[This post originally appeared on Medium: https://medium.com/honeyminer/the-era-of-the-network-becc4679b20f]
Last time we sat down with Notsofast, he briefly mentioned his notion of The Era of the Network. Today, we sat down to discuss what life looks like in the Era of The Network — from self sovereignty, crypto mining, and lifelong learning. Enjoy the show! You can follow Noah and Notsofast on Twitter @Notsofast and @njess
Noah: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Honey Project. Today, on the show, I’m joined by Notsofast, who is simply put an infectiously curious intellectual and a thoughtful, giving member of the crypto community. He’s also an advisor to Honeyminer, where we make software to make cryptocurrency mining easier and more profitable for everyone, beginners and professional mine operators alike. Enjoy this show. All right. Today, it is my pleasure to be joined by Notsofast, who is driven to set a good example for conduct in the wild west of the cryptocurrency space.
Noah: He has become despite his pseudonymity, widely known as a friendly, knowledgeable figure providing positive early experiences for all new cryptocurrency users since 2013. Welcome, Notsofast.
Notsofast: Thanks, Noah. It’s a pleasure to be here speaking with you.
Noah: It’s so much fun to get together. Last time we chatted, we started to talk about your vision for the era of the network, and so I thought it might be fun today to dive in a little bit more and learn exactly how you’re thinking about this era, and what that means for all of us building and investing today.
Notsofast: Yeah. Sure. I’d be glad to. Where this starts is looking at, I guess eras of how people conducted themselves through time, and so it seems a little bit putting our own era on a pedestal when taken into context with all these other historical eras because they lasted so much longer, but as with technology, it just accelerates the pace of everything that we see. If I talk about the era of hunting and gathering versus the era of work, and then the era of networking, which are both kind of in our lifetimes, the hunting and gathering era lasted a whole lot longer. Same thing with the industrial era and everything else.
Noah: Do you think that’s a remnant of just how progress makes different eras, or epics go faster and faster?
Notsofast: Yeah, I really do. I mean, it’s leveraged by technology, and that technology right now looks like what we think of as technology with computers and machinery, and networking, but technology before was agriculturalism and the ability to just stay in one place for a while, and the Gutenberg printing press, the ability to disseminate information on ways other than word of mouth, so there have been technological levers on all of this progress throughout history, and it affects the way we live our lives in a grander sense, both individually and as families, and as societies, and so the current shift is from the era of work to the era of network, where our value as humans and as individuals and as tribes goes from what we can produce individually from our personal output to how we can connect everybody else that needs something or that can share something of value, and we go from workers to nodes, and our value is derived from our nodes and what we can share. That’s kind of the top-level thing.
Noah: That’s a fascinating way to kick it off. I guess like maybe even taking half a step back when you think about the notion of technology itself, are we working with the definition of technology as doing more with less?
Notsofast: Sure. Yeah, I would agree that that’s a good way to sum it up. We’re able to take a simple technological protocol and build out so much from that that was sort of not thought possible prior to that. The analog would be, “Oh my gosh, with this agriculturalism, we can stop moving, and we can build a permanent shelter and leverage that shelter among many more children in the family that we can protect because we’ve got all these technological tools.” Similarly, to the age of network, we’ve got the easiest protocol to look at as TCP/IP that connects so much stuff, and even 15 years ago, we wouldn’t be able to imagine the proliferation of all this video, where now suddenly, all calling is video calling.
Notsofast: I mean, why not make it video calling because the streams and the protocols can handle all this video flying around? There’s plenty more examples of that, but just leveraging the network so far beyond static web pages that we saw in the early and mid-90’s to everything’s dynamic, everything’s got deep, rich content and information that’s immediately sharable and shared, peer-to-peer or by centralized networks. There’s so much proliferation on that that we couldn’t have imagined before.
Noah: It’s kind of like the old quip that, “It was easy to predict mass car ownership, but harder to predict Walmart.” Right?
