300 episodes

With What Bitcoin Did, host Peter McCormack talks to experts in the world of Bitcoin, economics and politics. From developers to investors, journalists to authors, you will learn about everything in the world of Bitcoin.

What Bitcoin Did with Peter McCormack Peter McCormack

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 576 Ratings

With What Bitcoin Did, host Peter McCormack talks to experts in the world of Bitcoin, economics and politics. From developers to investors, journalists to authors, you will learn about everything in the world of Bitcoin.

    Bitcoin & the Energy Transition with Nima Tabatabai

    Bitcoin & the Energy Transition with Nima Tabatabai

    “The fact that you had the opportunity to even consider becoming an energy generator, that’s purely because solar panels as a technology became so cheap and so accessible…in the hands of every person soon is going to be the ability to participate in the energy system and to be self-sovereign.”— Nima Tabatabai
    Nima Tabatabai is co-founder of Optimize Infrastructure. In this interview, we discuss how battery technology for energy grids, solar’s overwhelming economic case, energy sovereignty, and how combining batteries, Bitcoin and solar results in the most flexible energy assets possible.
    - - - -
    In 2010 solar power generated 34 terawatt hours (TWh) per year across the globe. By the end of 2021, this has increased to 1,033 TWh per year. There are a number of reasons for this dramatic increase, but a prime driver is a reduction in costs. Between 2009 and 2019 the price of electricity from solar declined by 89%. The International Energy Agency in 2020 declared solar power offered the “cheapest…electricity in history”.
    As Nima Tabatabai states in this podcast, this drop in price is perhaps the greatest example of Jeff Booth’s assertion that technology is deflationary. Research and development of solar technologies have been affected positively and negatively by crises and political dogmas. Nevertheless, since the 1970s there has been a strong ‘learning effect’ across the whole production process resulting in an exponential reduction in costs.
    Nevertheless, the discussion of solar energy as a reliable part of the energy mix still stirs strong negative responses. Intermittency is a major concern: solar can’t work at night, and it’s deemed to be materially ineffective in cloudy weather and at high latitudes. Essentially, detractors state solar power supply can’t efficiently fit demand. There are also issues around land requirements, input materials and waste.
    But, are these concerns valid? Can solar be a reliable and sizeable source of energy? If so, what are the constraints and limitations? Could battery technology resolve concerns over intermittency? What would be needed to complement solar energy? Are our energy grids ready to assimilate decentralized power sources? And, what needs to be done to maximise the potential of Bitcoin in subsidising solar?
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    This episode’s sponsors:Gemini - Buy Bitcoin instantlyLedn - Financial services for Bitcoin hodlersBitcasino - The Future of Gaming is herePacific Bitcoin - Bitcoin‑only event, Nov 10 & 11, 2022Ledger - State of the art Bitcoin hardware walletWasabi Wallet - Privacy by defaultTexas Blockchain Summit - Nov 17-18, 2022 | Austin, TexasBCB Group - Global digital financial Services
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    WBD561 - Show Notes
    -----If you enjoy The What Bitcoin Did Podcast you can help support the show by doing the following:Become a Patron and get access to shows early or help contributeMake a tip:Bitcoin: 3FiC6w7eb3dkcaNHMAnj39ANTAkv8Ufi2SQR Codes: BitcoinIf you do send a tip then please email me so that I can say thank youSubscribe on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | YouTube | Deezer | TuneIn | RSS FeedLeave a review on iTunesShare the show and episodes with your friends and familySubscribe to the newsletter on my websiteFollow me on Twitter Personal | Twitter Podcast | Instagram | Medium | YouTubeIf you are interested in sponsoring the show, you can read more about that here or please feel free to drop me an email to discuss options.

