Video - Andreas Antonopoulos on air at Decentral Toronto
Andreas Antonopoulos is a public speaker, author, coder, entrepreneur, and one of the most prominent and well-respected figures in bitcoin. Of special note he recently appeared in front of the Canadian Senate and gave an exceptionally articulate and knowledgeable speech advocating for Canadian legislators "to resist the temptation to apply centralized solutions to this decentralized network," and instead look into adopting decentralized regulatory tools like decentralized audits and algorithmic proof-of-reserves.
Male: Looks great.
Antonopoulos: All right.
Male: Andreas. Welcome back to the Decentral.
Antonopoulos: Thank you, so much, Anthony. It's always a pleasure I -- I see you've packed the place.
Male: We have -- I think our business wants it, we moved upstairs to do our meetings up here but not as *00:00:18 a very first point I think that we had -- we had a 130 people.
Antonopoulos: Yeah, that's probably true.
Male: So, welcome everyone, everybody for coming out tonight. As you can see it's packed and we have limited space, in the future if everybody can make sure they do sign up on **0:00:33.1 Bitcoin meetup. You can register there, it's free. Just ask if you needed help to set everything up. Tonight, we have a very special guest, Andres Antonopoulos. Andres came up to Toronto -- sorry, came up to Canada recently and spoken from the Senate and it was one of the most unbelievable things that I've ever seen, I think I've told him this. He's got the ability, I believe, to all single -- singlehandedly, do we get up in Canada really change the minds of a lot of the regulators and a lot of the government bodies that don't understand Bitcoin, don't understand what it's impact would be and yes, it's a perfect allocate way of -- you know, letting -- letting everybody know that the technology is much more important than any negative aspects of *00:01:15 of the Bitcoin space. I want to welcome him here and I *0:01:21.3 this a little differently by hopefully opening the questions to people earlier than we used to do so, think about any questions you might have for Andreas. So we're going to make this much more open than just asking him the questions. I get a chance to speak with him every once in a while. So if you do have something you want to ask, we're going to go person by person ask him but I do a few questions to start off. Andreas, how are your approach to come up to Canada? How did -- how was that arranged and who reached out to you come up and speak at the senate?
Antonopoulos: Well, first of all, let me start by just expressing my thanks to -- to you, Anthony and also Ethan and Michael and many other people in the Toronto Bitcoin Decentral Organization who helped make this happen. I really appreciate the opportunity to meet with, well, this fantastic crowds that I see today and thank you again for hosting me, I really appreciate it. So the way things came about I have a form on my website for people to invite me to conferences. I -- I found halfway through last year that I was getting completely overwhelmed by invitation. So I started a robot forum system where I can get a bit organized in my email tags and one day out of the blue I got an email from the clerk of the Senate Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce of Canada and she said that they had heard my name, some other witnesses had mentioned my name and that they would like to invite me to come and testify in front of the Senate Committee. By the way if you haven't noticed the acronym of the Senate Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce is BTC, it was meant to be. So I said, yeah, let me -- let me think about it and I went to look at the previous committee hearings and I saw that they had a rather open-minded approach to this and were not kind of scapegoating the Bitcoin community and I thought that it might be valuable so I went out on Twitter and I said hey everyone, do you think I should go on and speak to the Canadian Senate and then the response was overwhelmingly positive and, you know, I felt that the -- you know, people from Canada should have an opportunity to give me some feedback, you know. If everybody said, no, God no, don't go there, I would have stayed at home and but the -- the response was overwhelmingly positive and I went and it turned out far better than I could ever expected.
Male: How much preparation did it take to go there? Did you -- were you aware any of the questions beforehand? I know that you had a letter that you sent to them earlier, which you showed me and asked for a brief input.
Male: Was there -- was there any preparation time, did you do anything upfront or was it completely of *0:04:37.2
Antonopoulos: Well, I -- I would say that the past two years of doing meetups and Q&A with audiences from every walk of life has been one continuous preparation for that and other things that I do in this space. None of the questions were really surprising and none of the questions were questions that I've never heard before. Many of them have come up again and again with a variety of audiences. I often speak to both community members in the Bitcoin community, complete newbies who've never used Bitcoin of all ages, of all backgrounds including, occasionally, bankers and -- and so I was -- I was prepared from that perspective. For this particular engagement, what I did was I first went and studied all of the transcripts of the previous hearings. I think they had ten hearings prior to the one I participated in and I looked at all of the transcripts and try to understand kind of the motivations and attitudes of the various senators and how they had interacted with previous witnesses, what they already had heard and what they knew and what they hadn't heard. They requested that I prepare a statement, an opening statement that would be translated into French and provided to the Senators in advance. So I did that. In fact I find that I -- I find it very difficult to sit down and write these things because I second-guess myself. So what I did was I had a friend transcribed and type really fast while I just basically stood up in front of them and spoke to a virtual imaginary Senate in my head and delivered it as a ten minutes' speech if you like and then polished it up afterwards. I circulated it for comment, did a few revisions and then I sent it to the Senate. As far as the questions themselves, I was -- you know, I wasn't aware of those in advance so it was pretty much just batting them as they came at me and trying to remain positive and consistent in promoting a narrative of opportunity and growth and jobs and economic activity and the principles of freedom of expression and association. And in my mind at the time I had three audiences. My first audience, of course, was the Senators in the room but at the same time I knew that I was also speaking to their constituents who might be watching as well as all those interested in the space who wanted arguments for and against Bitcoin and the broader Bitcoin community. So I was mindful of trying to address all three audiences at the same time and maintain consistency in my message. One of the things that I tried to do is take the Senate at face value, assumes that their primary interest was to promote economic activity within Canada, protect their constituents from fraud and from risk and do the best job they could in order to do good things for Canadians and I address them as such as if that was their primary purpose, very honestly and directly but I think that was effective.
Male: Before I move on to the next topic, I'm going to open up for any questions they might have that Andreas and the Senate hearings in particular, that kind of gold digger topic by topic for the night, so if any of us got any question regarding his senate talk? Yes, William.
William: Are there any follow up since then?
Antonopoulos: No, I actually -- I haven't had any follow-ups although I have submitted my senate expense report, which I had to do in writing with original receipts and send by fax as they will send me back a paper check which I will deposit in an esteemed banking institution. It'll sit around for three to five business days. So it's -- it's somewhat ironic that the follow-up interaction I had with the Senate Committee, demonstrated every single aspect of Bitcoin superiority as a payment system. I wish they could have just paid me in Bitcoin for my expenses and be done with it but unfortunately it's going to take about a month before I get my -- my hotel room paid for.
Male: Anybody else about the Senate?
Male: Yes, one feedback I've heard from someone was that, you know, it was really good but you didn't really have a plan of what you -- what you want to do with Bitcoin? Because you really don't touch it but literally a vision for the future. So my question is where do you want to see Bitcoin in the future with the government, you know, just in general?
