Cointelegraph caught up with independent journalist and podcast host David Seaman to talk about the Bitcoin blocksize debate, BitLicense exodus, altcoins and gaming, as well as what bitcoin needs to break out of its current price slump.
“[W]hen millennials … start accepting Bitcoin as payment for wages and freelance labor, as is already happening in some circles ... that's the day banks are really screwed.”
Cointelegraph: Picking up from our last interview. Has the mainstream media become more informed and balanced in its coverage of bitcoin?
David Seaman: I think so overall. The media will get excited about Bitcoin again when the price demands attention. It's not exciting or sexy at the moment. They want either a train wreck to report on or a rags to riches story for Bitcoin users.
CT: What’s your take on the exodus of crypto-companies leaving New York after the BitLicense was introduced? What’s your opinion on Ben Lawsky’s alleged cronyism?
DS: It’s good they're leaving. I can't believe what New York did. Had a bureaucrat who was really supposed to be there to regulate BIG BANKS instead serving subpoenas to all these start-up Bitcoin entrepreneurs in his state and making everyone fear what this legislation would look like, then the final legislation does come out and it completely sucks.
“Getting different expensive licenses from all 50 states to add a ‘Bitcoin accepted’h ere jpg to your business site should be completely anathema to every player in crypto[.]”
If we allow one state government the insane Alice in Wonderland luxury of being able to charge licenses for what amounts to international open source software development and p2p grassroots money, that's a really scary precedent. Getting different expensive licenses from all 50 states to add a "Bitcoin accepted" here jpg to your business site should be completely anathema to every player in crypto, from indifferent day trader to startup to Coinbase.
CT: The Bitcoin block size debate has divided the community. What side are you on? What’s your opinion on Bitcoin XT and will Bitcoin overcome this challenge?
DS: I don't really have a side. If the math dictates we'll need larger blocksize soon, the community should accept that and plan for the future. What's really troubling is how this was handled. It was a PR debacle. Everything Bitcoin does these days is becoming a PR debacle. It shows a level of incompetence. Some claim there's some bad code in XT that lessens the user privacy potential of the Bitcoin protocol. Also a mod of /r/bitcoin, who also runs bitcointalk.org, took it upon himself to censor all discussion of XT from the Bitcoin subreddit. That doesn't sit well with people who came to crypto in the first place because they were sick of strangers telling them what to do and what they can post about on the Internet.
CT: Will the next global financial crisis propel bitcoin and cryptcurrency into the mainstream?
CT: Why do you think bitcoin price is currently stagnant and stuck well below 300?
DS: Wish I knew. I think there's a significant amount of downward pressure on the price daily, due to Bitcoin's algorithm and the coin mining schedule itself. Investors need to pick up a million dollars of coin per day for the price just to remain stable, so Bitcoin is stuck in that chicken and egg dilemma it's been in to varying degrees from day one.
“If you bet on yourself and you're a good player, you now have a source of income. From your video game habit.”
CT: Bitcoin and other crypto like Hyper are increasingly being used in gaming. What will gaming be like in 5, 10 years?
DS: It’s going to be amazing. Really something. Microbetting on outcomes of online multiplayer games, Hyper and Bitcoin already have that actually; if you bet on yourself and you're a good player, you now have a source of income. From your video game habit. In 5 years a blackjack table winning in Macau will be instantly transmittable and interoperable with millions of crypto-accepting businesses throughout China and the rest of the world. Within minutes, the winnings from that table in Macau could be on a cocktail waitress' smartphone in Vegas as a tip she received, it could be in a parking meter, or it could find itself back in the massive online gaming communities that will exist by then.
Skip ahead ten years, these currencies that are still in use by then will have changed hands so many millions of times throughout so many countries that the notion of someone owning a "full" Bitcoin or Litecoin or Hyper might seem kind of unreal to your average person. Because people will be thinking in smaller denominations by then. The velocity of currency is going to be insane. Hyper's creator has told me he sees gaming currency as a "rhizome." There's going to be no beginning nor end, it will just be demand everywhere, these currencies will be the roots and pretty soon they're gonna start sucking up a lot of water.
“The gaming network Hyper runs is now accessible to anyone who holds Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, or 40 other coins. This is how cryptoeconomies will grow: stop competing and just make everything interoperable.”
CT: You’re a big believer in the importance of altcoins. How has the altcoin market changed since we last spoke and are there any coins you’re particularly excited about?
DS: Erik Voorhees' Shapeshift.io excites me, based in Switzerland outside the predatory grasp of provincial governments trying to grapple with how they should "deal with the Bitcoin thing" -- funny that's the default reaction to any potentially freeing innovation today: How do we slow this down? How do we license it? How do we keep the average person far away from it?
Anyway, Shapeshift is great because when a coin like Hyper gets added to their system, as happened recently, it's now in a different ecosystem, a bigger network. The gaming network Hyper runs is now accessible to anyone who holds Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, or 40 other coins. This is how cryptoeconomies will grow: stop competing and just make everything interoperable.
Markets are 24/7/365 and mostly still unregulated so price discovery is happening. Let the users decide what these things are worth. And something like Shapeshift provides a way for all that to happen because I don't think your average user wants to spend all day on Bittrex watching charts. They heard about Litecoin in the news and they want some quickly. That's what Shapeshift solves, too.
As far as individual coins go, my tastes change so frequently due to how the market is evolving. Privacy is out, gaming is in. Old is sexy, and the developer matters. Generally speaking, I think Hyper and Litecoin are the two that will most impress anyone entering the alt market for the first time today. I see both being around in the market for a long time.
CT: Financial crisis aside, what’s the best way to introduce people to cryptocurrencies?
DS: Tipping someone on Twitter or Reddit using ChangeTip is a great way to be a nice human to someone, and incidentally might start that person's cryptocurrency "Inception" hahaha. Your tip could send them into a night of Googling about Bitcoin, eventually leading them to buy a coin or two on Coinbase. Speaking of which, Coinbase's retooled referral program is great. If you have a following of some kind, you can earn some extra coins quickly by spreading the word about Coinbase -- this obviously helps crypto awareness too. But it's nice to be paid for your efforts when one of your referrers buys a coin!
“Netflix didn't need to roll out an ‘adoption guide’ for Blockbuster executives, and crypto doesn't need to worry about bank adoption anymore.”
CT: What do you think about big banks like Citi researching and developing their own crypto coins? Where do you stand with regards to permissioned/permission-less ledgers?
DS: The banks are idiots. Netflix didn't need to roll out an "adoption guide" for Blockbuster executives, and crypto doesn't need to worry about bank adoption anymore. They had their chance and laughed when crypto could have used the credibility boost. Now, to be a blockchain-less financial house soon won't make much sense to the world. And when millennials and whoever else start accepting Bitcoin as payment for wages and freelance labor, as is already happening in some circles... that's the day banks are really screwed.
Because when you're paid in bitcoin and your coffee shop and landlord gladly take the top cryptos -- that's THE DAY banks are really screwed. By then they will have a bit of a crypto thirst, too! We forget these currencies ARE deflationary. Satoshi was a noble guy, I think, but he didn't intend for himself or his users to be locked in eternal poverty. Sooner or later, the bum rush happens, and the banks still alive by then will surely "get" crypto at that point. But their opinion just won't matter all that much. I don't ask the post office how to format an email.
CT: How has ChangeTip been treating you? Are you still a fan or do you have a new favorite app?
DS: ChangeTip is great. Victoria has really done a lot to keep their company in touch with what the community wants, and as a result ChangeTip is becoming a very useful Swiss army knife.