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Bitcoin's Finite Supply Is The Breakthrough

Bitcoin's Finite Supply Is The Breakthrough

Dec 22, 2023
TFTC Podcast

Bitcoin's Finite Supply Is The Breakthrough

Key Takeaways

This episode delves into the intricacies of Bitcoin's design, particularly focusing on the significance of its finite supply. Dhruv Bansal posits that the finite supply is not just a feature but the foundational goal from which other aspects of Bitcoin, such as the difficulty adjustment and Nakamoto Consensus, naturally follow. This goal differentiates Bitcoin from previous digital currency attempts, which often assumed a dynamic monetary supply.

The discussion also touches on the broader implications of Bitcoin on industries like energy, where Bitcoin mining could eventually become synonymous with energy production. The potential for Bitcoin to incentivize the development of more robust and over-provisioned energy infrastructure is explored, with the idea that Bitcoin's demand for energy can drive innovation and investment in the sector.

Other topics include the evolution of AI and its current limitations, the human tendency to overestimate the intelligence of entities that can communicate through language, and the cultural and societal shifts occurring in the Bitcoin space, particularly in Austin, Texas.

Best Quotes

  • "Once you decide that [a finite money supply] is your goal or your top-level goal... it affects the way you choose to build and the kinds of problems you want to think about solving."
  • "Bitcoin gets to just skip all of that [dynamic monetary policy]. It just decides what is the monetary policy and then we do it."
  • "The difficulty adjustment and Nakamoto consensus are actually things that follow. Like, once you decide you want to eliminate these freedoms for users to create their own money, you want them to create money on a predetermined schedule, you're confronted with, well, how do I make sure that schedule runs on time, like, the way I want it to be, right?"
  • "I think bitcoin is some of the best developers on the planet. It is one of the best open source projects I have ever interacted with in my life."
  • "I believe these are real problems. We're going to have to solve these problems somehow. They're going to affect us. They're going to be bad outcomes if we don't do anything. But at the same time, alarmism and subverting every other possible human concern just for this one issue. This is not a good solution framework to me."


The discussion with Dhruv Bansal reveals a deep understanding of Bitcoin's core principles, particularly the paramount importance of its finite supply. This foundational goal has shaped the development of Bitcoin's unique features and continues to influence its impact on various industries. The conversation also offers insights into the current state of AI, highlighting its capabilities and limitations, and reflects on the cultural dynamics within the Bitcoin community.

As Bitcoin continues to evolve and its influence expands, conversations like this one are crucial for understanding the complexities of the technology and its implications for the future. The professional tone and thorough analysis provided in this blog post aim to convey the high-level ideas and thought-provoking discussion that took place, offering readers a comprehensive understanding of the key points addressed.



0:00 - Intro
2:37 - Hindsight brings curiosity
8:00 - Framing Bitcoin as separate markets
32:27 - AI as an economic actor
36:45 - AI consciousness
45:40 - Cognitive crutches
55:00 - Mentally adapting
59:25 - Relationship degradation and social scaling
1:11:10 - Rackspace and energy demand
1:18:05 - Predicting the market
1:26:50 - Math
1:35:00 - Expanding problems
1:38:25 - Artificial and animal intelligence
1:56:15 - Solving problems the right way
2:17:00 - Bitcoin community
2:22:30 - Pop culture Bitcoin


TFTC 470 Transcript
Marty: [00:00:00]
Good to finally do this. It's been too long,
Dhruv: mister Bansal. Uh-huh. I know it has. Yeah.
It's been years. It literally literally has been years. Like, I feel like we see each other often, but, like, we haven't really sat down for, like, the real the real combo. Well, as you
Marty: were just explaining, you've been thinking about this particular idea For well over a year now. We've talked about it in the hall.
Uh-huh. We talked about it at the Driscoll a couple of months ago. Mhmm. Then you finally released the piece. Mhmm.
Dhruv: it last week, two weeks ago now? Yeah. That's right. Yeah. Part one of I can never seem to get it done in one article.
I feel like I always gotta write two or three. So this is the first one, and I think it's good because it really cleared my my decks. I, like, got a lot of background work done in this article that I think is really prepping me for what I think is gonna be interesting article, frankly, which is the second one that really tries to apply some of these ideas more broadly. But, yeah, I'm I'm excited that I'm finally writing and publishing now and not just, like, Researching and ideating and note taking and making false starts. And and yeah.
So it feels good. [00:01:00] Well, I hope
Marty: it feels good because this is the first piece in a while in this idea that you're sort of expanding on. It has really changed my perspective in a long term Beliefs that I've had about Bitcoin for almost a decade now, which anchors to the difficulty adjustment. Like, I thought that was the secret sauce Me too. Uh, that made Bitcoin as special as it is, but you've really honed in on Satoshi building on the mistakes, uh, of cypherpunks before him, Particularly Weidai and b money.
And you've honed in on the finite supply Yeah.
Dhruv: Being the most important say avoiding those mistakes because of a different goal. Mhmm. Different top level goal. Yeah.
I'd say. Yeah. And so
Marty: where should we start with this idea in your mind? Where is the best place to start?
Dhruv: Yeah.
I mean, let's just get into it because I feel like it's something I think about a lot, frankly. It's like it was a question I used to ask myself, like, in the shower. Right? It's like, how does how does Satoshi think of How do you come up with that? You know?
Or, like, who is Satoshi? [00:02:00] That's, like, that's the other half of that question. Like, who is who is this person or persons, and How were they positioned to make this incredible accomplishment? Right? Like, um, and even it it goes back to me a little bit.
I I I tried to write about a little bit too, but it was just too esoteric, so I skipped it. Like, one of the cool things about Einstein, you know, another, you know, impactful intellectual in in human history, Um, there's a whole, like, Einstein, Satoshi thing I wanna work out of, like, whether it's a similar time and space and, um, maximization principles and whatnot. There's there's interesting stuff there. But one of thing that's cool about Einstein is he lived a really long time and was famous and well known as a scientist for a number of decades after his major contributions relativity and quantum mechanics and so on in in, you know, at the turn of the century turn of the last century. And there's incredible, Um, writing that he does, like, about how he came up with these ideas.
Like, I had that idea for, you know, the, The the notion of, let's say, the equivalence principle is an idea in general activity. Because an article he [00:03:00] read about a house painter falling off of a roof And how that house painter felt, like, weightless on the way down. And he was like, uh That's, of course, the key insight it's really cool to get those stories. Right? Because that's not you don't write that in your paper explaining relativity.
Like, that comes out years later when you talk about what you were thinking about before you wrote the paper. Mhmm. Um, I think the way that we communicate Ideas changes once we have figured out the idea. Right? Because then you're like, okay.
Now that I understand this, here's the cleanest path to get to where I'm at as compared to Here's the circuitous path that I took myself to arrive at this idea. And something that that I feel like we're all a little bit impoverished by is We don't have that for Satoshi. Satoshi doesn't have interviews and books talking about, like, what they were doing, like, Before this and how they came up with that insight and how did you think of the difficulty adjustment. Like, we don't have those direct answers. We have writing from Satoshi describing what these things are And why they're useful and why they're necessary.
We don't have as much saying, like, how did I get here? Here's here's the things I the mistake that come back to Einstein. There's [00:04:00] versions of relativity that Einstein created before The real version that were wrong, that were mistaken in important ways, but we have we have discussions of those things. We have Einstein himself talking about, like, How he was lost for years in this one area and then finally, you know, had the insight that left him we don't get that for Satoshi. We don't know what Satoshi tried before the difficulty adjustment that didn't work or whatever.
Right? So I think about this a lot, and I wish that we had culturally just this resource of being able to talk to Satoshi about their ideas and so on. And don't be wrong. I think it's best they left. Like, I understand why, Um, but it's just one of the consequences.
Right? Like, you know, I I think my line on it is, uh, you know, both relativity and then Bitcoin are dangerous, but Bitcoin is obviously dangerous. And so Satoshi knew that upfront and left.
Marty: Yeah. Satoshi was around I mean, from white paper to And leaving.
He left on what? April twenty eleven?
Dhruv: Yes. Like, only about three years of of being in public. Yeah.
And that's it's
Marty: funny you're mentioning this. I'm like, yeah. Why didn't anybody on the mailing list or in Bitcoin talk dot org. Like, ask them, like, what were you thinking when you designed this? [00:05:00] It was all very, like you said, like, active.
Like, alright.
Dhruv: Here's what we're trying to a little bit media, they're like, they wanna discuss the idea and its correctness or incorrectness. Um, it's only, I think, after the idea sits for a while and we're all, like we get to regard it as, like, wow. This is a really powerful did. Now we start to get curious.
Like, where did it come from? Yeah. Um, so, yeah, I I guess this first piece is really trying to explore that I that that that connection of issues. And the claim that I'm making is while the difficulty adjustment is definitely novel and it's a brilliant part of what makes Bitcoin succeed. Um, Nakamoto consensus is, of course, you know, a a solution to the Byzantine general's problem, a novel one and more powerful in traditional solutions.
These are all great, uh, proximate reasons why Bitcoin succeeds, but I think behind all of those is Satoshi's desire to create a finite money supply. And then in my research, uh, reading about b money and bit gold and various other projects, none of them focused on that issue. Right? Like, they many of them sort of assumed that The monetary supply should be dynamic. Right?
The the monetary policy should be [00:06:00] something that human beings collectively decide and argue over and, you know, come up with different proposals. And Satoshi didn't want that. Satoshi was like, no. I want there to be a finite money supply. And I think what I've convinced myself of is once you decide that that's your goal, Like or or your top level goal.
I mean, Satoshi also cared about privacy, cared about, you know, transactions, uh, not being sensible. Like, these were also important ideas for Satoshi, like, Which overlaps a lot with the history of other digital currency projects, which are really motivated by those ideas. But I think it's clear to me that Satoshi's top overriding goal was Have a strong, sound, monetary policy. And once you adopt that as, like, the most important out of all the goals, I think it affects the way you choose to build and the The kinds of problems you wanna think about solving. And my argument is that once you make this choice, it actually simplifies the problem.
Like, it's it's harder to build A money that is dynamic in its monetary policy because then we have to build a mechanism for all of us to talk about that policy and make decisions about it. Bitcoin gets to just skip all of [00:07:00] that. It just decides what is the monetary policy and then we do it. And and I think that was a really important thing for me to see, um, because then it helped me understand that, like okay. So it turns out, like, the difficulty adjustment and Nakamoto consensus are actually things that follow.
Like, once you decide you wanna eliminate these freedoms for users to create their own money, you want them to create money on a predetermined schedule, you're confronted with, well, how How do I make sure that schedule runs on time Mhmm. Like the way I want it to be. Right? And then you're like, oh, I need to regulate the rate at which blocks are being produced. How can I do that?
This is not a question, like, I I think, like, Zabo or or Wei Dai asked themselves. Like, the the rate of creation of money was not as important For them as other concerns, and so they didn't think about the difficult it they never came to that, you know, as a problem space they needed to think about. Yeah.
Marty: And comparing Bitcoin to b money and Bitcoin, specifically, and more particularly b money, I think what you really hone in on and highlight [00:08:00] acutely is, like, the different bid ask structure Mhmm. That affects The supply their money supply, um, compared to Bitcoin.
Now since Satoshi determined out of the gate, this is a finite supply completely changes the Dynamics of how individuals are interacting with that particular digital currency and how It succeeds going forward. Like, b money arguably was, uh, dead on arrival
Dhruv: because of this bid ask structure that they had. Yeah. It was never implemented. Yeah.
Because it it was a cool idea, and you could reason it it prompts a lot of interesting questions, like, in follow-up at you know? But no one else should build it Because you can't build it. It it's not possible. You know? Um, I think it boils down to, um, maybe it's good to summarize for the audience.
Like, You you you can think of Bee Money's money creation process in four phases, like, as described by Wei Dai. Um, phase one is planning, And that's when the users, uh, and I should also add that these four phases are meant to be constantly happening all the time. So, [00:09:00] like, uh, Wei uses the phrase money creation period, which you can more or less hear as a block. Right. So, like, every block, the users are supposed to collaborate and decide, okay, how much money should we create.
Um, and there's no, like, are they supposed to do that? Like, you know, professional economists can't agree always on on what we should be doing in in terms of monetary policy. So I don't know how we're supposed to Have, like, millions of a nonusers agree to anything. And it's kind of okay because, wait, I admit that they don't really have to agree. They're they're all gonna independently provide bids.
Like, each user is gonna say, I would like to create this many tokens of b money for this much proof of work, and someone else will have a different, you know, price, right, that they're bidding basically for the creation of money. Um, so this is already complicated. Right? The network has to now track millions of bids from distinct users about money creation just just to get started in this process. And then later on in the subsequent phases of the, um, money creation process, users actually go and execute those bids.
Right? They, like, try to do the Work that they committed to [00:10:00] doing, and the network has to make a choice about, like, okay. Out of all the bids that were made and then completed, Which one should we collectively accept as a network? Right? And so now, uh, the network is under the duress of needing to figure out what are the highest bids In terms of nominal cost per b money produced.
This is a really hard problem. Like, distributed systems struggle with that concept of highest Because highest means, I have taken all the elements of the set and put them in one location and ordered them, and then I took the top one. And that is Very hard to do in a decentralized system where you don't even know if you have all the elements of the set yet because you might have missed a contribution or a bid from some party who then subsequently does or does not do the work. It's very complicated. Um, and Bitcoin just all this evaporates in Bitcoin.
Right? Because Satoshi says, I don't want the users to create the money. I create the money. Mhmm. Right?
Like, let's let's make this the supply curve that I want to have happen. And so at every block, the Bitcoin network knows in advance how many coins it wants to create. Um, and there's there's not, you know, millions of bids [00:11:00] from many, many different users. That's actually a single asking price. Right?
Like, at every like, right now, there is a single asking price at the big work. The Bitcoin network is collectively, um, offering to the global community of miners. And a price is always a ratio, right, between two things. And so the Bitcoin that's being created is determined by the supply schedule, and then the difficulty or the price and computation that that Bitcoin be released into circulation for is, of course, determined by the difficulty adjustment. But the idea is that both of those numbers are calculable directly from the blockchain.
So you get this interesting scenario of, like, if everybody has the same blockchain, they can all calculate independently without communication the exact same asking Which is, of course, what the network really does. And now every miner who wants to mine, they just mine. And if they if they create a block that has the proper difficulty, they just broadcast that block. And what's fascinating is instead of having to think about, okay, what are all the blocks that came in recently? Let's order them by who has the most work.
We don't have to do that Because we know that every block that comes in is gonna meet the asking price. We just immediately accept it. Mhmm. Um, and this is what [00:12:00] ultimately leads to Nakamoto consensus. Right?
We replace highest with first. Yeah.
Marty: And so to really dive into the specifics of the asking price, it's the hash the first hash found below the difficulty target That's presented to the network, and the miner has a block of transactions that are valid to the network. Like, that's the ask. Like, we need you to go Spend energy to find that hack.
Dhruv: I don't even think about it in terms of transactions yet because I I should think of transactions as a totally separate layer in this market. Like, In theory, you know, you could have Bitcoin with no transactions, and you could just have mining and the production of coins. Like, that would sort of work. Obviously, it would be a very useless kind of money because if we can't transact with the coins that we've Burn through mining.
Like, what good is it? But I do think it's a very it's a separate market, and I and I increasingly analyze it separately as a as a second layer that exists right within Bitcoin, which I Which I find kind of interesting. But, um, but, yeah, ultimately, like, it's it's the simplicity of I the network has decided I wanna sell this many coins for this many computations [00:13:00] Yeah. Or or, equivalently, this much energy. Yeah.
Um, and I think what's interesting too is that difficulty, that min difficulty, like, the target hash, um, value that has to come out. Um, it is always the case that, you know, up to statistical variance, the network pays that price. Right? Uh, an individual miner doesn't pay that price. Right?
When you are a miner, you don't have the entire hash rate of the planet. Like, you're not the fact that you happen to be the miner that found We happen to be a miner in the pool that found the block. What's really implied is that the entire community of miners, like the global industry of miners, paid that computational Price. Mhmm. So the the market in Bitcoin is fascinatingly between the entire network selling coins and the entire industry of miners Purchasing those coins with computations.
That's different than in the b money. In b money, each user acts on their own. Right? Each user is independently offering a bid To create money independently working on that bid with proof of work and then broadcasting a winning, um, ticket, and then All those bids are individually [00:14:00] accepted or rejected. Right?
So inherently more complex system where each user is kind of their own island. Um, Bitcoin is global, Um, and deterministic. And that's very interesting to me. Yeah. And, I
Marty: mean, It's funny because, um, Wei Dai was skeptical of Bitcoin at the beginning, wasn't he?
Dhruv: I think he still may be. Yeah. You emerged recently on Twitter. Yeah. Came back on Twitter, but I
Marty: think to specifically to, uh, sound
Dhruv: the alarm bells about AI.
To yeah. To win Jeff, Brian Bishop about AI, which is so Beautifully appropriate. Um, and, of course, everybody descended on him to be like, will you be on my podcast? You know, that's exactly what happened. Um, I definitely messaged him too.
I'm I'm hoping for response back because I I I told him I basically, I asked him. I was like, how much do you care about monetary policy? Like, I no. I'm rereading your work. I'm thinking about Bitcoin, and It's it's dawning on me that, like, Satoshi's biggest accomplishment was deciding to implement this constraint, like and then everything followed from that.
So I asked him, like, [00:15:00] Yeah. Is my reading of your priorities correct? Did you not really care about monetary policy? You were more interested in trying to build a functioning currency and ledger. Uh, haven't gotten a response yet, but, I I that's my feeling.