Notsofast: Yeah. That’s another good one that I actually haven’t heard, and everybody thinks of the technology in terms of the incumbent being replaced. Like, “Why not just keep using horses and build technology on top of horses?”
Noah: I saw a fascinating patent the other day for a fake horse to attach to your horseless carriage, so that it could make it look just like the good, old days of people who did have horses.
Notsofast: Oh, that’s neat, just have it fit in and it’s one way to bridge the gap, right?
Noah: One must not scare the horses with progress and innovation. Back to each of us as a node.
Noah: I guess one of the other things that this gets at is as we increase the degree of connectivity, going back to technology, is doing the same things, but with less or faster or better, now, just each of us is more empowered. Is that where you’re going with this?
Notsofast: Yeah. In a sense, yes. Each of us is more empowered, but there’s also more economic utility that each of us can get out of the networking node, that there are efficiencies built in that weren’t there before. Here’s an example. I’m just pulling these statistics without sources because I don’t remember where they came from, but they’re pretty easy to figure out on your own. If you own a vehicle, it’s parked for 75 to 85% of the time when it’s not being used, so there’s a proliferation of car-sharing services and vehicle-sharing services that are out there.
Notsofast: Course, you’ve got Uber that has really taken over any kind of ride-sharing or any kind of public transportation in a lot of ways because it gives all the conveniences of your own vehicle, but it’s on demand, and it’s as streamlined as it can possibly get, but it’s maximizing the utility of a vehicle that’s owned. It’s generating additional income for the vehicle’s owner, and the vehicle’s owner also has a choice basically almost all the time whether to keep on driving or to start driving, or to not be driving and do something else based on what they get the most utility out of. The age of network that if you have a vehicle, the value that you’re providing to a network of people based on how far the protocols involved with that vehicle can reach is vastly increased, so when you’re not driving, you can still be getting utility from your vehicle by letting somebody else drive for you and earn something from it, or … I mean, there are so many protocols that allow you to derive, maximize the value that you get from owning a vehicle.
Noah: Now, is this the same as to say that it’s really as we all become nodes or different assets become nodes in networks, we’re really just installing a market price or a market for these assets, services and people?
Notsofast: Yeah. That’s a really good way to put it. The markets are at the outset based on centralized platforms, such as Uber that dictate a rent-seeking profit model, so Uber, the company makes a haircut from drivers’ fees, but where we’re going with networks of money like Bitcoin and all the other alternatives out there are pretty soon, these markets will be permissionless and autonomous, so when you have a ride-sharing car, you’ll be able to … There will be sort of a bid and offer marketplace that’s a little more efficient than simply Uber as one rent-seeking gatekeeper to that. That’s coming along with Uber’s alternatives like Lyft and all these other ones that you’ll be able to set yourself kind of minimum viable price that you’re not willing to go drive for someone below that price, and you can adjust it at will, and you’ll be able to set certain times of day where you’re willing to bid a little more for a rider, or a rider will be able to bid a little more for you.
Notsofast: There will be a lot more granularity and a lot more efficiency to the market without any kind of centralized protocol host, earning rent from you and making the distribution of wealth that you’re extracting from this vehicle, making it less equitable than it could be. There’s a trend towards maximum equitability or equality I suppose with these assets as the market networks that you mentioned become more efficient and get built out. That’s the next stage of this era of network, where your output that you could do at a job is worth less than your output or what you could do by your own choices through the different things you could provide of value to your network. Maybe it’s a car. Maybe it’s computing power, which you can do at the same time, mining cryptocurrency.
Notsofast: Maybe it’s a lending market where if you have a lawn mower in your garage, there’s a protocol by which any neighbor that needs to mow his or her lawn can borrow that and automatically pay you, and automatically generate a repair ticket for it, for example. There are protocols-
Noah: I guess where we are today is where we’re seeing the deployment of the fungible marketplaces, so more hashing power of your computer or video card is like kind of a starting place.
