Sazmining Podcast: Bitcoin is the Solution to our Methane Problem with Adam Wright
Synopsis: In this episode of The Sazmining Podcast, Will speaks with Adam Wright, Co-Founder and CEO at Vespene Energy. They discuss the nature of humanity's methane problem, how Bitcoin mining fixes this, and what Vespene Energy is doing to make this Bitcoin mining solution to methane emissions a reality.
Will Szamosszegi: Well, Adam, this has been a long time coming. I'm so excited to have you on the podcast. Uh, Kent, our president and chief operating officer here has said so many incredible things about you. So it it's incredible to finally get to put a, uh, face to name and I'm excited to have this conversation with
Adam Wright: You. Yeah, well, the pleasure's all night will, it's obviously, you know, really excited to meet you. You know, the, the SA behind SA Mining, you know, it's not every day where you meet somebody with your prestige. So really, really excited to have this conversation. Yeah.
Will Szamosszegi: Well, I, I listened to the episode that you did, um, on the, what Bitcoin did podcasts. And I think that the conversation that you're having on, on this front is as important as it really gets, not just for our particular part of the ecosystem, like the whole Bitcoin community, but also just to help spread the message and broaden that. So I, I'm excited to dive into that. But even before going down that whole conversation, I'm curious, what, what is it that got you into, uh, what you're doing at Vest been today? Like what'd you, what'd you do
Adam Wright: Beforehand? Yeah, that's a good question. So, my background is, is, you know, I'm, I'm a mechanical engineer by training. Most of my career has been spent in, uh, underwater engineering, so primarily submarines and, uh, remotely operated vehicles. I did do a, a three year stint also in 3D printing as well. But, you know, primary career was, uh, personal submarines for recreation and tourism. I used to run a company called Deep Flight. We had tourism bases set up all over the world. And, you know, my, our mission was to increase awareness of, of the oceans and ocean conservation in general. My grandfather was a founder of, uh, an ocean, you know, non-profit called the Ocean Inic Society. I come from a long line of conservationalists and environmentalists, but I've also been a, a holder of, of Bitcoin for a long, a long time. I got into Bitcoin in 2017, and I've always understood the social aspects of Bitcoin from a, you know, it being a decentralized monetary network, and that the fact that there's, you know, no government can come in and, and seize it.
Adam Wright: And, you know, I've always agreed with these, these types of attributes, but I've also really deeply understood because because of my engineering background, I've understood a lot of the, the energy dynamics as well. And part of the mission of vests being is to, you know, help to change the narrative around, around Bitcoin and proof of work more broadly into something that can actually be used as a tool to facilitate positive ramifications for the climate, but also, you know, renewable energy development in general. And so the sort of the genesis of, of Vest being was actually here in, in Berkeley where, where the company is founded, uh, there's a, a park in Berkeley that used to be a, a landfill, and it closed in the 1970s. It was covered over and put into, you know, a nice park for dogs. But right there in the middle of the landfill, there's a big, or sorry, in the middle of the park, there's this big enclos space with head of a giant smoke stack sticking out.
Adam Wright: And, you know, we were sort of, what is that thing? And, uh, you know, you get, you get up closer and you see the smoke stack is in fact flare, and you can see the, the heat kind of shimmering off the top. And, you know, that got us thinking, you know, man, there's this perfectly good wasted energy source that's just getting burnt right here. And that got us thinking about landfills and the, you know, the, the impact that landfills have from a, a methane perspective, both from a, an environmental methane emissions perspective, but also just a, uh, you know, a hugely wasted resource of a valuable energy. And so, you know, vest being kind of puts those, puts those things together.
