It’s So Early! Podcast with Will Schoellkopf | Mark Maraia NEW! Bitcoin Telegram Group: #250SatsPerDollar
Link to the YouTube: https://youtu.be/qkSB2WoxMoo
Will Schoellkopf: Mark, so happy to have you back to talk about our new Telegram group.
Mark Maraia: Yes, I’m psyched to do so! Thank you for taking the initiative to set it up since I’m a boomer and I’m a bit tech-challenged.
Will Schoellkopf: Hey you’re on Telegram, that’s pretty good.
Mark Maraia: That’s true. Let’s put it this way: I have a Twitter account, but I’m never on Twitter unless I go to a Spaces meeting. So Telegram I find to be far more useful for a whole bunch of things as we’ll get into.
Will Schoellkopf: So I’ll put the Telegram link in the show notes for anyone listening to join. Our group is called #250satsperdollar, and Mark you’ve had the honor of giving the first few messages in the Telegram group. If you could please read aloud what you have written in the group just so people can have a sense of the Telegram channel?
Mark Maraia: I’d be happy to. So it says, Welcome to this group! Anyone in this group agrees that the Bitcoin network and protocol is worth 250 sats per dollar — that’s sort of the intro. The other thing that I think you and I have talked about is that we’re going to all agree in this chat — that’s just you and I right now — that the unit of account is sats, not Bitcoin. And anyone is welcome to post any transaction that they have done where the parties have valued the Bitcoin network and protocol at the amount of 250 sats per dollar. You’re also welcome to make an offer for either products or services for that valuation as well. And the reason, by the way, why sats is our unit of account is: sats reduces the confusion between small-b bitcoin and capital-B Bitcoin, which is the network. It also allows you and I to unilaterally — because it’s a permissionless network — to value the Bitcoin network at whatever we agree to as a meeting of the minds. I also think it allows the well-informed and the best-informed Bitcoiners to actually establish a market where they all agree that the Bitcoin network equals or has a 250 sats per dollar value. So we can do that, whether it’s just you and I for the next five years, or if 50 people want to join us this month, I don’t care. I think it’s a market that’s now sitting on our phone and we’ll see where it goes from there. I think it’ll be fun I appreciate your you’re helping me set it up.
Will Schoellkopf: We’re making it happen. I mean, we don’t need to ask permission. We don’t need to seek permission from some authority. Bitcoin, satoshis, it’s a permissionless protocol. I guess another thing to think of is again just asking this question: over the next five years I expect the value of one dollar to go down, so with that hashtag #250satsperdollar it’s more just an emphasis on satoshis as our unit of account, it’s not necessarily meant to be a comparison to the dollar, right?
Mark Maraia: Right. Well in fact we could have done #250satspereuro because, again, the valuation of the euro is roughly 1:1, but it doesn’t matter. We can do it to any currency pair, but our unit of account — because we’ve moved to a satoshi standard — we’ve moved to using that as our unit of account rather than whatever the currency is that we’re dealing with.
Will Schoellkopf: That’s right. So yeah, so I mean for example you have the offer for sale is one 2’ x 3’ replica of DoMI for sale at 7200 sats plus shipping and handling, so that’s always the kicker. But it’s not going to you.
Mark Maraia: Right, it’s not going to me, that’s just going to cost me something, and the post office doesn’t take sats, I’m sure. So I’m going to have to pay for that in dollars, so unfortunately that doesn’t solve that part of the problem yet, but actually then I corrected it because when I did the math it actually should be 7500 sats plus shipping and handling. But yes, so that’s something that actually cost me $30 to print. I actually printed off a bunch of them. They’re nice and thick, they’re really high quality, they look like colonial style writing. They’re exact replicas of the 9’ x 12' version that was signed by thousands of Bitcoiners at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, so I am making one of those available at that price, so I’m willing to put my sats where my mouth is by letting go of — parting with — one of these exact replicas for that sats amount.
Will Schoellkopf [5:48]: So it does make me curious, I mean: what do you mean when you say you reran the numbers and the math and you have a correction from 7200 to 7500 sats? Like, what exactly went wrong there?
Mark Maraia: So my cost was $30. Take $30 and divide it by 50 and you’re gonna get — or maybe it’s multiply — I don’t know, I did the math. I think I took 30 and I multiplied it times 250, so essentially I’m accepting payment for the network and I’m giving the poster for free.
Will Schoellkopf: Oh, there we go: 30 times 250 is 7500.
Mark Maraia: Correct.
Will Schoellkopf: So that’s where that comes from. So the question that I have is: let’s say five years from now we’re at the Bitcoin 2027 conference, you do the 2’ x 3’ foot DoMI poster again, but this time, because the printer store still doesn’t take satoshis, this time the printer store says the same poster will cost forty dollars to print instead of thirty dollars to print. Five years from now is the price you would ask for in this Telegram group 10000 satoshis instead of 7500 satoshis?
