One of the most exciting moments for me personally at Bitcoin 2021 was getting the chance to interview Dr. Ron Paul. A true pioneer in libertarianism, Dr. Paul is an advocate for so many of the underlying principles present in Bitcoin. It was truly an honor and privilege to get a quick word from him on his thoughts about Bitcoin. Be sure to watch his Bitcoin 2021 speech on YouTube after reading our interview below.
Casey Carrillo: First of all, thank you so much for joining us here, Dr. Ron Paul. We really appreciate you coming. So many of us see you as a hero of ours, so thank you again.
To start off, how were you first introduced to Bitcoin?
Dr. Ron Paul: It was probably indirectly by just reading about it. When it first started, I didn’t hear much about it because I wasn’t into that. Probably just the business stations, magazines, and the freedom movement, they started thinking about it. I think I associate it more with libertarianism, and I don’t think anyone resents me associating Bitcoin with libertarianism, and I made that big point that the answers will come from dealing with the issue of liberty. Liberty is the answer, then all the quirks that have to be worked out, with government and everything else, are much easier when we live in a free society where people are allowed to do what they want.
Carrillo: Absolutely, I think there is a connection between liberty and Bitcoin that can’t be severed. Going off of that, what do you think the impact of permissionless sound money will be on the world in the long term?
Paul: I don’t really know; I know there are a lot of opinions, but I think only time will tell. There are some unpredictables. One would be the government; one would be “what’s the world like?” I think things are going to get worse socially, but how do we react? And if it works that Bitcoin can operate in a parallel manner under the right circumstances, that could be very beneficial. If there was a society that had more respect for liberty, it makes it a lot easier. Then you don’t have to dodge people that are trying to close you down because they don’t want competition. And libertarians should be quite willing to have competition.
Carrillo: How do you think the U.S. could foster better innovation towards Bitcoin, specifically U.S. policymakers?
Paul: While there are others who would know more about that, my idea is very simple; the least amount of government is the best. Just get them out of the way. There will always be risk in things that we do. In new things there will be risk, but the person that’s doing it that benefit, they should also have the same risk That’s why you don’t wanna say, “Let’s have a government commission to set up some rules on how we’re going to allow Bitcoin to expand themselves and where they go.” I don’t like that. I want people who know about the issue to not have any interference from the government.
Carrillo: What makes you most hopeful about what you’re seeing in the Bitcoin community going forward?
Paul: I think the whole idea. I noticed it a lot at this meeting [Bitcoin 2021]. Sometimes if I go to a meeting, I might not throw the word libertarian around and liberty because you know they might be more conservative, or independent, or democrats, but I’m always trying to introduce it. Here, what I found is that in this audience [Bitcoiners] I don’t think I offended anybody by putting the two terms together; Bitcoin as a libertarian idea. Because I think that’s where I heard about it first when libertarians got into computers before. I think the association is very clear that it is perfectly okay. And I think I even ribbed the mayor [Francis Suarez] about it, and he took it very well.
And I don’t know if I spent enough time on it, is that when people do things, you don’t endorse what they’re doing. Like I did with the marijuana. I want it to be legal, but I don’t do it, or I don’t care about that. It’s because people have the right to do it, and they also have the right to deal with the consequences.
Carrillo: I absolutely agree, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this interview with me Dr. Paul, and I appreciate you being here at Bitcoin 2021 with us. Thanks again.
Watch Dr. Ron Paul’s talk at Bitcoin 2021 on YouTube.
This interview with Dhruv Bansal was conducted by myself in an effort to obtain valuable insight into a rather visionary Bitcoiners mind, and I believe my mission was accomplished. Bansal’s answers are profound and thought-provoking, giving us a glimpse into his thoughts on Bitcoin at large. Be sure to check out his talk at Bitcoin 2021 here after reading the edited transcript of our interview below.
Casey Carrillo: Hi everyone, I have here Dhruv Bansal, co-founder and CSO at Unchained Capital.
I was lucky enough to have an email Q and A with Mr. Bansal, and we agreed to sit down here at Bitcoin 2021, where I’ve had the pleasure to finally meet him in person. First of all, welcome to Bitcoin 2021, and I hope you are enjoying your time here.
Dhruv Bansal: Thanks Casey, it looks like I’m going to be a little overwhelmed, it looks like a huge conference.
Carrillo: Absolutely. So, jumping right in: in your previous article you mentioned that you’re excited to see the Bitcoin-inspired discoveries other scientists make within their respective fields. What, in your opinion, gives Bitcoin this capacity to inspire different ways of thinking about things?
Bansal: I think anytime humanity discovers a new principle of organization, governance, construction or material science, it affects everything. I think that’s true for ideas of evolution and for ideas of computation. I think we’re seeing that with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is interdisciplinary. One of the things it does is that it distributes decision-making, order matching, reality and truth in a way that we’ve never seen happen before, which gives Bitcoin a lot of its strength and resilience and is what makes it unique. I would love to see scientists and researchers of all stripes apply those kinds of thoughts and methods to other kinds of systems. My talk with Ryan is attempting to apply some of this thinking to things like the internet, other networks and civilization. But I think Bitcoin can go beyond that: it can teach us how to deal with systems that don’t have any definite state in a given moment in time but that eventually become consistent. We know this from databases quite intimately, but to see it not only affect a database in an esoteric programming context but to see normal people talking about notions of forks and eventual consistency is really powerful. I love to see that learning wash over humanity as a whole and allow us to be more informed of the trade-offs and rules of distributed systems.
