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At this altitude I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Can I ask you a personal question now. It is. I'm a cybernetic organism, living organism, and was made in Paris, so. Hello, boys and girls, ladies and germs. This is Tim Ferriss. Welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferriss show. I'm going to keep my preambles short because we are going to run out of time well before we run out of subject matter with today's guest, Boligee Srinivasan.
And I'm sure that that pronunciation could be improved at biologist's ballet. Gee, it's not a G. It's a J. S is an angel investor, an entrepreneur, formerly the CTO of Coinbase and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. He was also the co-founder of Earned Dotcom, acquired by Coinbase Counsel. That's with a Y l acquired by Marriott Teleport, acquired by Topia Topia perhaps and Quoin Center. He has been named to the MIT technology reviews. Innovators under 35 those in 2013 is the recipient of a Wall Street Journal Innovation Award many others and holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and an MS in chemical engineering, all from Stanford University.
Biology also teaches the occasional class at Stanford, including an online Muk MOOC that's massive open online course in 2013, which reached, as I understand it, more than 250000 students worldwide. You can find him on Twitter at blogsite.
I'll get it right this time with Jay Ballay Jayyousi, and you can find much more about him on his website, Borlaug's Dotcom. Balaji, thanks for coming on the show. Great to be here, Tim. And I thought we would start with a number, and that number is seventeen, twenty nine. And as I understand it, that's not in reference to a date, but you use that number quite a bit. Could you please provide a bit of context for how you've used that number and why you've used that number?
Sure. So I'm actually going to be launching something at that domain probably by the time this podcast is published. Hopefully. So that's a domain one seven to nine dotcom. What does it refer to? It's not a year. It's the first number. That's the sum of two cubes in two different ways. And what that refers to is basically the Rahmaniya number. So Srinivas Srinivasan Ramanujan was India's greatest mathematician and kind of like India's Einstein, but has a kind of a romantic story in the sense that he was extremely poor and wrote these letters to mathematicians around the world.
He had just self-taught math from a textbook. He wrote these latest demonstrations around the world, and most of them ignored him just as a crank. And one guy brought him out to England, this guy, G.H. Hardy. And we thought, this guy has to be a genius because no one would make up these equations. And then premonition began a rampage through mathematics and has people still to this day going through like a page of his notebooks for an entire mathematical journal issue because he just wrote down all these results that were true, but he didn't provide the proof.
You're just into it the result. So where does one seven to nine come from? Seventy two or nine? Well, unfortunately, Ramanujan died very young, very, very young from people think it's because he was away from his food and the warm weather of India and so on. But basically on his deathbed party came in to try to cheer him up, he said. And I came in on a taxi and the license plate, it's very boring.
It's 70 train on his deathbed and still had the wit and faculty to say, oh, that's not boring for some some two cubes in two different ways because he's on a first name basis with every number. And that's that's kind of the legend of Ramanujan. And so if you're interested in good will hunting, I have. Yeah. So good Will Hunting was kind of based on that. So there's actually a recent there's a book that was turned into a movie called A Man and Infinity.
It's a very fun movie to watch. I mean, it's it's engaging. I don't know how factually accurate it is, but there's pieces actually the numbers in there and so on. But to me, for many years, actually, before joining Andreessen Horowitz, what I was going to do is turn the course that I had done in twenty thirteen into like a global talent search, because just like you have the Hubble telescope looking for dark matter around the universe, I thought of the mobile telescope.
The telescope provided to us by mobile could help us find the dark talent in the global south and the undiscovered talent. And basically, that's not just the global south. That's Eastern Europe, that's Russia. That's all the former Soviet countries. That's basically the the world that all these people who didn't have a chance. And I think of that as something that I've wanted to do for a very long time. That's what I was going to do prior to joining a S.T. for a bunch of reasons to succeed and said in twenty thirteen and I'm kind of coming back to the path not traveled and doing this quote, global talent search.
And the idea is that basically we who have been fortunate enough to have some resources or winnings, we can offer a hand up to all these people, bring them into the global economy, level them up, give them what we know in terms of education or teaching or what have you. And all the stuff can be delivered. And it sounds like a cliche, but at scale over the Internet, you produce it once and you can replicate across millions of people.
So this is what I'm what I'm doing next. And hopefully the podcast comes out. This will be somebody's life. Knock on wood. Amazing.
So there are these seeming pillars of of influence. Pillar may be too strong a word.
And I think we'll want to explore a few of those, including Lee Kuan Yew perhaps. And we'll get to that. For people who don't know who that is, we'll we'll explain because good God, I mean, what what a figure and what an influence.
Before we move further ahead, what was the subject matter and the intent behind the book that you taught? The subject matter?
It was the title was Startup Engineering. And the concept was that it was basically the class that I wish I had had before doing my first startup. And so it's kind of like a time capsule back to somebody who was into math or into just technology in general, but was just completely naive about how to actually run a business or anything like that. When doing my first startup, I actually this is a first approximation, but I thought that the primary difficulty would be calculating difficult integrals.
And it's like, OK, that's that's the hard part. And everything else is kind of kind of basic. Whatever. We can knock that up. For breakfast, and of course, it's not the case as often turns up as often starts out right, because the thing is, as I was a career academic for many years and in academia, there is a high premium placed on novelty of results, technical difficulty. And there's some some good aspects of this you do in math.
You learn how to think rigorously and go premise, premise, premise, conclusion, really interrogate your results. There's seemingly obvious things that aren't actually true mathematically when you actually go and work them all the way through. Famously, like the parallel postulate, Euclid is not something you can just take for granted. You get different geometries if you assume different condition there and you think rigorously in academia and then you think, OK, well, that's that's the entirety of the world technical difficulty and it's not.
And so this course was meant for. Teaching the philosophy and all the nitty gritty details to go from a command line up to a website with payments, with job script and all the types of ULDA, because you learn computer science and academia don't really learn software engineering. And there's a thousand details in how that works, which are useful to get No. One gift and stuff like that. And of course, the reason you don't learn those things is they move fast.
You have to keep updating it. Was one piece in the second piece was a philosophy of startups, meaning what is the difference? You just startup versus small business or why is this happening now? There's a piece of recent history. For example, the NSF ups.
I do not I'm not even going to try to pretend the National Science Foundation had this thing called the acceptable use policy in place for many years and it prevented commercial traffic on the Internet. How about that? So the yeah, the dotcoms that we know and love are actually not feasible until I think about nineteen ninety one plus or minus one or two years, I think was nineteen ninety one, they repealed the AUP. The reason people fought it, they said there was going to be spam and porn and malware on this commercial internet and it's all going to be broken because before that it was like an academic and military internet.
Everybody was sort of a quasi trusted user on it. You had to have a dot, mil or edu domain. Right. And then they're like, oh, my God, all these crazy people are going to get on. It's going to be. And you know what? They were right. All that stuff did happen. But the benefit was worth it. The downside was mitigated by, I think the upside does commercial Internet. And that's something which most people don't even know how that came about.
It really was something where one rule was was holding back all this innovation. But something's made a deep impression on me. So so, look, stuff like that was kind of stuff that I tried to convey in the course alongside the nitty gritty. I think most of the time that kind of stuff is not taught in the same place from the same person with one coloring the other. I think that's part of why the course was popular. Thank you.
Was a very comprehensive answer.
I love comprehensive answers, but looking forward to this conversation. You're very good at teasing out the details. And we may end up teasing out the details on all sorts of things in this conversation, including some of what one of our mutual friends described is one of several orgasms, including the line immutable currency, infinite frontier or maybe frontiers, an immortal life. I'm giving teasers to people. So this is a bit of a cheap it's a bit of a cheap trick, if you'll excuse it.
This is from we'll just say anonymous, although I think this sentiment has been echoed by a few people I chatted with, which you may enjoy, which is something along the lines of the quote, Bolaji will end up on one side of a firing squad, but I'm not sure which side. And OK, that's funny. I'm very peaceful.
I'm extremely peaceful. I just want I just want to put that out there for the record. Go ahead.
He's very peaceful. And I think that part of what fascinates people about you is how often they would consider you prescient. And often that comes with a degree of fear, not of you, but of the consequences of you being right. And I'm thinking of, for instance, a quote I think it was on January 8th by the co-founder of Room Research. You probably remember this one. I think it's at and if I'm getting that right, which was something along the lines of the most terrifying words in the English language, our biology was right.
OK, so I'm planting those seeds just because we're going to come back to why some of the things you've predicted accurately have in fact, been terrifying. Before we do that, we can if you want to say something first, we can. We can certainly we can dive into it.
I will offer just a little bit of color there, which is so what he's referring to is specifically my predictions on covid and the pandemic and so on, but then also more generally, a bunch of unheeded predictions or things that I've said and that people would be like, oh, that'll never happen. And then that's kind of happens. And so it's not so much that it's all always bad predictions, not always just. Cassandre, I like to think that I look for large deviations so that you can actually get large upside as well as large downside.
And so folks who I think who followed me on investments have done reasonably well.
But there's both see there. There are both. And Cassandre, for those wondering, that is a mythological reference, correct?
Yes, that's right. That the gift given the gift of prophecy, but with the condition that no one would believe her. Right.
So we'll we will come back to some of these predictions. And is it I want to say, I just heard you say covid most people would say covid does it matter? Is one correct in one nut?
I mean, it's an acronym I have heard it pronounced both ways, covid or covid-19 or covid. So I don't I don't have it. Yeah, I'm going to roll with it.
We'll come back to that now before we started recording and you and I have chatted before we were chatting, but I thought it would be kind of fun to kick the ball around in the conversation about podcasts because you have opinions about the state of. Media or mainstream media and perhaps even the future of media, which I'd love to dig into at some point, but you had some perspectives on the. Podcasting world relative to perhaps other ecosystems, could you just provide your first say, postulant, that's me trying to get fancy, but no, no, no.
Yeah, please go ahead. Yeah. So basically, let me give some definitions first. So here's a one liner that took me a very long time to understand. So product is merit and distribution is Connexions. For example, a great blog post that nobody sees is a great product with terrible distribution. Conversely, a really dumb article or whatever, that that is a piece of content that is in a field that is seen by millions is a terrible product with great distribution.
And these are actually essentially disjoint things. Sometimes you can build products that have distribution built in like social networks or payment apps where they're inherently viral. That's why people like them. But most of the time, these are disjoined things and you have to put as much thought into the distribution of the product. If you're selling chairs or something like that, it's not enough to make a good chair for you to think about. OK, how do you get to Walmart?
How do you get to this distributor? How do you get on Amazon? All those tense things are are critical parts of making it work. And Peter Thiel is a good line, which is that distribution is the thing that engineers don't get. Part of the reason I think they don't get it is that it's based on connections. So it can't be just reduced to math or at least parts of it can be like your contribution margin and so on. But it is something where a lot of it is networking or knowing somebody and people don't usually put thought into this.
But when you walk into a convenience store, why are some energy drinks pulled up all the way to the front, like five hour energy? Why is it in the checkout aisle and why others at the back? That is not an accident. That's a bunch of distribution relationships and deals because people are hyper conscious. The store is hyper conscious of the fact that being up front near the checkout is a great spot to move inventory, and that's actually more valuable to be there than at the back negotiation with them.
OK, what's my point? Point is that I think an enormous amount of our media ecosystem today is actually something where the product is terrible, but they've got a lot of great legacy distribution. So, again, a software analogy. Think about Microsoft or Oracle, Oracle, which makes a database. Any engineer was listening to this. The database is OK. But most people, if you're starting from scratch, you'll use Posterous or an open source database or a combination of some kind.
So Oracle has kind of a bad product or a declining product in many ways, at least relatively, versus the open source competition. But as great legacy distribution because it's got its hooks in all of these enterprises, salespeople know them. It's also hard to extract it, to pull it out. How does that relate to the podcasting thing? Well, if you think about distribution, not just for sales or for companies, but for ideas, media creators can have great content, which is great product, or they can have lots of followers from lots of influential followers.
So the quantity and quality respectively, of their distribution and podcasters, when two people tend to do a podcast together, they tend to have comparable distribution because they have comparable distribution x hundred thousand one hundred thousand or six million one million followers across platforms. Not any one platform that actually is. It's almost like the Wild West, where both people come to a saloon armed in our society. Some guys sounds like something that should be put on the license plates here in Texas.
What I think it's done is it's changed the culture, podcasting. The thing is, when everybody's kind of comparable in distribution, the culture is changed to one of politeness back and forth, give and take, as well as the long form nature of the contrast. This is like a journalist versus a subject. Podcasting is peer to peer journalist. Subject is hierarchical. There's a journalist, a corporate journalist and employee of a media corporation. And then there's the subject, as in the subject, under the microscope or the subject, and there's a king in their subject.
And that word or subject to that word, subject to such a revealing word, it gives away so much the journalists and the subject under a microscope. And the thing is, a journalist subject relationship and the journalists interviews the subject. Journalists can edit. They can they can pull whatever they want. And they have the distribution that the subject doesn't. They have millions of folks who will read their thing. The subject can just squeak and can't get a word in edgewise.
They can they can yell all they want, but it doesn't do anything. No one listens to them. It's just boom. That's why people used to say, never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel. You're writing a little letter to the editor and they've got rolling off the printing presses. It's as if you've got millions of drones that you can just hit, enter and boom, just push software updates, too. And this person can just talk to the people around them because that's what media is.
Media scripts, human beings, if code scripts, machines, media scripts, human beings, even in ways that we don't fully appreciate. That's why people spend so much on advertising. You might think advertising doesn't convince you of something, but it just sort of reminds you that Coca-Cola exists. And then you're at the street, you know, maybe I'll get a Coke. That's how words are picked up. That's how vocabulary is picked up. A small example of.
I said, postulant, like eight minutes ago or nine minutes ago, you might say postulant two minutes ago. Right. That's a small example, right? That's not bad. It's just how we should think about it. Point being that once we are equal on distribution, then we can actually speak to each other as peers. And it's futile to try to argue with someone who has way more distribution and is hostile. You just need to build your own distribution, which is much more possible in the Internet age.
I agree with that. I agree with the if we were to put it in indelicate terms, these sort of mutually assured destruction element of civility, I think there are also a few other contributing factors.
One is that many journalists working under a masthead have the air cover right. They have the air cover of not only the reputation, whatever that might be, it doesn't need to be the most prestigious publication, but the they have the reputational cover. They also have the insurance cover. Right. The errors and omission policies in actual insurance. Those clauses with an actual insurance policies and some degree of legal protection by their employer would be one another is that very often podcasters have experienced having their quotes cherry picked or have been on the receiving end of a hit piece and therefore I think are just more sensitive to inflicting that on other people.
Empathetic. They're more empathetic. And I would say that you see that very clearly. You see a shift sometimes not always in journalist, and there are many spectacular, wonderful, diligent ethical journalists out there, some of them are close friends of mine in those who are, say, tending towards the kind of cynical cherry picking side once they launch. This is how it usually or often happens, their own book. And now suddenly they are at the whim of other media and other reviewers and other critics.
They really, for the first time, sometimes get a large dose of their own medicine.
And often that can can stem the tide a little bit, I would say last night, to get podcasters too much ethical credit, although certainly some of them and many of them are ethical. I think that it's very difficult to cherry pick when you're interviewing in long form. It's not only that, but both sides can very easily record.
So there are a lot of a lot of factors that make it a friendlier format, although I will say I have had podcasts that are highly produced, try to pull a fast one on me before. And not that this is terribly relevant, but that was how I learned to listen and pay attention to my dog very closely, because it was one of the few times that this woman walked in. This is pre covid as many years ago to interview me with a producer and so on.
And my dog growled. The dog growled, Molly growled. And that almost never happens. And I apologized for her, growling and continue at the interview and very quickly realized that I was being led into a trap. And I just I just stopped the interview as it. Yeah, I think that if this is how you're going to approach it, we're done. And it turns out if they're on deadline and they have a highly produced piece and they have a lot of employees and mouths to feed, that that is actually a reasonably strong move, assuming you can afford to do it.
It's just to not play ball, just to walk off the field. And so a lot to be said about media.
Oh, absolutely. I mean, the thing is, actually, the nonanswer, the ignore the block is actually quite effective as an individual and even more effective if practiced by a large group of people, like there's the site block and white dotcom that, if you saw, did quite well on Twitter and is like a minor hit. And I think you're going to see much more of that, where essentially the issue is that a journalist versus subject, it's almost like a traveling salesman who goes town to town and runs a con on this person and the next person.
There's a great book called The Journalist and the Murderer that actually documents. Have you heard of this? No, I haven't, but that's a hell of a title. It's actually in the modern library is like, I think, top one hundred books of the 20th century. It's called Journalism Murder. It's by a former journalist. And essentially it talks about how there is like this really brutal killer and a journalist who interviewed that killer and then publish a story that was a huge misrepresentation.
And the killer was like so mad. They sued the journalist. And the jury actually ended up sympathizing with a murderer over the journalist once they understood what the journalists had done. So it's a phenomenal book. You should read it. Actually, I'm going to I'm just going to read you the opening of it because it's so good. It's by Janet Malcolm of The New Yorker, already famous, opening every journalist who is this is her quote. It's not mine, but it's every journalist who's not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on, knows that what he does is morally indefensible.
Here's a kind of confidence man preying on people's vanity, ignorance or loneliness, getting their trust and betraying them without remorse, like the credulous widow who wakes up one day to find the charming young men, all her savings gone. So the consenting subject of a piece of nonfiction writing learns when the article or book appears his hard lesson. Journalists justify their treachery in various ways, according to their temperament. The more pompous talk about freedom of speech and the public's right to know the least talented talk about art, the simplest murmur about earning a living death.
OK, so I want to offer, but by Janet Malcolm of The New Yorker. So I want to just say that's that's a journalist on corporate journalist.
Basically, for those who want to, there are two sides to this coin. And I want to say, for those who want to further educate themselves on the dark arts and those gambits they might fall prey to, there's also a book called Trust Me, I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday, which covers a lot of this, including the tactic of getting an email 20 minutes before a piece is going to be published asking for comment, which, of course, is intended to elicit any comment or panic you write or other tricks.
You know, I'm going to be commenting on you whether you provide a quote or not. Therefore, you should do A, B or C, but that's a good book on some of the Dark Arts End. Don't lose your place. I don't think you will because you seldom do. But this also lends all the more testament to those journalists who can withstand and methodically counteract these powerful incentives and motivations to actually do good work where they don't get sucked into this this vortex of perverse incentives.
So I do want to say that the people who are actually able to stand in the eye of the hurricane and do that, I give a tremendous amount of respect because it's hard.
I understand what you're saying. I do think that the structural incentives in the profession now are such that you've got someone who's literally just swimming against the stream. And I think actually part of the issue is that it's a profession in the first place. And what I mean by that is like the founding fathers talked about how a standing military was a bad thing because you'd have this patrician class that was armed to the teeth and there would be, again, subjects and that Patreon class was in Drells.
It had its own esprit de corps, its own sense of self, and would increasingly go contemptuous of the civilians who they watched over. And that was a recipe for bad things. So that's what they preached against a standing military that the US basically didn't have a standing military for a long time until essentially the permanent wartime mobilization of the century, especially post World War Two. Before it was like the ideal was to have citizen soldiers like you see in the movie.
Three hundred. Well, the Athenians come out and it's like I'm a potter and I'm a baker or whatever, and they grab an axe and go to war. But they're not permanent military now or whether we can get back to a standing military or rather away from a standard military justice and military. I think that's going to have to wait till mid century when it's all drones, at which point then it's all computer programming. And actually. So that's I know that's just a cast-off remark.
So within the next 30 to 40 years, once we get to these sort of asymmetrical warfare where the cost of offense is much lower than the cost of defense with armies of drones. So even.
