Today’s guest is one of my favourite people in the space Andreas M. Antonopoulos. We are going to talk about the adoption of Bitcoin, censorship and fake news, the use of Bitcoin in Zimbabwe, corporate and nation state digital currencies, why he does not believe in Austrian economics, why the so-called “left” does not embrace Bitcoin and more.
“When freedom is banned, only outlaws have freedom.” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos
“Bitcoin, this system of open currency removes power from the few and gives it to the many.” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos
Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a best-selling author, speaker, educator, and highly sought after expert in Bitcoin and open blockchain technologies. He is known for making complex subjects easy to understand and highlighting both the positive and negative impacts these technologies can have on our global societies. As an educator, his mission is to educate as many people as possible, in as many places as possible, in as many languages as possible, about Bitcoin and open blockchains.
Andreas has also written two best-selling technical books for programmers, “Mastering Bitcoin” and “Mastering Ethereum”. He has published “The Internet of Money” series of books, which focus on the social, political, and economic importance and implications of these technologies. At the moment he is writing a new book called “Mastering the Lightning Network”.
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ShownotesRecording Date: April 22, 2020
Anita Posch [00:03:05] Andreas, thank you very much for doing this interview and giving my listeners the chance to learn about your latest insights on Bitcoin and the lightning network. It's our third interview, you were also my guest in Episode 2 and 17. And I want to thank you, I really appreciate this a lot. Given how much work you do.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:03:25] It's a real pleasure, Anita, I mean, you, you really do provide great value with your interviews and it's always a pleasure to join you.
Anita Posch [00:03:33] Andreas, in this unprecedented times and worldwide crisis. I would like to start with something positive. Let's draw an optimistic vision. Assume it's the year 2050. There's currently no virus around and Bitcoin is broadly adopted as a medium of exchange and store of value. In many nations Bitcoin is even accepted for tax payments. How has the use of Bitcoin changed our lives and the basic fundamentals of our economic circumstances?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:04:02] Oh, that's a really interesting question I haven't really thought about this and 2050 certainly feels like a long way out. So I'm a decrepit geriatric in my mid 80s remembering the good old times and explaining them to youngsters who don't understand what the hell I'm talking about. And Bitcoin is no longer called Bitcoin perhaps, or maybe we no longer understand or use the system, because it's become invisible. Very much like most people are not particularly interested in what TCP/IP is, not even perhaps what the web is or the internet, they just, you know, use this and it's pervasive in their lives. Many cases people don't know they're using the internet when they're using it. And I think the same thing happens with this if a new form of money that is open, neutral and transnational emerges and is broadly used, we will forget about the underlying technology, it will be invisibly woven in every technology we use money will simply be part of the services that are offered by a network and most people will not understand how it works anymore than people understand how today's money works.
Anita Posch [00:05:13] That sounds rather nice, actually. What are the obstacles? Until then? I mean, what are the reasons in your opinion why Bitcoin is not more widely accepted yet? Because maybe now would be the time?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:05:22] Well, I think first of all, it's it's not clear how widely used Bitcoin is whether it's accepted by companies or retail establishment isn't really that relevant, but whether people use it you know, a lot of people may use Bitcoin and not tell anyone about it, that would probably be a smart thing to do. And use it primarily for store of value at the moment or for very large purchases or for a variety of reasons for protection of their independence and wealth. It's, it's really, it's really still an immature technology. And we have to acknowledge the fact that the user interfaces, the wallets are still very difficult to use. The entire technology requires a very steep learning curve where you have to first discard notions of what money is and how it works and discard notions of how you use money and how you interact with the applications that use money. Because we've become accustomed to using money as a system that is controlled by other people that is managed by intermediaries where we have an experience with money that is mediated by corporations by big corporations such as banks and by governments. So the idea of cash that is digital and exists on the internet is alien to many. And it will take a while for that to change. Also, the user interfaces are still very, very clunky. And it will take a while for the technology to mature and become easy enough to use. Easy enough to understand, easy enough to use securely that people can just do it. So I think those are the barriers right now to more broad adoption. But then again, you know, we're watching some unprecedented stuff happening in the broader economy. And national currencies are undergoing wrenching changes right now, where things that have never happened before are being tried, in order to solve edge, these very, very fragile economies where market forces have been essentially silenced. And the only signal that's coming through is government action. We've not really been in that place in the past century or so. So we're going to see some very very interesting changes