Antonopoulos: Well, I mean, I do have a plan and -- and the plan is that Bitcoin is going to progress as a technology, based on the desires decisions, choices and innovation of its users not of a government committee, not of a bunch of regulators, not just in Canada. Bitcoin exists above, beyond and outside of the scope of all of those constituents and it's something that belongs to the world and belongs to its users and so, therefore, I didn't see my job really -- I don't think I have authority to speak about how Bitcoin should progress in the future, that is a choice every single Bitcoin user will make and every single innovator and coder and business person, entrepreneur and inventor who comes along and make something happen with Bitcoin. It won't be the regulators to decide what Bitcoin does and I didn't really think it was my place to dictate anything other than listen, get out of the way we've got serious work to do.
Male: Anyone else?
Male: Yes -- yeah. So a lot of the current talks in the government and how you regulate Bitcoin but we can see that after a now costs a lot of the exchanger decided to do to *0:11:04.6 wish of basically no one told them they had to do, it's just something that they did to keep consumer confidence. So like that kind of self-regulation, like, where do you see self-regulation in Bitcoin community?
Antonopoulos: Well, I -- I would certainly like to see a lot more of it. I would have to say that proof of reserves to me is an inferior solution because it doesn't address the most important issue which is that of centralization of controllers or probable keys. Proof of reserves just proves that they currently have the money at the moment that that audit occurs but if they have control over that money that creates both opportunities for fraud and embezzlement as well as risk of theft and loss I -- I think that centralization is the problem and decentralization is the solution. Proof of reserves is just a band aid. Quite honestly I've only seen one or two exchanges applied at the moment and it doesn't address the core issue which is that if you want to maintain the security of your Bitcoin, you need to maintain the security of your keys. Your keys, your Bitcoin. Not your keys, not your Bitcoin.
Male: Anybody else on the Senate hearing?
Male: Yes -- yes. Hello, Andreas, I'm Paul I really like your -- your Bit wallet by the way.
Male: I actually bought a Bit wallet *0:12:41.6. Question, if the Senates actually follows along the route that the New York estate *00:12:52 license. Can you just comment on what your -- what your response, what's going to be or about how you feel about that?
Antonopoulos: Well, I think that the institutions that are subject to regulations and centralized institutions will find it very difficult to get involved and compete and innovate in the Bitcoin space within those jurisdictions. Ironically, the institutions that would mostly be affected by this regulation are the banks. If the bit license comes through as it is today it will severely hamper the ability of New York banks to engage in the Bitcoin space on the level playing field. Their hands will be tied behind their backs and as a result the innovative Bitcoin companies that will move elsewhere or start up elsewhere will continue unfazed and unaffected and the New York banks will instead find it very difficult to compete once they've been put into a regulatory straightjacket of centralized assumptions that do not fit this remodel. I think such choices really hurt the incumbent industry more than the innovators. If you turn off the internet in your country, the internet doesn't give a shit, you know and it will continue to exist, your country will suffer and the same thing applies to Bitcoin. If you turn off the opportunity for innovation in Bitcoin in your country Bitcoin will continue because Bitcoin is really extremely powerful technology, a technology that is a solution to a real problem and that offers the opportunity for economic inclusion and empowerment of billions of people around the world who desperately, desperately needs this technology and they will move ahead and they would go on where the last, he likes it or not and they will look back at the era of centralized banking and simply bypass it just like they bypass landlines and went directly to cell-phones in many parts Africa. They are going to bypass bricks and *0:15:06.8 and centralized banking institutions. So Bitcoin is going to happen regardless. It's going to happen because it's needed. It's going to be hap -- it's going to happen because it's a powerful technology that solves real problems in the world and local regulations like that will only hamper the locals. In the end they will affect the banks far more than anybody else in the Bitcoin space.
Male: Thank you.
Antonopoulos: Thank you.
Male: So next up *0:15:38.0 to your book, mastering Bitcoin.
Antonopoulos: Thank you.
Male: You've been working on it for quite a while, I believe, it's been released, it's not a pre-order right now. It's actually released, correct?
Antonopoulos: No, not yet. So the final draft went to the publisher final copy at it is done, it's in the last stages at the moment. It's going to get some proofing, it's going into production and design. The official date of delivery to stores at the moment, I believe, is December 27th. So deliveries are going to happen in January for most of the people who have placed pre-orders in the beginning of January for the people who bought it directly from me. Yeah and that book has been -- that started with a proposal I made to O'Reilly in June of 2013. It took far longer than I expected as any books does, it's not really finished. At some point I simply decided that I would put the rest of the goodies in the second edition and that's one of the big truths of writing a book is that no -- no author is ever finished. They just hit the deadline and then they have to, you know, curtail their ambitions. So I think it's a -- I'm very happy with the book. I think it's going to be a great resource in the Bitcoin space and it's been a labour of love and -- and the labour of hate at times and it's finally done. So, yeah, hopefully people will enjoy it. As I mentioned in the early days one of the things I did when I propose this to O'Reilly and one of the reasons I picked O'Reilly media for this book is because I asked them to do this as an open source project. The book has been available open source on GitHub, the entire progress of writing the book was community driven and transparent and people can download, read the book in its draft form for free and that was a big part of my motivation was to get our resource out there that people could use and reuse and share, like, and make available to the community. So hopefully, this is not just for those who can afford the book but also for, you know, many people who can't afford to buy the book but instead need the information in it.
Male: What are you expecting people to get out of this book, is it a Bitcoin 101 guide? Is it more philosophical what -- what are you hoping that person gets through this book realize *0:18:22.0 what do you -- who are your looking target as?
Antonopoulos: So the primary target for this book, the primary audience, developers. This is a technical book. It is a deep dive into the fundamental technologies that make Bitcoin work and it explains every aspect of how Bitcoin works, soup to nuts, nuts and bolts and every aspect of it. Now, the first two chapters provide an overview of Bitcoin that is accessible for any audience, any technically minded audience who read it and I think, you know, people who are investing in Bitcoin or starting businesses in Bitcoin can benefit from reading this book and -- and use it to understand how Bitcoin works deep down. What are those terms and how the little intricate details interact to made Bitcoin work in the big steam. But at the end of the day, it's a book for developers. It's -- it's about writing code, it's about building systems, understanding how decentralized digital cryptocurrencies work.
Male: I think it's excellent that you're targeting developers. I was asked last week what can we do to get more developers in the space. It's definitely one of them off the bottlenecks right now. What would -- how would you answer that? How do we get developers interested in the space? They need to be philosophically, like, drawn to Bitcoin. Is it -- there's potential markets for expansion, how do we get -- get developers into Bitcoin?
