Due to some technical difficulties during our podcast with Dr. Craig Wright, we’ve decided to transcribe the conversation so everyone has the opportunity to read it. We’d like to apologize for being unprepared to capture clean audio. It was full of insight and we want to make sure the valuable knowledge we gained throughout the conversation could be shared.
The topics discussed are italicized. You can listen to the entire conversation here to get the full context around the conversation. If you believe we’ve made an error or misrepresented anything he said, please let us know. We’ll throw you a tip if you provide us with a clearer transcript than what we’ve laid out here.
Thanks again to Dr. Wright for his time.
The Future of Bitcoin Conference presentation and vision for Bitcoin:
Segwit was not. There was a few possibilities and Segwit was not going to be one of them.
Claims from the presentation that miners would begin to reject Segwit blocks and that the power of Bitcoin lied within the miners:
I should not have needed to be the person to say that. Miners should understand that they have power. It is very simple. Miners are the heart of Bitcoin. With any system if you cut out the heart, it dies.
Mike Hearn struggled to convince miners to switch to XT. Many of which were very averse from going against the perceived authority:
Exactly. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation. A lot of people saying that users matter and that the miners will be punished by the users. Users can do nothing to miners. Users follow what miners do. If the miners stops propagating a block, the blocks stop propagating. If a user stops propagating, nothing. That’s it. Nothing. They can drop off the entire network and be nothing. That is their choice. They mind as well give up and sell their Bitcoins because that is all they’re doing. They have a personal fork that does not mine.
What has it been like to watch that narrative propagate over the years?
It has been ridiculous. I can’t imagine how these group of Socialists have come out and said that everyone needs to be equal and that we don t need to actually compete and how we have managed to get here.In some ways, this has been a narrative we have been seeing around the world. If you’re 3 foot 2 and want to be a basketball player, we should help you because it should be a right. It is just ridiculous.
The Bitcoin Network as a small world phenomena:
I thought it would be obvious. The idea is not proof of work that you hide. It is proof of work that you get to the network. It only matters when other miners know what you done. That is the whole point. If no one knows that you have solved the problem, so what? You do not have a proof until other people see it. That is the nature of proof. Proof isn’t “I actually have gotten something”. Proof is “I have gone out, written it up and here it is to the world”. That is proof. Proof is when you send it to the globe.
There is an element in addition to not only solving the proof of work but a race to do the proving itself:
Exactly. It is a race to be first. If you prove after someone else, then too bad. Very simple. You have to prove you are the first person. Bitcoin does not relay on timestamps. Everyone’s timestamp is individual.When you receive a package, you only care about when you receive the package. Not when someone said they sent it.
“A sailor does not go out to sea without 3 chronometers.” in regards to the original code:
CSW: Yes. That actually comes from Brooks. Brooks back in the 70s and rereleased in the 90s, had some very early programming thoughts. They had to do with system programming and how people used to think about programing. It had to with resilience and in particular if you had 1 or 3, then you could trust it. 1 you do not know if you are correct because if it is out, it is out. 3 then you take the mean of the 2 most accurate ones and discard the least accurate and you are okay. If you have 2, do you select A or B? You just do not know.
How this relates to evolving Bitcoin:
It was in the early code, because it was actually an area to be fixed. The 2008 and 2009 version of code was very early and did not have NTP or anything else. This was still in the era when we still had Windows XP and time stamping was horrible. Most people did not have NTP or anything else. We did not have Windows updates requiring that you have time semi-synchronized. Authentication by our coders and everything else was not implemented with the other Windows systems and higher domains. Many machines were all over the place timewise. You could not just trust whatever people told you. You could take your time with a median of times and other variations, but you could not rely on what other people told you. It was too easy to cheat and tell you different times. Over time, Bitcoin should actually improve that. At the moment, it is a median of 11 over 2 hours** and it is a little wide especially as we professionalize miners and run over 1 million installations or more.