Notsofast: Yeah. It’s a good place to start simply because work from a computer is so fungible from a CPU or I guess a GPU, which is no longer a Graphical Processing Unit, but a General Processing Unit. It can hash so much cryptocurrencies and any kind of given cryptocurrency, and there are plenty of protocols coming down the pipe both from systems that have been in the works for the past couple of years and new ones coming out all the time. We’re starting with graphical rendering, and rendering on demand can pay 15 to 30 times more than mining the most profitable cryptocurrency at a given moment, and so there are going to be much more protocols, many more protocols competing for your compute power, even if it’s just a laptop or a nice gaming system. Suddenly, these things will be able to start paying for themselves and be …
Notsofast: If you give permissions to the network, you’ll find that your machine will be co-opted at times you didn’t even expect to do some rendering for some graphical content or maybe a movie somewhere, or maybe some 3-D presentations or modeling for some architect somewhere that you didn’t realize. All this stuff is coming down the pipe really quickly.
Noah: Is your mental model for this then kind of true Proof-of-Work, is sort of the one side of the network is filled in a way with just latent price demand for hash power, and as we build out the demand side of this marketplace for computation or for TPU usage, then we start to level up into higher value used cases of the underlying asset?
Notsofast: At least for compute power or for hash power, yeah. I think that’s what we’re going to see really quickly. Eventually, it’ll get to a point where gamers don’t want to game anymore because they’re getting paid so much not to game. It’s an opportunity cost. Leisure is an opportunity cost, at least spent with the machine.
Notsofast: The demand side of that, because those processes are the most flexible, I think that’s where we’ll see kind of the sharpest demand shocks as you put it, but for assets that are less fungible, like the lawn mower I mentioned or like a ladder that your neighbor might borrow, those economies will come around, I think in a little more chill way, I think, but still, the protocols that allow for a proper economic sharing of those services will be built out from the compute distribution protocols, because that’s really complex to do, but it’s also so easily divisible and fungible in and of itself. I mean, as long as compute is done of sufficient quality, if the resources for aggregating all of that work are efficient enough, then it doesn’t matter to a compute buyer, whether they’re getting 100,000 CPUs or 10,000 GPUs, or 150 servers, or some mix of all of those, as long as that work is getting done at the quality level they need and at the speed that they’ve paid for, I guess by their bandwidth.
Noah: The validation can happen at the protocol level versus having to have a centralized actor like an Uber come in to quality assure, and in some sense, make the market.
Notsofast: Right, and I think this is an instance where the centralized, decentralized lens is, it’s not going to be a dichotomy, but it’s rather going to be a spectrum where certain aspects, perhaps the ownership aspects are going to be decentralized probably with public, private-key pairs, but in the name of efficiency, certain aspects will have to be centralized, so there will probably be a node aggregator or distributor that uses some kind of consensus model, but is somewhat centralized. I’m thinking of the masternode system to draw kind of a modern day parallel that will at least be responsible for distributing some of this work, because there’s a really high compute load to distribution of all these dispersate units of compute power, and so there’ll need to be certain protocols that stay a little more centralized. When we look at, “Well, is this system decentralized or is this system centralized?”, we’re looking at two poles of what we’re going to realize is a large spectrum of smaller processes. Some of those will be centralized, some of those will be decentralized, and depending on the process and what it requires, it’ll fall somewhere along that spectrum.
Noah: This goes back … There’s the old trope that, “There’s only two ways to profit. It’s either to bundle or unbundle things”, and so would say this is like the centralization versus decentralization?
Noah: It’s just sort of redistributing in a bunch of different places in the ecosystem.
Notsofast: Yeah. In a way, it will be doing, it’ll be bundling certain things and unbundling certain other things, depending on what’s required of the network. Let’s take one of my favorite examples of the kind of next step up from Uber, which is investing in an autonomous self-selling, self-driving vehicle, self-driving taxi that you own, and it goes in, it takes payments on its own with a blockchain, and it goes and repairs itself, and when it’s made enough profit to ping your phone and let you know, “Hey, I’m ready to buy you a second taxi if you’re interested.” That’s a combination. That’s a bundling of a whole bunch of different processes that can be self-automated in a way and self-propagating in creating value for an investor who basically does little to nothing. That’s an example of bundling.