Antonopoulos: I don't think we're going to have any problem getting developers into Bitcoin. I think very soon the problem is going to be how do we keep from getting completely overwhelmed by the absolute flood of developers who are going to smell jobs, the one motivator, that doesn't exist in other parts of the economy and they're going to see that this space is actually generating jobs and that's a very important characteristic. Our industry, at the moment, is doing something that very few other industries in the world are doing. It's generating economic opportunity. It's got a real innovation and it's got real jobs being generated every single day both in the US and Canada and many other places around the world. Learning how to program and mastering digital currencies like Bitcoin will be a skill as essential as knowing how to develop an iOS app was eight years ago or knowing how to develop HTML 15 years ago. These skills will be skills that young people can use to build an entire career and to give themselves tremendous opportunity. When -- when I think about investment in Bitcoin, that's what I think about. I think about investing in the skills that would give you a career and the opportunity in your future, the skills to understand and develop software, architectures, networking and all of the other skills that come with working in this space and so I don't think we'll have problems attracting developers, the problem would be to scale the institutions and infrastructures to deliver knowledge to developers. So I'm very excited about the various educational opportunities. I know you, Anthony, are involved in several of those. I'm very excited by initiatives such as the C4 initiative you are doing which is a certification initiative to certify Bitcoin professionals, which is important to do a basic gaze of someone's skills when you're hiring in this space but can develop into much more in terms of guided education programs, professional certification, and in the future continuous educational opportunities, continuous learning as exists in many professional fields. I think all of those are important. I'm also involved in teaching a massively open online course for the University of Nicosia for their master's degree on digital currencies and I'm going to be involved in a number of other educational initiatives. My hope for a book mastering Bitcoin is that I can help make the various, other components, to go with the book like that to build curriculum so that undergraduate course is in business finance, economics, computer science, entrepreneurial activities and things like that can benefit from this and use it as a textbook in undergraduate and postgraduate education and -- and perhaps even high school education. So I think that's really the challenge. We're going to need to train tens of thousands of people just to fill the jobs that many amazing entrepreneurs are already creating in this space.
Male: So -- so you feel that I guess, right now, I'm seeing a little slowly developing site *0:23:33.8 can be used in the future. I think the book that you have others be a great tool. I would direct people to see for it and they're certified Bitcoin expert program which they are going to be launching, I think, sometimes and Michael can you speak a little bit about that. This is *0:23:52.2 developer target -- target here. How was that progressing?
Michael: So the *0:23:57.8 expert essentially developed, here he's the -- the chair of that -- that committee developing that expert exam and last *0:24:07.0 I heard from Josh was he had just finished reading, Andreas, your book and it seem like a very good fit for a text book for the CBX exam. That's still on track for being release this winter. It might not -- might not be released by the end of this calendar year but definitely by the end of the -- this winter.
Antonopoulos: Yeah, so Anthony, you know the thing about this is obviously, I think, we have hundreds, if not thousands, of developers who have entered this space in 2013 and 2014 but at the same time all of these start-ups that you've incubated at the central or others have incubated in places like the Plug-and-Play Tech Center and you know many places around the world where there is so much investment at the momentary start-ups. They're absorbing these developers so fast. Most of the Bitcoin businesses that I know of the ones that have reached their first level of funding and have released successful products are hiring like crazy and not just developers but across the board, experts in design and marketing and operations, infrastructure data centres, networking communications, you know, the full gamut of professional skills that are required in a start-up in this exciting space. So you know, there's a lot of developers coming into the field but there's also a lot of jobs where these developers are being snapped up by start-ups. I did a jobs fair in the summer in -- in Sunnyvale and there were 30 or 40 companies with open hiring positions and hundreds of young developers who came there to see about job opportunities. I think in 2015, we're going to see across the board in Bitcoin very, very active job fairs and other employment related activities in order to absorb all of the developers into positions where they can add to this incredible wave of innovation. Most people don't realize just how many start-ups there are in the space that are now doing innovation in hundreds of related fields from the very basic and obvious things like exchanges in wallets and out to very innovative and out of the box types of activities from the sharing economy to the internet of things to smart contracts and smart property and all kinds of things like that. You know this is a field that is developing very, very fast and part of the reason for that is really simple. In the last 50 years if you wanted to do innovation in the banking field you had to ask for permission by the incumbents and the incumbents answer was simple, no, you're not going to come in and spoil this nice little racket we have going on there is a reason no one started any financial innovation other than PayPal from their garage and that had nothing to do with whether there was demand for innovation and financial services. The most exciting thing that's happened in financial services in the last 50 years is credit cards and that technology is now 50 years old. Pretty much the rest of the innovation was how to rig and gain the markets with algorithmic trading and derivatives to enrich the few. You know there hasn't been innovation. This field of financial services has been stagnant. It hasn't served consumers, it hasn't served those who are underbanked to non-bank and for the first time in a very long time there's this now this new opportunity to innovate in the field where incumbents wouldn't allow innovation and essentially it's like all of this innovation was pent up behind a dam and that dam has now broken and you're seeing 50 years of pent up demands for innovation crashing like a wave in the Bitcoin space. I -- I think we haven't even seen the beginning of it yet it's going to be very -- very exciting over the next few years.
Male: Any questions on Andres, his book please pop up.
Male: Well, I just wanted to take it back to regulation a little bit, particularly, self-regulations. They're saying in *0:28:40.2 about the weight over principles and the ID cube which is a -- a gathering of top twenty Bitcoin companies. I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on that and this -- this free demand and need for a decentralized reputation system that, you know, the technical that *0:29:02.6 sort of I think another developer that can defend from civil attacks and other kinds of sort of cheats like twitter is fairly cheatable. So I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on your building reputation systems in the future of that -- that problem?
Antonopoulos: I think there's a tendency especially by engineers to assume that that ancient social constructs like identity and reputation can be tied up in a 1*0:29:02.6 and put into a *0:29:32.8 mathematical framework and the truth is that humans don't work that way. I think engineering solutions to deep societal issues such as the issues of identity and reputation are not easy and, in fact, decentralized solutions to that are even harder. I -- my personal opinion is that people often confuse the concepts of identity and reputation and they tie the two together and, in fact, what we see is that humans are much more fluid and changeable. Your reputation in the past is not always a predictor of your behaviour in the future and your identity has very little to do with your future or even past actions. We try to simplify these things but those attempts are both misguided and ineffective in my mind. There's a reason why reputation and identity systems are not, if you like, clean and solid and mathematically robust and that's because humans and human relationships are not clean and solid and mathematically robust. We're chaotic species with chaotic behavioural time and so I think that there's a tendency to over simplify the very difficult issues that are out there and it's a very dangerous activity because if you try to straightjacket people into reputation and identity systems you often end up with -- with failure because you failed to account for key characteristics human behaviour. Here's one for example, humans forget and through forgetting they forgive and through forgiveness and forgetting they allow change and growth and modification of behaviour and redemption and rehabilitation and ID and reputation systems don't even consider that possibility instead they assumes that reputation and identity are relatively fixed over time and that good people are good and bad people are bad and not some kind of inherent aspect of their personality. I certainly don't believe that and I think that those systems are flawed. When they're centralized they go from flawed to terrifying totalitarian and socially destructive powers. So I'm not a big fan of identity systems. I think it's -- you can't scale those and create global infrastructures of identity. I think global infrastructures of identity are what George Orwell warned us against and they need to centralization of power control over people. I think what's more important is to look at how reputation works within a very small localized context of a small community and that's the only context it's ever worked in and that's the -- the only context we should be looking at. So I'm -- I'm very suspicious of these types of initiatives. I'm very cautious when it comes to trying to label, tag, and numbered people and I believe we should be very careful because the implications of actions like that have been shown throughout history to lead to very dark places.
Male: Hey, Andreas, coming back to the question with regards to bringing in new students or bringing in new developers into the community. I remember you mentioned that when you *0:33:26.9 Bitcoin it was for a couple of weeks that you actually went on a binge of learning?