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Bitcoin Privacy Through Statechains with Nicholas Gregory

    Bitcoin Privacy Through Statechains with Nicholas Gregory

    “We send around UTXOs, at the moment those UTXOs are Bitcoin, they could be lightning channels. Now, there’s a lot of complexity there, but I think that’s where we’re gonna go where you’d be able to move around lightning channels, and that’s like swapping around your checking account.”— Nicholas Gregory
    Nicholas Gregory is the CEO of Commerce Block, the company behind Mercury Wallet. In this interview, we discuss how they have used statechains to develop a virtual version of Opendime, the balance of trust and privacy on layer 2 protocols, and onboarding Lightning users.
    - - - -
    One of the most novel innovations to come out of the Bitcoin ecosystem in recent years has been Opendime. The aim was to turn Bitcoin into a version of physical cash. An Opendime, is essentially a USB stick, that can be traded between individuals without the need to confirm such transactions on the bitcoin base chain. The USB can be verified but is only redeemed by the last user, by breaking the device and accessing its private key.
    Opendime enables people to use Bitcoin as anonymous, untraceable cash. The limitation is that it requires a physical transfer. That was until Mercury Wallet was launched. Mercury Wallet is essentially a layer 2 protocol based on statechains. Statechains enable the offchain transfer of UTXOs (turned into a bearer asset referred to as a “statecoin”) between parties.
    The limitation of statechains is the requirement for a trusted third party, in this case, Mercury Wallet. The third party is non-custodial; they collaborate as a blind partner in the cryptographic transfer of keys. Whilst there are theoretical security issues, they have been mitigated by Mercury Wallet. The issue to overcome is what tradeoffs people are willing to make between ease of use, value transfer and security requirements.
    But, this is just the first of a number of growing use cases for Mecury Wallet. It enables unlimited free swaps of Bitcoin UTXOs providing privacy benefits. Through the conversion of underlying assets into statecoins, the transfer of assets using Discreet Log Contracts can be facilitated. Further, by layering the Lightning network on top of statechains, it could even enable the transfer of Lightning channels.
    - - - -
    This episode’s sponsors:Gemini - Buy Bitcoin instantlyLedn - Financial services for Bitcoin hodlersBitcasino - The Future of Gaming is herePacific Bitcoin - Bitcoin‑only event, Nov 10 & 11, 2022Ledger - State of the art Bitcoin hardware walletWasabi Wallet - Privacy by defaultTexas Blockchain Summit - Nov 17-18, 2022 | Austin, TexasBCB Group - Global digital financial Services
    -----
    WBD560 - Show Notes
    -----If you enjoy The What Bitcoin Did Podcast you can help support the show by doing the following:Become a Patron and get access to shows early or help contributeMake a tip:Bitcoin: 3FiC6w7eb3dkcaNHMAnj39ANTAkv8Ufi2SQR Codes: BitcoinIf you do send a tip then please email me so that I can say thank youSubscribe on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | YouTube | Deezer | TuneIn | RSS FeedLeave a review on iTunesShare the show and episodes with your friends and familySubscribe to the newsletter on my websiteFollow me on Twitter Personal | Twitter Podcast | Instagram | Medium | YouTubeIf you are interested in sponsoring the show, you can read more about that here or please feel free to drop me an email to discuss options.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Running a Business on Bitcoin with Tibor Ballai

    Running a Business on Bitcoin with Tibor Ballai

    “One interesting thing about Bitcoin is Bitcoin doesn’t care about what the regulators do. If they end up drafting regulation that stifles the adoption it will just flourish in other jurisdictions, and eventually, they realise their mistake.”— Tibor Ballai
    Tibor Ballai is the co-founder and CTO of Fortris. In this interview, we discuss the challenges of running a business on Bitcoin, how Fortis enables businesses to use Bitcoin as an operational currency, and why this will be the next step in the adoption cycle.
    - - - -
    It is one thing for an individual to move towards converting to a Bitcoin standard, it’s quite another for a company. Running a business is hard enough without having to navigate around emerging regulations and evolving technical innovations that come with using Bitcoin as an operational currency. Without professional support, many businesses will choose the path of least resistance, which will be sticking with fiat.
    This is how companies like Fortris can provide material help in the next wave of the adoption cycle. If Bitcoin is to become a widely used form of money, obviously businesses will need to adopt it. Having both the expertise and enterprise applications to smooth the transition to Bitcoin adoption is what is required, and what Fortis can offer.
    The thing is, there is a myriad of different internal policy and external regulatory hurdles that need to be overcome. Who can sign off transactions? How is the Bitcoin to be held? What are the tax implications, and methods to limit tax liabilities? How should payments, domestic and international, be managed? What are the means for using Bitcoin for payroll? How should Bitcoin treasuries be assimilated into management reporting functions?
    These are the hurdles and questions that I am personally having to tackle as I use Bitcoin within both my media business and the football club that I run. So, I am as interested as anyone in what services companies like Fortris offer, and how they can help people like me maximise the benefits of Bitcoin without being tripped up by bureaucratic or technical issues.
    - - - -
    This episode’s sponsors:Gemini - Buy Bitcoin instantlyLedn - Financial services for Bitcoin hodlersBitcasino - The Future of Gaming is herePacific Bitcoin - Bitcoin‑only event, Nov 10 & 11, 2022Ledger - State of the art Bitcoin hardware walletWasabi Wallet - Privacy by defaultTexas Blockchain Summit - Nov 17-18, 2022 | Austin, TexasBCB Group - Global digital financial Services
    -----
    WBD559 - Show Notes
    -----If you enjoy The What Bitcoin Did Podcast you can help support the show by doing the following:Become a Patron and get access to shows early or help contributeMake a tip:Bitcoin: 3FiC6w7eb3dkcaNHMAnj39ANTAkv8Ufi2SQR Codes: BitcoinIf you do send a tip then please email me so that I can say thank youSubscribe on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | YouTube | Deezer | TuneIn | RSS FeedLeave a review on iTunesShare the show and episodes with your friends and familySubscribe to the newsletter on my websiteFollow me on Twitter Personal | Twitter Podcast | Instagram | Medium | YouTubeIf you are interested in sponsoring the show, you can read more about that here or please feel free to drop me an email to discuss options.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Can Bitcoin Fix the Political System? With Logan Bolinger

