Todays guest is Dale Bewan. He is a married father of two, living in Germany. Since 2017 Bitcoin is the only money Dale is using. He does not own or hold any Fiat currency like Euros or US Dollars. We will talk about his motivation for doing so, how his wife and children deal with it, why he is using different identities, what LSD has to do with it, his Silkroad experiences, if he gets paid in Bitcoin and much more….
- Therapeutical benefits of using LSD
- Was Satoshi on LSD?
- Pseudonyms and identity on the internet
- Discovering Bitcoin
- His silliest bitcoin mistake
- Buying bitcoin to buy LSD on Silkroad
- Spend and replace tactic
- Tools he is using for going bitcoin only
- The Lightning Network and wallet analogies
- Basic privacy tools and tactics
- Linking Bitcoin to political ideas
- Bitcoin adoption in Germany, Australia, Tokyo
“2010, that’s very early in the Bitcoin world, I discovered Bitcoin on a mailing list. It was probably one of the cypherpunk mailing lists, I downloaded it, I played with it, I mined some Bitcoin as far as I recall, I mined four blocks and then I made, what was probably the silliest mistake of my life, I said this isn’t as interesting as “SETI@Home” so I deleted it. I thought why use my computing power to create these virtual coins I’ve got two hundred of them already [Laughter].” – Dale Bewan
“My daughter especially loves explaining it, so last year she was in third grade and she did a presentation to her class about Bitcoin and after that her teacher was a Bitcoiner. So she did a good job.” – Dale Bewan
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ShownotesRecording Date: August 19, 2020
Anita Posch [00:05:16] Hello, Dale. Great to have you on the show.
Dale Bewan [00:05:18] Thank you, it's good to be here.
Anita Posch [00:05:21] A few days ago you posted on Twitter that your parents in law gave you some cash as a birthday present and that you didn't know what to do with it now because, in the last three years, you made it a habit to use and hold only Bitcoin. So no Euros, no US Dollars, no other fiat currency and I thought to myself, "He's the man. I want to have him on the show." And here you are. Please introduce yourself.
Dale Bewan [00:05:50] Absolutely happy to. Yes, all of that's correct. I hold and use only Bitcoin. We'll talk about that through the interview but as a brief introduction, I'm a New Zealander originally. I've traveled all over the world. I've actually been on every continent on earth which is something I'm quite proud of, to be honest. I've lived in five different countries. I speak a few times different languages, these days I live in Germany. I'm a father of two, so married with two children. I'm a polymath - that means I'm interested in basically everything and I find connections between things. So I could be interested, for a couple of years, in something like neuroscience or economics or quantum physics and actually go in and study some of those things. Then, find connections between them and patterns. That's something I really enjoy doing and that's also how I first stumbled into the Bitcoin world.
Anita Posch [00:06:47] Yes, I can imagine that and also the Bitcoin world in itself, is something that's very diverse. I mean there are many paths you can go and connections to make. On your Twitter bio, I read that you are also a neuro, that's a difficult word for German speaker --
Dale Bewan [00:07:10] A Neuropharmacologist.
Anita Posch [00:06:47] Thank you very much. You wrote the book about LSD as a tool for self-discovery. What's the story behind this book and why did you write it?
Dale Bewan [00:07:22] To be, first of all clear, I'm not a qualified doctor so I'm not Dr. Dale Bewan. When I say I'm a neuropharmacologist, basically I have passed my MCAT, that's the Medical College Admission Test. I took some classes, I've written papers on neuropharmacology but I don't have a degree and I've never intended to work in that field. It's more of an interest that I have studied rather than actually being a field of work. I wrote the book because I believe that LSD is something that's often misunderstood. It's an extremely powerful mind-altering substance but it's not just something that people take for getting high or having fun. It's not really a party drug. People can use it that way and do use it that way and to be honest, I see nothing wrong with people are using it that way. As long as they're being careful and taking precautions. I also see that LSD offers a lot of additional benefits. It can really help people with different things including self-discovery which was the main theme of my book.
Anita Posch [00:08:25] Interesting. Do you know other countries or medical schools or psychologists or "Psychoterapeuten" in German, who use this kind? I hear a lot of Tim Ferriss podcasts and he's often also talking about drugs for psychotherapy and things like that.
Dale Bewan [00:08:46] Absolutely. There are some groups like MAPS, that's the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. They run formal studies in multifarious by working with different hospitals and different research organizations. There hasn't been so much specifically done on LSD, although of course there have been some things. There's a lot of related substances such as psilocybin, which is the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, and that's been studied quite a lot more in the last 5 to 10 years. There's also been a lot of research into MDMA, which is methylenedioxymethamphetamine, better known as Ecstasy. That's currently being trialed in some locations to help with post-traumatic stress disorder. So people who have been in a war and having real trouble reintegrating into society can benefit from MDMA. I actually see a lot of potential there for LSD as well but there hasn't been as much research into that yet.