Mark Maraia: Asking me what I’m gonna do five years from now is tricky because the price of Bitcoin will have changed. I think at some point the market will more fairly value the Bitcoin network and protocol. So the whole point of this chat is that you need a meeting of the minds. So I was a practicing lawyer for about seven years, and what you learn in law school is: you have no agreements until there’s a meeting of the minds. All right, so you and I did the first 250 sats for valuing the Bitcoin network and protocol with your book, so you got nothing for the book but you got paid for the network. Okay, so we can do a transaction for your book tomorrow that could be different than that, or a year from now, or five years from now. Well, there’s all kinds of things that are moving in the marketplace, including: I may value the network less in a year — I don’t think so, but I don’t know. So I can’t really answer your question about what am I gonna do five years from now, but what’s important is whether there’s one two three or a thousand people that want to be in this chat and want to make a statement to the world or to each other — because really at this point it’s just you and I — whether people watch the podcast or not, they may or may not use the chat. And the other thing I would suggest — it’s not in the instructions for how we’ve set this up — but I would say: if you use Twitter, I would even do a Twitter that says #250satsperdollar for The Bitcoin Dog or something like that, just so you’re letting the world of Twitter know, Okay you’ve documented that we did a transaction. And we did it on Sunday — we didn’t actually do that one today.
Will Schoellkopf: Yeah, so I mean that’s the kind of interesting thing in question in terms of the meeting of the minds and this vision of Telegram groups and Telegram channels. At this time, July 16th when we’re recording, we’re valuing 250 sats per dollar, but five years from now maybe we’re saying 600 sats per dollar, or maybe we’re saying 150 sats per dollar. I have a feeling the sats per dollar value will increase though, probably not decrease.
Mark Maraia: Maybe. Again, any two parties can agree to the value of the network, and they could even start their own Telegram channel for that valuation. And the more every single currency in the world is in a race to zero, the higher probability that the asset is going to move up to bigger numbers, but that doesn’t —
Will Schoellkopf: That’s separate from valuing the network, right?
Mark Maraia [10:57]: It’s completely a separate issue. At some point the asset will be worth more than what we’ve assessed the network to be worth, and then anything over that 250 sats per dollar will be essentially: Okay, now we’re paying for the asset. We can decide to do that unilaterally. If this idea takes off, there’ll be a market on Wall Street and there’ll be people in Telegram doing deals where they value the network differently. There’s nothing to stop someone from starting another Telegram chat right now today at 500 sats per dollar or 1000 sats per dollar or 2000 sats per dollar — nothing.
Will Schoellkopf: Yeah, so that’s what’s kind of interesting is it could be the case that the market is valuing 100 million satoshis at $1 million US dollars, but you and I might still choose to value the Bitcoin network at 250 sats per dollar, so separating out the value of the network versus the value of the asset.
Mark Maraia: And as you said: at some point maybe Jack Mallers decides to create another user interface that actually starts to accumulate some data on how people want to apportion and value the network, and all it is is a software thing not hard-coded into the the protocol or the network. Here’s my hypothesis: there are plenty of Bitcoiners who feel deep down to their core that the Bitcoin network and protocol is ridiculously undervalued, and they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is — they’re willing to put their sats where their mouth is — and document it and perhaps even put a hashtag out there on Twitter. Again, I’m not a big Twitter user. I have a Twitter handle but I’m not a big Twitter user. And I would love it if in a year or two a market develops around valuing the network at some number that’s over and above whatever it is now, because essentially right now — being generous — it’s a transaction fee, right? It’s the accumulation of all the transaction fees. And I just don’t think that’s even remotely close to fair market value, not even — it’s laughable that anybody would try and argue that that’s the fair market value. I mean, I understand that the market’s doing that, but that’s because of the way the protocol was set up back when they were giving away — you were literally mining Bitcoin for the cost of energy and you were getting 5 billion satoshis per block to mine it, but nobody valued it. Okay, well we’ve come a long way, baby. Even the use of the term bear market, to me, creates confusion in the mind of the nocoiner in particular, but even Bitcoiners, because that’s an investment. Satoshis aren’t an investment. Satoshis are a savings tool for preserving my life energy and my life force. I do not think of that as an investment. And I’m not insisting anybody else has to look at it that way, but when we use terms like bear market and bull market, what are we reinforcing about Bitcoin? That it’s an investment, it’s not a savings vehicle and I’m not a HODLer. If you’re a HODLer, you should care less what the price of Bitcoin is today — absolutely irrelevant!