Noah: This breaks down the capital process, or right now, at least when I look at a lot of businesses, it’s a mix of local knowledge insight, plus either know-how or capital to capture the opportunity that exists in the market, and just to build onto what you’re saying, it’s almost like as these opportunities become more readily accessible, then it just abstracts the know-how as in this car is available driving whichever street it’s best optimized for, and then just the ownership and the capital part breaks off?
Notsofast: Yeah. I think you’re right about that, and the way that know-how or that specialized know-how will become distributed will be separate from that process in that, where you might have a taxi driver who knows the streets of his or her city, and leverages that knowledge only into one vehicle, which he or she is currently driving at that given moment. The job around that process might turn into system design, where helping inform an AI that processes multiple vehicles in the city where that person has gained the knowledge. It’s similar to the way robotics have changed factory work in that, a specific manual process that you do over and over and get better at over time. Suddenly, those people are ideally giving their knowledge to, or becoming data points for informing the people that are programming the robots that replace them, so there’s a …
Notsofast: I like to use an analogy for painters too, like people painting houses and going up on ladders and stuff. Eventually, they’ll be piloting the drones that spray the paint onto surfaces, rather than getting up there by themselves with a paint brush.
Noah: Advancement of the know-how.
Notsofast: Yeah. Yeah. It’s just the people will be using just different technology eventually to do kind of the same end.
Noah: Even though this is your hypothetical, I heard a wonderful real-world example of this, which is one of the nation’s largest home insurers actually has a warehouse full of ladders, and they dispatched them using …
Notsofast: Oh, yeah.
Noah: I forget, whether UPS or FedEx, whenever there’s a natural disaster, ship all the ladders down there, send all the claims adjusters down there, and then it’s a manual process, and so this insurer is actually teaching people how to fly drones, to take ladders out of the loop.
Notsofast: Incredible. That’s pretty amazing. That’s a system that I never could have surmise on my own if I wasn’t deeply involved in an insurance industry, and known the cost and benefits, and it seems so simple, like having a warehouse full of ladders to deploy where they’re needed at any given time, but it’s brilliant in that exact situation, which seems to happen often enough that we’d economically need it.
Noah: We forget for so many of these large businesses that have existed for a long time, just how much the know-how within those older companies has accrued a, in this case, odd physical assets distributed around a kind of very large plane that is our meatspace reality.
Notsofast: Yeah. I agree with that. I don’t know what I could possibly add because there’s just so many examples that we’ve already been over.
Noah: We’ll just have to shift back to this prosaic small opportunity of programmable money. It’s just a few trillion. Not much work to do there. Things are working perfectly.
Noah: When you look at the pure money used case or this we’re installing markets in so many different places than we’ve ever had them before, because now, we no longer have to have a New York stock exchange or similar to transfer value, how do you see this playing out over the next two, five, 10 years?
Notsofast: I think to answer that question, I have to go back to a concept that I’ve been working with, just kind of an overarching guideline called … I use #YetAlso, where we’ve got increasing complexity. We’ll have all the old ways of doing things, and stock markets, and different companies ringing the bell and exchange, for example, #YetAlso will have all these sub-markets with varying degrees of integration with those markets subject to regulations, which obviously over time will change to allow some of the stubborn permissionless aspects of the other markets. I mean, the stubborn minority markets will have a way of changing things in other marketplaces, just as the stubborn minority can change cultural elements as well. There’ll be a lot more interpersonal volume in participation, and I guess what it will mean for most people is that they’ll be …
Notsofast: Everybody will be broker for themselves, and their assets, and their services, and there’ll be very likely UIs that make this a lot easier, but people’s understanding of economic value of what they own or what they control or who they are, even their own knowledge will just become that much more rich and vast. I think people will become, the idea of a rational economic actor is all but out the window at this point just because everybody acts economically towards their own set of values, which differ from the economic person who’s just like every other person acting in an economy. We’ll see a lot more inefficiencies that can be exploited by an individual to enrich themselves without a real deleterious effect on anybody else out there. I like to say that this network of markets is the final stage of capitalism before all these massive inefficiencies and savings of energies, they become efficiencies, and with utopia, where there’s so much flow of economic utility out there enabled by these protocols that we don’t really want for anything anymore. Waste is minimized, and economic gains are maximized, so the last stage of the …
Notsofast: This is the final stage of capitalism that we’re entering right now. Then, after that is utopia, and then after that … I mean, I can’t think that far ahead.