Anita Posch [00:09:41] Interesting. What can one learn while doing, I guess, a guided trip in a way? I mean, what can I learn when I take it?
Dale Bewan [00:09:52] There's a lot of Different potential possibilities there but I find the biggest thing is being able to look at problems, whether they be personal problems or external problems, in a different way. It's almost like you're looking at things with new eyes. I think that's one of the reasons people enjoy taking it. You're having a childlike wonder about the world again. Being able to look at a tree and just be amazed by a tree. Beyond that, you can look at your own problems and see them in new ways and maybe come up with new solutions. Work around the problem in different ways. In my relatively long career, I spent quite a long time as a software developer. There was one instance where while under the influence of LSD I completely redesigned the architecture of a very large, complex system because I was able to visualize it in new ways and I saw where some of the problems were in the system that I was building.
Anita Posch [00:10:47] [laughs] Okay that's great. Do you think Satoshi Nakamoto was on LSD when he invented Bitcoin?
Dale Bewan [00:10:53] I wouldn't rule it out but I would also say there's no reason to think he was. I'd love to think if I heard he was it wouldn't surprise me and I would think it was great but I also don't think there's any good reason to say it was. [chuckles]
Anita Posch [00:11:08] Was this book and the work with LSD as a drug, it's a big taboo, also a reason for you to go anonymous or pseudonymous on the internet?
Dale Bewan [00:11:19] Not entirely but it is a part of it. The main reason that I use pseudonyms on the internet is that I actually consider identity to be kind of a fluid concept. If you think about it when you were a child you were a different person than you are now. You had different thoughts, different ways of thinking and that changes throughout your life. Really, you do have different identities throughout life. I just take that to another stage where I say, "Okay I have different identities at the same time in my life." It is relatively common for me, it's become almost standard for me. I could be at a Bitcoin conference and somebody will yell up, "Hey Dale," and I will react to that because as far as I'm concerned even though my passport doesn't say Dale Bewan, that's who I am.
Anita Posch [00:12:05] Are you Dale Bewan in the Bitcoin space and in another space you are somebody else?
Dale Bewan [00:12:11] Yes. I have multiple different identities that I use. I actually created the Dale Bewan identity primarily for the book that I wrote. It just happened that because the book mentions Bitcoin in one very small part when it's talking about Silk Road as a place that people potentially can get LSD, so that also dates the book somewhat around the times of Silk Road. I got a lot of people questioning me about Bitcoin just because of that one little mention in the book. From there I started talking about Bitcoin a lot more using my Dale Bewan identity and now it's become almost the main thing that I talk about with this identity.
Anita Posch [00:12:51] How is the feeling? You protect your real identity in a way or is it something else for you? Is it just a representation of who you are in this space?
Dale Bewan [00:13:02] Yes, I would actually say that's closer to it. In a way it is partly, of course, to protect other identities but I really don't think of any of them as 'real' identity or 'fake' identity. They're just different identities. Dale Bewan may not be the name on my passport but it's just as much me as that other name on my passport is.
Anita Posch [00:13:22] Please tell us your story about Bitcoin. How and when did you get to know about it and what led you down the so-called rabbit hole?
Dale Bewan [00:13:31] Absolutely. It actually starts 2010 so that's very early in the Bitcoin world. I discovered Bitcoin on a mailing list. I honestly couldn't tell you which one. It was probably one of the Cypherpunk mailing lists. One of those cryptography related mailing lists but I honestly don't know. I downloaded it, I played with it, I mined some Bitcoin. As far as I recall, I mined four blocks and that's usually my story. I can't actually say that for sure because it was so long ago. Then I made, what was probably the silliest mistake of my life, I said, "This isn't as interesting as SETI@Home,” so I deleted it. I thought, "Why use my computing power to create these virtual coins? I've got two hundred of them already."
So I can guarantee there are at least 200 Bitcoins that are non-accessible anymore and are a donation to the world in a way.
Anita Posch [00:14:33] [laughter] How do you cope with that situation? You had 10 years now to think about it.
Dale Bewan [00:14:38] I'm okay with it. I can always think back and say, "Wouldn't it be great to have that now?" Realistically, I don't think I would have those 200 Bitcoin now. I would've done something else with them. Lost them in some other way or maybe just spent them in some way. I can say the next encounter I had with Bitcoin was around 2011 when I discovered Silk Road as I was writing my book about LSD. As you know, I'm quite open about the fact that I use LSD. I enjoy it, I find it very helpful for myself so I went on Silk Road to buy some and of course, I needed Bitcoin to do that. I bought Bitcoin on Mt. Gox. I transferred it to silk road, I bought LSD. I don't remember the exact amount but I do remember buying 60 Bitcoin on Mt. Gox and spending about 53 of them. Having seven just leftover as change. If I had to if I had those original 200 I would've spent them in exactly the same way, just what happens.