On the belief that the academic sciences have become silo’d:
It is considered that you cannot be a polymath anymore. It is considered that no one could ever learn more than their discipline and become an expert in it. I find that stupid. It is a way of saying that the only way we are going to advance is to hyper focus in one little area. I disagree. I think by looking across different areas, we actually learn knowledge from each of them. I have spent my career and my life looking across many different areas. I look at biomathematics, law, economics and all of these things actually interact very well. In Biology, there are actually many different areas where biologists push aside and say they are useless for the moment such as the economics of biology. There was a journal I quoted in a previous article, in regards to tulips. It actually had some of the best analysis I had seen for the tulip crisis which was a journal of economic biology. They had talked about these things that were actually there. Tulips were not this new thing In Europe. They were called Greek onions, Turkish onions and few other things. Beforehand they were boring and yellow before people started breeding different qualities, but they existed. To say this new plant came out of nowhere and whatever else was just wrong. To say it did not exist in Europe was just wrong. If we just believed the myths and what we are told, we have this problem. The perfect example, is that we teach children that Marco Polo came back with spaghetti. Marco Polo did not come back with spaghetti. The Romans already had pasta so why did Marco Polo need to discover it again. No one needed to discover pasta. The truth of the matter is that pasta was not a normal thing because it was expensive. Even now there is a lot processing in pasta. It is not too bad now because we have machines, but imagine if we had to do it by hand. I do not know about you but I have made pasta by hand and it is not fun. Even with the machines where you flip it through, it still takes ages. It a few hours to make a spaghetti dish.
Regarding the modeling and economics of Bitcoin, has there been any resistance in academia outside of the Bitcoin environment?
I have talked about economic security for the past 15 years and businesses listen to me because they make money and care. I have made a lot of money from casinos because they actually care along with stock exchanges. They have hired me or did in the past when they could afford me. It moves from that over time into a realm where you try and publish papers and people think you are mad. I have spent years arguing back and forth that Akerlof was wrong. Akerlof was the market for lemons. If you look at all the statistical data, it is not supported. It is a nice little hypothesis and he complained that no one took him serious until things became a little more Socialist. The reality is there is no evidence. If you look at used car sales, they do not support his claim. If you look at computer sales, they do not support his claim. This idea that no one can judge the value of used cars is BS. I have done my mechanics certification and licensing. Not only academic but trainings as well. Even before I did that, I would call up the vehicle club IRC and get a piece paper stating whether or not this was a lemon or not. I would negotiate a warranty or not. I did not just assume it was the worst possible vehicle. Next if I went to a small backyard lot and there was guy who had no real investment and there are some like this, I do not quite expect as much as compared to a big glass fronted building with polished chrome. If someone has spent a lot to signal that they are going to be there longer than a week and has invested a lot, I expect that they will actually be there longer than a week. The thing is we are rational. If business were ought to give out money and make enemies instead of actually showing a future, none of us would want to jump in and throw out our money.
Relation to Selfish Mining:
It is the typical academic argument out there that we have irrational actors. That someone will throw away money just to damage the system. This may have worked back in the day when Bitcoin was worth a tenth of a cent. When you get to a point where it is now, we are talking about something where if someone has 10% of the network, you are probably spending between 100 to 200 million dollars. It is a million dollar infrastructure. That is before you put in the electricity, staff, and ongoing costs you need to keep up with. Why? Even if you now are Congress, that is too large of an expenditure to do as a secret “I am going to kill off Bitcoin” exercise. It just does not make sense. This idea that someone is going to throw away money instead of something that is easier. Selfish Mining is beyond trivial to detect. You have a block, a block, a block in a row, it is statistically easy. It is not only that you get the block but the timestamps are all off. Now you get a block from a miner with timestamps in ridiculous manners and you could easily detect it with statistical analysis. You now have a scenario where this miner is obviously cheating and why would you want to keep propagating and then why would you allow this miner to make you lose money. The nature of Bitcoin as a small world that works because miners actually blacklist and enable connections towards other miners. They set up trusted relationships in order to ensure good miners are highly connected and bad miners are blacklisted. If you blacklist someone, it is not that they get there in seconds, it is that they get there in about 45 seconds. If you are blacklisted because you did something bad, you still get a block out there but it takes you about 50 times as long. It is basically like putting a gun to your head to spite everyone else and say “I am going to teach you all a lesson”.
Censorship of Exchanges and Gateway to Bitcoin Cash:
If we are talking about Bitcoin Cash, which is Bitcoin in my opinion, it will definitely be easier and easier. We are helping Centbee with the roll out in Africa and that will make things a lot easier to get on board with. There are other initiatives in South America and Asia. It is not so much the classic exchanges, I want to get on with because many of these exchanges are built so people can speculate. Speculators are necessary. I really do not care. If they want to do their job well and lose money or gain money whatever it is that they do. Good. It is all part of building a vibrant ecosystem. At the same time, I really do not care if they make money or not. All I really care is that there is some market maker there and that we have a vibrant ecosystem of use. I care that people in places like Africa and Philippines can send money back and forth quickly and inexpensively. I care that people will be able to invent new little things that people call spam on the blockchain. I care that new apps get invented and use Bitcoin over time. From use, it will become easier and easier to get Bitcoin. Regarding speculation, I think governments will crack down and it will become like share trading. You will have to have valid accounts and people will not let you gamble things with your Visa card and that is life.