Noah: I know many wise economists prior to you and I riffing today have predicted the end of the regular work week or of people having to strive, and yet, people work harder than ever. Why do you think that is?
Notsofast: I wish I could give an answer for that, but a lot of it is short-term. When I say short-term, I’m trying to look, step aside the eyes of a human looking at this, and just see it as a phase in the change that will soon end, so as jobs start to dry up and young people realize that their assets and their participation as a node in the network economy or the era of network where they can participate as they see fit at their own convenience, the era, the economy of work will slow down, and you won’t have people grinding all the time necessarily. They’ll realize that, “Hey, I’m not completely useful in what I’m doing for this part of the grind.” We see it in the culture of side hustle, where side hustle is something that you do to increase your own income, but eventually, there will only be side hustles left and it’ll be our process to maximize the free time that we have while fitting in those in the way that we most efficiently can. It looks to us, to you and I right now that we’re grinding away with no tomorrow, and it looks to accountants that I know that they’re suddenly working seven days a week with one Sunday per month off, and the partnership is always two years down the line in those cases.
Notsofast: I think those entrenched hierarchical industries will be the slowest to change, and the change will, in this case, happen from the bottom up where you see it in like what we think of as low-skilled wage, minimum wage type jobs where turnover is probably 10 times what it was 20 years ago for these type of jobs simply because they’re placed at minimum value by the systems in which they operate, the economic actors who own those systems and pay those wages, but they’re also equally devalued to the maximum point by the people filling those roles for shorter and shorter times because they know that they’re replaceable, and they know that is just a baseline income-generating activity that they’re looking to replace the same time. The slog is ending to bring in all together.
Noah: Also, [Robert 00:28:52] Coase, who was a famous PolySci, turned corporate studier. It’s the theory of the firm is breaking down in your view?
Notsofast: Interesting. Yeah. I would imagine that it is. I mean, there are always going to be firms because there’s the entrenched marketplace for shares of big firms and economic action by firms with a lot of capital to really push new boundaries that can’t be pushed or can’t be collaborated on by too many cooks spoiling the soup for a really large venture, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a hit-maker culture, where the short head of the firms become … There’ll be just a few juggernauts, and then are really long, long tail, so we’ll have …
Notsofast: The big firms will be bigger than ever, and I think we’re seeing that now with how big firms like Apple are getting, but we’re going to see yet also a whole bunch of new types of firms, short-term, that the SPV will become probably the most popular type of firm where a bunch of individuals and/or companies get together to achieve one specific project or goal, and then they go their separate ways because there are protocols to make or break that goal, manage the economics during it, and then splinter off the capital to other things.
Noah: That’s fascinating. On the big company front, the Fangs, the Facebook, Apple, Google, Snapchat, Netflix weigh in. Where do you think they go next five, 10 years?
Notsofast: It’s so hard to say, but I think at least with Facebook and Snapchat, those types of things. It’s pretty clear that at least social media and ways that people congregate, those can shift a lot quicker because essentially, they’re renting servers and they’re just creating algorithms, and they’re trying to strike an economic balance between maximum extraction of value and what people are willing to take or where the culture ends up moving. I guess the more capital you have and deploy, the less likely it is that you’re going to be erased by somebody changing the algorithms around which you work in a way that either pisses people off less or identifies … It’s less culturally dependent, I think because culture grows and changes and gets more complex, I think faster than anything else we have, so capital is the one rock that makes change happen more slowly.