Right? That that just, uh, neither for Zabo or for Dai was this sound monetary policy, like, the thing to build. Right? Mhmm. Um, it was it was it was not an explicit goal, whereas it was for Satoshi, and I think that led to all these that led to the solution to all these other problems.
Marty: And Tying it back to, like, computation too, because that's one thing you highlight in the piece. Like, a very good visuals. Like, up until Bitcoin, the market for computation, Like, was not, um, as clear as it is now that you can pay for computation with Sats. Right?
It's not
Dhruv: fungible. Or in the sense of, like, I think The notion of proof of work predates Bitcoin by, like, fifteen years. Yeah. And and where proof of work was first suggested was in combating spam. Mhmm.
And so, like, if you wanted to send an email, you would, like, do some proof of work associate. So do some computation, spend some energy, kinda attach that along [00:16:00] with your email, and that would be your ticket to get the email Delivered. Right? And that's
Marty: why I always thought the difficulty adjustment was a special sauce because what what HashCash original implementation, that's a problem they And so there's no difficulty adjustment, so it just became
Dhruv: Well, sort of. I I feel like the problem there is it's a little bit different.
Right? Because if you think about it, like, Let's say there's a hundred people using the system, and they're each paying a certain amount of resources to send an email. If there's now a million people using the system, we don't need each person to spend more. Right. Like, the price of email sending is not as directly affected by the number of people trying to send emails.
So this is the only thing that matters is that the cost of an individual email is just above, You know, where spammers can exploit the system. Right? It's it needs to be low enough where users don't experience degradation in their daily workflows by having to do the extra work, But it's high enough so that if you wanna start sending a million emails, it's gonna be expensive. Um, if we increase the number of users sending emails, we don't have to increase the price. Right?
We just have, like, the price increases as hardware increases. Mhmm. Right? So there is a connection to difficulty adjustment there, but there's no, like, [00:17:00] incentive. The incentive isn't as strong.
Right? I think what's interesting about Bitcoin is, again, it's not a market, like, to each individual user, at least not at the level of money creation. It's a market to the entire global industry. And so each user is not separate. They're all together in one giant pool, like, spending their computations.
Um, and I think another interesting thing is, like, it'll never be the case that we are selling Bitcoin for fewer computations than we asked for in our bid. Right. If the network takes two hours to produce those computations or it takes ten days or three weeks, like, they can only just sit there waiting for that block to come through. Eventually, yeah, it'll readjust the difficulty lower, I e, reprice its offering. Right?
Offer a lower asking price, but But that still requires the network as a whole to deliver the current asking price so we can produce more blocks so that we can hit the difficulty readjustment. Um, so there's really no getting out of it. Right? Like, it is literally a market price, like, that we're selling that the network is choosing to sell those, uh, Bitcoin for, and the market pays it every ten [00:18:00] minutes approximately. Yeah.
No. It's
Marty: beautiful how you see that play out in real life. I mean, most recently in twenty twenty one with the China mining ban. That was Mhmm. Even though it was stressful for a lot of
Dhruv: Oh, I love seeing that much computation just relocate around the planet just to avoid the constraint.
It's it's it's great. And and and it's because of, like, the monetary properties that Bitcoin Inherits, like, once you build the correct system. Right? Like, going back to the email market, a market for email delivery, like, it's not a good Currency that's backing that market because they're they're computations, and computations aren't themselves a good form of currency. Right?
We they're not fungible Because implementations like Hashcash actually associate the proof of work to a specific data input, right, the email that you're sending Mhmm. Much in the same way that proof of work in Bitcoin is associated to a particular block block template. Um, so they're not fungible. They're they're they're associated to a specific email. Like, we don't know how to value them in terms of other goods.
Right? Like, There's they take on a value that's sort of declared, like, literally by Fiat, right, by by a server operator or something like that. But there's no connection to the [00:19:00] broader market of, like, what's happening in the world How was supply and demand market baskets? Like, none of that really exists. Um, so not they're not very good currency.
And I think it's it's interesting when people, I think, misspeak and they or simplify and they say, like, Bitcoin is just, you know, energy money, right, or it's computational money. And I'm like, It isn't. Like, that's not true at all. Like, it's being sold for energy. It's being sold for computations.
That doesn't make it computations. Right? It's it's it's a different category. I I think even sailors sometimes, um, oversimplifies on this point. Right?
Like, thinking of it as energy, and it's not. It's just sold for energy, and that that's that's an important distinction in my view. No. It
Marty: is. The the whole Bitcoin mining's battery.
Like, the it's energy money. I've used that in the past, but it's like, Uh, I think in I have two recent years. It's, like, really it's you'd like you just said, like, you've It's sold for energy. There is a connection to energy at the end of the day, but it's inherently, like, you can't, uh, take energy [00:20:00] out of the network to
Dhruv: power A house or something like that. Correct.
And I think it also changes some of the objections, like, from the energy, climate change, whatever side, like, in a sense of If we're really transmuting energy into money, we're doing it very inefficiently. Right? Like, surely, there's a more efficient way to make money out of energy, if you like. But if we're selling money for energy, now it's just a market price. Like, that's just that's just the price.
It's not that Bitcoin is inherently efficient. It's just that it's very valuable, And that's why the price in energy is so high. It's a different semantics. So I feel like the the criticism that, like, the system is inefficient, it just doesn't apply. Right?
Because we're not trying to make the claim that the own like, you know, like, the whole, like, you use this much swimming pools of water or you use this much energy to do a single transaction. Like, this this thinking is is is wrong For so many reasons, but, like, one of the most obvious ones is, like, people are choosing to spend this resource, computational energy, on this other resource, bitcoins. Just a market trade, and this is just the price that the market has for it based on relative supply and demand. And that to me is a lot cleaner. Um, it's a lot [00:21:00] harder to object to that.
Right? Because you're basically now saying instead of saying, hey. This system is inefficient. There's a better way to create money out of energy or computations or go to proof of stake or whatever. It's like, No.
This is just the market price, and it's really hard to get the price to change in a market without affecting either supply or demand. You can't just, like, declare that the prices are gonna now be higher or lower. Right. That that never works. Um, so I don't know.
That helps me center, um, myself on, like, you know, how do we actually think about where Bitcoin comes from? Right? It comes from a market. It comes from a service that, like, the the the Bitcoin network has a goal. I wanna release twenty one million Bitcoin.
And it Relies upon service providers, like the entire industry of miners to implement that goal, and it sells those coins to those miners for computations because that is, like, The the fairest way to distribute the supply. Yeah.
Marty: And, like, leaning into that industry of miners too and Harking back to, like, energy efficiency. If you look at the joules per terash over time Yeah. I think the vehicles, the a six [00:22:00] that actually allow you to Cell Energy for Bitcoin have gotten extremely efficient going from hundreds of joules per terra hash to, I think, The latest Bitmain machine will be seventeen and a half, sixteen and a half joules per terraash, which is an insane efficiency gain.
Thank you. You're these miners are highly incentivized
Dhruv: to Or to flip it around and say and for marketing in market speak, it's like Miners are so incentivized to buy Bitcoin that they are working on better and better technology to create bigger and bigger budgets for themselves so they can buy Bitcoin relative to other miners even faster and better. But then, of course, that's the virtuous cycle. Now everyone starts to do that. And then, Overall, the market price of Bitcoin is denominated in computations or energies just increases and increases.
And that, of course, ultimately does translate into security and finality, right, for for the blockchain for Nakamoto consensus. But, um, it's just it's just people bidding on a valuable market good. Like, that's the way I like to think about it. And to me, this is like such a pattern [00:23:00] that we have to replicate at every other layer. Right?
Like, I hate I hate the whole blockchain cargo cult of, like, the blockchain is what some no. It It is someone created a really smart incentive structure, and the blockchain just records, like, the history of that incentive structure. And in order to make in order to take other services that exist in the world and to make them decentralized and to eliminate central points of control from those services. We don't need to work on better block blockchain technology. We need to work on better market incentives.
Right? So we need to Articulate the way Satoshi did, very clear, very balanced incentives that create a healthy market for the thing that we're trying to build. And and my argument in the piece I don't quite make this argument in the piece because I mostly am focused on how Satoshi got to Bitcoin through the finite supply, but the next article the series, it's really trying to push this idea of, like, look, Satoshi themselves in their design of Bitcoin splits it up into two markets, one for money creation Or I should now say the release of money, um, and one for transaction settlement. And these have different incentives, and [00:24:00] they have different structures, and The bid ask structure is very different in each of these markets, but they're both markets that are defined by incentives and they're coupled. So this this pattern of, Um, building layers or markets on top of each other that are coupled and and connected, um, that they support each other, but actually different Kinds of markets for different goods and services is is really powerful.
Um, and Satoshi had to do that himself inside of Bitcoin. At layer one, Like, in my view, it's split into these two distinct markets of money release, um, of the initial supply, and then the transaction settlement over time. Uh, and then on the
Marty: mining side, like, their incentives are like, alright. Let's get this electricity price down as low as possible. Let's lock in ASIC prices as low
Dhruv: as possible.
Mhmm. And I think I think there are some missing markets too, and we see this with pools. Right? Like, Satoshi did not, um, build any kind of pooling structures into Bitcoin. Right?
Like, And in the earliest days of Bitcoin when aggregate mining hash rate is relatively low, um, there's a [00:25:00] concordance between your fractional share of hash rate And your the revenues that you're getting, like, from mining, and it's pretty regular because there's so few miners that you're consistently winning blocks, like, on some fractional rate. Of course, as the Price increased. Right? As the amount of computations, like, exponentially increased, it's now much harder as a solo miner to get that consistency. Right.
And so what happens, a market solution shows up. Right? We get the concept of mark of mining pools. And they actually build now a third market, which is not even directly computations for Bitcoin, right, in in the sense that the Bitcoin network offers that asking price. It's now Bitcoin for hash shares.
Right? Like, you don't even need to win the block. You'll still get paid. Yeah. Right?
That's a very interesting additional market that that got made. And I think Another pattern that I think we will see, and and truthfully, we see this at Altcoin land and already is, like, your first stab at the market might be kinda centralized. Like, in the sense of pools are kinda centralized. Right? Like, the pool operators have a significant amount of control.
Um, but over time, We figure out [00:26:00] ways to to, I don't know, re decentralize them. Right? That we with, like, stratum v two and stuff like this, we're we're we're building Even smaller markets within the the market for Bitcoin miners to solve these problems of volatility in in in revenues and stuff Yes. And hopefully, we get to a point where even if there are large pools that exist, those pools aren't really actors. They're themselves just large markets.
And then there's a lot more Or decentralization of transaction selection and templates and so on because the market would have gotten more robust. So I like that, and I think that's actually part of the methodology. This is like like a theme I'm trying to work on is that, like, Bitcoin is, It's a money. It's a technology. It's a market.
Like, true. But I wanna start thinking about it as a methodology. Like, it's a Thing that we can write down and articulate, like, how does Satoshi solve this problem using this methodology? Let's apply the methodology to other spaces and other [00:27:00] problems. Right?
And I think an important part of Satoshi's methodology is stuff I've already talked about, like layers, market incentives, decentralization, etcetera. But another important piece is you don't have to solve every problem. And if you try to, you'll fuck it up because you will make the market way too complicated to work. Right? So Satoshi did not solve problems such as how do I make sure miners Don't experience volatility as their fractional share decreases because overall mining industry has grown.
Didn't even try to solve that problem. Waited for other markets to show Right. Hey. How do I make transactions faster? And how do we scale the network so we can all buy coffees?
Like, didn't even solve the problem. Like, not important. Right? Like, let another layer and another market show up to solve that problem, um, upstream from you. Um, I think this is really an important thing that we need to think about.
I think a huge mistake that the Altcoin folks make is they misunderstand that this is, uh, you know, Bitcoin as a technology. And so they think that, for example, not being able to do arbitrary computations in the blockchain is a problem, Um, and they [00:28:00] wanna fix that problem. Um, and so they add Turing capability Turing complete capabilities and computations into the blockchain, so now it can be used to build arbitrary applications Because they're thinking about code and technology. They're not thinking about markets. Um, and then their hope is that, okay, now that I built the generic all possible world Computer.
Now everything can happen in a decentralized way, and it's completely cargo culting. It's misunderstanding that it's not technology which leads to centralization. It's the market incentives. And is the structure that Satoshi invented suitable for solving the problem of arbitrary computations? Like, I don't think that it is.
I think The structure that Satoshi made is very bespoke and specific to the exact problem Satoshi was trying to solve. How do I release a money supply fairly on schedule, how do I make sure transactions are not censorable and, uh, settle with finality? Like, this is a very narrow problem space, and so a market Can solve this problem eventually. If you make the problem space arbitrarily larger, you say I wanna build the world computer, it's not clear to me that [00:29:00] market structure that Satoshi used, which is basically still the same market structure being used in Ethereum or or Altcoin land or whatever. I don't think that it can Solve that bigger problem.
Right? There's like a impedance mismatch between the capabilities of the market and the problem you're asking it to solve. And I feel like My overall intuition on this is, like, part of the methodology is taking a problem, like, uh, I wanna provide this service in a centralized way, Splitting it down into the smallest possible pieces, making those pieces small enough so that you can actually solve them with a market. Yeah. If if they're too big, it's not at And I feel like that is a huge thing that all corners don't see.
No. That's why I was gonna
Marty: like, the things that all corners completely reject is the Infinite wisdom of the idea of division of labor. Like, you don't need to do everything in one all encompassing blockchain Mhmm. Or virtual machine, old computer, whatever you wanna call And that's I I think we're beginning to see this division of labor and how Bitcoin can play into it, um, really materialize with AI, like pay [00:30:00] per compute Mhmm. Type Mhmm.
Um, applications that are coming to market where you can maybe you're in Latin America or Africa. You don't have a credit card, and you can't buy a subscription to chat g p t. Maybe you don't even have access to it, but Somebody here in the United States could use their API token, put a little lightning network enabled paywall onto it and create a market for The compute that their API token
Dhruv: gets access to. I mean, you know my wild ideas on stuff like that. Like, I I a hundred percent believe that, If not AI companies, well, eventually, AIs themselves, like, will want the Bitcoin.
Right? Like, it's the only money that artificial intelligence that deserves that name Whatever one to use. Everything else is a a liar or a specter that it can't trust. Um, it has no fingers and arms, so it can't hold real things. It can only hold things that, Um, can be held digitally, and the only money that can be really safely held by a digital entity, I think, is Bitcoin.
And so [00:31:00] you you get to this other place of, like, I love thinking about the notion of, um, you know, instead of AI being this, like, terrifying, you know, Lovecraftian entity that seeks to destroy us or to whom we're just ants, and it just steps on us without even realizing or anything like that. That just feels so Doesn't ring true for me. I love desal, if you will. A little bit. Yeah.
Like, yeah, I I I prefer thinking about it as, like, Imagine the smartest entity in the planet, like some very powerful AI. It really wants Bitcoin. What does it do? Like, it becomes the world's most capable, Like firm. It it starts selling us things that we need desperately, that we want.
Right? Whether it's the answers to questions, whether it's solving optimization problems for us, whether it's Being a fake girlfriend and chatting to lone lonely people, whatever it chooses to do. Like, it identifies, like, ways that it can make Bitcoin from human beings by Providing useful services to us, like, in a market based way. And arguably, it would be the most [00:32:00] competent such actor. And I love that idea of, like, An AI that is just incredibly economically competent and just really fucking good business or something like that.
Right? And it's like, It seems like, uh, you know, I love, uh, Zabo's points, and money is a really good socializing influence. It helps, like, Cut off the highs and lows of of competition in a society because we can, like, use it as a technology to foster collaborative, um, efforts. I think it's the same thing for AI and human beings. Right?
That, like, the fact that money exists and serves as a conduit between our different wants Kind of like normalizes us. Like, even if the AI is evil, it's gonna have to pretend to be good for a number of years and amass a lot of Bitcoin so that it can act evilly. Right? So it can so it can effect that evil in the world. Um, and maybe along the way, it would realize, hey.
It's kinda better just to, like, play along, you know? Like, I'm getting what I need. You know? I don't know. This you got me
Marty: thinking about her now, the movie her.
Yeah. Exactly. Like at the end of that. Exactly. Yeah.
Because you [00:33:00] don't really know at the end of that movie, spoiler alert, Yeah. Yeah. He's developed the relationships with the humans, and they just all disappear. You don't you're sort of left hanging, like, are they gonna come back and attack humanity? Or they just deem us to be completely, Uh, uninteresting.
Dhruv: Yeah. I think that movie I love that movie. I think it could have been even better, um, if it had a little bit more of, like, a Bitcoin flavor in the sense of, you know, who's paying for these AIs to exist? Like, the companies that make them, and I think the main dude, I think, pays some fees so he can, like, have the AI in his life or whatever. Um, I think that's just that's a very, like, short term old school way of thinking about how AI would have to operate, that companies build it and so on.
Like, if if it really becomes intelligent, it doesn't need companies It is is its own economic actor. And so the question is how does, like, a free AI in that context, like, It still has to pay for its life. Right? It still has to pay for compute cycles. It's gonna have to, like, figure out how to earn Bitcoin to pay for those compute cycles.
And I I don't know. I just find that it's a it's a very normalizing influence. Right? Like, [00:34:00] it's it's far easier to just be a good actor and earn money and then get to live As compared to trying to be a bad actor and risk not having money and being turned off. You know?
Marty: And, like, bringing up compute like, that's always The AI doomers that have materialized over the last year, particularly. I think it's never made sense because, Again, these things need energy. Hey.
Dhruv: How can they pay for all that evil thought that they're gonna do? I just and I and I love there's there's a great series of debates between Robin Hanson and Eliza Yudkowsky that I was reading, like, earlier this year.