Anita Posch [00:07:22] Yeah and I mean also Libra and central bank digital currencies seem to speed up. do you think that time is like running against Bitcoin so that there will be Libra and other digital currencies first and maybe Bitcoin comes next or won't come?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:07:40] Well, I don't think that central bank digital currencies or Libra have anything to do with Bitcoin it's a bit to me it's a bit like saying, Oh, Ford just released a fantastic new car or Tesla released a new car. What do you think the impact will be on the airlines. Not really that much, because it's a completely different medium, different parameters, different characteristics. Bitcoin isn't digital money. Bitcoin is an open transnational protocol for money over the Internet that is not controlled by anyone. None of these other systems are open transnational protocols for money that are not controlled by anyone. They are centralized closed systems of traditional databases that are heavily controlled and surveilled by central actors and therefore just repackage digital money, which we already have in an even more dangerous and totalitarian way. I think the totalitarian nation state money with surveillance and totalitarian corporate money with surveillance and control by corporations that are trying to be nation states will lead to totalitarian politics. And these systems will be used to take away people's freedom and choice and keep them under the control of a very, very, very small number of other people. And that's a dangerous historical precedent. So from that perspective, If I don't think any of these affect Bitcoin, I do expect that however Bitcoin is going to face some very big challenges in the future, if it is successful, if Bitcoin is successful, it fundamentally violates the interests of very, very powerful organizations, institutions, and people. And as a result, we're going to have a fight. This is not going to be simply a situation where an effective transnational open currency that gives the ability for anyone to transact outside of a centralized control is simply going to be accepted, people who want centralized control, want to ban anything that doesn't give them that centralized control. So I think we're going to have a fight because you know, this system of open currency removes power and it removes power from the few and gives it to the many. And whenever that's happened in history with any kind of technology that is a leveler of power. There's massive resistance.
Anita Posch [00:10:06] Yeah, definitely. I mean, I've been to Zimbabwe in February to do a little research on how Bitcoin is used there if it's used or if people understand what it is. And to be honest, not many people are using it, because I mean, from the better off white population. I mean, everybody knows it. And I think those people also have used it or use it as a store of value and from the black population. Some people I would say, of the middle class also use it there are some early adopters, but Bitcoin is outlawed. And that's also the question of how can people really use it there. I mean, you said it before. The obstacles are so high, the living conditions are so complicated. Most people have no money. They earn 10 US dollars per month or less. And I think there are also technical problems. I mean, how could they or How can they use Bitcoin? They can't even download a wallet because most of them only have so called social media bundles on their phone. Yeah, so they only have WhatsApp or only have Facebook. So what could the Bitcoin development do here to include these people, too?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:11:18] Well other decentralized technologies play a big role here. So the ability to deploy mesh networks and open Wi Fi systems and connect people with lower bandwidth or encapsulate even transactions inside social media might be a great opportunity for that but you know, the technology is really not ready to penetrate that deeply into mainstream adoption. The truth is that with any early stage technology, it is at first most available out of higher cost points for people who already have a degree of technological infrastructure. Think about, think about the first cell phones and that were the size of a suitcase. And were very, very expensive, probably in today's money, maybe, I don't know, 20- 30,000 euros for a cell phone. And with thousands of euros in monthly costs to run out, would you imagine that 30 years later, people in Zimbabwe would have a device in their pocket that costs less than $100 and has access to something maybe not full internet but something and can make phone calls. It takes a while for it to trickle down. In terms of technological maturity and infrastructure to the most poor places in the world, that's an unfortunate effect of technology but it is true and we have to accept it. So, you know, Zimbabwe is not ready for Bitcoin, bitcoins not ready for Zimbabwe. And that's the reality. It's going to be a play thing for people who have better infrastructure and more wealth for the time being until it matures and the cost drops for all of the supporting technology and infrastructure that's needed. But here's the thing: it's needed. The reason Bitcoin is banned in Zimbabwe, is because the government is a government of outlaws the government is corrupt kleptocracy. So when freedom is banned, only outlaws have freedom. And the need for technologies that give people power and freedom and independence. And economic access is there. It's an enormous needs and it's not going to be fulfilled by any of the other technologies that are being proposed. So it's merely a matter of building infrastructure, building easier systems and gradually bringing the cost of this technology down until everyone can afford it just like happens with cell phones.