Yeah, I think I think basically sometime mid century, maybe more. If you followed the just as a footnote on a footnote, but the Armenia Azerbaijan conflict, which was heavy on drones, that's a glimpse of the future warfare. The future is already here if it's not evenly distributed kind of thing. So I do think that eventually, once you get full automation of everything, it'll actually be just drone on drone and then people will surrender rather than. Civilians killed, it actually might be more ethical and it will be obviously a transitional phase, the transitional phase of human versus drawn will sort of be like early in World War One, there were cavalry charges versus machine gun nest Calvary, which is kind of this outdated way of war that quickly went away.
Human versus drawn human versus robot will be like that, I think. And then people will quickly be like, OK, we just need robot vs. robot anyway. So leaving the standing military aside, I don't think that can be solved in the short term by analogy. There's a concept of standing media. Standing media is again like a Praetorian class or a select class of quote, elite that among themselves practices certain behaviors that the average person can't. And what's interesting is NY Mag had this thing a few years ago, like the media on the media, and it was let's see if I can find it.
Here is the survey I was finding the exact thing the media on the media. July twenty four twenty sixteen nine nine pm. One of the biggest things that they all agreed on is journalism's biggest blindspots coverage is that we draw from a limited pool of people who generally have a similar background class or simply unable to see the perspective of people who are not like them and tend to drive out those who don't fit in. Now, I actually understand this coming from academia.
I could see how that epistemic bubble happens. It's ironic that the people who complain often most about filter bubbles are actually complaining about the plural because there was just one filter bubble that they controlled and now they're annoyed that there's more than one. They've competing filter bubbles being filter bubbles. Exactly.
So the way I kind of think about this is the answer is not reform. The answer is not to tell these professionals, hey, go in journalism better or you're doing a good job. This guy is doing a bad job. I think that's been tried for a very long time. I think the answer is radical decentralization in several ways. One critical way is everyone a journalist. So citizen journalism as opposed to corporate journalism. So this way you don't have a media corporation that's literally running billboards declaring itself to be truth incarnate.
Let's not exaggerate, that's literally the slogan of one large media company that shall go, and it runs Billboard saying it's the truth. And yet these media companies are basically the big ones are nepotistic endeavors. They're passed down from father to son. They are everything that they castigate technology for being, which it isn't this kind of inbred sort of things. Right. And no one ever points out no one points out that the owners of these papers are actually like just literally father to son kind of endeavors, which is not happening in tech.
You don't get father people, founder companies and tech. So the alternative to sort of this hereditary dictatorship running these media corporations is everybody right? And you have local expertise. You have chemical engineers trading on chemical engineering and you have biologist writing about biology and you have computer scientists writing about computer science. And they do it as a duty, not for profit, meaning it's actually the fact that there is this corporate business model. They're basically currently incentivizes them to go for popularity and the number of clicks as opposed to truth.
Now, you might argue against profit, etc.. No, I'm saying that the citizen journalism part is one important component. Let me give two or three more. A second important component is decentralized cryptographic truth. And this is a big concept. I'm not sure I'm gonna be able to do justice in a few sentences, but I'm going to try, which is to say it is now possible with cryptocurrency for a Israeli and Palestinian, a Chinese person, a Japanese person, a Democrat and a Republican to all agree on the state of the Bitcoin watching regardless of your political views, your geography, people agree on how much Bitcoin someone has globally.
This is an incredible triumph because, you know, a trillion dollars, forget it. I mean, a million dollars is the kind of thing that people will fight over and disagree on and so on. There's essentially no dispute on who owns what BTC. And that's the kind of thing that people tend to have large disputes, over a trillion dollars people tend to fight over. They tend to try to fake history to to force things all the type of stuff.
Right. The point is that once you can develop consensus algorithms that can get people to agree on what Bitcoin someone had at what time you can extend them, as we're doing, to get people to agree on what property somebody had at what time. So what stocks were bonds, but real estate with this with that, which is again, another huge component of the kinds of things people fight about and then less obviously, you can extend that to what events happened at what time.
So what device recorded this temperature in Kansas on this date or what hospital uploaded this medical record to the block chain at this time? Or what was the price of this house that was sold in this area? Or what crime was reported by this victim or this police officer in this area? All of these feeds of data right now that are happening in these kind of disparate silos, you put them together into something I called the ledger of record, which is a global feed of cryptographically timestamped history, unbelievable history.
And it's kind of like Twitter in the sense of when people are referencing whether something happened there like this, that tweet real. And you go to the permalink and you want to see whether someone actually that's imperfect for many reasons, one of which is that Twitter can man in the middle of it. Another is that the person's account can get hacked and they can post to someone else, as happened last summer with cryptography, with digital signatures, that going into all the details, that offer is not a perfect set of checks, but a much greater set of checks on this becomes much harder to falsify history.
You can't delete the tweets as Twitter can do. There's a lot of things that come into it where that feed becomes incorruptible, it becomes an indelible ledger and it comes cryptographically value. And so what I think in crypto, this is called crypto oracles. The point being that you're no longer relying on just pure humans, fallible humans to tell you what is true, you rely on decentralized cryptographic truth rather than corporate truth. And this is already the kind of thing which is the input to smart contracts handling millions of dollars.
I think we're going to scale this out for the next ten years. And this is actually the alternative to a few folks in Brooklyn trying to determine what is true for the entire world, which simply doesn't scale, not that it ever did, but it's very obvious that it doesn't. All right. Let me pause there. A lot lot to digest is more I could say that is a lot to digest.
So it'll be very interesting to see what happens to long form journalism. That is pieces that would take possibly weeks or months of time, dedicated time to produce. But putting a bookmark in that, we can always come back to it.
Just a quick thanks to one of our sponsors and we'll be right back to the show.
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Tim, there are a few things that I would love to get your opinion on perspective on and I'll give kind of a preview of the two.
One will be. Current. Forms of self-defense, whether preemptive or reactive, while we're waiting for the future to be evenly distributed, what can we do in the meantime to protect ourselves or counterpunch if we're being potentially mistreated by members of the media? That's one. And then after that, I'm going to ask you about for yourself, keeping a ledger of. Predictions, much like you've recommended people to ride out the bull bear and base case of joining a company and then checking themselves, say, three years later.
Now, let's first talk to any particular strategies or tactics for self defending oneself. Exactly. For self defense. Do you have any thoughts there?
Sure. So I have several. The first is maybe that would be the least obvious, which is you should radically reduce your expenses if possible, because financial independence is upstream of individual independence and ideological independence. If you're in lots of debt, if you're not in debt, but you're just spending every dollar you have because you live in an expensive area, then you are extremely conformist because, oh, my God, you lose your job and you have no savings and you've got this high consumption.
And so you just have to stay in line for everything. Now, if you want to live like that, go ahead. OK, but if you don't, the first thing to understand, I think, is that it's much easier to reduce your costs by five X, then increase your top line by five. X is possible to do both, but it's almost deterministic to reduce costs if you're willing to do it. And how do you do it?
You go to nomadism, dotcom or teleport network and you do a spreadsheet and you optimize your personal runway and your personal runway is what it sounds like. There's a concept, it's very obvious, but just extends our corporate runway to individuals. It's your savings provided by your partner. And here's the thing. The moment that you move to, let's say, Bali or some very inexpensive locale and start living like Gretz, and of course, this is most applicable for people earlier in their life, it's harder for folks with families and what have you.
So I recognize that. But even then, it can be done. There's a group called Lean Fire, Financial Independence. Literally, there's Mr. Money Mustache, folks who do this kind of thing like household budgeting. But as an individual, it's actually relatively easy to do now. And it's actually even easier in twenty twenty one than was when I first started recommending this. You get a remote work job at a good tech company. It could be any company, of course, but let's just say tech is because it pays well or whatever, if you can get it.
But remote working people job, you move to the cheapest place that you can tolerate. That's good. And actually there's actually some really great places that are cheap and warm, especially now that remote is feasible. I mean, basically all of Latin and South America, if you have to be in an American timezone, for example, and big chunks of Canada, if you like the cold and of course, the Midwest and would have this huge areas of the map that have opened up thanks to remote.
And if you do that and if you cut your expenses five X now you go from just as a thought experiment, let's say you're making, I don't know, one hundred thousand a year as an engineer and before you're in San Francisco and you're burning like ninety thousand about a year or something, that's actually not insane. A lot of people do exactly that. Right, because the rent is so high right now. You go to some rural locale or even overseas and now you're actually only burning, let's say 50 Khidir, 40 K in tax, what have you, and then like 10 or 20 to 60, 20 K and expensive because you just cut it all the way down.
Well, now, every year that you work, you have basically built up because if your income goes away, your taxes as well. Every year that you work up, if you're spending your you have 40 K in savings, do the math, earn one hundred, spend sixty, bank 40. If your spending is 20, then you have two years of runway personal runway at it for every year that you work there. And the simple toy example.
And that means that you don't need to accept angel financing, you can still finance, you can just for every year you work you can take two years off. It's basically a way of getting personal financial independence, like could determine the path to doing. Now, of course, you're no stranger to this. You've been talking about this stuff forever, the four hour work week. And this is not this is not unusual for your audience. But I think that the perhaps somewhat novel is connecting this to ideological independence because it means you can't be cancelled.
You can just write it out like the square jawed Chad. Yes. You know, from the moment I'm talking about now, no, I don't what is a chad? OK, OK, this is very, very online. If you Google the chad. Yes, it's like someone being like, oh, my God, I can't believe you believe this Reverend Guy said yes. And he's just not backing down at all. Just totally firm square jaw.
Chad, you never this.
No, no, it's all right. I didn't know who Taylor Swift was until like four years ago. So I'm a little I'm a little sheltered, it would appear.
Yeah, it's like it's like it comes from. Yes, Chad or your being here. I'll send you the same thing.
I'll put this and I'll put this in. Show notes for four people right next to drone warfare.
I bet ninety ninety nine percent of your audience has. This is maybe it's obscure maybe or maybe it's I don't know that we'll have to see anyway. Point is, how do you do the square jawed chad? Yes. It means you have to be able to you know, you're not backing down. You accept what consequences may come because you have planned for the future. You know, conflict may come and you have essentially banked up. And so so that's let's call that one piece.
Right. Financial independence.
And it and it requires not to state the obvious, but it requires. Or may not even require courage the less fear you have, right, if courage is acting in the face of fear, if you have minimize the risk or the damage of being canceled or any type of media retribution, you have less fear to overcome. It just makes it easier, like you said, to have that ideological freedom to hold the position. That's right.
The second thing is, if you read books like Beautiful Trouble, that is I do not.
OK, so that's like I feel like I'll be saying I don't and I do not a lot in this conversation. Please continue to beautiful trouble is an awesome window into another world, which is it's sort of like it's a handbook for activists. And so you sort of learn when you read it, you'll be like, whoa, I recognize that from this event and I recognize that from this event. And you start to realize actually how much stuff you read in the paper.
Some part of it is sort of from corporate PR, but another big chunk of it is from activist PR, for example, taking a laser pointer ish thing and shining a logo onto the side of a building. There's various kinds of stunts like this, but the one that's relevant here is there's this concept called spectrum of allies, where you've got people who are at the let's say, the five categories, strongly supportive, weakly supportive, neutral, mildly oppose and strongly oppose.
And your goal as an activist is to recognize you can't just move people from plus two to minus two right away. What you do is you try to find some incident or thing that is bad and then you go and you put a microphone to everybody and you force them to comment on this person or sincerely, like, can you excuse this horrible thing? And you try to force them from a plus one to a zero or two. Right now, that is actually a very premeditated thing.
One way of visualizing it is that it's an attack on your social network. OK, this is a premeditated thing. It's not like an organic thing and it's a spectrum of allies. And when we're thinking about this is you have a social network supply chain, OK, so visualize yourself. You're a node at the center and you have your employer, let's say your sister. You have your investors, you have your employees, you have your customers. Right.
There's all these notes about you I'm talking about from like a text out of context. But you can, of course, generalize this to something else. And those nodes can be colored. Let's say they're gray or blue or red. They can be colored according to their ideology. And the most important thing about your social network supply chain, and this is not obvious, it is what periodicals they read and respect because those periodicals have access to their brains.
If a periodical suddenly says, let's say The Wall Street Journal and you've got a bunch of Republicans surrounding you, for example, write The Wall Street Journal suddenly says you are bad. All the people who read and respect The Wall Street Journal will suddenly like zombie like, turn their eyes glowing red and start excommunicating you, or they'll move in the spectrum of allies. So the guy who is on the fence may quit. The person is really strong and strong supporter might move to what the minimum contractual obligation is.
And so the attack, it's like a mortar that lands in somebody's social network neighborhood. That's what that's what negative press is negative press is an attack on your social network. Now, how do you mitigate this? Well, first, as I mentioned, you are you're you're a, quote, sovereign individual. You're financially independent. So if people pull away, it doesn't matter. But second and more important, you need to actually identify where likely attacks are going to come from and make sure you actually choose your friends, your employees, everything such that that's actually robust to forceable kinds of attacks, that you justify your social network, Supply-Chain, in the same way that a judicious person who runs a manufacturing plant is thinking, OK, China has some supply chain risk.
You are thinking, OK, that person has social network supply chain risk. I think they would go south in this event and then you might want to get them off the board or you might want to not hire them as an employee or as a contractor. And that's actually better for them as well, because they may or may not know it, but they're basically like the Manchurian Candidate. They've got like a remote chip in their brain. And there's like this when when you're denounced, OK?
And now we have it actually relatively good in the West in the term canceled, by the way, it's actually very juvenile. It kind of comes from like TV shows being canceled, like cancel cultures, like teenagers complaining about it. And this sort of elliptical way of complaining about has made its way up to 30 and 40 and 50 somethings discussing this topic. But the original term for being canceled was being purged. That's what they called it in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China and so on.
And it could well be said that in the Soviet Union or the PRC and editorial was a prelude to an extra judicial execution. You wouldn't just get canceled and lose your friends. You would lose life, liberty or property. You'd be shot or jailed or certainly expropriated or all of the above sent to a labor camp in the Cultural Revolution.
And the other nodes in your social network might be as well like if you were a member of a family that had a no and capitalist roader in China. Not really very good. It was possible. Just like people come back from being cancelled. Deng Xiaoping was actually purged three times. His son was thrown through a window and look during the Cultural Revolution and was in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. So, I mean, this the kind of stuff that happened in other countries, it got even more violent than it has so far in the US.
But we'll see what happens with that anyway. Point is that so that's a second mode of defense versus personal financial independence. And second is collective independence. You want to really think through who the nodes are that are associated with you. By the way, one interesting consequence of this, if you flip it around, is if you have a monochromatic supply chain, there's basically nobody, for example, at the New York Times company who reads and respects Breitbart.
Some Breitbart has zero effect on the New York Times company. No, no. There can be Manchurian Candidate by them. But then your company absolutely on if you go to Breitbart, like extended social network Supply-Chain, there's absolutely folks, whether it's ads or other kinds of things that retrospectivity. So a can publish article has no effect on bupivacaine publishing. It has an effect on. Another example is if the Shinhwa daily by the they I'm not saying anything pro or con about Breitbart in my time, just making an observation of fact.
There are examples in China, the Chinese People's Daily, if you're Chinese and they denounce you, your whole social network supply chain is like, whoa, the government just announced you're in trouble if you're in the US. Nobody even reads Chinese or even cares here. These guys are totalitarians. Who cares? Or at least that's that's what folks you'd be able to brush it off. And so so it's more than just, quote, red or blue or whatever it is.
There's other colors to it. Whatever you assign the color to the CCP or would have. And so another one might be if Al Jazeera journalists or Russian state media denounces you, you've got vulnerabilities to different kinds of things. If you were a Russian expatriate, you might be much more concerned if you suddenly started going after you, then if you were just some random American or or even a Chinese person. Go ahead.
Let me hear what I was thinking. We could I'd be curious to hear what else you have thought about for yourself in terms of of self defense, if there are any tactical recommendations. And just also to come back to one of the examples you gave with reducing your expenses by five X, would you not? It's a combination of questions. We can you can take them in order. But if you were employed by a tech company, whether that's a Google or Facebook or otherwise, is that not a significant vulnerability in the system?
While financially, if you maintain your job, you can withstand, say, public denouncement or media denouncement, but the company may not have the same willingness? Absolutely.
Absolutely. So let me get to point number three. Point number three is. I gave a whole series of talks on this and I've been talking about the technology for DISPELL, something I call the pseudonymous economy. So the thing is that real names weren't built for the Internet. Real names are actually a technology. In fact, real names are still in base in many ways. Even the term real names are still base. It's better call the state name or a Social Security name because the global identifier, it's an fair that anybody can type into a database and pull up all kinds of information on you.
And this is something where historically past cultures understood that giving out someone's real name was actually very bad or knowing it, you had power of that person. The reason is that if you read this book seeing like a state seeing like a state seeing like a state this it's a great book by Yale University Press that essentially talks about how names were developed to, among other things, simplify the process of conscription. So rather than that guy over there with brown hair, which is an analog identifier that could refer to a bunch of folks, and that was imprecise and said to John Davidson, and that first name, last name was a it's not perfect.
It's not quite as good as a number, but it's a reasonably good digital identifier where you could go down a list and cross it off. And the thing is that that would not just be conscription. You couldn't have it even executed like Leninists destruction of property very easily without those lists. It was all about the lists. Literacy is what actually enabled a big chunk of that list of names is not to take his property, etc.. So the point being that the alternative to real names or like a single global identifier and everything is pseudonyms, search resistant identities, which people are already using at large scale.
Four hundred million pseudonyms or pseudonymous users on Reddit. And by the way, there's a distinction between anonymous pseudonymous and real name. Anonymous is totally disposable identifier. That's like the culture of 4chan that actually is kind of synonymous. Like Reddit is a persistent pseudonym that accumulates reputation, but that is at a distance from your global identifier. In general, what I think is the the Peace of Westphalia at the end of our 30 year Internet war is going to be hold on pause for definition.
If I could click on to you say Westphalia. Yeah.
So from 16, 18 to 16. Forty eight Protestants and Catholics slugged it out over religion, but also over power. Who's going to rule the Catholic Church or or Martin Luther Skys, the disciples of Protestants. Very bloody war, lots of killing and is basically centralization versus decentralization, among other things. And eventually the truce that came about was the so-called Peace of Westphalia, which established the modern nation state.
I was just thinking how how happy it makes me that you thought I might even know that I'm so honored.
And so thank you. But please, please continue.
I know I don't want to I want to take us off track, but that just it made my day that there's been day.
I don't mean these drop and obscure reference and there's lots of lots of areas of history that I don't know about. But this is one that I think about a lot because it's highly relevant, I think, to the present day on many, many different ways. Arguably, the Thirty Years War arose out the introduction of the printing press because you could go and mimeograph all of Martin Luther stuff and spread to people. And that's how you did the software, installed them into people's brains and that's processing reformation distribution took off.
So this technology gave rise to this huge fight that essentially redrew the map. And the concept of the nation state was born out of that, which is OK, you don't have these transnational entities that just can have influence everywhere and said we're going to have these geographically defined areas that are the sovereign government with a monopoly of violence and a religion can't just walk in there and just start bossing people around. There's like a lawful government that is the truth that people came to you stay in your lane.
I see in mine just out of all the bloodshed and to stop the bloodshed. So I think we've just began hopefully there's not bloodshed or not much of it. I think we've just begun. The people think we're ending it, but I think we've just begun the global Internet like Cold War, where all of the social networks, currency networks compete for ideological and economic dominance around the world because they can just spread virally back and forth like this and everyone will be trying to cancel each other and whatnot.
It's going to be this crazy, crazy thing. For example, one thing I anticipate will happen sometime in the twenty twenties is I think in some country, probably the US for lots of reasons. I think the cloud will burst. And what I mean by that is something like Treasury was just recently hacked with a silver wensing. People don't know what they got. They could have gotten every tax return. They could have gotten all kinds of very sensitive stuff.