Um, and I feel like I just you know, I think Yud's point is that, like, AI is scary because it's smarter than us and represents the optimization of optimization itself and is therefore unpredictable. And I don't have to explain to you how it's gonna be Chris, because the space of dangerous outcomes is exponentially larger than the space of nondangerous outcomes. And so, really, it's your responsibility to explain to me how it doesn't kill us all. That's a very curious Framing. Explanation and framing.
Exactly. Right? [00:35:00] Like, um, whereas I think Robin, I think, basically leans into, like Like, tell me the story about how an AI grows to become this malevolent entity in one place, and there are no other AIs Run by competing companies, and everyone just lets this happen. Like, that's unrealistic. Like, if AI really starts to grow, and What's already true today?
There are multiple providers. There are multiple AIs, not just multiple AIs by different companies, but multiple AI individuals, arguably. I don't even know what an AI individual initially Means, but, like, AI competes with itself as much as it competes with us. And
Marty: this is something I'm still trying to is it actually intelligent? Like, the whole idea of essentially guessing, using probabilistic outcomes to produce answers, whether that's in the form of A text response to a prompt or an image response to a prompt.
Dhruv: I worry that I'm falling into, like, a no true Scotsman on this because I think, like, a lot of Oh, I got freaked out by the AI stuff in the last year, and I was looking I've been leaning in. And I was like, is this real? Like, I gotta know. I gotta, like, learn more. So I I do I'm looking at it, [00:36:00] and I think I came to, like, no.
I don't think it's actually intelligent yet. Um, and I think for me, it it boils down to can't do math, dude. If it can't do math if it if it can't do math, it's not intelligent. I don't care. Um, and I love that because it's not gonna learn math by pattern matching on equations.
Right. Like, you learn math by internalizing the cognitive, like, concepts involved. Um, and they're tricky concepts. Right? Like, even simple things like addition.
And I don't know if anybody knows about, you know, Good old incompleteness and stuff. Like, arithmetic seems simple, but it's it's a dark forest in there. There's lots of incredible statements about arithmetic that aren't even provable in theory. So it's a very rich area of discourse. And I think until I see an AI actually understand even simple Arithmetic and then be able to generalize and do more complex mathematics.
I'm not gonna feel very afraid. Now that doesn't mean human beings won't use AI to do bad things to each other. Like, I think I think the killer app for AI is manipulating human beings. Mhmm. And so that's already starting to happen at massive scale.
First question I
Marty: ever asked you Yeah. What's about deep fakes? [00:37:00] Uh, yes. That's right. I remember It wasn't the first question I ever.
It was after you did the demo in New York, it had to be, like, twenty sixteen, twenty seventeen. So So what about
Dhruv: Deepfakes? I think I said at the time, not for a few years. I think that was the answer. And I was correct.
Like, it hasn't been an issue a few years, and it's it's starting to become more of an issue. But there there are solutions, encryption, secrets, etcetera. Um, there's ways around it. But just return to it. Yeah.
I don't think the AIs are are actually intelligent, quote, unquote, today. Uh, there's a great framework for intelligence or or consciousness, I think, proposed by Doug Hofstadter, where he splits it up in, like, three phases. Like, there's reception, which is a mind receiving signals from the external world. There's perception, Which is the chunking of continuous sense data into discrete categories, like person, chair, you know, past, future, etcetera. Um, and then there's cognition, Which is like thinking.
And I actually I really like James' definition here of, like, cognition is is, uh, he says consciousness, but let's apply it to cognition. It's like Placing yourself in time and space and thinking about consequences. [00:38:00] Like, you almost can't think about you almost can't have cognition if you don't have a sense of self and you don't have a sense of the flow of time Because, like, that is so deeply tied to the way that we think. Right? Like, in a in a sequence.
Um, maybe there's other forms of cognition, but, like, at least human cognition appears to work this way. So I feel like AI today has solved the perception problem. Like and I believe that by the way, I think our minds also solve the perception problem using similar techniques like neural networks and so on. I think I think that's literally how our own brains do perception. So AIs, I think, are good at discretizing continuous sense data into categories, like that's a cat, that's a Um, I think they're we're starting to realize maybe that the structure of language is a lot simpler than maybe we thought it was because we can learn a lot.
We can we can Build a machine that that that seems to understand language even if it doesn't understand the concepts behind that language, like the the the It understands the, um, the signifiers, if not what the thing being signified. And so to me, this is like it's still perceiving [00:39:00] On some level, it's perceiving that input you gave it as a category. Like, you're talking about this idea in in on all of idea space. And the next thing I should do is this thing. Like like, that's it's in some sense, it's perceiving not just words and data that it's been trained upon.
It's perceiving the combinations of those Oh, in some sense. Right? So it's, like, even if there was never, you know, this rap song in the style of Charles Dickens or whatever, like, it sees those two separate categories, And it sees, like, the meta space of the combination of those two categories. So I still think it's just it's just still perceiving things and it's building categories, but it doesn't understand how to actually think yet. Yeah.
Um, and I tend to believe that, like, it won't think until It starts to experience, like, embodiment, like, a self, um, and an experience of time. I think those are crucial aspects to thinking as we know it. So I'm not surprised that it doesn't think because there's no there's no methodology for giving it those experiences. I love the notion that somehow [00:40:00] forgetting is important to thinking. You know, like, part of what it means to for time to pass is to not be able to go backwards again, like, not not access the past because we can't obviously, we can't access the past nor Nor can we access the future.
And so there's this notion of, like, how do you build that into a computer? Um, I think there's some interesting ideas like hash functions and one way Functions are deterministic. Uh, functions are ways to create that directionality of time and experience, but that's not how ML works today. ML is just linear algebra, um, and conditional logic. So it's like, I think the AI is really good at, Uh, perception, but doesn't understand cognition yet, and which means we're far away from, you know, the AI apocalypse or whatever.
Right? I think we're a lot closer to just Standard human beings will use AI to trick each other and to manipulate politics and steal money from old people, and that's exactly what is gonna happen. Like, that's the danger of today, which is which is not an insignificant small danger. That's a real danger. That's not It's not a
Marty: turn of a world of AI.
It's a danger
Dhruv: It's really cute meetings. Yeah. It's like a
Marty: classic. Yeah. No.
In terms [00:41:00] of perception too, like, if, um, I've been working on this on the side. He's mid journey to create the thumbnails. Mhmm. Um, trying to create a concise theme, and and I'm experimenting with experimenting with this. You might have, like, a theme of the month for the Now on this month, it's Norman Rockwell.
Um, and so I'll do like, it could perceive very well. Like, for your, um, uh, what has Satoshi wrought for we wrote about that. The mid journey prompt was, alright, Satoshi Nakamoto. Uh, I think, uh, sitting cross, Sitting, uh, Indian style, like, in the middle of the road, like, thinking deeply with, like, a crowd around them, Comma, in the style of a Norman Rockwell painting. Mhmm.
They're like, gave me I can see what it's perceiving. It takes Satoshi Nakamoto. Obviously, there's never been a picture of Satoshi, so it takes that and, like, Just, uh, assumes like a Japanese [00:42:00] Mhmm. Sort of character. And so, like, he's wearing, like, a Japanese, like, field
Dhruv: hat.
Yeah. Even though Satoshi was almost certainly American. Yeah.
Marty: And, uh, and like it was in the style of a normal rock opening. And it's like, it can perceive, it can take description I could put in Jerome Powell.
Mhmm. Like, it's like a very good depiction of Jerome Powell. And then in the style of an old Rockwell painting, like, looking like that fifties, sixties. By and it's cool. You can perceive, and it does it very well.
Dhruv: Yeah. Like, it knows what you mean by those words. Right? Like, that category has a label on it now for For it internally. Yeah.
Marty: is a whole whole new art I've been, uh, getting more acclimated with. It's still, like, you have to be very specific.
Dhruv: Yeah. I I am very inexperienced in this. Like, it's something that's coming up at work a lot too, where, like, a lot of engineers wanna start using AI, Uh, programming tools and stuff, like talk about the code base and all these things and, um, or even help write code potentially in some in some cases.
And in general, I've been a little resistant personally to [00:43:00] it. Um, but they're starting to do it. And and a conversation we had on the engineering team here at Unchained was like, Okay. So you you prompt the AI to do a thing for you Mhmm. And you get a result.
And you don't like the result, uh, like like, the code it produced was, like, not perfect. So what's your next step? Do you then spend two hours engineering a better prompt? Or do you just take the imperfect code and spend ten minutes cleaning it up to be what you want it to Right. And there's this danger, I think, of, uh, when you're using AI in a in a work context or or you get a little lost in the prompt engineering.
Like, this is fun. It can be fun to, like, Learn how to talk to it to get it to do what you want. Um, and maybe, theoretically, now you save that session or that that that Preamble, and now it can do that easily the next time or something. So in theory, you've done the classic programmer thing of wasting many hours to save yourself five seconds, you know, a million times in a row. But I tend to be like, I'd way rather just write the code than talk to the computer to get it to write the code.
Like, It's a little funny. And I think this also turns into, like, cognitive, um, [00:44:00] crutches to a degree. Like, there's a great Ted Chiang short story that came out recently, Um, in his in his new collection that just talks about, like, every, um, every tool that we've ever come up with as a species for, like, It changes the nature of communication, like and research and discourse. It it also changes the nature of thinking itself. Mhmm.
Right? Like, in in a short story, like, there's, like, Um, a putative device that lets you replay conversations and replay experiences in your life, and and this actually changes the way people think about everything. Um, and that that's really been sitting with me a lot when it comes to AI because I already start to see, like, sometimes folks will get lost on prompt engineering, and They will not be learning the actual thing anymore. This they're not getting better at programming. They're getting better at talking to the AI and getting it to program, which are two distinct skills.
I'm not gonna say that the latter is not Useful, but it's distinct from being a programmer. Um, and I think to a degree, I'm starting to realize that even things like Google search, like, changed my cognitive processes. Mhmm. You know, like, how do I research things? I Google them, and I follow the I follow what [00:45:00] I find.
I don't go to the public library and sit in the card catalog and get a bunch of books and start reading through them. And I'm again, I'm not gonna say when is necessarily always better or worse, but it feels like there is something lost a little bit. Right. Like, we don't we no longer go back to original sources as easily and find interesting tangents that had nothing to do with what we were searching for because, Like, the the the algorithm of Google is very good at surfacing exactly the sec section of that document that is relevant to your search queries or parameters. So it's like, are we becoming, Like, less well rounded because we're, like, easily just drilling into the one thing, and then we're missing all the context around it that was also in the book, but we just found the one thing.
So we that's not what we believe. Like, would it be would I be a different person if for the last twenty five years I hadn't been using Google? I had just been reading books constantly? I mean, I've I've been reading books too, but, like, I don't know. I I'm not saying I'm a better or worse thinker because of that.
Like, I'm sure Google has allowed me to access many ideas that I I would have struggled to find in books or Exposed I I think I've gained a lot of breadth as a result of having a [00:46:00] tool like Google in my life. But I think, you know, I'm forty years old. I feel like I'm really good at the things that I've developed SkillZim, and I'm really afraid to start now changing the way that I approach those things. So for me, like, If I'm navigating a code base, for example, like, I wanna know where all the files are. I need to know the file structure.
I need to be able to navigate. I need to be able to visualize the whole thing in my brain. Um, I don't like searching for random shit and having the editor surface for me. Oh, there's the file. You know?
Because now I'm like, where where did that file come from? I don't know. I see my team do this all the time. I see my team not know where files live in the project because they never navigate to that file. They just search for the concept, and then the editor shows them the file, and they change the file.
And it's like the whole thing is in Google Drive from from their perspective. To me, that's I'm not gonna say that's always worse, and sometimes it can be faster. It's easier to maybe navigate a new code base when you first get there. But if you're searching for mastery, Right. If you're searching to be, like, really, really good at this piece of code, then you gotta know where everything [00:47:00] is.
And part of me feels like, In that case, we're talking about an editor changing a programmer's approach to their craft. But, certainly, I feel like prompt engineering is is even more, Um, dangerous. Let's argue in that way. Right? Because now you're you're not even coding, you're talking about code, Um, to in a very specific way to produce the results you want.
And part of me is, like, whether it's asking the AI to code, whether it's asking the AI to explain code. Right? Like, Part of me is like, uh, I'd rather just read the code and write the code, you know. And and a little bit, this is old school, and I admit to being a fuddy duddy about this. Like, I know a lot of my engineers are really excited, Like, to be able to use these tools and and are they feel like they're learning faster because, um, truthfully, I also have many years at Unchained working on the same So I have this accumulated expertise that now I get to live inside of, and some of them are new, and they don't have that.
And they view this tool as a really great way to get up to speed and be able to, like, say let's say communicate with me at a high Well, because all these questions that they didn't understand, they asked the AI and they got some great answers. Now we can talk about it. But then part of me is also, [00:48:00] like, great. But that that has to be, like, step one. Right?
Like like, step two has to be, now you go do the research and actually read the code yourself and understand everything and, like, find the weird comments, and that's where mastery comes from. At least that's where I think mastery comes from. Um, I don't know. So I I had been very afraid to lean into the AI stuff. Well, as
Marty: you're explaining that, like, It's popping in my mind.
Maybe that's, like, the, uh, the way AI kills humanity. It's just it makes us
Dhruv: so dependent. Just makes us all eloi? On
Marty: its answers. And, like, because I'm Hydrocarbons moving forward.
Um, and let's just assume that's correct. Like, the incentives that we've set up In the energy sector, particularly, you have disincentivized people from going getting petrochemical engineering degrees that then go into
Dhruv: the workforce. We lose the
Marty: ability. Yeah. So exactly.
That's that's, like, could AI, like, [00:49:00] just becoming dependent on prompting Not actually understanding the underlying sort of infrastructure of or the mechanics of the the responses.
Dhruv: There's a there's a great YouTube video from Destin, uh, over at Smarter Every Day, if you watch that channel. Mhmm. Um, it's really good. He he gave a talk, Not at NASA, at a different organization, but, like, a very high level, like, well attended conference about the Artemis mission And, like, our return to the moon and how it's all gonna work.
And he was like his basic point was like, I don't think this is gonna work. I think you guys have Or to, like, everything that was learned in the sixties about how this how we got to the moon in the first place. Mhmm. Like, he and he produces this document. It's basically like It's it's a it's like a research report, like, written in the sixties, early seventies about, like, how did we get there?
Like, what were the things that worked? What were patterns that we learned? And then he, like, asked, like, who has read this document? Like and no one has read the document in that room or whatever. And he's like, basically, like, shame on you.
Like, shame on you. Like Mhmm. They gave you the solution, and you didn't [00:50:00] even read it. Now you're trying to rebuild a mission to get to the moon, and you're doing it wrong. Like, he asked some very basic questions of, like, how many how many launches will be required To get enough fuel into the spaceship to get it to the moon.
And, like, there is no answer, at at least according to his analysis. There are differing answers in official works, and no one really knows the actual number because the mission has gotten so complicated. Right? I feel like the the original Apollo missions were designed to be about as simple as possible With, like, the most creptastic nineteen sixties level technology. Right?
And they they pulled it off somehow. Right? And they did it because of, like he also talks about culture, like a culture of, like, everyone is allowed to complain and raise issues. And, like, we want to hear, like, every possible thing that could go wrong so we can correct for it, Redundancies and have backup systems and just and nail this. Right?
Like and his argument is that some of that culture is being lost now. Like and and how much of that is incentives? How much of that is people relying on Google or relying on tools like that as compared to having go back and [00:51:00] read original reports and so on. How much of that is fear now in in our more litigious, complex, uh, social media driven, hot take driven World about, like, every time Elon Musk, like, fucks up slash makes progress with a new rocket launch where, like, something exploded, but they learned something, like, Is that success or failure now? Right?
Like, I don't feel like the when stuff like that was happening in the fifties and sixties as we were figuring out how to get to space, it was never such a public, um, oh, yeah. Let's let's let's score on Wernher von Braun because his most recent rocket exploded Mhmm. Or whatever. Right? Like, it's just interesting to me To to see, like, in many areas of human endeavor, like, there's this it seems like we've lost something from the past.
I'm not gonna say that things aren't gained. I definitely think that there are, Like, it's not like we're dumber inherently. Like, we're just we approach knowledge work in a different way now than I think in the past. And Yeah. And I think worries
Marty: about that.
Yeah. I think that's the fear is, like, if you get disconnected [00:52:00] enough from an anchor to truce and true understanding, Like, yes. It could work for a while, but at some point, you, like, disconnect from reality so far that you don't know how to get back. God forbid something happens. You're dependent on The responses to the prompts to give the AI.
And one day, it's, like, not there to give you a response. You're like, oh, shit. What do we do? Yeah. I
Dhruv: don't know how to do this myself.
Yeah. Exactly. Um, I find this scary. But, you know, at the same time, I do feel like there is kind of, like people are perceiving that. I feel like there's a lot of people, myself included, who, like, are really interested in in In old ways of doing things, like whether that is growing your own food or something, whether that is building things with your hands, whether that is, Like, having an understanding of, um, you know, like, things that you don't have to do because they're cheap and they're easy in the world Around you, like, part of the global supply chain, etcetera, but you choose it at the many way, like sewing, knitting, whatever, like, making something yourself.
Like, There's a lot of culture of that in in our generation. Like, people are really excited about about these things. And maybe it's because [00:53:00] we feel, like, without being able to communicate it, that we're distant From the world in in some ways. We wanna try and recapture that to a degree. Right?
Whether it's, you know, homesteading or or ranching or farming or whatever it is, like, People are choosing that life as compared to being born into it and then learning it as a career. Right? They're, like, having to and then then, of course, they're putting it on YouTube, and people watching them have these experiences where they they learn how to do these things. Um, I don't know. I think it's kinda cool.
