The (2) second thing that happened—so, it just goes to another country, so then you have to have the coordinated effort—but the second thing is, you start to get the real innovation coming through, and that was when, it was after that, that this phrase “DEX” came around, decentralized exchange. Because, everyone starts figuring out, Well, how do you do this in the peer to peer? You know, everyone was doing this peer to peer, for example, if you had to go exchange cash, but then through technology, people started figuring out, How can we do that online? And the innovation just gets further and further and further. So if you start to see—right now, the big thing is DeFi — if there is a regulatory crackdown, which I’m sure there will be, then people start to push the innovation further, and then other countries see the opportunities and start putting robust regulations that are centralized. So, to me it drives the centralized business somewhere else, and the drives the decentralized innovation as a result, and it just continues.
Andreas Antonopoulos [20:43]: Yeah, to me I think what we have to think about is that when you have a decentralized system like this, that is truly global, there is an asymmetry of action. In order for centralized institutions — regulators, governments, etc. — to crack down or put a halt or slow down this system, they have to coordinate. And their coordination has to be near-perfect. I use another example about decentralization, the asymmetry of centralized versus decentralized systems, which is this: imagine your favorite super-band is having a concert at a stadium, and it’s a wonderful concert, everyone wants to be there, the ticket is $1000, and the stadium has 100 gates where you can enter, and 99 of those gates have a ticket-checking station, and check for tickets, and one of those gates is wide open and anyone can walk in. Simon, what is the ticket price for that concert?
Simon Dixon: Umm…free?
Andreas Antonopoulos: It’s free! It’s free, because if you have one gate that’s free, everybody goes through that gate! I mean there still might be some people who go through the other gates because they’ve already paid for the ticket, maybe for convenience because it’s closer to the parking lot, but just like when you have these outdoor concerts and someone knocks one of the fences down and then you see a whole group of band fans going, Waaagh!, running through the fences through the fields, being chased by one or two elderly security guards in yellow vests, completely failing to stop the crowd. This is the asymmetry of centralized versus decentralized: in order to control a system like that, that operates on a centralized basis, you have to 100% block all the exits. Otherwise, if you let one exit—and the switching costs between gates are zero — the bottom line is that you’ve failed. So a 1% failure in control, is entirely equivalent to a 100% failure in control. So, you’ve got centralized systems and centralized governments that have to coordinate perfectly, with no one stepping out of the game. And then you have a decentralized system that is reacting to these decisions. And the decentralized system doesn’t have to succeed everywhere, it only has to succeed in one place, because this is virtual — because there is no switching cost — you just redirect all of the flows through that one place. [23:41] And you may lose some volume at first, but very quickly you’re then going to focus the innovation on optimizing that path, and there’s a very big monetary reward for those who optimize it. It’s a bit like trying to build a dam and you’ve got the world’s best engineers and I’m one dude with a little drill. You know? Great dam you’ve got there! But I’ve got a hammer drill, so let’s see who wins? I don’t need to make the whole dam fall down. I only need to make a hole this big. That’s it! The water will do the rest. The water will take that tiny hole, and it will optimize its egress by making it wider and wider and wider until the dam is gone. So, money works that way! If you have a hole this big in the international system of financial controls and surveillance, which is exactly what Bitcoin is — it’s the pinprick — the small trickle that gets through actually funds the development and the innovation and the technology and the standing up of infrastructure to widen that hole. If you’ve got a country like Venezuela that has currency controls, and where the premium for Bitcoin is 30% above price, then whoever is able to send a trickle of Bitcoin into Venezuela and exchange it earns a 30% premium to use to expand their operations as fast as they can! And so that just makes the hole bigger! And this keeps repeating at every level. [25:26] So, decentralized versus centralized systems: the centralizers have to get everything right, the decentralized system only has to make a pinprick. That pinprick will actually self-fund its widening and the innovation, and the end result will be that you just break through the dam completely. And this has happened again and again and again with Bitcoin.
Simon Dixon [25:53]: Yeah. So, let’s look at the coordinated effort scenario. I can imagine a world, especially where we are today, where IMF calls out for a Bretton Woods II— already done. They sit down in a meeting, and it turns out that the whole world has complete ruined their fiscal and monetary policy — done. And they have to all sit around in a room, and they all coordinate a Facebook-style Libra monetary system using central bank digital currencies, and they decide on a global scale that they’re all gonna coordinate and implement some new global monetary system that’s backed by a basket of all these different currencies. And then simultaneously they all agree that in order to opt in to this system, they all need to make Bitcoin illegal for use and purchase in their country. I think the only example we ever got of something like that was when the United States tried to make gold illegal so they could prevent hoarding, but we’ve never seen it on a global, coordinated scale. So while that is one of the risks that could happen, do you think Bitcoin could survive such a coordinated, centralized monetary system and do it with a kind of [inaudible]?
