Here it is, the second difficult episode of The Dojo Nomad Show.
This week we are speaking to Jonathan Brown who is a Blockchain Entrepreneur, Digital Nomad and Anarchist. Its an interesting conversation, you should definitely check it out.
More episodes of The Nomad Show on our Youtube Channel.
I = Interviewer J= Jonathan
I: So, here we are. Episode two of the Dojo Nomad Show. And we’re with Jonathan Brown, Digital Nomad, Block-Chain Entrepreneur, Anarchist. So, is it too soon to have an anarchist on the, uh, Dojo Nomad Show? I suppose we’ll find out.
J: Well, thank you very much for having me on the show. It’s, it’s a great honour.
I: (laughter) It definitely is a great honour. Cool, so maybe we should start at the beginning, uh, maybe get a bit of background on you, where you’re from, what you do. All those kinds of things.
J: Okay, so. I’m, I’m originally from, from Northern Ireland, um, although when, uh, when I tell people that it’s generally within about three seconds they, they say you don’t sound like you’re from Northern Ireland.
J: But I, I left Northern Ireland when I was nineteen and I spent many years in, in Edinburgh. So, um, until I was actually (1:00) thirty I hadn’t, I hadn’t left the UK on, uh, a permanent basis.
J: But I’d always been, ah, I’d been, I’d been, I’d been fantasizing about the idea of, you know, going to, going to Thailand with my laptop, working online before there was even, like, this term of, of, of Digital Nomad.
J: But then, I would actually, you know, at the start of the day I would think I want to go to do this and then I would research it all and try to imagine what it would be like and then by the end of the day, I would be like, no, no. Let’s just, uh, let’s just stay here. Um, but then, uh, when=
I: =So, when was this? When were you thirty?
J: In two thousand and eleven?
I: Okay. So, a long time ago.
J: Yeah, six, six years, um, so actually I went to, to Denmark to work for a, a TV company. So, I was, I was very involved with the, the Drupal web development community. So, actually I went to the, to the Drupal Cons (2:00) all over the world. But only for a short t-, a short time. Then I would always come back to Edinburgh so, so going, going to Denmark was kind of my, my first time actually living outside the UK
I: Okay, and how long were you in Denmark?
J: Um, that was just for a few months. Although, I, I came back later, to, um, work for them again. So, after, after Denmark, I actually, I, I decided to go to Berlin.
J: Um, I knew nothing about it. Um, I just, I’d never been to Germany and Berlin was just a big mystery to me. I didn’t understand the, the Berlin Wall or, you know, how, how all of that came about. So, I just decided I will, I will go to Berlin and see what happens.
I: =And Germany is surprisingly cool. I hadn’t been to, like, we grow up in the UK and we’re taught it’s not cool. But you get there and it’s surprisingly cool.
J: Do you mean, uh, weather wise or trendy? (laughter) (3.00)
I: I mean, in, it’s a nice place to be.
J: Yeah, yeah. Well, so, actually I, I got there at the start of the winter.
I: Okay. /So, it was cold.
J: /And. Yeah, so, and everyone thought I was crazy but I had, uh, a great time, in, in Berlin, um, and it turned out it’s actually, it’s especially then, very good value for a, you know, a European capital. And then there was, uh, a really great scene there with, uh, a lot of young people. A lot of people from other countries, a big tech scene. So, I, I had a very nice time in, in Berlin.
I: And the weekend long techno parties, were they happening then?
J: Um, a, well, so I’m, I’m not really into EDM. So most, you know, most people, you know, they think of Berlin as being, like, this place to, you know, to go dancing all weekend. So, I was very aware of that. I would, you know, I would meet people on Friday and then I would meet them again on Sunday and they would tell me they’d just (4.00) been at, you know, the, the Berghain, like, all weekend. But that’s, ah, yeah, that’s, that’s not for me. I’m not really, uh, a clubber
I: Okay, so, what were you doing for income at that time?
J: So, I was very involved with, the, the Drupal community. Um, which, uh, you, you can make, uh, a pretty good living, as a, as a web developer.
J: So, working remotely in Berlin for, for various Drupal companies. Well, sometimes I would work freelance. Sometimes for one of the, the more established companies. Um, and then, I had my own kind of projects within the Drupal company I was working on. And also, you know, I really wanted to, kind of, um, build, build my own start-up. But I was just having to, to fund my lifestyle and just everything through Drupal Consultancy.
I: Okay, so you were making a living. You weren’t marketing yourself to the world. You were just embedded in the community and that was generating the work to, okay, cool. (5.00)
J: Yeah, yeah.
I: And you’ve got views on Drupal and that time that you invested building Drupal websites.
J: Yeah, um. So, whenever I first got interested in Drupal, um, it was really exciting because the, the web as a technology, it’s, uh, a great base for technology but you have to build so many things on top of it to actually get good functionality. And then, of course, there’s a lot of, a lot of developers that are recreating the same code that someone else has written to do the same thing. So, the, the whole idea with Drupal is just to have these reusable 47modules. So, any, any piece of functionality you would want on your website then that functionality would already exist. Um, so that’s, uh, that was a really great idea and it’s, uh, um, you know, to, you know, to the greater or lesser extent that did work but, um, (6.00) it actually, it has a lot, a lot of problems because then sometimes you just wanna just write some code to do something and then you’re kind of stuck in, in the framework.
I: Okay. So, Drupal then was trying to be what maybe WordPress is now.
J: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Um, so initially Drupal was it was targeted at, like, small websites. But these days it’s only the, the, the very biggest websites that would use Drupal. But, uh, the, the great thing about Drupal was, was the community. So, there was just so many great developers. So many events. So many conferences. Um, so I, I learned a lot from that. Even though I am no longer involved with, with the technology I’ve, I’ve taken on board a lot of what I learned from the community.
I: Okay. Community is a big thing now.
J: Um. Um-hm.
I: Okay, cool. So, you’re living in Germany?
J: Um-hm. (7.00)
I: Um, where does it go from there?
J: Okay. So, yeah, I, I did a few things. Um, so I actually went to Sierra Leone for a week to, uh, to live on an eco-village. So, that was with Tribewanted. So, I mean, a week wasn’t really long enough. But that was, that was a really great just to, you know, get as far away from civilisation as possible. Am, and actually, when, uh, there was one summer when I was living in Berlin that I was actually working for a company in, in Denmark. So, it was one summer every Sunday night I would fly from Berlin to Copenhagen and get the train to Elsinore and then I worked for TV2 for three days. Um, and then Wednesday I would fly back to Berlin.
J: So, I did that for, like, five weeks in a row. (laughter)
I: So, how long were you (8:00) in Berlin?
J: /So, in
I: /And how is your German?
J: Am, I, uh, well, I was, I was using the Duolingo application to learn German, but with, with that application I just end up getting good at the application. But I, I could order a kebab pretty well in German. But that was, that was about it. Um.
I: Okay. Is that not just ein Kebab?
J: Uh, yeah. Well I could ask for the various ingredients and that kind of thing, you know.
I: (laughter)Okay cool.
I: The trouble with Germany is that everyone speaks English.
J: Yeah, and also there’s a lot of Spanish speakers in Berlin as well. Because I think with the economy in Spain, a lot of, a lot of young people from Spain they went to Berlin to try to, try to earn a living.
I: Okay, cool. So, Berlin, Sierra Leone. Are you thinking I’m a nomad at this point? Are you thinking-
J: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, then I actually, well, because I actually was, uh, I was approaching the age limit for getting the, um, the, it’s like a working visa for Australia. (9:00) So, it was like my last opportunity.
J: So, I, I did that and I, I arranged a job with a, uh, a big Drupal company in Melbourne. Um, I flew to. Well, first of all I went to Thailand. So, for a couple of weeks I was, kind of, like a, digital nomad on, ah, on Koh Samui.
J: Um, then flew, flew to Melbourne and started working for this, this big company there. Um, which was great because I met a lot of people in Melbourne. A lot of travellers who, um, they, they were running out of money because you, you need the cash in somewhere like Melbourne. So, I was lucky I had arranged the job before I went there. But I was still, it was still difficult to find, you know stable accommodation. So, I was still, like, moving around from, various, you know, Airbnbs and that kind of thing. Um, but, Melbourne was uh, a really great, a really great experience, uh, very nice city. Um, and then I remember (10:00) I was, I, by this point I was, I had, uh, a room in uh, a room in an, an apartment and I was just browsing Twitter and I don’t know if I’d heard of it before but someone just tweeted about Bitcoin. Um
I: =And when is this?
J: So, I think this was probably like two thousand thirteen?
J: Um, and, I think, you know, in years previously, maybe in like two thousand and seven, two thousand and eight I was actively, like, looking for Bitcoin. I was doing a lot of research into, um, you know, internet payments that didn’t go through banks. And I, I couldn’t find it.
I: So, you were looking for Bitcoin before Bitcoin existed?
J: Yeah, yeah. But then, for whatever reason I, uh, I didn’t hear about it or I didn’t think about it until two thousand thirteen. And, so, I saw this tweet and then I’m like okay, this sounds interesting. And then I, I read about it and (11:00) I just think this is the, the craziest idea but it’s very interesting but I’m not entirely convinced.