Will Schoellkopf: HODLing is just another word for: I look at satoshis as a way to save and it’s not investment. So the big thing that’s interesting to me is they say, Bear markets are for builders, so even as satoshis the asset goes down in price, the network is only getting bigger and stronger. I’m pursuing not only having a Bitcoin Core or a Bitcoin full node but also a Lightning node, so that’s being bullish on the network getting bigger, stronger, and more decentralized, even as satoshis the asset goes down in price. So really associating a value for the network more than just the asset.
Mark Maraia: Well and just so we’re clear: satoshi when it’s an asset — it’s going to go up against the currency, it’s not going to go down. The purchasing power goes up as the number of satoshis needed against the currency goes down, unlike Bitcoin where everyone wants the price to go up. I don’t want the satoshi number to go up against the dollar — I want it to go down. And again, that starts to fry people’s brains because we’re used to thinking about investing. No! This is purchasing power! This is saving! I want a satoshi today to have more purchasing power in a year or 10 years or 5 years, and I am very confident — if I hang on to my satoshis for 5 or 10 years — I’m very confident it’s going to hold its value better than any other currency on the planet. I’m very confident of that.
Will Schoellkopf [16:48]: So I want to get into this transaction you have posted. We have a Bitcoin Dog Day, July 10th, 2022, the first time as far as we know there was a satoshi transaction that valued the Bitcoin network, and that’s what was being paid for as opposed to just simply the asset. This transaction you have in particular says, Offer for sale: one 2’ x 3' foot replica of DoMI for sale at 7500 sats plus shipping and handling. My cost to print was $30. So in that case, to be facilitating properly this 250 sats per dollar Telegram group, what is the satoshi price you’re associating with the print? And then what is the network valuation?
Mark Maraia: I’m giving the poster away and I’m paying only for the network.
Will Schoellkopf: So once again, we have another transaction in this spirit where we’re valuing the network at 250 sats per dollar, and so the way you’re valuing the network is in your dollar cost for the poster, but the important part is, instead of converting 30 US dollars to what the market price is for the satoshi asset of $30 — which, round number, is I’m guessing could be 30000 satoshis or something like that — instead, we’re valuing it at 7500 satoshis because that’s the network value and it’s being given away for free. So that’s the intent of this community: you’re having the poster, you’re giving it for free because you want to spread the word of DoMI, you want to spread the word of declaration of monetary independence and so a consumer — because your intent is really to just give the poster away for free and you’re just valuing the network — that’s what reaches that 7500 satoshi price.
Mark Maraia: Correct. I mean, we could have started another channel or just because of the unique nature of where the euro is, we could do it 250 sats per euro. It really is completely arbitrary. All we need is two parties who agree to value the network at an agreed-upon price and then just broadcast that to the world or at least to each-other — we could have not started this channel, but we still did the transaction. Well, we didn’t document it in this channel — you could document your The Bitcoin Dog transaction with me if you wanted to in here. I don’t think you need to — I really don’t, but it doesn’t matter. What I would like to make sure though, just for all the listeners, is: I don’t want a lot of chat in here, I want offers, acceptances, and transactions that you’re documenting. And just like you’ve actually asked me to clarify, essentially I’m giving the poster away for free that cost me $30 US and I’m valuing the Bitcoin network and I’m using the cost to print the poster as a proxy. Again, I could have valued it anything I wanted to.
Will Schoellkopf: Very cool. So that’s why if someone wants a copy of your signed poster, they need to have a meeting of the minds, they have to value the network as you do if they want to have that poster.
Mark Maraia: Correct, for that price. And there’s another point we haven’t made yet: I don’t give up my satoshis lightly, so when I paid you in satoshis I could have paid you in dollars I think — I don’t know if that was an option or not, but it doesn’t matter. I probably wouldn’t have bought it at all if I had to pay for it in dollars. But I’m only going to give up my satoshis when someone’s valued the network fairly, and so it’s the same thing only it’s the reverse. I’m willing to actually give you, sell you the poster, but it had better be valuing the network fairly. And so again, it’s all very much buyer and seller meeting of the minds on the value of the network, and everything else is commentary. Everything else is silliness.
Will Schoellkopf [21:39]: That’s right. So then my other follow-on question is: let’s say I’m a satoshi maximalist as opposed to a Bitcoin maximalist just to really emphasize valuing the network separate from the asset. When it comes time to express that I do value the network itself, is that something that I really can only do at transaction time? Is that considered separate from acquiring savings in satoshis?