Vision for Bitcoin Cash within stores (with regards to potential cashback):
The way I see it, you would be able to go to the store and buy goods. Your cashback would be this thing called change. That is where I see it getting easy. Why would you want to take out money if we have a system where can start getting derivatives to make less volatile. Then we can make it easy to onboard with merchants and pay for goods and bills with. If we hold it, then we get a better appreciation rate on average then we do with the banks, then why would we want to take that to pieces of paper that go down in value.
Adoption in places like Africa without an exchanges, the conversion from fiat to Bitcoin:
Part of what is going to happen in places like Africa will be equivalent to a hawala network. There will be individuals who will take money, debts, payments in various forms, and goods in exchange for Bitcoin.
If 32 MB block protocol limit in May were approached with high utility, how easy would it be to increase:
If miners agree, then it could happen faster. Personally, I want to see the cap removed. Right now the fees mean you buy another hard drive. The fees if you are a 1% miner, are enough that you buy another hard drive no matter how much. If someone throws you a TB every minute, it is cheaper for you to put in disc arrays and to save that data then not to take the fees. We already reached that point.
Antpool’s announcement that they will start “burning” 12% of the transaction fees:
I think it is a stunt. I think they are crazy. That is their choice. This is Bitcoin. The reality is that there is no burning of fees and instead hash collisions sometime before that. There will be people mining for those hash collisions later on when they are more valuable. All you are doing is putting money into the ground. You are digging a hole and burying money in little glass jars. This is directly something out of Keynes. I am not a Keynesian. I don’t like digging holes and filling glass jars with money and encouraging people to go dig up those glass jars. That is a waste. That is the ultimate government boondoggle thinking. You are not burning it and reducing the supply. You are long term encouraging people to find ways of making hash collisions. Remember, every 18 months we lose a bit so eventually Bitcoin will need to change because hash collisions mean that we do not to go all 256 bits. Even then, we have a scenario where some time in the future for example in 10 years, you lose 2 bits every 3 years. Between 6 and 7 bits every decade. Your keys become less and less secure just because of computational power and Moore’s law. Eventually that 256 bit of information will become easier, especially for specialists with ASICs and super computers to break. If it is worth enough, they will. Now we think that they be worth 1 thousand dollars. Maybe in the future that will be worth 10 million dollars per “burnt” address. All you are doing is encouraging organizations in the future to mine “lost” Bitcoin. I do not see why would want to do that. I would equate with getting glass jars. Hiring people to dig holes in the ground. Filling those glass jars with money. Burying them and then getting other people to randomly dig holes until they find the glass jars. Straight out of Keynes.
Biggest threat to Bitcoin Cash in regard to the narrative of Bitcoin Core:
I think we go back to Adam Smith. He told us that we have to try and support businesses and at the same time when any business gets into trouble, the first thing we need to do is “regulate me, protect me”. “Nasty competitors will come in and steal my profit.” The first thing and anything a successful business does right now is try to gain regulatory capture. That is what we are seeing now. We are seeing miners and others who are starting to get comfortable where they are. The first thing they are going to want to do is stay comfortable where they are. Competition is great when you are competing and getting ahead but once are at the top, it is only crazy people like me who have this crazy idea of wanting to continue to compete.
Bitmain and market dominance in regards to miner sales:
I like Jihan and I like what they are doing but I don’t think Bitmain will be there in 10 years’ time. The nature of competition. If they want to be there in 10 years’ time, they will have to radically change what they do. Cryptocurrency in 10 to 20 years is not going to be this wide area of 50 million different coins popping up all the time. If we want to be successful, then there is going to have to be a choice. The reality is either fiat will be successful or cryptocurrencies will be successful. For cryptocurrency to be successful, it needs to be united. Not us and BTC get to be together. One. One has to decide I am going to scale. One has to decide I will do this now. One has to decide to try and take on everything. Without that, it fails. There is no “we all get to be little bits and all over the place”. It is the old “United” vs “Divided” situation. The reality is right now Jihan and his company are doing some great stuff but they are doing BTC which from a hardware point of view, you can’t really choose what is short-term profitable for miners. From a hardware point of view, they are putting efforts in Ethereum, Monero, Litecoin. If you are distributing your research, you are not focusing. We are not in a race with other people in crypto. Our competitors are not other coins. We have Bank of America, Amazon, Facebook. We have central banks. The Bank of England over here has a multibillion project started. People like to sit there and say our competitor is xyz and we can all work together. This is not some big Kumbaya, hold hands and all hope for the best. There will be one. There will not be 50 Facebooks. If Facebook even survives their current problem and another thing comes up, it will not be because they helped everyone else. Reality is there might be smaller things for little niche areas, just like google has most of the search market but there are smaller other things. When it comes to money, I do not think that this will be the case.