Anita Posch [00:15:38] Yes and did you run into any trouble then, when Silk Road was taken down?
Dale Bewan [00:15:44] None at all. I always used good operational security in general, didn't mail things directly to my own name and address. I would have drop off points where I could get things posted to and unlike a lot of other substances, LSD comes on small square bits of cardboard in general. It's very very easy to post through the mail system so I had no issues with Silk Road being taken down. Clearly, nobody saved my address anywhere. That's a good thing.
Anita Posch [00:16:12] In between that time from 2013 to now when did you decide to use Bitcoin instead of fiat currency? As far as I understand you only use Bitcoin.
Dale Bewan [00:16:26] Yes, now I only use Bitcoin. The next step in my learning was around 2013. I noticed the value of Bitcoin going up and finally, I thought, "Hold on, what have I been doing? I've been playing with this thing over the last couple of years. I get some, I use it on Silk Road or whatever," but I never really understood it so well. I finally started getting more deeply involved. I did contribute to Bitcoin Core a little bit in the early days as a software developer. I don't so much anymore and also, that was under another name. If you find a developer who contributed back then, that could have been me but I won't say which one. Then, I really got into the whole idea of spend and replace. I would spend my Bitcoin on something and then replace it from fiat. If I had spent 50 Euro worth of Bitcoin, I would buy another 50 Euro back again so I would always have the same amount of Bitcoin. In 2017, I had an epiphany. I had just had this thought come into my head. That people complain about spending Bitcoin because of the price appreciation they think, "Okay, if the value is going to go up, why spend it now?" Because the opportunity cost is that you're losing all of that future value. I realized, you actually have the exact same opportunity cost for holding fiat. If I hold 50 Euro that I don't convert to Bitcoin, then the price appreciation of the Bitcoin that I could have bought is identical to having spent 50 Euro worth of Bitcoin. It's the exact same thing mathematically speaking. All of a sudden, it made no sense for me to hold fiat currency anymore. I just said to myself, "Okay, I'm going to stop doing that." It was complicated at first but I stopped holding fiat currency and only held Bitcoin from that point forward.
Anita Posch [00:18:18] I'm in the ‘spend and replace’ phase. [laughs] I think I just have a little bit of Euros in my banking account because sometimes I think to myself, "Yes but I have to pay things in Euros and if I convert first to Bitcoin and then back into Euros then that doesn't make sense because I have to pay transaction costs and maybe fees for the exchange." What would you recommend? Is it better to just use Bitcoin, although I might need Euros?
Dale Bewan [00:18:52] I think that's a matter of how easily you can get by on Bitcoin only because, to be honest, I wouldn't necessarily recommend, at this stage, to do the way that I'm doing it. I know that I am actually incurring additional costs that I wouldn't necessarily have to incur if I held fiat. I have also decided that what I'm doing is worth it for me and as a way that I can show other people it is possible. I do occasionally incur some costs that I wouldn't otherwise incur but to me, it's worth it and it just makes sense.
Anita Posch [00:19:30] You have a wife and two children. Do you have another banking account with fiat or are you all living on Bitcoin?
Dale Bewan [00:19:38] We are all living on Bitcoin with the small exception that my children will occasionally get cash money from grandparents or something. My son just had his first day of school. He's just transitioned from kindergarten to school and his grandparents gave him some fiat money for that. So he's got maybe 20 Euros or something but that's the only fiat in the house. I do have a bank account but it stays on zero. My wife doesn't have a bank account at all anymore because she doesn't work. She figured, "Why keep a bank account and pay for it when there's no money going in or out?" My bank account occasionally gets a little bit of fiat in it, for example, my book sales on Amazon. Amazon have no method to pay me other than sending money into my bank account so that's how Amazon pays me for book sales and that gets immediately converted to Bitcoin when it comes in.
Anita Posch [00:20:32] I think you are working as a software developer for a big company. Your wage is also in Euros, right?
Dale Bewan [00:20:40] I really need to update my Amazon profile. I actually no longer work as a software developer, I did until 2016 maybe 2017. From there I transitioned more into management and actually, I left that large company in 2018 to join a smaller Bitcoin related company. Right now I'm actually in between jobs because I decided to leave my last company when they decided to start, in my opinion, essentially just scamming people. I don't really want to go into details too much but they decided to do some things which I consider very unethical so I had to leave the company.