J: Um, but then I, I, I read there’s actually a strong Bitcoin community in Berlin. So, I think, okay, well, ah, I’m getting kind of sick of Drupal so, maybe uh, um, I’m a bit sick of working for a big corporate company. So, I think, right, I’m just gonna go back to Berlin and participate in the, in the Bitcoin community there.
I: Wow. So, you read a Tweet and now you’re thinking career change.
J: Yeah, yeah. Um, it’s, yeah. It’s one of those moments you just, you, you know, you read the white paper. You read everything that’s happening and it’s like, this, this is what I’ve been waiting for, you know? So, I just jumped on that.
I: Wow. How long were you in Australia?
J: Uh, that was just about 5 months, actually.
J: Um, and then I, I actually, I spent one month travelling back to Berlin. (12:00)So, I flew to Fiji, Kiribati, Hawaii, uh, LA and then I went to Portland for the DrupalCon where I met another guy who was interested in Bitcoin. So, I had a good chat with him. Um, then, I went to New York. I think I, I went to the Bitcoin Centre in, in New York on, uh, Wall Street. Then, flew to Iceland, London and then back to Berlin. So, that was, uh, intense, an intense month. (laughter)
I: Sounds like an intense month, for sure. So, how did you get involved in Bitcoin in, where are we? Two thousand thirteen? So, you’re thinking, okay, I’m gonna make a career out of this. What, what’s the first step? What do you do?
J: Well, I, uh, I go back to Berlin. I got uh, an Airbnb. I connect my laptop and then I, I start, uh, running the Bitcoin full node software on my laptop. So, um, I think it took a few days to synchronise the whole blockchain (13:00).Um, and then I went to, uh, a Bitcoin meetup in, in Berlin. So, I, I bring my laptop and I meet a guy and, uh, I, I give him some euros and then he, he sends the Bitcoin onto my laptop. So, that was my first Bitcoin that I received.
I: So, you bought your first Bitcoin in cash.
J: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
I: Okay, and how much did you buy?
J: I can’t remember. It might have been, thirty euros? Something like that.
I: Thirty euros?
I: And the rate at the time was?
J: Oh, um, I mean, that was less than a hundred dollars. It might’ve even, maybe I bought, maybe I bought one Bitcoin. Yeah. (laughter)
I: For thirty euros?
J: Something like that, yeah.
I: Okay, cool. Nice time to get in the market then.
J: Yeah, yeah, yeah. (12:00) And then you go through this phase of, you’re obsessively checking the price and then I had, uh, an alarm application on my phone. So, one day I’m at a bar and the, the alarm goes off and the, you know, the price of Bitcoin is, dropped significantly. So, this is actually when the, the Silk Road was shut down. It actually made an alarm go off on my phone.
J: But, uh, it was, I never really used the Silk Roads. I only learned about it afterwards but, it, am, it seemed like actually there was a lot of really great political discussion happening on, on that platform before it was shut down.
I: Okay. And that interests you because, we’ll get on to the anarchist thing, will we? Um, maybe we should know now? When did you start identifying as an anarchist? Do you identify as an anarchist?
J: Yes, although, um, uh, you know, the, it’s a very broad term actually, and it has various connotations. So, I might, uh, um, more accurately describe myself as a voluntarist (15:00) which is like a subset of, of anarchy. So, the, the basic=
I: =Yeah, just so you know, the first time I ever head of anarchists in my life was, um, Rik off of the Young Ones was an anarchist, was he?
J: Um, I’m not sure. Probably.
I: I think he was, yeah.
J: (clears throat)Um, but the, the actual, like, the actual meaning of anarchy isn’t without rules. It, it means without rulers. Um, but I’m, I’m actually, I would classify myself more as a voluntarist. So, that’s uh, a specific type of, of anarchist, um. So, every, every major religion in the world actually teaches you same thing. You have this basic idea that you should, uh, do onto others as you would have them do onto you. So, that’s, uh, the basic idea with, with voluntarism but taken to the ultimate end. So, that’s what’s like the, the political ideal (16:00) and then you try to work out how to integrate that into every, every aspect of your life.
I: Yes. So, the dictionary definition of anarchist is a person who believes in or tries to bring about anarchy, synonym, synon-on-on, synonyms. Synonyms.
I: Synonyms. Thank you. Nihilist. Insurgent agitator. Sub, subversive. So, what we need to do actually, is look up the word anarchy ‘cus that’s that’s what you’re trying to bring about. Are you actively trying to bring about? Are you actively trying to bring about a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority?
J: Um, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t agree with that definition, um. I’m trying to bring about, uh, a state of order through lack of authority.
I: Okay. So, the second definition here is an absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual. Oh, not an absence of government and absolute freedom (17:00) but absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual regarded as a political ideal. Okay, so that’s cool. So, how did you get to believe in this?
J: Well, um, I’d been in, in Berlin for three years in total. I was getting a bit sick of the, the cold weather. I’d never been, like, a digital nomad in Asia, which is kind of like the, that’s kind of like the dream.
I: Okay, so now, where are we? Like, two thousand fifteen?
J: Um, yeah. Yeah, yeah. So, I actually, that, that summer, um, the, the Nomad List website went live.
J: And its number one recommendation was, was Chiang Mai. So, I, I flew to Bangkok and I went into the working space. I, I sat down at a table. I started talking to the guy next to me and that was Peter Levels., who actually is the creator of Nomad List. So, (18:00) I’d flown across the word because of this website and then I, uh, just bumped into the (laughter)the creator of the website.
I: Okay, and how, and now probably digital nomad legend.
J: Yeah. Yeah.
I: Um, so how was that?
J: That was great. I mean we, we hung out for a couple of weeks staying up all night either, uh, coding or partying. Um, at that time I was still actually, uh, I was still using Drupal but I was working on integrating Drupal with, with Bitcoin. So, I built a whole, uh, module for Drupal for adding Bitcoin payments. Um, then I went to Chiang Mai. So, I had three, three months in total in, in Thailand on, on the visa. So, after that I, I wondered where I should go next. So, I asked on the, I think on the Nomad List forum, like, where should be the next place and someone, someone said Saigon. So, I thought great I’ll, I’ll do that.
J: Flew, flew to Saigon (19:00) and, uh, well I went to the co-working space in Saigon, which was a very nice co-working space but my download rate was, uh, two k a second.
I: Okay, so back to like nineteen ninety-four.
J: Yeah. So, I was thinking maybe I came to the wrong country.
I: =Yeah, so if we can just go back, um, Peter, famously entrepreneurial, um, did he, did you share with him this plan to converge Bitcoin and Drupal?
J: Yeah. Yeah, ‘cus we were, um, we were talking about our, our projects. So, I would be showing him, uh, what I am working on and he would be adding features to, to Nomad List s, uh, we, we had a lot of good discussions about that.
I: Okay, cool.
I: Okay, so you go to Saigon, two k a second download speed. Obviously, that’s not gonna work.
J: Yeah. So, it, it turned out this was actually a temporary problem. (20:00)
J: And (laughter)it was, ah, it was a politician I think in Vietnam. He, he explained what the problem was. It was a shark. So, apparently a shark bit the cable. So, this, this became a meme in Vietnam.
J: So, anytime, uh, there’s like a national problem with bandwidth then, uh, everybody blames the shark. And then there’s actually, there was, uh, a news article at the time. It had an animated GIF of a shark biting an internet cable. So, that /kind of
J: that sealed that, that meme.
I: Is it conceivable that it was actually a shark that bit the cable?
J: I don’t know. I, I guess it’s more likely to be a, some kind of ship or something. /I don’t know.
I: /Potentially, yeah.
I: But what’s interesting about that is I don’t think, it took me a long time. I’d been here, like, eight or nine months before I realised that the internet, I feel like, because you think it’s instant wherever you are in the world. But if you’re a long, long way away from the servers (21:00) in Europe the, of course, it’s gonna take some time for that data to travel here. So, I had a site that was, um, hosted in Holland and was serving a market in New Zealand and I couldn’t work out why it was so slow. Literally. And I spoke to everyone. So, we think that the internet is instant, everywhere. But, if you’re a long way from, from where the data is then of course it’s not.
J: Yeah, I mean in, in Australia actually, you don’t always get the best, the best connectivity, um. In Australia and, and New Zealand just because of the, /you get
J: a lot of latency because it’s, it’s so far from, /from
J: a lot of other countries.
I: And, but they’ve got, they’ve got cables direct from the states to New Zealand and they’re very proud of that. But here on, in Indonesia also it’s an issue.
J: Yeah, yeah. I mean, now the internet in Vietnam is actually world class. It’s really really good. Um, where, I know here, at Dojo you’ve got, like, five internet connections to make sure= (22:00)
I: =It’s a hundred megabytes per second, yeah. So, I mean it’s amazing but you still, like, within Vietnam it’s amazing. But immediately you’re accessing servers in Europe, you’re gonna have a delay. And it’s not a heart-breaking, career-ending delay or anything. But, you know, it’s just kind of surprising when you experience it for eight or nine months you don’t realise what it is.