And it was hacked with. With what? I'm sorry. Oh, solar solar winds is sort of the name of the hack. And it got it. And the scope of it is not fully understood. It's like this total omeje of all kinds of government systems. And this is not the first time this has happened. It's also happened at the government of Texas. And so and so for them up pointing at any particular. The main thing is when there's a recent hack of Ledger, the crypto company, their database was just blast on the Internet and you could actually it wasn't a customer, but people could see their name and their home address.
On the Internet, and they are like a crypto fanatic who has a hardware wallet on there. What a nightmare. Nightmare. Oh, my God. And so it is like this thing where you don't you can't easily change your home. I mean, some people can.
Yes. And suddenly you have guys in tracksuits showing up at your house potentially like a Rancourt.
A list of who holds crypto really, really, really sucks. May lead to home invasions or other kinds of things. Very bad piece of information to have out there. It's an enriched list. So it's hard for the thing is even discussing bringing more attention to it. Other hand, it's also something which has important consequences. And one of the consequences is that shows it's not a theoretical risk to think about with these hacks. Could be so far, people have talked about hacks kind of in the abstract.
But once a government database is hacked and all of this surveillance on us is just blasted out on the Internet, the cloudbursts, you know, whether it's what does that mean?
Like by the cloud Facebook, DM's rained down all Slack's rain down or something like that rain down, meaning are suddenly searchable and available, searchable and available sumption WikiLeaks style.
Exactly. Now, when that happens, the defense that people are now, it'll cause all kinds of crazy stuff. Basically, it's up so much that you'll see fires and and electrical outages and so on. But like all kinds of social damage will be because low trust relationships broken all the type stuff like the the tearing of the social fabric. Go ahead.
Well, I was just going to say not to mention that even if you feel like you have nothing to hide and this is an issue with a lot of surveillance act bills and things like that, if suddenly every lawmaker, every member of Congress has dirt on them, I mean, the destabilizing effect is non-trivial. It's not true. Now, there's an argument that when everybody's naked, no one is some people. Right.
Right, right. Sure. But it doesn't all happen at once. That's the thing, right? It's not all discovered simultaneously nor distributed simultaneously. Exactly.
That's right. And if you look at what happened during the Sony hack and so on, this is like a preview of that. And so the answer, I think, is we're going to need to build a pseudonymous economy where over the medium to long term, you separate out your real name, your earning name and your speaking name. And in fact, you have multiple earning names and multiple speaking names, just like you have multiple usernames at different sites.
Crypto is a crucial component of this because it allows you to earn pseudonymously. And with a recent innovation that I I've coded it up, but I've got the white paper level description of it would let you transfer reputation from one system to another. So one issue right now, just to frame the problem is you may have a bunch of reputation followers or karma, for example, under a username, even if you boot up another pseudonym, it starts at absolutely zero, which is one of the big things that stop you from doing it.
Let's say, for example, you have a large Twitter following and you put up a new pseudonym. That's your name starts with nothing. And so it takes you time to put up like a new following. That's a whole effort that deters a lot of people from doing it. They're starting all the way from scratch. And I thought about this problem and how to because the thing is that with cryptocurrency, we've actually solved this where you can set up a username and another username and you can use cash transfer money from one name to another pseudonymously to money can be transferred.
Reputation, though, didn't seem to be until I realized that actually you might not be able to do it for followers which are non fungible, that if, say, one person is not the same as the other, but you could do it on a site like Reddit where you had karma that was accumulated. And so someone who had ten thousand karma under one pseudonym, just like used cash to transfer digital currency cash is basically like the truly anonymous version of Bitcoin, truly private version of Bitcoin, just like used cash to transfer cash from one name to another.
You could use Z Karma to transfer karma from one username to another and thereby reboot under a new username. OK, and that usually would have no comment history, but people would be like, OK, that's a fifty thousand karma person or whatever, the number is clear that somebody who our community esteems to some extent has been upvoted a lot. Perhaps we should listen to what they have to say because they felt they had to go into a pseudonym for this.
And of course, you could do this with not just a global karma, but separate specific karma. You accumulated all this karma in the, I don't know, the historian or the mathematician subbrand or something like that. You have something controversial to get off your chest. You can say it this way. That's one dimension of the pseudonymous economy. I think another dimension is basically that people just like you don't give out your password. You know, I think it's going to become less and less and less common for people to give out the mapping between their physical body and their usernames online.
Like you may not even tell your wife, you know, just like people when you mean physical mapping, that just means you're not going to correlate those two things for someone.
That's right. Exactly right. So so essentially, it will be considered a faux pas. And we're already moving towards this. Right. Like there's this YouTube whose name I forget, whose like shtick is that he's like a faceless guy, like faceless horror or something like that. What's his name I'm talking about?
I don't know. But we'll we'll put it. We'll find it and put it in the show notes.
OK, yeah. So this guy's name, perps husband. Korps husband, Aravena, CERP asthe husband, Korps husband, says guy with this super deep voice sounds like this.
Look, look like I can't even mimic this guy with the super deep voice. He's never shown his face. So Korps husband, basically, he's quasi anonymous. He's given away his audio, but not his video. And I think that stuff like that, I mean, I think what's going to happen soon, sooner than we think probably or twenty twenty five point thirty latest is you'll have filters on your zoom that are not simply like, oh, my background in San Francisco or whatever, but audio and video filters so that you sound and look like a different person and that will be like the equivalent of clothes, the FBI informant filter or something like that, or is just just something where people don't need to know who you are.
And here's where I think why I call this a piece of us. I think at the end of this rainbow is not the right metaphor, but this journey certainly stops both discrimination and cancellation. So it is it's not ideal, but it is accepted and widely used by people of all political persuasions. And so it's sort of like a mutual disarmament where you can't cancel somebody. The only thing you can do is judge them by what they're saying. You can't discriminate against somebody.
You don't even know what their immutable characteristics are. And that's actually, I think, an acceptable truth to many parties. Not a great one, but it's the total opposite of bring your full self to work, Google stuff or whatever. It's actually the total opposite trade off, which is minimum necessary self. And I think this goes hand in hand with a future world where there's more taskin, more micro work, less full time jobs. And so some of the stuff obviously you've touched on many times.
All right. So there are lots of questions I could ask, including what are we've talked about, what it stops but not what it produces or what side effects are perverse incentives good could come into play with the pseudonymous economy. I think we might get into that. But I just want to ensure that I don't miss asking a question. And this is really a meta question of sorts. And it's a shitty question you can tell me and we'll do something else.
Sure. I had for context, as you mentioned, or maybe as I mentioned, I think it was on January 30th.
Of twenty twenty. This is a week after the lockdown in the city of one, you posted a tweet. What if this coronavirus is the pandemic that public health people have been warning about for years? And you ended up predicting accurately many things related to covid. You have certainly been a participant and in some respects by participating a predictor of many developments in block and cryptocurrency.
And for that reason, I had a laundry list of questions related to different types of possible predictions that you might have.
But I thought a broad strokes way of checking all of those boxes might be and tell me if this makes any sense or if you're game to try this is to actually talk about investing. And just to say, if someone handed you one hundred thousand dollars or one million dollars today and you had to invest it. How would you even think about that, because I think by answering that, it might. It might actually begin to speak to some of your predictions in the upcoming years.
Think about that framing. Sure.
So basically, I mean, like, I never give financial advice, right?
I was just going to say write what is as a as a disclaimer, what would you do? This is not financial advice. We're not registered investment advisers. Caveat emptor. This is for informational purposes only. No minors or Minotaur's allowed, et cetera, et cetera. Please continue. Sure.
So the question is, if I was given one hundred thousand one hundred million dollars, what do I do with that? Like, how do I maximize returns? So the dumbest thing but that I think is the most obvious thing to do is put into Bitcoin, half into it.
They're the dumbest meaning the simplest or the most ill advised.
The simplest like the simplest thing that I think is guaranteed to produce really exceptional returns. I think you could probably do. I mean, in retrospect, from 20, 30, looking back, there'll probably be something you could do that would be better, but probably there will be almost certainly something you do that would be better than that. But that's going to do extremely well. I think that's a global strategy also.
Is that is that what you would do? Not understanding you've you've sold multiple companies, you've had multiple exits. You are post economic in I assume, in that respect. But you said to maximize returns. And I'm not I'm not sure if that is how you would think of the objective at this point.
So it's objective to make the maximum difference to humanity, or is it to maximize returns? What was your it's whatever you would do with it. Oh, OK. Well, what I would do is something very different. So I thought if you invest on behalf of somebody else, OK, well well, in a sense you answered that.
So I'd love to hear your your personal take. Sure.
OK, so I'll tell you, but at least I'm planning on doing which is pouring money, some of some of my own and maybe some from investors if I put his money into bootstrapping talent around the world through seventy nine. So just return to that because we're talking about that at the beginning. This is going to be the first newsletter that pays you. And so that's to say daily at least a thousand dollars in Bitcoin prizes for doing tasks. OK, so for example, here's an essay, the best ten responses to it.
Get one hundred bucks in Bitcoin. Here is a scientific article, the best one hundred forty second video on this gets a thousand dollars. That explains it to the masses. Here is a a textbook or a chapter of a textbook. Please generate ten exercises for this chapter that are fully open source that anybody can do. Now I'll give you hundred dollars in bitcoin each. So that's like an open source. Corsaro open source Wikipedian assets. And the goal here in doing this is several fold.
First is I want to actually build up the citizen journalists that we talked about this content creators. Second, I want to invest in like a cumulative form of education, open source education, where these folks are doing tutorials. So, for example, those ten questions I just mentioned, it could be on science, but they could be on video editing or other kinds of things. And it's all just open source so that people get paid for creating the educational task that others can do.
How are those two things related, by the way? And it seems a little vague. Let me let me explain. So you have these tasks that people are completing and it's educational content that people are creating. The reason they're related is there's a global tasks that anybody can do. But you might be able to get paid more if you know Sigma or if you know Python or if you know chemistry. And so the educational tasks that I also pay people to do are like a curriculum that if you solve these tasks, you can level up and get higher value remunerative tasks.
The basic idea is, go ahead, I applaud you for a second.
So if you have a task like create ten exercises based on this textbook or this material, can multiple people perform that or complete that task?
If so, do you pay all of them had you decide who to pay?
That's a great question. So the review process actually we allocate as much of a budget or a good chunk of the budget just to review because review is its own thing and there's various ways of doing review. And we're going to experiment with a crowdsourced aspect like a Reddit style leader board of up and down voting and then a manual review on top of that. And then there's like 50 different things that you can do to kind of make this more sophisticated. In a sense, this is like earned dotcom 3.0.
There is earned dotcom. This condition, which is actually doing extremely well before we sold to Coinbase, essentially pay people to reply to emails and complete tasks. And then Coinbase earned was asked. Issuers like creators of new cryptocurrency and digital assets would pay users to do tutorials on their asset to learn about how it worked, like file coin or how to use decentralized storage or decentralized VPN. And this is like a third iteration, which also combines a bunch of ideas that I've had for online education.
So just to summarize it again. A newsletter that pays you with at least a thousand dollars a day in Bitcoin prizes for completing tests and tutorials, and then B, what this does is hopefully bootstraps talent all over the world. Anywhere there's a phone, there's a job, right, we can give this guy hook to people and you can just start with nothing, absolutely nothing other than phone, which people have made really cheap. And you can do the tutorials, you learn some skills, you level up, you get more tasks, you start leveling up more.
You get digital currency. So anywhere there's a phone, there's a job and there's an education. And this is what I plan to do with what I've been fortunate enough to to make. And that's my contribution to humanity. I think we're hoping to be. And and hopefully this helps find also like the next remonstrance out there. Who is this kid in Brazil or the Middle East, somebody in some war torn area like Syria. It's all bombed out.
But hopefully that kid has a smartphone and we can kind of airlift them out and give them a shot if they're willing to put in the work and be all free. So let me pause there. That's that's at least what I'm thinking about doing and idiosyncratic use of capital. But I'm not the type to spend on terrorism.
Ah, yeah. I would expect no less. So let's just say that there is a bright kid in Syria who I'm struggling so much so accustomed to seeing Ramanujan, but I'm getting that incorrect.
Ramanujan and he's performing or she is performing various tasks at a high level.
What do you then do with that talent. So presumably they develop some type of reputational score or they accrue some type of reputation. How do you airlift that kid out or encourage them to airlift themselves out? Is it the capital? Is it that they now have the resources to in greater optionality to perhaps improve their situation? Or is there another approach because they could be brilliant and continue to complete these micro tasks?
Right. So three thoughts. Right. To first is, of course, serious, an unusual case because actually a war zone. But we could use another example if it's easier, let's say it's Nigeria or it's India or it's a place where maybe the kid doesn't really want to leave. They don't leave now. They have their cake and eat it, too. They can have home cooked food. They can have their local culture and local language, but they can also get into the Internet fast and they can contribute pseudonymously ideally to a community that will neither discriminate against him nor cancel them.
Because the accent doesn't matter. Their age doesn't matter. Skin color doesn't matter. Gender doesn't matter. None of those things matter. Can't matter. That's at least my ideal, the true global meritocracy. And that's international, of course. And so the concept here is, yes, earning. And the thing is a thousand bucks even once in a year. It's actually a lot of money for people and a lot of places. So that's it, like quite a lot of people that we can airlift out that way.
I want to say airlift. As I said, I don't necessarily mean remove them from that location unless they want to leave. They might be able to stay there. I mean, more like airlift them from whatever situation there. It at least gives them the opportunity. And what does that mean in practice? Well, one of the most important things it does, I think, is this is the if again, if this works, ambitious and crazy and so on.
But let me try to explain it anyway. This is actually the digital native solution to education. Here's what I mean by that. So you can think of a piece of paper and then you can think of a scanner and you can think of a text file to go from physical to this hybrid, physical to digital scanner and then digital native. Another example would be you got a face to face meeting. You've got Zoom and then you've got virtual reality.
Zoom is also like a scanner is taking the offline and putting it online within VR as like digital native. Third example, physical cash, then something like PayPal or FinTech. Right. Which is just basically the the scanner taking, then putting it online and then you have crypto, which swaps at the back end is just now natively digital. It doesn't have a physical form. And with education you have these higher education offline, you've got the physical college, then you've got the scanner, which is like a D'Asti and Kuchera and so on, which are fine companies, good companies, billion dollar companies.
But they're basically taking the college experience and putting it online. And then there's this really interesting terra incognita of what is digital native education look like. So let me kind of motivate how that works. And then you can see how maybe that links in with a tasking piece. I say this to someone who taught a lot of courses or whatever, and so least it may be a mistake, but it comes from my experience of mistakes. So let's say you take a Stanford degree in computer science.
There are on the order of twenty five courses. You need to complete the degree, give or take. And that's in addition to so-called graduate education requirements. And each one is roughly each course, roughly 10 weeks and say there are ten problems per week, sometimes more, sometimes less. So that means about twenty five hundred problems. Twenty five to ten times ten. You need to solve twenty five hundred problems before you get your one degree. So it's like you have zero degrees at problem twenty three hundred and then you have.
One degree after prom, twenty five hundred a caricature it, but not by much, and if you have your own degree you go and now you can actually get paid and you can work and so on and so forth. That's a historical thing. Get your degree. And then now, of course, this is an idealization. People will do paid internships until entering college. So after five hundred problems, they have enough qualification to go and get some job or internship.
That's true. But to first order, this is how the system is still network. Get your diploma before you get a job. Now, one of the things people used to say as sort of a caricature or attack or whatever of a bad attitude you have, these degrees is, oh, you gain entry. Well, you better expect a salary. Oh, it's crap. Sad thing about that is what if you take that seriously? What if you say, all right, rather than this step function, this discontinues degree, you have to sell twenty five hundred problems before you get a job paying one hundred k.
Lowest common denominator, which is fine, but that's just like labeling something as a cat or a dog. All you need is a pulse. It's the the reCAPTCHA style thing that you see labeled as cars. That type of stuff is fine, but that's just all you need is a pulse. Your skill. The question then becomes how do you actually do proof of skill? And I think the answer is something, and I've got a post coming on this, which I call the crypto credential, and the idea is every time you sell one of these problems, we don't give you karma.
Like on Hacker News, we give you a little badge that says you solve that problem and that's held in your digital wallet just like your cryptocurrency. Think of as an NFTE, if you know what an officer is basically right.
Except it's nontransferable and just just decide for people who are interested in learning more about NTIS or nonfunctional tokens. If I'm remembering correctly, Katie Horne and I discussed this at length in that podcast episode, which you can which you can find elsewhere. So just Google her name, UN and my name inappropriate. So please continue.
OK, yes, Katie is awesome. So the idea is this would be this is not something you can resell. So it's done. And if you sound like a piece of art in that sense, it's a it's a third application or an application of crypto cryptocurrency. It's not art. It is a crypto credential to work to you. And the first version of those are just you solve problems on a website and you earn these crypto credentials just like you earn badges that stack overflow, just like you earn badges in a video game.
You earn these crypto credentials. The difference being there on chain and because you're on chain, you can log into any site with them and you can qualify for instant jobs, micro tasks. Now, here's what's cool about this. There's a lot of details and how we implement this, which I can get into. But what's cool about this is it levels it all out. Yes, absolutely. They're smart people at Harvard and MIT or Stanford, but they're smart people in the middle of Brazil and in Hungary and India and Nigeria and the Philippines.
And I know there's smart people there because I could see them in my class and I could see that many of them were the equal or the better of some of the more pampered kids that these expensive schools, especially nowadays, where there's less stress on just getting the right answer and more on cancelling people or whatever, like undergrad is much more screwed than what, especially in the US. And it was even 20 years ago, 10 years ago. Plus, because the pandemic, lots of colleges are shut down and they're having economic problems, there's a huge desire to do something better.
And the concept is if we do this right, it's like Wikipedia for education, because every course is open source. The problems are out there. It's like an open source curriculum. We're going to build it on the exorcism framework. At least that's my thinking right now. I might change my mind, but our system. Daddio, this is awesome. By the way. It's got a funny name to exorcism, but we need an exorcism. Basically has something where you can learn Python by doing like 50 python problems or you can learn by doing like 70 Jobster problems.
And it's recorded on the site. It's like you see this countercoup and just think about how much better that is than typical social media, where all you're doing is fighting for clicks or whatever, fighting for hearts on Twitter or like on Facebook, whatever it is. And that's something where you're just incrementing numbers on somebody else's server. I'm not seeing it a zero value. There is some value to it, but it's not value that you can easily quantify or extract from the system.
You built up your followers there. You can import them or export them. It's not really building up your self. Said you're behind twenty nine. Dotcom would be you would constantly be pursuing your improving your knowledge and your bank account. You're constantly learning and earning be learning and getting these crypto credentials and then the earn cryptocurrency. Now the third thing actually and this is something I've been also thinking about, starting with the idea of maybe we'll do this is you may think this is crazy, but you're also the for our body guy.
So I'm already crazy.
I think I've just crossed that Rubicon a long time ago. All right. So the third thing I was also thinking about is actually putting up a third kind of daily post, which is burning. That's to say just post something of you working out and we give the one hundred like ten dollars in BTC. And it's a very good health task, not just working out. Maybe it's show your fitness tracker or what vitamins are using or something like that with a goal being that people who are trying to and are focused on truth, health, wealth, learning new things and leveling themselves up that way of gaining knowledge, health like improving their body, their physique, but also like staving off aging, thinking about transhumanism, measuring themselves, and then wealth as important.
But third, truth, health and wealth in that order, because you determine what's true, make sure to maximize your health and then accumulate wealth. But don't do it at the expense of what is true or what is good for your health. Go ahead. You're smiling.
I love that. I love it because I mean to bring this to the fore. Everybody seems like a downgrade. But the I mean, look, I'm very proud of that and have a great book. The and a lot of what was in there that seemed highly speculative at the time has has only gained more traction and support. And literature and so on, so I'm very pleased with that.