Anita Posch [00:21:20] So you're a Bitcoin purist in a way?
Dale Bewan [00:21:24] Yes.
Anita Posch [00:21:25] So you only hold Bitcoin and you only use Bitcoin, no other Altcoins and stuff?
Dale Bewan [00:21:29] That's right. In the very early days, I started to look at some of the others to try and see, 'Okay what is up with these things? Could they offer something of value? Could they be something interesting for me?" I realized that, from a technological point of view, if they're going to do anything interesting it's something that Bitcoin probably can implement and will implement if it can be. From an economic point of view, it really doesn't make sense for there to be multiple currencies in the long term. Money is essentially a type of protocol. It's the way that we communicate value between people and the communication of value acts in a lot of ways like a computer protocol or a network protocol. If I think about other kinds of network protocols, they tend to always start off as lots of competing standards, lots of competing protocols and then it narrows down to just one. If you look at data link computer networks in the early days there was a lot of different competition to TCP/IP. There were things like Novell's IPX/SPX and Apple had their own AppleTalk protocol. There were all of these different standards. Now everything is TCP/IP because it doesn't make sense to have competing standards. To me, I see the very fundamental concept of money as being the same sort of thing. Value transfer between people. It doesn't make sense to talk about different kinds of value when everything can be abstracted as one simple value and then you build stuff on top of that. For me, I am what gets called a Bitcoin maximalist but out of reasoned ideas, not out of just some kind of loyalty where I say I hate everything else. It's more I just don't see how we can have a world with more than one.
Anita Posch [00:23:11] On top of the base layer like the Bitcoin protocol, we are going to have and we already have loads of other protocols like the Liquid Network, tokens, smart contracts and stuff. Do you look at these developments and are you going to use these kinds of things? How do you think about those?
Dale Bewan [00:23:34] Definitely. I actually think those kinds of approaches are the correct approach. Going back to the same analogy of TCP/IP for network protocols, you build everything else on top so if you need to transfer files, you create a file transfer protocol. If you need to transfer web pages, you create a Hypertext Transfer Protocol. You can build other things on top of a base layer but building other things as competition beside it, doesn't make a lot of sense. I think the LNP/BP project, the Lightning Network Protocol-Bitcoin Protocol project, is exactly the right direction and I think there's going to be a lot of amazing things built around that. I also think the LSAT, the Authentication Token approach, is really interesting.
Anita Posch [00:24:18] I guess you're also using Lightning Wallets and the Lightning Network for paying bills and stuff?
Dale Bewan [00:24:26] Primarily, yes. I would guess you could say I've got four different wallets, other than ones that I'm testing or playing with or whatever. I've got four real wallets. One is my equivalent of having cash in my pocket and that's my Lightning Wallet. I've convinced most of the smaller businesses where I live to accept lightning payments from me. If I go to buy coffee at my local cafe or I buy some bread rolls for breakfast, you know, very typical 'brotchen' German bread rolls. That will always be a Lightning payment. Aside from that, I have a onchain wallet on my mobile phone which is more for larger types of things. So if there's something which doesn't really make sense across Lightning but it's still small enough that it would be the value I store on my phone, I'll use that. I have a hardware wallet. I think of it more like a savings account and then I have another one which is 100% offline. I generated the seed offline. The private key has never been on a active device of any kind. The private key is then split up and stored in multiple locations around the world. I just have the public keys on a computer where I can generate new addresses to send to. I think of that as more of my really cold storage longterm savings.
Anita Posch [00:25:48] In different places around the world do you have safety deposit boxes? How do you do that?
Dale Bewan [00:25:55] It's a mix of different things. For my cold storage, I don't really want to describe it in too much detail because of security reasons but let's say some of it is things like safety deposit boxes, others are things like in the custody of people I can trust, knowing that those are just parts. Even if they take that part and they can't do much with it unless they get more parts.
Anita Posch [00:26:18] You basically went around in the area where you live and suggested to the shops that they should take Bitcoin. How did you do that?
Dale Bewan [00:26:29] It's a slow and difficult process but it's something I've actually gotten quite good at over the years. It's been three years I've been doing it now. My usual way is I will just walk into a shop, if I haven't been there before I'll ask if they take Bitcoin and they will almost certainly say no. Then I'll say, "Oh sorry I can't buy anything here," and I'll start walking out. Most of the time they will just let me walk out but if you do that in enough places, then after a while somebody will say, "Hold on what is this Bitcoin thing?" That gives me a chance to explain it to them and from there I can get them to accept it. It's a slow process and it usually takes a few months of them saying, "Well okay, maybe I'll accept it just from you first. I won't accept it from other people, let's figure out what is this thing." Then they, you know, a few conversations but I also do a lot of phoning around. A good example would be my children. Of course, occasionally they need haircuts and a simple thing like finding a hairdresser. I spent about three hours on the phone calling around different hairdressers and finally one of them said, "Okay, I don't know anything about Bitcoin and we don't accept it officially but one of our hairdressers here is interested in that Bitcoin stuff. Maybe you'll want to talk to them." So I have a deal with one of the people who works at this hairdresser and they will basically pay their company in cash and I will send them Bitcoin for haircuts.
