I'm a professional investor and writer, and board observer at Blockstream. I recently left my tradfi job to start an as-yet-unannounced bitcoin company. ask about anything - I'd recommend finance, economics, economic history, mathematical logic, or Love Island - but I'm happy giving needlessly contrarian answers to whatever you like!

Where does the yield come from?

yes

"When you don't know where the yield comes from, you are the yield" - Ghandi

" - Michael Scott

ABC's. Always Be Closing.

13 sats \ 0 replies \ @uwu 3 Aug

deez nuts

What are your thoughts on how our culture will be different in a post-fiat world?

Fiat money is key to upholding the Global Order, of which much of culture is downstream.

It seems likely, therefore, that as fiat money disappears and the Global Order shifts, our culture will change.

For example:

  • Are the priorities of feminism and fertility rates the same in an environment where both parents don't need to work full-time because asset prices are permanently inflationary?
  • Is equality seen as so important in a world of energy and material scarcity?
  • How will societal values be different in a world where each nation must maintain its own functional military (and therefore foster a culture amenable to making young men want to join the military), rather than outsourcing their security to the US?
0 sats \ 0 replies \ @uco 4 Aug

Great question! Fiat has caused so many distortions not only in hard assets but also soft assets in our culture (our morals, our families, our values, etc). Post-fiat can come soon enough.

256 sats \ 3 replies \ @sb 3 Aug

What is the optimum role of the nation-state? In other words, if you could play God and setup our world from scratch, what would you do about: borders, healthcare, infrastructure, monetary system, etc?

I feel like not only is this above my pay grade, but I also kinda dislike the idea behind the question as I wouldn't like it to be in anybody's pay grade! I want these things to emerge naturally and peacefully based on cooperation and exchange. to painfully force a connection to bitcoin, I want violence to be an extremely expensive option that people realize just isn't worth it when deciding how to reach social consensus!

0 sats \ 1 replies \ @sb 3 Aug

I'd argue that human civilizations converged on the gold standard, out of which the fiat standard "emerged naturally". For all its flaws, the fiat standard has led directly to the emergence of Bitcoin - the monetary renaissance :)

it was inevitable :)

229 sats \ 3 replies \ @kr 3 Aug

If you had to pick one company to outperform Bitcoin over the next decade (public or private, but not your own company), which company would you pick?

I'm gonna cop out of giving a specific answer for 2 reasons: 1) everything I have any familiarity with is at an incredibly speculative stage. if they work at all, they will outperform bitcoin by orders of magnitude, but I have no idea if that's gonna happen! but also 2) it sets up an interesting point that is very heavily related to my new company and that I will speak and write about a lot in the coming months: the way you outperform bitcoin is by running a business on a bitcoin standard and generating a naturally bitcoin-denominated yield.

my professional mission for the next decade at least is to make this as easy as possible and hence make it increasingly natural for people to think in terms of bitcoin rather than dollars. bitcoin's bitcoin-denominated return is zero, so any business on a bitcoin standard with a positive return on capital will "outperform bitcoin" on a technicality. so the point I'm making is that this is a better aspiration than happening to pick something that does well and comparing both to dollars. so long as dollars are still in the mix, there is more work to be done.

Yes! Love that this is something you’re focused on. Where can we follow this as you write more?

it is about to become the only thing I write about - you won't miss it, don't worry :)

Do you have any interest in what John Nash theorized about currency dynamics?

meh, not much. I've seen a lot of "Nash inspired bitcoin" chat on twitter and never found it compelling.

0 sats \ 0 replies \ @a 4 Aug

What did Nash say about currency dynamics? Can you kindly point me to a reference?

Bitcoin attack question. Granted most people’s responses will probably be something to the tune of “we’ll have bigger problems than Bitcoin going down if this happens” what if the internet is shut off? The internet is centralized and run off physical cables. If those were destroyed, and/or any other scenario wherein there was literally no more internet, what future does Bitcoin have?

I'm hardly technically qualified to give a full answer on this but I have a few instinctive rebuttals: i) you can transact offline in a variety of (admittedly inferior) ways, ii) it's the UTXO set that really matters, and it would be preserved just fine until a new method of global synchrony on transactions was reached, and iii) there isn't really such a single thing as "The Internet", so the question is ill-defined anyway.