Male: The reality is basically Bitcoin is a pretty steep learning curve and--
Male: -- *0:33:39.7 computer science major, a Bitcoin and from the time they understand the technology there's a substantial amount of learning curve and every single Bitcoin company which is hiring as to at least bring those developers up to speed.
Male: Any creative ideas of how to bring all those developers come down the learning curve apart from before they will be ready for our C4 certification, you know. The basic one, yes you can develop and you can probably answer the questions but if you're talking about a certification for a developer before they are able to do that there's a steep learning curve --
Male: -- and *0:34:17.0
Antonopoulos: Well, I -- I think it's even more steep than you -- than you hint out because part of the steep learning curve here is not just simply understanding decentralized currencies and digital currencies. It's about understanding some very fundamental things about the nature of money and the nature of economics that most of us really glossed over in our early life and until the introduction to Bitcoin a lot of the normative assumptions you make about currency in the nature of economics are false. There are simplifications and they don't really apply. Bitcoin exposes you to concepts that violate many of the fundamental principles of money that we understand from not just centuries but millennia of experience as a human species and so that's a really difficult thing to understand, you know, you are not just learning a new technology. You're also for example, being exposed to the concept of a completely decentralized security model and until 2008, there was no such thing as a decentralized security model, it was either secure or was decentralized and never the two shall meet in fact those realm of contrary concepts. The decentralized security model is counterintuitive, it is confusing and so it will take a lot of time before these things become easy to understand for a broad part of, you know, our society but -- but that's not a bad thing necessarily, at all it just means that the people who invest in these skills and take the take -- take the time and put in the effort to learn these skills have a significant advantage professionally for many -- many years. So you know a steep -- a steep curve that depends only on your own abilities and motivations is a great way to also see who's -- who's determined and committed and -- and capable of doing great things but yeah it is going to be hard. I think you're going to see gradually that digital currencies get absorbed into various educational environments. I would expect by this time next year almost all computer science degrees around the world should at least make a passing mention of distributed ledger technology and consensus mechanisms and within a few years you're going to start seeing specialized degrees in these technologies. We're creating completely new science and economics in computer science and finance would have never happened before. You know we're creating new fields, these are new sciences that haven't existed. Computational microeconomics, the ability to look at markets in real time, not in statistical aggregate and ex post facto but in real time with actual analytical data. That's never happened before. Computational macroeconomics being able to look at supply demand, inflation and deflation of a currency in real time, not ex post facto, not to a statistical approximation. That has never happened before. This is a new science. People are going to get their PhDs in this stuff. It's going to be a long journey. This is a transformational technology that's going to affect many fields in such a fundamental way that it's going to take a long time for people to absorb this.
Male: So just a close up on one of the lines I use but since you're the master of coming up with catchy phrase and one of the line I always use every single hour that you spent on Bitcoin technology but give you a competitive edge course, every single one of your peers. So every single persons *0:38:22.6 that's why I was asking *0:38:23.9 created waves of, Gavin called it bribing people into testing for --
Male: -- test cases, so that's like --
Antonopoulos: I -- I would agree with you. So just to wrap that up. As I mentioned before, the most important investments you could make in digital currencies and decentralized currencies, crypto currencies is a skills investment and that investment will -- will generate a significant return on investment for many years to come. It is not subject to the volatility of the currency. It is not subject to regulation. It is not dependent on a single currency. It is not dependent on single implementation of this technology, these skills are universally applicable. They're applicable beyond currencies. They are skills that will persist for decades and that will give you a competitive advantage in your workplace for decades and I consider that the best investment you can make in crypto currencies today.
Russel: Hi, Andreas, I have question about the, generally, about this centralization, tendency of BitTorrent sort of Bitcoin protocol and also more specifically about some of the work that I know the Ethereum guys would work hybrid sort of proof of state and proved of work solutions and what your thoughts are on those approaches to solve the civilization round or boards?
Antonopoulos: I think it's -- it's important not to engage in premature optimization and from an engineering perspective to taking a very pragmatic approach to solving the problems that Bitcoin has today and not the problems that we think Bitcoin might have tomorrow. At the moment there is no problem with mining centralization. Bitcoin is the most decentralized system of payments and currencies that exists in the world today and the centralization of mining that has occurred since the beginning of the currency pales in comparison to the centralization of every other financial system and payment that work out there and also is -- is really limited in that you don't see centralization that's harmful to the network because the incentives are well aligned. When that becomes a problem I think there are a number of solutions that could solve that problem and I think at that time people will start applying those solutions if and when it becomes necessary and until that time, you know, some of the developer call it bikeshedding you know the idea that you try to solve a problem before it's a problem, anticipating that it might become a problem in the future. As long as we don't make any major design compromises that leads to inexorable and problematic centralization I think that is a problem that can be solved later. I think we have bigger problems in Bitcoin today, things like, for example, the security of individual wallets. Things about user interface and user experience and design issues to make Bitcoin more accessible to non-technical audiences and easier to use and safer to use for everybody. I think those are the problems we should be focusing on. I don't like centralization but I don't think Bitcoin centralization is the issue we need to worry about. Let's get Bitcoin into as many hands as possible and we will massively decentralize the world's finances even if Bitcoin is more centralized than it is today. It is still far less centralized than everything else.
Michael: Sorry. *0:42:29.1
Antonopoulos: Okay, hello, sorry I've lost -- I've lost audio.
Michael: Can you hear me now? Is that better? Can you hear me now?
Antonopoulos: Yes, I can hear you now, Michael, go ahead.
Michael: To start with -- that dovetailing on -- on what you said about the centralization of mining, you're actually right that even with centralized mining pools of the Bitcoin system is still far more decentralized compared with what we are used to with -- with banks and everything else. Now, there's a trend happening with the centralization of mining more and more companies that are making miners that were available for people like us to run in our own homes, they're no longer selling to the end user and instead they're selling to --to institutionalized places. So there -- while there may not be a problem today, it's clear that there might be a problem tomorrow. Now, coupled with that the fact that the entire security of Bitcoin fails when there is a -- essential *0:43:29.4 minor or a -- a group of people who work together with their -- their mining pools, that risk of security for Bitcoin could be very disastrous in the future but you're right it hasn't happened yet. Now, on the side of that there's this new technology of side chains which currently hasn't been implemented but that is one way for value to be transferred out of the Bitcoin blockchain and to infuse the existing value into newer blockchains. Some people have said on forums that this may be a way for the Bitcoin rich to extricate their funds out of the Bitcoin blockchain and into a brand-new *0:44:10.3 that doesn't have these centralization risks with the *0:44:14.6 protocol. So side chains may be a way to -- for these early investors to exit with all -- with all their money I -- I guess my question is what are your thoughts on that theory and what are your thoughts on side chains in general and how that relates to the potential centralization of money in the near future?
Antonopoulos: All right. Thank you, Michael. So --
Michael: One second, can you first give your brief explanation of what side chains are? Just perhaps *0:44:44.3 side chains are, may be explained for us what you see them as.
Michael: And then you can *00:44:48 question?