Anita Posch [00:27:56] Great but why do you do it? I could also go into shops and ask but I don't do it because I think it's exhausting always to tell people why they should use it and I get a lot of resistance.
Dale Bewan [00:28:13] It is exhausting and it's why I'd also say I don't necessarily recommend other people do this. It's not a practical way to do things for most people. It's harder than just using fiat. It doesn't bring any particular strong benefits compared to having your savings in Bitcoin but also having some fiat that you use for daily things. I would say at this point, I do it mostly out of a way to show that it can be done and maybe encourage other people who would want to consider doing the same. Also normalizing it a bit in the eyes of the people who I'm dealing with. It's not typical that a small bakery or a small hairdressing shop or something even thinks about Bitcoin on a day to day basis so this really does help spread awareness as well. It doesn't benefit me anywhere near as much as it benefits the people I'm talking to.
Anita Posch [00:29:11] Yes and other Bitcoin holders. You're very long into Bitcoin so you also experienced the hype cycle. Let's say the bull and bear markets. How did that feel? Like for instance, in 2017 when suddenly your wealth grew, I don't know, 10 times.
Dale Bewan [00:29:34] Yes. I do my best to look at the longterm vision more than short term changes in value. Yes, my wealth grew 10 times but I didn't have a huge amount of wealth at the time. If you think about it in terms of hours worked, somebody who has one hour worked of their income stored in Bitcoin. If it increases 10 times, okay, now they've got 10 hours worth of income in Bitcoin. It's not a life-changing amount of money. I also didn't have a life-changing amount of money in Bitcoin in 2017 because that's just when I started deciding to say, "Okay I'm going to store all of my wealth in Bitcoin." I definitely came out quite well out of it. I was able to have a nice holiday to Tokyo with my family. I bought a new computer which was very nice but it wasn't a huge life-changing kind of thing, where all of a sudden I'm driving a Lamborghini and have a beautiful house or something.
Anita Posch [00:30:35] If you would want a Lamborghini.
Dale Bewan [00:30:39] I also really wouldn't. It's not much of a family car.
Anita Posch [00:30:41] Exactly. Okay great. So are you prepared? When the next bull run comes and Bitcoin might go from 10,000 to, I don't know, 50,000 in a few months. Are you prepared for that? How do you stay sane?
Dale Bewan [00:30:57] I'm not sure I do stay sane. Sane is always a relative term but again, I don't really think of the short term value changes and I expect it's going to increase in value. In a lot of ways it's more just confirmation of my expectations and hopefully one day I'll be able to live a much nicer lifestyle than I do now, perhaps without even working. I'm hoping I can offer my children a much better future than I would have been able to without Bitcoin. For me, it's more just about, "Okay, I've got savings and they are increasing in value and that's a good thing." I don't plan on all of a sudden going crazy and buying a local castle or something.
Anita Posch [00:31:45] Does your wife also use Bitcoin? I guess she also has a wallet on her phone and buys things with Bitcoin.
Dale Bewan [00:31:52] She does, yes. She's not as, I guess you'd say, deeply into it as I am. She understood the value proposition when I said I think we should go 100% Bitcoin. She doesn't really understand the technical side of it and when it comes to things like macroeconomic theory and so on. She just trusts me which I think is a wonderful thing. There should be trust in a relationship. Yes, it's more or less she just lets me do my thing when it comes to money.
Anita Posch [00:32:24] Do your children get weird questions from other children about that thing?
Dale Bewan [00:32:31] They do and my daughter especially loves explaining it. Last year she was in third grade and she did a presentation to her class about Bitcoin and after that, her teacher was a Bitcoiner so she did a good job.
Anita Posch [00:32:49] [laughs] Oh that's great. That's a great story, thank you for that. Your family and your friends, I guess they also know that you only use Bitcoin?
Dale Bewan [00:32:57] Yes they do. That's something I'm always a little bit careful of because I do have to think about the idea of potentially fake friends. People who think, "Oh okay Dale has a lot of Bitcoin maybe he's going to be really really rich one day so I'll be his friend just for that. " In general, my friends are the people who aren't that interested or impressed by wealth and money and they care more about things like making the world a better place. To me it's just, I will spend my time with people who are like-minded - want to make the world a better place. Usually, I would say, I can weed out the real friends from the fake friends with that kind of approach.