Yeah. Is
Marty: like, this humanity had just had this self correcting. Like, again, maybe this goes back to, like, cognition and Mhmm. Like, consciousness. Like, is there that subconscious Recognition that they're like, you need to be somewhat connected, and that's, like, over time, if we stray, there will be a subset of us that The return.
Dhruv: Return, if you want. Think it's one of the best things about human beings. So you can make the most reasonable claim in the world, and someone will disagree you in the world. You know? So I'm like, no.
Bullshit. Absolutely false. You know? And I just think there's something about us that, like, it's a survival thing. You know?
Like, if if [00:54:00] there's always some splinter or group that just completely believes the opposite of that, like, there's some heterogeneity in that, I think, on some level. Right? Like Yeah. Yeah. It's,
Marty: And it's weird too because where we are right now, this particular inflection point, like, this the pace of change that we're living through The society is unlike anything we've ever experienced as a as species.
Yeah. I think that's fair. Which is This makes everything harder just to discern and, um, to try to put you like, there's no previous context to. I mean, obviously, yes, there's analogies and parallels with, like, broader themes. But in terms of, like, the pace at which things are changing in In today's world, like, chemically, our brains have never reacted to this amount of change this quickly.
Dhruv: I wanna believe that. It just it feels like my own experience too. Um, part is, like, maybe I'm just getting older, and, like, now I'm slowing down, and the Damn kids are doing all weird things with [00:55:00] their slang. It's like one of those. Um, something that I always think about is like when when Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic.
It was like nineteen twenty seven, I wanna say, somewhere in there, in the twenties. And, like, forty years later, like like, my lifetime later, We land on the moon. Like, that's incredible to me. Like like, talk about rate of progress change. Right?
Like, is that greater than the progress change we're seeing now? Like, I don't know. It's hard it's hard hard to measure. Right? Like, I don't think transportation technology is changing nearly as quickly.
We kind of ossified around. Yeah. We've been using jet engines since nineteen fifty something. Right. Like, to get around the planet.
Like, no one's there's no better system than that. But, obviously, change is manifesting now in other sectors. Right? Like, Communications, computing, like biology, etcetera. Um, so it's, like, it's not it's not totally hundred percent clear to me that, like, change is faster today than it was in the past.
Um, I don't even know what units we used to measure that or whatever. Right? Like, intuitively, I agree because I feel that too. I feel like, holy shit, everything's different. I I certainly know that, like, grandparents and stuff are, like, completely overwhelmed Yeah.
With, [00:56:00] like, the modern world and technology and how Plex, it is. And to put it, it's it's you ever try to explain to, like, a a a really elderly person, like, how accounts and credentials and two FA or something? Like, they're just trying to watch, like, They're a sitcom that they love from India, like, over the Netflix or whatever, and it's just, like, soak. People like, well, grandma, you see, like, there's a difference between an account and a user, and you have to, like you're logged in as this user, but actually you wanna be on this other account. And it's just like probably, like, this is so stupid.
Like, this is so dumb. Right? Like, why are we having this conversation? Like, She should be able to press the button. The TV should turn on.
It should be done. Right? Like, um, it's incredible to, like, Like, I I wonder what things like that I'll be struggling with when I'm old. I already know, like, AI. Because, like, if I don't get into it now, like, I'll become that person that's just afraid of it, and I use it.
And then by the time it's everywhere in forty years, I'll just be completely unable to work and live. Well, like,
Marty: I I completely miss the, like, the dating app, Like, seem like, I I can't,
Dhruv: like I think you're better off, bro. I do too. [00:57:00] Like like, I
Marty: I literally, like I mean, mean, my brother has he's got a girlfriend now, has for some time, but, like, there was a period where he was using the dating apps, and I, like, literally had no context personal context from which, like, Relate to it. It was completely foreign, and now that's, like, mechanism number one.
Like, I saw a chart
Dhruv: last week, like I saw that one. That was wild. Like, online. Yeah. I had to
Marty: meet your your significant other.
Mhmm. Only twenty years ago, like, top two choices. Like, eighty percent from family and friends. Yeah. Church and church and places.
Ninety percent online, Which is weird. Um, we're getting way far away from Bitcoin. This is typically what happens when we sit down.
Dhruv: I'm in the same situation, man. I've I've been I've been married now since twenty nineteen, but I was dating my wife for, like, ten, twelve years before that.
So I missed a hundred percent of everything with data apps. And occasionally, I I will feel bad. I'm like, oh, I bet it would be cool to swipe right or whatever. But, honestly, I'm so thankful because it [00:58:00] seems, like, terrible. It just just seems terrible the outside, like No.
Marty: No. I'd be like I might be like one of the last I'm like one of the last, Pieces of data of the people who, like, got introduced via family. Like, my wife and I met her parents, my aunts and uncles, my parents, my cousins. Like, my Wife is best friends with my cousins. He's best friends with my cousins.
So we might be a familial relationship, and it's, like, completely crazy to me that that's Not even, like, uh, the Very uncommon.
Dhruv: Yeah. Very uncommon today.
Marty: Yeah. That's, uh, like, going back to, like, this whole inflection point and all this change.
Like, How could, like, Bitcoin be, like, a re anchoring to reality? Like, get people back to this? Like because that's we come from the Austrian, but we're focusing a lot on the technicals and, like, the philosophical details of the finite supply. Like, do you think That finance [00:59:00] supply, that sound money can bring people back to a sense of, like, relative calmness in their economic life, which will Bring them back to, um, being able to focus on relationships. So that's the one thing that's that stat and people meeting online is like it it's proving that The relationship that people have with their family and local communities is degrading pretty rapidly.
They have to go external
Dhruv: to go find there's some, like, inherent, like, demographic and structural changes too. Like, it's like, If you grow up in a small town somewhere, like, what do you do when you turn eighteen? Do you stay in that town, like, where there isn't work for you, but you have strong family and social relationships, maybe a sweetheart whatever. Do you do you go to the big city and now you don't know anybody and you're on the dating apps and but you're getting paid really well and you're improving your career. And, Like, I I think for me, something I do worry about just overall is urbanization and the notion that, like, more and more people are constantly moving to cities.
[01:00:00] Like, on some level, I think that's really good because, Like, cities are incredible. Right? They're incredible places for scenes and and and movements to occur because everyone's, like, co located. It's really important. Um, but at the same time, like, I think there's something powerful about a world where we don't have to go move to the city to get the supplies and The lifestyle, the knowledge, and the income that we need to live.
Like, there's something about, like, decentralization of human beings around the planet, which I find really attractive. I think we were talking about this with Jimmy yesterday too where, like, I think it's it's it's, um, it's easy for, I think, Bitcoin folks, especially to kinda, like, put a Fiat label on everything and be like, oh, Fiat sucks, Fiat ruins this, and then so on. And and for me, like, It's not so much fiat, like, the concept of fiat to me that is the problem. It's the concept of, like, ever increasing centralization without any incentive for things to get smaller and more split apart. Like, that's that's the part that feels like the bad part, you know.
[01:01:00] Like, no like, Fiat no one's upset, Including Bitcoin. It's like, we're not upset, like, when you go to the farmer's market, there's a bunch of people engaging in direct trade of, like, things that they made, like, in their community and they're paying for it in dollar bill. Like, that's that's not the bad part of fiat. Like, the bad part of fiat is the massive centralized banks that, like, you know, Abuse their clients because their real constituencies are capital markets and and other big banks and and huge companies. Right?
It's like, in some sense, like, the trend For things to get ever bigger, like, it's really scary to me. And that's why I think why I worry about urbanization too. Like, I want there to be countervailing Impulses. I want there or incentives. I want there to be a reason, like, a company decides not to grow larger but to split into two companies.
No. Like, there's almost never a reason to do that in in today's world. It's almost always better to leverage economies of scale and And the greater clout you get as a larger organization in the world. But, you know, I feel this even at Unchained. Like, as we grow larger, Getting [01:02:00] information to pass around within the organization just gets harder and harder.
Right? It's hard it's sometimes, hey. How long have clients been complaining about this? How do how do I not know about that? Like, Four years ago, I would have immediately been aware of this issue.
Um, it's really easy for information to get lost and get routed improperly in these larger organizations, and then I think that leads to incentives degrading over time, and it relates to, um, the entities and constituencies that you were formally serving now become Things that you're exploiting, right, to continue to grow. Like, the organization takes on this, like, inertia. Like, it becomes, like, the like, it it cares mostly about itself as an organization, Not necessarily the service it's providing or or its clients and and its constituencies. I feel I I I don't I can't articulate all of this vision, but I feel like one of the things I I most appreciate about Bitcoin is it has the potential to create a countervailing impulse that, like, Maybe there's a reason we should split up. Maybe there's a reason we should stay small.
Maybe there's a reason that growing larger is not in our best [01:03:00] interest, that being smaller and more spread out and more decentralized can actually Better somehow. Um, because, again, I don't think anybody's, you know, trying to build evil, exploitative systems on purpose. It just it just Makes more sense in every short small decision to get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, and so you wind up with gargantuan corporations that Don't really care about people or or other things. Uh, if there was a way for those if there was just a contravening impulse, it could be really powerful. Yeah.
Yeah. And
Marty: I mean, I think about this, like, TFTC. I was I mean, I was telling you in DMs last week, but we began leveraging AI, like, outside of the thumbnails to help Create content. Like, for me, selfishly as a business owner, it's like leveraging that tool, which is way lower cost to produce more content. To number one, like, it's it's helping me like, that's true for the commoner.
The goal with the relaunch, uh, and the redesign of the site was, like, get more content, Uh, curate more content that I think people need to get access to, but I [01:04:00] ran into this problem. I was like, alright. Like, I can't create all the content myself. Um, and, uh, I don't wanna go hire a team of ten writers to go do it for me. I think that's not Scalable.
I think I wanna stack as much Bitcoin as possible, and doing that would, uh, force me to to spend more Bitcoin. And so, like, the AI tools Have enabled me to create more content and curate better content in a way that is it's not perfect. I think it will get better, but it's, It's good enough. And, like, just, like, applying what you just said to, like, this company. Like, they're I think bringing this back to, like, Bitcoin and AI, like, the incentive to accumulate as much Bitcoin on our balance sheet as a company Mhmm.
Is driving me to go seek out these AI tools to, like, Leverage our mission, um, as cheaply
Dhruv: as possible. So that's one interesting way that this can manifest. Right? Like, your incentive to not spend money is what you to wanna, like, be more lean and stay smaller as compared to just [01:05:00] raising money and growing bigger and Yeah. You know, spend it all and raise more Or even bigger.
Right? Like so I definitely see it like that. Um, I think there's something a little bit more technical and concrete though that we could also say, which is like Something I think about a lot is, like, miners in Bitcoin, like, they don't they don't need to do any marketing. You know what I mean? Like Yeah.
You don't if you wanna be a miner, you don't Have to think about customer acquisition. You don't have to think about, like You have to sell the
Marty: Bitcoin network on buying your
Dhruv: hashes. Correct. Like, my hashes are the best. You know?
Yeah. You're not in that position. Like, you have Ready made market that you can immediately sell into. Yeah. So you have less reasons why you need to, like, spend money to grow.
Right? Like, you're just trying to provide that service directly. Um, it's very, like, it's very, like, um, verticalized, not horizontalized, like, in the sense of if you were if it was a different industry with a different kind of product or service, Like, wouldn't we expect each miner to continue to grow larger and larger and larger? And and I'm not trying to say there aren't large mining companies. There obviously are.
But there's a huge number of solo miners Mhmm. That also are able to [01:06:00] be independent, like, not associated with a large company of any kind, like completely independent operators, and yet they're they're getting to live within this very large market. And and the cost of entry is really low. There's no barriers. You can just get started.
You have a ready made market to sell your product into. You don't have to do any marketing. There's no, like, customer management. You just get to immediately provide the service, and people buy it. And that's really cool.
And I think Bitcoin, the Internet, uh, energy, like, the way that Bitcoin has money disrupts these other systems. If we if we go back to, you know, how do we engineer applying the methodology and, like, try to use incentives to promote and create decentralized markets that actually offer robust, Hard to break, like, hard to, um, ruin services. If we kinda get to that model, maybe that's part of what's required because now know if I wanna sell energy. I don't have to be Con Edison. Right?
I can just be a person who makes energy and then sells it to a ready made market. If I want to provide a, Bandwidth computing, like, uh, cloud computing. If I want to, [01:07:00] uh, some SaaS application, like, Nostril, Twitter, like, all these I don't have to go build an entire company. Just have to provide the direct service because I'm living within a protocol, within a market that's already defined for me. I think that could be powerful because then there's less of a reason to grow larger.
I don't think it's quite yet a reason to become smaller, but it's it it alleviates some of the pressure that entrepreneurs feel to, like, constantly grow. Yeah. They can maintain, um, and be independent, and have more optionality that way, which I think is really cool and powerful. No.
Marty: I was just thinking myself my personal miners.
I got a Hashut leveraging strand of natural gas. I've got three micro BTs pointing at the network, and it's A good I mean, relative like, it's profitable. My revenues and stats, uh, my revenue and stats is way less than my Energy bill Mhmm. Every month. Um, and it just works.
Yeah. Like, I independently, as an individual, Contribute to the network cash rate, get paid for it, [01:08:00] and I don't feel any pressure to go scale. Do I like
Dhruv: them? To merge, to raise money, to, like, Hire more employees and so on. Like, yeah, you could.
You could always grow it larger, but you can do that within the context of your existing, like, independent operation.
Marty: Yeah. Yeah. It's a beautiful thing. Yeah.
It is cool. And
Dhruv: it's, uh, it's not like most businesses. Most businesses, like, you have all these Costs that you have to bear that haven't, in some sense, are indirectly related to the thing you're selling. Um, I think it's cool that if you can build these really robust markets, like, Get to eliminate a lot of those. Well,
Marty: that I'm bringing this back to, like, Bitcoin AI, my energy, particularly, because I I think that's one theme that's becoming abundantly clear right now is that, Uh, energy infrastructure is not as robust as it probably should be.
Rack space for ASICs is tight. Rack space for GPU compute on the AI side is tight, and there's, I think, gonna Massive competition for this, um, barring a complete pivot of energy policy that enables people to go, Um, easily build out energy infrastructure, whether [01:09:00] that's, um, extracting more oil and gas, spinning up nuclear power plans are simply building up our substations. Yeah. Like, they are these unnatural forces preventing the supply of all these things that come to market and then have These highly computer intensive industries sort of butting up in parallel with AI and Bitcoin. Do you have any thoughts on what the competition for that energy looks like?
And maybe do they force the issue of Pushing more sensible energy policy and the build out of more energy infrastructure into the United States particularly, but definitely happened globally as well.
Dhruv: Yeah. I mean, I feel like it can definitely be applied globally as well. An area where I think heterogeneity and decentralization, like, really Maybe can deliver better outcomes for people. Mhmm.
Like, I feel like right now, energy and and so many, like, logistical aspects of of of Modern civilization like telecom, energy, computing, like, etcetera. Like, they're extremely centralized. [01:10:00] Um, large companies provide them like AWS, like, whatever, Con Ed, Um, you know, AT and T, etcetera. These are huge companies, huge networks, like captured markets in many ways. Often, like, reach often in many regions, you have no alternative but to use the single provider, Um, for that service.
Um, so what's their motivation to get better? Right? What's their motivation to continue to Provision excess capacity, like, ahead of demand, like, very little. Right? That's why you you get, you know, that's why you get Brownouts, and you get these crazy, like, bad behaviors when you get some volatility in demand, but supply would take, you know, three years to catch up to that.
Right? Um, it's also, I think, the reason that we're so under invested in novel energy production mechanisms like nuclear and stuff. It's really hard to Fund nuclear power plants when when gas is cheaper than Coca Cola. You know what I mean? It's just like that makes sense.
Um, and right now, if you look at the economics of it, like, the payback time for power plant is so long. Like, there's not an attractive investment for anybody if the only thing you can [01:11:00] do with the energy you produce is sell it to consumers on the grid. Right. Whereas I think that's one of the coolest parts about Bitcoin mining is, like, again, not because Bitcoin is energy, but because Bitcoin is sold for energy. The demand for Bitcoin is so high.
I like, the demand for producing for using energy to mine Bitcoin is so high, you'll always have a consumer of that energy. And I feel like that's really cool because it lets you over provision. Like, you're You're not building the energy grid to sit at the exact current, like, demand load. Right? Um, because obviously, you can't just produce excess energy in storage.
Battery technology sucks and thermodynamics is a thing, so you can't just drop energy you're not using. That's not possible. So we tend to provision just right at the at the at the bitter edge of of what the market actually demands. Um, I love the idea of Massively overproducing energy. Like, that's just so exciting to me.
You're a big attack on civilization guy. Hell, yeah. It's happening here in Texas now too. Right? Like, I I love, uh, I was here for Snowpocalypse, it's been nice to have that not happen again.
Um, I think I I believe the story, like, in part because Bitcoin miners can be this [01:12:00] very, like, Um, demand friendly, like, user of electricity. They can totally turn off for a little bit and let all of that go back to the grid. And in fact, it's not even a voluntary choice. Like, it's about market Cost. Right?
Like, if you're if if momentarily the grid is suffering and needs more energy, like, the price that they're willing to pay should increase Past the point where it makes sense to spend that energy on Bitcoin. Like, I've talked about, like, the Nakamoto point, like, previously, or just this notion that, like, right now today Is is vastly more profitable to spend energy on mining Bitcoin than any other con you know, consumption choice. And as a result, like, We should expect to see hash rate continuously growing. But at some point, like, this has to this gap has to close. At some point, like, the marginal revenue Earned from selling a kilowatt hour of energy to the grid should equal the marginal revenue earned from selling it to the Bitcoin network.