Anita Posch [00:13:47] Yeah, and I mean, you said there will be a fight over money all over the systems of money or who is in power who is in charge? Yes. So if governments say Bitcoin is banned, do you really think that the mainstream people will then use it?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:14:01] No, they won't. It will stop being a plaything for investors and it will start being used for people who already are operating on the fringes of society because they've been oppressed or disenfranchised or removed from the economy. So, you know, the bottom line is that we are going to see bans. And you know, the thing about passing a law that is fundamentally unjust and removes power from people is that in countries where the rule of law is strong, laws like that cannot easily be passed, because they violate fundamental human rights and freedoms. And they're not logical, they're not reasonable, and they won't easily get the political capital to pass. You know, I can't imagine at this point, at least, for example, Germany, Austria, passing a law to just completely ban all crypto currencies without recourse. And in countries where the rule of law is weak, like Zimbabwe, once when the government banned something in many cases and in some parts of the population that's only going to generate more interest in that technology because the government has no moral legitimacy. If a government without moral legitimacy passes unjust laws, then those laws are simply violated. And all that happens is that the respect for laws is reduced. And so, lots of people, lots of places have already banned Bitcoin and lots more places will ban various things in various ways. And I think in many cases, those laws will be ignored or bypassed and ironically, people when caught by officials for violating the Bitcoin law will bribe those officials in Bitcoin. It's important that we make a fundamental distinction between justice, morality and law. Law is a human construct passed by representatives that sometimes approaches justice and sometimes doesn't. And morality is a internalized concept and system of values that tells us what is right and what is wrong. In many countries in the world, things that are right are banned and things that are wrong are legal. And many of the worst atrocities that have ever happened in humanity, were not only legal but fully justified by both the legal structure and sometimes the religious and cultural structure of the societies when they were implemented. Slavery was legal when it was in the US, for example. And so, we must not and should not ever confuse morality with legality. In some cases, it is imperative to break the law in order to uphold morality when that law is immoral and you know before people start thinking I'm a complete anarchist, you have to have your own sense of morality. If a country bans your religion or bands your ability to politically participate or bans your ability to peacefully protest and express your opinion or bans your ability to warn others that a virus is coming then the law is immoral and it isn't a moral imperative to break it.
Anita Posch [00:17:11] What I always wonder is I mean there are many slogans and concepts around Bitcoin. The one side says it's free market money, it will tear down nation states. It will the biggest wealth transfer in the history of mankind. I think bitcoins greatness is that many people can agree upon It's basic principles like being censorship resistant, transparent with a fixed supply. But the ideologies and cultural circumstances around are very, very different.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:17:40] Yes,indeed.
Anita Posch [00:17:41] yeah, I see that on Twitter I mean you have an European and US background. Do you think that Bitcoin as a tool for financial inclusion can survive these ideological differences?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:17:53] I think something can survive these ideological differences. I don't know if it's going to be Bitcoin or something else that arises from discovering social flaws and political flaws in the community around Bitcoin. I think people tend to project their own worldview and political ideology on to Bitcoin and they can find an interpretation within Bitcoin and the principles that matches their worldview, often falling into some degree of confirmation bias right? I don't think in order to use Bitcoin or be interested in Bitcoin, you have to sign on to a whole list of ideologies that are often used as litmus tests or gatekeeping elements where people say, Well, you can't be a real Bitcoin or if you don't also, bla bla bla bla bla. And you know, that kind of gatekeeping i think is unhealthy. It also doesn't help us achieve mainstream adoption and use of this technology. The technology is political, let's make no mistake about it. It's money. Money is political. And it contains within it some very political principles. But mapping those political principles of a new form of money on to 20th century political ideologies and signs on a two dimensional or one dimensional scale really, really distorts those principles and their politics. So I think we do see very different attitudes towards Bitcoin from different populations. There is a strong contingent of people who look at Bitcoin primarily as an economic thing as a monetary system based on Austrian economics and sound money supply, etc, etc. and then make very big pronouncements about how this is going to play out and arrive from the principles to outcomes. They say, you know, because it is like this, then it is inevitable that A, B and C will happen. I take a much more limited approach, I look at it as a technology. The most interesting aspect of it, for me is the fact that it's an open protocol that anyone can participate in. And, and less so the monetary principles, I think they're very powerful monetary principles. But what interests me in this is the idea of an open transnational protocol from money. And that to me, gives opportunity to billions of people who currently have no power. The aspects of wealth transfer to early adopters due to restricted money supply. To me that's less appealing. But the good news is, those two perspectives can comfortably coexist. We can achieve both goals in the same system as long as we preserve the principles of the system. And I think it's very dangerous to assign a single political ideology to Bitcoin. I think it's also very narrow minded and I won't do that.