Anita Posch [00:33:43] When I contacted you, you mentioned that some shops do not accept Bitcoin and then you use a fiat currency. How does that work? How do you do that?
Dale Bewan [00:33:55] Yes. I always do have to be careful to say I don't hold fiat currency. I don't say I don't use fiat currency because realistically, that's just not possible anymore or not possible yet. I don't know, for example, anywhere where I can pay for petrol for my car I'm in Bitcoin. I haven't found a single petrol station who will accept Bitcoin and I do need to put petrol in my car. What I do, is I use a credit card that is issued in Australia where I used to live a long time ago now. Actually, I've been in Germany for 13 years but before that, I lived in Australia for about 6 years. When I lived in Australia I got this normal, Australian credit card. Nothing special, it's just a credit card. The advantage of being an Australian issued card is I can pay the bill using the service, Living Room of Satoshi which is an Australian website that lets you pay any Australian bill, including credit cards using, Bitcoin. It's not my preferred payment method. There's extra costs involved and it's a bit uncomfortable to use. If I can't pay in Bitcoin directly such as for petrol I will pay using my credit card then, just go to the Living Room of Satoshi website and pay off the credit card using Bitcoin immediately.
Anita Posch [00:35:14] Oh, I understand. I think there's even such a tool in Germany but I can't remember the name now. Where you can pay your bills with Bitcoin, your invoices.
Dale Bewan [00:35:25] Some of them but I also don't remember the name of the tool because I looked at it once and then gave up. It was much less elegant. The Australian system there's something called BPAY and basically, every biller has a particular code and then your bill code as well. To pay off my credit card, I'll give the credit card ID and then the credit card number and just the amount I want to pay. That's all that's required, making it really trivial to use. I don't need to scan in invoices or your trust somebody else particularly. It's just all automated.
Anita Posch [00:36:00] Interesting. I hope this comes to Europe too one day.
Dale Bewan [00:36:04] That'd be nice.
Anita Posch [00:36:06] What are the tools or processes that you would recommend to our listeners that can give them more privacy in their digital lives and maybe also in paying bills?
Dale Bewan [00:36:18] Privacy, in general, is a complicated thing and I think most people try to do too much. There are some very basic things like using Tor, using VPNs on your network so connecting from somewhere other than where you are or onion routing, the Tor system. Aside from simply the basics of install those things and use them, the main thing that I would really advise is to take time to learn the trade offs of different systems with self custody of data versus cloud data. What does it mean to have things like a Google account and a Facebook account. How that tracking actually works. A lot of people say things like, "I don't want to have a Google account at all. I don't want a Facebook account. They'll track me, they'll see everything I'm doing online."
I prefer to take the approach to say, "I know what those systems are potentially doing" Then while I'm interacting with systems that may be related, for example, a browser that isn't in privacy mode, I'll use the systems knowing that I am being tracked. A good example of that would be my iPhone. I take photos with my iPhone a lot. They get automatically uploaded into Apple's cloud. I'm aware that that is happening. I will not take photos of things which are potentially something which could be embarrassing or secure or pictures of my children in the bath. There are things I will not take photos using my iPhone which I might take photos using other cameras. So those are the kinds of privacy things that I think about in my daily life. I don't think it's worth trying to avoid all of those systems out there because there's just too many of them in the world and it makes life too difficult.
Anita Posch [00:38:10] Do you do something like CoinJoining your Bitcoin to hide your traces?
Dale Bewan [00:38:16] For my cold storage, yes but for things like my hot wallets I don't. Again, that comes to the same kind of privacy question. Avoiding all kinds of tracking is just too much additional, extra work. With things like the hot wallets, I really don't care if somebody knows that that particular coffee purchase I made on that day was somehow related to that purchase at the flower shop when I bought flowers for my wife. To me, I don't mind people linking that information but anything going into my cold storage, I know that that's something that in the future could potentially be worth a lot of money. I don't want that to necessarily be easily traced and connected back to me so CoinJoins happen before anything goes into cold storage.
Anita Posch [00:39:00] Are you actually still scared of losing your Bitcoin?
Dale Bewan [00:39:05] Generally not. I trust the mathematics of Bitcoin to know that the only way I'm going to lose it is my own error. I will potentially make a mistake at some point and lose it. That's one of the reasons I've got those four different wallets. If I mess up something on my Lightning wallet, the most I can lose is the amount that I've got in there which is not so much. The cold storage wallet I have, I put a huge amount of work into making sure that that is not only secure but also not going to be lost in any reasonable way. The more I'm storing, the more care I took in how to secure it.
