Bitcoin is economics. Economics can be brutal. Therefore could Bitcoin be brutal, too?
Time to ask someone who is not afraid to answer that. CoinGeek’s Michael Wehrmann caught up with Kevin Pham for an interview.
Well known for his ruthless “truth bombs” on Twitter, Pham has been commenting on Bitcoin’s development and digital currencies in general for years. He is not only focusing on the economic and technological aspects of Bitcoin, but also exposes cult like movements, social media herd mentalities and political power grabbing in the digital asset sphere. It is quite an understatement to say Pham is not out there to make friends.
Hello Kevin! You have been hanging out at digital currency conferences wrapped up in a visible bulletproof vest. Kindly explain that.
Kevin Pham: I wear the vest to deter assassination attempts on myself and prominent BSV figureheads by members of rival Bitcoin fork tribes (BTC & BCH) for challenging the current Bitcoin orthodoxy.
As a former brainwashed BTC’er and Anarcho-Capitalist, I know the inner workings of these factions better than they do.
BTC’ers and BCH’ers are similar to Islamic extremist terrorist groups in that they’re religious zealots who believe they’re a chosen people destined to engage in holy war against evil governments and central bankers to save humanity; when in reality it’s all a psy-op perpetuated by a few Bitcoin elites to protect their ill-gotten gains.
Decentralization is the god they worship and leaders of rival cryptocurrencies are demonic single points of failure that should be struck down for “scamming innocent people” by promoting alternative implementations.
They believe this so much that they’ll actually resort to violence when they feel their place at the top of the Coinmarketcap rankings being threatened. This is evidenced by big blockers “swatting” Jameson Lopp during the UASF war, BTC’ers reporting Roger Ver to the CFTC when BCH almost flippened BTC, and spreading a hoax about Vitalik dying in a car accident to crash the price of ETH when its price came close to eclipsing BTC’s price.
I think it’s inevitable that BSV will flippen BTC one day. When that happens I believe an unhinged BTC investor who genuinely thinks BTC is a freedom movement undergoing a statist attack will try to take out a BSV “leader” to restore the “decentralized” order.
Which will prove to be a waste of time, as BSV doesn’t have leaders since the protocol was locked down to return power to the miners.
What is the next level after a bulletproof vest?
Kevin Pham: I’ll escalate my personal security based on the strength and resolve of my enemies, whom I can’t seem to stop making for some reason.
Considering you wear a bulletproof vest, is Bitcoin brutal?
Kevin Pham: I think Bitcoin seems brutal right now because the industry is very immature so you see a bunch of amateurs trolling each other publicly on social media.
I’m sure more mature industries where efficiencies are harder to come by are way more brutal, but you don’t notice because all the cut throat competition plays out behind the scenes.
Bitcoin also seems brutal right now because everyone is fighting over the same turf. Bitcoin’s explicit monetary incentives attracts sociopaths that just care about wealth and power so they steal and copy, instead of creative mission-driven types who’s unique innovations grow the pie for everyone.
As Bitcoin matures it will become incredibly brutal as it lays the groundwork for a highly inclusive economy where 7.5 billion people can theoretically enter the ring and start competing.
This amount of economic inclusion is unprecedented and will enable unprecedented levels of hyper-competition that will demand hyper-efficiency.
Creatives and consumers will love this, rent-seekers will hate this.
When the BCH/BSV split happened and the hash war occurred, you were confronted with death threats on social media. Why did the situation escalate back then, and how is it going nowadays?
Kevin Pham: I was calling out Peter McCormack on Twitter for libeling Craig Wright and some anarchist BCH’er got drunk or something and starting threatening to “return the favor” for “getting government guns involved.”
This validated my prediction that BSV rivals will resort to violence when threatened.
Most of the anarchists in BCH are simply naïve and amoral profit-driven drug addicts that believe all government and laws are bad. Now that I think of it, that’s the utopian Anarcho-Capitalist ideology in a nutshell.
When CZ from Binance threatened to delist Bitcoin SV, you tweeted:
Soon after that, Binance delisted Bitcoin SV. You were begging for it, even though back then there were not many that believed Bitcoin SV could survive without the exchanges. It is going great for Bitcoin SV though. What made you so sure back then?
Kevin Pham: I’ve been in the crypto space since 2013 and haven’t seen one real use case outside of exploiting regulatory arbitrage to traffic in illicit activity like gambling, unregulated day-trading, illegal security offerings, child pornography, and darknet markets.
The exchanges that enable this industry are fly by night operations run by nerds drunk on their first taste of power. These people do nothing but hold Bitcoin back in order to make money via illicit means. The faster we move on from these Bitcoin 1.0 characters the faster we can start adding real value for the world.
Bitcoin will soon experience its “Napster moment” when the law finally catches up to the technology and businesses that exist primarily by breaking the law will be shut down.