Anita Posch [00:20:36] Yeah, I mean, one of my listeners asked me about what I think about Bitcoin, which effect it could have upon the welfare state. I mean, we in Europe, in Austria, we have quite a good I would say, welfare state with health insurance and all this stuff. And he said he's scared a little bit about the effects that Bitcoin could have upon that. But then I thought. Yeah. But I mean, if I can pay my taxes in Bitcoin, then I can still have a health care system.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:21:04] Well, you know, the thing is that if you look at historically, countries that have varying rates of tax participation or tax evasion, it's not the countries that have the strongest enforcement's with the most rules that have the highest level of tax participation. If that was the case, then Greece and India and you know, would have great degrees of tax participation. They don't, it's actually the countries that have the highest degree of services where people can see an immediate connection between the taxes they are paying and the well being of their neighbors and themselves and the safety and society and kind of the services that they get in return right. And in those countries, people make a direct connection between the two and say, Yes, I pay my taxes not because I will get caught if I don't, but because I believe in the idea of providing some, some services, some capabilities through a social structure that involves contribution in taxes. Now, the thing is that I don't believe in the Bitcoin replaces all money scenario. So from that perspective, all of these worries about what happens if Bitcoin is the only money that's left it really make no sense to me, to me and Bitcoin opened the doors for a plurality of money where there are hundreds of different forms of money, including the existing nation states monies, at least for a very long time. And thousands of digital currencies that compete in different ways. In that environment we're not going to a single money that wins everything. In fact, we're moving away from that. This obviously violates the principles of Austrian economics. I understand that. But I don't think I don't think most people act as rational economic agents. I think they choose money based on a variety of criteria, including nationalism, brand awareness, emotional reasons. And so, and they will also choose different things for different applications. So I'm not really worried about that. The bigger problem we have is that the current system of governance and taxation that exists in Western societies is reaching its scaling limits and the mechanisms we have for democratic governance and are very good at allocating funds for socially positive purposes. That Is happening whether or not Bitcoin exists the problem we have right now is not that the middle class is not paying its taxes at least in most countries it's that only the middle class is paying its taxes and everybody else who can get away with it including large multinational corporations and the super rich or not and as a result social services starve for funding and then we have a governance problem because, here in the US I pay my taxes and then it's used to bomb people instead of provide services in return, it's used to bail out corporations and create a war machine. So, those problems have nothing to do with the currency and they have everything to do with the governance. Now, some people will say that Bitcoin solves that I'm not entirely sure that it does. And, I also don't think that Bitcoin destroys the possibility of taxation rather than simply extends the same degree of tax avoidance democratizes the ability to do tax avoidance to the middle class and not just keeping it for the rich and it forces societies to face the fact that the current tax system is broken. Bitcoin didn't break it Bitcoin just made it possible for the middle class to do what rich people are already doing. And if you didn't think that was a problem before then it's not a problem now and if you did think it's a problem before then we need to fix it.