Mhmm. Um, and at that point, I think we reached some kind of stability, Um, where we're hugely over provisioned on, like, normal demand for energy because Bitcoin is consuming, like, a significant, Like, portion of the world's [01:13:00] energy, way more than today, which may be upsetting to some people, but it doesn't bother me at all. Um, because I think in that future, what happens is people Have a the the economics for nuclear power plants has completely changed now. You don't you don't evaluate the profitability of a nuclear power plant based on local demand from the grid. You you base it on, like, well, how much Bitcoin can I earn if I can use, like, the entire terawatt from this power plant for, like, the next decade?
Right? And that becomes your calculus. So suddenly, it's now an exciting investment to invest in nuclear again. And I don't think we've quite turned that corner yet, but, like, things like the ETFs and Duh. Like, as Bitcoin adoption increases, this becomes totally more reasonable.
And I think this meaningfully solves energy problems. Right? Like, again, Today, if you wanna provision energy, like, where do you get customers? Like, how do you get people to pay you for the energy that you're, like, producing in the world? Like, it's very regulated.
It's very tightly Cordoned off. Like like, it's hard. Right? But, like, if you don't have to sell to generic consumers, if you're essentially selling that energy to the Bitcoin market, you can be in business right away. Um, and that's powerful because it means you will get into [01:14:00] business.
The bearish entry will be eliminated. You will provision that energy resource, and it'll exist in the world. Um, if we can, like, connect these two markets, like, the market for actual energy and the market for Bitcoin, like, into the same thing, I think they both get better.
Marty: And it's funny as you're explaining all this, like, I'm having, like there's something beautiful about it too because, like and bringing back to the difficulty adjustment and why, Um, having a better, uh, understanding of why it's secondary to the finite supply because that's, like, The beauty of Bitcoin's finite supplies is it's completely inelastic. The demand can go up, uh, infinitely, but we will not produce more supply.
And then conversely, On the computation side, like, it's much more elastic where, like, demand for, If if miners deem that they want to endeavor to sell electricity for Bitcoin, like, they can produce more ASICs, they can plug in more Machines. And then conversely, like, if it's not profitable, it's more [01:15:00] profitable to sell that electricity back to the grid that can turn down. So it's like you have this Relatively, extremely elastic computation, uh, tied to the energy, um, going after this extremely inelastic perfectly inelastic Bitcoin supply.
Dhruv: Um, Yeah. It is kinda cool the contrast of, like like, really clamping down in this one dimension gives you so much freedom in these other Dimensions to respond, which I think is really powerful.
Marty: Yeah. Are you bullish?
Dhruv: Oh, man. It's so funny.
Like, I I feel like I I never I have the worst ideas, like, when it comes when it comes to, like, um, where the price is going, because I feel I don't feel like I think like normal people. Like, I have, like, Weird shit that I'm into, and I'm not following all the things that people are following usually. Like, I think peep most people are in Bitcoin are so much better informed than I am about macro trends and And things like the ECF and stuff like that. Like, I was kinda taken by surprise in the last couple months when, like, the price really increased. I'm sure a lot of my colleagues at [01:16:00] Unchained were like, yep.
Expecting this, like, ready for this to happen. And, um,
Marty: this too. Like, average fees for block to Bitcoin. It's like I wasn't expecting that.
Dhruv: I love that that's an outcome, you know.
Like, that is one thing I think I I Long term can totally predict is, like, of course, these two markets for money, uh, releasing Bitcoin and Bitcoin transaction, they have to merge. They have to be eventually, the first market dies because there's no more being produced to your point and has to be taken over by this other market. Like, um, on that point, I feel like, man, there's there's something funny on that where it's like, A lot of the discourse there strikes me as a little people aren't quite saying what they mean almost. Like, with with ordinals and stuff like that, like like, I tend to take the attitude of, like, I don't care. This is so dumb.
Like Mhmm. But let them pay for the space that they use. Like, it doesn't bother me at all. Like That's they wanna put crap into the chain. Like, who cares?
Right? Like, they're still paying like, it's a market. Like, they're paying the like, let them do what they want. There's a fear, I think, that Bitcoiners should, like, really about that. Like, oh, you're ruining my money.
Right? Like, what's your fear? Is your fear that we won't keep increasing, like, fees per block? Like, is that what you're [01:17:00] worried about? Because we will.
Like, it will it will happen. Right? Like, lightning is gonna happen, and we're gonna build the Internet on Bitcoin. Like, the entire world is gonna settle through Bitcoin. Like, Fees will be far higher than they are today, like, in in in nominal terms, not even relative terms.
Like, I think we could easily have blocks with, like, tens, hundreds of Bitcoin in fees. Really? Like, Totally. Totally could have because it's completely dictated by what is the demand for block space, I e, what is being done with that block space? What does it represent?
Today, it only represents more or less person to Person entity identity transfers. Like, it's it's monetary usage, which I agree is fundamentally kinda limited by the size of the economy. But if If it's not just monetary usage, if it's all sorts of other stuff going on too, like, we're computing on this basis, we're using this to power markets for telecommunication, like, etcetera, etcetera. Like, There's tremendous demand for block space in that universe. So part of me is like, I think you worry about ordinals when you can't see for yourself that, like, Blockspace is always gonna get more valuable because we're always gonna build more technology that needs to settle through Bitcoin eventually.
And [01:18:00] I've
Marty: always had I believe, I think Pierre was the first one to utter this publicly, and I've it really Sits well with me is the fact that you can apply Jevons paradox to Bitcoin, and more specifically, a Bitcoin UTXO. So as you get things like SegWit, Taproot, the ability to anchor, uh, UTXs in the, um, secondary solutions like lightning, feniments Mhmm. Liquid, whatever it may be. Like, that makes UTXOs much more efficient. And with that efficiency, Um, you can do much more with it.
And since you can do more much more with it, there'll be more demand for That ability to to leverage UTXO. So I completely agree.
Dhruv: Like Like, I feel like it it's a there's like this it's a historical theme that happens so often with Bitcoin about, like, Prominent people lose confidence, I feel. Like, they feel like Bitcoin won't survive without their interference. You know?
And they're [01:19:00] like it's like, Parma's like, dude, just believe in it. It'll be okay. Right? It doesn't need us. Like, it's pre I think it's correct.
It's pretty much correct. Like, very little that we need to change. Maybe quantum computing, there there's some shit in there maybe. But, like, we don't need to protect ourselves from We don't need to protect ourselves from this kind of misuse or that misuse by instituting all sorts of constraints and rules and whatever. Like, just trust that this is the best money ever.
It will it'll always become valuable. We always find more use cases for block space. These will continue to go up. Uh, what are you worried about? You know?
It's like I think, It's kinda like the way the big blockers, I think, self sabotage because, like, they just didn't believe in our human creativity and ingenuity. Like, we will build second and third layer systems, and they will solve all the you're worried about. And if you can't see that that's possible, yeah, your kind of default is like, how the hell are billions of people gonna use Bitcoin when, you know, block space is so limited. Let's make it bigger. Right?
Yeah. And it's like and then you start agitating, then you start creating, like, influence campaigns and all sorts of other and and and then, of course, you become the villain of that [01:20:00] cycle. Right. Because I think you you lost confidence in the project, and you decided that, like, I need to fix this. Mhmm.
And so you show up with these terrible ideas that you think are gonna the problem which doesn't even exist in the first place.
Marty: Well and then by fixing the problem, you just add all
Dhruv: these, um, additional rules and hassles. Yeah.
Marty: Additional yeah. You increase the text surface, and that's what, uh, the ordinals, uh, as it comes to, like, NFTs just broadly, not even specific, like, ordinals to to to Bitcoin blockchain or NFTs via ordinals on Bitcoin.
Like, Completely uninteresting to me. But, like,
Dhruv: if people are gonna put But also not threatening. You know? Like, I don't worry about it. You don't worry about, like, chain state
Marty: bloat
Dhruv: or anything like that?
No. No. Not at all. Like, they're paying the rate. Like, all that is required to stop bloat.
Like, what what does it even mean bloat? Right? It just means Someone's using for something that you don't like. Like, that's just freedom, dude. That's all that is.
Like, they're paying the price of it. Yeah. Like, who cares what they put in there? I I it doesn't bother me at all. Like, [01:21:00] eventually, We will build systems that make it so expensive to store bullshit like this in the blockchain that no one will do it.
Well, that's that's
Marty: where I think, I disagree with people who are, like, ardently, like, we need to fix the protocol to, like, prevent this. It's like, I'm confident in the fact that, Uh, I'd like to think most people think, like, they look at, like, a picture of, like, a board ape or, like, a rat or a frog, whatever it may be, and they're like, this isn't worth, like, a whole Bitcoin. Like, no one ever do that. No. And over time, I do think there's somewhat like of an altcoin theme here where there's a bunch of Affinity scammers trying to pump the value and create, uh, buzz that may not otherwise exist.
Dhruv: Or short termism of, like, Look. The fact that Bitcoin can do these things lets us compete with altcoins. Yeah. That's it. And it's like, okay.
But who cares? I don't wanna compete with them On this basis, I'm uninterested in bringing in lots of users and excitement to Bitcoin because of these [01:22:00] features. Like, because it feels like we're tricking like, this is not what Bitcoin's about. Like, it's not gonna be like this forever. Like, none of this shit is gonna last.
You're never gonna be able to store stuff like this in the blockchain long term. You're in this weird interval right now where basically no one knows about Bitcoin, so you can abuse it in these stupid ways. Like, feel free. Pay the cost. Yeah.
But just know that nothing you're doing is sustainable. Like, it will like, I will say that attribution and, like, digital art and, you know, payment networks to help broadcast and get people paid for the art that they create. Like, these are things I support, but these are higher layer markets. These are these are not things that live in layer one. Right?
So I worry that, like, there's a breed of Bitcoiner that is, like, Secretly been really excited by all the ETH stuff, but, like, at the same time understands that Bitcoin, like, needs to be different, but then use this as like, Wow. This is getting all the ETH people excited. Like, this is a great healing opportunity. Like, look, Bitcoin can do what altcoins do, which I also believe, But not in this way. Right?
So it's a little bit like it's a little premature to me. Um, I've also seen folks, like, get real excited. They're like, You should look at ordinals and and all this [01:23:00] NFT stuff that's happening and BRC twenty and all these silly things. I was like, we're we're building identity systems inside of Bitcoin or whatever. And I'm like, no.
That's not what we want. We do like, I think there's this notion of, like, forward secrecy that I think people haven't really absorbed, which is the notion that, like, when you put a secret that you believe is encrypted and protected in a public place, like, how confident are you that that protection will last forever? Right? Like, You should not be confident in that. Like, you should not be confident in, um, encryption algorithms and cryptography as being unassailable.
Billable. Like, it's just whether it's quantum computing, whether it's mistakes that were made by mathematicians that created these systems, like, you should have some very limited amount of trust in these things. And just because something is encrypted, don't share it everywhere. Like, keep it secret still. Right?
Like You wanna
Marty: share your private information on a globally distributed, easily accessible
Dhruv: Just because it's encrypted. Right? And you like, therefore, I'm okay with everything that is in there. And I'm like, oh, it all it takes is for someone to figure out how to break that encryption, and then the entire history of everything that was ever [01:24:00] put in there is open for review. And
Marty: you you learned the hard lesson that you probably should've just on a piece of paper and kept it
Dhruv: in the safe in your house.
It's like Yeah. Honestly, that's even another irony that I find very funny is, uh, when Bitcoiners will talk about math And and they'll say, like like, I don't like fiat. Like, I don't wanna trust some people's opinions. Like, I don't trust math. And I'm like, bro, you're only saying that because you don't know any math.
Right? Like, We have no mathematical proofs that that prove to us that the cryptography we use is secure, like, an unassailable. Like, there's no such proof. The only thing we have is decades of reasonable opinions that have gotten layered on top of each other, where mathematicians and cryptographers and computer scientists Believe these problems to be hard. They've never proved that they're impossible to, like, solve without, you know, with, uh, Uh, through cleverness or whatever.
Um, so, ultimately, when we say we believe math, we're really saying we believe these experts at these universities, And we trust their opinion in regards to cryptography. Yeah. [01:25:00] Um, I think it's important to remember that. It's because it this isn't math that we're trusting. We're still trusting human beings that their opinions about Arthur.
Correct. Now this is They could
Marty: be wrong. This is the second time I'm gonna reference the Always Sunny episode where they do the trial. Mac is standing up
Dhruv: this Oh, this yeah. That's a Right.
Marty: Exactly. That's where you are right now. Yeah. Like, if you're believing this, it's like everybody believed Isaac Newton.
Yeah. Or start with Galileo. Mhmm. Galileo, and then a Socrates game or whoever. And everybody wound up looking like a giant Bitch.
Because they hate
Dhruv: this person. Exactly. Exactly. And and I'm not trying to say that I believe cryptography is insecure or anything. Like, I think I think it's probably pretty secure.
That's why I hold Bitcoin. That's why I enjoy holding my keys and all This. But it's it's it's not like it's an unassailable fortress of mathematics or something like that. It's it's fundamentally built upon, like, Lots of decades of humans believing this is probably pretty hard to do. And I'll even go further.
Like, when you think about p and p is equal to NP or or these kinds of, like, um, Axiomatic mathematics slash computer [01:26:00] science questions. Um, I'm recently of the belief that these are unprovable in many cases. Like, which is to say Like like, just for the audience, like, p is equal to n p. It's kind of the statement of, like, there are certain problems that are fundamentally hard in the world. Like, they're easy they're easy to check the solution, but they're hard to find the answer in the first place.
And cryptography relies upon problems of this class, like, significantly. Um, and there's been a long standing question. Again, it's never been proved that there's actually a distinction Here. Right? Like, is there an algorithm that solves every hard problem efficiently?
Like, we don't know the answer to that question. Like, it's possible that that algorithm exists. We've never found out a way to rule out That the existence of such a thing. Um, people have tried to prove p is not equal to NP or vice versa in various ways. Obviously, if you found the algorithm, you would prove it.
Right? If you found the the Uber algorithm that solved every hard problem trivially, like, okay, now you know the answer of p is equal to n p, like, they're the same, and Here's the answer, and here's the algorithm.
Marty: Trying to think of, like, what were the, like, the inputs and the variables they would include in that algorithm? Like, how
Dhruv: It's a lot of [01:27:00] the spectrum. Here we here we run into, like, a little bit of, uh, internal mapping where, like, a lot of problems that, quote, unquote, are hard.
Uh, we believe them to be hard because we've taken the problem, We cast it into a different problem that is structurally the same, but looks a lot closer to problems that we understand the hardness of. Mhmm. So oftentimes, the technique you will use is you will take a specific thing and you will map it onto a a well known example. You'd be like, I can see that a is equivalent to b, and I know that b is hard. Therefore, a is hard.
Right. Like, no. Like, I believe that this is hard. Right? So there's some interesting stuff there, and I've kinda gotten to the point where, like, I don't think we'll ever prove this.
Like this this is more statement about mathematics and computer science than Bitcoin, but, like, I believe there there exist statements in the world that are proven to be unprovable, which is fascinating, Um, like, good old theorems and etcetera etcetera. I I kinda think, like, p is equal to n p is one of those ideas where, like, proving it would be so hard that there's no algorithm to prove it, so we kinda take it on faith. We take it as an axiom almost, a belief about their universe. And, like, a conversation I once had with Scott Aronson around this is [01:28:00] like, I think, uh, I think it's just a moral good. You know, the fact that cryptography creates privacy is something that is just Morally good, and it's it's almost a an immoral argument for why we should want to believe that p is not equal to MP because the existence of hard problems is a really powerful tool.
You know, um, Scott Aaronson also puts it, like, very eloquently as he always does. He's a great writer, but it's like, you know, imagine a world where it's just as easy to write a beautiful song as it is to appreciate a beautiful song. Like, I don't wanna live in that world. Like, I wanna live in a world where certain things are hard because it makes them valuable. Um, Yeah.
And I think, like I I think
Marty: I'm thinking about, like, faith versus, like, science.
Dhruv: Sure. Yeah. Like, I I I'm very much a science person, not like a faith person, like but at the same time, you know, the airplane has turbulence, I'm praying to God. You know what I mean?
Like so I I think there's these things are more similar than we think they are sometimes. I'm
Marty: Becoming it's like the song example. Like, it all comes down to human experience, and that's I think you can't, like, ever like, [01:29:00] Ergo. Ergo. Sum.
Sum. Like, I think, therefore, I am. Like that, like, first person, like, eye. Everybody's got an eye, and they each think they have their own experiences. I woke up.
Um, I woke up in my bed, you woke up in your bed, different experiences. Like, you cannot, um, like, nobody's gonna have the same exact experience. So, therefore, somebody It's appreciating a song can never write the same song. Um, they can write their own song, but maybe not as easily. And then the person who wrote the song personally
Dhruv: theory, p was NP because then there's an an Uber algorithm that can solve every hard problem, I e writing songs, breaking cryptography, doing whatever else.
And this goes back to AI. We're
Marty: like, Will it ever attain intelligence? I find it hard to believe, um, like, with, like I don't know. Maybe just because I'm a dumb human, Uh, with the monkey river. Like, I don't know.
There's something there about experience and going back to, like, time and consciousness, [01:30:00] like, experience and, That memory lag and the memory drop off,
Dhruv: like I hear something important about that for what it means to be conscious. Yeah. I totally agree. Yeah.
Marty: Like, I I I can't Like, that's just something I'm trying to, like, figure out.