Daniel Krawisz, founder of the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute and prolific Bitcoin thinker, has shared his insights on biological signals in Bitcoin. When reading your tweet mentioned above, I get it: Bitcoin SV proponents send out “We don’t need you!” as a biological signal. You were among the first doing it. What are the next biological signals we should be sending out?
Kevin Pham: I wasn’t trying to send out a biological signal.
I honestly think CZ and Binance are holding the space back and the sooner we move on from them the better.
I think negging is manipulative and I don’t condone it.
In your opinion, what should be improved within Bitcoin SV—be it in technical or economic terms, with the community, and the Bitcoin SV proponents?
Kevin Pham: The tech and economics are fine as they were fine from the beginning, hence “setting the protocol in stone.”
Most of the community however is engaging in a huge circle jerk where BSV investors build products for other BSV investors. The products are usually direct rip-offs of existing free products but worse because you have to pay for them.
They’re basically saying “hey checkout this rip-off of Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, it’s great because unlike the original version we’re forcing you to pay for it!”
The only type of people that promote or use these products are underwater BSV investors that are desperate to validate their investment thesis.
These false-positives created by BSV investors mislead entrepreneurs into thinking their product is getting real world adoption when it isn’t.
It’s a circle jerk because no real progress is being made outside the community.
Circle jerks are fun until your wife takes the kids and leaves you because you wasted all your time and money pleasuring other dudes.
What are your thoughts on Bitcoin SV’s development?
Kevin Pham: Yes I’d say I’m disappointed. One thing I can’t stand is wasting time by repeating mistakes.
I’ve been in Bitcoin for over seven years now and mistakes I see being repeated in BSV are:
- Perverse incentives being created by people speculating on the price of the coin.
- Projects where people simply take existing free products and make them worse by lazily slapping on a Bitcoin paywall and calling it “innovation.”
- Overmarketed vaporware projects that take advantage of religious Bitcoiners’ need to believe by selling a narrative that their product will fundamentally transform society instead of simply solving a customer’s problem like a proper business.
- People gaming KPI’s like transaction volume in an attempt to attract attention and pump the price.
With BTC and BCH the KPI’s people tried to game were full node count and the number of Thai bars that accept BCH.
BSV isn’t a religion. BSV doesn’t change human nature. BSV doesn’t change Business 101. BSV is simply a tool.
Entrepreneurs simply need to focus on helping customers do something better, faster, or cheaper and only use BSV where it makes sense.
Which Bitcoin SV driven apps or services have you been using so far, and how has your experience with them been?
Kevin Pham: The only BSV apps I’ve been using regularly are TonicPow and HandCash. I had a huge debate and falling out with other BSV’ers over product strategy and economic theory. I found TonicPow to be the only company to agree with my contrarian thesis that BSV doesn’t kill advertising based business internet models but actually improves them.
TonicPow is also great in how simple it is. All you do is simply generate, copy, and paste a referral link on any site and it trustlessly pays you BSV whenever the link is clicked. When I post the link on Twitter I get paid when people (who don’t know they’re using Bitcoin) click on the link!
TonicPow pays out to my HandCash wallet which is another company I’m philosophically aligned with as they’re designing a product for normal people; not trying to make money by nickel and diming a crypto cargo cult.
It’s very satisfying making money by proving your contrarian thesis right in the real world.
What kind of Bitcoin SV dedicated service would actually help you in your daily life?
Kevin Pham: Not going to tell your readers so I can build it myself!
We see most BTCers only talk about price appreciation, whereas BSVers seem to avoid any price mentioning at all. Why?
Kevin Pham: Hypocrisy. I assess people by their actions not words. When I see BSV’ers promoting and using apps that no normal person would use in order to bring attention to BSV, I know they’re personally invested and trying to pump the price.
It’s even worse when I see CEOs of companies making perverse corporate decisions because they’re personally speculating or using their company’s balance sheet to speculate on the price instead of focusing on generating revenue.
You have stated that different digital currencies remind you of nation states competing rather than companies competing. Kindly elaborate on that thought.
Kevin Pham: In my opinion, Nation States and blockchains are both economic protocols. Their job is to create and enforce laws that protect property rights so citizens have the peace of mind to focus on engaging in positive-sum entrepreneurship and commerce.
With nation states you pay them taxes to raise a military, court system, and police force to protect property rights.
With blockchains you pay miners transaction fees instead of taxes to protect your property rights by preventing the economic ledger from being altered or corrupted.
Nation States and blockchains that respect the rule of law and resist the short-sighted temptation to rewrite the ledger to enrich a small group of elites (Vitalik-led DAO bailout of Ethereum Foundation insiders) will be the most successful at attracting human capital and creating economic growth; which will in turn increase the security of people’s property rights.
It’s a beautiful system!
Thank you for your time!
Kevin Pham: Likewise.
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