131 sats \ 3 replies \ @321joe 3 Aug

Is it true that you have a financial, economic, and historic interest in Love Island, or do you just like it based on mathematical logic?

I like it for all of these reasons and more.

Could you share your valuation model for evaluating reality tv shows?

I only watch this and Selling Sunset. no model needed (yet).

135 sats \ 4 replies \ @davidw 3 Aug

Bitcoin in Venice is a great read. Thanks for making it accessible to all.

Very positive about the future with the coming Renaissance.

I’m interested to hear how you see this transition playing out…

  • What events and things will we witness between now and the onset of smaller local states?
  • Any hints you have come across from history?

political agitation for secession/devolution from regions of larger states that are both more economically successful in general and more accommodating of bitcoin in particular. especially if they have a distinct culture that the political movement can be tied to. I also look forward to "why are all the smart people leaving and taking all the bitcoin with them?" becoming a ubiquitous political issue.

hints from history - sadly no, as my reading is we have gone in the direction of fewer, bigger states for the entire relevant history of economics and politics. but I've always been drawn to late medieval and renaissance Mediterranean (obviously including Venice as an exemplar) as a hopeful example given the entire political economy was predicated on highly mobile capital and easily defensible city-states. the cannon ruined everything

Follow-up question if I may…

Which locales do you think will be most favourable to bitcoiners?

You mention differing political movements, so does that mean you’ve got an informal watchlist?

covid provided an excellent snapshot into who really cares about freedom and for me it's far more about culture than politics and certainly geography or anything similar. that was probably my single biggest learning from the entire hysterical period. so match that up with what languages you can speak, how much wealth, capital structure etc. you need for the standard of life you want, and how accommodating they are to bitcoin, which is yet to be discovered ...

10 sats \ 0 replies \ @davidw 3 Aug

Agree. I expect those who ask that key question early on will soon find themselves relocating also. Those who don’t, will forever be disenfranchised.

Thanks for taking the time to answer! Will have to do some more reading into those periods 👍

131 sats \ 1 replies \ @oli 3 Aug

What is Blockstream's business model? I never quite understood how they (plan to) make money.

I don't think I am allowed to go into too much detail on this, and certainly not on what my/our bull case, but for the time being it's mostly mining.

You wrote a book while working a (full-time?) job and reading a lot.

I'm interested in your reading and writing habits.

How many hours per day/week do you spend reading and writing? And how do you structure your day/week to give yourself enough time to do so?

writing will massively vary based on the project (or lack thereof). on reading, I'd say I probably average around 10 hours, but with decent variance as some weeks I am too busy to read at all. I try to get in at least one hour a day, and on the weekends I tend to like 3-4 hour slots in the mornings when there isn't much else to do anyway.

Is the Bitcoin Maximalism debate as stupid to you as it is to me?

staying cryptic enough to avoid direct cancellability, let's just say I think many people forget that twitter is not real life.

so yes, a lot of it seems pretty stupid.

Sorry i didnt meant to try to get you to attack anyone. But it just seems like such a stupid debate. I updated my comment to not call anyout out

no, I didn't take it that way, so no worries. I'm just being extra careful precisely because it is so stupid, you're right

110 sats \ 1 replies \ @gmd 3 Aug

Whatever happened between you and Eric Weinstein did you guys ever make peace or talk in person?

hahaha - he said some incredibly stupid shit about bitcoin in clubhouse. I wrote an article explaining why it's so dumb. he got mad and made a lot of noise about it. fast forward a year and a half and no, never spoken, nothing resolved.

can I come work for your as-of-yet-announced bitcoin company?

sure, why not.

What’s your fav beer?

Guinness fo sho. tbh not a big beer guy though. in a pub I'd take a Crabbies (alcoholic ginger beer for non-Brits), but if the situation allows I'd far prefer a rum or a rakia.

What's your favorite SciFi novel?

Dune, hands down.

I feel like it's so good that it feels unfairly worse in hindsight because so much of it was so brilliantly original that it's been copied to death and now seems clichéd.