A large component of that and especially the forHow chef, which very confusingly is about accelerated learning and behavioural change, the disproportionate impact of small incentives and stakes is I just think so under discussed. And one of the stories that I tell in the for everybody, I believe, was of a Google engineer who hope to get in shape. And he created a pact with a fellow engineer, which was we're going to work out together, whatever it was, three days a week.
And if either of us this is a work out, we're going to pay the other person a dollar. Now, these are Google engineers. They make more than a few dollars a year. And it was incredibly effective.
And the fact that it's a micro incentive. Leading to a micro behavior should not be minimized because ultimately our life is largely comprised of longitudinal accrual of these micro behaviors. It's a big fucking deal. I love that idea. I love that idea. Let me back step if I could. I knew this was going to happen. So no surprise here.
But I realized that I did not deliver on the promise of one of my questions.
And that question was related to. So we're going to focus on the earning component here for a moment just because I want to ensure that I provide what I promised to the listeners. I asked the what would you personally do in this case to maximize return with 100k or one hundred million? And then we didn't dig into the predictions or assumptions underlying your answer. So the answer was half an BTC Bitcoin, half in cerium. And I'd love to hear you comment on, number one, the assumptions of what's going to happen or not happen that makes that a rational investment.
And number two, and maybe you can answer this first, if you could paint a picture of what you consider the risk profile to be in doing something like that.
And again, this is an investment advice is part of the calculus in assumption that this is a ten or one hundred extra to zero or something else. If you could just speak to that.
Sure. Sure. So I mean, look at crypto. So just crazy. And it's it's very difficult to predict exactly what's going to happen with anything. But the two things I said that are do the money are you know, there's a return on investment, there's like a return to society. And what's interesting is actually, when you talk about the return on investment is 50 percent, 65 percent return to society is the sort of open source education tasking, true health, wealth, and by the way, truth, health and wealth I think of as the next Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, it's the slogan of the next day, which I'll come to you, OK?
Or one of the next it, but the coming back of the shack. So both of those things actually have common premises underneath them, which is that I am simultaneously very bearish on the US specifically in the West generally, but very bullish on the Internet technology, crypto Asia and future progress. And those are not normally often somebody is very positive on one and possibly the other or vice versa. Now they're they're actually separated out. They're separated out things because for a long time, people, especially technological progress of the USA and now technological progress is something that doesn't benefit the US establishment.
They don't win a game. The East Coast establishment does not win a game of free speech and free markets. And so that's why they're clamping down on free speech and free markets. Because if everybody has a voice, especially around the world, go ahead.
Why do they not? Could you just say a few more lines on why that's the case? Sure. So why they don't win that game, why those things are bad for the East Coast establishment?
Well, so a small example of not winning a game of free markets, whether it's a bailout, whether it is all the regulations that protect them or the whole GameStop thing where it definitely look like some strings were pulled somewhere. I'm not saying the Robin Hood thing because I think Vlad gave a pretty good explanation of that for people who follow that whole scenario. But certainly discord going into just shutting down game, stop discussion out of nowhere based on, I think, a pretext seem like someone pulled some strings somewhere to make that happen.
And that's something where truly free markets, maybe Wall Street doesn't win. There's a rigging that's going on. I see.
So by East Coast establishment, just to be clear, you mean specifically in the financial sector.
Do you also mean DC Media, DC, Harvard, like basically the legacy kind of entities in the US? Right. Like the pre Internet Salvacion and then like free speech. That's even more obvious every single day. You have some new editorials saying something like free speech is killing us or our critical thinking is bad or or whatever. And oh, I can't believe people are having unfettered conversations like the latest meme. And for many people, this is like this weird thing where how is it that the US that they grew up in is suddenly just on a 180 on this?
And the answer is that those folks have legacy distribution, but they have terrible product. They can't win the argument. And because they can't win the argument, they're trying to use their distribution to shut off other people's distribution because they know they'd lose the argument. If distribution is up at all, sir, against free speech, against free markets and crypto is actually truly free speech and free market. So that's actually the true inheritor of the Western tradition. It's sort of like the Internet is to the USA what the Americas were to the UK.
It's like this new world that will eventually give birth to the successor. And crypto is like a huge, huge part of all of that because it captures the part of the West. It's actually globally admirable, unambiguous rule of law, except in smart contracts, protection from search and seizure through encryption, all that stuff coming back up. You ask the why, why are you not win this game? Because first, empirical observation. What's the underlying. Well, they basically become these inbred folks, they are not selecting on talent anymore, they are selecting on connections, selecting on whether you are the son of the son of the son or the daughter of the daughter of the daughter.
It is not something where they're actually taking the best folks. They are taking the folks who can just repeat a party line. I think that's one huge component of it, just for sake of clarity.
Do you mean within corporate entities, therefore contrasting sort of excuse me, media, for example, take a look at how many of those folks went to private school. How many folks have a trust fund? How many of those folks inherited a fortune just for me?
How does that tie to the book? How does that affect those folks? They lack the skills to win in a fair competition. So there's various rigging that was done, most obviously with the bailouts of 2008. There's so many other items of such a very high profile. And in response that technologies developed Bitcoin and Ethereum and these free systems. I mean, like if you look at the Genesis block, it says it references the bailouts in the U.S. like Bitcoin, where it's essentially the counter to this sort of nepotistic East Coast establishment.
And to me, that's like super obvious. But you're right that it's actually useful to kind of lay out the full logic of it, because one of the consequences here or one of the Medium-Term things is. You can only use force to kind of clamp down on global free speech and free markets for so long, it's like a jack in the box that will just pop out somehow. One way I think about that is after the financial crisis, basically the way that they decided to stop the next crisis is they made it almost impossible to get a banking charter.
So you punish the banks by eliminating all of your competition. Now, somehow, fintech and crypto found a way different threads coming to the same thing where basically like working above, doing partnerships work like despite the front door being closed, technology came in through the windows in the chimney or would have and is actually sort of reforming the system against their will. Like Dodd-Frank did not reform the banks. It just sort of enshrined them. It was it was a coronation in the name of a regulation, right?
Yeah. It did reduce some of their profit levels in some ways, but it made them more invulnerable. Go ahead.
No, I'm just I'm smiling and enjoying. And for those who who can't see us, because we're probably not publishing video, we are currently on video so you can watch each other's facial expressions. Please continue.
Sure, sure. Sure. Yeah, I like I like I like the the coronation disguised as regulation.
Right. Right. Exactly right. So it is literally picking winners because you're rewriting the regulation that assumes a certain structure and capital requirements. I mean, like the concept of smart contract was not contemplated in Dodd-Frank, like a contract that could be executed independently of a judge or person. OK, what's my point? Point is, as faith in the press, I mean, I don't think many institutions that predated the Internet will survive. It is this universal asset and the reason is because it connects people peer to peer.
And so what that does is it I mean, one of my laws of physics is the Internet increases variance. OK, why? First, let me get the observation right. The observation is you go from thirty minute sitcoms to 30 episode Netflix binges or 30 second YouTube clips, you go from stable nine to five job to a twenty something billionaire or a 40 year old son who has made nothing of themselves. You go from a taxi ride in a taxi ride to Uber, which actually has very long trips and also very short ones, like the whole thing is spread out relative to the right time to the normal taxi.
And the reason for this, like this is a very common thing in every area, like in every scene, hundreds, possibly thousands of companies. At this point. I've seen all these graphs. Right. So you have to believe me that this is a synthesis of a lot of different graphs that I've seen. When the Internet disruptor comes in, variance increases, there's more downside and more upside, more amazing outcomes and more really bad outcomes in all kinds of ways.
Why does that happen? Because it connects people, peer to peer entities, peer to peer. It removes the middleman. It removes the mediator. It removes the moderator. It removes the mediocrity. Now, each of those words has a different connotation with the middleman everyone shares yay, king or the moderator. People like, I'm not so sure, getting rid of mediocrity again. Everybody cheers. So those are all kind of similar words, but they mean somewhat different implications.
But they're all true at the same time. So what happens is you have these communities that then arise where nodes that can never connect to each other. They form some bizarre, separate or some amazing thing like ethe research, which is put your Y Combinator. So it's like a kind of your centrifuge of your centrifuge. I think this is I can finally say yes to something. Yes. OK, great. See Centrifuge. And you get these different layers out right this year, mostly samples of some tissue or fluid from my own body.
Right. So so if you centrifuge something, you see all the layers just you can often see them just in the test tube itself and you're like, well that was like a slurry before, but now it's like very defiant. There's a superintendent in those layers. And in the same way, that's what the Internet is doing is just like. Basically taking all of these previously mediating mediocre moderating Mittleman institutions and just nuking them all and they're like trying to fight back, but they won't make it, the centrifugal force is too much.
I think the one exception might be the Chinese Communist Party. That might be the exception that proves the rule just because they were like super early on. A lot of this, they built the firewall. They may be the exception that the rule and the future may be a centralized east versus decentralized west, where what I think happens in the west is greater. I think, for example, have I seen much greater Idaho? So a bunch of counties in Oregon want to break away from Oregon and merge with Idaho.
Catalonia wants to break away from Spain. All of these there's all of these breakaway movement type things or whatever happening. It's like a it's like a rumbling that's happening in Quebec.
There are quite a few examples of I mean, I have a Texas t shirt that says most likely to secede the picture of the state, not that that is actually could look into the some of the information documents, so to speak, of Texas.
It's kind of fun. But, yes, I'm not familiar with greater Idaho, but I'm familiar with the the breakaway the breakaway breakaway movement.
And the thing about that is I think some of those bad some of that is good. But the centrifugal force, like it's the whole thing is juddering, right? The system is juddering because folks are unhappy with it. And I think one of the reasons for that is, you know, the going back to Westphalia, one of the Westphalian assumptions is that people who are geographically proximal are ideologically proximally that say you live next door to this guy. Therefore, you share his language, he shares culture, you share the norms.
For the most part, you know them. You say hi to them. All the stuff in the modern era, people live in these apartment buildings where they couldn't recognize somebody who lives ten feet away from them. But they're sharing the most intimate moments with people three thousand miles away via Snapchat or Twitter or whatever.
So this variance just again, to to try to tie some of these threads together, the variance increased by the Internet. And what you're describing, these are to the benefit of, in this case, bitcoin in theory, yes. Yes. And now the reason is there are examples of the extreme upside there, examples of several things at the same time. Right. First, those middlemen are going away. Know the whether it's the old nation states, I mean, they'll fight to keep you from going to be a trivial thing.
Some of them will reform. I'll come to that point. I don't think every state just goes away. I'm not like a total tech utopia just in that sense. But first, there's a loss of faith in the past, and that makes people open to turning a constant into a variable, a dollar sign this fixed dollar that everybody knew into. Well, I could have fiat or crypto, something that a constant is now a variable Fiat or crypto.
Before I was just it wasn't even thought of as Fiat was with Fiat even a word ten years ago. I mean, like people people. I've never heard it. You've never heard it. Right.
But I thought it was it was car and I think it was a car when I was a kid. And now it's crypto.
Exactly. That's right. That's right. So and so. Or rather, it's opposite of crypto. OK, I see. I'm sorry. You're right.
You're right. It was it was a car chase this time myself up in knots here. Yeah. It was a shitty car and now it's a shitty debased currency. Yeah, exactly. That's right. So so essentially many things we have taken to be constants have been turned into variables because they were constants due to that mediating influence. And once people could connect on the Internet, you could see there are actually more permutations and more levels and those people start to gain more of a voice.
And that's true in so many different areas. I just point out this one, for example, just the digital versus physical versions of everything. You have to specify whether it's a snail mail or an email. Twenty years ago now it's almost all email or the meeting is an in-person meeting or an online meeting. The reason that BTC are important is first year represent the sort of unbundling from the old system where it's no longer able to corral all the nodes.
The nodes don't all trust it. It isn't performing the functions that they all wanted. And the top ones can now escape to build something better, which they did on the Internet. And that, I think, becomes the new center that people align around, like the digital native kind of thing, because I don't believe that you just have all these particles flying around forever. I think we're in the age of unbundling and then eventually rebundle. I mean, there's that thing by Jim Barksdale, right?
The only way he knew how to make money on the Internet was on bundling. And bundling was very funny kind of thing. It's also true. You think about you unbundle all the songs from all the albums, the rebundle them in Spotify playlists. You unbundle every single article and website in your own world and you bundle them into a Twitter feed. You unbundle all of these different. Actually, there's there's a lot of things I could talk about with unbundling here.
But you unbundle all these different products and you have the. Amazon rebundle limited like shopping lists or whatever there, so you can click just buy like 50 things at once that are there, Sorbi it's as if you have your own store shelf. This is your shopping list. And there's there's a thousand things like this, if you think about the unbundling republic. But I think the next step is. Because states of mind and nation states no longer map to each other because people are friends with millions of people around the world who share their values, but they're not physically concentrated in the physical areas, have less volition by their subjects.
So they have to enact more coercion. And more coercion in turn leads to less and less and less legitimacy. And that's a negative feedback loop where at the same time, people are building bonds with other folks of like mind that are geographically despair. And that is something that's exerting a strain on the whole system, which I think eventually result in mass migrations and people assembling into communities of mind to sort of rebuild civil society with folks who they agree with ideologically.
And that's already kind of happening with hacker houses, and so I wrote an article on this, by the way, eight years ago in twenty thirteen, I think it's really started to happen.
Well, I think it's it's certainly happening in a on a small scale. I mean, I'm very I'm aware of a number of concrete examples in places like Utah, upstate New York and so on, where this has been, I think dramatically accelerated by covid. Yep. And a mass exodus, at least for the time being. I don't think this is permanent. But out of city centers to question not to belabor this point, but I think it's a useful tool to use in the conversation in the case of BTC.
And how would you think about downside risk and what would need to happen or what might happen or not happen that would make them bad investments? Great question.
So I think that for BTC, because like a 10 year old protocol, the attack on BTC that I think would be the most likely is that the Chinese put up the Great Firewall against such a network level attack as opposed to a mining attack. Because the thing is that Bitcoin assumes that every node can reach every other node. So or every mining node can reach every other mining node. So it assumes a global intranet. If you put up the firewall, you can work out the kind of predator prey on this, but they block port a three to three and the Bitcoin devs do randomisation and then they do the packet inspection and these guys do tunneling to try to put it over three ships.
There's this back and forth that can happen there. I think at the end of the day, the firewall is pretty sophisticated and it will that plus domestic penalties may make it challenging for people to maintain a block chain indefinitely in China. Or what would happen is they mine the China chain and the rest of the world chain is also being mined. And there's like peekaboo problem where they sync up every once in a while. And because the Chinese seem to have more mining, the rest of world would have less mining all the blocks mined.
The world would get thrown away with a chain reorganization in the China chain, which basically periodically throw away every transaction that's happening. Rest the world. That would be like the worst case scenario where, remember, two things would have to happen. Their first had to put up the firewall. And second, they would have to allow Chinese mining to continue at some point. As you're describing this, I'd love to hear you assign a probability if you had to like zero to one hundred percent over a time frame.
Right. Like in the next five or ten years, I'd say 30 percent chance of a firewall attack. It's not one hundred percent of the reason is because it's just something I mean, Bitcoin is like a guy who's like extremely strong and muscular on many dimensions, but can be hit from a direction over here, which is just it's just an assumption. The protocol is that every note can reach every other node and depending on the location of where mining is happening.
And so now, to be clear, I don't think this is a fatal blow. I think what would happen is in the event that China allowed mining to continue but put up the firewall, which is like the most Machiavellian thing they could do.
They're pretty smart, right. And the 30 percent, the upside was only for the first part of that. Correct. Not the allowing mining to continue. Well, if they do both so so I think it's very likely they're going to do a firewall attack at some point if they do that and shut down mining. No problem. And the reason is because there's enough rest of the world or whatever mining to continue just means the Chinese can only transact in the rest of world.
They have to either go overseas or pick up the phone and speak the words to somebody to execute a transaction. China will never be able to actually eliminate Bitcoin because of the way it's constructed, but they could try to seriously, if they really went after it as super aggressively. They're the only state in the world that I think has the combination of total disregard for individual privacy or human rights. Totally organized Top-Down surveillance regime, which gets a workout every single day with a firewall like that combination.
The U.S. government can't mail checks to people on time. So a lot of people think the US government could do some tech companies incapable of a technical attack. The US government can't set up a website. It is not the entity that we know from the movies which maybe never existed. But the US government, from nineteen thirty three to nineteen sixty eight could do like Hoover Dam and like a Manhattan Project, an Apollo that was like a generation that has long since gone.
You can't think of the last impressive thing that happened.
Well, no, no, I'm just smiling. I just, I'm just enjoying this conversation tremendously. It's it's not because I have something to say, although now that you give me the mic, I'll ask a question that perhaps is just on the mind of people listening. And that is that thirty percent that you gave. Does that mean that biology is saying there's a thirty percent chance of Bitcoin being a bad investment?
Know what I'm saying? Something different, which is in the event of such an attack, like a fireball attack would happen, probably is a few things. First, depending on how it manifests, people might actually move over to a quasi trusted chain for a time. That's to say you put some form of signature or. Into miners when they put it out there to prove that they were a non China miner and you'd actually temporarily move away from the Toschi algorithm of heaviest fortune to have these trusted fortune, do you actually have to introduce some trust potentially to get around it?
That's one option. The other option is it's like a fork of the chance in this event that they do the firewall. But they also love to continue, which is like the most Machiavellian thing. It's possible. However, if there's some other issue, the Bitcoin protocol, the thing that I'm pretty sure will never disappear is the Bitcoin ledger that is replicated in so many places and so valuable that India event of some issue, the Bitcoin protocol, the ledger could be imported into one hundred other chains and would be totally done with all these forks or whatever.
But for example, zie cash could just double their supply from twenty one million to forty two million and just give refuge to all bitcoin. It just kind of snapshots that particular time stamp everybody who has private keys before. Then you've got a spot on the cash ledger. The same thing could happen right there in the same thing could happen and all these other chains. So it's as if your stock would get split into one hundred different or a thousand different instances, your private keys would still find refuge and that the sum total of all those values, that might be a price hit, there's no question that there might be a price that there maybe it's even more who the heck knows?
Crypto so unpredictable. I can't even I can't even say what would happen because some of the folks have done extremely well, way better than I would have expected. But that would be a Tower of Babel moment where you'd still want to hold onto your private keys. But it be all these other chains. I would back you up so it would be messy. But I don't think the idea of cryptocurrency can be defeated at this point. I think any individual chain, it remains to be seen how robust they are.
I don't think that cryptocurrency as a concept goes away. It's similar, by the way, to file sharing where Napster got sued and Kozakiewicz got sued. The BitTorrent and magnet links in the Pirate Bay are still around it. Actually quite good. BitTorrent streaming is quite good. What was that? Popcorn time. Popcorn time is actually quite a good app that's basically streaming with a quality of like an iTunes or whatever, BitTorrent streaming. So that does mean I'm guessing it would be a bad investment.
I think that's that's the most likely attack I can see from the Chinese side that's specific to BTC for BTC.
And so on the other side, to not like other algorithms, other consensus algorithms have a greater degree of partition tolerance built in. For example, the fundamental thing you'd have to work out is like tolerance for extended partitions where a big chunk of the network can't see another big chunk of network. And so then you'd have to detect that. You'd have to maintain a log of which nodes you were able to reach. There's ways of doing this. It's non trivial.
So especially not trivial in production, but it's possible a lot of our computer scientists work. So you'd have to have partition tolerant change which could exist, number one. Number two, respect to what the US would do. The US will probably do a regulatory attack because that's the one part of the state that's still functional. They can pass regulations and yell at people and jawbone them and so on. Now, what happened in New York with a bit license, I think is a harbinger of what is to come.