Carrillo: I find your business, Unchained Capital, extremely interesting. What is your personal interpretation of the macroeconomic conditions surrounding the surge in bitcoins price, and do you believe the conditions we’re in currently are set to continue?
Bansal: That’s an interesting question—and I’m certainly not an economist or anybody you should look to for macroeconomic commentary—but what I’ll mention is that like a lot of Bitcoiners I expected the price to increase in 2021 tremendously. Why? History, stock-to-flow, four-year cycles. It feels a little bit silly to say that just because it happened four years ago it’s going to happen again, but I have admitted to myself that that’s kind of what I believe. And here we are: it’s happening again and it’s been happening. Now, truthfully, it’s not happening merely because it’s four years from the last time. It’s happening for real reasons. Most people who are buying bitcoin probably don’t care that four years ago was the halvening or that last year we had a halvening. It’s so curious to me, believing that the price would increase, to watch things like the COVID pandemic happen, to watch things like money printing go crazy over the last year, and to watch people pay attention to that and connect it to bitcoin. And lo and behold, the price started to increase. And as much as I expected it would, I was still shocked to understand why it did. Obviously nobody expected the COVID pandemic. There are probably other reasons too, which if I was more of a macroeconomic thinker I would be able to draw out. To me that’s been the most interesting part of this whole process, knowing that it would happen but not really knowing why and then seeing the why and understanding thesense behind why it happened.
Carrillo: Going off that, I suppose it may be believed that these conditions drive the price in the short term. Are you of the personal belief that in the long term these things are irrelevant to bitcoin and we’re experiencing a sort of water flowing down a mountain, a sort of inevitability?
Bansal: I think that’s a nice way to put it. I mean yes, this is something Ryan and I were talking about: Bitcoin has already won. And I’m not saying there’s no risk or no concern and we should all just be chill and not try to work hard to make this asset class better, richer, stronger and more robust. We should be doing those things. But essentially I believe it’s already won. That, in your words, it’s kind of like we’re just going to be going downhill in the next fifty years as Bitcoin takes over every aspect of society and affects it in some meaningful way. Nevertheless, even water going downhill has to contend with things in its way like obstacles, boulders, whatever you like. And there are a lot of those. So I think when we see the price retrace by 50%, that affects my business very strongly, it affects so many people here [Bitcoin 2021], and so when I see that happen I kinda think “well, we’re still just rolling down hill, aren’t we?” Like, we’ll be right back at $60,000 in a couple months, we’ll maybe cross $100,000 after that. I still tend to be extremely optimistic. Of course I could be wrong and it won’t work out this way, but hopefully it continues to do, on the largest scale, the thing I think it’s going to do, which is increase in price tremendously over the next few decades.
Carrillo: Having conducted this interview at Bitcoin 2021, I want to ask you what you’re most looking forward to at the conference.
Bansal: Oh that’s an easy answer. There are so many people here that part of me is worried that, while walking through the conference and all the events, there’s gonna be so much noise and chaos. But the excitement is that there are so many people here, so many of my friends and colleagues, people I’ve been reading the last few years and admiring from a distance. And I’m getting to meet them, have drinks, go on walks with them. You know, the chance to really dig in and have that kind of conversation you can only have in person is what’s so great about conferences in general, and in particular that’s what’s going to be so great about this one for me.
I really appreciate Mr. Bansal taking the time to answer my questions at Bitcoin 2021. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out his talk at the conference on YouTube.
This conference session took place on day one of the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami on June 4 and 5. Make sure that you set a reminder for the Bitcoin 2021 day two YouTube live stream now. Experience the #Bitcoin2021 party from anywhere in the world by joining our conversation on Telegram, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest Bitcoin news and all the happenings at Bitcoin 2021.
Watch this Bitcoin 2021 conference recording here.
In this Bitcoin 2021 conference speaker session, the conference had the pleasure of hosting two United States government officials, Senator Cynthia Lummis and Representative Warren Davidson, alongside Allan Stevo, author of The Bitcoin Manifesto. They discussed “Bringing Bitcoin Innovation Home To America,” talking about what they can do to entice investors and entrepreneurs to their country, as well as protect their investment.
“If we don’t protect private wallets, someone is going to try to ban them…I wish people were as adamant about protecting the right to privacy as they were about the 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms,” warned Rep. Davidson. His warning resonated with a group which defends the right to privacy ferociously.
Senator Lummis spoke of a potential bitcoin backed reserve currency; “It’s important to have bitcoin underpinning the US dollar, as a store of value, the way gold used to be.”
Although this idea and many of the others discussed may not be entirely accepted by Bitcoiners, who generally do not accept the government, it was extremely interesting to hear from two policy makers.
Join the #Bitcoin2021 party from anywhere in the world by joining our conversation on Telegram. Plus, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest Bitcoin news and all the happenings at Bitcoin 2021.