Noah: Got it. In your view, it’s still the anchor that companies can use, and we should be looking at with the General Motors, or maybe even the Teslas of the world who have true capital assets, is a path for their own durability.
Notsofast: Yeah, I would agree with that, and my favorite example for capital as a core competency is a company called ‘Mammoet’. I know they’re Scandinavian, I believe, but they specialize in just massive, massive machinery. The ship that moves the ship that moves the oil tankers, that’s a Mammoet product. They’re the only company that has ever been able to build something like that in the world. They’re the company that has a barge that will move a bridge from one continent to another, and-Noah: That’s a big boat.
Notsofast: Yeah. They specialize in massive machinery, and it’s really fascinating kind of what they do. They’re not well-known and their praises aren’t highly sung because what they do is at the extreme end of specific functionality, but because they do capital in a very big, very focused way, I can’t see any other company, first of all, being interested in competing with them, and their capital knowledge investment is so far ahead of anything else that why would you?
Notsofast: They’re the extreme example.
Noah: For people who are awakening as nodes in this network era, how would you instruct them or how do you think about people building their own edge within this new international marketplace?
Notsofast: Oh, I try to encourage it anytime I can with both encouraging people to learn how to think about work as being more than work, but being something that you choose to do. I think the younger generation gets it definitely with the whole side hustle culture that I mentioned, but realizing that anything they, I or own is not just a consumable thing, but also potentially an economic thing that can generate for them, as well as be consumed by them. The more that we can do to snap people out of thinking of purchasing and consuming, versus seeing something as an investment or, “What can this laptop do for me? What can this GPU do for me?”, and as far as generating income, I think people are naturally edge-seeking whether it’s buying lottery tickets, whether it’s looking for discounts, coupon clipping. If the avenues can be understood towards that little bit of leveraging inefficiencies in the systems that they perceive, if we can build protocols that are easy enough for people to use, it’s an open door that everybody will walk right through, I think.
Noah: It’s awesome. What do you think in your travel so far in the crypto space, what are things that you’re excited about or things that you believe technologists should be building but aren’t?
Notsofast: I think that there’s so much out there that I can barely keep track of it, and it almost feels like everything that should be being built is being built, and a whole bunch of other stuff besides. The nice part of that crypto economy is that for a long time, if people had a little bit of a change they wanted to make to Bitcoin parameters or a specific project that they wanted to undertake, they could just do it without permission. Then, we had sort of the influx of venture capital last year and everything that came along with that, or just a new venture capital protocol that was completely permissionless too, so there was a lot of fluff built around that, but I do think that there were genuine initiatives born within all that chaos as well, and there’s going to be an opportunity, I think with governed financial networks with regular budgets built in to their protocols. Again, I’m talking about masternodes here, which are not the only way to do it, but they’re one fairly simple, and working a way to do a decentralized autonomous organizations, where community members have a vote on how these budgets are spent.
Notsofast: They’re a little rough around the edges now to say the least, but this is where a lot of initiatives will get their funding from, and that encompasses anything under the sun that you could care to do as a capital project.
Noah: That’s awesome, and it’s funny, with [Dow-like 00:37:05] organizations, it’s a little bit of what is old is new again when you harken back to the traditional mutual companies that provided life insurance or other products to people who, working in a community that had a known mortality. One share is one piece of ownership within that mutual firm.
Notsofast: Yeah. That’s a fantastic analogy to how it’s probably going to look on the outside. I mean, if in a sense from a certain viewpoint, nothing would have changed at all, just except for the way that you come into this, into ownership or control of part of the assets. Again, it’s that exact mutual company, yet, it’s networked and it’s interoperable with a whole bunch of other money networks out there, so its value is much easier to discern.