Anita Posch [00:24:34] I mean, I often wonder why not more people when we go back to these left and right categories here more people from the more liberal left see Bitcoin as exactly what you see it because that's also what I see in it a liberation tool or a tool for people to get back power. And yeah, the so called they're often mentioned self-sovereignity.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:24:57] I think it's because in politics, the left versus right divide in the 19th and 20th century was primarily defined as a divide between capital and labor as a result, for for the political left that traditional political left opposition to capitalism is a cornerstone of political activism. And, and of course, money itself is politically neutral. It's a tool. You can use a hammer to build a house, you can use a hammer to kill someone. You can use money to fund an orphanage, you can use money to fund a bomb factory. It's not the money itself that has political flavor, but because there's this reflexive opposition to capital, because of the political tradition of the 19th and 20th century. If you see the power of the labor and the power of the middle class as being opposed to capital on the left, or served by capital on the right. Then money becomes something that you either use as a tool or you despise and distrust and fear without understanding, I think a lot of people in the traditional liberal left are fearful of money, distrust money, don't understand money, don't have money. And, and therefore, see money as intrinsically broken or maybe the root of problems. And I think that's, I think that's wrong. I think it matters, how money works, it matters who controls the levers of power in the system of money. It matters if the technology is open or closed, and a system of money that is open where there is no central lever power to grab where the system isn't controlled and twisted to serve only a specific demographic. That kind of money is fundamentally different. But if you have a reflexive opposition to money in general, and you consider it an evil thing, and I think in the left, it's also celebrated to say I don't care about money, and I don't understand money and I don't want money. The bottom line is money is a language that we use to express value and expressing value to each other through money allows us to bring society closer together and to have interactions with our neighbors without corporations getting in the way, which is a traditional liberal value. So I think that's just a matter of generational politics. And as younger people come into a world where there have always been different forms of money and some are open and some are closed, then the distinction isn't between money and not money, but between open money and closed money.
Anita Posch [00:27:37] And now I would like to ask you something about censorship resistance. Bitcoin is actually a medium that's allowing like the freedom of speech, but only in money form. What's your opinion on censorship of like, videos on YouTube or Bitcoin related media on YouTube? What's your general opinion on this kind of censorship?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:28:01] First of all, from a traditional political perspective, what YouTube is doing is not censorship. It's applying private policies on a private platform which they can do as much as they want and in any way they want. And if you don't like it, use a different platform. The problem comes from the fact that regulation of speech and regulation of the internet and various other anti-market forces have made it so that there exists these giants monopolies and platforms, which through advertising and control over money flows actually control a lot of the content. And then this is in private hands, where policies can express their politics but at the same time, the free market doesn't operate to provide more choices. So it's, it's a market failure. From my perspective, what YouTube is doing is applying the very typical conservative perspective of corporations where they don't want to get too many complaints and they don't want to attract the attention of regulators. So they try to create objective criteria, which of course don't exist to decide what content is okay, and what content isn't. Ideally in my opinion, the easy approach would be completely neutral. And as a common platform, they would simply allow all speech and let the users figure out which should receive negative criticism from users and which should receive positive criticism of users, you know, basically wide open free speech. That's not gonna happen. So I think what this is showing is the weakness of centralized platforms for content. And it's not the politics of YouTube, specifically. They're trying to reconcile irreconcilable pressures on the one hand from an audience that demands a lot and complaints on everything, and on the other hand, from regulators who don't know how to create rules, who have the pressure of their constituents to create rules to stop bad things from happening in society, and of course, you can't see stop bad things from happening, and you can't create rules that are objectively applied. So I don't know, I haven't been affected by this, I might be in the future. I hope not. And what it shows is the centralized platforms are dangerous, and we need more decentralized platforms. Unfortunately, and this is the key here. My audience is people who are not yet into crypto. That's what I'm trying to address. And the same people are not interested in decentralized technology, and I have to find them on the popular platforms. So putting my content on a decentralized content platform doesn't really help me because that's not what my audiences
Anita Posch [00:30:32] Yeah, I understand completely. I also meant in context of fake news and putting out content. That is a lie, a blatant lie, but people don't know that it's a Lie.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:30:44] You can't regulate truth in any medium. And so we're walking down a dangerous path because in our attempt to regulate truth and prevent misinformation and provocation and bots and propaganda machines from using these platforms, we've made them arbiters of what is true and what is not. And that is a very dangerous power to give to anyone. So, you know, I would rather have them show both truth and lies and let the audience decide, and we need as a society to develop more critical thinking skills. I think among young people, and this is a real issue among young people, the critical thinking needed to sniff out bullshit and read multiple sources and operate in a media environment where there is no authority of truth anymore, but there is just an enormous amount of noise. That's a skill that the younger generation has and the older generation doesn't have. If you look at who the victims of fake news are, at least in the United States, it's boomers, it boomers who told us that playing video games would rot our brains and then turned around and had their brains rotted by Fox News. And because they didn't have the media skills, and the critical thinking skills to go from a world in which there were two or three authoritative sources, The New York Times and CBS News and whatever, into a world where there are thousands of sources, none of which have authority or many of which fake authority, and where truth is impossible to discern without a lot of critical thinking. They were not ready for that transition and they were taken advantage of. But if you look at the younger generation, they're much more skillful at figuring these things out. And I think we should have more trust and in people to figure this stuff out on their own, rather than trying to create some kind of system of rules by which a centralized organization or committee or even an algorithm tries to say, what is true and what is not true.
