Untangling Web3 Podcast

‘Untangling Web3 Podcast’ features Kurt Wuckert Jr. and the history of Bitcoin

Episode 44 of the Untangling Web3 (UW3) Podcast featured CoinGeek’s very own Kurt Wuckert Jr. as their guest, with a theme of “The History of Bitcoin.” UW3 hosts Jack Davies and Alec Burns engaged with Wuckert on topics such as his pre-Bitcoin career, the early days of Satoshi Nakamoto, scaling and block size debates, what separates BSV from the other blockchains, future direction, use cases and more.

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Wuckert, who serves as CoinGeek’s Chief Bitcoin Historian and hosts the CoinGeek Weekly Livestream, has a wealth of knowledge in many areas, especially in Bitcoin, finance, history, and entrepreneurship. I encourage everyone interested in Bitcoin to listen to this engaging episode of UW3, as Wuckert is a delight as always, and below is a taste of what you can expect to learn.

Pre-Bitcoin life

Wuckert described himself as a “toxic serial entrepreneur” and said even as a small child, he was cutting lawns and hitting garage sales to flip valuable items he would find. His parents—who are also entrepreneurs—owned a printing company, a path Wuckert followed in addition to selling t-shirts, promotional banners, flyers, and even rebuilding computers on the side, which eventually led him to Bitcoin.

“I went down the rabbit hole probably mid-2013. I had a bunch of computers because I used to build and flip computers. It was like, maybe I could mine. I’ve literally never stopped tinkering with Bitcoin since then,” Wuckert revealed.

Bitcoin hits the scene

Satoshi’s Bitcoin white paper dropped in October 2008, a body of work comprised of several existing technologies that were combined to create one of the greatest innovations of our time. Wuckert skimmed through the deep history of monetary distribution to help the audience understand where Satoshi was coming from when he created Bitcoin.

“There’s probably 50 cryptocurrencies that preceded Bitcoin and failed for various reasons. And then, Satoshi Nakamoto very confidently showed up and says, ‘Hey, I solved the double spend problem and we don’t have a mint and we don’t have a single head you can cut off. I might have just fixed money.’ Fifteen years later, there’s a whole heck of a lot of people that think he was right,” Wuckert said.

Wuckert also explained the significance of the Japanese pseudonym Satoshi, revealing his respect for and fascination with Japanese culture.

“I think issuing money under a pseudonym that is Japanese, it imbues a little bit of a ‘Hey guys, this is not going to be frivolous, it is going to be very well planned, and very well executed,'” Wuckert said.

When asked what Bitcoin looked like during its “infancy period,” Wuckert indicated his disappointment in missing the very beginning, which is why he became a Bitcoin historian. Wuckert entered the Bitcoin space in 2013, a mere three months before it became a “mainstream thing,” aka the price blew up, and people started paying attention.

He explained how two major camps were involved in the early days of Bitcoin: one camp of techies and academics and the other of libertarian political activists.

In the first two years, there were fewer academic types and more “dark web” cybersecurity cryptography communities, something Satoshi did not like.

“I think that fed his irritation, and I think that’s why he essentially dipped out after not too long,” Wuckert suggested.

Block size debates

Fast forward to the present day, and we hear so much about Bitcoin’s “big blockers” and “small blockers,” yet many of us have no idea what this even means. To explain the significance, Wuckert provided background on how block size and block size limits impact the Bitcoin network.

When Satoshi brought Bitcoin into the world, there was a block size limitation, but it was temporary by design. Satoshi’s intention was to raise the block size as the network matured; Wuckert used the analogy of buying a bigger family house as more and more children were born.

He went on to explain that in the absence of Satoshi post-2012, Gavin Andresen was put in charge despite his “benign attitude,” as described by Wuckert.

“This was a tough time, a bad time to have a weak man at the helm, and Gavin was that weak man essentially. And so as the power vacuum of Satoshi had gone away, there was also a pretty quick influx of new developers and new advocacy types,” he explained.

At this point, guys like Wladimir van der Laan and Gregory Maxwell came into the picture and decided to do things their way instead of Satoshi’s.