New York overestimated their clout in New York. So, of course, we're going to regulate all crypto stuff where you're going to do you're going to go somewhere else. New York, it's the best. And that's what happened. Instead, what happened was every crypto company was like, actually, the world is very big now. New York is the last place that we're going to operate, like literally will operate in forty nine states in New York last.
And that just meant that actually New Yorkers got financial innovation last year rather than first. So that one regulation, that bit license was something where these folks who were at some point the Big Apple was number one and they just overplayed their hand in an arrogant way because they didn't understand the guys who got them there weren't arrogant like that. They were always hungry coming up, like there are folks who understood, OK, New York City, this has to that these folks had been born with it, inherited the system.
There's stuff they always had that leverage. And I think that's a microcosm of what the US might do, where it becomes like super unfriendly for crypto or it's possible. I think it's also possible the resistance comes from within the US is this is a very low probability and I think it can go many different ways. The future is uncertain.
So the regulatory at federal level, regulatory attack in the US, you view as a low probability event or just a low consequence event because those companies domiciled in the US who are focused on crypto just re domicile, it's not that easy to just do that for lots of reasons. It is not easy. It's not that easy to see them. Exactly. So I think us incorporation in the sense of like being in corporate in the US is is going to be considered like a major vulnerability in the future.
I think after like the twenty twenties and people ideally will want to incorporate on chain and then have jurisdictions that respect that because that's global rule of law. You can put your shareholder vote in there, you can put your board of directors vote in there and everything can be done on change in a better way. And then just like you can print out a document locally or exchange Bitcoin locally or have email work everywhere, you'd basically have local governments or. Works everywhere in local governments would actually adapt to the changing realities rather than vice versa.
That's starting to happen. So now to the fact that. Go ahead.
Yeah, I was just going to say that sounds like a company or organizational response to federal regulatory attack. I'm wondering what, if anything, individual sort of retail investors who hold Bitcoin could or would do.
Sure. So I go to Miami, go to Wyoming, go to places like that, maybe Colorado, which will be sanctuary cities and states for Krypto. Why is that?
Is it just because you have the first two at least or new state income tax?
Because Wyoming and Miami have I mean, those places are low taxes. That's actually the thing. The mayor of Miami not related to the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, is awesome guy. You should follow his Twitter, basically single handedly change governance in the US because he just got out there and he innovated in a way, he's got the personality of a startup CEO or have you thought this at all?
The whole Miami thing I haven't done, I should say it was the name. One more time, please. Just name is Francis Suarez is the mayor of Miami. And last fall, somebody after one of my friends actually after just observing the latest catastrophe in San Francisco, was like, why don't we just all move Silicon Valley to Miami and France as far as rich them with How can I help? Which is kind of like the v.C kind of catchphrase or whatever it.
By the way, I'm not cynical about that phrase at all. It is just people who try to make it into something to be mocked or attacked and making everybody cynical. It's actually a good phrase. Even if it's even if it's not lived up to one hundred percent, it's way better that that said than not set anyway. So how can I help? And then the contrast with California, basically a legislator there told Elon Musk, if you literally on Twitter and Elon replied, message received versus how can I help?
Enormous gap between the two. So Miami suddenly basically began. Go. Go ahead. You're laughing.
No, I'm just I'm shaking my head. So was like, who? How is that a good move? I'm just it's just it boggles the mind to me how that type of response is productive.
They are getting local positive feedback for that. There people were cheering them on Twitter, if you will, on Twitter. It's just stupid peanut gallery type stuff. Yeah.
And then and then Elon moves to Austin and there you go. Exactly. He said message. Steve got the eff out. And this is the thing to Suarez essentially has recruited all of these tech and finance people to Miami by literally just being friendly on Twitter and doing coffees with them, welcome them to the city. Billions of dollars in capital. All these companies have now moved to Miami because. Smart. Yeah, that's smart. That's right. And so essentially, you have he spent I mean, like the ROIC of every tweet has to be like a million dollars.
If you did a thousand tweets to recruit like one billion dollar company to the city, you can score it however you want. Maybe it's not a billion dollars for the city, but the market cap is going to get distributed somehow is going to be spent. Some fraction of that is Arawa is phenomenal. And the thing about it is you don't actually need 10 percent of the world world's governors or mayors to be like France. As far as you just need ten, because those folks will be these technologically progressive leaders that will recruit tech and finance to their cities.
And Dubai is doing this. Sony is doing this. Switzerland's doing it for a while. How to start a program. All of these places now see their opportunity if they're smart. And many the legacy mayors don't understand what's just happened. Basically, covid has put us into the remote world. And now you're more like CEO of the city than a typical mayor. That's so true. Totally true to the city. You're always selling. You are selling your city.
And crucially, there's a new path to power. You don't need to go mayor to governor to president, but you don't need to get on national TV. You don't need to politic an angle for a spot at the national convention or go to national media instead by just doing sales every day. By doing by essentially getting on whether it's Twitter or some social media platform and just getting out there and talking to folks, recruiting folks and pitching your city in, improving the product of your city, he passed.
He got a bill through which was like, oh, Miami is now like a pro Bitcoin city. And he's like, actually the first city to buy the coin. How like the thing about it is you also put the Bitcoin white paper on Miami, Dukkha. Here's the thing. There are a bunch of governments in. Right, Estonia, Columbia, Miami, etc. all in a little boomlet a few weeks ago, put the Bitcoin white paper on their site.
And that thing is on the one hand, of course, it's just a symbol of their hand. It's actually a great signal that that's actually a crypto friendly place. It doesn't cost him anything, you know, it doesn't commit them to anything. What it does do is it puts up a flag. And if you can't get the white paper on a government website, maybe that place isn't actually that friendly to crypto. And if you can, there's at least somebody there who is pretty friendly to crypto.
It's actually a really great filtering mechanism. In that sense.
It's much more than symbolic because of the bureaucracy involved. It has to actually get the nod from quite a few stakeholders in order for that to happen. Right.
So it makes it would seem entirely or could be entirely symbolic if it were just an individual blogger for it. But for it to be put on a website like that is signifies much more. Quick question for you. Again, just to I mean, it's as much for me as for for people listening. What are the implications of a federal regulatory attack for those who are not able or not willing to move to Miami or Wyoming or the handful of places?
Yeah, so Wyoming also, by the way, has amazing crypto laws. And basically my thesis on those just to hover on that for a second is those places will probably litigate and fight some federal kind of thing if it happens just because they have a strong incentive to all their citizens are there and so on and so forth. So that's actually good because it drags it out for a long time. We see what happens. To be honest, I don't know.
I don't know what the answer is. I think that things are going to get really crazy because here's the other side of that crypto ban, if it's contemplated, will happen at the time that crypto is created, thousands of millionaires and billionaires and thousands of billionaires. But like a lot of very wealthy people who are ideological, these are the kind of folks the more crypto you have, typically, it's more correlated with buying into crypto in twenty eleven or twenty twelve or twenty thirteen when it was taken out of the money thing to do.
Because you were basically ideologically you mean you made a bet against the monetary policy of the US. You said bailouts are bad and you said this is actually despite what everybody's saying on TV. I don't believe that they actually want to make a contrarian and as it turns out. Right. But not quote. Q and on or something. But contrary and correct. And that's actually the whole thing. You're actually making something that is in that in that quadrant.
And so those folks are not folks who are likely to just go down without a fight, the whole thing. These are these are activists and also highly, highly antiauthoritarian, generally speaking. Yes. But capable of organizing.
So not so. So it's an important combination, right? The way I describe the community, actually, I mean, this is the best parts of the country. There's all kinds of crazy actors and crypto I wouldn't endorse. But, you know, maybe this an idealization, maybe this is the community I want to build. But I think it is fair to say that the best tech folks and the best crypto folks are win and help win, which is actually neither.
I agree with that. Yes. So here's the thing about that. Right. That win and help win is neither progressive nor conservative nor libertarian. And let me explain why. OK, so first conservative, your typical conservative actually just made this a caricature. Maybe some of your listeners won't like this, but like they just kind of want to see it, how they want to do their ninety five. They want to just have things. Don't you dare.
Not as ambitious. They want to leave the small town. They don't want to go bright lights, big city, dispositional small c conservative. At least your progressive often has a very zero sum mentality. They may be ambitious, but they often believe at a very fundamental level that the rich are rich because the poorer for that one person's gain is another person's loss necessarily. And they feel it's a zero sum conflict and the state is their weapon and so on.
And the libertarian will say live and let live, which is a vision of Little House on the Prairie, all being by themselves, etc. and win and help win is none of those three. It's ambitious in a way that the small C conservative is not. It is positive sum in a way progressive is not, and it is collective in a way, the libertarianism. And I think that's actually like the most powerful kind of philosophy where you are. And notice also the ordering, the sequencing when and help when, that is to say, absolutely take care of no one.
That's important because if you don't do that, you can't help but do that as well.
Two questions for you, and I'm sure many more, but it strikes me that what Francis Suarez is doing, Wyoming is doing is very valuable as an experiment and also possibly as different prototypes and that there are.
Governors and mayors who would be very interested in learning more about this, but they don't know how to approach it. Is there a list of what these different places are doing, Estonia, Dubai, et cetera, Miami or anything, a resource that one could point mayors and governors to who want to possibly look at testing different aspects of embracing Bitcoin or cryptocurrency?
So actually, this is one of the first tasks that I wanted to commission, because I've got a bunch of these and I see whether folks can crowdsource thrust and then we just put that to this experiment.
I've got like 10 or 15 of them, but I don't have I'm sure I don't have the cold list and maybe we can just get that second, because I asked about the probability you would assign to the Chinese side of things when you when we were discussing that earlier, what probability would you assign to the federal attack, regulatory attack or shutdown in the United States of regulatory attack of some kind is basically like one hundred percent, like in the sense of like already tried something.
The question is what level the attack will be.
How should that factor into how somebody thinks about or how you might make it personally? And how how would that the regulatory tech potential factor into how you think about investing or not investing or bet sizing with BTC in. So the thing about this is an attack is not necessarily successful. That's why regulatory attack and the reason is that there are lots and lots of people across the political spectrum who are very prescriptive, proscriptive people tend to be more prescriptive than anticorporate.
People are into crypto with some notable exceptions. I think that's true. So I just feel more passionately about it for all kinds of reasons, ideological, financial, technical, whatever. And they're extremely online. And many of them are crypto rich cemp all the time in the world to be extremely online and they're extremely anti-establishment and so on. So you punch massively above their weight. This is a non answer, but let me give you something that I think is interesting.
OK, back in twenty eleven, all the early Bitcoin people thought that we're not all a good chunk bitcoin talk or whatever and say, oh, but a good chunk of people thought that once more people knew about Bitcoin. Crypto itself wasn't a thing. It's just Bitcoin that once more people knew about bitcoin. Well, then China and Russia and every country that wasn't the US would adopt it and the US would fight it really hard. And actually, that's not what happened.
What happened was once there was money to be made, a whole bunch of people who weren't just interested in a purely ideological project but were maybe ideologically sympathetic and could invest, came off the sidelines. That's what happened in 2013. And that was this enormous strengthening of the ranks that was able to make the argument that this was financial innovation because there was technical and monetary upside, not just an ideological project. Is that actually meant that the greatest support in some ways came from within the US and in fact, places like China and Russia were actually more bearish on crypto and still are than the US is in many ways.
So it was like the regime and the opposition are both the strongest within. It's a hard thing for me to fully articulate, but if that makes any sense, it's sort of like, you know, the problem of the bailouts and this giant monetary system that's failing the world and the solution are both coming from within the US or the West, which is this kind of crazy thing. But it's actually similar in some ways to like the three body problem where the Chinese invite the aliens to the world and then they have to solve that cause it's like like Homer Simpson, like beer, the cause of and solution to all man's problems.
It was just going to say, it also strikes me that your vulnerability to regulatory shut down also probably depends on the form in which you hold Bitcoin. You definitely want to hold your keys locally. You know, I'm an investor in a company called CASA Hotel, which is actually like a is accused. CASA is the URL. That is, it sounds oxymoronic, but it's cold storage as a service. So they go through with you how to set up your cold storage in such a way that like the whole signing ceremony and so on, it's basically home storage of your crypto in such a way that it's hard to mess it up and it's more error proof and whatnot.
I think that one of the most heartening things I've seen since January of last year is all this crypto leading exchanges all around the world. Get your keys off exchanges. Do it now. Do it yesterday. I get your coins off exchanges and don't worry, they'll be fine. OK, but not your keys. Not your coins. Absolutely 100 percent true. The thing is, would defy. You can't even. I really unless you have your keys locally, so there's an incentive as well as a disincentive to definitely keep your keys locally because that at least means that you can't just have your account frozen with a tap.
So we've spoken or you've spoken at length about a number of risk factors, the number of potentials related to Bitcoin. Just to make sure that we touch this base. Is the risk profile of a theory different? Is it more resilient and less susceptible to certain risks? Is it more susceptible? How would you think about Ethereum as compared to Bitcoin from that perspective? Yeah, so it has a different pattern of risks. Some of them are shared like regulatory attacks and crypto.
Others are distinct. For example, if Ethereum completes the migration to a proof of fake system successfully, then it doesn't have stationary Ethereum miners that can be rounded up in the same way that Bitcoin mining farms can be. So that's one major, major difference where you've got a bunch of mobile individuals. It's got downsides in other ways that we'll get to extreme technical detail, but prefer steak because it's not doing computation in the same way the proof of work is doesn't have some of the same guarantees that work does in terms of being totally, totally like you need someone to point you to which chain is real.
There's a bunch of chains like we do Celenk that are all competing. So it has a different and overlapping set, different and orthogonal set of risk or risk factors. I think Ethereum is certainly more complicated than Bitcoin in many ways, most important of which being that there's tons of programs running on top of the theory itself. But all these contracts and it does have actually a negative network effect right now where the more things that run it, the higher the fees are, which crowd out other things.
So there's both positive network effects from combustibility and negative effects that come from just incredibly high fees for all kinds of stuff. Now everybody's working on scalability of lockshin good problem to have. It's kind of like scaling the early Internet. There's going to be automatically new things that invested in something called Starkweather, which is something called Cairo that is very promising. And general knowledge roadmaps are very promising. It may turn out, for example, with the theory that Mini only the priciest applications a.m. and many other applications go to other L1 chains, that then I'll just specialize by application.
I think that's the most likely outcome. Or rather, I think it will scale. But I think that, for example, derivatives might go to a chain that specialized for that and it might go to a team that specialized for that and so on and so forth. And chain interoperability. A so-called interchange will be a big thing where assets can be indexed and references. They're remote to a particular chain. So Bitcoin had no knowledge of other chains. But nowadays chains do have knowledge of other chains or things like crypto oracle, sort of things outside of themselves.
So the risk factors of Ethereum are distinct different from those of Bitcoin, not some overlapping not let's Segway to Lee Kuan Yew and we'll get into who this is before we get there.
Maybe this will be a shorter question and a shorter answer, but there in some ways tied together. In my mind, at least, there are those out there who are terrified of your predictions because they feel rightly or wrongly and I want to hear your perspective on this, that there is a high likelihood baked into those predictions of apocalyptic outcomes and that one needs to become a tech enabled Jason Bourne to survive, let alone thrive in the future, which is you to go ahead.
So how how would you respond to that assessment? Do you view yourself as leaning? Towards viewing the future with through the lens of entropy and in dystopian possibilities, or is that just a misread of what you're saying? And is that just a misread of you in general?
I think the future will be more different from the present than is commonly understood. And that's actually more different than ours was a year, two thousand that different from nineteen seventy? Not really. I mean, there were political changes. Obviously, China had reformed and the Assad fallen and so forth. But the rhythms of daily life were actually quite similar. People got up and went to work that there's like a there's a relative constancy there, their phones. But there weren't smartphones, there were still basically landlines, headsets or handsets or cordless perhaps for the last 20 years has been an enormous change in terms of the rhythms of daily life.
One way of thinking about that is what was your daily life when you woke up in 1980? OK, so you would be an alarm clock beep. You'd wake up, you'd go downstairs and you flip on the TV to look at the morning news, make some eggs, drink some orange juice, maybe read the morning newspaper, go and drive to work where your job involved. If you're White-Collar like some papers and if you're blue collar, you're going in hammering something or whatever.
You come back and you go to the bar on the way back or you just come straight home and play with your kids or something like that. And almost every aspect of that has now changed. How do you wake up, you wake up to your phone. What's the first thing you do? You look at all of your email because you're getting all these messages or messages are coming into this personal communication device. The first thing you do is different.
This is it for people who are addicts. There are a lot of people like you come downstairs or you get up and maybe you've got some fitness thing that has read off your sleep to look at that because your sleep was also instrumental. You know, you go to the kitchen and, yeah, there's food there, but maybe you just go straight to work and you breathe food to work or maybe you don't go to work at all and you just work from home from your pajamas in the living room, which is totally peaceful today.
Your job is involving papers or handling things, but it's hitting keys. Everything is with 50 people who you might have never met in person, that they're remote all around the world through the day. You're like reading newspapers, you're reading code. Your job is just much more variable than the hammering job. Rather than pushing the same button for twenty years, you're pushing in different key every second, basically every single second of life, from your sleep to your sleep tracker to your food through your ordering apps or what have you to obviously your work, to your finances, to communications, to where you decide to go after you finish working, like, OK, let's do Google Maps.
Now, the whole map is opened up. One thing we take for granted in the eighties and nineties when you really had to get Atlas to get a map out, to go somewhere new, you had to study because you can get lost. Getting lost was a thing. Get lost anymore, not in the same way. So for the most part, thoroughfares were really important. People didn't really go off the beaten path that much unless you had a house or there was like the fewest number of turns.
You really didn't drive around randomly. You didn't go to like this random coffee shop over here. The map was mostly like cardboard. It wasn't opened up. And so that's all opened up. Now, your your recreational life, you can meet with a different person rather than the same group of friends. So in so many ways, the rhythms of life we've turned into these sort of nomadic creatures from twenty years ago and our political structures and our and our homes and a lot of these are things haven't flexed to accommodate that.
And one way to think about that is there's two major ways that humans operate. There's like the hunter gatherer where roam around the world. Many religions, many cultures have something similar to a Garden of Eden type thing, which is whether it's in our genes from some primitive hominid ancestor that we've got all the way down because vision is to the genes. Of course, the reason you can recognize something is human genetics. So maybe there's some something coded into us from many, many millennia ago that recognize this kind of thing.
When you're hunter gatherers, who knows how to represent. And and then, of course, there's a farmer at the border right. Where you have a piece of land rather than brooming all around, you're settled in one spot and your food is worse. It's grains, it messes up your teeth and so on. It has to grow less, but it's more reliable. It's more consistent rather than the variable ups and downs that together. And in many ways, what I think in this is not original to me by any means fusion.
So this is a lot of different ideas. But perhaps if we take on this, we're going back to the hunter gatherer way of doing things. But with technology, the best quality of life will actually be available to the digital nomad, who has a minimum number of possessions, has the ability to pick up and move steaks at any point as because mobility is leverage against the state, a state as a sessile actor. Mobility is something that you can do as an individual.
The state cannot do not. You can't just stretch a tendril. Somewhere else, so new kinds of polities will form new ways of self-governing humans that are fundamentally network based rather than state based, fundamentally optimized for mobile social networks as opposed to stationary houses, because the assumptions are fundamentally different. And basically, for example, I define a network as a social network with an integrated cryptocurrency and a sense of national consciousness that eventually craftsman's territory. And I think that's a new kind of thing.
That's one definition of in that territory doesn't have to be all in one place. It can be a cul de sac here, a ranch near an apartment building here. And so you have a group of one hundred thousand people that say that owns pieces of territory all around the world, and that is constant communication with other through a social network and consider themselves to be a people. It's like nation national formation distillation. That's gentrification I've talked about out of the Internet boom.