Antonopoulos: I think the -- the simplest way to explain it is by reference to how Bitcoin currently works. So today the way Bitcoin works is that a transaction represents a transfer of ownership, a Bitcoin from one -- from one set of public/private key pair, so one part -- sorry, one key pair to another key pair and the way that works in Bitcoin is through a scripting system that imposes what's called as an encumbrance on the recipient's funds. So for example, if I send money to Michael what I'm saying is I'm going to put a script on this amount of Bitcoin and lock it in such a way that only someone who has the solution to this script can transfer that value further to someone else and the -- the encumbrance that I put on this is the ownership of the -- the key pair represented by Michael's address. So essentially, you're not transferring Bitcoin, what you're doing is you're unlocking a chunk and then you're relocking it with somebody else's keys in such a way -- or somebody else's padlock if you like, in such a way that only they can unlock it and then relock it with somebody else's padlock and keep moving down a chain of transactions. What side chains does is it allows you to lock an amount of Bitcoin but instead of locking it to a recipient you're locking it to another chain, so the Bitcoin is temporarily locked on the ledger and the agreement is that in the other chain that Bitcoin is transmuted into units of equivalent units of another -- of the other chain where it is unlocked. So locking or encumbering currency in one chain is the creation or issuance of currency in the other chain and then through a mechanism called a two-way peg, the newly issued currency can then be re-encumbered and moved back into the Bitcoin blockchain releasing the original Bitcoin. So you can basically move Bitcoin off the blockchain into another chain and then back again through an equivalence to another unit which is a two-way peg. Side chains, therefore, allow two very important used cases that have not existed today. One is essentially they operate as a completely decentralized exchange mechanism between all chained currencies or between all chains. So you would be able to move from one chain to another chain in a fashion that is completely decentralized without using an intermediary simply by signalling that move to the rest of the network and approving it in a transaction. This has significant implications for the viability of other chains because one of the big problems occurring in other chains today is that in order to bootstrap a chain to a level of security where it is impervious to consensus attacks you have to persuade people to mine that chain and achieve the network effect and that's being proven to be rather difficult. Side chains allow you to use Bitcoin as a reserve currency that backs other chains both in terms of its security and in terms of its value, which arguably security and value of Bitcoin are really the same thing and then use that as a reserve currency to back other things. The other very interesting capability that's enabled by this is having multiple different forms of Bitcoin. So you could have, for example, a main chain in Bitcoin and a beta chain or a development chain where you're testing new features and you could move Bitcoin from the main chain to the development chain, test out a new feature and then move it back which will release a lot of development innovation because at the moment it's very difficult to introduce change into the main Bitcoin chain because as some people have compared it -- it's -- it's like trying to do engine maintenance on a Boeing 747 in flight. So you want to be very careful that whatever you're doing to that engine doesn't crash the plane. Bitcoin being a production financial network with some five billion dollars of economic capacity on it, it's -- it's something that has to be approached very conservatively. Side chains allow you to -- to essentially branch development into multiple chains and that -- that can be very exciting thing. I think side chains are going to accelerate the development of a number of different chains, for example, for specialized purposes like micro transactions or perhaps large transactions, transactions that verify in different times or even chains that have a completely different proof of work systems. Creating a decentralized exchange between chains also opens up a lot of possibilities where before you had friction it's -- it's currently difficult to exchange, for example, from Bitcoin to Litecoin. It's a thousand times easier than it is to exchange between dollars and Euros in most countries but still if you want to exchange between Bitcoin and Litecoin, you have to go through a centralized exchange facilitator who acts as a market maker or the book keeper and -- and trusted intermediary and third party and that centralization has its own inherent risks. You have to -- for a time deposit that Bitcoin off the block chain and then get Litecoin off their blockchain and during that time things can happen, your wallets can get hacked, you've got centralization issues. Well side chains for the first time allow you to do that in a very, very lightweight seamless, efficient and frictionless way. So I think side chains are a fantastic demonstration of the fact that Bitcoin today is not the same as Bitcoin two years ago and it's certainly not the same as Bitcoin 5 years ago. It's ironic to me and amusing at times to watch the regulators struggle to wrap their heads around Bitcoin as it was in 2008 and just when they think they've got it, you tell them that there is other cryptocurrencies and they have to start all over again and then just when they think they've got it you could just throw some ethereum and some side chains in there and boggle their mind all over again. We've moved a hell of a distance in five years in terms of innovation and even for the people who are immersed in this industry, the rate of change and innovation is absolutely staggering and -- and that always gives me hope I think side chains are very exciting development, yet to see how it's going to play out but it's all good, it's all great.
Michael: So *00:52:37 that -- that was a very good dodge -- I guess description of side chains. I want to get back to my question though because it's -- it's no secret that you have a great way of explaining things and your opinions on a lot of these types of topics are fascinating to all of us in the room. So since I change our way of moving value off of Bitcoin into another chain I would *00:53:01 temporarily if it's a one-way peg or back and forth if it's a two-way pay. Now with the potential risk of centralized mining and the potential risk that tomorrow there may be so much centralization and institutionalization of hush power that the various security of Bitcoin itself becomes threatened because there's no longer a distributed group of people who are mining it but there's now one or a very select few people who are securing the chain in a scenario like that with Bitcoin security being risk, the value would be at risk as well. So people may wish to get rid of Bitcoin in advance of the rush. Now, some people have a lead that side chains, this technology which allows very frictionless transfer between chains may be a way for people to sort of get off the Bitcoin boat while it's sinking and quickly get into another cryptocurrency that doesn't have the same inherent risks that Bitcoin have faced with centralization. What are your comments on that scenario and I guess that theory that some people have been talking about?
Antonopoulos: Well, I'll take it even further I think that side chains enhance decentralization, decentralization and mining decentralization in chains and decentralization and exchanges between chains and what that does is it gives individuals choice more so even than a relief valve or an opportunity to exit the currency, the very existence of a frictionless and liquid market in which you can exit the currency at any time will dramatically change the conditions and dynamics of centralization itself, you know, part of the -- if you have the ability to exit the currency you don't arrive at a moment of crisis and hostage-taking in a centralized chain because everybody knows that everybody can leave at any time and that promotes honesty and decentralization and creates the right alignment of incentives with activities. So I think even more so than creating the circumstances for less centralization and discouraging centralization, the very existence of a relief valve changes the dynamic in such a way that you may never even have to worry about arriving at that moment of crisis with centralization because everybody knows that that will lead to an exit if there is an exit, you know, the people in the room behave a bit better if you see what I mean and so just like you can't devalue your Argentinean Peso by printing as much as you like if you know people have a choice and it's only when you can keep them hostage that you can take them all down with the boat as it's sinking. The very existence of choice changes the behaviour of the people in the system. So I think it's a great development. The fact, you know, to me one of the most important tasks is this, is this solution centralized or decentralized? Does it increase centralization or does it increase decentralization and if it increases decentralization, if it empowers individuals, if it increases choice on an individual level then it creates a more fluid and efficient market and more fluid and efficient markets are stronger, more resilient and less fragile markets and will survive greater turbulence than centralized hostage-taking markets where people don't have choices those tend to be -- to end in catastrophic crisis precisely because there are no relief valves. So thank you, that was a great question.
