well thank you very much. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Good to be joining this kind of cult meeting in the temple here We’re having the sacrificial dinner tonight. Rather than start with [Noriel Raviel 00:00:19] let me start with the great 1960’s comedian Bob Newhart. anyone remember him? And his sketch about Sir Walter Raleigh bringing back the first consignment of tobacco and he’s speaking to someone who’s sponsored his voyage. He’s saying: “You do what with it? Walt, you roll it up? And then what do you with it after you roll it up. What do you do, do you stick it in your ear? No? You stick it between your lips and then you set fire to it? Are you kidding me, Walt?” So this is a bit like that. So what? You roll it up and set fire to it? I mean, in three or four hundred years time, what you’re saying might somehow have entered the real world and become the norm. But right now you would have to take a couple of months in an asylum and then come back and watch a video of yourself doing that and realize just how completely bonkers most of it sounds. I’m sorry to say, really. I’ve described this in the spectators being the sphere of the dope-smoker, affluent, libertarian, anarch, capitalist and I see that that’s not at all a fair description of this crowd here this morning. But you know- Do I get to respond to this? Yes you do in a moment, but let’s just get to the end of a paragraph here. [inaudible 00:01:41], I promise. Here you are. You create something that is extremely volatile in price. That attracts lots of gamblers. Without wishing to make too broad a characterization, of course North Asia is where most of the activity is. So not surprising that the, supposed founder or founders of Bitcoin should adopt a Japanese pseudo name because it’s really, if I think back over my 43 years 43 years in financial markets or writing about them, observing them, this is so like so many previous cults and waves of delusion, greed, risk-taking, being wrapped up in some in some smart smart ideological language. That’s where I start. No, I, uh- I could warm up a bit of you let me go on. Why don’t we take that as your opening statement? Alright I don’t want to run to a rash conclusion, but I get the feeling you might not be entirely in favor of it. But let me get a general reaction from you to what you’ve heard. I think this is just a simple nocoiner confusion. The guy hasn’t read anything beyond what Nouriel Roubini rambles on the internet, so he- I read your book! Clearly you haven’t. I should’ve tried reading the Turkish edition really, but I did read it. Clearly you would’ve understood equally as much. But the point is this. Clearly he mistakes the Bitcoin protocol for the Bitcoin exchanges. And this is as silly as thinking that if your dollars get stolen from your pocket, then the US Federal Reserve has been compromised. And for all of your racist stereotyping of Japanese, putting that aside for a minute, it’s a global phenomenon where people all over the world are getting into this kind of thing. And the reason is because there is profit to be made from this, because we’re witnessing the monetization of an asset. In ten years it’s gone from zero to more than a hundred billion dollars. That’s going to be volatile. A lot of money is going to be made on the rises and the losses and that’s natural. But of course, as a high-time preference Keynesian, he cannot understand the idea that people might talk about something, not about the next quarterly-earnings or the next interest-rate meeting. So you know, as long as I can’t deliver this Bitcoin standard to him completely operational and functional within the next five weeks or so, then this is maybe in three, four hundreds years, or something like that. Likely it won’t be during your lifetime where the world gets rid of all these currencies, but you know what, many of us will still be around and we will have to deal with the consequences of what your monetary system and your over-indulgent 20th century excess of credit and war and garbage has left us as a society. By god, we’re going to clean it up. Well, so this is going well isn’t it? This is This is making the Brexit debate sound almost civilized. Let’s think back to when the so-called Mr Satoshi Nakamoto is busy writing his piece of software and his famous white paper and so on, the world was having an economic crisis. It was propped up by the imperfect mechanisms of quantitative easing of ultra low interest rates and so on. That big, huge, biggest ever government in central bank intervention actually did what it said on the ten. No, this is like the arsonists who take credit for- And all this time you guys are out there, inventing this piece of horseshit to replace it. No, no, no, this is like the arsonists who take credit for taking down the fire because he was the first on scene. You’re not the first on scene because you’re the first fireman. You’re the arsonist. This financial system would not have blown up without central bank’s- I knew you would say that. Of course! How do financial markets collapse? Queenstown left the window open, you lot burgled it. That’s all.