J: Yeah. And it also depends on the, the technology you’re using. So, if, uh, with Skype, for example. Originally Skype was a very decentralised technology.
J: Um, and then, it seems since, since Microsoft bought Skype and then they, they reworked the architecture and now it seems to be more centralised and it’s, it doesn’t work as well, you know?
I: Yeah, but I just think Microsoft are the antichrist.
J: Yeah, maybe. (laughter)
I: (laughter)Okay. So, either, yeah, let’s not get into that. Um, so, um, so you’re working at Saigon, the shark bites the cable. There’s a, a temporary, um, issue with how fast the internet is but then.
J: Yeah, it’s great. I had a lot, a lot of fun in Saigon. I think that’s the, the most fun city I’ve ever been in. Uh, just the growth in Vietnam is crazy. One of the fastest growing countries in the world. So, just to witness that, that change in front of you is, is incredible. Um, so, that was, that was probably the time when I, um, getting more interested in, in politics, and, um, kind of, uh, opening my mind to, to how, how things really work.
I: So, that’s interesting because am, Vietnam, like, one of only six now communist countries, so it’s really interesting to be there and to experience communism is what I thought. But then what I th-, what I, then when I started speaking the local people the effect that that has is they just don’t, (24:00) even have any interest in politics at all. Like, they can’t affect it, so it’s kind of, like, a non-thing in their lives. But you got there and you started thinking, was that driven by the fact that you were in a different kind of a state, or?
J: Um, I think, well I stopped watching Western media or, /or
J: or any sort of mainstream media, uh, yeah, I got sick of it. So, I just, I stopped, I stopped watching the news. Um, and then, at that time on YouTube. O, it was very good at recommending various different conspiracy documentaries.
J: So, I was, I was watching a lot of these documentaries and, of course, you know, maybe, the vast majority of them are, uh, you know, don’t have much, much basis in, in reality. They are kind of ridiculous. But, I realised that there was, that, some of these independent journalists (25:00) were, uh, uh, really, like, really onto something. So, there’s this huge variety of, of topics that they were talking about. And they would provide information that was different to the mainstream media. So, I, uh, I just, I, I, I began to realise there was so much more going on in the world than, uh, most, most people are aware of. Um, and so, I think, also, with, with Bitcoin it’s, it’s kind of the gateway drug because I had started, you know, I tried to understand the, the financial system before. And, you know, I was never really able to, like, to put it together. It didn’t make a lot of sense. And then, when I understood Bitcoin I then I would, uh, I was watching a lot of people talk about Bitcoin and Bitcoiners like to talk about, um, how the banking system works. Central banking (26:00) and fractional reserve lending, this sort of thing. So, it was only through, through Bitcoin that I began to understand, like, what money really is. Um, but that’s just one, one topic. You know, there’s, there’s so many others.
I: So, what is money, really?
J: Um, so one thing most people don’t realise is, um, ninety-five percent of, of new money is, is created through bank loans. So, if, if you get a loan for your business or house or car that, that money actually comes into existence at the point the bank lends it to you. Um, so they, they have the, they have the banking license, they have the authority to, to create money. Um, there are, um, there are some regulations about the leverage they are allowed to have. But what actually happens is, so you get your loan (27:00). So, let’s say you get a million-dollar loan for a house. And you actually, you know, you pay back the bank, you know maybe the best part of two million dollars and then you end up with, with your house. And you, you’ve, you’ve worked, you know, you’ve, uh, earned two million dollars to pay for that house but the bank is essentially getting that two million dollars for not doing very much. Um,
I: So, even when you’ve repaid the entire loan and you’ve paid a hundred percent interest on that, that loan. The bank then keep all of that money? They don’t have to put it back in to, like, the=
J: /Yeah, they, they, they don’t destroy the currency when you repay the loan. Um, and then, furthermore, whenever, you know whenever you buy something with your loan. Either the house or you spend money to start your business. Then, that money goes into another bank account. Uh, of the person you are buying your goods from (28:00). And then, that can then be leveraged, uh, for, for further loans. Um, so, the, the bankers are really able just to create a lot of money and lend that out, which, uh, that can be good for the ec-, good for the economy. It creates growth. But, uh, this is why the US dollar has lost, um, I think it’s like ninety five percent of its value in, in a hundred years.
J: Which, uh, I mean that’s, that’s bad in itself but it’s, it doesn’t tend to affect you too much necessarily because generally if you, um, if you have a lot of money you don’t keep it in dollars. You generally keep it in, invested in something else that, that will grow. But the problem is the bankers then they, they become what they term in encrypted currency space, we call them whales. So, it’s, I think there was a statistic released a couple of years ago about how a very small number of individuals on the planet, (29:00)they actually have fifty percent of the wealth. Um, so it’s actually through, uh, through wealth confiscation schemes like fractional reserve lending that a small number of people get to have the majority of, of the wealth.
I: Okay. So, just to go back a little bit and this is the way my mind works, so, I don’t know if I’m misinterp-, well, I am, this is what I’m thinking. So, you got into, um, Bitcoin. It’s like a crypto-currency and then you’re seeing that money is being generated rather than being attached to any kind of physical wealth. That gave you the insight to understand how the wider financial system works. This money is just generated out of the will of bankers and is that kind of what you’re saying?
J: Yeah, yeah. /So, that was
I: And then, from there they get to, kind of, supplicate and multiply and, and then it’s a vicious circle for us, going down. But it’s, uh, (30:00) what’s the opposite of a vicious circle?
J: Um, I don’t know.
I: I do know this, I’ll tell you when I get to it.
J: Okay. (laughter)
I: But a virtuous circle is what it is, yeah.
I: Okay, cool. So, and you’re thinking, this isn’t right.
J: Um, yeah. Um, I’m just, kind of, understanding how, uh, um, there is this term called, like, debt, debt slaveries. So, um, you know, some people who participate in society, they, uh, they don’t have the, they might, they might live in a democracy. They have freedom of speech but, um, you know, they can’t break out of, ah, a cycle of debt. They have student loans, they, they have a mortgage. You know, this, this can be disempowering. I think it was, um, only, only a few decades ago in, in the United States you could actually, (31:00) a single bread-winner in a family could earn enough money to, to buy a house and feed his family and, and send the kids to college. But that’s, that’s not really the case for the middle-class anymore. So, you really need two bread-winners. So, that’s, that’s just one interesting data point.
I: Yeah, and fifty percent of Americans apparently have less than a thousand dollars in their bank.
J: Yeah, yeah.
I: Which is insane. Cool. So, you’re having, like, an awakening. You, were you at all political before? Like, were you involved in?
J: Am, I mean, I would say, like, I was fairly left-leaning. Um, but, and, I, I was, yeah, I would watch a politician have an interview and I would find it exciting. You know, I liked, I liked trying to understand, uh, how, how the world works, Um, but I wasn’t, I wasn’t very political because I hadn’t really, like, (32:00) found a political ideology for myself that I really believed in.
I: And anarchism in that is an ideology?
J: Yeah, am, I mean, no one’s really worked out how to build, uh, civilisation based on what’s called the non-aggression principle. So, that’s the, the idea of not violating other people’s rights without their permission. Um, so, uh, yeah, once I was, um, thinking about that then could really move forward with my own political identity. And, and then I began to, um, so I don’t consider myself to be left-wing or, or right-wing.
I: That’s what I wanted to ask. So, for you is anarchism an extension of, like, socialism? So, is it on the left? Or is it an exten-, or is it, like, on the way to, like, totalitarianism?(33:00) Is it on the right? Like, libertarians would argue similar things but from a very, kind of, right-wing perspective. So, socialists might argue this as well so where for you, or is it nowhere on the scale?
J: So, there’s many, many different types of anarchists. So, you’ve got socialist anarchists, communist anarchists, um, you know, crypto anarchists. Um, anarcho-capitalists, all these different types of anarchists. And some, some anarchists they will identify with the, the left or the right, um, my, so my ideology is that, um, like, power corrupts always. There’s no, no exceptions to that. Um, and so, um, you have the, the term liberal, which, um, used to mean something different. You know, (34:00) liberal historically meant freedom. (34:00) Am, and then in Australia the, the right-wing people are called the Liberals because they want freedom through, uh, financial freedom and small governments. And then, uh, the Liberals in the United States they want, um, uh, with the government providing for them. But, uh, yeah, I, I think, in my mind if there’s any, if anyone has authority over you then that’s gonna create a problem. And power is like a, it’s like a lifeform of its own it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and power keeps getting more and more centralised.