Intellectual Property and Rick Falkvinge referring to one of nChain’s patents as the “Dark Side”:
Yes. That is because he is a pirate. It is rather hypocritical to actually come out and say it would be okay if people could technologically protect things and then someone invents something so you could technologically invent it and then they say that is evil. It is rather socialist whether you like it or not. It is to say that all things should be free. All things should not be free. If I invent something, very simple, I invented it. I get to decide how it goes into the world. Patents are actually good in that they force me to publish. They force use. It does not mean that I get to block things from people, but instead it means they have to pay for them. When I publish a patent, it means there will be license fees. We can waive those patent fees for things like Bitcoin Cash. If you want to charge for Ethereum or not charge for Ethereum, great, that is your choice. The argument seems to be is that it is easy and just and idea. There is no thing as “just an idea”. Anyone can think of an idea. You can’t patent ideas. You can patent implementations. We choose to actually patent in the European office which fairly guarantees straight into the US because Europe is harder on business processes. They are harder on everything and therefore we have to have a very robust patent before we actually get it granted. Much harder than if we did in the US. You can say it would be easy and everyone should do it but that is a choice. Giving it up for free is our choice. Someone said that if we did something like blinded thresholds, that would be real innovation and guess what, we did. We have things like atomic swaps coming in May and we have many other things we are about to announce. Everyone said they would be impossible. We actually have used that in part for what we have done in patenting. I have got a patent filing in bilinear pairing where I got to reverse troll Mr. Maxwell last year who dared me to come out with an answer to these values. Well we are doing it a little differently, I am not going to sit on Reddit and answer these crap questions from stupid people. I am going to patent it. I get to answer the arguments to the patent office as to “Was it obvious? Well no, the experts in the field like Mr. Maxwell, we will call him an expert for this reason, said that this was impossible. All these other experts on Reddit and we will call them computer scientists with “PhDs” said it was impossible. Thank you Reddit trolls! You have made my job easier. I love it when these people say what I am doing is impossible. It just makes it so much easier for the patents guys.
Bitcoin Cash’s evolution and what you see the network maturing as:
I see it as the Internet of Money. The payment backbone for everything. I see it changing and revolutionizing the entire globe. Imagine that instead of home loans, getting equity in your home. Then raising and paying off equity by actually having a way to do that. We are changing everything as a service of economics. Truly a world where if you are not using it, it gets used by others. A more efficient global economy.
I think we have a 20 to 30 year timeframe and in that time, I believe that we have a completely economized world. It is a world where people can start putting a monetary value on anything that has a monetary value. We get rid of the typical tragedy of the commons issue. We get rid of the arguments as to why governments need to exist for many areas that it does not such as roads, health services and other such things. We start changing the very nature of how we help people. We start seeing the value that is actually there in a global world. We start opening up a world where instead of nationalist borders, we start realizing this is one world where humans are humans regardless of location. We are one global species and one global trading group. Instead of being politically correct, we can look at cultures that actually work best. I will say this even though it is politically incorrect. Multiculturalism is a load of sh**. The truth is what matters works best. Not what has worked in the past that has gotten people to where they are. What actually takes us forward? Saying that some these cultures that treat women like shit and that is it their “right” is messed up. If a culture treats women like sh**, they should be called out. If a culture exploits children, they should be called out. If a culture differentiates because of different religious beliefs, color or ethnic origin, they should be called out. The truth is that none of that is Islamic. The whole Fundamentalist regime of Islam came about to be in 1860 and was equivalent of fundamentalism in the US with Christianity. It was a small cult that has gained in popularity since then. Before that, it was actually very different. Most of the Islamic world was actually more tolerant than the West to different religions etc. We should start to call people out no matter where they are from. Not because of their religion. If they want to believe, let them as long as it does not impact others. When they start talking about mutilating women, we should call them out and tell them that they are bunch of dicks and treat them that way. If they want to treat children like commodities, we should call them out for what they do. The same thing could happen if you happen to be these Christian sects or even fundamentalist atheists. It does not matter. We are humanity and what matters in this global world is how we interact. That is the great thing with trade. Trade forces us to interact with other people. It was not all these civil right movements that started to get get black baseball players to play professionally, it was economics. Some of the first people to hire black baseball players, were racist. They just realized they could make money. The first people to start hiring black entertainers did so because they made money. The more interaction we had between people globally, the more we started to understand and accept. Not to say that everything is good and many things are indeed bad. Most of the west has had flaws. Most of the rest of the worlds has flaws. Sitting there and blaming Western Imperialism is flawed. Reality is we should look at everything that all of us do and where it creates growth, where it has to integrate and forces us to be better people. We have to discard the rest. We get this from trade because we have to deal with people from trade. That is the world Bitcoin Cash is going to bring.