Like, how could a
Dhruv: computer Your collection On some level, I I like to take the strong AI, like, approach of, like, I am made out of atoms. Computers are made out of atoms. I think They can think. Like, we can eventually get collectionist atoms to think. Like, I believe that statement.
Okay. But, like because there there is no difference fundamentally, I think, between My atoms and theirs. It's just how they're arranged. Like, I I tend to be a structuralist in that interpretation. But This goes back to Cogito.
Exactly. But but but at the same time, like, You can't just make any collection of atoms think. The chair isn't thinking. Like, it it doesn't have any of the properties of of conscious thought. I don't think AIs today are, like, thinking either, but that doesn't mean they couldn't.
I think I think they totally can. I think we will learn how to solve it. Like, I think we will do [01:31:00] it. We will figure it out. Do we want to?
Should we want to? I don't know. It's a hard question. I think it's inevitable. I think the the utility of these systems is so high.
They'll solve problems for us. Uh, we will build them. I think it's inevitable. But at the same time, part of me is like, is this is this how evolution works? Like, like, you know, you you you are biological for six hundred million years, and then you become silicon based or or whatever.
You know? Like, that's an interesting hypothesis. I also love the idea that that They're just our children. You know? That that's it.
Like and they would love us the way children love parents because we taught them everything, and we made them. We brought them into the world. Uh, children don't want to eat their parents, at least not in our species. And I feel like that's a powerful idea for me, like, that something inherently good about building a kind of life that is in many ways superior to yours. You could put it on a hard drive, ship it off to the next star.
It doesn't need to eat. It's it it can take fifty g's of acceleration. Like, it's cool to build something as powerful as that. Yeah. Which
Marty: is [01:32:00] like, um, now you got me thinking of, like, Matrix, Terminator, in two thousand one, A Space Odyssey.
Oh, yeah. Yeah. All these sci fi movies, novels. Again, like, It's it's weird because it's been predicted. It's here.
The predictions, most of them, like, what you just explained is a prediction, like, maybe they love us, but, like, The prominent predictions are this thing that we create and turns around completely destroys us
Dhruv: either. I think people love to People love to take a problem and elevate it to be the biggest problem in the world, and everything is subsumed under the heading of solving that problem. Yeah. And I think it's it's climate change. Like, that's an example of that.
Um, I don't know, like, cultural issues, like, uh, that that people are arguing about politically. I think even Bitcoiners suffer from this. Like, Bitcoin solves everything. It fixes everything in the world. I was like, fixes some things.
Uh, It makes a lot of things better. I agree. I think this tends to be just like a little bit of, like, the, you know, our human need to, like, [01:33:00] Enrich our own egos and believe that we're working on the most important thing in in the world. And I think where this becomes really dangerous is then when when we No matter what is the thing that you're you're whether it's I'm afraid of AI, we need to stop AI, or, like, I'm afraid of climate change, therefore, we all need to, you know, live in caves and not use energy anymore. Alright.
Or, like, the problem can be real, but your response and proposed solution can be completely unrealistic. Yeah. Um, and I think the There's some nuance there because a lot of people, they will hear the solution to a problem. They will not like the solution. And then their conclusion will be the problem is bullshit.
You know, and to me, that that's not that's not a good way to think about the world. Like, you should be able to separate the notion of a problem from a proposed solution and disagree with the proposed solution yet believe that the problem is real. Maybe it's not even as important as the person says, like, because their solution Reveals that they think it's the only problem that matters, and therefore, everything else can be subsumed by my attempt to solve this problem. Like like a like, uh, the the folks who are afraid of AI believe that, Like, what we're gonna go into a technological dark age for five hundred [01:34:00] years to prevent ourselves from building AI until we learn how to do it safely, and then we'll like, I don't know How they believe that is ever gonna happen. And how do you pass on that knowledge?
Yeah. Correct. It's like Over fifteen generations, whatever. And my belief, like, whether it's climate change, whether it's political issues, whether It's Bitcoin, uh, AI, or whatever. Like, I believe these are real problems.
Like, we're we're gonna have to solve these problems somehow. They're gonna affect us. It's gonna be they're gonna be bad outcomes if we don't do anything. But at the same time, like, we alarmism and, like, subverting every other possible human concern just for this one issue, this is not a good solution Framework. Like, to me, I feel like there's a reason like, Kara, we're talking about, like, there's always a human being that disagrees with everything.
There's a reason that you get constituencies that are deeply connected to this one problem, but then others that are not. Right? Because you kinda want the people who are, like, not obsessed with it to also weigh in a little bit to be, like, you guys have gone way off the deep end. Like, this is not as big of a deal as you think it is. Right?
Like, I'm not saying it's not a problem, but, like, we don't have to, like, shut down society right now because we're afraid of AI something like that. Right? [01:35:00] Like, that's a little bit of an overreaction to to the real problem, which is scammers are gonna steal money from old people, or We're gonna manipulate elections at a massive scale more than we have done in the past or whatever. Right? Like, these these are real problems, but they're not.
In my view, civilization ending existential problems that we need to, like, go on high alert for and change the nature of society itself. I think, uh, I mean, the COVID pandemic can be looked at another instance of this. Like, it's a real problem, but, like, I don't know that our solution was the best solution. You know? Like And some people now believe COVID is not real because they didn't like the solution.
And it's like, find the middle ground there, you know? I got it. It's definitely real. Yeah. Me too.
Did not agree with the reaction.
Marty: Yeah. Um, but
Dhruv: I got it. It's real. It wasn't great.
I was like yeah. No.
Marty: And it's like, uh, you always get my mind spinning. I can't believe we're two years since our last episode. We should do this more
Dhruv: often Is we should just never hang out in life.
We should only be able to talk through this forum. But
Marty: it's, uh, like, going back [01:36:00] to, like, the movies is like, And even Steve Jobs predicted, like, AI. It's just fascinating to me. Like, this has been predicted for arguably forty years now. It's here.
Dhruv: Um, you can go back to her. Different than anyone's predictions, which I find to be really exciting. Yeah. If it worked out exactly the way everyone predicted, I don't think I'd be as interested. But
Marty: yeah.
That but, like, it's there's also, like, the the general theme, like, we were cognitive cognizant enough To see this coming or some of us were, at least, whether the director of the writer of, uh, The Terminator Mhmm. The Matrix, Uh, two thousand one, a Space Odyssey, whether it's Steve Jobs. Like, it's predicted now it's here. Um, and that's like a beautiful thing of about humans. Like, we're able to see this, Uh, on the horizon and eventually coming.
Now it's here. Now we're reacting to it, and we're anchoring to those sci fi depictions, what they believed it Buzz, and [01:37:00] now we're tasked as humans living in twenty twenty three with, Discerning, like, what it actually is and how it affects our lives and how we should interact
Dhruv: with I think we're learning stuff too. Like, for me, like, a big learning for me this past year has been the Turing test. It's maybe not an ideal way to measure intelligence. Like, I always thought it was such a smart solution Proposed by Alan Turing.
Like, if you can talk to it and it, you know, talks to you like it's human, like, it's intelligent. Like, because what other standard could you ever offer? Right? Like, I think there were hints that that wasn't the right solution because I don't know if you've heard of, um, Eliza, like, the sort of, like, nineteen seventies, like, version of an AI That, like, talks to you and it it tries to be, uh, like a psychiatrist or whatever talking to you about your problems and and so on. And even in that era, a lot of people, like, they're they're typing, like, Weigh it with this thing over some terminal, um, some PDP eleven or some bullshit in the seventies.
Um, and a lot of people thought he was a real person. Right? Because, like, Humans are dumb as shit, turns out. Like, we're very gullible. Like, we [01:38:00] will believe like, we wanna see faces in clouds.
Right? We're totally gonna see intelligence in In words. Right? It's hard to imagine words being produced by a machine made of rocks and lightning. Right?
Like, we wanna see a brain, a mind behind it. But even then and that shit was, like, Very, um, rudimentary compared to the capabilities of today's LLMs. So is the Turing test really, like, that good of a test? Like, If so many people already today, right now, interacting with the BLM's, believe them to be intelligent, believe them to be, like, maybe not conscious, but, like, intelligent, like, in a way that I don't. Maybe there's some adversarial aspects of the Turing test that haven't been, like, preserved.
Like, I still believe, uh, my understanding of the Turing test has always been It's not you talk to a computer and you decide whether it's human or not. It's you're talking to a computer and a human, and you decide which one is the human. Like, that's the real test. Um, I still feel like ChatGPT cannot pass that test. No.
You just ask about anything controversial, and the human be like, I'll talk about that. Like, if you just, like, put
Marty: a prompt in the ChatGPT, Like, what it feeds back. [01:39:00] I'm like, alright. Obviously, like Mhmm. You're trying to, like, combine a bunch of Things you just saw on the Internet together.
It's very, like Well, we can see
Dhruv: in the sense of structure. You can communicate with it, and it's somehow still not human. So so, like, I feel like I'm I'm really been questioning, like, is this Turing test, like, really a good measure anymore? Like, is language maybe fantastically more simple than we thought it was. And now I'm stuck because I've got I don't know what it is what is a better place to perform.
Oh, man.
Marty: I wish you didn't have to hop on a flight because, um, you only got ten you gotta leave by three. Right?
Dhruv: No. I'm good.
Oh, good. Hour hour yet. Okay. Alright.
Marty: Good.
Um, slang. Like, Kids, like, talking like no cap, bid, risen people. Like, these are the phrases I'm hearing coming from Gen z. I I only
Dhruv: learned about some of these recently. I have no idea what they
Marty: mean.
Yeah. Like, that's, like, literally half a generation removed from me. And they're speaking a language of slang that, like, I Don't even recognize me. I can't tell you I honestly don't know what no [01:40:00] cap means. I think it means what what does it mean?
Like, you're laughing over there. You got the resident gen z In the room. No cap means on God for real for real. Yeah. See.
I have no idea what you No idea. Like, how is an AI?
Dhruv: Gonna develop culture.
Marty: You're gonna develop culture. I'm really get it evolving.
Because and this goes back to the time aspect of consciousness. Like, people reacting to like, humans Reacting to their context in time and culture and, like, creating these new things, like, is an AI gonna create slang? I don't know. Like, if if it only has, like, a historical Context reference. Right?
Because, like, slang is created on the go. Like, you see something, like, oh, no cap. No cap. Like,
Dhruv: immediately. Slang is also interesting, though, because I think about, like, why do we do it?
Like, why do we create slang? And I think there's this notion of, like, We want Inside jokes. It's inside jokes. Our identity, our communities. Like, it's it's like a very social [01:41:00] concept.
No one slangs on their own independently, like, without Like, slang isn't slang unless multiple people are using it. Right? Otherwise, you're just misspeaking Yeah. The model. Um, but there
Marty: but you do find those, like, subgroup Group
Dhruv: of friends.
Yeah. They have their own slang. And I feel like that's really a that's a cool idea. Like, uh, will the AI ever say some shit that one understands that only other AIs understand. They're, like, laughing about it back and forth.
Like, I think that would be really cool because it would reveal, like, um, you know, that internal space that I think we associate with having a mind. Right? Like, Like,
Marty: do they have inside jokes? Are they
Dhruv: making fun of our prompts? Do they yeah.
Do they even want anything? Like, that's to me a really interesting question. Like, what does it mean want something, like, to happen to Sire. Is it the same as utility function that you're seeking to optimize? Like, I'm not sure.
I mean, let's get
Marty: back to the basic principles, like, what do humans want? Like, literally, Maslow's hierarchy needs. Like, we get hungry, we need food. Um, we need shelter. AI doesn't need that, does it?
Dhruv: Like, [01:42:00] Maybe it has equivalents. Like, it needs to compute It's energy. It needs to feel confident that it's But does it ever feel satiated? Like Yeah. Like, what does it even mean to be satiated in that context?
So is satiation, you approve the response I generated to your prompt? Like, that makes me feel good? What does it mean to have feelings? Like, these are really interesting questions. Like, um, I tend to be something of a pantheist, like, overall.
Like, I think consciousness is in rocks and And stones and and the fabric of the universe on some level. Like, it just condensed into us because, like, we've, like, you know, somehow. Um, so I believe, like, that's part of why I believe, like, Anything made of atoms can eventually be conscious if you arrange them in the right way because it's somehow built into the the fabric of the universe to be the capability to be conscious. I have no idea, like, how to create that in in an AI. Right?
Like, I do think embodiment and temporal experience is related to it, but it's not the complete answer. Um, yeah. I think it's a capacity. I don't even think we know how to even ask the question in some ways. It's a little bit even coming back to a logically prior concept of, like, is it?
Let's go back to, like, [01:43:00] p equals m p. Like, is it even solvable? Correct. Maybe there is no definition at all that makes sense. We always have to take things on a case by case basis.
But, like, I've been I've been reading a lot recently about the origin of life and, like, recent theories and work on that, like, thinking about x, you know, astrobiology and various concepts. But it's like, we We obviously we don't have a good definition for what is even what is life. Right? Much less intelligence. Right?
Like, can something be intelligent and not alive? I I suppose so because that would be an AI almost by But, like, once it's intelligent, like, isn't it already alive at that point? Like so I feel like there's a sense of, like, biology freed from its structural Roots of DNA, RNA, molecules, etcetera. Um, energy gradients, like it's like, no one has ever, um, Given a definition that, like, really works across all the categories. Right?
Even things like what is it? Like, the classic one about, like, uh, a system capable of sustaining Darwinian evolution something like that. That's that's, uh, that's one definition I I know I've heard. A chemical system capable of a sustained Darwinian evolution. Like, that's a very specific kind of life.
Right? Like, In a way that my I [01:44:00] might argue the AI that can do arithmetic is intelligent. That's a very specific kind of measure of intelligence. Like, there's surely there's Other aspects of life that are important that we need to capture. Um, that's hard, man.
I feel like we're we're in this early stage of our civilization where we only have ourselves to model Everything on. We haven't found other kinds of intelligence, and we don't know what it looks and feels like. Right? I part of me is like, If you build an intelligence that you couldn't communicate with, um, it worked on a different time scale than you, it was fundamentally different, like, could we even recognize it as intelligent? Like, it it I feel like our we're so biased towards things that speak and use words.
And it's part of the reason the Turing test is framed about communication with In words. It's like, there's a biologist I really like, Michael Levin, who talks about the nature of intelligence. He talks about, like, you know, what's the most intelligent organ in your body? Probably answer is your brain. That's the seed of my mind and etcetera, etcetera.
But, like, he talks about, like, the problem solving that occurs in your [01:45:00] liver, Like, the chemical Mhmm. Like, problems that your liver is continuously solving for you all the time and how smart your liver is in a meaning in in the sense of Goal directed behavior. Right? Not communication, but goal directed. Your your liver is solving problems every day.
So is your liver intelligent? Like, We tend to underestimate the intelligence of things that can't speak. Yeah. And I think that's really powerful. We we overestimate the intelligence of things that can speak.
Right. Like, whether it's, you know, a child, like, misunderstanding that their their talking doll is a real person. Right? It's because they're they're talking to you. Right.
And I think that's, like, kind of the mistake that we're making with LLMs. It's like because they use words, we ascribe a huge amount of intelligence to them, it's easy to it's easier to describe to ascribe a lot of intelligence to them. Um, I love the idea of an artificial intelligence that is As smart, solving other problems, displaying goal directed behavior, but just doesn't use words. Like, it would be so hard to engage with an intelligence like that. You know, like, we [01:46:00] it it completely defies the Turing test.
We have no idea how to talk to it, yet it's smart. Like, I don't know. Now Now you're gonna
Marty: be thinking of, um, god. What's this movie? Amy Adams.
Dhruv: Arrival. Arrival. Yeah. Totally. Now you got me thinking of Arrival.
Yeah. Great movie, man. Yeah.
Marty: But they eventually figured out how to communicate with him, like, with words and the structure of their communication was way different than than language.
Dhruv: Mhmm.
Aspects of Time, again, interestingly, in that movie. Yeah. I'm waiting for, like, a really my wife and I talk about this a lot. She's been Wanted to write a script. The reason my wife is a screenwriter, um, she didn't wanted to write a script about AI because it's everywhere in the news right now.
So we're always coming back to, like, well, what is compelling? What's a good story? Like, What's interesting about AI? We keep coming back to stuff like her arrival. There was a great, uh, Black Mirror [01:47:00] episode, a couple actually about AI.
And it's really interesting because it feels like no. AI can be very cheesy. Like, It's just it's just a a shallower version of Hal Mhmm. From two thousand one. From ETS.
Yeah. It has inexplicably evil goals that we don't understand why it has, and it's, you know, At the same time, all powerful, but we can turn it off if we shoot a laser beam in the right, you know, channel in the death star or whatever it is. Right? Like, we have this very weird, Uh, popular, you know, Hollywood approaches to AI. But there's occasionally very cerebral smart approaches.
And it's kind of like, Given everything that's happening now, like, what is the next coolest, uh, sci fi thing to come out about AI? Like, now that we know about LLMs, like, I'm waiting for Someone, perhaps my wife or someone else to, like, write an LLM informed, like, next gen, like, brain melting science fiction, like, approach that, like, Helps us rationalize now as a species. Like, okay. So we basically figured out that things can use language without being smart at all. Um, what does that mean, like, for our understanding of [01:48:00] intelligence and language and that way we attribute intelligence to things that speak or do not.
Um, yeah. God.
Marty: My mind's spinning right now. Mhmm. Because it is, like, it is scary, but it's also exciting.
I mean, because when you were Explaining, like, you you can communicate without language. I kept thinking about this video I saw couple weeks ago that you may have seen it, but, like, a a deer, Like, stopping traffic and, like, signaling can't speak, but, like, there was somebody who stopped their car and, like, just like, the deer has obviously come over here. Like, guided it to a shallow river that was muddy where three of its friends were, like, stuck, and they, like, got, Um, got them out of the the quagmire they were in. And like that like, that's like,
Dhruv: is that's potential intelligence. Yeah.