    Can Bitcoin Fix the Political System? With Logan Bolinger

    “Is the world that we want to live in, one where we need to hyperfinancialize every aspect of an individual’s life because financial conditions on a macro level are such that you have to finacialize your whole being in order to keep up or get ahead? Is that truly a victory for democracy?”— Logan Bolinger
    Logan Bolinger is a lawyer and writer of the Think Bitcoin newsletter. In this interview, we discuss how he became orange pilled after concluding trust in politics is an impossible dream. We talk about how Bitcoin can help fix the broken political system and the problems caused by fiat money.
    - - - -
    There are many paths to Bitcoin. Cypherpunks, anarcho-capitalists and libertarians have all been attracted to Bitcoin given its rooted in protecting individual freedom, and its growing value as a powerful check on government control of money. And yet, there is now a meaningful movement of progressives within Bitcoin who have also been drawn to Bitcoin.
    Beyond the mainstream media narratives that would have you believe Bitcoin is for those on the right wing, Bitcoin is for anyone, and people are finding in Bitcoin solutions to a range of perceived systemic problems. For progressives, it offers a range of mitigations and solutions to deep-rooted issues. Most notably in how to restore trust to the broken political system and help those affected by inequality.
    Bitcoin is a revolution in that it empowers those who have increasingly been treated with contempt by the state, but had until recently felt powerless. It provides a chance to rebalance the social contract and strengthen democracy. And for those who want to retain the framework of the state, there is power to be drawn from the libertarian cause: rulers act differently when the ruled have a chance to opt-out and rely on a trustless system.
    Opening up to Bitcoin also offers a chance to look at wider society anew. Going down the rabbit hole means awakening to the fundamentals of money, economics and banking. It brings a realisation that a lot of what activists have been focused on has been the symptoms of issues rather than the causes.
    Maybe there is an alignment between those on the right and left around Bitcoin as they realise they are both being literally short-changed by the ruling elites. And, whilst being uncommon bedfellows, there is strength in numbers. And maybe the greatest strength of Bitcoin is in its ability to bring those on different sides of the aisle together to resolve some of our biggest issues.
    - - - -
    This episode’s sponsors:Gemini - Buy Bitcoin instantlyLedn - Financial services for Bitcoin hodlersBitcasino - The Future of Gaming is herePacific Bitcoin - Bitcoin‑only event, Nov 10 & 11, 2022Ledger - State of the art Bitcoin hardware walletWasabi Wallet - Privacy by defaultTexas Blockchain Summit - Nov 17-18, 2022 | Austin, TexasBCB Group - Global digital financial Services
    -----
    WBD558 - Show Notes
    -----If you enjoy The What Bitcoin Did Podcast you can help support the show by doing the following:Become a Patron and get access to shows early or help contributeMake a tip:Bitcoin: 3FiC6w7eb3dkcaNHMAnj39ANTAkv8Ufi2SQR Codes: BitcoinIf you do send a tip then please email me so that I can say thank youSubscribe on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | YouTube | Deezer | TuneIn | RSS FeedLeave a review on iTunesShare the show and episodes with your friends and familySubscribe to the newsletter on my websiteFollow me on Twitter Personal | Twitter Podcast | Instagram | Medium | YouTubeIf you are interested in sponsoring the show, you can read more about that here or please feel free to drop me an email to discuss options.