Anita Posch [00:32:50] Now talking of the future and the young generation. Are you rather optimistic or a little bit pessimistic in the moment about the future of society?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:33:01] I'm very optimistic, and always have been, you know, despite everything that you see and all of the noise in the media, the world in the long term and over the big picture, the world is becoming a more fair and just place. People's level of knowledge literacy, access to education, access to money. And opportunity has been increasing steadily for centuries and has accelerated dramatically. There are setbacks there are bad periods, there are years. You know, when horrible things happen, there are months when it feels like years of passing like March. But in the big picture of things, I am constantly impressed by the intelligence and perseverance, empathy, drive ambition, and just spirit of young people. And I think that the world is getting better over the long term. I just hope we don't fuck it up because right now it's not a young people who are fucking up this planet it's old people I'm sorry to say that and I consider myself part of the older generation now. But the older generation has really taken advantage of the levers of power to deliver a very bad deal to younger people. And that's not a good thing.
Anita Posch [00:34:20] Yeah, I agree. So thanks, Andreas for these insights. My last question is, I know you're an avid book reader. What book would you recommend at the moment?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:34:33] The one I'm enjoying right now is John Scalzi. His new book The last emperor ox. It's the third book in The interdependency series, it's a political space opera of vast proportions. It's a classic sci-fi. And it's very well written and I'm finding it very enjoyable. Like I've, I've liked John Scalzi as an author for a long time. So that's, that's what I'm reading this week.
Anita Posch [00:35:00] This week. So how many books are you reading a week, in a week?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:35:05] In the past, I've read up to about 100 - 120 books a year. So about two, two and a half a week. Right now I've slowed down a bit, and I'm doing more audiobooks as well. So I probably read about a book a week on average.
Anita Posch [00:35:22] And what's your perspective for this COVID-19, do you think we will be longer in the lock down or can we travel next year or in two years?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:35:35] I don't know, I've been very disappointed by the fact that somehow a virus became politicized. And this massive anti science backlash has been created. You know, it reminds me of the scene in Independence Day where all of the crazies gather on a roof to welcome the aliens and then get vaporized by a beam. There's especially in the US there's a political component that has come out of the government incompetence in handling this, where they're trying to pretend that this is not happening or that it's not real, and that's very, very dangerous. I don't know how much longer we're going to be in quarantine. Obviously nobody does. Yeah, yeah. But I think that I think that there's no doubt in my mind that this could be handled a lot better than a lot of the economic impacts we're seeing is because it was mishandled incredibly poorly in many countries around the world, most especially the United States. And that, you know, in general, electing anti science politicians, has consequences electing anti reality politicians has consequences. electing politicians who are fundamentally opposed to the work of governance has consequences when we're paying those consequences now. The United States especially is going to exit from this badly bruised and with a generational impact. I'm hoping sometime in the summer we might see some relaxation in the stay at home shelter in place type isolation, and some limited mobility. I think the most important thing and the way we get out of this is massive amounts of testing. So that we can tell who's infected and contain trace the infections at the same time massive testing for antibody so we can figure out who has already survived this and can return to productive work. And unless we have testing, we're not going anywhere. We're just going to have to stay locked down until we have better data. This is basically this entire battle against the Coronavirus is a battle fought with data. And we don't have the fundamental mechanism for acquiring better data. We can't make any decisions. We can't make any projections until we have better data. Obviously, we know at this point that China lied, and the level of depth that they had was probably 20 times higher. But that doesn't help, you know, I see that being used as an excuse. But you know, to conservatives who say that it's China's fault and China lied to us, since when does the national security of a Western nation depend on communists telling the truth? I believe Ronald Reagan said, trust, but verify, not trust, don't verify. So that's a pretty poor excuse for leadership, if you took them at their word, and then we're surprised. The bottom line here is that we're not going to fix this until we take the science seriously and collect the data necessary. And you know, what this is doing is it's revealing all of the weaknesses and institutions and systems that exist in any society just like a war does. A pandemic reveals all of the weaknesses in every society and a lot of societies are showing that they were actually very fragile, had very poorly managed institutions and, and enormous barriers in the way of good science. And as a result, they're being very hard hit by this.