Andreas Antonopoulos [27:24]: It would absolutely survive. It would stop thriving — temporarily. And the reason for that is because, right now, a lot of the volume in Bitcoin is driven by those who can use other monetary systems, have access to the global economy, and choose to, voluntarily, use Bitcoin as a hedge, as a speculative instrument, as a placing, as a way to invest some future protocol. I mean, a lot of those people would obviously be discouraged by such regulations. It all comes down to where you think the primary economic value of the world economy lies. Does it lie in the fiat-denominated spreadsheets of investors and speculators operating in the markets? Are the markets the economy? The regulated, equity global markets, the currency markets? Is that the world economy? Or is the world economy a million papaya and banana stands on the sides of the roads, or taco trucks? Is the world economy the productive output of 7.5 billion humans trying to improve their own lot? I certainly believe it’s the latter. Which then means that, what exactly does that 7.5 billion mass of humanity have to lose, if the issue here is: I can either make a living, or follow the law. I either follow the law, and starve. Or break the law, and survive. Well, we know exactly how that equation works out, because we see it today in the global patterns of adoption of Bitcoin. In the adoption across the global south, where it is being used as a tool of survival. And for that population, if you had this global coordination, that would fail. So that’s one aspect. But the other aspect is this: Great, so the IMF comes out and does this and they do this whole global coordination thing, and they try to shut down Bitcoin. Well, here’s the thing: this is a bit like OPEC. This is a bit like cartel activity. And cartel activities work best when the market is very small, when the number of parties that have to coordinate is very small, and when the upside is very high. But what we’re talking about here is coordinating between a hundred different governments around the world in a very international system on something like money that is broadly used. Now, to me that’s impossible. Because, any country that breaks ranks with the cartel, gains enormously through arbitrage. By saying, You know, that’s cute what you’re trying to do, but we think that if we actually go our own way and we enable on-ramps and off-ramps into and out of Bitcoin, in the first round, we’re going to get a lot of the people who are abandoning Bitcoin to come to us. And in the second round, we’re going to actually be able to grow substantially by being outside the system, because we’re outside the system already. China would do that, in my opinion. Almost immediately! They have no strategic advantage to signing on to a global system that is already dominated by the US and used for sanctions and geopolitical control, and hand them a new system that’s that, minus any alternatives, competition, exits, or safety valves. That’s strategic suicide. And of course for the very same reasons, Russia wouldn’t sign on to this. And what you end up doing is you have exactly the kind of split that we saw during the Cold War. You end up with a currency Cold War. And then you have a situation where there are basically two spheres of influence: there’s the First World — you know, I don’t know if you know this but the term Third World simply meant the unaligned nations — First World was the Western countries on the Cold War, Second World was the Eastern countries that were involved in the Cold War, and Third World, was just anyone who wasn’t with either the Soviets or the Americans. It was about splitting the world into two spheres of influence. So if you end up doing that with currencies again, where you have the post-Bretton Woods international money system dominated by Western nations, and then you have the outsiders saying No!, dominated by China and Russia, which would end up taking most of Africa with them, a good chunk of South America, all of Southeast Asia, you then end up with two completely different spheres of the economy. Now let’s think about this: they would not be allowed to talk to each other, right? Because they’re both closed systems. So there’d be only one way to move value from one to the other, which would be a permissionless system. [33:16] In that case, Bitcoin actually becomes the rails for connecting the two spheres. So if you want to move money from the Sino-Soviet region of money to the Anglo region of money, the only rail that connects the two is Bitcoin. I mean, that, in my opinion, not only fails spectacularly but then it actually elevates Bitcoin to world reserve currency very very quickly — through neutrality. Neutrality becomes its leading factor. Both sides see that. If I have to choose between a system that’s controlled by this set of countries that are not allied with me, or that set of countries that are not allied with me, how about I just choose a system that’s not controlled by any country, so it doesn’t matter if they are allied with me or not. Neutrality then becomes the winner, by default.
Simon Dixon [34:16]: Yeah. So Bitcoin becomes a tool for geopolitical currency wars.
Andreas Antonopoulos: Yes! And the thing is, if you create a system whereby the dominant function of currency is sanctions, then sanctions evasion is no longer a game of one or two countries. Then sanctions evasion is a game of half the planet against the other half of the planet, right? At which point, the sanctions-evading currency becomes geopolitically important.
Simon Dixon: Okay, let’s move to another common objection. Let’s look at mining. So firstly, let’s not assume everyone knows what mining is. So, Bitcoin is backed by proof of work, and we’re about to get a large-scale experiment of one of the significant cryptocurrencies — Ethereum — switching from proof of work to proof of stake, so we actually get to see two cryptocurrencies that have adoption for their own use-cases, and we get to actually see in real time the infinite expectations of what happens with proof of work and proof of stake, assuming these two systems survive. But one of the big objections is the whole inefficiency of proof of work, and how bad it is for the environment, and how, if Bitcoin becomes as significant as it could be, it will consume so much electricity that it becomes this just completely clunky, inefficient network. What would you say about the proof of work and—actually maybe just start with helping people understand the difference between proof of work, proof of stake and where you think these go?