It's a network state and it is like a cloud formation taking physical shape. The clouds are actually distilling down. And so when I think about the future, I think about this type of stuff where I'm just thinking from, you know, I'm thinking of 50 different graphs. This is going down. This is going up. This is going down. This is going to actually Dawn Peterson, have a good remark on this similar kind of train thought raised like a number of different revolutions.
It's happening the same time. It's too hard to track. Tinder alone is a complete change in our mating habits. So I prayed so much, so I left. That itself is like this huge thing that would dominate the textbooks of another age because it's massive change now, like the Daily Rhythms of Life Oprey, you went from having you the graph of how people meet their partners. I have not. OK, this is amazing graph of how people meet their significant trending to basically each little curve here tells a story, but it's like, did you meet a church?
Did you meet through your parents? You mean a college? Women at work. And you can see like meet at work is like this boomlet that kind of drops off. It's peaked in the 80s and it drops off in the nineties with various kinds of pathologies of something like that. Right. So what dominates everything today is Internet, Internet and in particular, basically with norms have shifted now is that it's actually more legitimate. I mean, like I've said out of this, fortunately for my younger friends or have it is impolite to hit on often considered, depending on the situation, it's often considered impolite to hit on somebody in real life, but it's totally OK to do so on Tinder.
So, of course, humans are contextual. And of course, the same behavior that's OK in a in a bar is OK in a workplace. But now that's actually extended to digital events as well. So Tinder launched this massive revolution and then you have like 20 of them happening at the same time. And so all of those are these things where the institutions that we have are simply not built for this at all. And that's what restraining and stressing against.
And they're going to give and we have to have vision for what's on the other side.
So you're more a student of destabilization or stabilization.
But it just so happens that right now these multiple revolutions combine to present destabilizing forces, not so much that you view humans or the future of humans through a dystopian or pessimistic lens.
Is that fair to say? Yeah, that's fair to say.
I think there's actually a lot of good stuff that's going to come out of this. I think we are going to get to. So what is a positive vision? What do I think about know? I do think that we can shape the future. Individuals can shape the future. You can shape the future. A founder can shift future. I've seen it happen with my own eyes. What I think a lot about is. A positive international vision, and I think that's going to be based around essentially transhumanism.
And why do I say that so various one liners on this, but I've got this book coming up and we actually also be serialized in 73, not until the Daily Test and book chapters. The book's title is An Exit. So we've got about 10 chapters there should be dropping. And then more to come, but one of the concepts in it is infinite frontier money, eternal life, like something to strive for, you know, because you need these sort of slogans or things which bumper sticker that expands into this.
So what does that say? That says space is good. That says, you know, Bitcoin is good. Crypto is good. That's a life extension is good. And that pulls so much with it. Life extension basically says, look, universal health care is not enough. We need eternal life. Our ambitions have actually been lower than they need to be, universal health care is just moving gravy around on the plane. It's a fundamentally zero sum mentality that really presumes go.
But it's a great turn of phrase. Yeah, yeah.
The moving, moving gravy around on the plate, like the goal is for you to not need health care in any normal sense. Goal is for you to be this self repairing, rejuvenating. There's technologies out there which would sound crazy, but I've got a post called Purposive Technology. We can scientists and engineers can restore sight, cure deafness. Good research on limmer generation. There's good research on genetic modification. So I'll make you completely riped without ever having to do anything like the Foleo Sadan stuff in myostatin stuff.
And then I post for one second. Go ahead. Just for just for people who don't have this bit of context, because I don't want I don't want folks to think these are the ravings of a mad man.
Oh, you are very you are very cross disciplinary.
You've spent a lot of time in the biological sciences, genomics, computational biology, of course.
Tell me if this is a fair statement. I mean, you almost became the head of the FDA under the last administration as well. Is that a fair statement? I was considered for a very senior role there. Yes.
OK, that's just I just wanted to add that for for people who may not have any of that context. So.
So please continue. Yes. Health care, universal health care or basic health care, moving gravy around the plate unnecessarily or unhelpfully low expectation. Right, right. So exactly. Like, I'm I'm really not somebody to stand on qualifications or credentials or whatever, but in this area, some people want to check them. Yes, I taught computational genomics at Clinical Genomics Company, all that stuff. And of course, no one can be an expert in every area of biology.
It's two big guys who are experts in radiology, which I don't know as much about. But I do think that one of the few good things that will come out of this pandemic is a y sheep recovery where we're taking a different fork. We've deprecated the 20th century measure economy. The technology economy of bars and restaurants and clubs and all that stuff is something which just had this enormous economic hit to the levels of bankruptcies are just off the charts is a terrible thing.
I think if we're lucky, we get that in its place because it's not zero sum, but there's a greater focus on health, on life extension. And when you say life extension, by the way, we're really reversing aging, which is even better. Is it just captures everything. It's like a it's like a universal ruler, or if we can reverse aging, we can fix so many other things, we can probably cure cancer. There's many kinds of issues, muscular skeletal things, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, all those kinds of things that happen often are correlated with increasing age.
And and people have spent model that we're just breaking down like a car and just accumulates hits and it breaks down. That actually cannot be the model of how aging happens. You know, I. Why is that, if that was the case, if we were breaking down like a mechanical thing, OK, then there's no skull distribution, it'd be like it's like a hazard that you'd have an exponential distribution of lifetimes and some fraction of cars, for example, just manage to make it through without any hits whatsoever.
And so you'd have, like some people, if that was the case, would live like a thousand years because you'd just be lucky and not take any hits at all. That's not what we see. What we see is actually like a sharp cut off, like one twenty. Right.
If you keep if you if you keep the human in the garage in perfect condition, they don't last forever.
They die. Exactly. Exactly. That's right. So there's something interesting about it where also there's there's this very predictable, like there's an aging and then there's menopause. For example, in women, you know, one car rolls along in a bus, a tire, and the other one smashed the windshield. And there's a greater degree of variability when it's just like random things happening. If you see five hundred older men there, all or some version of greater or more wrinkles or what have you.
Right. There's a predictability to how everything's happening. So because this people have found that aging is actually a coordinated thing and people understand that going from a child to an adolescent is a coordinated process where people get that that's programmed into your genes but just hasn't really sunk in for many people. Is that the aging part is as well. And we might be able to unprogrammed to reverse that, and in fact, there's actually a lot of results in this area, way more than people think.
OK, there are studies I can show you that are what we if we technically call the holy shit, OK, where there's a guy whose graying hair has just been reverse pigmentation of hair just by taking a cancer drug as a side effect. There are studies of rats. You can see the full who injections you get like this like rat. I posted one of these on. And so there's actually amazing things that are happening in biomedicine that have simply not achieved distribution in part because of regulation, in part because that's simply not the stories that people are interested in telling, in part because not exactly lack of funding, but it is lack of funding and energy sufficient to overcome the regulatory and negative press obstacles.
And this is something I think is related to kind of doing decentralised media, getting folks around transhumanism. Either people are going to kind of Vectron, the sort of anarcho primitivism access to that is. No, it's a word. It's a phrase I think is going to become much more well known anarcho primitivism. It's basically like the Unabomber ideology, but it is the it's the ideology that humans are bad. We're all destroying the planet. Therefore, we need to kill as many humans as possible, or it's like vehement voluntary human extinction movement.
I don't I do not know. This is like a quasi joke. But there's actually a lot of folks who do on some level believe that humanity is bad, humans are bad, humans. Impact on the world is bad. You shouldn't have children because they're caught. Everyone's causing climate change and ruining the earth. And we need to have a smaller footprint and we need to shrink onto ourselves and we can't expand. And what we're doing is terrible. And and we should just go back to nature somehow.
And technology's bad. The future sucks. This is a real attitude and it's partly connected to folks, I think, idealising nature. And these are folks who love nature. But often I don't think they realize that love tamed nature. They like nature without like wild lions. They like nature of all this stuff, eyeglasses and the like. Well, they can decide to cut it loose of nature and go back to a warm bed. They're not really going to live like I mean, Unabomber or at least had skin in the game.
You know, he's out there actually living in the wilderness like a like a true kid. But many of these folks are they're just inconsistent. But nevertheless, they call themselves anarcho primitivist. And that's a real ideology and it's a burn it all down ideology. And unfortunately, it's very popular, much more so than you might think because it's easy to burn it all down. It's exciting to see the aftermath sucks, but it's it is like you get the sense of transgression, you get the sense of maybe doing it all collectively together.
You get the sense of we're making history and destroying it second man, etc.. And against that, I think is transhumanism right where you're going to the stars. Right. You're transcending this human body, right? We are doing brain machine interface. We're doing the generation, we're doing CRISPR. We're doing all the things and we're taking away all the limits that thus infinite frontier, immutable money, eternal life.
Let me jump in for just a second. Are there any particular thinkers, scientists or resources you would recommend just a handful for people who want to explore this further? I don't know if it would be the Davidsen Clear and Obreht Gray. Yeah. Who would make your short list or what resources?
It's funny because the serious book. So Zoltan responds pretty good, I think. And for say that one more time please. The Zoltán is fun. He's Proff, right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. There's a debate that he did with an apprentice about that called Zeus on and they built it a sultan versus Zeus on which it's hilarious. It's like something from a from a from one of those early Superman movies. Yeah. Superman to Zoltán versus Zeus and twenty fourteen.
Right. So and this is one of those things which I don't think people realize is like this obscure thing happening in academia that is going to dominate our future because they're going to be like essentially this for lack of a term. Luddite forces who don't like tech, don't like the disruptions springing. Think, you know, we need to go back right back to was a simpler time. And I understand that, like, I actually really do. The easiest way to give them that pass is actually VR goggles.
So give them these, you know, like half kit. But I don't really get ready. Player one Here you go. Pretty exactly. Because that's actually that's that's the best way to get the idealized version that they think they want. This is a rabbit hole that could go very, very deep.
So I want to respect the value in that while also recognizing that we may we may want to leave people hungry for more of that and and continue exploring. When we think of these sort of things. I'm getting this sort of Malthusian dilemmas and growth of population and inextricable devastation and ecological collapse and so on. I mean, I do think there are some arguments to be made that uncontrolled population growth is a terrible thing for an invasive species so successful like human beings.
But that's why this thing starts. Right? Right.
So we we have the extra planetary and then we also have. A few corrective forces, if anyone, has read lessons of history by Will and Ariel Durant in war, famine and pestilence example given covid-19 also do a pretty good job of correcting for a lot of that. So we were we were discussing nation building. We've talked about nation states, the weaknesses thereof of certain types of nation states and different types of leadership. And that is a segue to Lee Kuan Yew.
Could you please explain for people who Lee Kuan Yew was and why he is interesting?
Lee Kuan Yew was probably the greatest leader of the 20th century. He was the man who took Singapore from literally a third book called From the World First. And he took Singapore from this Third World swamp, which had all of these historical battles with drug addiction as post-colonial dump into this shining metropolis. He had no national resources to work with. It was a tiny place that was surrounded by hostile actors. He was in a region where there was a ton of basically communist revolutionaries that were trying to operate because in Indochina, where you had obviously Vietnam and Cambodia, you know, China pushing everybody into communism.
And and despite all of that, he managed to pilot it through not simply to survive as a polity, but to build a country that was so impressive that when Deng Xiaoping took over China, he actually went to talk to Lee Kuan Yew as one of the people to help him reform China, because you could see what an ethnically Chinese population had done there. You could also see it in Taiwan and Hong Kong. But for various reasons, those were certainly influential and Deng Xiaoping.
But they were there also counter-revolutionary. And so he had to. You give him a little bit more of a distance, whereas the Singapore of the Switzerland of Southeast Asia and what Lee Kuan Yew did really I think he's so important is I think he's a piece of the twenty first century that fell into the 20th. To paraphrase, basically, he was the first startup CEO of a country. Of a citizen, and I think we'll see a thousand more like.
And so it's very important person to study his life and history, because here's the thing, he did what he did with minimal coercion. He's not famous for winning some giant violent conflict. He's not famous for some, like, activist movement. He's famous for delivering results. That's actually really, really interesting. He's famous for boosting prosperity and zero to wanting a society. And it's really, really a great guy. Now, of course, there's a lot of people who, I should say, a lot of people don't like this, lot of people who will try to knock down Singapore in various ways.
You there's a famous article from long time like Disneyland with the death penalty. Here's part of the reason is Disneyland is it does have the death penalty for drug smugglers. The thing is, Singapore and China had a huge problem with the Opium Wars or during during that period, like the British had addicted huge percentage of the population to opium. And that part is often not talked about. And that I definitely think there's a whole colonial overlay on what Western powers have done in that region.
And you basically cleaned up that whole thing. Right now, I can understand that people don't want to live there. I think also like the Netherlands, a totally different solution, for example, on drugs, total legalization, fine, different strokes for different folks. I think there's multiple solutions there. But as just ridiculously impressive, your country in many, many different ways from a financial center, it's becoming tech capital. I've got unicorn's they're just a very, very awesome country.
It's warm. I love a great place. Hugely impressive. Luc Y and Lee Kuan Yew is spelled elitist. Q an y e w for people who want to learn more about him. And it is true. I mean, the systematic approach with which that country has been transformed into what it is today is mind boggling. And it makes me also all the more appreciate. When I went to Princeton as an undergrad and there were many Singaporean students, all of which were going to go back to Singapore at the end because their educations were being paid for by the government to work for the government.
And so there their inclusion and retention of talent. Inside the government is is also remarkable and the way that they are, they prioritize financially, incentivizing also top talent to participate in government I think is really worth studying. Are there any other countries that are on your short list to watch?
If there were places that maybe, you know, the twenty second century dropping into the twenty first, I'm pushing the, you know, the comparison a bit. Estonia. Estonia, yes. Estonia. So basically countries I'm going to name are those that have leaders with some of the skills of software CEOs. That's a different approach to the network. See where city takes on like qualities of like a like a tech company. Masters technology trying things for. Right.
So Estonia basically had this guy around the time of independence, France, Germany got to independence. She said the union just got to myself's who is Princeton trained computer scientist. And he was the one who said, look, we need to use this Internet thing, which at the time was like, you know, a country gaining independence and me being there and saying, we need descriptive. It was definitely something people were talking about that's roughly analogous, mean it was it was a thing certainly people were talking about.
But you're talking like the mid 90s, relatively early thing to do. And it was not like like uncontroversial, but essentially Estonia became a software country. And so they punch way above their weight with Skype and transfer lies and other kinds of companies have come out. Really, really impressive place to buy, actually has done quite well. They they've got a large fund, but they're investing in things very livable place and very tech savvy. I think Switzerland is the commonality of the places naming is that they are relatively small countries which have had to do more convincing than coercing.
You know, when you're a gigantic country you go to is, of course, right? Oh, I can pass. A law compels people into when you're a small country, you have to work for your supper every day. And it's actually a better habit in the time of the Internet when crucially, all these people are now mobile in the remote economy, the remote economy. It has done to understand who's doing this. And then the company just jacked up, just like Google News in Taiwan, to put every single newspaper in competition with every other one.
And then all of these local newspapers shuttered. And only the really big national servers became international centres, ones that could respond to it. And then the smart ones actually saw that. And then you had new things come up like pure digital outlets. Right. In the same way the remote companies put every city in competition with every other state. Miamis is in competition. San Francisco is in competition with this, in competition with that. And the smart cities recognize that.
Actually, Miami is on my watch list now. Depends on how much strength Francis Suarez has because so-called Wickmayer this week versus Tranmere, like his formal powers, may not be that much, but his political capital is much higher now. I don't know how that actually nets out, but still there's Switzerland. There is to buy there. Singapore, actually, Israel also. They've got eighty six hundred. They've got very up on cyber war. They've reinvent themselves constantly.
Taiwan with Audrey Tang there, who's done a phenomenal job in terms of leading there. covid response, I think. Let me see what else those are some big ones. Monaco, the prince of Monaco is actually very smart about crypto. I think. Now, in terms of larger countries, I'm actually so let's do China, India, us.
We showed the big three Indias in the news right now quite a bit. And I mean, you've commented on this, but yes, that's right. Not to skip to India the last a one which I think is going to be the dark horse of this ticket, like it's a one that's not priced in. Like people just don't understand how big a deal it's going to be. But I'll come back to that. So China is kind of priced in.
I mean, like everybody knows, it's a big deal. It's going to continue to be a big deal. Go ahead. No, I'm just smiling. I'm just smiling. Yes. China, China. Everybody knows China is a big deal.
So I think the part that's what is not priced in about China. I think that most people don't realize that. A lot of I mean, it is definitely becoming more totalitarian. Right. Decision paying thought app and some sort of thought control is actually Jack Ma, having what happened to him by the jackpot thing, made the headlines. This is like so big that he's known in the US for people who don't know Jack Ma, founder or maybe co-founder of Alibaba, like Jeff Bezos of China, to be fair to say.
That's right. That's right. So the super rich, super successful tech entrepreneur gave a speech that was critical of regulation in a fairly measured way, and they just like went after him. They stopped the IPO of the Alibaba IPO. He's under house arrest, all the regulators. So that and they show him who's boss. Right. And that is real change. Right. Like to be a Chinese entrepreneur in China. The U.S. is really asserting itself and saying there shall be no gods before me as an entrepreneur.
You better bow and kiss the ring, you know, and they're also pushing much harder on this Zeeshan being thought app where you have to repeat Sishen Ping thought all the time and so on right now. Is that that far from where America is nowadays? Not that far anymore, actually. Like that's the thing I don't think people get. I think the world is splitting into three groups, which I think of this WOAK capital, communist capital and crypto capital.
And America is more capital in America and its subsidiaries, tributaries, allies, wherever you want to call them, communist capital is China and crypto capital is the free world. And the distinction is the first two are very good at pointing out each other's flaws and faults, but not in the Internet censorship. All this stuff is going to is ramping up kind to ramp up aggressively in the US. I think that by twenty twenty four you're going to have to use VPN.
There's going to be all kinds of filtering at the ISP level. It's going to get very, very impressive. I mean that all that stuff already exists in undersea search. There's block sites and so on. But it's going to get to a level way beyond where people think because East Coast institutions can no longer get a game of free speech and free markets and they're going to restrict and constrict. And obviously, the same thing is happening in China. The difference is, is more like more explicit about it, which is both good and bad.
It is good in the sense that everyone can identify it's happening. It's obviously bad because when it's explicit, they're just in your face about it. The site is up and then it's down. And there's no apology that is given. It's just the government says in the US, it's this weird moonwalk where it's more like the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union would say that you have this great constitution and, hey, everyone can have an election and so on and so forth.
But then actually how elections worked in the Soviet Union, you just put in a blank ballot to vote for the communists. But if you want to vote for someone else, you could do it. You'd write something about it, kind of know who you were and so on. And so you had all these rights guaranteed on paper. But the reality of it was a completely different thing, the gap between the actual thing and what was written down. And that's where the US is becoming, where it is just as a joke in the nineteen eighties, kind of illustrated Yakov Smirnoff and if you remember him, said something like Joker came over from Russia is like, oh, people say that in Russia we don't have freedom of speech.
Of course we have freedom of speech. But in America you also have freedom of speech right now. That's good, right? Is that true anymore? Not really. Not really. Or at least not outside a pseudonym. So what I think is I think China is actually underestimated in some ways. It's not fully priced. I think a lot of Americans underestimate China for a few reasons. First is, they think everybody within the country is like this oppressed state, that they don't like the regime, they're against regime.
I think if you're a weaker or your jack ma or you're not China's on the Bronx, that becomes part of. Yeah, you're probably not a fan. But I think that on net, the Chinese government has delivered goods with for many people from their perception. But the code response and it's like forty years of growth and they're the relative winners of like the West just totally wrecked himself. Right. And technologically, they're way beyond. People don't understand how far beyond they are.