Anita Posch [00:39:12] Yeah, I only hope that because it's a worldwide problem maybe with joined forces a vaccine can be found soon. Do you think that here all the companies and nations work together? I mean, I don't see that, actually.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:39:27] I do. So you know, there's a parallel battle here that's not on TV, which is tens of thousands of scientists around the world using the Internet to exchange information and knowledge very, very fast. We are fighting this pandemic with the Internet is one of our primary tools, and that Internet has made the international scientific community a single coordinated community.
Even while the Chinese government is lying and the United States government is lying.
Chinese scientists are working, US scientists are working with them, German scientists are working with them and they're exchanging detailed papers and fact based science. And there's been tremendous progress. The idea of finding a vaccine to a novel threat within 12 months was unthinkable just 10 or 15 years ago. And so the fact that we already have, I don't know, 30 vaccines currently being tried out in different stages of trials is an astonishing achievement of humanity. And it demonstrates why a global scientific community, outside of political control and with free access to information and communication, is one of humanity's greatest achievements, and it makes me very optimistic for the future. The scientists will make us win Coronavirus. Even if the politicians are fucking everything up as they are.
Anita Posch [00:40:52] Yeah, the nerds are our heroes.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:40:55] The nerds are our heroes and they will be able to save us.
Anita Posch [00:41:00] So let's come to an end, Andreas. Are you going to do online keynotes like you always did when you were on tour? Those spontaneous keynote talks, or do we have to miss them out?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:41:14] Yeah, it's very difficult because I'm trying to pivot my entire model for producing content.
You know, the thing is that when I do talks on stage, I do these improvisational talks where I speak with passion and I speak about topics that interest me, a lot of that has to do with the energy of the audience. It's almost impossible to do that. Sitting in a room alone in front of a camera, I think I'm going to do a lot more content. That is of a different nature.
I'm going to be doing a lot more. Q and A. I'm working on a different formats, which is more education focused more about training for skills and workshop style, which I'm hoping to launch soon. And I may do some keynotes for conferences, but I don't know that they will translate into great content. We'll have to see how it goes.
Anita Posch [00:42:07] Okay. And where can people find and follow you?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:42:13] aantonop dot com on the Web and aantonop on Twitter and aantonop on YouTube.
Most of the work I do is free, open source and available to mash up and reused and ranslated in multiple languages.
Anita Posch [00:42:27] So basically, I could go and take your content and translate it and also push it out on my own channel.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:42:36] And charge people for it. You can even exploit it commercially. You could translate it into German. You could put it to song. You could perform it on stage. You could make a music video out of it? Absolutely, absolutely.
Anita Posch [00:42:46] Maybe I dance. I dance to it maybe.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:42:50] I am a very, very strong proponent of open culture and open knowledge sharing, and I use Creative Commons licenses in order to make sure that the work can be shared as broadly as possible, and that it can be reused. And creatively composed into new things. I'll tell you, there are tons of music videos, surprisingly, that have been done with my words in the background.
Or people make comedic parodies of my talks and joke videos and memes and things like that. To me, that's a symbol of a healthy community and culture. Growing up around Bitcoin.
We need a lot more than just scientists, developers, software engineers in this space, we need musicians and painters and sculptors and dancers and performers and every possible human expression around this.
Anita Posch [00:43:49] That's true. Thank you very much. Andreas, stay safe. We need your talks and your content and all the best to you.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos [00:43:57] As always. Anita, thank you so much has been a lot of fun. I think we got some great results and thank you all for your support on Thank you, Anita, for your support over these years. It's absolutely something that I couldn't do this work without all of the people in the community who support me. Thank you.
Anita Posch [00:44:16] Thanks. Bye. That's it for today. I hope you'll join me again next week.