Andreas Antonopoulos [36:18]: Yeah. Proof of work is about connecting currency to the ultimate form of value, which is energy. Everything we do on this planet is underwritten by energy. The food we eat is solar energy captured by photosynthesizing organisms, and then converted up a food chain into other forms of food. The heating in our homes, the ability to transport things around the planet, everything is energy. So in most currencies, the use of energy is mediated between the currency and the underlying energy by institutions that essentially change the exchange rate between energy and currency. So if you think about it, we just have a bigger chain for energy consumption: the US dollar is backed by energy, but instead of being backed directly by energy through proof of work, which is an efficient way of backing it by energy, you do it indirectly by energy. So you burn 100 million barrels of oil in order to wage war on lots of countries to control their oil reserves. You have all of the secondary effects, all of which ultimately consume a lot of energy, in fact in much more polluting ways, to do non-productive functions that act as a backing of the currency. [37:56] And, you know, if you call Bitcoin proof of work, I would call the US dollar proof of war. And that is the most polluting form of energy, and the least beneficial form of energy use we have on the planet. The military is the worst polluter in the country, and by extension in the world. So the idea that Bitcoin is inefficient misses the point, which is that proof of work is a mechanism for providing security in order to make the currency work, that does not have all of the intermediate forms of energy consumption in between the energy and the providing security. And so it’s a much more direct way of providing security for the currency, and unlike traditional currencies, where you don’t get to choose where the energy will be consumed or how it will be produced, Bitcoin actually gravitates to places where energy is overproduced and under-consumed, where you have for most production systems that are not connected to distribution grids. Where you have developing nations that are moving fast and building new capacity without being able to distribute it. Where you have newly launched alternative energy systems: wind, solar, hydro, etc. That again, have overcapacity in production and do not yet have sufficient demand. And in all of those places, Bitcoin gravitates and provides a subsidy that reduces the unit cost of electric production for those systems of energy. So essentially, it’s a subsidy system for solar, wind, hydro, and alternative energy, in places where that development is needed the most. And we’ve seen that in practice. This is not just a speculative thing. We’ve seen that that’s exactly how Bitcoin mining gravitates towards those sources of energy. Now, proof of work is one mechanism of doing it, proof of stake is a different mechanism of doing it, and they have different pros and cons. They’re not exactly substitute mechanisms. They’re not equivalent. What you can do with proof of work is not the same as what you can do with proof of stake. [40:32] Proof of work actually provides you with historical immutability, the ability to cement the past in a way that it cannot be changed, which is incredibly important for a very robust currency. Proof of work also gives you something else, which is that it allows you to bootstrap a currency without a prior distribution mechanism. You see, the thing is, with proof of stake, and let me explain proof of stake briefly — proof of stake is where, instead of using energy to back the currency, you use the currency by putting down a bond that you will do the security verification for every new transaction that happens. And if you fulfill your promise and do the security correctly, you get a slight reward — you earn some interest essentially. It’s a bit like using a certificate of deposit or investing in a bond and generation some yield as you maintain the security of the system through audits. So you’re putting down an auditing bond, you’re then auditing the system, and if you audit it successfully according to everybody else’s expectation, then you earn a bit of reward. If you audit it incorrectly, then you lose some of your principal. Here’s the thing: in order to do proof of stake, you need to have the currency that is going to be used to stake already distributed. And of course, in order to do proof of stake fairly—where you don’t have one person or group of people seize control from the very beginning — you have to have a fairly broad distribution of the currency before you start proof of stake. Well that creates a bit of a chicken and egg problem. You can’t bootstrap a proof of stake system ab initio. You can’t have a virgin birth of a proof of stake system, because, essentially, all of the control is in one group. [42:28] Which is why many proof of stake systems actually bootstrap as proof of work. Proof of work allows you to do a virgin birth, like we had with Bitcoin. You bootstrap it, the proof of work uses a mechanism to distribute the currency based on competition of resources. But here’s the interesting thing: once you’ve done that, you can actually switch to proof of stake if you want to! Ironically, the efforts to perfect proof of stake, to improve, to test at bigger and bigger scale, to put under adversarial trial proof of stake systems—in Ethereum — is actually an enormous safety mechanism for Bitcoin. And Bitcoin’s proof of work and immutability is an enormous safety mechanism for proof of stake systems. Allow me to explain. One of the difficulties a proof of stake system has is it cannot safeguard the immutability of the past. There’s a type of attack against proof of stake systems called a long-range attack, where, essentially what you can do is you can re-write the past beyond a certain depth for zero cost. Because there’s no way to prove that that past is immutable. In a proof of work system, if you’ve used the energy and then you try to recalculate the past, you have to re-expend the same amount of energy, there’s no shortcut, you can’t do it without proving the proof of work. So if you spent gigawatts to get to today, and you wanted to re-write the past, you’d