Free TON has launched a series of podcasts featuring Ben, Mitya Goroshevsky, Alexander Filatov, Pavel Prigolovko, Eugene Morozov, famous people, artists, crypto enthusiasts, experts.
Philosophical, cultural and technical aspects of modern technology, as well as jokes and much more will be discussed during the Free TON podcasts on Saturdays at the clubhouse.
Ben: I would describe myself as somewhat of an anarchist. My very first conversation with Gerard opened up a lot of interesting angles for me. It’s this kind of crypto vs the government or Bitcoin vs the dollar kind of position we’re in. But obviously it’s that situation where that kind of scenario did happen overnight where the bitcoin just replaced the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, we’d just left in a situation where we need to replace the old boss with a new boss. We’re not in that position to be able to have that kind of overnight and after without them. So that’s really where the work of the GBA is coming into its own at the minute in trying to make the people who are most in the position to make change aware of the problems that they could face. Now if they don’t pay attention to what’s going on with us. And what do you think Mitja, would you describe yourself as an anarchist?
Mitja: Yes, of course. I am totally a crypto anarchist. All the government, when they touch the blockchain space, they immediately talk about private blockchains. When you have a thinking of voting or any other application for the government including the Chinese guys, it’s all private blockchain. They’re not ready on any level to talk about putting anything government related to the open blockchain. Private blockchain is not a blockchain. Do we agree on that?
Ben: Yeah, exactly. I mean a private blockchain is more of just a distributed ledger, isn’t it?
Mitja: It’s not even very distributed. Well it’s distributed but not decentralized.
Ben: Yeah distributed kind of amongst permissioned parties.
Mitja: Exactly. So it’s not a blockchain that we’re talking about that has nothing to do with bitcoin of course and nothing to do with cryptocurrencies. And they say it very proudly: “Oh no, it has nothing to do with cryptocurrencies”. What’s wrong with cryptocurrencies?
Ben: Exactly, that’s the thing. I mean obviously cryptocurrencies are a means to an end and it is a first initial use case for the technology.
Mitja: I don’t agree with that. If you talk about public ledger, public blockchain, you cannot take cryptocurrency out of that. You cannot say: “Oh,this is the public ledger but without the cryptocurrency.” I mean how that would run? What would ensure its security without a value? So I think when these people are talking cryptocurrencies are bad but the blockchain is good, they are only talking about private blockchains, which is not a blockchain. If the true blockchain is public, because it needs to be decentralized, then they are not talking about blockchain at all. When they call themselves blockchain association, how blockchain is that?
Ben: I have a friend who is quite new to cryptocurrency I was speaking with last night and he was asking a lot of questions about Binance smartchain. I mean you’ve got 21 validators, it is on the whole network for the third biggest cryptocurrency in the market right now. How far does the level of decentralization have to go before it stops being in your eyes like a private thing and starts airing on this side of decentralization? Is there a threshold?
Mitja: Binance chain is total crap. This is almost like a scam. In my view. Because of what you just said. In the same sentence you say Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance chain, I want to exit this conversation immediately because it shouldn’t be even in one sentence and shouldn’t be in any list of cryptocurrencies listed.
Ben: You’re not a fan of CZ (Changpeng Zhao).
Mitja: CZ is a great businessman, he built a great business and it’s totally fine, but Ben between us crypto anarchists, what does it have to do with us? It’s a centralized exchange and then a centralized ledger attached to it, which is pumping their way through the cryptocurrency lists because they can and they’re sucking the blood of the real cryptocurrency because people used to exchange these cryptocurrencies with ease on a centralized exchange. If we take people off the centralized exchanges then the whole thing with Binance and the Binance chain will collapse.
Roman: But it might happen with any blockchain because the government has a lot of resources to stop it. It costs them nothing to find validators. To find miners and stop some minor pools in blockchain, it’s absolutely possible at this moment.
Mitja: I would say it’s absolutely impossible.
Mitja: Because you can find miners in your entry and you can put some pressure on a blockchain but you cannot really stop it. You can maybe cause it to fork. That’s the maximum you can do.