    • 1 hr 26 min
    Mining Bitcoin with Nuclear Energy with Ryan MacLeod

    Mining Bitcoin with Nuclear Energy with Ryan MacLeod

    “Bitcoin mining can be plugged into the existing nuclear fleet as it and shore up the economics right now, because a lot of the reactors that are being shut down are because they’re not economically competitive on a grid that has a large share of wind and solar.”— Ryan MacLeod
    Ryan MacLeod is a Bitcoiner working in the reactor research and safety programs at Canadian Nuclear Labs. In this interview, we discuss the importance and safety of nuclear energy, and how Ryan is trying to orange pill the nuclear industry by showing how Bitcoin aids the economic case.
    - - - -
    The growing consensus is that nuclear energy needs to play a critical part in providing society's energy needs. It is both a low-carbon energy source, energy-dense, and (dependent upon operation) reliable. And yet, nuclear only provides 10% of the world’s energy needs, down from 18% in 1996. Whilst the IAEA forecasts only a 12% contribution by 2050 in its high-case projection.
    The issue to date has been the safety concerns regarding nuclear energy. High-profile accidents have clouded the public’s perception of the nuclear industry and influenced anti-nuclear policies in numerous countries. The build-out of new nuclear capacity dropped significantly after Chernobyl, an accident that some feared had come close to making half of Europe uninhabitable.
    The reality is that Chernobyl was an accident unlike any other, which indicated the malaise of a waning superpower, rather than an industry that was inherently dangerous. Since then, reactor technology and the treatment of waste have continued to improve. We are now on the cusp of countries being able to roll out Small Modular Reactors that are cheaper, safer and more scalable than existing designs. It has the potential to revolutionize nuclear power just when we need it.
    And yet, the economics of nuclear energy are still challenging. High capital costs mean that nuclear facilities need to have a high capacity to make the investment worthwhile. Cheaper energy from solar and wind are adding to the complexity of the issue. There are other uses for nuclear energy that can be monetised, but these have their own specific infrastructure and operational requirements.
    This is where Bitcoin mining could provide a bridge. It eliminates the concept of surplus baseload generation, bolstering the economic bottom line of both old and new reactors. And it can do this from day one. So, could Bitcoin mining be the catalyst for a renaissance of the nuclear industry? If so, it will be young professionals such as Ryan MacLeod who are helping to lead the change.
    - - - -
    This episode’s sponsors:Gemini - Buy Bitcoin instantlyLedn - Financial services for Bitcoin hodlersBitcasino - The Future of Gaming is herePacific Bitcoin - Bitcoin‑only event, Nov 10 & 11, 2022Ledger - State of the art Bitcoin hardware walletWasabi Wallet - Privacy by defaultTexas Blockchain Summit - Nov 17-18, 2022 | Austin, TexasBCB Group - Global digital financial Services
    -----
    WBD557 - Show Notes
    -----If you enjoy The What Bitcoin Did Podcast you can help support the show by doing the following:Become a Patron and get access to shows early or help contributeMake a tip:Bitcoin: 3FiC6w7eb3dkcaNHMAnj39ANTAkv8Ufi2SQR Codes: BitcoinIf you do send a tip then please email me so that I can say thank youSubscribe on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | YouTube | Deezer | TuneIn | RSS FeedLeave a review on iTunesShare the show and episodes with your friends and familySubscribe to the newsletter on my websiteFollow me on Twitter Personal | Twitter Podcast | Instagram | Medium | YouTubeIf you are interested in sponsoring the show, you can read more about that here or please feel free to drop me an email to discuss options.

