Nicholas Who? The Scaling Bitcoin Interview

Disclaimer: {} = I have appended those and those are my thoughts, not the thoughts of Nicholas or

This was to initially be part of my TL;DR pt. 2 writeup for workshops.  In case you’re not aware, a few weeks ago, an open letter was presented at where many of the core developers (I still consider you a core dev Gavin) signed a letter pledging to work together through discussion to hear each others development ideas and efforts as well as gather feedback aggregately from the community on the state of bitcoin and the proper steps we as a community should take to proceed.  At the time, it was an attempt to deflect discussion on the contentious hard fork. Naturally, the workshop was intended to discuss scaling bitcoin, and I thought that it would be a point to where debate and discussion would occur (that is not the case, and I’m alright with that).

Enter Nicolas Negroponte.  His interview was about 30 minutes and can be watched here.  I would actually recommend watching it if you have time.  Congratulations if you’re reading this sentence, you’ve passed and enjoy the taste of my condenser, I appreciate it.

I made the call to break this off into its own post because it was a very good listen, had its own style and presence, it just felt appropriate.  A founder of Wired Magazine, MIT Media Lab, and the  “A Laptop for Every Child” Program, he is an externally bearing person of influential authority, looking inward. Kicking off his speech with allegories of his life such as being hacked and using swiss ski rfid tokens as an informal currency amongst local shops in town, but eventually he opened with his thoughts and specific regards to Bitcoin:

“I cannot think of too many things that aren’t more important than bitcoin…and don’t blow it! Don’t Screw it up!  Now here’s how you’re going to screw it up:  You’re going to have a lot of people who look at bitcoin like it’s this kind of get rich scheme, you’re going to start companies where you want to see the valuation go up, you’re going to sit on bitcoins because you’re the first ones to have them. Try and park that instinct.  Think differently. I guess that’s my main point and first instinct with this whole talk.  “What is the difference between a mission and a market?”

Knows the difference between market and mission

 When you go to sleep tonight ask yourself this question – are you into bitcoin for it to become a market or a mission?  If you’re after a market then be like the other startups that what they’re all after a market.  If you’re after a mission, that’s ultimately for the better.  The mission is a global one and its going to make the world a better place in more ways then I’ll ever know and perhaps more than you may know too. BUT when VC comes in and offers to fund your startup then comes after you like “Now become Cash Flow Positive!”, screw them, that’s not really what you need to do.  I would urge you all to do non-profits not profits. Because I think civic society has been shortchanged. I have been in meetings, I can’t tell you how many meetings, where people sit around the table and say things like, “There’s two types of people in this world, Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists”, I said wow you forgot about the 3rd part of society who aren’t entrepreneurs and aren’t philanthropists and they’re civil servants!  And Our World Revolves Around Civil Servants.  In fact civic society isn’t given that much attention.  For example connectivity.  Connectivity, for instance, to the internet, should be free to everyone and provided as a civic service!  It shouldn’t be provided as a commercial interest, as it has evolved.  

Bitcoin is important from a global point of view.  If it were our mission to redesign the world in a way that makes sense, the last thing we would come up with is countries.  We currently have 190-200 of them.  Its silly,  when you break it down the smallest one is fewer than 1000 the largest ones topple over 1.2 Billion.  There’s dividers such as rivers or mountain borders or other natural geological features…it doesn’t make sense.    I used to know the numbers, but over the past 50 years, we’ve seen that the gradual increase of them go up.  We’ve seen the nations even split down, such as the soviet union, where you have a large number of new entrants of countries, when yugoslavia broke up, boom another group was created.  Maybe you’ll have india break up or china break up or even the US break up…have Donald trump run one end and Hilary another!  Despite those potential actions, the part that isn’t happening is we’re not seeing a global governance.  Right now, the beautiful thing you guys are doing {the bitcoin community} is that you’re functioning without a central authority, without an organizing element, and that is why its so important.  That is why you need to get it across to a global audience.  You also have to have people out there willing to take this more seriously. ”  

Question 1 : What do you see with the role of government coming into the space of cryptocurrencies, particularly with the VC capital on the horizon, how do you see it evolving?:

“Well, if its not clear, I”m as socialist as you can get.  I come from an area an era where “being the most socialist seems to be the most good.”  I see a lot of role of the government. 8 of 10 of the top countries are socialist countries. A lot in the sense of them doing more things on your behalf, not so much on a role of the regulatory side, sort of ways to come up with consensus that are different.  I’m much more for paying large taxes and having larger swaths of human rites and a civic responsibility {things like primary healthcare, housing, food, and education}.  I don’t believe you need to pay for everything directly but something to where there is a bigger cycle and everyone can be raised together – guess what, they still pay taxes! and everyone still gets along”

Question 2 : Thx again for what you’re talking about,a lot of us got a big chuckle and a sense of responsibility when you said “Don’t screw it up” well, in terms of having to maintain such a system {bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general}, could you give us a little of color in your mind of what a system screwed up vs a system not screwed up?

“…Don’t become Digicash….I think that wide adoption is evidence of not getting screwed up.  If people see this as a way of fairness that works well to where self interests are parked at the door and to where those people are left at the door” I don’t know if the technology will, I have to believe that it won’t… Its always the people … its so hard to predict because I’ve been involved witth startups, and its funny because its a brain drain to the world, some of the smartest kids are being sucked out of society to do these stupid apps on their iPads with their girlfriend or their boyfriend but people are not working on big hard problems and there’a a lack of that.  I’ve been involved with many, funded about 60 personally or as a general partner.  When the company screws up there there’s a funny thing that happens almost always, there’s a board of directors meeting, and its always the case there’s an alpha dog that takes up all the airtime at a company meeting then the company gets into deep shit and that person is the first to go.  And there’s one or two people who have been silent, not speaking, taking any attention, who roll up their sleeves and turn the company around and make it amazing again.  Its interesting, when you have a company and your board of directors, look at them.  When the company goes haywire, everything goes wrong, will thereby there to help me with the problem?  I know people who go in at 10pm then they leave out 3pm the following day, making it work to make it work, I don’t think its the technology again, I emphasize that its the people.”

The following talk was transcribed and summarized by me but came from this post here.  I’ll end it here as it I’m just preaching with the choir on Nicholas’s talk and can completely agree with his thoughts. Till next time, take care community.

Disclaimer: {} =I have appended those and those are my thoughts, not the thoughts of Nicholas or

Post Author: Frankenmint

From the pristine land of the internetz, the Frankenment was bred from machine. While looking to embrace the new world Linux regime he is truly a windows bred. I've come from the darkness to the light to share with you other internetz fol-ken to share the message of virtual money. Through our actions, we can make the virtual world yet again beyond the decree of the internet, with the decree of internetz money! Bitcoin, the Supercurrency, the official tender of the internetz that will be accepted by all countries and all fol-ken Alike!