I: Okay, okay. So, I understand. Um, well one of the biggest problems for me in, in like politics in, like, Western culture is that there is no, there is, like, in the states there’s probably the worst example. Like, the difference really between the Republicans and the Democrats is negligible. (35:00)There is no, barely no difference. I’m not particular familiar with, um, with Australia but in the UK now at least we have, um, Corbyn is putting up some semblance of, like, some kind of socialist kind of stuff. And it’s interesting because he’s being accepted and arguably, um, the conservatives might be going more to the right so there’s some kind of chasm. But it seems there’s not that much in the way of political choice. So, what’s interesting then to me is that people are becoming more partisan, they are more attached to their views. Whilst, like, say for example in the UK, like, you have people who are staunched Brexiters and you have people who are staunch remainers, um, I think that definitely what’s happening in the states are people are staunch Democrat or people are staunch Republican. Um, but there doesn’t, there isn’t actually very much difference in those two positions. So, it seems like it’s more important to be attached to one of those things or the other than it is to actually understand. (36:00)
J: Yeah, I mean in, in some ways there are a lot of differences especially in how you, how you live your day to day life. But, um, in terms of the, in terms of the direction of the nation, um, I think, it, it doesn’t make any difference whatsoever whether, you know, Donald Trump is elected or, or Hilary Clinton. Um, we’re going to war in Syria. We’ll probably go to war in Iran and that’s, that’s gonna happen regardless of who, who gets elected president.
I: So, what you’re suggesting is that there’s a kind of grand scheme behind the façade of politics.
I: There’s a miscreant’s mysterious hand.
J: Yeah. I think, um, like every, every politician pretty much is, is corrupt and has best interests.
J: And they are controlled by one means or another. Um, and then, uh, there’s very, very rich people, um, you know, try to control elections and try to influence who gets elected but ultimately either way, they get their will.
I: Yeah, so that’s something that I don’t really understand, I mean, I don’t think very differently from you necessarily but the only, the question that I have, and like I said to you recently, like, I’m sure all of the conspiracies like another channel that is, is used to distract us. So, um, all of these hours that tens and hundreds of thousands of people spend watching conspiracy theories on YouTube, I think it works quite well for whatever the elite looks like. But what I don’t understand is why if they are so all-powerful do they need to keep up the façade of democracy? Why do they even bother to hold? (38:00) Unless, of course, like, politics is just another channel to keep a level of person, kind of, you distracted. Yeah, I mean, compare the United States to a country like Vietnam where there’s, you know, it’s a single party. There’s not a lot of freedom of press, so, um, it’s, it’s much simpler. You know, they are empowered. They have the, the might.
J: Um, whereas in the United States you have your, your freedom of speech. So, that means, well, controlling the people is, is a lot harder because=
I: (laughter)=That’s exactly my point. So, my point is why, like, if the elites were smarter they just move to a communist model where like in Vietnam nobody has any interest at all in politics because they can’t have any influence on it at all so it’s kind of, like, a when I don’t have the experience that you have of Vietnam. The people I spoke to were just like why even bother? Why care?
J: Um, I think, (39:00)uh, Western-style, liberal democracy ends up being much more wealthy because, you know, the people actually feel like they’re real citizens and.
I: Except the growth in Vietnam is at, like, eight or nine percent and in the states, it’s like, one percent.
J: It is, although Vietnam is coming from a very low base.
J: But still recovering from war. Um, and there may be a limit to, um, to Vietnam’s growth. They may have to embrace, um, sort of, Western norms for, you know, international investment and that sort of thing.
I: Yeah. Yeah. IMF and those things. Okay, so that’s interesting. Right. So, let’s bring this kind of around a little bit if we can. So, you’re in Saigon. Um, you’re getting politicised. Or you’re starting to think, kind of, politically or, do you think of it politically or philosophically or? (40:00)
J: I wouldn’t say politically. I was becoming more aware of
I: /What goes on in the world.
J: /this whole world that is hidden but you can, you can see behind the, the curtains enough. You can see through the cracks and realise there’s, there’s something very different going on in the world to what, uh, to what we’re told.
I: Okay. And so, and that kind of comes ‘round to then what you’re doing for money which is thinking about Bitcoin thinking about Drupal. And so those two things, kind of, converge?
J: Yeah. So, around that time, um, Ethereum was, was switched on. So, I, I’d been learning about Ethereum, you know, back in Berlin. Um, and, so, in the run-up to Ethereum being launched I really became a convert to the, the platform. I was very excited about, about Ethereum. And at (41:00) that time we had, um, the uh, um, the problem with Bitcoin where the block size was being restricted to one megabyte. So, I actually, uh, I’d, I’d lost all interest in Bitcoin itself.
I: Were you invested in Bitcoin at this point? Did you have, uh, a significant amount of money there?
J: No. So, I, I generally would, uh, I would hold all kinds of different crypto currencies and I would, you know, try to speculate on, on the market and that kind of thing.
I: Day trading?
J: I, I tried it a little bit. But I found actually the best strategy is just to pick your winners and then just wait as long as possible.
I: Okay. I think that’s the conclusion that most people come to. Um, so are you making money from Bitcoin at this point? Is this an income? Or from crypto?
J: Um, yeah. So, even just, you know, especially at that time. If you knew anything about (42:00) Bitcoin then, you know, you can just charge people two hundred and fifty dollars an hour, you know, the demand was so great and I was, you know, one of the relatively few, few number of people in the world who actually understood the technology. You know, maybe it’s just like a few tens of thousands of people at that time.
I: Okay. So, this is what people have been telling me. Is that during the gold rush people who sold the pitches and the forks and the trailers that actually made the money rather than the guys who were, like, looking for crumbs of gold in streams and stuff.
J: Yeah, I mean it’s a good way to, uh, accumulate crypto currency. You can earn a lot of money through consulting. Um, although, I, I still wanted to do my own project. I generally don’t like working on other people’s projects.
J: Um, so then, Et- Ethereum was, was launched (43:00) uh, that, that summer and I’d, for some reason I’d been gradually thinking about how to build a decentralised Reddit for, um, for various reasons. I just, uh, I didn’t like that these platforms were controlled by, uh, a central, central company. Um, and were not flexible enough. So, I just wanted a web that was really programmable.
I: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. So, here’s a departure. So, you’re (laughter), here’s what’s going on. So, you’re living in Vietnam. You’re making s-, a little bit of money from, or making some money from consulting on Bitcoin. Ethereum is coming along and, then, for some reason you’re deciding, no, Reddit isn’t good enough. It’s, like, centralised or something’s going on.
J: Yeah, so I, I started researching how to build a decentralised Reddit and how=
I: =Okay. But the question is why? This doesn’t, that’s never occurred to me (44:00) for example that, okay, Reddit needs to be centralised.
J: Um, even at that time I was aware that this was, it didn’t make sense because as, as a developer you can’t just go into Reddit and innovate.
J: With the original idea of the web is, you know, you can, you’re just a developer and you can, you know, go crazy. That’s why we had the dot com boom. And now we’ve all moved to decentralised platforms where there’s, developers can’t, can’t go crazy and build on the platform. So, I find that frustrating. It just seemed like the wrong way to do it.
I: Okay, well I’m not a coder or a developer or anything like that. So, maybe I just look at these tools differently. I don’t think I don’t like this tool it needs to be rebuilt or it needs to be done differently. I’m like, I don’t like this tool I’m gonna have to put up with it for the rest of my life.
I: So, that was the case. You were spending a lot of time on Reddit, were you?
J: Um, yeah. Well, most pf the crypto currency discussion was happening on Reddit. (45:00) And then, this, this also ties in to the, uh, the Bitcoin block size debate. Because there was, uh, um, I mean, originally, um, the idea was the Bitcoin block should, uh, just be able to grow and grow. Uh, that was the original idea of, of Bitcoin and Satoshi even, he, uh, explained how to increase the block size. And so, everyone’s assumption was just well, yeah, we’re gonna make the block size bigger. And then, weirdly, some people were like maybe let’s not do that. And, I’m like, what? What are you talking about? That’s, that’s madness. Um, and then it seems that these people were actually, um, uh, had a lot of resources. And were, and were controlling the Bitcoin subreddits and the Bitcoin talk forum. (46:00) And, so, eventually, it, it became that if, uh, if you wanted to, ah, you know, talk reason and explain why this is a terrible idea, um, you would be, uh, you would be censored form the Bitcoin subreddit. Um, and then, this lead to the BTC subreddit being created. Um, and so, you know, for me, I just, I realised that this is, uh, this is a technology problem. So, a better solution would be if ev-, if everyone could actually just choose their filter bubble. Choose their moderation team instead of having to create an entirely subreddit that has to start from scratch.
I: Okay, so now I get it. So, well, so, two things. So, firstly, um, scarcity creates wealth, maybe. So, I don’t understand what you’re saying about limiting, if I understand what you’re saying about limiting the block is that they should slow down the production of this thing so it’s more scarce so it grows in more value.
I: So, instead of the whole thing growing (47:00) and becoming more valuable then actually, the units, the Bitcoins become more valuable.
J: So, I can explain that a bit more. So, um, every, every ten minutes on the, on the Bitcoin network you get a new block.
J: And originally whenever Bitcoin has had no value, there was a problem that someone would just spam the network with millions of transactions because you could just do that because Bitcoin had no value.