Like they didn't like drones for taking people. Temperatures I tweeted about this is it really discovered that they really did like five years in like a few months of technological improvements from like robots delivering stuff to hospitals. They're fully telling medical hospitals. But the doctors didn't have to go in and they could remotely operate them. All kinds of crazy things that they managed to pull off. So it's the cope. Cope is in S.O.P. Yeah, but so like, it's you and I know the word, the word.
But online it's used as a young man. That's right. You're just you're saying that to try to handle this difficult situation. And there's a lot of folks who are over the course of COGAT, I saw something very new and interesting. I mean, bad, but interesting happened, which was as the US sort of flailed and its response as federal government failed and state failed and local governments failed as public health failed and public schools failed and police failed and fire failed as a power went out, as the health went out, you know, as riots have all the stuff happened.
Right. People would basically say things like, oh, yeah, I know you're saying Taiwan's got it under control, but their island and like New Zealand. Oh, yeah. Well, there's utilitarian and everyone give this litany of excuses, which was why, of course, you're so stupid that that wouldn't possibly apply to the US and fundamentally was basically a bunch of excuses where, yeah, America isn't the worst in the world. What are you saying?
We're just as bad as your, you know, did kind of make these kinds of comparisons, you know, and you have to be like, we're number one, USA, USA, USA is just extremely different from Yavor, not the worst. Just completely different. And while there's a scope within the US on this outside, it's very perceptible that the US was basically like you just have like a military defeat by covid. People don't actually fully perceive this.
But like I mentioned this a few times on Twitter, it hasn't sunk in or whatever. Maybe it will get mad. But twenty, eighteen, there was a good thing. There was something like national biodefense policy and strategy protects against manmade and natural threats and all of these Forestar this and that phrase, oh, we're so protected. And they've got like this plan and they've had billions of dollars that was allocated for biodefense since the anthrax attacks in two thousand one twenty two thousand, when I forget, was late 2001 or early.
Twenty years later. That's right. Since anthrax, all money that went to biodefense. I know because that's in grad school. But that money was flying around for like microbial research and what have you that was like 50 years ago. And the researchers and there was the Ebola scare. There's plenty of warnings for all this. Right. And it was a military priority. There was like DARPA stuff that was supposed to crank out fast vaccines. And none of it actually seemed to work.
Right. But basically, to the best of my knowledge and correct me if I'm wrong, I might be wrong. The military's most public thing was setting up the folding chairs, as Jeff said. And that sounds really harsh. I'm talking about the palliative care early. And I do. I do. Yeah. And they put like a flower there so people could die next to a flower. That sucks. And the reason I kind of make that harsh comparison is, you know, the Maginot Line in World War One.
I do not. I do not. And also, I know we have the lens on the US right now within the context of China, but I would love to make sure we don't forget to have you comment on the other things that are not fully appreciated about China. But I don't know the line. I don't I don't know the line that you're referring to. And we're OK. So after World War One, the French built something called Imaginal Line, which was like, oh, yeah, Germans are going to try trench warfare on us.
We're building the system of fortifications where we'll just gun you the F down and you'll never win trench warfare against us. Right? Of course, Germans invented blitzkrieg and just went around France to the huge system of fortifications. So it's a great metaphor for fighting the last war. And so there's this guy who I feel personally for the right thing. I've never met him or anything. This guy who a lot of folks XYZ and I should probably go and write a blog post on all the things I disagree with.
About 20 percent I agree with like it's true that shale oil is an important resource for us, but he thinks, for example, American or demographics are a big win for the US over China. But robotics and demographics, you need a small number of people programmed robots. That's the future. You don't see that in warehouses. Thing is, he's really bullish on like the US military and the US military, like at thirty five is a failing. The U.S. military just sailed on the pandemic.
Is military in many ways, I would argue is actually a marginal line where it's set up to fight the last war. And it's one way of thinking about that. This is it's hard to test this because it's just a prediction. It's a forecast. But China is able to build a hospital in like ten days and their infrastructure in general, they can snap together a subway in like nine hours, posting these videos on Twitter. It's like crazy. But they have everything they staff together on site.
And that's something which is a whole of society thing has the legal to do that. The engineers have to be willing to work. Twenty four hours there, times like that. The early American nineteen hundreds work ethic, not the late American current work ethic. They have to be interested in building things in a society where it's not like everybody fighting each other, where you build something and you'll make my property less expensive. It'll be châteaux or something you don't like is the San Francisco style.
All these things have to come together. It's not just one thing, but they step together association in nine hours. They can step together as a skyscraper in three days and people will say, oh yeah, well, they're building quality's terrible. It's all going to fall over. Like, have you seen the Millennium Tower in San Francisco? It's actually creaking to one side, the whole Salesforce complex that they built your salesforce like this new train station that was also cranking us, built like a billion dollars or something like that.
It was like creaking after the first few weeks and they had to not allow anybody in there. So it's all like the American building quality. I mean, it's you have this fiscal analysis, of course, to actually put them side by side. But in general, if you go to China, most buildings are standing up and most of our new and built in the last 20, 30 years. What's my point? The point is the Chinese have shown the village under duress to be able to execute in the physical world as a subroutine.
You can think, OK, we're going to build a hospital. That's just. Not something we can contemplated. That seems like a 30 year process, not a 10 day process. What you have to do in a war like a field hospital. Managed to build a bridge, you have to take out a bridge, there's all those kinds of things that have to happen. And if in like perhaps the most desperate crisis the US has faced in a long time, you know, people have this idea that it's like cramming for a test, like will pull it out.
The US will do the right thing after exhausting everything else, like Churchill isms from like 70 years ago. And the thing is, the critics of the test only works if you studied someone, not if you're if you haven't done anything for years. Right. And and that's actually, I think is flipped over car where in an actual like like military conflict between the US and China, a non-nuclear conflict. I think China would probably want to like a Taiwan conflict because we've got all the observable in circles are even under duress.
The US military can't execute in the physical world. It's got these plans for a pandemic that didn't work. The Chinese can actually execute in the physical world and build these things. And that's not just a one off. It's like across our whole society. That's also not a one off for the Americans across our whole society where the power is going out and other kinds of infrastructure. Things are happening. And it's not like just one localized place. It's like water in Flint.
It's a power in California. It's a power in Texas. It seems to be spreading.
I was just going to ask if there were a military conflict or a nation state versus nation state conflict between the US and China, it seems unlikely that it would be like Red Dawn on US soil. Seems unlikely. Not impossible. I mean, there might be a cyber attack that has impact on any number of things in the United States, in the domestic US continental U.S. But if we take as an example, Taiwan, if there were a conflict over Taiwan and the US lost, what are the consequences of that in your mind?
I think it's huge because I think it basically would be comparable to the rest of Japanese war. And like in five years, the Japanese were actually led to like all of these former colonial colonized people being like, whoa, wait a second, the non whites can win against whites. Holy cow. Right. And it was this huge mental block where that led to anti colonial sentiment. And so it just kind of ended one century and again another. And I think it would that would be the true end of the American empire.
I think it would be something that someone could write off like Vietnam. We didn't really try or Afghanistan or Iraq will know what no one else visibly one. It's feel different. I think it would be like the Mike Tyson getting knocked out by Buster Douglas moment for the United States, where people are like, oh, this is a defeated enemy. That's right. Now, the thing about it is we should hope it doesn't come to that. What I fear is that often there's a delayed reaction or fuse on this stuff like Occupy Wall Street only happen about like three years after the financial crisis.
So the fear is that if vaccines are eventually rolled out and if enough Americans take them, then by twenty twenty three or twenty four people will be spoiling for a fight to go and beat up China as a one legitimated enemy in the ways in the mid two thousands. It is like OK to hate people in the Middle East was like that was like a Lucene kind of valve. You could be more angry towards sentiments like more. So I don't think it is good.
I think that was it was just true that that was more legitimate for at people greenlit it more in the same way, I think anti Chinese sentiment will be more greenlit. People won't jump on you for saying things that are negative about China. It'll filter into, unfortunately, many Chinese Americans, because anybody who's working at a university lab or something like that, they'll come up with some rationale for why it's not racist or whatever, because it's nationalist and oh, my God, I can't believe you're saying that the Asians have challenger and dictatorship are blah, blah, blah that you have to be concerned about.
But the point is that they will I don't think it'd be great to be a Chinese American in four years or five years as the new Cold War really heats up. Now, we should hope that doesn't actually come to call it. This is one of my bad predictions, right? Would be an unfortunate thing. Many Chinese, of course, many Chinese Americans have been here for generations, but they have no ancestral connection or answer questions is very decent that I shouldn't say.
It doesn't matter. It does matter. Like, I don't think there's going to be a citizenship or anything like the Japanese internment. But I do think that it'll be like being a Muslim American in the tests. Basically, it was actually it's one of those things where there was a lot of surveillance of mosques. Folks within the community felt it a lot. You might say it's legitimate, but it's not about trying to get into whether it's good or bad.
I'm just saying that that's likely to happen. OK, so what's my point? Point is that I think that Cold War between the US and China, we should hope it doesn't kick off into a hot one if it does. Kick off into a hot one, then the wounded American pride might like retaliate, do crazy things that can happen if it gets really bad very quickly, if you think about the scenarios. With that said, I think that most of the world will actually not want to be there.
They want to try to keep us far away from this fight as possible. I don't think many Americans realize how many Americans think you're going to saddle up with us against European, something that Europeans think America's gone crazy. And Europe is actually in many ways now, in some ways actually to the right of the US. You can actually kind of put it on a spectrum where the US is on. This is the most left wing, large country in the world.
And you've got Krypto in the center. Then you've got like India and Israel, like center right. And then you've got like China as like the farthest right. That's like a new kind of political spectrum of roughly on one side, ethno nationalist on the other side, ethno Massachusets in the center, Sudans. OK, if that makes any sense, it does.
Let me let me jump in for a second here and then I want to move to the dark horse because I know it'll probably not be a short, short conversation on the Chinese front, considering China. If there were just a few actions or a few investments or changes that the US military could make or the US government, what would they be to try to mitigate against some of these risks? The US has within it the capability, like we're talking about earlier with crypto beer.
The solution is the cause of the solution to all of man's problems. And so the US has within it that capability for a rebirth, just like, frankly, China had a rebirth under Deng Xiaoping and India had a rebirth under Manmohan Singh. After decades of just being in the toilet, the US would have to experience a national rebirth. And that's that's that's a serious thing. And that's a big deal. You have to be at the level of Deng or Manmohan Singh or Lee Kuan Yew or something at that level, you know, when you saw it.
And what kinds of things could lead to that. Let me give you some out of left field thoughts to answer your question. Do you think there's like a tweak or another tweak? No, I don't think there's entry because I think the US is on a civilizational downtrend. For example, Intel Field, there are Chip Tapout and Lockheed Martin, as is mentioned at thirty five and Boeing Field and all physical businesses have been shut down. And the only thing that basically is functional, if you think about it, are the Internet businesses that were founded 20 something years ago.
The only things that essentially like function through the pandemic, the political institutions didn't work. And the reason is those new businesses were new enough that I guess like a fundamental distinction I have, which is between founding Vasundhara. If the founders are still around, the founders can edit things and change things where so many of these East Coast institutions were inherited, sometimes the literal sense of inherited fortunes or newspapers or inherit money, but also in the sense of inherited something they could have built in the first place.
The fifty seventh mayor or seventy second governor of some state could never have organized the National Guard and the Public Health Department from scratch. They were selected solely for legitimacy and not for competence as well. Right. Like, if you're elected, you're selected only for legitimacy. You're not actually selected for people to organize the NYPD from scratch. By contrast, if you're a founder, you're selected for both legitimacy. Why is the CEO? Because he founded it to select for legitimacy.
But you're also selected for competence because all the back links, the support that come into you, you don't just get them, but go snap overnight like you do when you win an election. They come to you gradually over time. The thousand proof points. Zuckerberg didn't just get three billion people in this gigantic organization. There are a thousand proof points they did over 10 years where the support came in gradually. It wasn't just, OK, I don't have the nuclear codes, but I had the nuclear guts.
I was an overnight thing was gradual. And crucially, one of the things about that is the folks were selected on the basis of founding rather than being selected for both legitimacy and competence rather than just legitimacy. Those folks actually are folks like Bezos who actually could organize the NYPD or the U.S. military because he's an expert in logistics and right. Amateurs, talk strategy, professional stuff, logistics. I think I have no question that Bezos would at least be an extremely important contributor to the organization of our military from scratch.
And Bezos had to do the US military from scratch like a drone army. He could probably do so. The question is, how do you have selection for legitimacy and competence? How does how do you get our founding DNA personality? So let me just throw a few interesting concepts out there. One thing I think about a lot, this a chapter in my upcoming book is one hundred percent democracy versus 51 percent democracy. So what's 51 percent democracy? Fosbury Flop is I do I do this one.
I actually. Do you want to explain it for Dick Fosbury. Great story. So basically, if you're a pole vault in the Olympics, you know what? To Fosbury Flop, it's essentially someone the vault in such a way that they just barely cleared the bar. They manipulate their body in such a way and they do it backwards. Yeah, they do it because they do it. So it's just like barely clearing the bar. And that is the way a fifty one percent democracy works, where if you think about the root of democracy, it's not actually voting per say.
The true democracy is the consent of the governed. And that's what makes a democracy legitimate. Can I add a note on the factory floor? A quick note on the Fosbury Flop and Dick Fosbury is that for the vast majority of the time that the Olympics have existed, the techniques used for clearing that pole vault bar were almost like a not a scissor kick necessarily, but but very similar to the way you might clear the high hurdles in a sprint race.
And then Dick Fosbury comes along and I think I want to say it was in Mexico City, but I might be remembering that. That's right. And and the the equipment had changed. So it became possible for the first time to land in the way that he landed, which was on his back. And he was ridiculed at the time, ended up winning gold medal.
And now that is the default technique. So phosphor his method was actually a smart hack of the system. But one of the things about it is basically or the part that I'm evoking is the feeling of just barely clearing the bar, very little margin of safety, very little margin of safety. And so insofar as the legitimacy of democracy comes from the consent of the governed, we kind of intuit that there's more legitimacy. If there's a landslide, you know, there's there's a more of a mandate if it's a bigger margin, because you have more consent, because there's more consent to use less coercion.
You have more of a mandate with which to govern. Right. 60 40 is way better than fifty one. Forty nine. Here's the issue. The issue is when it's six point forty nine, which has been for a long time now, basically that's just the minimum necessary. That's a Fosbury flop of consent, some minimum consent to say, OK, we've got the consent of the governed, we get the minimum necessary consent. You have to use a ton of coercion when you're in power.
And then what that does is it pushes that two percent over to the other side, however, and then the next group is in power. And then that guy has to use a lot of coercion when they're in power, you know. And so this is a very bad negative feedback cycle where you're using yes, you can use coercion if you're in government. But in general, think about being CEO. If any of your followers yaka a lot of people have this kind of fantasy model of a system where the guy goes in Berkshire seconds, can't just go do it like that.
Right. And if you ever ask you'll find that that really doesn't work. You have to persuade and you have to convince and you need to motivate. And you really can't just order flunkies around in quite that way because everybody's got their possible jobs they can get. It's more like a a bunch of subatomic particles you're holding in your hand just like not have them all go escape. Right. So it's a very different kind of thing where you have to convince you can't really course, I'm not saying that you sometimes can't have to give it like an order or something like, yes, we're going to do it this way.
I'm not saying that doesn't happen, but ultimately it is much, much more weighted towards convincing that coercion. Right. OK, so. This is also true for a good leader, a good leader is doing more convincing than course. Here's the point. We see this fifty one forty nine thing. The ideal would be one hundred zero would be one hundred percent democracy where everybody can sense and do that in such a way. That's not like some Stalinist joke where everyone's voting their great concern for the great leader and they don't actually have a say.
Right. You need to have them not manufactured consent, but demonstrate consent. Right. To paraphrase Chomsky saying manufacture them, you want demonstrate consent. So where I go with that is, I think, OK, it there's actually three kinds of votes. We think of two kinds voted with ballot and voting, which are democracy, capitalism, respect. There's a third which is voting with feet and immigration. Actually all three are components of the US political system.
So, for example, if you put them on an axis or with x axis being the cost of that particular kind of vote in the Y axis being the probability of changing the outcome vote, your ballot is a tiny, tiny, small costs like a few hours and a tiny probability of changing like one over in of people roughly. If you vote with your wallet like a political donation, you know, it's it's not considered kosher to really calculate this out.
But people do most often publishes, like the price of a vote or whatever they calculate. OK, here's the thing of political ads whose extra votes this way as that people try to pull this out. Regressions. Main thing is with some money, you can effectively get more votes than just your one vote with your wallet. It does through ads or what have you campaign stuff. It gets you you put in your twenty three hundred max. If you're an individual, it might get you 10 votes or one hundred.
I don't know the number, but they still get you more than one word second. So that is a higher cost than a few hours, but a somewhat higher probability, still small of changing the law under which you live. And then we get to migration. Net migration is the highest cost of all, usually because it's like ten thousand dollars more to pick up stakes and move to a city or country to country. But it has by far the highest probability of changing outcome.
It's one hundred percent. You just pick the loss, you just look at the dashboard of all the laws and you pick the ones you want and you give their vote how you want to move around like. So once you start thinking about this third fundamental force, there's nothing more American. I mean, every American is a nation of immigrants. That means tautologically. It's also a nation of immigrants. And the camera is not as frequently put on what causes people to leave and leave us declining economic circumstances or communism or civil or socialism or just a bad economic lack of opportunity to came over to the US if our ancestors weren't evil and immigration can't be evil.
In fact, immigration is the most American thing ever. And so now what you think about that is the third fundamental force. You start thinking, OK, one hundred percent democracy means that people are really signing a social contract every few years. They're part of a policy and they are if they don't like it, they've got nine other jurisdictions to go to. They can vote with their feet to go over there. The critical thing this does is this model of lots of jurisdictions run by CEOs of city states maximizes consent.
I've got a mathematical model of this, but it maximizes consent because like a company, nobody is there if they don't want to be.
So let's let's take this opportunity to transition in Leicester, just any any closing comments on that chapter that you'd like to make. But I would love to as our last topic of closing costs far away.
So once you start kind of thinking in this way about maximizing consent and so on or using the network versus something that is possible, for example, in Austin, a city of like fifty thousand ish, one point two million somewhere in that range of people, it's not inconceivable to just if you start thinking of convincing rather than causing you to start by declaring yourself shadow, not you, but someone maybe you would with some distribution or even someone wants to build it, declares themselves either shadow mayor of Austin or a community organizer or something like that.
Very different proclamations. But yes, yes, shadow mayors like this concept, like from the UK, like the shadow government. And you just start organising people, whether it's Austin or some other side, you start organising people. It's just like you start a company, you declare yourself you and who like, you know, you're right, it's OK to just whatever title you give it. Maybe you say like community organizer. I don't know. And people just start folding into you if you start delivering the goods.
What are the goods? I think you conceived of this thing as a network union that's say not like a normal social network, but a social right. Not everybody can actually higgledy-piggledy, but a graph where folks are folding up into a union leader, effectively a network union leader, except via a network union. So it's not just focused on labour rights, but it could collectively bargain on behalf of the people, as consumers, as producers, as investors, as voters, whatever, just like a group of folks that are calling for collective action.
It can organize, for example, shoveling of snow or in power is out. It's a genuine community organisation. And you have this had these folks folding into them. It's just like a startup. You can grow that and you might go back in time because this is so new. It's actually old. But I'm talking about is old, but it's new to us today because it hasn't been done. It doesn't seem like something you would do if you're going to start a company in a billion dollar business.
You don't have strong community organization, but your ancestors did it and like an Elks Club or whatever type thing. So you build it up and you may name it something you start accumulating users. Ten hundred thousand. Ten thousand because your organization is competent and able to deliver the goods locally. It doesn't have guns. You can't course it doesn't have you guys have badges you can't tax. It has to do everything with contributions. Maybe it's selling a product, maybe to almost like a company.
