Andreas Antonopoulos, the newly minted Chief Security Officer at Blockchain.info, went on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast Monday to talk about Bitcoin.
That’s a bigger deal than it sounds. Rogan’s podcast is one of the most listened-to in the iTunes podcast store — at least in the American market — with hundreds of thousands of listeners. Rogan’s clout essentially makes him a king-maker in certain communities, and it was to these communities that Antonopolous spent nearly three hours speaking about Bitcoin.
Here are a few highlights from the podcast, which can be streamed here.
Antonopolous, on getting people to understand Bitcoin:
“[E]ven in computer science, the idea of getting distributed computers to agree upon something without cheating, we thought that problem couldn't be solved. Until 2008, when the invention behind BTC solved that problem and created a new way of doing money.
“It's going to take a lot of time to understand it, primarily because [people] don't understand money as it is today. They don't understand how banks work. They don't understand how the Federal Reserve creates money. They don't understand a debt-based system for money.”
Antonopolous, on criticisms about Bitcoin’s value:
“All of the currencies in the world are created based on the productive capacity of the country and the legal system. They have value because you pay your taxes in them. They just float freely in exchange rates.”
Rogan was blown away to learn that Antonopolous was paid in Bitcoin:
Rogan: “How do you pay your rent?”
Antonopolous: “I convert some of it to dollars to pay my landlord until I can persuade them to take Bitcoin directly. It won't take that long because every time I pay in dollars, I say, 'Would you rather take Bitcoin?'”
Then, Rogan audibly gasped at this line:
“The Bitcoin network today is bigger than the world's top several hundred supercomputers combined. It's the largest single computing experiment on the Internet ever.”
That led to this key exchange:
Rogan: “What's using more Internet juice, Bitcoin or porn?”
Antonopolous: “At the moment, Bitcoin.”
Rogan: “THAT'S NOT POSSIBLE, SON! YOU'RE TALKING CRAZY!”
Antonopolous later shared his vision for Bitcoin’s role in countries with dysfunctional economies (emphasis mine):
“There are another 2 billion who have a basic bank account. Then there's the rest of them. The giant majority of the population on this planet has very limited access to banking, very limited access to international finance, to lending, to capital, to the ability to even change their money to another currency. And so Bitcoin is so much more important to them.
“I call this the Other Six Billion. Just keep the focus on the Other Six Billion because for the billion it might be a fad, but for the Other Six Billion, this is an opportunity to change the way we deal with poverty, and to change the way we unite the economic system on the planet, which is a whole other level of conversation.
“We look at Bitcoin and we think of it as just money, but it's not just money for the Internet. Money for the Internet is what it does, and it does it very well. But it's the Internet of money. And it allows people at the edge, by downloading just a simple application, to join an economy, and then to hold their money without any state or corporation being able to steal it from them or inflate it out of value and destroy their children's future.”
Rogan admitted that he had his mind blown a few times:
“This is way more sophisticated than I thought it was. I thought it was a bunch of dorks running around with fake, [expletive] Dungeons & Dragons money.”
Later, on Reddit, Antonopolous summed up his experience of doing a three-hour podcast:
“That was one of the most genuinely fun and simultaneously excruciatingly difficult interviews I've done so far.”