Speaker 2: 05:24 No, not me. There’s no lot. he point is this: Yes, Bitcoin may be the ideological money of anarch capitalists, dope-smokers now. But the point is that government bureaucrats and coke-headed bankers and their little bureaucrats in the Bank of England, now face competition. They had gotten away with many decades, maybe even centuries of just using their monopoly position and that your role of governments used to monopoly force, to enforce their monopoly of money. Now we have a serious competitor. Tell us about the fork that created Bitcoin cash. I mean that’s a whole another layer of Bitcoin isn’t it? hat just, some of you people decide you wanted more Bitcoin to play with so you created some more and then you pulled out of a fork and you say our original Bitcoin that’s still pure. Immaculate conception. No, Bitcoin Cash and all the other out coins are an IQ test. And basically if you fall for them, you’ve failed. So your position, is because there are plenty other cryptocurrencies around, you don’t like them. I think your position is it’s my way or the highway. It’s Bitcoin or shit-coin. Precisely, yes! Thank you! But hold on- The way I would like to put it is that Bitcoin has a chance of succeeding, none of the others do. Bitcoin is the first money we’ve ever invented that is harder than gold which is why I find it immensely interesting. Even if it fails, it’s an astonishing economic experiment. and you don’t feel that Bitcoin, as you describe it, as this only hard currency will simply be overwhelmed by the growth of hundreds, thousands of alt- currencies because that’s where the money is to be made be fine for wacko-academics like you to stay glued to the original immaculate conception of Bitcoin but all these guys out here just want to make money. That’s true. And they want the things that are even more volatile. They want to be in on the ICO scam. That’s an excellent question. But you see, we live in an easy money environment, because it’s easy to get loans. You can borrow money to buy a god damn TV. So you can always get easy money. Well, what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with that is that, well nothing is wrong with that as long you find someone to lend you the money. But when the bank creates the money out of thin air, then it forces everybody that uses that currency to finance your TV. But the growth of debt, and the ability of people to borrow has resulted in massive increase in global living standards. The growth in prosperity and the reduction poverty around the world has come about not because the central banks of the world have printed more money otherwise Venezuela would be the richest country in the world today. It has come about because of technology, because of capital accumulation and because, what drives that is hard sound money. And that’s why the 19th century was a far more prosperous and peaceful time than the 20th century. Absolutely. You know, we got to send kids up chimneys as well and kept them out of trouble so we could clean them. Did them a world of good if you ask me. (laughs) We could say, yeah. I didn’t want to ask you because I feel that would be your answer. I think a reader in the room, James Hugh, may you here stick your hand up, there you are, hi, how are you, wrote to me to say Venezuelans love Bitcoin. Well of course they may do because its chaos in their country. What’s really important is democracy and the rule of law and what you’re talking about is something which defies democracy because you think it’s smarter than actual democracy. What people reveal in stupid popularity contests called elections is nothing next to the importance of what they reveal with their actions in the market. No, this idea that Bitcoin’s rise has to be destructive economically I think is a very big misconception. Very few people hold significant amounts of wealth in their government Very few people have a lot of cash hidden up. Very few people have a lot of their percentage of their wealth in cash. So if the value of cash collapses, or people shift from one money standard to another, the amount of losses are not going to be that important because we’re not going to witness the collapse of the Pound, and then stand around with no alternative. If Bitcoin continues to grow, it’ll grow one user at a time, shifting from the Pound to Bitcoin and that reduces demand for the Pound. But the other side of it is that it also reduces the supply of Pounds, because fewer and fewer people working with the banking system which will create fewer and fewer Pounds.
Sure as eggs, one of these days there will be another financial crisis. It’s going to be driven by greed and delusion and excessive volumes and trading. Greed and delusion are always [crosstalk 00:09:49] And guess what, next time round it may well be in the cryptocurrency zone and the pure Bitcoin may still be there. But the cryptocurrency zone will have grown enormous. It will cause some sort of crash and guess what? Central banks will have to intervene, governments will have to intervene and everybody will be briefly a Keynesian again except you, and you’ll be banged up in the Bitcoin asylum. They can’t intervene. This is the thing that people don’t get. Relics from the 20th century still haven’t gotten the idea. They still think- That’s what I am, a relic of the 20th century.
Yes, exactly. I’ll accept that label. They don’t understand this notion that if if all of this cryptocurrency, shit-coin industrial complex collapses, nobody can come bail people out with Bitcoin. I just want to get some more questions. Have you got a hand up or are you just waving? Yeah, right well keep your hand up And then there’s a gentleman up there, keep your hand up the chap in the shirt. Yes sir? Do you see Bitcoin as, is it possible for it to coexist with easy money as a sort of store of value and fiat can be used as the media of exchange?
They could coexist in the short run and by short run, in my book that’s fifty, one hundred, one hundred fifty years or so. But I think in the long run, I can’t see how any other currency will hold demand, will hold value, when it’s useless as a store of value for demand. The only thing that gives currency value is the fact that people want to hold it in cash balances. That’s what gives it value. The fact that you want to go to bed tonight with this cash in your pocket so that tomorrow you can buy it for whatever you want. But as long as we have Venezuelas, and Zimbabwes and Turkeys and Argentinas and all of these countries destroying their currencies. As long as we have the IMF and the World Bank advising these countries on how to destroy their currencies in a sustainable manner so they continue doing it and milking them of debt money over time. As long as we have that, Bitcoin demand is just going to continue to rise. That’s how I see it. We’re witnessing a genuine, grass-roots alternative to central banking emerging, That’s why the subtitle of my book is the decentralized alternative to central banking. And now yes, it is volatile but it works and doesn’t have [crosstalk 00:11:58] It’s so volatile that you simply can’t imagine it as a reserve asset. What sensible institution would hold a thing that goes to twenty thousand dollars and down to six thousand- We’re still at the very early stages of it. It took a lot of time to build the economic system. It’s going to take a lot of time to build Bitcoin. Effectively, what’s happening is that all of these second layer solutions are going to be developed on top of Bitcoin over time and that’s just going to lead to more and more payments in Bitcoin being settled on the second layer rather than on the first layer and that’s how Bitcoin can scale. My answer to the gentleman’s question from the back is that I think there will be a continuing explosion of the cryptocurrency world for some time to come in which BitCoin will shrink. The interesting thing is what happens in the next recession, when people have less stupid money to gamble. That’s, I think, the real test. What’s going to happen then? Will Bitcoin behave like a gambling asset or a [crosstalk 00:12:48] asset? Hold that thought, because we’re not in easy time zone here. I’m keeping us to time. The final session will involve everybody up here, including our dynamic duo. We also do kids birthday parties. We really going to take the hand brake off. The Statler and Hilton of the Muppet show, we’ve got them here. We take a break, but before you go, before you dash off for your coffee, we’ll see you back in twenty minutes. For a great round of applause for our panel though.