Anita Posch [00:39:42] Do you also have a routine? How you are checking your seed? How often? Do you have a checklist?
Dale Bewan [00:39:51] Actually no and for good reasons. On the hot wallets, it's not worth it because there's not enough money and on the cold storage checking the seed in some way would basically reduce the security. For example, I would have to put together all of the parts and check, "Okay Is everything okay?" I do routinely check that the parts of the seed are still where they should be and nothing's happened. If part is in a safety deposit box somewhere, I'll check that it's still there but there's no major technical work involved with that.
Anita Posch [00:40:31] I also guess that you have a guide for your wife and your children If something happens to you.
Dale Bewan [00:40:38] Yes I do. Of course, I can't give all of the details because that would basically give away what it is but part of it involves a trusted third party. You can think in terms of like a lawyer executing a will. That means there is somebody who can't access the value of it but they could potentially block my family from getting it. The other part of it is something that my family knows. So it's a mix of their knowledge and this knowledge from a third party. I am actually looking into other alternatives that I might be able to see happen in the future because that risk from a third party is still very very low but maybe it's enough that I'll want to consider something else.
Anita Posch [00:41:16] From your processes like using Bitcoin every day did we forget to mention anything? What would be interesting for our listeners or have you mentioned everything?
Dale Bewan [00:41:30] I think we've mostly mentioned everything. Maybe one thing I'd reiterate perhaps is that using Bitcoin every day really doesn't get influenced as much by things like volatility that people often talk about with using Bitcoin as a currency. They say, "Oh, the value goes up, the value goes down that could be a real problem for using it on a day to day basis." That's actually something I really strongly disagree with because to me, volatility only matters over the longer timescales. Maybe at some point in the future, I want to sell my Bitcoin for Euro and it's gone down a lot so I'm getting less Euro and it's much much less. On a day to day basis, the volatility only matters between the time that I get the Bitcoin, be it from working or selling some fiat that I got or whatever the case may be, through to the time that I spend it. The volatility between that time-frame is usually very low so I don't actually see a lot of volatility as being a concern. It's more interesting for watching the value of my savings increase than it is for you worrying about the price of my next cup of coffee.
Anita Posch [00:42:39] What do you think about the fact that early Bitcoiners, people who have come in early like you but also have saved the Bitcoin for the long run. Now there's some critique often that Bitcoin is unequally distributed and that it's not fair. What's your take on that?
Dale Bewan [00:43:01] I have multiple takes on that. The first would be that I don't believe the universe is fair so, okay this is just another unfair thing. Second, more to the point, it's not ideal but it's not catastrophic because Bitcoin has a fixed supply you really can't just earn more of it by doing nothing. You can't sit closer to the money production and generate more money out of doing nothing. In a pure Bitcoin economy, I'm imagining perhaps long after I'm dead the people who actually generate economic value by goods and services will take the money away from those who are not generating economic value. If I'm sitting there in my mansion, I've got huge amounts of money and I'm paying my gardener to do gardening. He is taking a definite fraction of my Bitcoin away that I can't generate out of thin air. I can't somehow keep my money and pay him at the same time because that just doesn't work in a fixed supply economy so the people who are working will get the money. I think over a long enough time frame that will act as an equalizer. I think it will be fair in the long run, even if it's not fair at the start.
Anita Posch [00:44:18] I always think also that maybe some or many of these early Bitcoiners who have loads of Bitcoin or money now, like in fiat currency, that they also reinvested into Bitcoin products or projects. At least I hope so.
Dale Bewan [00:44:35] [chuckles] I do think that's happening a lot as well and of course every time somebody who was an early Bitcoiner who had a lot decides, "Okay I'm going to cash out into some fiat money." That is Bitcoin which is now being redistributed so, at some future point where there is only Bitcoin as the world currency, the few people who are left with a lot of it won't be anywhere near as many people as there is perhaps right now who have a large amount.
Anita Posch [00:45:05] You're also on Twitter and always the loudest voices are sometimes the weirdest voices. Are you afraid that the perception of Bitcoin might be falsely linked to these ideas and statements?
Dale Bewan [00:45:21] To an extent, yes but I also think this is something else that sorts itself out over time. I make no secret of the fact that I disagree with a lot of those very loud voices on Twitter. The kind of people who perhaps are very right-wing politically. I'm not, I'm quite left-wing politically so of course, those kinds of disagreements happen. There are people who have been turned away from Bitcoin by looking at things like Bitcoin Twitter and saying, "These are not people I want to be associated with." I think perhaps Bitcoin's adoption has even been slowed down a little bit by these kinds of people but I don't think it's something which is going to ultimately cause too many problems or stop the adoption of Bitcoin. It just slows it to an extent. The main reason for that is Bitcoin's value as sound money is more convincing in the long term than simply association with people who might have some really dumb ideas.