Noah: Okay. Yeah. To just set our expectations, we were chatting earlier about every call should be a video call, but in the digital money and the era of the network equivalent, what year are we? Is this 1994, people are first getting online? Is this 1999 froth, of the froth of the bubble? Where are we?
Notsofast: I love … I constantly think about where we could put ourselves on there, and I wish it were chronologically placable, but I think the additional complexity that we’ve got and the increased skin in the game that we have with networked money, where everybody understands money and there’s a lot higher incentive to jump in, we are both 1994 and 1999 at the same time, and we’re also a little bit 1970’s, like DARPA level, where it’s just a few communicating nodes for certain aspects of this, and we’re probably early 2000’s as well, building out secondary layers and protocols on this. It’s all those dates kind of happening at the same time in concurrency. In this era, we’re seeing multiple phases of development all happening together, and their progress is slowly bleeding across to each other. It’s a lot to wrap one’s head around because it doesn’t … The history of the network money era is not going to look anything as sequential as the history of the internet era.
Noah: I like that. That’s very well said. You said something else that I want to touch on, about now, everyone has skin in the game. There’s this delightful Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s business partner’s quote, and where he says, “I’ve underestimated the power of incentives every year, and I’m now 89 years old”, or something to that effect. How do you see this skin in the game playing out, and what does this unlock?
Notsofast: Oh, so many things and so many ways. I guess the easiest way to give an analogy would be to talk about the economic philosophy behind Bitcoin maximalism and people thinking like, “Okay, Bitcoin is the soundest money that’s ever been created, and therefore, we should only be building on Bitcoin”, yet, we’re not seeing that, and there are so many incentives for someone to fork Bitcoin because it’s open source, and try it on their own. Maybe they have only tweaked the parameters a little bit. Maybe they’ve tried to build Bitcoin in a different language. Maybe they’ve tried to do something even further away from Bitcoin’s core concept than that.
Notsofast: The Bitcoin maximalism viewpoint states that, “This stuff is for the purposes of self-enrichment over building on what we all know should be the foundation of our future money”, and they make the leap that therefore, because there’s self-interest, it’s thus a scam, and they denounced from that. They say, “Okay. Everything is a scam. That’s not Bitcoin”, and we’re just not seeing that. I mean, profit is not necessarily a dirty word, first and foremost, and there is a certain degree of complexity to human incentives in the first place.
Notsofast: I mean, there just isn’t incentive for a certain people to build on Bitcoin altruistically, expecting nothing in return. Some people are motivated by the idea of creating their own money and making that money worth a whole lot, and thereby, enriching themselves, but also doing a bunch of good. There’s a conflation and an oversimplification in that whole mindset that that base core economic mindset of sound money is one thing only. What it really is, is all of these variations and aggregate become, and all of these incentives that vary if you want to get right down to it, down to the individual as a centralized actor within a completely networked and decentralized space. You’re going to get sound money from Bitcoin, yet also, various degrees of unsound, yet still valid money or economic activity or economic network within a massive system.
Noah: Right, because I can use Notsofast coin if you were to ever have one, and it’s still better than the existing banking infrastructure that was previously my only choice.
Notsofast: Right. Right, as long as it’s permissionless or less permission than banking software to a degree, and as long as it is networked and interoperable to the maximum degree outside of the existing system. There’s a quote that I like from the founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation where, I think it’s from the early ’90s where he says, “Networks interprets censorship as damage, and they route around it.” They don’t even see it as an issue. They just see it as a roadblock.
Notsofast: What you’ll end up getting is as long as these permissionless networks are free to interconnect, I mean, that’s what they’re going to do. That’s where the path of at least resistance lies, and resistance is just, there are so many other routes from and through different nodes that roadblocks don’t exist really. They’re just-
Noah: You’re not a Bitcoin maximalist
?Notsofast: I like to say that I am a Bitcoin maximalist, yet also, I think I’m beyond a generalist to a Bitcoin panmonetarist maybe to-
Noah: Oh, double-click on that.
