Bitcoin Q&A: Social good, legality, and adoption


[AUDIENCE] My name is Daniel. First of all,
thank you for coming out here. I am a big fan. I really enjoy your talk on Let’s Talk Bitcoin,
it is inspiring. So, thank you. My question is, I am running the ‘Blockchain For A Good Society’ meetup
here in Korea. [ANDREAS] The ‘Blockchain For…’? [AUDIENCE] … A Good Society.’ We have a committee of
people who believe that blockchain is a very useful tool. It can solve the social problems that exist today,
impact and improve the lives of the 99% in the world. We have been discussing how Bitcoin and
blockchains enable women’s rights in Afghanistan. We have been talking about the UN and WFP…
[ANDREAS] Is there a question? [AUDIENCE] Yes, sorry. I was wondering if you could
share your thoughts on any use cases you’ve seen… where blockchain technology has improved or impacted
people’s lives. We are running out of [stories] to share. [ANDREAS] There aren’t that many. We must
be realistic. There are a few great examples, such as the [organization Code To Inspire], which
paid women in Afghanistan to do coding, with crypto. It is a great story. It didn’t last very long, because
it was difficult to introduce that level of technology… into that society. Of course, if a [use case] is working well,
then you [might not] even hear about it. Think about it this way. Let’s say I am a 13-year-old
Saudi girl who is about to marry a 55-year-old man. I want to get the hell out of that country
as quickly as possible, to avoid that future. After I have managed to escape through
the help of organizations and friends, who smuggled money [to help me escape] using bitcoin,
[what is the first thing I do]? Hold a press conference? Tell everyone how bitcoin [helped me] do it? Uh, no.
That may cause some problems for everyone involved. No. Everyone will keep very quiet about it.
I know of several cases with people leaving Venezuela. They used bitcoin to escape. One of my good
friends hires software developers in Venezuela. After every three or four months, he needs to find
new software developers, because the previous ones… used the bitcoin he paid them with to get themselves
and members of their family out of the country. He finds new ones, and then they get out of the country.
He finds new ones again, they get out of the country… He estimates they’ve [helped] more than 300 people
leave Venezuela, just by paying them in bitcoin to code. Which is amazing. But they will not publicize that
more broadly, right? We can’t give specific examples. That doesn’t work. Bottom line: this is [what neutrality as a principle is for]. [Helping] someone who is legally prohibited from
owning money or property, in about a dozen countries. Women are prohibited from owning property
and using bank accounts [in Afghanistan]. The reason is, in those countries, women
are property. Property can’t own property. They are all owned by their [fathers], and then
transferred, in a sale called marriage, to a husband. In those kinds of situations, the neutrality
principle of [Bitcoin and open blockchains]… [helps] creates a situation where people can own money
even when they are prohibited from owning money. There is another thing you must be careful about. In general, when we have these conversations [about
social good in repressive countries], we must realize… that what we are talking about is illegal, right? Maybe not here, but what we are talking about is
illegal there. I believe Korean women can own money? Yes, very good. Here, it is not illegal. There, it is. You must make a very important personal choice about
the serious distinction between ‘illegal’ and ‘immoral.’ Many things in life are illegal and moral.
Not just moral, but moral obligations. Many things in life are legal and absolutely immoral.
Like selling cluster bombs to the Saudis. Legal. Profitable. Highly celebrated [by authorities]
and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Moral? You decide. There is a very big
difference between legality and morality. Morality is a personal thing,
deciding what is right and wrong. Legality is what one society, not all societies, decides
is right and wrong. Each one has different laws. Sometimes society is wrong
and moral people oppose it. I have absolutely no problem with breaking the law
[for social good] when it comes to [open] blockchains. I think we have a moral obligation to break the law.
Not all laws, some laws. The immoral ones. Make that important distinction. Sometimes
it is better not to talk about these use cases. Sometimes it is better to build them,
rather than advertise them. “Bitcoin adoption outside first-world economies.” “Hi, Andreas. I know from listening to your talks that
you spend a lot of time traveling to parts of the world… that could really benefit from Bitcoin,
addressing problems like lack of access to banking… or escaping currencies with high inflation.” “In your experience, talking to
people in places like Argentina, what are the key problems to adoption?” “Do you see progress being made to address these
problems? For instance, the absence of fiat on-ramps?” “Is LocalBitcoins still the only route into crypto for
most people? Is it lack of knowledge about Bitcoin?” “A combination of all these things and more?” It is a combination of all these things and more.
[We need to be] building basic infrastructure. Building wallets that are easy to use securely,
[that calculate fees intelligently] when fees are high, that use the new technologies and powerful
features that exist in each blockchain, [such as]… replace-by-fee (RBF) and Child-Pays-For-Parent (CPFP)
fee management techniques, or SegWit addresses. Further, Lightning wallets with payment
channels and [new capabilities] like that. [We need] infrastructure for exchanging and ATMs. [We need] local meetups, community organizations,
and other opportunities to meet people face to face. LocalBitcoins was great, but it is not the only way
to meet people willing to buy and sell [anymore]. There are many options for
over-the-counter transactions. [We need] education [to spread] knowledge of Bitcoin,
especially in languages [other than English]. One of [my primary] efforts is having
[my work] translated into Spanish. For example, the subtitles to my videos.
These efforts are important [for education]. A lot of documentation, articles, and
applications are still only in English. If you are working in developing economies,
you will need to address other languages, Spanish being the biggest one of course.
Also French and other local languages.

18 thoughts on “Bitcoin Q&A: Social good, legality, and adoption”

  1. I really appreciate the perspective Andreas shares, I'm originality from Argentina, i've seen the economy not work many times.
    What I don't understand is why Bitcoin hadn't gained way more traction there yet.

  2. i heard local bitcoin stopped operating in some country because of that countries laws. are they not decentralized, but actually a company??

  3. Why not put ads on these videos so that they get recommended by the youtube algorithms and more people see and hear this knowledge. If it's a problem that you would directly make money of these videos then just donate the money or something. These videos would get roughly 50% more views on average if you just turned the ads on so I don't see why not turn them on

  4. Amazingly honest talk about immoral laws. I mean many people say the same things, but not many are public figures. Usually well known personalities only imply these things. Very good job.

  5. Basic morality is not using force to steal value.. that value could be stealing someone's life (murder), stealing their body (rape, taxes), stealing their property (property tax). Voluntary interaction is moral, defending against theft is moral.."law" is just death threats, that's all law is.. got a problem? The government gang's answer (any government) is to threaten death. There are usually a million and one solutions before you would ever have to threaten death, but that's not what government does.. government passes "laws" which are just death threats.

  6. Andreas, PLEEEEESE go to the Buffet luncheon. Do it for all of us, your devoted followers, beyond all other excuses not to go. SPEAK for us, as we hold you accountable for opportunities like this!

  7. Your podcast with Rogan and your books have changed my life for the better….mahalo from the bottom of my heart.

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