    • 1 hr 20 min
    The Quantum Threat to Bitcoin Revisited with Richard Murray

    The Quantum Threat to Bitcoin Revisited with Richard Murray

    “On the encryption side a lot of people are worried about ‘how long do you want your secrets to remain secret for?’. And if you’re really worried about things staying secret for a long time, there are some things that people won’t want to get out for the next 100 years, then that’s the reason for people moving on to other types of secure platforms today.”— Richard Murray
    Richard Murray is the co-founder and CEO of ORCA Computing. In this interview, we discuss the spooky and baffling effects of quantum mechanics, how ORCA is harnessing these effects to build quantum computers, and why success will be our generation's moonshot.
    - - - -
    The post-war period has seen an explosion in computing power. The principle underpinning modern digital computers was developed by Alan Turing in 1936 with his paper “On Computable Numbers”. The concept was that programs with instructions would be stored in memory, which would enable the computer to be programmable.
    Since then, digital computers have continued to evolve at a pace. Gordon Moore (who was co-founder and CEO of Intel) predicted in 1975 (revising an earlier 1965 prediction) that the number of components in each integrated circuit would double every two years. This became known as Moore’s Law and has largely held true.
    Innovative chip engineering has resulted in increases in computational power since the war that can be measured in the trillions. This is why our society has changed beyond recognition. And yet, there are limits to what we can do with computers, and limits to continued progress. A single Dutch company, ASML, provides the ultraviolet lithography machines needed to keep pace with Moore's Law. We are reaching the physical limits of increasing transistors to further computational power.
    A potential solution to this barrier could be by using the spooky effects of quantum mechanics. Computers work using a binary system, where computation has 2 possible discrete answers: 0 or 1. The effect of quantum mechanics means a computation can dispense with the discrete answer: the solution can be 0 or 1, or any combination of 0 and 1 at the same time. Harnessing this will turn the rapid evolution of computer science into a rapid revolution.
    When we can access unimaginable computational power what will be possible? In our specific sphere, what does this mean for Bitcoin mining and encryption more broadly? What does this mean for wider society? What are the ethical ramifications? All of these are questions that we should be grappling with, even though nobody can still explain what causes the spooky phenomena in quantum mechanics!
    - - - -
    This episode’s sponsors:Gemini - Buy Bitcoin instantlyLedn - Financial services for Bitcoin hodlersBitcasino - The Future of Gaming is herePacific Bitcoin - Bitcoin‑only event, Nov 10 & 11, 2022Ledger - State of the art Bitcoin hardware walletWasabi Wallet - Privacy by defaultTexas Blockchain Summit - Nov 17-18, 2022 | Austin, TexasBCB Group - Global digital financial Services
    -----
    WBD556 - Show Notes
    -----If you enjoy The What Bitcoin Did Podcast you can help support the show by doing the following:Become a Patron and get access to shows early or help contributeMake a tip:Bitcoin: 3FiC6w7eb3dkcaNHMAnj39ANTAkv8Ufi2SQR Codes: BitcoinIf you do send a tip then please email me so that I can say thank youSubscribe on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | YouTube | Deezer | TuneIn | RSS FeedLeave a review on iTunesShare the show and episodes with your friends and familySubscribe to the newsletter on my websiteFollow me on Twitter Personal | Twitter Podcast | Instagram | Medium | YouTubeIf you are interested in sponsoring the show, you can read more about that here or please feel free to drop me an email to discuss options.

    • 1 hr 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
576 Ratings

576 Ratings

Hencheyp ,

Just listen

Always interesting, definitely worth adding to your podcast subscription. Guests are always intelligent and knowledgeable, never dull.
Just listened to the quantum computing episode.
Brilliant.

Bobby21000000 ,

Comprehensive and insightful

What Bitcoin Did is the most comprehensive and balanced Bitcoin focused podcast to date. Featuring a diverse slew of guests ranging from Macro economists, O.G. cypher punks, academics, politicians, and industry professionals. This podcast not only builds and expands upon the narrative of sound money in an unsound world but even asks tough questions of the ideas, culture, and people within this ever growing space.

The production on this podcast is excellent. On location and they film every episode as well. The research that goes into every episode is well suited to each guest.

This is the perfect starting point for learning about bitcoin. I would even recommend this podcast before the white paper (very heavy on the technical aspects) and even the bitcoin standard (Very informative, incredibly well researched but politically biased).

SmeagolGetsTheRing ,

Marmite but I've already liked the taste of Marmite.

Great podcast and Peter is really the standard on consistently asking great and sometimes controversial questions to his guests. All true pod to bitcoin.

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