Antoine: Mitja, don’t you think that Binance chain mainly participates in democratization, in massive adoption of the blockchain? Even if it is centralized. Because I think there are steps and I think people need to be a bit part of centralization first, before being completely decentralized? Before the massive adoption of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies there need to be some steps and maybe centralization with exchange like Binance is one step before decentralization.
Mitja: Or one step to distract it. What you suggest is that the whole history of the internet proves it’s not working like that. Because otherwise billions of people would not sit now on Facebook. And there are many people in the world who actually thought maybe a couple of years ago that Facebook is the internet. So I don’t think that there are steps involved. I think that this is a step in the wrong direction and it is not promoting decentralization, so I don’t know what it’s teaching people. It doesn’t teach anything. It’s getting them used to a particular platform, completely centralized but the particular user laziness involved.
Antoine: Maybe people at first need to be reassured that they are able to manage a new kind of technology. All your previous life was confronting with a bank and you had a physical person in front of you who took care of you. Maybe it’s a huge step to go into decentralization and be really sure with yourself. If you make a mistake, it’s your own fault. Whereas today there is a physical person in your bank who can solve your problems. I think Binance is something like that. And when there will be enough advance in the blockchain and so on, we will make a little step to go on decentralized exchange.
Mitja: They won’t because it’s going against their business, so they won’t do that step. I don’t think it works like that or CZ has a very particular business to run and this is good for the business that everyone is sitting on their platform. If everything goes decentralized there will be no need for CZ or no need for Binance. And I hope this future will come soon. You know, Steve Jobs said once: “If Microsoft Windows wins, the whole computer industry will lose like 10 years”. And I think he was right. When the iPhone was introduced first, or any kind of revolution like that happened in user experience, it took some time for some people to bring themselves to the state where they can easily accept that technological change. But in the end, this is the right direction. It’s what is called progress.
Ben: Asking people to adopt blockchain in its current form, it’s almost like saying the regular internet users should know their IP addresses by heart. We still go through a kind of centralized web providing services as regular users, do you think?
Mitja: so what? Yeah, I mean think about that. Tomorrow you can have a 10 gigabit network connection to your home but in order to allow that you just need to remember your IP address, would you do that?
Ben: Well, yeah.
Mitja: Exactly, that’s my point. You will. You will, Ben. And then some people will say: “oh no, no, no, I will have my shitty connection because I don’t want to remember these 8-12 numbers”.
Ben: That’s a valid point, actually. If you can take the middleman out, I think that’s a big kind of selling point for a lot of people.
Eugene: 12 does not sound too scary.
Ben: Yes, well, this is when you’re going on to the difference between the people who are already down the rabbit hole and those who are kind of above the ground.
Mitja: But there are two directions they can go today. They can go decentralized or they can go Binance. And unfortunately they go Binance.
Ben: That’s a big question to many is how does a truly decentralized platform like Free TON, like ourselves, gain that kind of user base awareness for newcomers and make our platform as appealing as a Binance chain is like Bitcoin with customer support. Could a decentralized platform ever compete with something like that?
Mitja: I think very easily. It will happen by itself. It’s not that Binance will drive that. Binance will have a huge regulator pressure because when you have these centralized platforms you of course because it’s not decentralized and you are successful to all this kind of pressure from regulators and regulators now they won’t pressure because right now people can choose between decentralized and centralized and regulators want people to choose Binance. Why do they want people to choose Binance? Because it’s an easy target. Now they can go to Binance and they can say: “Okay, I think you have enough people. I think there is no turning back. People won’t go decentralized. We have them. We’re Facebook. Now let’s put censorship on that. And that’s exactly what happened to Facebook.
Ben: We touched on this subject half with Eugene in one of the Academy group chat earlier. JPMorgan has done a full-blown u-turn and are moving towards a sort of private blockchain network.
Eugene: I used to work for them in New York in the 1990s. I am not sure I’m the best expert on what they’re doing crypto but nevertheless they’re very rapidable and a lot of people listen, so whatever they say makes no mistake, a lot of people listen to.