have to spend those gigawatts again to re-write it. And that preserves the past very robustly, because, of course, you only get rewarded once, but you expend the energy twice if you try to re-write the past. In proof of stake you can’t do that, but you could take proof of stake checkpoints and embed them in a proof of work blockchain that gives you the robust protection of the past and therefore safeguards your proof of stake blockchain from long-range attacks. You can use the proof of work blockchain as an oracle that gives you check-pointing. In fact, a number of chains already do that with Bitcoin. But here’s the other way it works: the key scenario that most people are worried about is: the miners get shut down. Somehow, a government coerces all of the miners into shutting down their operations, or seizes their operations, or takes over and forces them to censor transactions, or whatever. And we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot guarantee that 51% of the mining is in honest hands, which is the prerequisite for maintaining a proof of work chain. Well, there are a number of things that can be done at that point. There can be proof of authority overlays, where you basically say, These miners have acted improperly in the past, we’re not going to accept them. We’re going to vet some of the miners and sign their blocks and only accept those. Tricky to do. But here’s a thought of how we could actually fix this in Bitcoin, which would be to switch to proof of stake, perhaps temporarily, perhaps long-term. You take out all the miners, we switch to proof of stake. The funny thing is that, Bitcoin’s already been distributed. So we’ve already solved the virgin birth problem. We already have Bitcoin holders, who have in their best interest to maintain the honesty of the chain, which means that those people staking their Bitcoin would actually protect the system against proof of work attacks. The thing is, you don’t need to implement that solution for it to be an effective counter-measure. Simply the fact that you can means that an attack against miners is ultimately a failed attack. It involves hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars, in infrastructure, if you’re gonna do a 51% attack. Or it involves expending enormous and strategic capital to compromise and coerce the miners in your state, and then ultimately what that results in is someone nuking your strategic Bitcoin infrastructure from under your feet, and kicking you off the position of power that you had, and now just lost. To achieve what, exactly? Nothing! So, the mere existence of a counter-measure acts to prevent this attack. [47:32] This is a bit like Chekhov’s gun: if you see a gun on the mantle-piece in Act I of a play, someone’s gonna get shot in Act III. The presence of that thing signals what comes next. The fact that we have more than one effective consensus algorithm now prevents an attack against consensus algorithms. Does that make sense?
Simon Dixon: Okay. Yep! So I guess, summarizing that mining centralization argument is a big thing. People always are concerned. Originally, you could fire up a laptop and you could use your computer power to mine Bitcoin. Then it moved to more complex graphic cards, and then it moved to specific machines, and now it’s institutionalized. Firstly, when people say that about 65% of mining happens in China, is that something that actually is true and can be verified? And do you see a scenario where the Chinese government nationalizes all that mining power and Bitcoin becomes Chinacoin?
Andreas Antonopoulos: So, first of all, there’s no way to actually verify that. People make a gross simplification in most of these arguments. What they say is, 70% of the mining pools are concentrated in China, and then they equate mining pools with mining power, and that’s absolutely not the case. Mining pools are concordia of mining power that concentrate the activity of mining, but they don’t physically exist anywhere. So you can participate with your mining power in any mining pool you want, and most importantly the switching cost of moving from one mining pool to another is zero. So if someone takes over a mining pool and you don’t like how they’re operating, you just switch mining pools, and that’s it! And the mining power drains enormously fast. We’ve seen this happen several times in Bitcoin’s past, where a mining pool has acted suspiciously, or even a rumor has been started that a mining pool might act suspiciously, and the mining power in that pool evaporates overnight, like 95% drop in power overnight. So we know that 70% of the hashrate that presents for mining pools is through mining pools that we see are located in China, because we can identify the location of mining pools. But we don’t know where the actual mining power is. There’s good reason to believe that a chunk of it is in China, probably more than 50%, possibly as big as 70%, but we don’t know that. That’s also not to say that you don’t have pools of mining power that exist in other countries, or that you might not have pools of mining power that can be brought up rather quickly in other countries. The long-term trend has been one of decentralization of mining power. So if you think about it from a numbers perspective, in 2009 there was one miner who had 100% of the hashpower — Satoshi. And that was the most centralized mining we’ve ever had, but it didn’t matter, because the rule here is that more than 51% must be in honest hands. It doesn’t matter in this case — one set of hands — as long as that was honest, it worked. And then it was two, and then it was three, and now we have thousands of miners with machines all around the world. Some estimates in terms of the actual machines is that we’re looking at more than 2 million pieces of hardware devices that are mining. And so from that perspective it’s decentralized, even within China — I mean China is an enormous country, with a lot of very remote, rural areas where various kinds of deals with local officials generating enormous revenue through the back door are enabled through these mining functions, even if the Chinese government decided, Let’s take down all the miners, this is the conversation I imagine: Hello? Central Party? Yes. Uh, we should do