Mark Maraia: I don’t know. That’s a great question. We’re kind of blazing new trail here. My gut says it’s what I said earlier: I’m only going to give up my satoshis when we’ve valued the Bitcoin network and protocol fairly. No one can make me give it up sooner, and I’m only going to give it up when someone’s willing to do that with me. And we can document it — maybe we only do one transaction in 2022. Okay, well we’ve had the Bitcoin Dog Book Day, right? We’ve valued the Bitcoin network at 250 sats per dollar. Somebody else could have valued it at a different number. There’s no formal market on Wall Street right now or even on Telegram that requires it to be one thing or another. I believe — and I think you agree with me — that the best way to maintain and preserve purchasing power is through satoshis, or sats, and the network that it runs on that’s run 13 years almost perfectly with no downtime and has never been hacked is the Bitcoin network and protocol. All right, well that includes the developers. What we’re saying to those developers, what we’re saying to every volunteer who’s running a node, who’s mining — there are some miners who are probably not earning any block rewards, they literally aren’t part of a pool, but they’re still securing the network. Well I want to send that message, even if I’m not sending sats to them, I still want to send the message to them, to the World Economic Forum, to every central banker on the planet, to the Bank of International Settlements: hey look, I value this network at this amount. And it will just so happen to be able to solve 15–20 years down the road when the block rewards become insignificant and if for some reason the reward for transaction fees isn’t where it needs to be, we’ve established that in fact there is a value to it in 2022 between two people. Okay, maybe they also think we’re nut cases. That’s fine, I don’t care. I don’t think we’ll be alone, by the way. I really don’t. I’m not saying there’ll be tons of transactions done, but I think there are other people willing to put their sats where their mouth is and value the Bitcoin network at some amount that right now they’re freeloading
Will Schoellkopf: And as you say, if one other person listening to us joins our group or if one transaction is facilitated where we can demonstrate another Bitcoiner or another person puts value on the network of Bitcoin itself as opposed to simply the satoshi asset, that’ll have been fantastic. I mean, that’s how this thing is propagating. This is truly a grassroots movement from the people, Bitcoiners. I was gonna say also: so ultimately I feel like your sentiment is pretty bullish because I think most would agree that part of the current USD market price for a satoshi asset includes people valuing the Bitcoin network, that the Bitcoin network value is in a sense a little bit baked in to the value of satoshis on the market. But you and I might feel that the Bitcoin network overall is severely undervalued and underappreciated, and the amount that the Bitcoin network is not valued enough ultimately will lead to a much greater satoshi asset price. For the people who think the satoshi asset price should be reflecting the value of the Bitcoin network, we think it’s grossly undervaluing the value of the network.
Mark Maraia [26:05]: That’s it. That’s exactly right. I know we’ve got about five minutes left. That’s exactly right, and the point is: you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Until May of 2010, the asset had no value. All right, so on that day the asset had value, the network was free — I mean, this is sort of how I look at it. Or I could say it was all network and no asset, but I think it would make more sense to say the asset has value on that day.
Will Schoellkopf: Something changed hands. Satoshis changed hands.
Mark Maraia: Right, but what we did when you sold me your book is we’ve established that between two people who are well-informed — see the thing is, if you do a thousand hours of research on Bitcoin and you don’t think that we’ve undervalued even the network even at 250 sats per dollar, I’ll be a little surprised, actually. If they do a thousand hours of homework knowing what we know, it’s still ridiculously underpriced. It should be in the millions of dollars. At least the network should be $400,000, the asset should be whatever it is. And again, as long as there’s a market — all right, well the market takes how many people? Two.
Will Schoellkopf: There’s no company on Earth that could do this. Even Western Union can’t move value like this quickly, this easily, safely, securely, and with no permission anymore, no hacking, final settlement, so of course it’s completely undervalued. I was gonna ask really fast the last question: what would you say to anyone who thinks it’s too late to get started in Bitcoin?
Mark Maraia: It is so early. Because nobody understands — I wrote an article for Bitcoin Magazine and I quoted Jameson Lopp: Nobody Understands Bitcoin And That’s Okay. So right now there’s a beautiful arbitrage moment for anybody having the courage to do the homework and get into Bitcoin. And if you do and you have a willingness to hold on to it for at least five years against any currency — all of which are going to zero — you are going to be well rewarded as long as you don’t need to live on it and you don’t use leverage to get it. Now either of those two puts you in a slightly different category. Then, stablecoins make more sense. So it is still ridiculously early because nobody’s even valuing the Bitcoin network and protocol yet until you and I did it. And once that starts to happen, then I think what will happen is the market price will start to move up to what we value the network and then it will of course exceed it. And then we’ll have to decide whether or not we need to change the value of the network. I mean I think the network is whatever the network is, but it’s still ridiculously early. And in fact in some ways if I’d have waited and gone way more in — so in November of 2020 I get in and I get in over a period of months. Right now it’s so low, relatively, that there’s probably less risk when doing it risk-adjusted, less risk you’re taking today to get in to the satoshis as an asset as it was in November of 2020.
Will Schoellkopf: All right, you hear what Mark Maraia says? It’s so early! Thank you Mark for coming onto the show.
Mark Maraia: You are more than welcome, it was a lot of fun. Hopefully we’ll do it again.