Thank you. I've bought it and is sitting on my shelf. Currently reading Foundation by Asimov. Are there any links with Bitcoin in Dune?

fear is the mind-killer ;)

Ok reading. Enjoying it. Ty!

100 sats \ 1 replies \ @sagaz 3 Aug

I really liked how you invites the reader to question what “preserving purchasing power” even means in the context of a dynamical world.

As the world is constantly changing, it cannot mean the ability to acquire the same quantity of goods as before.

Brilliant Allen!

thank you :)

100 sats \ 1 replies \ @apleroy 3 Aug

Amazing (and enjoyable) thread (among all of your resources, content, and insight) - thank you!

What kind of company specific financial metrics and growth rates are most important to you as an investor at this stage of bitcoin adoption? How do you look at balancing investments in specific companies vs any expected returns on bitcoin the asset?

well, the bitcoin companies I have been involved in investing in are very early stage so their current financial metrics aren't really that relevant. I also don't think them being bitcoin-adjacent really makes a difference to the question. what matters is what I perceive to be the long-term incremental returns on capital they will be able to achieve based on the competitive dynamics in the space and there being ample opportunity to reinvest. none of this is remotely original btw - it's just that bitcoin is perhaps uniquely disruptive to established business models, hence I feel like I probably have some edge in assessing the likelihood of success of what are often business models without historical precedent.

on the second question, my answer is a complete technicality, I'm afraid, which is that I only professionally invest in equity and I only privately invest in the asset. if I ever did invest privately in equity, which is probably likely in the foreseeable future, it would be based on personal circumstance, wanting skin in the game, etc., rather than some kind of "portfolio"-esque consideration.

100 sats \ 1 replies \ @pietro 3 Aug

Hi, I was about to ask what you actually do for a living, but I guess you answered that in the intro :)

  1. How much of your capital do you allocate to bitcoin?
  2. What do you think of Safe Haven, and do you have any comments on Spitznagel's take on bitcoin?

I really enjoy your book btw, even if I've used a month getting halfway through. Keep it up!

1 - I don't really think about it that way, tbh. given that was my day job for 6 1/2 years, I wanted my private life to be devoid of financial stress so I basically got comfortable that I had more than enough bitcoin. my pension can't allocate to bitcoin so that's a large chunk of the total that is in de facto shitcoins, plus I'm now in a position in which it's overwhelmingly likely 99% of all I ever earn will come from bitcoin in one way or another, so even less reason to stress about that too much. 2 - I don't know what that is. DuckDuckGo tells me it's a romantic comedy from 2013, but I assume that's not what you meant?

I've been enjoying Bitcoin Is Venice, though finding it a bit of a dense read for an everyday pleb like me. The section comparing MMA to the pursuit of the truth was really inspiring. Thanks and congrats!

glad you like it, and appropriately humbling that the MMA section was all Sacha

to be fair, it is dense very much on purpose, and we went back and forth on this a lot while writing. there are people far better than me at explaining bitcoin concepts (or any, frankly) simply, for the layman, whereas I am attracted to extremely complicated concepts in the first place. the whole idea of BiV is that it will always be niche and never super popular, but that it might be useful for orange-pilling folks who enjoy a challenging read and have thought about things like culture and capital in reasonable depth (or MMA!) but never made the connection to bitcoin.

Thanks for sharing your perspective on writing the book. Makes a ton of sense!

The book does prompt me to go deeper on many topics, especially economics. Every piece of knowledge I can get my hands on can be useful in conversations with big-time fiatooooors.

Aside from any Bitcoin specific material, what would you say influenced Bitcoin is Venice the most in terms of what you've read in the past?

hardly any of the inspiration came from bitcoin content, tbh! by far the most influential material was the writing of Jane Jacobs, Wendell Berry, and James C Scott, to narrow it down to a core few. the next tier would probably be the likes of Allan Savory, Roger Scruton, Friedrich Hayek, Elinor Ostrom, David Montgomery, Frederic Lane, and William Rees-Mogg and James Dale Davidson, authors of The Sovereign Individual.