William: Hi, Andreas, William here. I want us to talk a little bit about growth of Bitcoin not in the price sense but the user growth and the usage growth. So what do you think are the growth leavers that you're looking for in the coming months that we have to overcome and what are the challenges and is it going to be like a linear growth because right now the linear growth is not -- is not that that great or is it? Is there going to be some kind of tipping point, a moment where we're going to see a lot of growth by the general observation not by people like us here that most of us have used Bitcoin regularly and will that growth happen in the Western world or than in the less developed world?
Antonopoulos: I'll start with the last part of that question because I think it hinges very much on that. It's very difficult to explain to an American why Bitcoin will offer a better shopping experience over visa and if you try to do that then you will have a hard time explaining it and the reason you'll have a hard time explaining it is because quite honestly visa works fine for buying Starbucks coffee and if that's what you think an economy is then really Bitcoin isn't a massive improvement on that, in fact, given the maturity of the technology, the level of technical expertise in the complexity of the technology, arguably Bitcoin is an inferior solution for shopping in developed world. I don't think Bitcoin is about shopping in the West. Bitcoin is about everything else, everywhere else and so to me the question is what are you using Bitcoin for? What can it enable? I'm most interested in the applications of Bitcoin in places which are currently not served by the existing financial system in those corridors where due to cost, politics, access and infrastructure financial services themselves are very -- very poor and the populations are underserved. Now, it's going to take time before Bitcoin can start serving those communities and the reason for that is that Bitcoin is still too cloogy, too technical, too complex and it requires some pretty heavy lifting in terms of infrastructure but two things are happening, Bitcoin is getting easier, more secure and more nimble and at the same time the level of technology around the world is increasing. So you have the combination of two forces, Bitcoin becoming more easy to use, for example, via text message and on lightweight nodes at the same time as an android phone plummeting in cost to under twenty five dollars per unit and being deployed broadly everywhere in the world. You know you drop a billion android phones in Southeast Asia which can each become a Bloomberg terminal, a Western Union terminal, a banking terminal, a lending terminal, a mortgage terminal and all, and suddenly you have the ability to bring a financial -- revolutionary financial services to these areas just like they received revolutionary communication services through the advent of cellular telephony. So I think that's where we should keep our eye firmly on the areas where Bitcoin can serve those who are served the least, where financial services today are too expensive, are too limited in scope, are accessible by very few people who are very privileged and focus on how we can use Bitcoin to lower the cost, the friction, increase access and make it universal and ubiquitous and those are the areas where we'll see growth. Now, once that happens I think you're going to see a series of tipping points. Technology very rarely develops in a linear fashion. I think what we're going to see is spurts of adoption. You're going to have precipitating events such as hyperinflation collapse in a specific country or the introduction of, you know, interfaces between mobile telephony and Bitcoin in the country that desperately needs them or new trade corridors or remittances corridors between countries and these will lead to sudden bursts of adoption in a form that looks a bit like punctuated equilibrium as -- as we say in -- in evolutionary terms that would be called punctuated equilibrium. So you'll have plateaus of adoption followed by steep exponential curves. The interesting thing about an exponential curve is that it looks horizontal until you hit the elbow and then it looks vertical and the transition is very sudden. Right up to the last moment you think you're writing a linear curve and then -- and then you know, whoop, straight up and it's a vertical curve and we see this in technology a lot that's the adoption pattern that happens especially with disruptive technologies. Keep in mind that this is going to happen even faster with Bitcoin because it's not just a disruptive technology but it's a disruptive technology that's also a currency which fuels its own financial development and so you get the -- these dynamic effects that amplify each other. I think people are going to be surprised. Some of these spikes are going to be quite strong and, you know, for me the only thing that's in the way of Bitcoin adoption is time. We just have to wait and let the process play out. This is still very early days where five years into the -- the invention, three years into a viable software product, less than two years into any form of significant economic activity and probably one year into the start-up culture. So you know, we're very -- very early stages of this technology and again I think the -- the main takeaway is going to be this, you are going to be surprised and shocked at how fast this technology will develop. Thank you.
Male: Yes, someone else who --
Female: I have a friend who has a small Bitcoin business and she's very concerned about Apple Pay. What do you think of Apply Pay?
Female: She is worried that Apple Pay will buy into Bitcoin.
Antonopoulos: I'm not concerned at all. I think Apple Pay is fantastic. I think Apple Pay is going to lead the way in familiarizing people with the concept of digital wallets and is going to pioneer and then fuel the deployment of critical infrastructure technologies like NFC and point-of-sale. Technologies that Bitcoin can use to deliver a far superior frictionless decentralized bank free experience without all of the legacy problems of the banking system. Apple Pay takes all of the legacy problems and then adds a layer of will you accept these terms and conditions from iTunes attitude to it and so, you know, after you've accepted the terms and conditions for the hundred fiftieth time and you're still in the middle of a battle of control between incumbents as we've already seen between currency and Apple Pay currency is the system that a lot of the retailers are trying to promote to do direct ACH from bank accounts in the US. Many of the pharmacies have now turned off NFC because they're -- they're getting into a turf war with Apple Pay. These are all representatives of the intermediaries of a system that is full of intermediaries trying to duke it out in a way that doesn't serve the consumer and the bottom line is that what Apple Pay does is it takes the same identity, heavy identity, laden insecure, fraud -- fraud sensitive terminal tokens and user tokens and simply changes the way you transmit them. That's all it does but it takes all of the same disadvantages of a pull based, debt-based, credit-based, identity laden infrastructure and just tweaks it a tiny bit. There's nothing revolutionary about Apple Pay. This isn't the iPhone of payment systems. You know this is the flip phone of payment systems. It's the same old with a slight twist. Bitcoin can take the very same technology and with consumers familiarized with this type of digital payments, it can introduce them to the benefits of a push based decentralized architecture, identity free, safe and much faster consumer friendly, consumer-centric payments network that is global, transnational and empowering from day one and when you juxtapose the closed proprietary network with the open -- open source people empowering network I don't have any doubt in my mind as to which wins. You know, there's a reason Android has eighty-four percent of the market and iOS has you know, sixteen percent of the market. There's a reason why open source systems are winning, there's a reason why the internet beat CompuServe. Apple is doing the CompuServe and AOL of payment systems. A walled garden with carefully manicured and curetted content of the very same old payment mechanisms and we're going to use the exact same infrastructure once people get familiar with it to deliver them the full blown real deal internet experience and when people got familiar with CompuServe, it helped them understand the power of email and then once they had that they wanted the real deal, they wanted the internet. They didn't want the walled garden. Furthermore, if you believe as I do, the Bitcoin is the engine that empowers a financial revolution of global economic inclusion that brings economic inclusion to the other six billion that delivers financial services to every corner of the world in a way that empowers billions of people. That's not going to happen on iPhones and iOS, that's going to happen on cheap-ass android devices and text messaging networks and that's going to happen on Bitcoin. Don't worry about Apple Pay. Apple Pay will help us get there faster.
Male: Hi Andreas, going back to what you said about bringing, you know, financial services that those are unbanked or banked up, there are thousands of money service businesses in North America and I'm wondering what you think of partnering with them to enable them to offer Bitcoin services?