Will Szamosszegi: It's incredible. I, I first heard about like this type of use case for the excess methane slightly before I had Chase from Cruso on, and it just, the, the dots just connect there. I mean, it seems like a perfect value add from every single perspective, not just the Bitcoin side, but obviously from the conservation side, from the economic side. And then I was speaking with Kent in depth about what it is that you guys were working on. I thought it was incredible. And I'm curious, it seems like you have all these different pieces of your background that kinda led to IT technologist background as well as the conservationist approach. And you saw how these connected. And so I'm, I'm curious with what it is that you've noticed after diving in from, you know, that first genesis of the idea mm-hmm. <affirmative> for the company to the actual research and stuff that you discovered as you've dove down that the, the literature and the research there. What are some of the high level things that anyone who's out there watching can, can kind of think about, take away and, and realize why is this
Adam Wright: So important in that process of, of research after the sort of the genesis block, let's say, of of us being, the main thing that that we've really learned is just the vast scope and depth of the methane problem. You know, I think that if you look at landfills specifically, and, and, and more, more broadly, uh, landfills in the United States, you know, landfills alone represent about, according to epa, represent about 17% of US methane emissions. But this is all based on kind of self-reported data, right? So there's no global entity that's sitting there kind of surveying all of landfills and, and measuring the actual methane emissions. There have been some surveys done. NASA did a big survey in 2019 that actually showed that these self-reported numbers were in fact underestimated by a factor of two to three x. And so this makes, this makes landfills kind of the biggest polluter in terms of methane emissions. And again, methane is anywhere from 25 x to 84 x more powerful than carbon dioxide, depending on kind of the timeframe that you look at. Yeah,
Will Szamosszegi: That's, that is one that I, when I first heard, I was just like, my mind was blown mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because everyone always talks about carbon dioxide, co2 mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and it's very like, well known common knowledge that that's a huge problem. But mm-hmm. I mean, when we're sustained, when you're talking about methane, you're talking about like CO2 on steroids in terms of how bad it is.
Adam Wright: So a hundred percent, and, and, you know, there's a, the UN has, has come out and, and said that methane reduction or methane mitigation more broadly is the, the strongest lever that we have as humanity to make a significant impact on slowing down climate change. And here we have a technology that's immediately available and, and essentially commodity level that we can go out and profitably mitigate methane emissions on a global scale. And so this was the biggest learning is just understanding the, the breadth and the scope of the methane issue and, and understanding that we actually have a technology available to us right now that can not only mitigate that methane in an economic way, but also provide a bridge to broader sort of electrification future as being that base camp, so to speak, on a mountain, which we can definitely go into more detail later on how we plan to accomplish that.
Will Szamosszegi: Yeah. And regarding methane specifically, are there any other use cases or things that you, you're seeing out there in the market today in terms of addressing this problem? Or is Bitcoin mining really the only true solution that we have thus far a species to address the methane
Adam Wright: Issue? Yeah, I mean, I think, so. It's definitely not the only tool available in this tool chest. There's, there's several attributes about it that make it very viable in terms of scalable scalability. So kind of the backup, you know, if you look at, you know, methane is obviously, you know, essentially methane is natural gas. So there's, there's, you know, any, any process that uses natural gas can, can use methane as power source. So traditionally, there's two types of projects that you would run on a landfill or any other source of methane. One is you would burn that methane in a, in a power station, and then inject that energy into the grid and, you know, monetize it that way. The other way would be to essentially capture that methane, compress it into, you know, firstly filter it. So filter out all the impurities and then compress it to high pressure and inject it into pipelines, and then you would use it in your, your stove or as heating in your heater or whatever it ends up being the problem.
Adam Wright: And these are why these are very widely used technologies, and there's, you know, some, a lot of the larger landfills and ones that are closer into cities have these projects actively running. In fact, I think 28% of landfills have in the United States, 28% of landfills have active projects in the form of electricity or natural gas production. But that leaves 72% of landfills without any viable use of the gas. And that's simply because those landfills are either too small to run a traditional project profitably or too far away from critical infrastructure. So the main driver in beneficially utilize this methane is the ability to export it. You know, so if you're, you're on a landfill, you know, traditional projects that require the exportation of, of a commodity, whether it be electrons or molecules, they are, the main drawback of that is the fact that you need to build out all this infrastructure in order to get that commodity to the end user.
Adam Wright: And so therefore, for the 72% of landfills that don't have a viable use for their methane, and they're either flaring it off or in some cases, in, in fact, most cases, they're just emitting it straight into the atmosphere. You need to find a way that you can place value on this energy regardless of where it's located and independent of a grid or pipeline connection. And so here's what, this is where bitcoin mining comes in, is that Bitcoin mining is able to, again, monetize energy in the form of data, and data can be transmitted readily through either satellite or cell signal. So you don't need a grid or a pipeline connection. And then not only that, bitcoin mining is completely interruptable and it doesn't require a customer, so to speak, so you, there's, there's no kind of customer acquisition. Nobody really cares if your, if your mins go down for, for any period of time because that data is not, you know, quote unquote mission critical.