J: So, Satoshi put in place, uh, a one-megabyte limit per block with the, uh, the expressed intention, it even said it in the code, you know, this is a temporary measure. It’s supposed to be removed. Um, and so, uh, what happened was when this wasn’t removed, eventually Bitcoin got so popular so every block was full. So, every ten minutes you would have one megabyte of transactions, which is not very large at all. Um, and then, people had to fight, to, uh, to get their transaction (48:00) onto the blockchain. They had to pay more. So, originally, you know, Bitcoin transactions were virtually free or they cost, like, one cents. And then, I think, um, you know, they even reached like eighty dollars to, to put a transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain for, um, for no good reason. And then there’s just so much misinformation. And then you have that, you know, most people now in the Bitcoin space are newbies. So, they don’t even remember what it was like four years ago. And so, these new people they, they go on the Bitcoin subreddit and they think they’re being told the truth but it’s like, it’s all lies. (laughter)
I: Okay, so a couple of things. So, you’re not talking about mining Bitcoin and the rates being slowed down, or the bandwidth’s being slowed down. This is just for people buying and selling. So, they are controlling then /people’s freedom to buy and sell. (49:00)
J: /It’s for people sending money to each other.
J: I mean, if you’re on an exchange then that’s, that’s off-chain so that’s not affected. But if you’re sending, um, money that you control with your private key with your device to someone else’s device, um, you would then have to pay a lot money. And so, what happened was people start keeping their money on exchanges more, which is a bad idea anyway because you are not in control of your money. Um, and then, people are, are developing other, um, other off-chain solutions for, for Bitcoin, which, there’s nothing wrong with building off-chain solutions. Um, but, you’re being forced to use these off-chain solutions because the, the blockchain is, is artificially full. And then, what will happen is, it means, uh, this, this rike you have with Bitcoin, with Bitcoin you have this (50:00) private key, you can send if you want to send it. But if you start building these, uh, off-chain payment systems like, like the Lightning Network then there will be, uh, centralised parts of the system where authorities can attack it and also, you know, these, uh, these payment nodes they may even need to pay, pay, patent/payment fees and this sort of thing. So, this is just not the, the vision of Bitcoin and so.
I: Okay, so Bitcoin which was intended to be decentralised, free, um, is now coming under the control of, in two aspects. They can control how much you transact, the use, the efficiency of the money and the effectiveness of the money if you own it. But also, then the medium that people talk about it which is through Reddit. Which, obviously, is going to affect people’s confidence in their currency. Man, I’ve never understood that before. Okay, so now I get it.(51:00)Yeah, so, I, I just didn’t want to live in the world anymore until we have a centralised
I: /Aw, man. That’s a bit
J: social media platform.
I: That’s a bit drastic. (laughter)
I: You’re still living in the world. Do we have that platform now? Maybe you should tell us what the solution is.
J: Um, so, lots, so lots of people are, are trying to solve this problem. Um, especially recently because now the, the censorship isn’t just on, you know, people are talking about Bitcoin, it’s, uh, it’s actually on lots of platforms. So, last year you had a lot of people making political videos on YouTube. They, they were demonetised, so they were no longer able to, to, to, to earn a living from YouTube. Um, and then, this year YouTube just actually started deleting accounts. So, some people with hundreds of thousands of followers on YouTube, uh, they were, uh, just being deleted.
I: Who are those people? (52:00)
J: Generally, like, independent researchers. Okay, some, some people are, um, creating real hate speech and this sort of thing so, there is a, you know, you can argue that maybe those people should maybe be censored. But, there are people who are having, uh, you know, very, very interesting research into what’s really happening in the world and are not causing harm. And, and these people are being demonetised as well. Are being, being censored.
I: But, the establisher might argue that they are if they are undermining the establishment then they are causing harm in the world. So, who are we talking about? I know about the English guy Paul, who gets very angry about stuff and talks in front of the atlas, that guy? I saw him get demonetised. But he’s not saying particularly nice things.
I: Um, people like Infowars. (53:00)
J: So, um, Infowars was maybe, um, at the beginning they were, you know, authentic. Um, you know, they were, they were quite good in the beginning.
J: But it seems that, uh, yeah, they have just become part of the, the mainstream propaganda. So, it gives, some people who are interested in having an alternative viewpoint, they might be able to go to Infowars and get what they need but then they’re not really finding out what’s, what’s really happening.
I: Right, because they support Trump and stuff.
J: Yeah. Yeah.
I: Yeah, so, um, yeah, it’s kind of interesting to me because it’s like, I don’t want people to say what I don’t want to hear. I’m probably not the most easily offended person. Um, so on the scale, like, Infowars probably were interesting and useful for a period of time but now they don’t really say anything that I, I don’t want to hear so they’re not anymore. (54:00) So, this is the whole issue with censorship which is, kind of, interesting I suppose. What if, um, what if, yeah, so, I think that’s what goes on. Like, anyone who provides censorship is gonna do it from their perspective. So, I don’t like this idea I’m gonna shut this idea down. But we all have ideas that we don’t like. But as an anarchist you’d say, no censorship.
J: Um, well there’s nothing wrong with, uh, censorship as long as you’re, you know, you’re controlling what you’re censoring yourself.
I: Okay, but then they would argue that you don’t have absolute control over what you receive.
J: So, um=
I: =So, I think this is coming toward your solution.
I: So, the other thing I just want to say in terms of censorship is that, um, you know there are people walking around the planet who are despicable human beings and they are causing damage with the things that they, that they talk about.
J: Um-hm. (55:00)
I: So, probably the worst conceivable to me would be like snuff type stuff. So, would you argue that snuff material should be available if people are censoring themselves? Would you argue that media doesn’t actually affect people’s beliefs and behaviours? Are you, I mean, where does censorship become. And then, sorry, just to end that off, like, censorship is power. Like Reddit have demonstrated, they censor what goes on, it affects people’s confidence in a currency, it affects people’s income or their wealth. So, censorship is power. So, I’m interested to know. Is, where does it become acceptable to you and necessary. Or when does it become necessary to you? And then, who should have that power?
J: So, it, it comes down to, to personal responsibility. You know, we’re all adults. Well, um, those of us who are, you know, um at, at liberty to do on the internet, we’re adults. (56:00) Am, and so the original idea of the, the world wide web was anyone can publish anything on their server and then anyone is at liberty to access whatever they want from their web browser. But, both these parties, both, uh, the producer and the consumer are, they, they have individual responsibilities. So, they are morally and legally liable for, for their actions. Um, what’s happened is because people have moved to more, more centralised platforms, um, then, it, it, it’s no longer their responsibility. It becomes the responsibility of, of, of the platform to control what people are and are not allowed to see.
I: So, you’re saying Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and those kinds of platforms are taking responsibility, are assuming that power? That’s /what you’re saying?
J: /Well, because it’s a centralised platform so (57:00) that’s, they, they do have that power and, uh, uh, legally and in the eye of the public they are obliged to, to use that power. Um, you know, to control what’s on their platform. You know, that’s, it’s their platform it’s their responsibility. Um, so the, the problem is that they run the platform. Whereas a better solution would be the original ver-, uh, vision of the web where everyone controls their own platform.
I: Okay, so I would say that, if that’s how the web was, originally, um, it became corrupted and not me, but somebody might argue that that is because human beings are just despicable things and they will corrupt whatever comes along. And famously, like, the first people to, to reap a benefit of the web were (58:00) the nastiest people in the world. Paedophiles, and, um, those kinds of people. Um, so, and this is why censorship is necessary and so it becomes like a circular argument.
J: Yeah, um=
I: =Paedophiles and terrorists. It was terrorists that I was trying to /think of.
J: /Yeah. Yeah, um, so, we, we, we need a system that empowers everybody. Like, that’s my, my basic philosophy. Um, but then we also need to be able to, um, as a, as a, community to be able to classify content to decide this do we want to censor that content from, from our devices. And we also need to be able to, uh, to determine people that are violating the rights of others through, uh, through terrorism or child pornography. Um, and I think if, uh, if we have a truly free, free media (59:00) and free discussion that actually it’s empowers the world to be able to, um, remove the, the bad people from power.
I: Yeah, and then somebody has to remove those people and those people have power and that’s going to corrupt them and, am, it goes around and around forever. So, wh-, what I’m thinking now is, um, it’s gone from my mind what I was thinking now. But, ah, but what I’m thinking exactly is that if everyone were motivated the way you are to, say, do unto others and you would have do unto you then we might not even have governments and these atrocious wars and all these things. The problem is, is that some people are motivated to be terrorists and some people are motivated to be, um, paedophiles and that is a, is the, is the situation in the world. You know, those people are walking around.
J: I mean there’s (1:00), uh, there’s different steps, um, I mean, to solve a problem, to understand the problem. I think that the, the vast majority of people do not have a good understanding of the problem of, of why we have war. Um, and that, and that kind of thing. Um, so, so having, having something like a good discussion platform, I think there’s so much potential for better discussion platforms. You know, better social media so people can actually gain an understanding of what’s happening in the world and have people able to self-organise and do their own research and find out what, what’s happening. So, that’s the first step. Um, but then, uh, you ned to have a, a system where, you know, having rules without rulers. And that’s a really difficult problem. (1:01) Um, so how do you build a society without violating the non-aggression principle?
