David Seaman is an independent journalist who has been advocating for civil liberties and the rollback of the unconstitutional post-911, surveillance-state measures such as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and Patriot Act. David hosts one of the most popular news podcasts on iTunes called the David Seaman Hour.
In the media, David has been an energetic voice in favor of digital payment innovation, entrepreneurship, and protection of our Constitutional rights. He is also a huge proponent of cryptocurrencies and has even advised viewers to "go out and buy some Dogecoin" on RT. He has been a guest on CNN Headline News, FOX News, ABC News Digital, Coast to Coast, the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, The Young Turks and elsewhere. His opinions and articles frequently appear on Business Insider.
Cointelegraph: As an experienced and opinionated journalist who has appeared on CNN, FOX News, ABC, RT America, just to name a few, do you think the media is doing an adequate job right now of informing the public on cryptocurrencies?
David Seaman: No, I don't think the media is doing a sufficient job. This is one of the most important developments ever and they are treating it as tabloid fare—"Who is Satoshi?" type angles, the Mt. Gox fiasco, etc. With that said, Bitcoin has broken through in national media circles and it is regularly talked about on CNBC and Bloomberg during quite serious panels, which is incredible when you think about it.
Mainstream media resistance to new ideas can be pretty severe, and with Bitcoin, it's just not there. I think the superficial coverage will lessen over time as more outlets treat Bitcoin as what it is: a radically new financial instrument, and not as some kind of sequel to "The Social Network."
“Banking, in a post-blockchain world, is one of the most vulnerable industries imaginable.”
CT: When reporting on Bitcoin, what would you like the media to focus on?
DS: How this makes banks and remittance services effectively obsolete. Someone transferred, what, US$85 million over the blockchain the other day and that transaction cost the sending party 4 cents, and it was delivered and funds settled within 10 minutes.
At one point, Blockbuster was an invincible part of suburban American life, an institution of sorts. Netflix came along—at first it was considered a tech bubble freak show, unrealistic. But before you knew it, Netflix's unbeatable economics began to eat into Blockbuster, and locations had to close up shop. Then, with little fanfare, Blockbuster itself eventually went out of business.
That day is coming for banks and bank branches in the United States. Banking, in a post-blockchain world, is one of the most vulnerable industries imaginable. And the more they attempt to smear a 100% open-source technology that has 100% transaction transparency literally built into its source code, the more trouble we know they're in.
“The potential occupier who instead convinces his parents to pick up a handful of Bitcoins on the open market is probably doing more to damage ‘the banks’ than attending any protest could.”
CT: Bitcoin was not on the radar back in 2011 during the occupy movement. But given the recent protests across the country, do you think cryptocurrencies can serve as a potentially powerful P2P funding tool for Occupy 2.0?
DS: I think technology changes the world more than activism can in many cases. I'm a podcaster not because some great revolution was won and the government granted us rights to special airwaves alongside the corporate networks. Instead, what I do is thanks to rather mundane advancements in technology, development of the RSS feed, the commercial success of the iPod. The potential occupier who instead convinces his parents to pick up a handful of Bitcoins on the open market is probably doing more to damage "the banks" than attending any protest could.
CT: You recently appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast, where you suggested that most of the world’s problems stem from the way money is created and controlled. Therefore, in your view, can cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin enable greater freedom for the global population?
DS: Yes. Bitcoin is a true black swan event, and unless there is some global adjustment-bureau type entity capable of erasing all of our memories concerning Bitcoin, and traveling back in time to thwart Satoshi's invention, it is safe to say it is here to stay.
It's here to stay precisely because it gives so many disparate parties something new they've always wanted—Bitcoin has libertarians, Silicon Valley billionaires, Chinese tech moguls, activists, and even the national security community all more or less on the same page. That doesn't happen often!
Coinbase recently hired a former Homeland Security adviser to the US Senate. How often does a technology come along that has Homeland Security types and contributors to Wikileaks equally enraptured? The one thing pleasantly missing from the roster of Bitcoin detractors are successful or politically well-connected people.
CT: What is your view of the recently proposed NY Bitlicense regulation for cryptocurrencies in the state, and what do you think about regulating Bitcoin in general? Is it technologically feasible?
DS: You know, at the higher echelons of corporate and "national security" power, Bitcoin has already been given a pass—both in the United States and the UK. Even in China, one of the most oppressive and censored of world powers, Bitcoin is flourishing to a large extent, although Chinese media doesn't seem to be covering this much.
“You don't regulate the gold rush before the gold rush.”
So for local or state government chieftains anywhere in the world to impose restrictions on something that is fundamentally the Internet's creation, and not theirs—that's going to look increasingly ridiculous and unacceptable to consumers there. From informal discussions with Bitcoin entrepreneurs, I can tell you there's already a sense of, "We don't want to do business in NYC. We'll locate in California or Texas instead." Because no one—no one—wants to risk jail time for playing with some digital tokens and trying to make the world a better place.
And with any industry where growth is actually logarithmic, for a state or province to shut itself out of the cryptocurrency game so early on can be disastrous for jobs, economic growth and political careers only a few months or years down the line. You don't regulate the gold rush before the gold rush.
CT: You’re also a frequent ChangeTip user. If this is not Bitcoin’s killer app, then what is?
DS: It's the first of many. Bitcoin can and will be used to democratize online dating platforms, content delivery, and eventually media itself.
CT: As far as the crypto space goes, what are you most excited about right now? What do you hope to see in the future, and do you have any plans to become a Bitcoin entrepreneur yourself?
DS: I am excited about the social tipping craze. The best way to join the Bitcoin cult is to drink the Kool-Aid: actually start using the coins. And very quickly, much of how banks do things appears to be a charmingly antiquated scene from Mad Men. Social tipping is great for accomplishing that.
“I wish all Bitcoiners would share my interest in alts, because it's also the last line of defense, the ultimate decentralization of decentralized money.”
I guess I already am a Bitcoin entrepreneur in the sense that I've been helping out an altcoin with some of their PR plans. I take some heat for talking about the alt market on my show often. I think Bitcoiners hate that because they see alts as trash. And they're 80% right. There is plenty of trash within the Wild West of alts. But they are overlooking a few, maybe only a couple, very significant projects.
The one I'm helping, for example, is pursuing markets Bitcoin seems to have no interest or aptitude for. And alts are a unique use case for Bitcoin, something fiat just cannot do well; I have to buy Bitcoin to buy an alt quickly. I see it as spending a little of my Bitcoin on software projects that I think should thrive and evolve. And then following the wild fluctuations is fun, because it's like the super-leveraged version of holding Bitcoin.
I wish all Bitcoiners would share my interest in alts, because it's also the last line of defense, the ultimate decentralization of decentralized money. If, on the off chance, Bitcoin is one day destroyed or kneecapped, its peers in the alt market can pick up the slack instantly. One way or another, cryptocurrency is the future. If I believed in airlines back in the day, and even if I really liked Pan Am, it would probably be a good idea to own other airline stocks ... just, you know, in case Pan Am isn't around one day in the distant future.
Make no mistake, though, Bitcoin is still where I have most of my confidence. The network effect is going to be undeniable pretty soon. Thanks for the interview.
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