I made a meme a while back I was pretty proud of: the Winnie The Pooh template, and the top says, "Read The Sovereign Individual" while the bottom says, "Read The Entire Bibliography To The Sovereign Individual". there's a lot of amazing stuff in there - I'd highly recommend it as its own reading list.

Thanks! The book is fantastic, albeit I'd be lying if I claimed to understand absolutely all of it :)

110 sats \ 1 replies \ @jt 3 Aug

Do you think credit will continue to exist in a post-bitcoin world?

yes, just far, far less than now. to be clear, I am a huge fan of equity-like investment products and will be discussing/announcing a lot on this in the near future! but, I can't see the utility of short-term credit for matching positive and negative working capital floats ever going away, and doing it with equity would be an administrative nightmare. I'm sure there will be other corner cases too, but I think the right way to think about this isn't that credit itself is "bad" (although you may reasonably also think that) but rather that the extent of its contemporary existence is entirely unnatural. I think bitcoin brings us back to a much lesser, more natural level.

100 sats \ 1 replies \ @Ptj 3 Aug

Why a squirrel?

it's Rocky the flying squirrel from Rocky and Bullwinkle. and the reason was that, when I got twitter, I didn't want to use a real picture of myself so I just found something quickly that made me laugh.

Why are Scotland so shit at rugby?

this is a pretty good vintage if you ask me! but I think in general there is probably a youth development problem. it's just not popular in the population at large as it's mostly seen as posh, and the only development routes are private schools centered around Edinburgh and clubs in the Borders. plus it's a pretty small country to start with so the end result is just a tiny pool of professional players.

I was only joking, but thank you for the respone, i support Ireland

I was on a stag do at the weekend and I had this exact conversation with an Irishman about how apparently in Ireland the development pathway is very, very well designed. that's literally why this was all fresh for me.

Have you read "Human Action" by Ludwig Von Mises?

What other economics books have you read?

haha, I don't think I will list them all as we'll be here for a while. I'll treat the question instead as asking for recommendations. for an introduction, Economics In One Lesson by Hazlitt and Principles of Economics by Menger are both fantastic. Menger gets you nicely into the Austrian canon, which I won't now recite, although I will shout out Competition and Entrepreneurship by Kirzner as not getting the love it deserves. Others I have very much enjoyed include The Mystery of Capital by Hernando de Soto, The Wealth of Networks by Yochai Benkler, Governing The Commons by Elinor Ostrom, and Risk, Uncertainty, And Profit by Frank Knight.

tbh I don't rate reading economics books all that much. everybody should read enough to disabuse themselves of whatever Keynesian, Monetarist, and Neoclassical nonsense they have imbibed from formal education or the culture at large, but most of it strikes me as common sense. past some baseline, I think you'll get a lot more on essentially the same topic from economic and business history.

Hi Allen.. Kindly list your recommendations for best introductory material (books/others) on finance

sure! "finance" is a pretty large topic, and most of what I know I learned on the job, so don't take this as exhaustive by any means, but some I enjoyed: Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Phil Fisher, The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros, Latticework by Robert Hagstrom, Capital Account by Edward Chancellor, all the Buffett Shareholders, all the Saber Capital blog posts, all the Jerry Neumann (Reaction Wheel) blog posts.

In a world where Bitcoin is the only currency - why would anyone in their right mind lend any of it to anyone? It seems in the final analysis impossible to take a loan with a positive interest in Bitcoin since the supply is capped - it just can't work for everyone all the time. Is it somehow supposed to be mitigated by defaults? How would capital allocation on just Bitcoin work?

I nearly agree and I've said this publicly a few times. I think almost all finance will be equity or equity-based but I do think there will still be corner cases where debt is more desirable. some reasons why might include: the ability to prepossess and overcollateralize or, my personal favourite, the admin nightmare of facilitating working capital finance with equity as opposed to matching extremely low risk positive and negative floats.