what? Shut down all the miners in our province? Oh. We don’t have any miners in our province. Oh, you found some? We will shut them down immediately. Guys, shut it down for an hour. You know? The problem here is that—yes, okay, China has very very strong controls so that they can expand and extend very strongly all across the country, but we’re talking about money here. And in a centralized system like that where the rule of law is so weak, money has an incredible corrupting influence—the amount of bribes that can be marshaled off of a Bitcoin mine to every layer of official within that area. So, yes it’s possible to shut them all down, but China would want to do that in a very draconian fashion, which of course they might decide to do. But you have to ask Why would they do that? What would they gain exactly? And the truth is that right now, it serves them better to keep that in their back pocket, than basically push the entire industry to the United States and other Western nations, with no hope of seeing it return to their shores ever again, for no reason! It doesn’t really give them any advantage. The final thing is to understand that, taking control of the miners doesn’t allow you to break the rules. If you have control of all of the mining, you still can’t spend Bitcoin that isn’t yours. You still can’t take all of the Bitcoin. You still can’t make transactions pay different people. You can stop the network — that’s it! And so, in order to do this kind of attack, you have to have one and only one goal, and that is to stop the network. And then it goes into the idea of, if you do that, and you fail to stop the network, what have you proven? You’ve proven that it’s not stoppable. So there’s a very, very big risk in failure there, again as in many attack vectors on Bitcoin. [54:33] That doesn’t mean that China’s not gonna do this — they might. And this might end up wounding Bitcoin severely and setting it back by years. But I am not of the mind that the development community and the rest of the ecosystem in Bitcoin will simply sit back, let that happen, take no counter-measures whatsoever, and not come back with a torrent of innovation. In fact, quite the opposite. I think that triggers a defense response, which leads me to my final thought on this category of problems, which is: we have to think about this in terms of evolution. This is not a single system battling another single system. This is millions of independent agents in various governments, regulators, and countries, battling millions of individuals with their systems that are dispersed around the world — software programmers, miners, users, wallets, exchange operators, who have their own interest, right? So if you think about these as two giant populations and you think about them engaging in some kind of battle, then if the predators in that environment create a new attack that finds a vulnerability in the prey, what we know from nature is that that creates an evolutionary response. And what happens when you attack a prey animal is — depends! Take a look at Australia. You can see there what happens when you have a lot of animals in a very harsh and hostile environment. They become scaly-armored, venomous and poisonous things, so that eventually there are very few cuddly critters in the country, and almost everything can kill you. My theory is this: right now Bitcoin is a gecko. If you start stomping on all the little geckos, you trigger an evolutionary response, and the gecko starts getting bigger, sturdier, scalier, poisonous, angry, and reactive, and what you end up doing is you drive evolution to a Komodo dragon. And if you try to step on a Komodo dragon, it will bite your foot off. So if the governments of the world decide to try an attack like that on Bitcoin, they will drive an evolutionary response, at the protocol level, at the user-interface level, that will make the system stealthy, reactive, evasive, and vicious in response. And that will actually make it unstoppable.
Simon Dixon [57:46]: Yep. Okay, next one is quantum computing. Can a quantum computer take down Bitcoin? And is that on the horizon?
Andreas Antonopoulos: A quantum computer can take money from an elliptic curve digital signature signed transaction, or address, by reversing a public key into a private key. That is not the same as taking down Bitcoin, however. And that is due to a number of innovations that exist in Bitcoin. So first of all, ellptic curve cryptography that is used in Bitcoin is susceptible to quantum analysis — cryptanalysis. Meaning that, if you have an elliptic curve public key, you can’t get the private key, because that’s the mathematical equivalent of doing division in the elliptic curve domain which is not possible. You would have to try every possible private key in order to find the one that gives you that public key, also known as a brute force attack in the classical computing environment. Therefore, you can’t take a public key, and find the corresponding private key, or take a digital signature and find the corresponding private key. With a quantum computer, however, you can, as long as you have a quantum computer that can actually do calculations at 256 qubits — actually, I think it’s only 128 because of the nature of quantum cryptanalysis, but you need a lot of qubits. We’re nowhere near getting that many qubits, but let’s say theoretically you did have a computer like that. Well, you could go on the Bitcoin blockchain and you could find any transaction that has a digital signature or public key in it, and you could find the corresponding private key. Now, here’s the interesting thing: digital signatures of public keys don’t appear in Bitcoin until you spend. When you receive Bitcoin, you receive it to an address which is a double-hash. And the public key and digital signature isn’t shown until you spend. So if you’re not re-using Bitcoin addresses, if every time you do a transaction, you use a new address, and if any time you sign for an address, you spend everything that’s in that address and send the change to a new address, when I’ve shown you my public key and my signature, it’s to a private key that no longer controls money, because the reason you saw it is because I just spend it all from there. Which actually