There's many different ways of doing it, but fundamentally, it's delivering the social goods that the current elected inherited government can't because they inherited government was set up for a different time under a different set of circumstances. As you start just delivering more goods, you gain more political capital. And ultimately that entire social structure is just softer in people's heads. The mayor, the supervisors, city hall, all of that is just stuff people have agreed to do. And just like Fiat, cryptocurrency, public fiat currencies, crypto government or something like that at all pseudonymously or whatever, for some time.
It's lots of different ways. And fix a certain point when you've got one hundred thousand people in this hierarchical organization, then yeah, when there's an election called, you probably just instantly win and become mayor. Right, and this is a way that you can affect political change outside of politics because you start actually focusing on delivering the societal goods that convincing people. And you said coercion is the. And frankly, get really far with that, because CEOs get really far.
You might think of this as a tech startup. That's a fine way of thinking about it and you modify it to make it like a community oriented tech startup. There might be Dune's, you could do subscriptions. There's lots of different ways you could make this work. It's a community organization where you pay in to get something out that might just be right there, that might work. It's got local news. It's got childcare. It's like Round-Robin childcare.
You keep track and you give to get a lot of things you can do here. When you start thinking about this, you can use Facebook groups to organize things at the beginning. A lot of it is just, you know, code if you know that. Right. This is, I think, the recipe for how you start rebuilding functional organizations in the US, not trying to jam a square peg into a round hole and be like, hey, let me capture the course of it and get the guns and then I'll be able to finally do something in Boston around the other forty nine percent.
Instead, you build these convince oriented organizations as well. I might just call this maybe this episode should be titled The Episode that's that shall spawn a thousand shadow mayors.
I think this is a valuable discussion. I think this is a very valuable discussion. I'm glad that you got to explain this and I would love to get to India. Yes. Let's add any sort of concluding statements just to that piece and then Segway, if you're open to it, to maybe starting with India, the dark horse, as you mentioned, and what is currently at stake.
And there may be many things at stake, but certainly the one that is pinned at the top of your Twitter profile is of interest to me. So I'll let you take it from there. All right.
So we talk about China, talked about the US. And so you have this thing where you have this ascending China and you have this declining us and they're just on a collision course. Sparks fly. This is the trap of the rising power and the declining one and big fight. Right. And there is an interesting possible way out of this, or at least I'm not sure there's a way out for the US and China, but there might be a way out for the rest of the world, especially someplace like India, which is India's number three.
So it's not that the US or China is actually in its own way in the position of a Singapore, for example, where it is not realistic. You might think it's realistic to cause the world to use the dollar. You might also think it's really a big chunk of the world to use the yuan. Both of those are contenders for a global reserve currency. The rupee is not for number three. You'd have to beat out the number one or two to do something different.
You could say. Actually, the other possibility here, if you're neither Windows or OSX, you go all in on Linux to your night or the dollar or the renminbi. You go all in on BTC and crypto, because that is because as a nation, of course, your first thing is you want to be able to control your currency, but internationally, you want no one to be able to control your currency and you rather have no one control it in a foreign power control.
Because the currency is not just currency, it's a technology platform. Swift, you know, the international a technology platform, you can hit a button, a platform you just like Twitter can be platform from the dollar, such as currencies, technology platform. And it's declining technology platform because it's basically been based on this 20th century technology. If you look at the I retweeted the other day. But if China's been gradually over the last ten years replacing the dollar and cross-border trade, it was basically eighty seven percent in 2011.
And now it's it's I think it's now less than close to less than 50 percent. This is about to flip. The opening is happening. Right. Then they'll just replace it completely independent. And that means just like the bit licensing that we mentioned earlier, they'll come a day just like New York, tried to throw its weight around the license and actually found that it just sanctioned itself. And rather than forcing companies to jump through tubes, those companies just put it last on the list, that America will try to wield the weapon one more time and just find that it's actually shown itself.
It's just walled itself off from enough of the world economies outside the economy.
Is India at risk of doing that right now? So India is had postulated a crypto ban. OK, I think that if you look at the very latest reports that is now being written and the reason for that is a lot of tech people, a lot of financiers, a lot of people in the government have communicated that actually the two biggest stories in India or last 30 years are A, economic liberalization and B, the Internet and crypto combines both. It is the financial intranet.
It's literally at that level because one of the Internet to digitized books, movies, songs, all forms of media, crypto goes, digitizes everything scarce stocks, bonds, commodities and of course, gold and other things. Because what a blocking is potential was a way to copy things from point A to point B of auctions where to transfer scarce. An approved way, so every financial asset becomes natively digital, just like every media thing became digital. So economic liberalization, Internet massively benefited India and is a combination of them and so banning this huge own goal.
So I wrote a couple of long articles on this, A, Why India should buy Bitcoin and be how India legalized crypto. And those have gotten a fair amount of traction, I think, within the Indian discussion. And there's some really good follow up articles and videos that have been retweeting. And it's definitely something now where I think folks are realizing that a ban would be precipitant, it would be too hasty. We'll see what happens. But I think that it's going to be more likely that it's legalized with some form of regulation than it is to be banned.
Knock on wood. That's how it looks as of right now.
What would be the global consequences of India banning cryptocurrency?
So global consequences wouldn't wouldn't actually be more would be felt, would be. It's like Bastiat seen and unseen. The thing is that if India bans crypto, people don't understand how big a deal it is that indeed they have crypto because it hasn't had time to compound within India. It got banned in twenty eighteen that unbaked. And so because of that, like the industry is in a much more nascent state than it is in other places and so on. Meaning like only like 10 million people have a government that which is small for a relatively large country.
Let me describe what would happen in the alternative and then it'll be more obvious why it's a big deal. Basically, over the last four years, while everybody in the West was obsessed with like American politics, whenever India is brought about four hundred million people online, there's something called Reliance Geo, which basically 4G, LTE. There is about one hundred cheaper than in the US. It has the cheapest mobile LTE service in the world, which is insane because that's a huge physical infrastructure project in India.
That's hard to do with reliable power. All kinds of things have to work for something like that to work. And at the same time two other things happened. It happens to all the world's jobs went remote and Krypto happened, which meant that you have this peer to peer international payment. So India has opportunity to have four hundred million people suddenly start doing all these remote work jobs they're newly qualified for with their phones, because every remote work job cannot be done there, which is at least 10 million, 20 million, 30 million new sources of remittances and remote work.
Maybe it's like 10x us. So that would completely change the world. It would basically mean that every Indian who could do white collar work could do it for one tenth the price on an Android phone being paid in crypto or something like that. And I say crypto. I don't understand Bitcoin or Ethereum, though that's also possible. If you look at staple coins, that's come when the silver coins, which you cannot transmit anywhere that has an Internet connection.
Silver, all the pieces theorem address, you can send it to them with some fees. So the magnitude of that disruption is hard to actually. I mean, you know, when you have like a few hundred million people coming online, that's a very big deal, is they're part of the global labor market. I mean, it's not like they wouldn't be connected if they didn't have crypto, but there'd be a lot less connected because crypto means anyone on the Internet can pay anyone for.
It's like email, you know. So if you have to go through the rupee, it's fine for some purposes, but it's certainly not fine for just paying somebody twenty bucks to do something right now. That's like a multiday wait for an international wire transfer. You spend more than that on the wire fees. It just won't work. So then crypto would be one of those things where it's more obvious this will be lost when we unban crypto. So by twenty thirty you'll be like, yeah, OK, that whole thing wouldn't have happened without it.
It's hard for me to show you that yet because compounding isn't happening. Right.
But with distribution, with wider distribution and use of, say, micropayment via cryptocurrency, much of the friction for this type of. Gigantic possible workforce to engage globally is removed and a lot of the friction, it put it up. Exactly.
If the Indian government wants to facilitate the global participation and effective competition of its citizens, we're going to come online en masse with profound implications. Then cryptocurrency facilitates that substantially. I mean, India basically is internationally competitive in computer science. And it's also pretty good at all these. I mean, like the diaspora has been pretty good at things like finance, media, journalism, as mentioned engineering, but also medicine and so on. So it's notable in those areas.
These are all like white collar jobs that you could do over an Internet connection for crypto and then you wouldn't even have to leave India and remittances from a worker, a huge source of revenue. So basically, India could be this. The only thing about it, by the way, by supporting crypto right now, America is blowing up the Middle East and China is building colonies in Africa. And, you know, like actually Yonnet. Yes, those colonies really called colonies and cities.
The Africans actually are benefiting from the Chinese presence in that sense of actually getting infrastructure and so on out of it. If you actually talk to Africans there, they're not that negative on them. It's it's definitely not like the Chinese don't like that. Right. But people can say, like, OK, well, the Chinese are actually helping them today and then they're going to put them in debt like they're trying to do the belt road projects. Are your readers are you're you're familiar with that?
OK, I'm sure some of the but I'm going to say China has this thing called a belt and road, which was a bigger deal before the pandemic, but they may be rebooting. It essentially is this idea of building global trade routes with overland and oversea where China builds across Eurasia, this huge railway lines, it can ship their finished goods everywhere to adults markets. One of the concerns we have, Adulterant, is infrastructure in all these countries, ports and railway stations and fueling stations and all the stuff, schools, whatever, and return.
That government just takes out a loan in renminbi, but maybe can't pay back, in which case China kind of repos everything and has a military base there. Right. So that's kind of this heads. I wouldn't tell. So don't lose deal that China doing is actually quite smart. It's kind of like the Marshall Plan in a different way with us. All these military bases, we're looking at it, of course, but that's really part of the game for the US military presence in Western Europe.
What's the point? Point is, well, America's blowing things up and well, China is building these colonies. But India could do is build software for the world because getting behind crypto and this is a good case, right? If India gets behind crypto, crypto is a globally neutral platform because everybody can trust it. Since they don't need to trust, they can audit. Right. They can look at it themselves. I only see this today, by the way.
Chinese people no longer trust the returns. Investors don't trust the US legal system and certainly not vice versa. But both them will definitely investments for contract on theory. That's actually where international capitalism still lives and will continue to thrive even in this age of tariffs and trade, war and so on. And so people can actually work across borders regardless of the silly fight. This is actually my spirit, and this is something which I think India can be kind of a peacemaker similar to actually in some ways it tried to stay out of the Cold War with the so-called nonalignment.
There was NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The Non-Aligned Non-Aligned Movement was it was sympathetic to the Soviet Union, but it wasn't sending troops around the world to wage communist revolution. The origin of the term Third World First World was the West Second World, where the communist countries in the Third World War, all these countries are behind the line. Now, of course, Non-Aligned Movement came in third. It was poor. It didn't have part of the reason to join any militaries, didn't have the money to pay for the guns or anything like that.
But now back to the future. I think if the US and the West is you know, there's a declining West and social capital and you have on the other side, the Chinese are communist capital. I think India can be crypto capital and it could be the center of the decentralization, which is maybe the most powerful three, because they're sympathizers of crypto in both the US and China, millions of people. And it sounds weird to put it that way today in twenty twenty, but I won't said that we are in twenty, twenty five or twenty third because Trump is an ideological and it's a transnational and it's international capitalist.
And it's not nationalist capitalists like Reagan, it's not nationalist, socialist or international socialist like Hitler. Stalin's National Socialist or Lenin was a national socialist. It's internationalist and capitalist and truste internationalist and socialist. And so international capitalist is like tech, that's crypto, that is do a deal across borders. That is. I don't care. What you look like equal partners in the deal and of course, the bad aspects of the two, I'm sure people can rattle them off.
But ultimately, there's an ideology embedded in there. It's not simply a currency. And that is, I think, over time going to be what blue jeans were the Soviet Union. That is to say, the orange coin is like the global symbol of freedom and prosperity, like the blue jeans were in the Soviet Union. It's really a point, you know, blue jeans in the Soviet Union, a symbol of what was there beyond the Iron Curtain.
The orange coin is both freedom to say, being able to transact with whoever you want to say what you want, freedom from surveillance, speaking your mind, not being the platform, not being censored. And, of course, prosperity, because going up into the right, I was just thinking to myself, we're going to have to call this episode the four hour before her podcast. That's funny. That's funny. That's true. So I think that there's an outside chance that India could become a backer of crypto for national security reasons because it's not going to be the US or China.
So it could play a different game. If it embraces crypto, then India gets all this tremendous volume it could tell from volume and all of its financiers are actually quite good and all its engineers are also quite good. The other aspect of crypto is it would allow Indian media. So this is actually you on a dark horse and dark horse prediction for the twenty twenties. I actually think India has the potential to become a media superpower. Why do I say that?
So China in the late 90s, early 2000s, was making plastic stuff for Walmart. A lot of people were very skeptical of China's ability to ascend the value chain. Oh, it's going to make a fancy machine tools like the Germans. And of course, it did. It went all the way up from iPhones and stuff that makes drones to tie makes makes basically everything other than the very top in semiconductors. And they're working on Chinese workshop world. And people no longer say that it makes only crap, makes a lot of quality stuff.
They're not just giving them their due. They do make all this stuff and they ascender the value chain, very intentional, very methodical with espionage, with like I'd stuff with beg, borrow and steal everything they could. Right. You have a company there for acquisition of it, but all that stuff fair. OK, so China became a tech and manufacturing superpower because you've got WeChat and got the software and the physical stuff. But I think India can take a different path and become a tech and media.
And the reason I say that is the first time we talk about the raw material. So of course, India has Bollywood. It has less well known. It has the backing for a lot of animation for Hollywood. Like if you go and you look at the and you see all these Indians there, they did a lot of the special effects, a lot of computer graphics does a lot of Indian engineers. And India has SOJA or at least a diaspora in the US South Asian Journalists Association with thousands of journalists.
And it has basically like this multi thousand year culture of arts letters in support of Buddhism and Hinduism. OK, finally, it's got engineers that are competitive worldwide now actually number three and Tech Unicorn's US in China. Most people do. OK, so how does potential to become a media superpower? Well, the difference is it's not just Bollywood going global. That's often the mistake people make. Why? Because when you go and you have a chair from China, can you tell us a Chinese share?
Not really. It's just it's a global chair. You'd have to look on the bottom to say everything's been checked. So there's a company, for example, called ArcelorMittal in Indian company. It makes steel, but it makes a global bar. So you can you don't look at it and be like, oh, that's Indian. That's just like globally competitive product. That's like the best product. And it's like one of the best products for us. Price rates, globally competitive risk.
Bollywood has a specifically Indian flavor to it. And this is the mindshift that I think India is going to make in the 20s. Could take a lot of people by surprise, is going to start building products for the world, not just software products that can do that, but media products. And I think the direction is bright. Sun to the west, Blackmar. What makes them Remingtons, as I seen earlier, because the US has experienced a decline in relative status as the Internet has risen, they have the sort of Blackner world view.
The future sucks media crackdown or free speech and free markets. I hate these tech firms know you invented a bus maneuver like they basically are doubling and tripling down on the old stuff. It's sort of similar to a country where technology passed on by the double down of religious fundamentalism. Well, they might be worse than us or better. We're better. We're holier. We've got better democracy or the kind of coke. It's more corporate. So the West isn't the sort of black America thing where the only thing they can see in the future, not all of us, but certainly a lot of the intelligentsia, a lot of the media folks and so on.
I think the future is this mirror where their futures decline and the future is just hoping to get a completely different world view. Haven't seen the movie or even the trailer to Super 30. I've not. OK, you should definitely watch this. All your viewers should watch this. You couldn't have a more different spirit and attitude towards technology than this. Like imagine sort of like. Brocky, but for engineers, it kind of like that, it's not exactly bright, but it's like it's got the same spirit and it is essentially something that just glorifies computer science, engineering, leveling up the future.
Because here's the thing for the global south, for India, for all these countries that have just gotten smartphones, they've risen with technology. This is something which is correlated with the greatest improvement in living standards of our experience. And that is just a completely different. You can't you can't teach that right. You can't inculcate that's just a different cultural based futures looking all the way up. We're coming back to our rightful place in the world is fundamental. And that is the basis for a completely different kind of culture.
And so I think that you can start the export of films, movies, culture that's based on technology, global technology, you know, to all the stuff that I talked about. And how would you do it? You were like, how do you make it not boring? Because movies all require conflict is going to be some Pollyanna thing. And so there's actually an interesting flip you can get with a dystopian movie. The key trick is it's like being a Terminator.
The present is all ideally Carowinds gambling through the fields and so on. Right. And then this crazy scientists invent some horrible new Terminator and messes it all up and now the future is worse. This is a premise is that the president was fine and this tech guy, Tech Bromet the future Miles Dyson in turmoil. But it's easy to actually invert that when the inversion is present. That is dystopian. It's a prison where we're all wearing masks in the prison where the power is going out.
It's a present where random fires rage and cold snaps hit the middle of nowhere and politics is functional. Oh, this is really fictional storytelling right to the present. That's dystopian. And there's a small group that might be able to carve out a better future. But they just invented, for example, a better foreign nuclear power. But they're getting hemmed in by these power hungry regulators and these NGOs that just hate nuclear power and press that's just trying to press them for clicks.
And these guys need to figure it out and actually build something better. And so you just invert a lot of the troops. You're still fighting the power, but you're actually fighting the power that is technologically concerned. And you have a group of technology progressives now, that's what I just described, actually has a lot of move to it because that's actually reality. That is, every single strong founder has to go through what I just described once in a while, you see a Hollywood depiction of this house of cards and Netflix in its first season actually depicted an evil angle, like a water thing is like some water charity that was just like a scam for the it was the future president's wife running this thing.
It depicted evil journalists. The original Ghostbusters depict an evil regulator. So did Dallas Buyers Club, depicted evil regulators. So there are snatches where evil journalists, evil regulators, evil NGOs are depicted. But it's like one to ten thousand one hundred thousand are normally it's like the evil corporation evil military aspect are. Those are the mental models that people saw, things that if you have media that inverts, that if you have media, that that is the pattern recognizer and doesn't have to feature films.
It can be short video games, it can be clips and so on. That's actually upstream of driving technological progress because it shows the technology is going to be it still has conflict as much as the dystopian. And see, you can just take all these plots, adapt them straight from the history of a thousand different tech companies, start ups, and then going backwards further in time. Robert Goddard had to fight in Mitko on Rockets. And, you know, that story basically said that it was a total joke, that what he was doing was basically being technologically conservative.
FRAPH to innovators had to fight this. And those stories are on the shelf that we can just take off and make into things. All right. Let me. Pusser. Well, I'm just going to say dark horses in cryptocurrency in Ohmy. This episode is going to take my team a hundred years. Maybe I'll need a thousand Indians to help us with this to do the show notes. I'm just imagining linking to everything that that we that we are using the royal we hear that you have discussed so far.
So I think this makes a lot of sense, in part because my headset is running out of battery in my bloodstream, is running out of glucose.
I think this is probably a good chapter one for folks. But is there is there anything that you would like to say if you're open to to closing now or close to it? Are there any closing comments or questions or requests of my audience that that you would like to make sure go sign up at one seven to nine. Dotcom is free and you'll get a chapter of my book. And you also need to get some crypto tests if you like. This is a lot more of it and it's all better organized and writing.
Tim has been a very gracious host in a lot of fun. And, you know, I think all these ideas are laid out at greater length in the book and on the tests on the website. It's all very wonderful. And people can find you on Twitter at biologist's website, biologist's dot com. For everybody listening, my team will make a best effort to link to everything that we have discussed. It is going to be it is going to be an incredibly voluminous version of show notes.
And Baloji, thank you so much for taking the time. This is going to have to be the episode of everything. There are many titles that are vying for the final version of what we will call this episode. It'll be very, very challenging, but I'm looking forward to it as a challenge. But thank you for taking the time. This has been great. We've covered a lot of ground. Awesome. Thank you.
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