On targeted trolling campaigns against him:
It is very simple. They do not have an answer. If you cannot disprove the science, discredit the mathematics, then you discredit the person. At the same time of all this, controversy is not all that bad. I have now become the 323rd most read scientific author globally. I get feedback from all of the different sites. Some of my papers are the most highly rated in the last month. Like it or not, the more crap they throw at me, the larger the hole they are digging long term. My other point is I do not care. I have enough money that nothing they do matters. I have enough resources, that nothing they do matters. I have enough people on my team, that nothing they do matters. We do not have a runaway problem because nothing they do matters. We do not need to go out to market and watch the share price, because nothing they do matters. All I have to do is get adoption with Bitcoin. I do not care if it takes me 20 years. I would like it earlier. My goal is if 5 billion people know what Bitcoin Cash is in 5 years. If I do that, no matter what they do they fail. The more “anti” me, the more other people start to listen.
Thoughts on church of Satoshi in relation to Dune and a mythological following:
My favorite author is Dostoevsky and there is a very good section of “The Brothers Karamazov”, where the pastor talks about the second coming of Christ. Christ comes back and they kill him again because obviously that would not be good for the church. [Christ proves himself and rises. It is accepted in the church and obviously you are Jesus Christ. We cannot let the world know and we are going to have to kill you because you really are not good for the Church. I am sorry]
Relationship with David Kleiman:
We had a relationship for many years. I did not see him physically much. He was someone I called, emailed, IM, IRC all the time. He was a co-author with me. He helped with my research. Dave is listed on several of my papers. Dave was that person who filled and completed everything that needed to be there. I have said this many times before, I am the 90% guy. I will get it to 90% of where it needs to be before passing it off and move on to the next thing to get to 90% in order to pass off to the next guy. I have a team now and generally I get a paper or patent to where it can be understood and dump things off to them because it is now their job. Dave, it was not his job. Dave and I worked together but Dave completed many things I would not have completed.
On Gavin Andresen and 2015:
I don’t like how Gavin was treated. I do not like what happened to him after all the other bits and pieces. Unfortunately, I did not handle everything that occurred and I let other people control certain things in my life, say things and tell others what would and wouldn’t happen. At the end of the day though, what I can say is if there was a group and there is no longer a group, then there is nothing. If there were multiple people and some of them aren’t there, then the entirety of what was is dead. Trying to bring it back otherwise is ridiculous. If we take the band Queen. After Freddy Mercury died, so did Queen. They may have another singer and go on tour but they are now a tribute band. Without Freddy Mercury, the other 3 with other singers are a tribute band. Without him, as good as the other guys are, they had a great guitarist and drummer, but without Freddy Mercury, they are not Queen.
Bitcoin is open source and maybe when the protocol development is complete, there may be some private protocol development:
Yes someone will try do something a little better and try to patent it or keep it as a trade secret. They may license and charge it out for their innovation or keep it in house so they have their own edge. This is how I see it.
Here is the problem. It is who you call the community. The community is not Bitcoin Cash users. The community is not Ethereum users. The community is not BTC users. It is not all cryptocurrency users. Our community is everyone who wants to use money. Full stop. Right now, some of those people do not get a chance. Some of them are too poor, too uneducated and too isolated. Some of them have crappy little phones that they cannot use yet. That is our community. Community is a thing we call Earth. Everyone that wants to use money. If you do not want anything to do with the community then you can become a communist who does not believe in anything but group ownership and try to make that work for the first time in human history. Good luck to you. For everyone else, community is very simple. It is every one of us.
Adoption and how much does a merchant need to know:
They do not need to care. Stop making it hard and make it nice simple. Develop a nice frontend to develop a simple way to accept money. Build a simple wallet in order to integrate things they want, such as putting spam on the blockchain by adding coffee tokens that get recorded every time you buy a coffee at Starbucks. Include reward tokens that can be automated for things that can flash on your screen that cannot be cheated and let the merchant know this person has bought their hundredth coffee or whatever. It is what people want. Stop saying it should not occur because it is too capitalist or commercial. If you do not like capitalist or commercialized then stop buying from supermarkets and go out, live in the middle of nowhere buy your own grain.
***Conversation was concluded and wanted to thank Dr. Craig S Wright for giving us the time to have this discussion. We truly learned a lot and hope to continue teaching others about the importance of Bitcoin (Cash) to the globe.***