really narrows the focus of such an attack. You’d only be able to do it against keys that been re-used. Quantum computing would also not be very effective for breaking SHA-256. So, that’s a whole different domain of problems — is doing a preimage attack on a hash algorithm. There’s no indication that you can really accelerate that with a quantum computer. As far as I know there are no good algorithms that can do that. So, money in re-used keys would be vulnerable, but at the same time, that’s not the end of Bitcoin, because we can change the signature algorithm. So we can change to a quantum-resistant signature algorithm, and then it’s resistant to quantum computers. In fact, if quantum computing is widespread, if I can have it in my ThinkPad, then I can use a quantum digital signature that cannot be broken by a quantum computer. If I can sign with a quantum computer then you can’t break it with a quantum computer. So we just upgrade everything to quantum-capable systems. The bottom line is that if you think of Bitcoin as a completely static system, where everybody publishes all of their digital signatures —yes, that’s vulnerable to a quantum computer. But that’s not what Bitcoin is! It’s a system where we don’t publish our signatures until we empty an address, for the most part. And then it’s also a system that can evolve, we can change the signature algorithm. In fact, the very next upgrade in Bitcoin that is being planned right now — it’s called Taproot — it’s a collection of changes that is being planned for 2021 introduction into the Bitcoin code base, [that] includes a new signature algorithm called Schnorr signatures. The fact that we can go from elliptic curve digital signature algorithm (ECDSA), to Schnorr signatures and have both of those systems work in parallel, simply demonstrate the fact that we could also have another, and a fourth, and a fifth, and a sixth signature algorithm all co-existing. And we can evolve them over time. So, as long as the system continues to evolve and as long as quantum computers are not capable of doing the amount of qubits that are needed to break our key lengths, we are not only safe, but we can stay ahead of this game.
Simon Dixon [01:03:08]: Okay. And then just help us understand. If someone had such a quantum computer, what other things in the world except for Bitcoin would be affected by that? Would this affect the security of our bank accounts? Or is it just something that would affect Bitcoin?
Andreas Antonopoulos: Every system of encryption on the planet is immediately vulnerable, which means all of the web security certificates, SSL, all of the bank to bank communications, all of the embassy communications, all of the communications with the nuclear submarines, all of the communications with aircraft, all of the communications at every level. All of encryption breaks if you have a quantum computer. Which, interestingly enough, then makes this the most important secret in the world. And, it’s the one that you keep dry until you need it. So let’s say for example that the NSA created a quantum computer with enough qubit capacity to break other governments’ communication secrets. Well, at that point you don’t want to use it. And if you do use it, you want to have the ability to do what’s called parallel construction. Meaning that, you need to have a cover story. So if someone says, Hang on a second. It appears they know that we were going to be in the Red Square at noon exchanging this diplomatic envelope. Did they break our communications? No, probably not. They probably got it by beating up Yuri last week. You need an “other” story that’s more plausible than, They have a quantum computer that can read all of our messages. We actually have a historical parallel to this: between 1941 and 1944, the Allies broke Enigma, the German, the Axis encryption computer machine that was being used by Germans to control submarine fleets, to communicate about air raids, etc. They broke this in England at a place called Bletchley Park under the leadership of Alan Turing, the father of computer science. And then this became the most important secret in the war, because they could now read the German communications — not immediately, not all of them, but enough and fast enough that they could actually take action. So they had to then construct a complete intelligence system that ensured that for every lead that they followed, they had a cover story that gave a better explanation than, Enigma is broken, so that the Germans wouldn’t stop using the Enigma machine. And in fact there’s a specific example in the war when the Allies found out that Coventry was about to be bombed with one of the biggest raids in the war, and they had the choice between preventing possibly tens of thousands of deaths in the city of Coventry, and revealing — and they didn’t have a good cover story. And so they decided to let the Germans bomb Coventry and not warn anyone. So, Bitcoin is the attack that doesn’t have a good cover story. You start seeing coins from years ago moving that nobody thinks anyone can break the keys — the idea starts growing in your mind that maybe someone out there has a quantum computer capable of breaking ECDSA. Which then creates a worldwide scramble to migrate away from quantum vulnerable encryption systems, and it complete de-fangs that very important intelligence tool. So if someone had such a tool or is able to build such a tool, more likely, over the next 15 years, they would be very smart not to use it on Bitcoin, and instead to keep it, and hold it, and to pretend that such a thing doesn’t exist, and to use it only under dire circumstances.
Simon Dixon [01:07:23]: Okay. What about developer centralization? So over the years we’ve seen politics within the Bitcoin space with significant developers that have more influence and maybe they own the — well it’s open source, but someone controls the GitHub passwords. And we’ve seen claims that certain developers from within an organization like Blockstream — when they have more influence over the Bitcoin code, and that you could have a corporate takeover. How do we protect, and what’s the risk of a few key developers making some malicious attacks or being compromised or being ransomed in order to do something?