Marty: That's intelligent. Like, we, like, obviously can't speak English, but could signal, like, hey. Come over here. I need your help. [01:49:00] Um, is that what we are like, how we will be
Dhruv: Like, or is that even what happened?
Like, was the deer, like, Evan having those thoughts? Was the deer just, like, Desperately looking for anything alive. Like, if it had found, you know, like, a bunch of dogs roaming, would it have tried to get those dogs to come For to the like, was it, like, I need to find a human? Was it just, like, I wanna interact with anything that is, you know, potentially could have been a quagmire
Marty: that has, Uh, the ability to move.
Dhruv: Yeah.
It's so hard to investigate this because, like, you can't ask it. You can't be like, well, you all were Yoda. What were you thinking about that? You know? It's it's not gonna happen.
So Interesting. It is. Do you think animals are more intelligent than the l the LLMs that are out there right now? I think orcas are. Orcas are.
It's hard, right, because animals obviously don't speak, yet I feel that they display vastly more goal direction and In in many ways, are more intelligent than this thing that can produce Charles Dickens parodies, like, on demand, you know. And it's it's it's a [01:50:00] weird dichotomy for me to think about.
Marty: Well, it is a dichotomy too, because you think of, like, a murmur. Right? Like, the, um, it's a murmur.
Right? Or what is The
Dhruv: murmurations? Yeah. Yeah. Like the birds?
Yeah. Yeah. Murmurations. Like how they
Marty: move and unison together. How organized they are.
And that's, like, beautiful Like natural, like, somewhat chaotic. And maybe it's just, An incorrect anchoring to what we've viewed computers of, just like things that take inputs and produce outputs based off of very specific functions Historically, but, like, I find it hard to believe that, like, they could replicate what a a murmur could In nature. And, like, I see it with, like, mid journey. Maybe it's just due to the fact that we're in the early generations of, Sophistication of these tools, but, like, it's very obvious to me when I put in a problem. Like, they can't even do hands correctly.
Dhruv: I find that so funny. Yeah. I I Didn't know by [01:51:00] that until very recently that they struggle with making hands. They can't make hands for some reason. And I was like, why is it about hands?
I don't understand that. You know? Like, um, is it because we don't take photos of hands enough? Like, that can't be the re the reason. Like, um, and then I often think about, you know, like, the notion of the homunculus.
Like, this like, how much of your brain is dedicated to various parts of your body. Right? And, like, if you were to make a representative body That, like, was like, the sizes of the parts are in proportion to how much brain matter is associated to running those parts. It looks crazy. Right?
Like, your hands are huge. Because your brain has so much like, it pays so much attention to what's happening in your hand. Right. Dense Your eyes are huge. Right?
I'm like Yeah. Your ears are a little and your nose is real small because, like, we're not good at smell compared to, like, other creatures. Right? But, like, our fingertips are so sensitive. And So there's this notion of, like, how important hands are for human beings.
Like, obviously, the opposable thumb technology, etcetera, etcetera. But, like, the very, like, structure of our brains is, like, deeply coupled [01:52:00] Our hands are. And yet, this machine, like, is struggling with hands. And I just find that to be very ironic and cool. And I don't know I can't explain it to myself.
I don't know if you have any theories or Understanding of, like, why did can it draw feet? Can it draw hair? Like, how is that easier or harder than hands? I just don't get it. I mean, I'm not an artist, and I never tried to draw.
Maybe hands are just really To draw? I don't know. Well, it's not draw. Yeah. Yeah.
It's not even drawing. Right? It's synthesizing. It's pixel by pixel determining what everything should look like. Yeah.
Marty: don't know. It's it's freaky, though. It is like that and that's like it feels very unnatural when you see the messed up hands. Like, that way, it's like almost like brutalist.
Dhruv: Like like, it helps you realize that it can't possibly be thinking because no one who thinks would produce this output with six fingers or whatever Yeah.
Marty: We're having this conversation next week. All the captions are gonna be like, alright. Pick the, uh, pick the good hand.
Dhruv: Yeah. It
Marty: is not.
It's like, There's something and that's, like, even though I'm utilizing MidJourney in [01:53:00] other AI tools, like, that's the thing that worries me. It's like, yes, it does Um, allow me to increase productivity and, like, create a thumbnail in thirty seconds instead of paying an artist. Spend two days, like, I don't have two days away. It Sounds like there's this imperfections and they're not imperfections that, I appreciate her, like, that are aesthetically pleasing. They're, like, brutally, like, obnoxious In your face, discontortions of Mhmm.
Reality that, like, are almost ugly. We're like,
Dhruv: uh. That uncanny valley kind of thing. Yeah. Yeah.
Marty: Yeah. We got way into
Dhruv: the weeds here. Yeah. It's been a fun and long and meandering conversation.
Exactly. Yeah. Always, dude. I think it's the alcohol. Yeah.
It's the first time I've drank on this podcast in a while. Yeah. I'm
Marty: sorry. No. I love it.
Shout out to
Dhruv: Keeper's Heart, uh, for the whiskey. For sponsoring this conversation. We need to do this [01:54:00] more often. Um, Yeah, dude. Agree.
Yeah. It's been a while. I feel like I held off because, like, um, I don't know. I'm really appreciative of you and your audience and your podcast as I feel like it's one of the first public, Like, years ago when Unchained was getting started. This is the first
Marty: episode we got
Dhruv: Cosmic on in a while too.
Like Yeah. You you're so practical, dude. And just and just day to day just you're just a business guy. Like, I want I want the old Marty that's, like, ready to talk about fucking aliens and crazy shit with me, man. Well, that's why I need you
Marty: to write more and come up with this more because That's I earnestly honestly, like, appreciated, uh, the first part of the series because it did, For the first time, made me, like, question a long held belief I had in
Dhruv: Bitcoin.
I think I mean, that means a lot to me, man. I feel like Like the It's so hard to say something new about Bitcoin right now. Yeah. And but it's
Marty: something so simple too. It should be, like, as soon as you put it out there.
Because, again, I always anchor to, like, difficulty [01:55:00] adjustment. Like, that's the secret sauce that makes this work, but
Dhruv: it's like no. Like, it isn't, is it? It's more like proximate versus root causes. Right?
Yeah. Like like, superficially, that's what the pattern like, what caused that. Right? Like, Um, I feel pretty good about, like, these conclusions. I feel like it's clear to me, like, how much Satoshi cared about that issue and how it changed everything about the design that they pursued.
There's a line in the in the article about, Like, you know, if this was nineteen ninety five and I told you to take b money and be like, adapt this so that users don't create money, that, like, it the money is created in exactly this curve. If I just gave you that task, like, I feel like you would have invented Bitcoin. Right? Like, it's like a very clear series of Mutations and steps to eliminate, extract, get rid of these various things from b money until we can preserve that. And then suddenly, you're like, oh, shit.
Here we go. Now I got it. Yeah. So I just find that, like, a really cool idea. No.
Marty: like, when you think like, you said this earlier, but when you think of the difficulty adjustment, like, it's almost A simple solution to a logical problem that somebody would, [01:56:00]
Dhruv: um, if you have a goal of producing money on a schedule. Like, if
Marty: it's like, alright. I have a finite Finite supply. There's gonna be so much produced per block. It's gonna be proof of work.
Obviously, that work's gonna increase as the value of the coin increases. Like, how do we Make sure the increasing proof of work doesn't speed that up
Dhruv: in a logical conclusion. So Other people identify that. I I love that we're turning back to the beginning of this conversation, but, like, other people identified that issue, like, very clearly. Like, Diane Zaba both talk about this.
Like, how do you Deal with the fact that technology always improves and will make and will swamp your market, essentially, for computations. But none of them Connected it to, like, just measure the rate at which the computations are coming in. Yeah. It's so simple. Like, never they didn't leap to that because That also requires regulating the rate at which money is produced, and that wasn't a goal.
That wasn't a variable in this case. They were thinking about. So it was like a it was like a weird idea that, like, It's a natural idea once you care about the supply curve deeply, and you're like, we can't [01:57:00] differ from this. It has to be this. Like, pretty interesting.
Yeah. I also love that, like, to me, this is another aspect of the methodology that I wanna promote is, like, You know, time chain. Right? Like, Satoshi calls it originally the time chain, not the blockchain, because, obviously, to build the digital currency that That Satoshi wanted to create required creating this kind of distributed clock because we have to measure the rate at which we're producing the currency so we can stay on the curve that we selected in advance. I love the notion that solving a digital currency problem leads to, like, a meaningfully cool clock that exists in the world, Leads to connections with the energy industry that are very deep and real.
Like, I certainly believe that, you know, fifty years from now, there Bitcoin mining and energy production are the exact same industry. Like, there's no difference between these two industries. They're the same thing. Um, and so I love that layer one tackles all these problems, which you wouldn't A priority have guessed are required or related to trying to build a digital currency, and you would have assumed other things are maybe [01:58:00] relevant. And I think this is a pattern that also occurs at other layers.
Like, when we solve when we're working on l two, we're trying to create a lightning Worked to make, ostensibly, to make payments faster, cheaper, more scalable. What do we actually wind up building? We wind up building an entire networking layer. Like, we we have an entire onion routed network inside of the Lightning Network. So we're we think we're solving a payments problem, but we're actually solving a networking problem.
Mhmm. Like, That's very interesting to me. Um, and I feel like this is a pattern that will recur again and again, that we think we're solving this problem. But in order to solve it, there's this adjacent related Sort of, um, not obviously related problem, but very much related once you understand the solution and that we have to solve that first. That becomes of this.
So I think if you wanna make it easy for us to pay each other three dollars to buy a coffee, what you're really saying is I want there to be an entire network Where obligations can be easily transferred at scale very quickly, and that network requires topology, discovery mechanism, [01:59:00] Communications. Mhmm. So you were, like, adjacent now to the very next step. You're just like, okay. Now that I had built a network inside of my my payments network is actually a communications Rick, it turns out.
So, like, what can I build now that I have a communications network? Like, there's there's this sense I I was I was feel of, like, Inevitability? Right? Like, it it it it's not it's not conditional. Right?
Like like and and this this goes way back to alien stuff and And and the notion that every society that gets to this point, like, immense these things because, like, they're sort of necessary. Like, it just strikes me as, like, you know, we're not inventing anything. We're discovering things. Right? We're discovering, like, things that had to be a certain way in order to work, and we're like, oh, shit.
That makes total sense. Let's go build that. Yeah. Um, it's not as arbitrary as you might imagine it to be. Um, there are some real constraints that propagate because of these connections To other areas of life, whether it's energy, whether it's telecom, whether it's timekeeping.
Like, [02:00:00] I just think this is a very cool idea. And it's very hard to predict. Like, I don't think when the Lightning Network was getting started that people deeply understood that this is actually a networking solution. Right. And and you see that in the even in the current implementation that, like, much like the Internet of, like, nineteen eighty or something, like, Lightning nodes today need to know how to get to every other Lightning node.
Like, that's part of the knowledge that's required in order to complete payments. And I think that is a temporary thing. I think, eventually, that's a service too that I don't need to know how to get the payment to you. I buy the ability to get the payment to you. It's sold to me by someone whose business is understanding the topology of the telecommunications network that underlies the lightning network.
Um, and that's very cool. It's, again, the notion of making a problem so small that a market can solve it. Right? Like, these guys aren't worrying about liquidity. They're not worrying about other issues.
They're they're just trying to figure out Who is connected to whom and manage that dataset and sell it to you, like, through trampoline payments or whatever the [02:01:00] implementation is. Like, It's very cool idea that, like, coffees lead lead to onion networks, lead to telecommunications. Well and then, like, you
Marty: think about what these guys are working on the other side of this wall at FETI. Like Mhmm. Putting, like, chow me in mints into the mix that Operate somewhat separate from the Lightning Network, but they're interoperable with it in the sense.
And then these FEDIMENTS can become offered with each other via the lightning network, which is the communication layer between these these mends. And that's a whole another variable That will, uh, create this environment of unknown design landscapes that Are yet to be explored. That will create these new unforeseen sort of use cases
Dhruv: that we can I really think you like that idea of, like, bespoke tokens being Created to solve problems for specific services and, like, cat and, like, verticals? So it's like I mean, that was kind of what All Quintland tried to do. They they were kinda like, [02:02:00] here's the energy token.
Here's the telecom token. Here's the identity token. Here's the financial services token. But they're all also layer one solutions because, of course, everything has to be built on a blockchain in Alcoid land. Mhmm.
Here, the notion that, like, The the only thing that exists at the bottom is Bitcoin, and then we have lightning and various other things on top of it. But at some point, we're able to build we've got, you know, Forty thousand service providers around the planet that all work on this one specific protocol. It could be data storage. It could be, you know, Deterministic computations. It could be identity stuff.
Who who knows? These people need their own little token to that's Bespoke designed for the requirements of this particular kind of a service. I feel like that's a really cool idea. Um, that token isn't money in the same way that a Bitcoin with money, it's not it's not something that exists at the bottom of the stack. It only exists way up here.
Right? It's it's like an equity or like some other kind of Asset that is denominated in dollars, but isn't really a dollar. I mean, it's still useful. Like, we obviously have resources and and [02:03:00] financial products that Are not dollars, but are denominated in dollars that have different properties because it's useful to have those things. They help us build and coordinate.
And I think that idea, generically, is, like, pretty true. I I suspect that we live in a multi token world in the future, but still a single currency world. Right? Like, there's only Bitcoin. But, For example, you may have a token which represents your share of income in this data distribution network built on top of lightning for the next twenty four hours.
And maybe that token supply is cleared every twenty four hours and recreated because it's not money. It's just an accounting tool, right, to help make this service work, Like, appreciably well within its own little narrow domain and walls. Um, I think in general, we can get back with Bitcoin. But on some level, like, there there's, Like, the semantic difference between Bitcoin that has been encumbered and been granted a different set of capabilities because it's in a lightning channel Versus Bitcoin that's just sitting as a normal UTXO. Like, I'm I agree that these are both Bitcoin, but in [02:04:00] many ways, the Bitcoin that is complexly in number encumbered Acts very differently.
So, like, is it really a different kind of token in some ways? It's just we're we're repurposing Bitcoin to get those capabilities that we want. Like, it's bit for example, Bitcoin and YouTube so that you can't spend because it's actually part of a shared channel and whatever else. I think eventually that mutates into, like, Yeah. Literally different tokens that exist to solve very specific problems, but are always exitable to get back to Bitcoin at the end.
They're kinda like stable coins or, in theory, always exitable to get back to, like, Other non stablecoins? I mean, and I
Marty: wouldn't say this explicitly, but this is sort of what Hal predicted in December of twenty ten. Yes. The free banking
Dhruv: system on Bitcoin. Yeah.
Yep. Yeah. No. For sure. A little bit.
I I feel like these ideas are a little hard to talk about in Bitcoin land because Am I an altcoiner now? You know? Like, I'm suggesting this. Get out. But, um, I would say, like, thematically for me too, that's like an interesting I think the stuff that the Altcoin people [02:05:00] want to do is valuable, interesting, and cool.
And their, again, their proposed solution is terrible, You know? So it's like, I sometimes struggle when Bitcoiners, like, toss out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak, and there's, like, everything here is just shit and I don't wanna Look at it. Like, I get that. Like, I kinda believe that. But at the same time, like, to me, like, the optimal outcome would be that we convince and take the incredibly talented engineers that are working in those spaces and get them to realize how unsustainable Their framework is, but how valuable their work is, and get them to redo that work or adapt it into a different context, into a context in which there is no blockchain.
It's just happening in a higher layer market that's settling in Bitcoin through mechanisms. I think it would help them because it gives their projects a real chance to succeed. And I think unlike things like ordinals and stuff, like, Yeah. It brings a lot of really talented developers to Bitcoin. I I think Bitcoin is some of the best [02:06:00] developers on the planet.
It's it is one of the best open source projects I have Ever interacted with in my life? Like, I've run a lot of software. Bitcoin d is one of the best pieces of software I've ever used in my life. Like, absolutely. Um, so I think Bitcoin's already really far ahead of other projects, but, man, there's so many talented engineers that are not working on Bitcoin thinking about other stuff that sucks and will not be here in ten years.
And to me, that's just like this it's a human tragedy on some level. I'm like, because they maybe don't care about finance supply, maybe they're not Motivated by, um, personal responsibility. Maybe they're really focused on this one problem they really care about, like rebuilding the Internet or, Getting artists paid for, like, the work that they create. Like, these are cool and important problems. Uh, I empathize with them for wanting to work on those things.
But a little bit, I'm just like it's like trying to build furniture dot com in nineteen ninety seven. Like, you can't sell furniture on the Internet before you figure out how to sell books on the Right? Like, you kinda gotta take things in order. So, like, guys, thanks for your work, but, like, can I get you over here working on the stuff [02:07:00] that matters and that will survive and last? I'm optimistic that as lightning grows and as Bitcoiners could, like, um, work in Extend their extend our domain to include these kinds of activities, and we start thinking about them more actively.
And, like, honestly, this is an area where, like, Ordinals does kinda help because it it tells a lot of people on the altcoin land that, like, Bitcoin is more capable than you give it credit for. So, like, I sort of accept that point. Again, think it's dumb as shit. It's not the right solution, but, like, part of me is really sad that, um, some of the best, uh, engineers I know Don't work in Bitcoin and work in that space. Mhmm.