Antonopoulos: I think what you're going to see is something that happens in many industries where you have a power-law distribution, a Pareto distribution which basically means that you have two or three very --very large incumbents who control the vast majority of the market and then you have a few hundred tiny, tiny players who play operate on the fringes and normally those players cannot compete with the existing incumbents. You have the big eight hundred pound gorillas, the Western Unions and the MoneyGrams and the JPMorgan Chases and all of those companies sitting in the centre and eating most the market but what you'll be surprised to find is, you already know, there are hundreds and around the world thousands of money service bureaus that serve very -- very particular constituencies that do remittances across very narrow corridors. You know not US to developing nations but East London to northern New Delhi corridors, that kind of thing, which are very specific to communities. Now, these -- these competitors cannot compete against the large incumbents unless they have a secret weapon, unless they have a technology that is disruptive that they can wield against the incumbents and disrupt the hell out of their business. And what you see in these types of circumstances is that the industry keeps this outwardly facing air of calm and certainty and dismissal and ridicule for this new little scrappy technology that's nipping at their heels and they pretend that you know just like the telecom companies the large phone companies were like well you know this little internet thing is just a bunch of nerds with ponytails and they're never going to deliver quality telephony and you know people want the quality and assurance that is developed, delivered by Ma Bell and 18T and we're not going to get scared by this inferior decentralized network that's nipping at our heels. Well, the first people who break from that herd are the smaller competitors who say well you know what I'm not beating you on funding, I'm not beating you on scale, I'm not beating you on operations, I'm not beating you on economic efficiency and I'm not beating you on economies of scale. So I'm going to just grab this little disruptive technology and, you know, compete with that and beat you over the head with it and they do. The first -- the first telecoms to break ranks and start building service providers and become is ISPs and take advantage of voice over IP where the tiny scrappy little telecoms and they got ridiculed and some of them are still around today and our behemoths worth billions of dollars but eventually even the big guys had to turn around and change their tune. I think you'll see that curve in technology happen again and again and as you said there are thousands of little money service bureaus that can use Bitcoin as a frictionless wire transfer system that connects corridors of opportunity in the remittances market and they can use that to very effectively compete against the incumbents and over time they're going to figure that out and then you're going to see a very different playing field. I think same thing is going to happen with small banks, you know, just the other -- maybe a month ago Citibank announced that it was pulling out of eleven countries in terms of consumer banking services. The big banks don't want to do checking and savings anymore. They don't want to do consumer banking, it's expensive and there's all this riffraff that comes into your offices every day and they have demands for customer service and respect and -- and -- and, you know, all kinds of things like that. Well, screw them we can get a trillion dollars from the Fed for doing nothing why should we serve those customers. So you know, the big banks have pulled out of consumer banking. Meanwhile there's thousands of consumer focused banks especially in the developing world who are serving communities who look at Bitcoin and they don't think, you know, this is a threat. They -- they see it as a way to expand services to communities that are underserved and they're going to start adopting Bitcoin too and filling in the gaps where consumer checking and savings are areas that the -- the big banks are frankly too big to care about anymore. So you know, you're seeing these really interesting dynamics. Bitcoin injects competition into markets that have been ossified and static for so long that by the time they figure out what's going on here they won't know what hit them.
Male: Hi, Andreas.
Male: My question is, there is a friendly talk in the media now that from people who don't seem to be complete *1:13:57.1 uninformed that somehow the Bitcoin, the technology is this great invention and somehow Bitcoin the currency is just asking *01:14:05 another word is coming from how it's developed and how do you respond to that?
Antonopoulos: I think part of it is really trying to its, how do I put this, it's conceding the obvious because we've gone through these stages where you know first they ignore us, then they laugh at us, then they fight us. We went through the stage where they ignored us, we went through the stage where they laughed at us and some people are not laughing anymore and some people looking at this and saying, you know, I hear what you're saying about this being you know, a worthless geeky obsession that has no value but I looked at this technology and it really is more than you say. So either you're lying or you really don't understand this. So in order to address that I think you're seeing a lot of people beginning to concede the point that blockchain technology is really a powerful fundamentally disruptive technology that's here to stay. That allows them then to turn around and focus on the much easier target of Bitcoin, the currency, as if it's a separate thing and attack that while at the same time conceding the point that may okay maybe there's something with this blockchain technology but this idea of sound monetary policy and fixed monetary supply, that's just crazy talk. I think a lot of people understand that part of the reason Bitcoin is successful is because of the currency and you can't easily separate the two. I hesitate to make predictions about Bitcoins future and certainly I have made that distinction too. I've said you know the blockchain technology is here to stay it's -- it's part of human knowledge, you cannot erase it from the history books. Bitcoin, the currency, I don't know and the reason I say I don't know is because it's an economic system and uncertainty is at the root of economic systems but I -- don't get me wrong with that. I think the possibility of Bitcoin still being around in a decade is higher than ninety-five percent. I think it is a very, very strong possibility because it has a highly dedicated community. I think people who easily concede the point of blockchain technology and dismiss Bitcoin are trying to both have the cake and eat it too and they don't understand that the two are very strongly correlated and feed on each other. The reason a blockchain technology would not work with a compromised unlimited issuance currency that people couldn't trust, a blockchain technology used to build US Fed coin would be a complete ridiculous failure because you cannot easily separate the principles behind the currency from the technology that makes it work and I think it's a mistake to try to separate those two. So what makes the blockchain amazing among other things is the Bitcoin currency that's traded on that blockchain and what makes Bitcoin amazing as a currency is the blockchain technology behind it and the two work very well together. If it was so easy to separate it then we would have seen some of the alt coins that present a completely different monetary recipe be much more successful than they are. I don't think network effect can account for the difference entirely. I think part of the appeal of Bitcoin as a system especially to people who are underserved by the current system is the idea of predictable diminishing supply and sound money theory and I think that is a great part of what has made Bitcoin so successful. So thank you, great question.
Male: I have wo more questions, Andreas. And if you have the time *1:18:15.4 we'll do one or two more with Mitchell over here and then one here *01:18:19.
Male: Great. Thanks. A quick question about changes to the network and then talking about Visa and Apple, how do you feel about Gavin's proposal of increasing the block size?
Antonopoulos: I think, you know, Gavin didn't just make a proposal to increase the block size, I mean, he's made a number of proposals to do a number of other things at the same time as increasing the block size. I think you have to take the overall optimization roadmap that Gavin proposed as a whole, you can't kind of separate and pick and choose because it -- it all makes much more sense if you look at it as a whole. Part of the disadvantage of increasing the block size is that at the moment transmission of blocks across the network introduces latency based on the size of the block and so there are some perverse incentives or not perverse but let's say misaligned incentives in terms of block size and winning the mining competition. Gavin has proposed a way of using invertible bloom filters to massively decrease the block propagation size across the network and to speed up synchronization of blocks in such a way that the block size is no longer a critical factor in winning the mining competition. So I think you have to look at the two together. Also I think you have to look at this in the context of creating a market based fee structure for transactions that will properly reflect the market dynamics of mining because at the moment while the fees are very small component of the overall reward for miners the way they're calculated and the lack of a market-based mechanism can create some strange incentives. So I -- I don't think -- I think that increasing the block size over time is something that is inevitable. I think that together with other measures to prune the block chain with prunable nodes as well as decreased propagation size and propagation time of blocks with invertible bloom filters as well as market-based fee -- fee structure all of these things working together will lead to a network that remains robust, remains secure, does not, you know, significantly increase the centralization of mining that continues to operates in a very highly decentralized fashion but is able to scale more and I don't really anticipate that these discussions will arrive at conclusion anytime soon and there are discussions that have been happening since the inception of Bitcoin. So, yeah, I think there's a healthy debate going on and I think there is going to be some more time to debate this issue before it arrives at some kind of conclusion. Quite honestly, if I have a disagreement with that idea then I have one and only one position to take and that is write some damn code and until I can do that and then and -- and unless I do that it's really not my place to say. I think there are far more skilled coders than me who are taking the opposite position Amir Ataki is one of them, for example, Peter Todd is one of them. So there is a very healthy debate among people who more importantly can present their positions not simply as opinions as I do but as working code and I think that's how open source projects should be managed. So I think it's a very healthy environment.