I: Okay, so. Sorry, I’m not gonna, I’m gonna pull you back. Because, are you claiming to understand why we have wars? To-, to-, to-
J: I don’t. Um, it’s ah, I mean there are many stakeholders in the world but, and in, in, in war. But, like, the more you learn about how the world works, like, the less you understand. There’s definitely, there’s, there’s something else going on and it’s too hard to comprehend it and so. I, I, I, I mean, part of me, I just want to understand what’s, what’s actually going on but it’s also, it’s a necessary step for, for the world really.
I: Yeah, so I think any, people would say that the reason we have war is the reason that we have terrorism and the reason we have(1:02) paedophilia is because people are evil. You know, people are evil.
J: And, yeah.
I: And if you listen to someone like Jordan Peterson and he would say that we need to understand the evil that’s in all of us. Like, that, his example is like you give, like, if you were a Nazi officer during the war you would have done exactly what, committed that, exactly those heinous crimes. And you have the capability to do that. And, so, and there’s some yin and yang that he talks about. Basically, he says you need to understand your capacity for evil.
J: Yeah, I mean there are, um, sociopaths and psychopaths living amongst us. So, maybe, maybe it’s three percent of the population and, um, ge-, generally these people will climb to the top of the pyramid. But, um, you know, we, there’s no point in having a witch hunt (1:03)to, kind of, eradicate these people. We just need to build better systems so that, uh, um, people like that are not able to, to take away the rights of others. I think it’s, uh, actually a technology problem.
I: Yeah, I’ve had this discussion recently. I don’t, I think it’s a motivation problem. I think that, humanity is poorly motivated. Or that people that are steering humanity are really poorly motivated. That’s what I think is going on. So, I think it’s going to take, like, a grounds world change in the way that people think for any change to happen. The issue with technology, the issue with science, the issue with everything is that it’s motivated by capitalism. It’s motivated by this profit. Which, I don’t think that people are inherently evil necessarily but I think that people are, um, I think people are insecure. What I say like, goes to the security things. So, where then capitalism fuels that(1:04) through the media. Like, you’re not good enough, you don’t have enough /you need to have more.
J: /Yeah. I mean, just being a human being is, uh, you know, it’s, it’s a very insecure existence. You know, anything can happen. Um, you know, this, so, so much risk in the world, to your life. And so, if, if, uh, if, if you, some people like, wanna join, like a bigger system and they, they become corrupt because it gives them the security and the wealth and that’s, that’s part of the problem. So, we want to be able to, um, to=
I: =But that doesn’t resolve insecurity because then their concerned that people are gonna take their wealth, you know? So, the more you have the more insecure you are. The less you have, the more insecure you are. And I think what happens is, what necessarily happens in capitalism is they perpetuate that insecurity because if you’re scared that you don’t smell right then you’re gonnna buy the deodorant shit. And if you’re scared that you don’t look right in your car then you’re gonna the car and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and. (1:05) Okay, so, maybe technology, if it were motivated differently could resolve the issue. But I think what’s happened is people have been socialised, like, through Western media and so, they are more that than they were previously. And that might lead us very neatly to your solution.
J: Yeah, so, when, when Ethereum launched and I was, uh, I was working, you know, I had to build a, a decentralised Reddit. So, I started working on a smart contract for Ethereum and, that’s actually been in, in development for two and a half years. That’s very, very mature now. Um, but then I realised that I didn’t want to build on the Ethereum blockchain. I wanted to make, uh, a clone of Ethereum. Um, for, for various reasons. So, um, I’m not sure if, if you’re aware there was, ah, (1:06) maybe, within the first year of Ethereum, um, there, there was, uh, a smart contract got, got hacked. So, this is called the, the DAO, the Distributed Anonymous Organisations. There was a, um, a crowd funding. The decentralised crowd-funding smart contracts and a hundred and fifty million dollars was restored in this smart contract then, uh, someone hacked it. And this, this created a, um, vision in the Ethereum community because you had some people that wanted to have a hard fork to fix the problem and then other people, they, they didn’t want to do it ‘cus that’s against the whole idea of, of an autonomous blockchain and so, ultimately Ethereum split in two with Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. Um, so I spent a couple of weeks trying to just, uh, decide my opinion on (1:07), on what=
I: =Ethereum Classic.
I: Like Coke Classic.
J: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, so, Ethereum Classic
J: didn’t have the hard fork to save the DAO funds and Ethereum did. Um, but af-, after a couple of weeks of, uh, you know, going crazy ‘cus I couldn’t decide what I thought about it I decided that I actually, uh, both these solutions are wrong. We, we need a, a federated blockchain world with lots of blockchains that have dedicated communities and can be hard forks in=, independence. So, that was the main reason to build my, my project. Not on Ethereum but on a clone of Ethereum. Um one day we’ll have better blockchain technologies for federated blockchains but in, in the meantime just having a separate blockchain is a really effective way to do that. And, uh, a great advantage of that is for capacity because Ethereum is, is basically full. (1:08)Because it got popular and the technology hasn’t advanced enough yet. It will in the future. So, bec-, because I have an entirely separate blockchain for this project I have the entirety of the, the Ethereum transaction capacity available for, for my project. So, that’s, that’s kind of a, a good shortcut for scalability, um, and eventually we’ll need better technology but in the short term it’s very effective.
I: So, you have now created your own coin.
J: Yeah. So, the, the token. The native token of this project is, is called MIX. That is actively creating, um, and this is the blockchain for my decentralised publication platform. It’s heavily integrated with IPFS. So, IPFS and Ethereum are the two main technologies. Um, and it’s, it has a two-thousand-day crowd fund. (1:09) I, I didn’t want to do an ICO because I, I don’t believe in that methodology where you, you hype up your product and then you raise a lot of money in a short period of time and then you don’t have the, the incentive to build the product. So, the, the MIX blockchain has a very similar premined to the Ethereum blockchain but it’s, it’s premined into a similar contract that gradually released the fund in time. So, over two thousand days. So, that’s, uh, what five years. So, I’m, I’m incentivised to actually build a platform and spend the MIX that I get from the blockchain and invest it to make MIX work more in the future. So, in the same way that a blockchain financially incentivises the neutrality of, of, of the data on a blockchain, um, I’ve financially incentivised, uh, a positive outcome for the, for the MIX projects. (1:10)
I: Okay, cool. So, um, where are you in the process? How many days into your two thousand days are you?
J: So, we’re approaching the, the end of the, the first year. Um, I, it’s, uh, it’s connected with a lot of other services so it’s on Kronomy so you can store, uh, your mix token on Android or iPhone. It’s trading on a couple of exchanges. There’s, there’s four, four mining polls. So that’s the, the token side is, is getting increasingly mature. In terms of the actual product, the primary smart contract that is just called Item Store, that’s, that’s very mature. Um, and, what I’ve just announced in the, the past few days. The, the first application on the MIX blockchain will actually be called (1:11) DWEB or distributed web. And that will be a desktop application you can install on Windows or Mac or Linus. So, you will have a, uh, full, a full node on the blockchain and there will be a web interface. So, this will be a fully, a fully decentralised discussion platform with no, no backend whatsoever. So, you’ll be able to, um, publish comments. You’ll be able to reply, you’ll be able to retweet. You’ll have images, um, and you’ll be able to maintain feeds. So, all, all the basic functionality and voting and moderation you would want from a, a decentralised discussion platform.
I: And, okay, the two things are quite separate. So, you have the coin, or the token you call it?
I: And then be-, and then separate to that, but involved with that, (1:12) you have a discussion platform which you might compare with Reddit or with, um, YouTube or with even Twa-, Twace-back. (laughter)Facebook or even Twitter. It’s that kind of a communication platform.
I: Okay, so, um, what kind of traction are these things getting?
J: Um, so, with the, the mining and the token I was getting quite a lot of traction so the, the token briefly reached eighteen cents, um, uh, but then the, the exchange had a problem, um, and then the price was all the way down back to one cents. Um, but the, the whole, uh, the mining and exchange and community that’s much more mature now. Um, and then in terms of actually building the platform, um, I’m, I’m still the bottleneck. (1:13) So, there’s lots of, uh, developers who really they, they want to get involved. Um, but I’m just not quite ready for them because I need to build out a few more things. Um, but, what I, what I hope to do in the next year as I, I build this platform and make it a, a really good product. I want to, to bring, bring in developers to build the DWEB platform but also, um, I want there to be a lot of developers just doing something entirely different with the platform because that’s the whole idea. It’s, it’s a programmable platform. So, any developer can do, um, you know, they, they can innovate, they can come up with their own filter bubble or moderation system, /voting system.
I: /So, it would be kind of open sourced.
J: Yeah, yeah.
I: Yeah. Okay, so that’s interesting. Why isn’t it open sourced already?
J: Oh, it is. It is open sourced. Am, all, all the code I write (1:14)is, is open source. It’s just that if people start building on it too soon then they will, they’ll kind of do it in the wrong way. And then it won’t be compatible=
I: =There can’t be a wrong way.
J: Um, it, it might not be compatible with the, the basic, kind of, uh, storage system. So, I, I just need to do a little bit more and then, and then people will be able to, to innovate.
I: Maybe you’ll always just feel like you need to do a little bit more.