Andreas Antonopoulos: Well, the first and biggest defense is that this system is an open source system, which means that anyone can and thousands of people do, inspect all of the code changes that go into Bitcoin. I read GitHub blogs. I follow — not all — but many of the conversations that are happening on the developer mailing list, in the developer IRC, and in the GitHub pull requests, which are the requests for changes that are happening and publicly discussed. And you can read the code and see what exactly is being changed, how, and why? There is a very, very small possibility that someone could sneak a code change in there that has an unintended side effect that is not immediately obvious. But again, this is a decentralized system, so you change the code of Bitcoin Core — does that change the security of wallets that don’t depend on Bitcoin Core? Nope! So there is no central piece of code that is used everywhere in Bitcoin, other than the mining functions. The core consensus algorithms which are very, very, very carefully scrutinized, and of course, even there, people don’t only run one code base. They run a couple of different code bases, they’re very slow to upgrade, and they take their time to make sure there are no problems, not because they’re expecting back doors, but because they expect bugs that inevitably happen. And if you lose money because of a bug, it doesn’t hurt or sting any less or more than losing it through a back door. So open source code creates an environment in which it is very difficult to introduce changes. The ecosystem around Bitcoin uses a variety of code bases at different levels within the application stack, and they’re written independently in differently languages by different people, and they’re all scrutinizing the main rules that run in consensus and interacting with them and running a barrage of programming tests on those rules to know if something has changed that’s going to affect their software. So, can a programmer introduce a back door? Not really. And they’d have to introduce it in a way to goes unnoticed, and spreads widely, and then gets adopted by multiple stacks, and then can be executed in such a way that causes widespread damage that can’t be fixed by patching or even rolling back the chain. That’s a lot of ifs. And so if you think about it from a probability perspective, the probability of the first thing happening is 10%, the probability of the second thing happening is 10%, so 10% times 10% is 1% — the probability of the third thing happening — so you have an exponential decay of probability with every step that you add to this chain. This is why conspiracy theories don’t work. It’s because the probabilities multiply in a way that exponentially decreases the chance of it succeeding. [01:11:49] So, no, you can’t do that. On the other hand, can you create an environment in which development is hijacked in such a way that others can’t develop alternative paths or follow alternative attempts to develop the code or disagree with big decisions. I think that was answered conclusively in August of 2017. And the answer is, that although development teams can build their own, and can fork off from Bitcoin, and then can solicit the businesses, the owners, the wallets, the exchanges, etc., to follow their version. Now, you’re gonna hear a lot of people say, but censorship and bullying prevented this from succeeding, and I don’t believe that, because when Bitcoin started, nobody believed in it, it was absolutely censored everywhere, there was plenty of bullying from major financial circles, and yet Bitcoin did succeed, because it could succeed on the merits. And I would argue that alternative teams that have tried to implement changes to the Bitcoin code, have failed on the merits, because they have failed to maintain it, to develop features that people actually want, to follow the conservative ethos that the market is demonstrating through its choices whether you agree with it or not, and have failed to appeal to the businesses, and the users in the ecosystem to follow them. But, if it was in fact the case, that the developers tried to pull a coup, where they try to push changes or prevent changes that were broadly desired — they would fail on the merits. Other people could very easily bootstrap that code, run it independently with the changes that they want, and maintain it by attracting the best talent in the space. And, you know, we can talk about all of the conspiracies for why that happened for some of the forks for Bitcoin. But the bottom line is that that represents a supreme lack of faith in the ability of the market to discern the merits of different solutions. And I trust the market, bottom line. There is no amount of censorship that could make a solution that is inferior and peer to peer. Not over the long term.
Simon Dixon [01:14:33]: Okay. We’re getting into one more and then I’m gonna leave with one question. So Satoshi, the million Bitcoin, moving some of those coins? What’s the likelier of that?