Mitja: Chuck, do we need a centralized step to decentralize the world?
Chuck: Right, of course we do not! I am a big believer in decentralization. When people start asking me about blockchains and they say: “How did you get to this?” And I always tell them that there used to be this good guy. Well, he’s still alive, his name is Jim Bell and he’s an American thinker. He came up with an essay which he called “Assassination politics”. So his idea was rather simple. He invented an auction where anyone could predict the correct time and place of the death of a public figure and people could bet on that. For example, somebody doesn’t like Hillary Clinton and he can bet hundred dollars against her. Somebody doesn’t like Gorbachev and he can bet a million against him. And all the totals of deaths are public. So professional assassins can pick whomever they want to kill, then they rate the rewards, slash risk and kill whoever they’re able to. And select the payment. So a rather simple system. It was implemented as Augur on Ethereum but years later. The guy didn’t stop there. His idea was actually to bring libertarian rule to the world because step one introduced this system step two nobody will want to be famous because the day you become famous a lot of people will hate you and somebody will kill you. So people will go back to their communities, they try to build stuff from ground up and not gonna be active on the global scale. The guy was jailed for that. He spent something like 20 years in American jail. But the idea still lives. So that was my introduction to cryptocurrency because obviously the only way of making this happen is if you have anonymous payments. And when he was thinking about that, there were only two systems e-gold and Liberty Reserve. Both were destroyed by the US government because it’s a thread. And then blockchain happened. Bitcoin happened and maybe somebody will build something like that.
Chuck: The only problem with Augur, which was built on top of Ethereum as I said, is that they were actually scared that they will be blamed for building something like that. So they introduced the third option, when you vote for the outcome, like did it happen or didn’t it happen, you have an option to vote unethical and then it’s all canceled which is bullshit of course.
Eugene: Getting back to decentralization, it only makes sense that a lot of decisions especially on the local level can be done by people themselves and they don’t need delegates. You really only need delegates and behold voting and election systems for very complex things that people can’t handle but on the local level I’m pretty sure you don’t need anyone. You can do anything yourself.
Mitja: Yeah, of course but the policy doesn’t go like that. Why do they really want delegation so much is because if you go and vote, if all people of a country of the US for example vote, do we need to go to war in Afghanistan? I don’t think there will ever be any war.
Eugene: I think the meaning is to give people an alternative to vote in a different manner. And that is the position that I think maybe has a chance to really make a difference.
Ben: The Decentralized SMV DeBot Browser contest which I know Mitja you’re a big part of. I was actually speaking to Pavel Prigolovko. We touched on the idea of censorship and obviously if you want a truly decentralized internet, you take away all layers of censorship with it. And he mentioned social indexing and this kind of theories applying.
Mitja: It’s not the theory, it’s not the theory, it’s a practice in China, that’s what’s happening there. I still don’t believe in that but Eugene is claiming that China now has a Ministry of Happiness. Hello, 1984.
Ben: I was just about to say a mini-speak is coming next. Yeah, that’s shocking.
Chuck: Don’t you see this as the history beating itself like all the experiments of Lenin and communists in the early 20th century? Chinese are doing the same thing on top of modern technologies now.
Mitja: Exactly, and the modern technology that gives them this power and if we don’t decentralize that quickly enough, because I think if you can have on top of modern technology, if you can use the modern technology like that then no government doesn’t matter if a Chinese the US or whatever will hesitate to use it. And it doesn’t matter. China is doing that from one political spectrum of ideas, and the UK from another but in the end…
Eugene: I keep saying this is math. This is decentralized. This is very meritocracy. And ll based on a very superior technologically advanced network. And people like hearing that.
Mitja: I think the problem is that we have technology now. If you think about the internet as the most important propaganda wise weapon we ever have, it’s like a weapon of mass distraction. We hold an atomic weapon of information in our hands now and if governments get hold of that as they are now grabbing that power, they will do with that what they did with atomic power.