J: No, I don’t think so. (laughter)
J: /I can’t wait.
I: /I think that’s kind of, that’s kind of human nature. It’s like, that thing, it’s like control. Do you know what I mean? I mean I don’t, I don’t know enough to be able to challenge you properly but.
J: I want it to be out of control.
I: Yeah, but why aren’t you letting it go man? Let it fly.
J: Well, you know, develop-, developers they can get involved but, uh, it also needs more documentation. I just need to explain.
I: It will always need more documentation, /man.
J: Yeah. Yeah.
I: That’s, that’s the thing. Um, (1:15) so, it’s interesting am, and I’ve been quite challenging so, I’ve, I’m really interested to know what you think. But it’s so, the whole package sounds to me like you’re saying, look kids, the internet went wrong. Um, crypto went wrong. Let’s go back to what was first intended and then it will be much better. Um, but the issue then is that it could be corrupted in the same way that the internet was corrupted and the same way that, that crypto was corrupt-, corrupted. So, I like your mission, man, I like it. But I’m wondering how pure you will remain, whether this power is gonna corrupt you also.
J: Um, well, power does corrupt, always. But, I think, uh, I’m not really, I don’t have executive control over the platform. Um, but I mean, if, if the platform does become a success then I will become, um, that, that will give me power of, of sorts. (1:16) Um, so, uh, maybe if I started misusing my power then you can, uh.
I: Me? You’re gonna make me responsible? (laughter)
J: Yeah. You can take me aside. (laughter)
I: I will hunt you down.
I: Um, by then you’ll be paying for security and stuff. What you’ll be telling them specifically?
I: Alright, cool. It’s really interesting, man. It’s really, really interesting. So, what are the challenges?
J: Um, my own personal scalability. Um, that’s, uh, that’s, that’s the major challenge. Um, uh, just being able to be effective and, uh, um, you know. Get, get the work done that requires you to arrange everything. It’s uh, I think any, for any entrepreneur that’s actually the biggest challenge. It’s like the challenge within.
I: I would say any one. That’s the challenge. Okay. So, why don’t you get other people involved? Why don’t you just find somebody=
J: (1:17) =It’s gonna happen.
I: But it seems to me as well. You’re a developer, yeah? Developers left to their own devices are a liability, man. They need project management. They need-, I used to work with a guy called, Joha-. can I-, tell you, his name was Johan Lauber and he was a guy in South Africa. And he was like, why do these people keep telling me what to do? I don’t-, I don’t need to be told what to do. I code, I build things, do you know what I mean?
I: And whenever I hear about a project that doesn’t have project management I think of Johan, like, just building things. And he was working on some accelerated code platform. Um, and that’s what I think of, when I just think of, I don’t think coders should be left to their own devices.
J: Well, it’s, it’s a market. If a, if a developer creates something and then, uh, it doesn’t gain traction then it will be forgotten about maybe if they have a great idea and the project management is well executed then it will become something popular.
I: Yeah, and popular is important. But the thing is (1:18) I also think about, like, the waste, like the complete-, and that’s one of the issues that I have kind of with capitalism is, like, it’s argued that it’s the most efficient system, but then, all around you can see huge waste. And ev-, in technology especially, like, supposedly there are more than two million apps, there are more than two million apps in the various app stores and more than seventy-five percent of those have never been downloaded once. And we can all count, like, there must be less than a hundred that have gained any kind of real traction. So, you think of those man hours and that energy and that enthusiasm that’s gone into producing something that the world has just basically said no to. So, I don’t know, I’m more interested in kind of collaboration. I think you could benefit from some collaboration, that’s kind of what I’m saying.
J: Yeah, yeah. So, uh, any, any developer that wants to get involved, then please=
I: =You need a project manager, man. Hear me? (laughter)
I: Developers left to their own devices are dangerous. Okay, cool. I really like it, man. I’m gonna invest a little bit of money.
I: I don’t have very much money so it will be a little bit of money. And I’m gonna do it. And if people wanna invest a little bit of money, um, where, what’s it called? You haven’t told people what it’s called.
J: So, the, the platform is called MIX.
J: The website is MIX-blockchain.org.
J: And on, on that website you will see the, the links to the various, uh, integrations, wallets, exchanges. So, if you want to, to trade MIX then that’s where you can do it.
I: Okay, cool. Excellent. Right, so. Is there anything else we need to know about that?
J: I think that’s good.
I: Are you happy with that? I have been challenging.
J: It’s =
I: =Because I wanted to understand.
J: Yeah, yeah.
I: Because we’ve spoken like three times and I didn’t understand and I want people to understand.
J: No, it’s, it’s been, uh, it’s been a very good experience.
I: Cool, it’s not over yet.
I: (laughter)(1:20)So, I’m more interested in this organised anarchy thing. So, you were at a conference recently.
I: So, were there, oh no it’s not about rules it’s not about government. Were there rules? Somebody must have written the rules of this conference.
J: Um, so it’s, it’s called Anarchapulco. So, it’s, uh, annual conference in Acapulco in Mexico and I, I’s been wanted to go last year but I couldn’t make it. But I went this year and it’s, it’s expanding exponentially, I think. So, they, you know, the had sixteen-hundred people this year and then next year they’re expecting four thousand.
J: So, they’re gonna book out the, the whole, uh, um, the whole hotel. So, that’s like the, the biggest venue in, in Acapulco. Um, and we, we had a stall, so, we were pulled sponsors, um, so telling a lot of people about MIX and, uh, (1:21)all that kind of thing. But be-, because we didn’t have the, the working product. So, in a way it was a little bit frustrating because I would overhear people talking excitedly about Steemit and DTube and, and all these other platforms. So, my goal is next year to, to go there and to actually have the product people can use.
I: Um, so this isn’t the token, this is the, the published /platform.
J: /The application.
J: And great, great experience to go to an Anarchapulco. You get a, a wide variety of, of people. Um, I mean on one hand you have uh, um, you know, you’ve got some, some US politicians who’re, who have come along. Um, you know, only the rally kind of libertarian politicians they would, they would come to an Anarchapulco.
I: Who’s that guy, Stefan? Stefan, what’s his name. (1:22)
J: Stefan Molyneux?
I: Stefan Molyneux, yeah.
J: He wasn’t there. I think=
I: =He wasn’t there.
J: I think he’s been there before.
I: Okay, because he identifies as a libertarian, is that right?
J: Yeah, yeah.
I: Okay, but for me he’s definitely right-wing.
J: Yeah, so there, there is a debate amongst libertarians about whether libertarian is, uh, right-wing or not but I, I stay out of that discussion.
I: Okay. Okay, cool. So, what kind of discussions do you get involved with then in Anarchapulco?
J: Um, so, you know it was my, my first time. So, I was really, I was kind of, uh, listening more than talking. Um, uh, so at, at the beginning of the conference, we, we got there quite early. So, we could go to the bar and then, um, a lot of the speakers were actually, kind of, hanging around. (1:23)So, we were able to have some, some really, some really good discussions. Um, it seems that, like, even, even amongst the anarchist community they can still, um, uh, they still think of it as a, a very political thing. They don’t realise that so much in the world is, is, is fake and is not as we think it is. So, I think even, even somewhere like at Anarchapulco there’s a lot of scope for, for, for waking people up.
I: See, that’s where I’m with you all day. It’s like, I don’t really want to describe it as waking people up because that’s kind of=
I: kind of lame, and that’s what people say and then they talk about being awoken and all that.
I: For me, it’s all just stories, man. You know, you pick whichever story it is that you wanna believe and it’s all just stories. And crypto is all just stories, it’s all just marketing, do you know what I mean? (1:24) Like, of you can convince enough of these anarchist type people that this is actually the anarchist coin, well, maybe you should call it anarchist and see how it goes. Um, but yeah, so, but, I do think people need to be thinking more, you know? It seems like they talk about freedom of speech in America. You don’t get freedom of thought. You’re not allowed to think anything different, you know? So, that’s definitely where I’m with you. Okay, and how does all of this tie in? Do you identify now, because you are based in Vietnam again. Um, and, you’ve obviously come to Bali but do you still consider yourself a digital nomad at this stage?
J: Am, I mean I’m not too ties to that term.
J: But, um, yeah, I, I like having a base. I think, I think you can be a better digital nomad if you have a base because then you can actually, uh, you can travel lighter and you can/ leave more behind. (1:25)
I: /(laughter)So, how much travelling do you do? You’ve been to Acapulco this, oh, you’ve just done like a marketing tour that’s what you were doing.
J: Yeah. Um, so, uh, we went to Anarchapulco in Mexico, um, I did, uh, a presentation about MIX in, in San Francisco. I went to the, uh, Bitcoin Cash Satoshi’s Vision Conference in, in Tokyo and now I’m here, um, just uh, doing some more evangelising. Trying to get some more work done but, uh.
I: Is this part of your marketing tour?
J: Uh, yeah. I think so. Yeah, yeah.
I: Okay, no, I don’t think we were aware of that. (laughter)
I: Okay, how fortunate that /you
I: happen to be on a podcast.
I: Okay, so, um, where do you stand on the whole digital nomad thing? Is it a good thing? Is it a, and kind of the shape it’s taking.