Connolly: Hi, my name's Ann Connolly. I wanted to touch a little bit on the comments you made about how Bitcoin can serve under -- underserved countries and countries with infrastructure issues. I work for a medical organization and we're accepting Bitcoin donations now, we work in Malawi, in Malawi they call it the internet is ranked 187th in the world and we pay fifteen thousand dollars a month for that quality internet. So, in a country where access to learning about Bitcoin, buying Bitcoin and making Bitcoin transactions is so fundamentally expensive for the population, I want to see or hear about your thoughts about how you see Bitcoin roll out being different, you know, in countries like that versus in Canada where, you know, the Internet is ubiquitous and it's kind of every man against the system where they are -- I wonder if it's going to be just taking the richest of the rich and making them richer?
Antonopoulos: Yeah, that's a great question and thank you. The -- I think you're going to see a convergence of factors. The first one is that quite honestly Bitcoin is not ready to serve Malawi, that's just a simple truth and that's partly because of the internet infrastructure in Malawi, it's partly because of the current state of Bitcoin. If -- in order to run Bitcoin, you need a twenty-three gigabytes size blockchain nodes with full bandwidth connectivity to download and maintain that block chain adds up to a Meg per block every ten minutes that's going to be economically prohibitive for the vast majority. And that means that Bitcoin is more likely to have an impact in countries where the infrastructure, a couple of fundamental factors in terms of infrastructure, economic and financial literacy as well as speaking English, quite honestly, make it a lot easier to adopt. So I expect countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, and Hong Kong, and India, and Pakistan, and you know, places where you have good enough infrastructure, inexpensive enough infrastructure and a numerate and literate population that can use these technologies. You're going to see a bigger impact for Bitcoin there. Now, that doesn't mean that we're not going to reach Malawi, it's just going to take a bit longer. So there's two ways to do this, first of all you're going to see, I think, a reduction in the technical requirements of Bitcoin over time. Already there are companies out there that allow a -- a single fully connected nodes potentially running on something as simple as an Android device to serve thousands or even tens of thousands of wallets over simple text messaging networks and so bringing a Bitcoin down to the feature phone Nokia 1000, SMS capability is critical in order to reach these underserved communities, you need to replicate the impatient model from Kenya, in order to achieve penetration with Bitcoin in these communities. At the same time, however, you've got to understand that part of the reason that the internet is underdeveloped compared to, for example, the cellular telephony and -- and text messaging network, I would guess, is far more developed than the data side of the network and the reason for that is because the cellular network has immediate economic applicability in the lives of these communities and can bring returns that make it worthwhile to make that investment both on a national level as well as on an local level. So, on a national level building cellular infrastructure to do text messaging on a local level buying a small solar panel and a Nokia 1000 phone in order to be connected with communications with, you know, broader communities. Now, imagine what happens when that same device and the ability to have data now brings a world of economic opportunity to your doorstep, suddenly there is a very -- very good reason to invest in that infrastructure to make data cheaper because there's economic incentive behind it. Until now data didn't have built-in economic incentives, network infrastructure for broad internet connectivity didn't have built in economic incentives. When you turn money into a content type then the networks that carry content are now money networks and when they're money networks, there's a reason to invest in them above and beyond the content. So I think you're going to see this feedback loop essentially where as Bitcoin becomes more successful in countries and it seemed that bringing data connectivity services brings with it economic development and opportunity then there's even more reason to make data cheaper and so these two forces converge very fast and you know within a decade I think you're going to see a meaningful impact of decentralized global currencies in places like Malawi but it's not going to happen there first. It's probably going to take quite a while. So I'm very hopeful but you've identified a key issue here we need to down tech Bitcoin at the same time as these communities uptake which they're doing anyway and as the two edges of that wedge get closer they start accelerating towards each other because the economic incentives start multiplying. So I -- I think in the long run you will see it in Malawi but it's going to come in an impasse a like model and it's going to take a few years.
Male: Okay, I -- I think that's about it for the evening. I want to finish off with one question for you. What is Andreas doing in the next six months? What is your focus on? You got your book done now you've -- you know, if you had a -- I think I did with the blockchain *1:28:33.2 working for *1:28:33.3 what are you planning to do for the next, next three to six months?
Antonopoulos: So I'm doing a number different things. First of all the -- the book is over which means it's now perfect time to start on the second edition. So literally the moment the book prints December -- the end of December, probably in early January, I'm going to start working on the second edition of the book as well as possibly a couple more books related to two initiatives that I'd like to look at. One is a companion book for teachers that is designed to provide goals, objectives and metrics for building curricula around that or any other text book for a digital currency. So how to help -- books that help a teacher build a course for digital currencies at the undergraduate and postgraduate level for universities and the second one will be a book that focuses on being a study guide for students as a companion book to mastering Bitcoin. So practical exercises, additional codes, snippets, knowledge tests, practice tests, etc. So what I really want to do is focus on promoting educational opportunities around digital currencies. I'm getting involved with a number of organizations that promote education, you know, certainly C4 and others are very interesting to me. I'm looking to see how I can contribute by participating, perhaps, in the boards of these organizations, I have a great relationship with CCN, with C4 and others and I'm looking to expand those relationships. Professionally, I'm going to continue to go and speak at conferences, seminars, meet ups, etc. I do charge money to speak at conferences but I do meet ups for free. I believe in doing free community events but for commercial conferences, that's part of my job so that's how I make -- make a living. And over the next year, I think I'm going to be doing a lot more work as a board level advisor for companies, already I've been contacted by a number of companies that are looking to engage me as a consultant and advisor to help them develop strategically and as start-ups and to understand how to approach this space or if they already have a product how to develop a great product for this community. So I'm looking forward to working with a number of the start-ups in this space to help them achieve success, write some more books, do some more talking and -- and see what-- what comes next.
Male: I want to thank you for joining us tonight, I want to thank Paul and Ethan for setting everything up. Andreas, we're going to talk -- perhaps I'll come down to Toronto sometime in January for a special night. Thanks for joining us tonight, Andreas, thank you so much for your time, thank you.
Antonopoulos: Thank you all so much for -- for coming and for being part of this amazing community and I really appreciate all your efforts and everybody's great questions. Have a wonderful evening, thank you. Bye-bye.