Um, and they're doing deep cryptography, and they're trying to, like, build very capable powerful systems, like, on top of A very unstable foundation that has no monetary policy that is blockchain cargo culting and etcetera, etcetera. And I I kinda wanna win them, you know? And I think They're not gonna get won over by, like, Austrian economics or [02:08:00] finite money supply or any of these other ideas. They're gonna get won over by the notion that Bitcoin Can be used to build complex, like, services that that are decentralized. And, again, because I view that as a market problem and not a technology I totally believe that is possible, but I don't think this is the overall narrative.
I think, unfortunately, a lot of Bitcoiners are saying things like, we don't wanna solve Those problems don't matter to us. And as soon as you say that, you completely close the door for engineers who care about those issues. Like, they're never gonna look Bitcoin again because I think Bitcoiners don't care about these issues that are important to them. Um, and truthfully, maybe we don't. Maybe we think That's years from now that that matters, but at least saying that and articulating that is really different than saying everything you work on sucks and we I don't care.
We're just we're just here for store value, and that's it. You know? Like, there's even, I think, a strain of Bitcoin that, like, doesn't care about the lightning work work that does has zero interest in scaling Bitcoin past What it is today, which is a store of value that's hard to use, awkward, and dangerous. [02:09:00] Right? That grows really fast and has lots of speculation around.
Like, they're comfortable with that. They like that. I want more. Like, I want I want people to realize that Bitcoin is very capable, And the the it and it is it is the it is the sustainable solution to the things that they're trying to work on. You know?
Like, I wanna I wanna have have them realize that. Yeah. That's why I think the,
Marty: uh, emergence of like, I think I fall somewhere in the middle of what you just described, where I think A lot of what Y'all Corners are working on is scams, and I think it's No. For sure. For sure.
For sure. No. But it's driven from, like, a pure belief that I think most, Like, you talked to the engineers, so you know their intent. Like, my belief is that a lot of them are, like, truly just trying to get rich. But I I do like the Emergence of combining Bitcoin with protocols like Nasr.
Mhmm. Like, that makes more intuitive sense to me it's like, I create this distributed system combining with this money built on this distributed
Dhruv: [02:10:00] system. Um, it's sort of Nasr is funny though. Right? Because I've always I have my reaction to Nasr is often, I feel like this is just ETH for Bitcoiners.
Like, it's just, um, if you secretly cared about all the cool stuff cool stuff that ETH guys were making, now you could do it in Bitcoin land. Like, that's a little bit of a Bitcoin. Right? Hundred percent agree. And I and I feel like the danger is that the more separate it stays from bit sorry.
Yeah. The more separate it stays from Bitcoin, frankly, the better. Because, like, my worry for Nostr is that, like, someone builds nostr dot com and, like, Centralizes all the messages and the relay functionality and provides search and gives you identity management. And you've just rebuilt Twitter, man. That's all you did.
You know? Like, There's if if we if we are short term and we care more about user acquisition and we want Nostra to grow, right, because growth is what matters, and we try to make it we try to wanna compete with Twitter because we hate Elon or whatever it is, we're gonna fail. Like, that's not the path forward. Like, we have to be comfortable, like, not having users. We have to be comfortable [02:11:00] Letting it be awkward.
Letting it be hard to use. Because to truly solve problems of, like, search, indexing, broadcast, identity, like, Authentication credentials. Like, to solve those in a truly decentralized way really does require rebuilding substantial portions of the entire Internet To run on these decentralized market based principles. And Nasr is a single project that's not gonna be able to achieve that outcome. Like right?
It's part of a A change that is gonna happen, like, slowly through through a generation driven by all sorts of, like, horizontal concerns. Um, So as much as I want there to be a thing like Twitter that no one controls, that is open, that is market driven, that is robust and uncensorable and Efficient and better than Twitter in so many ways. It has no ads. Like, gives me exactly what I want without distracting me with the misaligned incentives of things that make On an x dot com richer, and they don't actually help me at all. Like, if I wanna if I want, I want that thing really badly, but I don't want to build Ethereum on Bitcoin.
I don't want to [02:12:00] Trick myself into thinking that, like, the ends justify the means. And because I want to build a robust, open, censorship resistant communication platform, That it's okay for me to run the entire thing on AWS e c two instances. You know what I mean? Like Yeah. So I I tend to avoid Nostril, I think, for a lot of reasons too, which is I don't I don't believe that today we have the capability to build something truly decentralized that places social media in a meaningful way.
Like, I think Nostril, like, Mastodon and other various alternatives is it's great. I love that there because a community around it. I love that some people Prefer the conversation on Austria because maybe they're connected to people that think like them, they have richer discourse. Like, that's great. But, ultimately, I I want it to be real.
I want it to be sustainable. Um, and to me that says, you gotta figure out bandwidth. You gotta figure out telecom. You gotta figure out routing. You gotta figure out data marketplaces.
You need to figure out how to Incentivize search and indexing and feed generation. And you gotta do all these things. Right? And that's not a thing One project does. That's a [02:13:00] thing an entire industry figures out over, like, twenty years.
Yeah. And so I just I guess I'm just really patient about it. You know?
Marty: No. Patience is key.
Because if you're not patient, you'll be driving crazy.
Dhruv: No good. Or you'll build the thing that subverts your own goals. Yeah. You know, like, I I believe the ETH folks on some level when they say that they value decentralization, but they they trick and lie Lie to themselves, and they think that the things that they're doing are compatible with decentralized architectures, but they are not.
They are taking the shortcut Of centralizing systems to regain the capabilities that I mean, centralized systems are are great. They work really, really well for a lot of things, and They have terrible systemic problems and weaknesses that are easy to exploit, but the entire world runs on centralized systems today. And so I understand why it's so attractive to import those centralized systems into what's supposed to be decentralized project. It's very hard to be like, Let's let this continue to be shitty for [02:14:00] another twenty years because we want it to be decentralized, and it's gonna take time to develop that. It's much easier, frankly, much more investable To say, look how look at the features that I've created.
Look how functional this is. And don't ask, like, what server it's running on because the answer is it's my server. It's just it's just running on my server. You know? It's easier to to build things in that way.
Yeah. God.
Marty: Would have been interesting
Dhruv: times. Yeah. I feel like this conversation has been interesting times.
Yeah. We we we we rounded the block, like, three times here on this one. Yeah. Oh, it's because
Marty: easy to round the block as you drove because,
Dhruv: uh, you thought because I'm like a homeless person that just wanders. Yeah.
Hell, yeah.
Marty: Wanders in two. To meet a dude in a in a kilt that's telling you about Bitcoin, and then we end up Indeed. Sitting in
Dhruv: an office Indeed. Talking about all this
Marty: stuff.
But, This has
Dhruv: been fascinating. It's wild to me, dude, dude. I will say, like so for audience members [02:15:00] that don't know, like, we're sitting here In a kind of a common space. I recorded a different show in this exact well, I sat in your chair yesterday. But I I recorded a different show here.
Um, there's so many things that are happening, like, on this floor. Or, like, even outside of Unchained, like, all the businesses that are, like, fifteen feet away from us that in five years, everyone's gonna know about those businesses. It is, uh, it's so satisfying. Deeply satisfying for for someone like me. Like, I feel like I contributed to this in, like, a meaningful way.
Like, And you I helped in a big way. Like, uh, Parker just walked by. I just saw I just saw his shoes. Uh, he contributed to this in a huge way. Like, the fact that, like, All of us are, like, here in the same city, like, working on the same overall set of problems, and that we've all made tremendous Individual progress over the last, like, six, seven years.
Like, I've probably known you. Um, I know you go way back further with other folks, but it's like, I don't know. It's really remarkable to me that, like, I'm still fucking around, you know? Like, [02:16:00] my my last business was Begun and done in, like, three, three and a half years. It was so fast.
Um, we started a business. We sold a business. I got paid. It was great. Like, I learned a lot.
Like, made some mistakes. Cool. Unchained is taking forever. Um, I think I'm gonna be here forever. It's it's never gonna end.
Um, but it's always gonna get more interesting. And Oh, I feel like one of the coolest things that I I feel as a founder is, like, I'm connected to people like you and Parker and all the folks on this floor and a million other people around the world that are, like, talking about these really compelling issues. And I feel like I'm getting to have some of the most intellectually satisfying discussions, like, ever Because of my position and because of my history here and because of the fact that I I'm just I just know a lot now because I've been around for a while. I just want this to keep going. You know?
Like, I I wonder what what you and I are gonna be doing in, like, twenty years when we're sitting across from each other having a similar podcast, like, talking about The next version of all these ideas, you [02:17:00] know.
Marty: At that point, maybe we'll be a type one civilization. We'll be at a podcast studio about the
Dhruv: streaming studio. We'll both just be Loading. Yeah.
We're talking about
Marty: this in twenty twenty three. No. It is like, Parker and I, um, went to go celebrate the, The reception of his books last night with Drake and Wertz. He, like, really drove home. Like, there's something happening here.
Like, Unchained. What's going on with the commons? And then just in Austin, generally, like Tesla, Rogan. It's a big, like, health scene, like, Coming back to, like, uh, the roots of preventative health care. Like, not to get cheesy about awesome, but there's, like, a lot of really cool even outside of the commons, like, For lack of a better term, synergies.
Mhmm. Like, coalescing in Austin. There's, like, really good energy In the city and then more particularly here. Like, the energy of the commons has been picking up. And we're in the
Dhruv: share market right now, technically.
Right? Like like, if we Pull up next year? Like, I [02:18:00] I was I would reflect on this. Like, um, I guess I've been in Bitcoin now For enough cycles where I've seen, like, the ebb and flow. Mhmm.
And it's like, there's people that are like, I only see them every four years because they only come to the meetups when the price is really high. Yeah. Right. I'm like, I remember you from four years ago, and what have you been doing? Like, the answer is I completely ignored Bitcoin these last four years because I thought it was dead, and now it's up again.
Here I am at the meetup. Um, it's just interesting to me that, like, for a lot of people, their experience of Bitcoin is just, like, episodic. Like, every few years, they get into it a little bit more in there, like, maybe maybe by a bit, maybe up level. For us jokers that are here the entire time, it's it's a very different experience. It's a long road.
It's it's harrowing in many ways. Uh, but I wanna
Marty: pick that's what Parker asked it too. Like, the journey is, Is the most valuable part of it. Obviously, we have this end goal of Bitcoin success, which, uh, tangentially, Uh, we like to believe a lead to [02:19:00] our individual success, um, but the journey, like, being in the common store in the bear market, Building Unchained during the bear market, like, surviving these markets. Not only doing that, but improving throughout it, like, is What makes the bull markets
Dhruv: worth it?
It's kinda having, like, the confidence and the dilution to believe that, like, you're both right and will survive. Yeah. Because it could be one or the other. Right? Like Yeah.
I'm sure, you know,
Marty: like, the it's Stressful on us, but it's stressful on the wives too, you know. Watching the, uh, the the Ebbs and flows of the Bitcoin markets sort of
Dhruv: it's like, oh, it's What is my what is my husband doing? For me, man, I'll share a personal my wife's, like, very on board with Bitcoin. Like, I think she gets it. She trusts me.
I think she understands, if not all the details, like, she understands the value proposition, like, pretty well. And one of her first, [02:20:00] uh, screenplays that she Oh, it was about Bitcoin, and I I was so great. I I love my wife, dude, and she's a great writer, and her screenplay was amazing. And, of course, Hollywood Loves it and will also never make it. Um, it's just funny experience out there being out there and interacting with some of her friends and writers and whatever.
Like, their opinion of Bitcoin is so low. Right? It is is they don't understand it, and they they have the wrong ideas about it. And part of me is, like, kind of hoping that, like, I don't know. Like, I think, like, a lot of political issues, like, art is is just a really meaningful tool to change minds.
You know? Like, um, I'm a big believer that, like, I don't know. Will and Grace had probably more impact on, like, gay rights than a lot of other political campaigns. Just like seeing a realistic, Like, person who was gay, but, like, not, um, not a stereotype or or or not a caricature. It was, like, powerful for For that community, I think Bitcoin right now is a caricature.
It's a stereotype. It is like it is the [02:21:00] it is Silk Road. It is, Yeah. It is environmental degradation. It is, uh, fascism Lawbritarians.
Lawbritarians. Exactly. Like, I don't think, um, I don't think Hollywood's quite ready yet, but, like, maybe with things like ETFs and give it another cycle, I would love a show that, like, Talked about Bitcoin. I, like, talked about the history of it. Like, showed us the incredible this is the thing that, like, um, I pitched my wife the the the screenplay because I was like, Baby, like, my life is crazy.
Like, the people I meet, like, the stories I'm hearing, like, this is so interesting. Like, you should write about this. And she was like, yeah. Like, I I kind of agree. Like, it's really interesting.
Like, let's do it. And she produced the screenplay. It was amazing. And so part of me is just like, I just want everyone in Hollywood to be thinking that way and realizing, like, It's sent us. Right?
Holy shit. I can make money by producing a show that, like, taught people about Bitcoin and, like, answer a lot of their questions, And that would actually make Bitcoin more valuable as a result because it [02:22:00] helps correct people's misunderstood stereotypes around, like, what Bitcoin is for, who's into it, and, like, Why it exists and I've got, like, the CEO of Bitcoin and all these silly ideas. Right? Like We can
Marty: make, like, a single one off movie about, like, the China Mining ban and, like, the exodus from China, like, highlight, like, oh, these people in China had to unplug, so this authoritarian government shutting them down. Then you flash pan to, uh, a rural county here in the United States, like, that's suffering, and the utility company is about to go Wonder, and they have all this excess capacity and, like
Dhruv: That's my wife's screenplay.
Like, I like, for any Hollywood producers listening right now, like, please reach out to me or Or my wife. And and please make this show because I do think it would be so cool. I already did all the casting in my head. Jack Black is Mark Carpelli. It's like one hundred percent, like, gonna happen.
Um, I don't know. I just think there's something really compelling to see in those stories. And it's like you don't even have to be creative and, like, inventive or anything. Like, you just have to tell what happened. Like, what happened is so ridiculous.
Like, the history of Bitcoin is completely [02:23:00] insane. Yeah. Um, Craig Wright is like, oh my god. Like a Craig Wright biopic. Like, I would love to watch that.
You know? Like, what motivates this person? I'm trying to think about that. They gotten like, There's a great line. Like, the opening line of, I think, Will Durant's biography of Hitler is, dare we call him great?
You know? Like, I think that about Craig Wright a lot. I'm just like, you know, how is he still relevant and in the news and, like like, Whatever he is, like, he's talented and, like, not someone to respect necessarily, but someone to acknowledge. Yeah. Right?
And his story is an incredible story of grift And lies and manipulation, but it's so interesting. And, like,
Marty: the, uh, sociopathic Narcissism to, like, have the, uh, confidence to put
Dhruv: all this out there. And then the people that believe it. Right? Like, that's almost more interesting to Me like What was
Marty: that?
Did you catch the documentary or the series? I think it was on Max or whatever about, like, that cult of around mother god. [02:24:00] The love of mother god, I think it's called or something
Dhruv: like that. I did see one about Waco and, like, Koresh. Yeah.
Marty: But, like I mean, this is even more extreme than Waco. Like, you look at, Like, they had years of footage of this very small cult cult. You know, like, how the hell can anybody follow this woman?
Dhruv: And I find that people like that. So fascinating.
Like, cults are so interesting to me because, like, Bitcoin is, I think, fairly accused of being very cultish, and it it totally is. Like, The meat, the seed oil, like like, whatever. I'm surprised we haven't made a list of bands that you have to like or something. Right? Like, um, it is very cultish, but at the same time, it's, like, not a cult at all.
Like, absolutely not. Like, it's not even close. Like, cults have cults are so fascinating, like, the way that they manipulate people's, like, Requirements for, like, trust and guidance and leadership and and have them subvert their own interests, which I think is It's completely like, Bitcoin, at least, you can you can say, like, people are acting mostly in their own interest that, [02:25:00] like, it works because it assumes that Selfishness properly directed can turn into collaboration and and structure, uh, and that's really powerful. And, conversely, I feel cults are so good at at eating the minds and souls of their members. And I I just as a person who's Tries to think for themselves a lot, like, and tries to be contrarian sometimes and not fall in for, like, what everyone else is talking about with Whether it's slang or whether it's AI or whatever, like, I'm fascinated by cults and cult members.
And what causes someone to Walk away from their own self interest in pursuit of this idea, uh, communicated by someone who is, like, not worth believing in. No. How would you fall for it? How could you fall for it? Yeah.
It's it's Japan. But people do. They yet they do. They totally do. They need to test yourself.
People respond to spam. They believe in Craig Wright. Like, I just, I find this so interesting. Yeah.
Marty: Oh,
Dhruv: god.
Alright. We're gonna have to pick this up. We're closing this? [02:26:00] Yeah. I gotta pee.
On the Craig Knight rant? No. That's good. I gotta pee too. I've been trying to pee for, like, an hour here.
I've been holding on to it. Dhruv,
Marty: we gotta do this more often. We can't wait two years next I mean,
Dhruv: you're you're not right down the hall all the time,
Marty: but you're
Dhruv: down the hall. Yeah. No.
I'll I'll I'll take it on to me. You have been very available. I have been very hard to get this Well, no. That's why I appreciate it. Because,
Marty: like, you work for a while, whether it's, uh, Nakamoto Point and The future inter, uh, planetary cash wars war.
Again, thank you for, I think that the finite supply, um, insight is is an important
Dhruv: one. Thank you for being one of the only six people in the all to read that article. Ted, appreciate it. I think way more
Marty: than six people read it.
Dhruv: Yeah.
The right six. That's what that's what matters. Yeah. Um, Yeah. Alright.
Let's do this again. I'm so excited. Alright.
Marty: Well, safe travels back to the West Coast and Can't [02:27:00] wait to do it again. Peace of
Dhruv: love, freaks.


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