Andreas Antonopoulos: I mean it’s possible at some point that that happens. I think it’s extremely unlikely. Honestly, we don’t know if Satoshi is still alive, quite honestly. And we certainly don’t know if they still have control and access to the keys in order to use them. This is unknown. An unknown doesn’t mean that I think they’re not alive, or I think they don’t have control. It really does mean unknown, they might, they might not, there is zero possibility of going one way or another, because we don’t have the information to make that determination. So, from that perspective, there is a possibility, but that possibility gets slimmer with time, meaning that, Satoshi Nakamoto has disappeared since 2010 and none of the Bitcoin has ever moved. 10 years later, that fact, not only hasn’t changed, but it’s had 10 years piled on top of it. So if you follow the general logic year, every year that passes cements the probability that they’re not going to move. If they did move, it would be a shock to the system, for sure. It would be a shock to the system because it would demonstrate one of two possibilities: one, that Satoshi Nakamoto’s keys have been accessed, and someone controls them and is able to move, either Satoshi themselves, or somebody who managed to get access to those keys, inherit TXs to those keys, find those keys, whatever. The second possibility, ironically, goes back to the previous discussion that we had, which is that a quantum computer has cracked those keys. Especially with some of the early keys, they are paid to public keys so the public key is visible, and the money’s sitting in them. So, therefore, a quantum computer, its first target, its juiciest target, its easiest to attack target, is the Satoshi stash. So, how do we know if a quantum computer exists that can break ECDSA? Simple! Satoshi’s coins start moving. In fact at some point after a decade or so, it might actually be the more likely explanation. So you see the coins moving and you’re like, Did Satoshi come back from the dead? Or, did a quantum computer emerge that can break these? As the years go by, I start leaning more towards, Okay, it appears that a quantum computer has emerged that can do this. But I think we’re still a decade away from that. It would cause a massive amount of volatility in the space by injecting an enormous amount of liquidity on the supply side of Bitcoin. But it would also once and for all resolve the question, and so you probably know—I think this is characteristic of markets — which is, what’s the thing? Sell the rumor, buy the fact? The fact that there’s uncertainty, can cause a lot of volatility. Something starts happening, but it’s unexpected. The markets react badly. But as soon as that becomes expected, you get the opposite reaction. The markets go, Oh, well, I guess Satoshi’s coins moved. Bitcoin didn’t die completely, its price dipped. Well now, Bitcoin, at whatever price it’s priced in now, is a Bitcoin in which Satoshi’s coins have moved, and are therefore part of the supply and priced in. Therefore, its future is now certain. That is no longer hanging over it. Which, usually, traders react to very optimistically at that point, because you remove that big chunk of uncertainty. Sometimes, having the bad news confirmed, leads to a rally in the markets, because you went from uncertainty, to confirmation, even though what’s being confirmed is bad news.
Simon Dixon [01:19:22]: Okay, so I think this is a nice place to conclude it up. I think it seems like the biggest risk to Bitcoin is that Bitcoin becomes so statistically and geopolitically significant in the world that a coordinated effort by all the governments all around the world, and the IMF and the World Bank and the Bank of International Settlement all get together and they create their central bank world global digital currency, and simultaneously invent a quantum computer, and attack the Satoshi keys. And that seems like the risk that Bitcoin fails. If that’s not it, what, in your consideration, is the biggest risk to Bitcoin?
Andreas Antonopoulos: The biggest risk to Bitcoin in my opinion is fragmentation within the community and a dilution of the fundamental principles. The biggest risk in Bitcoin is that people who are in Bitcoin already, forget why we got into it, and get seduced by the possibility of riches to sell out all of the principles that make Bitcoin special, and basically hand the baton to something that replaces Bitcoin because it actually achieves the principles that Bitcoin espouses more effectively. We give up on privacy, fungibility, censorship resistance, neutrality, borderless operation, open access, limited monetary supply. We start giving up on those principles one by one, compromising and turning Bitcoin into more and more and more of a Disney version of Bitcoin, right? We polish the rough edges, we take off the sharp corners, we make it more palatable to the investors, we make it more suitable for PayPal to do KYC, we introduce controls so that the IMF if more comfortable with it, we make it so that they are more and more comfortable with it, which makes it less and less effective. Bitcoin doesn’t get attacked if it doesn’t threaten anything. So one way to stop it from getting attacked is to make it completely unthreatening, by removing its fangs, by disarming it, by making it useless. And that can only happen from the inside. That can only happen by capitulation of the principles by those who are invested in it, and who decide that, in the end this wasn’t about creating a system where we don’t have rulers. In the end this wasn’t about creating a system without intermediaries. In the end it was simply about replacing the corrupt intermediaries, rulers, and controllers of the past, with me, you, or whoever else, because that’s greed, right? And so, when people say, how about we just make me in charge, and then we don’t need to worry about not having anyone in charge? That’s how these systems fail. Honestly at this point, given the fact that the recipe of Bitcoin, the concept, its implications, and the ideas and principles behind it have become so widespread and so easy to replicate, I think that that kills Bitcoin, but it doesn’t kill the movement that Bitcoin started. If the community capiulates its principles, all that will do is, they’ll get replaced by a system that doesn’t capitulate those principles. Some other system manages to be more principled than Bitcoin and becomes the new Bitcoin. And in many ways, as I’ve said before, there is a strong possibility at that point that we simply name this new system Bitcoin, and pretend that nothing changed. The brand itself might survive the instance of the technology, if it still carries the principles.
Simon Dixon: Okay, awesome! I think that’s a great place to end. So it’s the principles that are the biggest risk to Bitcoin, and even then the Bitcoin brand might out-survive the people that are implementing their principles into what we would today call Bitcoin. Andreas I really thank you for your time, whenever it comes to these technical subjects, I strongly recommend everyone check out all your content, and I just want to thank you for the service that you’ve done to Bitcoin and the industry as an educator and just helping people understand so many of these complex subjects over the years. So thanks Andreas.
Andreas Antonopoulos: Thank you Simon, and thank you for giving me this opportunity, and for all of the work that you’ve done as well. It’s been fun collaborating with you on this project.