Anita Posch [00:46:21] I think it's not only the sound money it's also, the uncensorability and the possibility to use it worldwide.
Dale Bewan [00:46:30] Which to me, honestly are elements of sound money so yes.
Anita Posch [00:46:34] Okay so you're living in Germany now for 13 years. How do you see the Bitcoin adoption in Germany compared to other countries you have lived in?
Dale Bewan [00:46:45] It's really quite different. I've been in Germany the entire time that Bitcoin has existed so I can't compare it to Bitcoin living in other countries but I've traveled a lot and I've seen Bitcoin adoption and other places. To me, Bitcoin in Germany is quite a lot behind some other countries in some ways but quite a lot ahead in some other very small and specific ways. If you go to Australia, for example, there are now so many restaurants and cafes and so on which you can walk in and just say, "I want to pay with Bitcoin," and you can which is amazing. That's great, especially in Brisbane actually and Queensland. Tokyo less so but there are still quite a few places I can get around in Tokyo on Bitcoin only very very easily. If I go to Berlin, there's really only a couple of places I can go and spend Bitcoin easily but they do exist. If I go to, I don't know, Frankfurt basically nothing. It really does vary depending on the specific location. One thing I've noticed in Germany is that Germans have always had this very cash based view of life. There's a mistrust of paying by card, that kind of thing. I've actually used that to the advantage of Bitcoin when I talk to people, especially smaller shops and say, "Would you like to accept? Bitcoin I'd like to pay with Bitcoin." One of the first things I usually explain to them is that it's more like cash than a card. There's a lot of skepticism at first when I first say that but once I actually explain how it works, peer to peer, they get that and it's more intuitive. It is digital cash rather than being more like a bank account or something like that which is what they don't trust. So in that way, I actually find it sometimes easier to convince Germans than I would have in London for example where everything is pay by card, pay with your phone. You don't touch cash, haven't done a long time.
Anita Posch [00:48:47] Interesting perspective. May I ask you where have you lived in Australia? Which town would you recommend for somebody like me for instance?
Dale Bewan [00:48:55] Australia's an interesting country. I'd say the three major cities on the East Coast all have their advantages and disadvantages so that's Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Brisbane for me personally is way too hot. I grew up in a cold part of Southern New Zealand. Living in a hot place just kills me after a while. The other problem with Brisbane and I hate to say this for any of the Australian listeners but Brisbane is an extremely racist city and that's something I could never really get over. Too many, honestly just racist people and that bothers me. Sydney is really quite nice, very beautiful, very green. Sydney's got a lot of forests and parks and that sort of thing. It's really nice in that way. I lived in Sydney was when I was in Australia and what I didn't like about living in Sydney is it has this aspect of it being a business city. A lot of the time, especially with younger professionals, it's all about who has the nicest clothes, who drives the nicest car and that's just not interesting to me as a lifestyle. Melbourne is a really great city. The only disadvantage with Melbourne is the weather there is incredibly volatile. So if people think Bitcoin's value is volatile, you should see Melbourne weather. Four seasons in a day, easily.
Anita Posch [00:50:18] [laughs] Okay, thanks for that because whenever it's possible to travel again I hope that I can. I like summer more than winter here in Austria and I would like to spend my Austrian winter in Australian summer.
Dale Bewan [00:50:33] That seems reasonable. The last time I was in Vienna it was 44 degrees. That was insane.
Anita Posch [00:50:42] Yes, that's possible in the last years it's getting hotter and hotter. Dale, thank you very much.
Dale Bewan [00:50:50] Thank you very much for your time as well. It was really a pleasure talking to you.
Anita Posch [00:50:54] Yes I think so too. I'm so happy that I have a real life example. A person who's living in Europe living only from Bitcoin. I think this is rather special and it's also a way to see for others, for listeners, that it's possible. Although you say yourself it's hard and you don't recommend it but I guess in the coming years it will be easier and easier.
Dale Bewan [00:51:19] I certainly hope and expect so.
Anita Posch [00:51:21] Yes and do you want to tell our listeners where they can follow you?
Dale Bewan [00:51:26] Sure. I am on both Twitter and Reddit under the name Dale Bewan other than that, if you were to simply Google Dale Bewan, you would find my books on Amazon and potentially other places where I can be found. I'm not somebody who cares about how many followers I have. I'm not a influencer of any kind, I'm just somebody who likes to get his opinion out there.
Anita Posch [00:51:50] Thank you very much. I'm happy that I found you on the wide internet and maybe one day we can meet in person when it's possible again and I wish you all the best and also for your family.
Dale Bewan [00:52:03] Sounds good to me. Thank you. Have a great evening.