“In that power vacuum, they came to value the block size limit as a religious talisman that, okay, if we keep the bandwidth small forever, then we can just have nodes everywhere on earth, we can make this network completely unstoppable if everybody is running a full copy at home,” Wuckert described.

He went on to explain that Andresen was not good at advocating for Bitcoin’s scalability, and when Mike Hearn took a stab, he was “bullied mercilessly” and, therefore, left the project in 2016.

“He wrote a now infamous breakup letter with the Bitcoin core developers where he calls out Gregory Maxwell by name but basically says, ‘You’re the worst people I have ever had to deal with in any context. Bitcoin’s a failure. It’s your fault it’s a failure. I’m out,’ essentially,” Wuckert said.

Bitcoin civil war

Hearn’s departure preceded the “Bitcoin Civil War,” which Wuckert explained in detail.

“Bitcoin’s not supposed to be a science experiment. We’re trying to build provenance and stability,” said Wuckert.

“We should be working our way back to restoration of Bitcoin before we start adding bells and whistles. Maybe we need a bell. Or a whistle. But at the very least, can we restore this to original before we start adding or subtracting?”

Wuckert explained that BSV restored Bitcoin to 98% of the original op codes, restoring a block size limit determined by node policy instead of the consensus rule..

“BTC is still small block, ‘nobody rocked the boat’ kind of Bitcoin. You have BCH, which is a pretty small community that has its own values and has the second largest market cap and all of that. Then you have BSV, which is trying to break computer science records every quarter, but also has the lowest market cap and people saying, ‘yeah, it’s just a really irresponsible experiment in Bitcoin,'” he summarized.

Bitcoin going forward

Looking into the future, what will happen with these three Bitcoin chains, BTC, BCH, and BSV?

Wuckert emphasized that Bitcoin was created as an electronic cash system, as stated in the title of the Bitcoin white paper. However, most people involved in BTC use it as an investment, and now it’s being regarded as a piece of property as regulations come in.

“[Bitcoin] was designed to optimize payments as its first thing and then Satoshi explained some of the other basic novel things that you could do once you’ve gotten past this. Once you understand that it’s money, now you can also make tokens with it,” Wuckert explained.

He also explained that Bitcoin in its true form—BSV—could solve digital asset and identity ownership issues in a world where Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg—two of the world’s wealthiest people—are selling our data every day.

“Bitcoin solves those problems, but it’s not going to solve those problems unless people begin to demand that those problems be solved. A major criticism of Bitcoin that I recall from 10 or 12 years ago when I got involved was Bitcoin’s a solution looking for a problem to fix,” Wuckert said.

Why BSV blockchain

In the final moments of the podcast, Wuckert explained why the BSV blockchain goes far beyond optimizing sound money and fixing some of the problems of issuance and distribution of hard assets. BSV blockchain is the vehicle we need to bring back digital sovereignty and ownership of our digital identity.

“The ability to log into things without having to broadcast to the world that you’re the one who logged into it, that’s a huge aspect of privacy that we really need to maintain because it’s either we win this revolution, or it’s guys like Mark Zuckerberg end up becoming more powerful than our own governments and banks because he controls everything. He has everyone’s data,” Wuckert warned.

“We went from the internet being this kind of distributed thing to now the whole internet runs on Amazon. And so guys like Jeff Bezos can be like, ‘Hey, look, the entire U.S. government just uses AWS for everything. And therefore, I’m actually in charge here,'” he added.

According to Wuckert, by utilizing the capabilities of the BSV blockchain, we can add monetary value to every single bit and bite of information on the internet. Data is the most valuable but also the most undervalued commodity in the world right now, and there is so much upside to this.

“Using Bitcoin, if you can virally integrate Bitcoin into every bit of data and then monetize all of it and figure out who owns every bit in the universe, it’s everything. It is literally going to the atomic level of everything that has value and allowing it to be traded, like enter economic opportunity of everything,” Wuckert confirmed.

Watch: Why identity is important as we move to Web3

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