Notsofast: Yeah. Panmonetarist as a parallel to pantheism, where there’s just a panoply of different options that are out there, all at war with each other, all at peace with each other, all working with each other. We’re in an era of Greek gods of network money, and there’s more being born all the time.
Noah: I love that. Okay. Awesome. We still got our last few minutes together. I just thought we could close out with a couple quick questions.
Noah: What’s something that you think locally just like in either your work experiences or your life experiences, or physically where you’ve been in the world has influenced your thinking that you can place?
Notsofast: It’s kind of hard to say. I’m a business owner, so I see the generational mindsets among people that are employed by the business, people that are in their 50’s and people that are in their 20’s, and how differently they approach money, and work, and what constitutes a long time doing a job for something, and what constitutes progress for something, so it fascinates me because everybody’s got their own concept, and it doesn’t really … The feedback loop is not really there for them in the world of work, but in the world of network, that feedback is almost immediate, so the market in which you’re participating tells you exactly what your worth, and there’s no [crosstalk 00:46:15]-
Noah: In no uncertain terms.
Notsofast: Yeah, in no uncertain terms. I think the younger someone is, and the less privileged their background I think, the more likely they are to realize that immediately, and the harder they will seek edges in any given way. That’s probably what’s influenced my enthusiasm for how great people are at pushing the era of network forward for their own benefit, if only they can understand the protocols that they’re using. Right now, the people-
Noah: That’s 3%.
Notsofast: Yeah, the people that understand those protocols best are kind of tech-oriented because everything looks so new, but it won’t take long for the great designers of the world who are really good at building things that allow people to think without thinking when they use something to kind of [joining 00:47:17] up a protocol that lets these edge-seekers say, “Oh, I get this. I’m going to use this. I can get so much more from doing it this way than this slog that we talked about.”
Noah: You have been so generous and most of all, welcoming to new people in this space, and really a hat tip to you on that, and which adds me to ask, “What’s something someone’s done for you, an act of kindness or welcoming or learning that you’ve received in the past that’s had an impact on you?
Notsofast: [crosstalk 00:47:40]. It’s mostly the sharing of knowledge of someone’s own deep interest. A really weird example, you might even laugh, the owner of a company that I worked for when I was a student took me to make burgers for the whole staff one day, his way. We went shopping for the beef and the pork, and I just always bought burgers out of a box, but he taught me the secret of how to make the best burger, what he considered the best burger ever, and they were damn good. To this day, I’ve tried to build on his recipe with using my own and using his techniques, and I can’t get it noticeably better than him.
Notsofast: I was so grateful that he shared that with me, and I tried to give him credit. Every time somebody says, “Oh my God, your burgers are so good. Let’s go over to your place for a barbecue”, I have to give him credit because he shared that recipe with me, and it’s so simple, how to make a really good burger.
Noah: Knowledge is the secret ingredient?
Notsofast: Yeah. Knowledge imbued with a little bit of passion, I think, and enthusiasm for what you’re doing. It’s sort of similar to the way, anybody is interesting when they’re talking about something about which they’re passionate, and so he was passionate about burgers, and I was interested enough and engaged enough that I soaked up that recipe so quickly, so yeah. That’s a good analogy.
Noah: That is a fabulous, fabulous way to end, what has been a fascinating conversation. For folks listening today, how can they follow more of your thinking and follow along the era of the network?
Notsofast: I try to stay high-level on my Twitter, @notsofast with talking about all of these ideas, flushing them out with anybody who will present the other side of the scoop for me. Then, as far as turning that into investible engagements with the marketplace as it arises, I am also @notsofast on a platform called ‘investFeed’, where I post the mining that I do and the trades that I make in the cryptocurrency space. Those are the two places where I’m most active.
Noah: Fantastic. It has been truly a pleasure to spend some time together today, and I really appreciate you taking the time.
Notsofast: I really appreciate your time too, Noah. Thank you very much. It’s been a fantastic talk.
Noah: Awesome. Take care.
Notsofast: Cheers. You as well.