J: Yeah, so this is kind of how we, uh, how we first got talking because, um, (1:26) you know, I, I participate in the, the anarchist community and then I also participate in, in the digital nomad community. And these, like, these communities seem to be quite separate. It’s not, I don’t see a huge amount of crossover but they have very similar values. You know, most digital nomads they, uh, you know, they’re fed up with their, their government and their, their country and they just they wanna be free and independent so that’s why they wanna, you know, come out and travel and work online. Um, and that, that actually, uh, I think that’s, that’s very similar to the like, the, the anarchist ideology. Um, maybe, maybe the digital nomads are actually better at being anarchists than anarchists. Um, but then, then you also have, uh, some, some digital nomads are, um, you know, they are really just pursuing it for purely, um, you know, financial means. They just want to, um, you know, come to a nice country where everything is cheap so they can work online and make money and they’re not necessarily working on a project that they, they care about. It’s all about the money. So, um, you know there is that, that side to digital nomads, as well.
I: Yeah, I’d put it slightly differently. I don’t know how, I don’t know how conscious digital nomads are. I think a lot of people are, um, really enjoying travelling. I think they don’t understand, a lot of them, how privileged they are. You know, if you have the money, um, to buy a MacBook, if you have the money to buy a plane ticket, and you look at that kind of globally then you are in a very small percentage of people on the planet who could even afford to do that. And I think, they might not think it, but I think a lot of them are exploiting a situation. Like, they can come here and live for less (1:28) and, and some of them might be a little bit lazy and think okay, if I go there I don’t have to work so much. But I’m hoping it might be, like, fertile ground. Maybe we can woke these people.
J: Yeah. I, I, I think the, a lot of digital nomads are, um, like, they are going through a, a process of ach-, achieving independence and becoming more aware of the world. You know, tra-, travel is, is very good in terms of, um, learning ow the world works. And, a lot of travellers are, kind of, they feel more liberated to talk about things that maybe if they were back home in the west they would feel uncomfortable talking about.
I: Yeah. Which is also kind of interesting because, um, yeah, we’re in Indonesia where (1:29) censorship is supposedly, uh, yeah. And, okay, so that’s interesting. Alright. Um, so, just do three things before we finish up if that’s cool. Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
J: Not really.
I: Okay, cool. Um, three recommendations. What should people read?
J: Oh, am.
I: Maybe I should have prepared you for this.
I: (laughter)But now we’ll get the honest answer.
J: Well, um, what did I just read. Um, you should read Wa-, War is a Racket. Um, that’s uh, oh. See if I can remember the name of the author.
I: I’m sure if they Google War is a Racket.
J: Smed-, Smedley Butler. War is a Racket.
I: Smedley Butler.
J: Yeah. Yeah.
I: You’re shitting me.
J: No. (laughter)
I: There’s someone walking around this planet called Smedley Butler.
J: No, this was like, you know, nineteen, nineteen thirties I think.
I: Okay, that sounds more likely.
J: (1:30) But then, also, I read, uh, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. That’s, that’s a good book.
I: Okay. A Smedley D. Butler.
I: I don’t believe it.
I: Ah, retired Major General and two-time Medal of Honour recipient. Smedley D. Butler. So, what was the other one?
J: Uh, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
I: And who wrote that?
J: Um, I forgot.
I: You weren’t expecting to be quizzed on this. Um, Confessions of an Economic, I’ll look this up while you, um, Hit Man, um, while you come up with your third.
J: Yeah, well, I’ve, uh, just started reading some Ayn R-, uh, what is it, uh, can you check it? It’s like
I: I will check it as well. /Um, Confessions of an
J: /Ayn, Ayn, Ayn Rand.
I: Economic Hit Man is narrated by the author. Um, is a partly auto-biographical book written by John Perkins. Published in two thousand and four. (1:31) And you’d recommend that?
J: Yeah. Yeah.
I: And the third one?
J: Am, search for Ayn Rand.
I: In search for.
J: Oh, search for=
I: =Oh you want me to search for.
J: Yeah, Atlas, search for Atlas Shrug. You should be able to find it.
I: Atlas Shrugs?
I: Like, shrugged. Okay, Atlas Shrugged.
J: Is that coming up?
I: Atlas Shrugged, the movie? Atlas Shrugged part one, part two?
I: Nineteen fifty-seven novel by Ayn Rand. Yeah, so that’s a novel.
J: So, I, I’ve just started reading that. And that’s kind of like, the, the bible for anarchists.
J: Well, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s very well written. So, um, I think I’ll, I’ll get through that pretty quickly.
I: Okay, super cool. Three albums that people should own.
J: Oh. Tss, tss, tss. I mean, I haven’t listened to, um, a lot of albums recently.
I: People (1:32) don’t listen to albums anymore.
I: I think it’s a sickness in our society that people don’t listen to albums.
J: Yeah, um, I don’t know.
J: I think I can skip that one. (laughter)
I: You’re gonna skip that. No three albums. Okay then, three movies that everyone should watch. While you think about it shall I give you mine?
J: Am, okay.
I: Is it useful or not? I think everyone, like, when I teach these days my classes, I, I admonish them if they haven’t seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I don’t believe that people are equipped to lead their lives if they haven’t watched that movie. Um, the second one would be, um, um, how’s my mind? The prisoner Paul Newman in, um, Cool Hand Luke. That’s an amazing movie. Have you seen that?
I: Have you seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?
J: I haven’t.
I: So, how are you supposed to liberate humanity man when you don’t, you haven’t seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Um, the third one might be Pulp Fiction. I think that’s an amazing film. Um, so those would be my (1:33) three movies. Have you thought of three movies now?
J: Um, well one that comes to mind is, uh, They Live by John Carpenter.
I: Okay. /I’ve never seen that.
J: /It’s like a B movie, but, uh, that’s one, that’s one I would, uh, highly recommend. Um, I would recommend some, uh, some documentaries.
I: No, no, no, no we’re not allowed. I’m going to trade you documentaries for albums that’s what’s gonna happen.
J: Um, yeah, another movie isn’t, it’s not quite coming to mind right now.
I: Okay, how many have you given us? One.
J: One. (laughter)
I: Man, you’re failing here. Hard. Okay, so then, documentaries. Three documentaries. This is gonna be so easy for you.
J: Yeah, that’s true. So, I’m a big fan of, uh, James Corbett. So, um, he’s got a documentary series so there’s, uh, How=, How Big Oil Conquered the World.
I: I’ve seen that, man. (1:34)
J: Yeah, we just watched it a few days ago.
J: Am, there’s, uh, why, Why Big Oil Conquered the World.
J: It’s the sequel. Um, so any-, anything by, by James Corbett is, uh, is, is pretty exceptional.
I: Okay, and how are you getting on with Sand is Scarce?
J: I’ve watched, uh, I’ve watched like half of Sand is Scarce. That’s, uh, yeah, that’s a very interesting movie. I didn’t, I didn’t realise sand was that scarce.
I: No, and the huge environmental impact that that’s having. Cool, man. I feel like we’ve covered everything.
I: Have we covered everything?
J: I can’t think of anything else. (laughter)
I: Cool. Alright, well, it’s been wicked. I really enjoyed it. I’ve understood, man. That’s what I wanted to do is I wanted to understand. So, thank you very much.
J: Yeah, it’s, it’s been my pleasure. So, thank you very much.
I: Okay, I’ll tell you what we haven’t spoken about. Is, we haven’t spoken about what brings you to Bali.
J: What brings me to Bali? In, in general?
I: And maybe (1:35) Dojo, that would be interesting.
J: Oh, Dojo. Oh yeah, so, um. You know, if, if you’re a digital nomad then you want to have somewhere where there, there is a sense of community.
J: You know, you can go to a beautiful place and maybe there’s even a co-working space but if it’s just gonna be two or three people then, you know, you’re not gonna have the same, the same connections, the same energy than somewhere like this. There’s so many events, so many talented people. Just a whole, kind of, eco-system, um. So, it’s every time I come to, to Dojo I feel, uh, I feel a bit rewarded.
I: Cool. That’s really cool. And that’s what I wanted to say to you earlier which is, there’s a theme in everything you’ve said this evening. And the theme is community. And that’s what gives me hope for digital nomads is like, people come here and if you ask any of them they will say community, community, community.(1:36)And, you’re in the Drupal community, you’re in the crypto community, you’re in the Bitcoin community and for me, that’s what gives me hope. Is like, people should be focused and looking for an enjoying community and, you know, that’s what we’re offering here and that’s what people are coming for and that’s what gives me hope that digital nomads might be the revolution.
J: Yeah, I’ve got a lot of hope. Absolutely.
I: You have a lot of hope. You’re an anarchist.
J: Yeah. (laughter)
I: (laughter)Alright, buddy. Well, thanks so much for being here. I’ve really enjoyed it.
J: Yeah, it’s, it’s been very, a very pleasant evening.
I: You’re supposed to say I really enjoyed it too.
J: I really enjoyed it too.
I: (laughter)Wicked. Cheers, man. I think we’re done.
J: Alright, thanks.