Could you try to distill what you learned reading the Incerto by NN Taleb?

haha, sure, and I do recommend it btw, just don't ever interact with him outside his books. it's not so much facts or even ideas as "ways of thinking". he's very good at making you suitably suspicious of how statistics and modeling might be misleading you, and if you get stuck into the more technical elements you'll pick up some heuristics on the math involved in debunking what he calls "macrobullshitting" beyond just your intuition.

penis

potentially

First of all thanks for writing, publishing and making available freely your content. It's truly outstanding and I've probably recommended it to people a bit too much 😁

Now for the question: why do you use a completely unreadable and utterly inaccessible format for your uncerto.com website? Is it some kind of PoW that you require from your readers?

(apologies for being direct, but I mean well and yes I know about the road to hell)

because you are reading it on your phone like a dummy. don't do that! lower your time preference!

21 sats \ 1 replies \ @conner 4 Aug

In a parallel universe where you were Satoshi Nakamoto, what would you have named Bitcoin instead of Bitcoin?

Does value4value work? How does one prevent someone louder taking your open sourced work and setting up a shinier tip jar?

I don't think we really know yet, but I hope it works! your question is interesting but it doesn't worry me much as I think the answer is reputation, which is also a healthier mechanism for discovery than buying and selling your attention.

How excited were you to see the announcement that Big Brother is coming back in 2023 and it's gonna be back to basics? Not influencers and less partying...

literally never watched big brother in my life so no real reaction to this. for reference my complete collection of reality tv in which I partake is: Love Island, Selling Sunset, and the Bulgarian Bachelor, or ергенът, for those in the know.

WHERE DOES THE YIELD COME FROM ALLEN????

What is your favourite area of math? Doesn't have to be crypto-related, but I'm curious as a math guy

mathematical logic! it's in the prompt! :)

If bitcoin is Venice, am I being out of touch when I do CNBC interviews in front of a massive ship-of-the-line replica?

no, this should be mandatory.

10 sats \ 2 replies \ @ab 3 Aug

Allen thanks for all you do in the Bitcoin space, I have learned a lot from reading your work. I am still working through Bitcoin is Venice and it has been a great read so far. One quote really got me thinking and I was wondering if you could expand on it:

"The way a consumer pays for content is to provably stake their bitcoin in a Lightning channel programmed to direct its fees to the content creator."

Not sure if this was Sacha or you that wrote this, but I would love to hear more on how you think that this might work.

The tricky part to this is that not all staked liquidity on the network is equal / will generate the same amount of fees. How will content creators measure the value of staked liquidity? How will fees be provably be sent to content creators?

that actually came from an in-person conversation with Clay Space, who went on to write up the idea here: https://clayspace.medium.com/bitcoin-as-subscription-c21b582d4e90

0 sats \ 0 replies \ @ab 4 Aug

Ah nice one, will give this a read. Cheers!

What do you think about stablecoins or some sort of "stabilized" lightning channel built on Bitcoin? Do they have a place in ecosystem or are they a bad idea?

very good idea because it becomes the easiest onramp to real bitcoin ever in that: i) DCA becomes programmatic and cuts out brokers/shitcoin casinos, and ii) when fiat hyperinflates, the rug pull from bitcoin the network to bitcoin the asset is extremely simple.

i find it impossible not to read your answers in your Scottish accent

Who wins in a fight? Bruce Lee or Georges St. Pierre (GSP OF UFC FAME)

that's Sacha's domain, I'm afraid.

Do you tend to see a short term deflationary environment and long term inflationary environment? Or how do you see the next 20y or so play out? Luke Gromen/Lyn Alden are in the inflationary while Brent Johnson/Jeff Snider tend to be in the deflationary environment. I tend to see both with the deflationary being next 1-2y and inflationary being the long term, 5y+. Thoughts?

waaaaaaaaay outside my expertise, I'm afraid. if I had a question on this, I'd ask Lyn

How did you feel inside every time Davide would have that loving smile on his face when he looked at Ekin Su?

he's such a cutie. you can't not love him.

"You are a liar" XD

you are a liar and an actress!

Hi Allen,

Where came from such astonishing inspirations to write this masterful book with Sacha Mayers? Bitcoin is Venice.

what's the best hint you can give about your new bitcoin co?

that it's not that exciting in the scheme of things so I wouldn't hold your breath.