Adam Wright: You know, God forbid your, your Amazon streaming would go down. And so that's why, you know, you can't, you can't just plunk down a normal data center in these applications, is because that data is more or less mission critical. I know that there are, and I know Cruso is doing some great work on how to use traditional data centers in these, in these decentralized applications, but in, in terms of readily available technology today that we can roll out and, and scalably mitigate methane, you know, bitcoin mining is, is the answer. But then once you have that Bitcoin mining going on and you're generating revenue and you're amortizing the cost of your equipment, then that really opens up whole new level of alternative options for that energy. And, and one of those options, you know, it's actually a, you know, Bitcoin mining becomes like, you know, essentially a catalyst to, to incentivize other users of the energy.
Adam Wright: And, you know, one example that I can give you is, is electrification. And broadly, you know, electric vehicle charging, if you look at a landfill, landfill is, uh, a hub of activity of, of vehicles. So there's from normal kind of garbage trucks, you know, dumping their load to normal vehicles that are coming in and out of the landfill to other, you know, even kind of like earth movers like excavators and bulldozers. All of these vehicles have major companies that are putting in lots of money to electrify them. That makes a landfill kind of a perfect location for a hub of elite electrification. What you can do with, you know, again, because Bitcoin mining is interruptable, you can now, you know, basically freely charge as many vehicles as you want. And the Bitcoin mining is always there to take up to slack because again, you know, landfill gas methane needs to be, be burned 24 7.
Adam Wright: That means your generator has to be spinning 24 7. And so you can't, you know, you can't just sort of selectively turn on your generator when you say, Okay, I have a truck coming in, I'm gonna front my generator. You need that, that mining there to, you know, to become the ballast essentially to take, take up any extra slack that's not being used for the vehicle charging. But then on the flip side, what this enables, uh, to do as a, as a landfill or a landfill operator, you don't have to interface with a grid or with a utility to bring high power, high voltage, you know, high power transmission out to your landfill, which you would need to do in a traditional setting if you wanted to set up a, you know, a, you know, a charging network. And so this basically like incentivizes and, and accelerates the adoption of the electric vehicles, uh, and fleet electrification more broadly.
Will Szamosszegi: Yeah, no, that is, that is so fascinating. That whole rabbit hole or tangent, whatever you wanna call it that you just went down, it is incredible. You touched on so many things as you were talking about it, it reminded me of a conversation I had with Brandon Quim mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And he was talking about, as, you know, bitcoin mining being like the pioneer species and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what you just described is, is like that, but in a sense of also capturing the waste. So mm-hmm. <affirmative> bitcoin miners go out, makes you make use of and build power generation and areas that wouldn't necessarily have it without mining and then being used to power all these other things and mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah, it's fascinating. I mean, I've really just, I would say, started trying to dive down and learn a lot more about this. And I've been following a lot of the research, uh, that Daniel Baton has put out.
Will Szamosszegi: Of course, uh, Troy is, is always talking about different tangents along this edge. And I'm curious in terms of how you see this conversation evolving. This is, I would say, at the forefront, especially with everything happening on the e moving e moving away from proof of work towards proof of stake, I feel like it's a vector that that's an important conversation to bring to the forefront. Cuz Bitcoin just gets attacked from so many different angles. And the main one that people try using, even very intelligent people who understand the value of Bitcoin, they'll attack it for its energy mm-hmm. <affirmative> and they'll say, Hey, you should use Ethereum because doesn't you consume and use all this energy. What you're talking about is not just it, it's a way that you can combat that narrative with actual data, which is showing, okay, this is the effect of methane, rather than looking at something by the amount of energy that it consumes.
Will Szamosszegi: You look at the net effect of what's going on here, just cuz something consumes energy that doesn't give the full picture of the net effect. And what you're talking about is actually making Bitcoin very carbon negative. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So on, on that line of thinking, I'm curious, let's say that someone out there is listening and they wanna have an intelligent conversation around energy use. Are there any high level statistics that you can give them to talk about we, if we want to use like your guys' system, for example mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, the net effect of hey, one megawatt the system would be the equivalent of this many trees planted or this many like vehicles off the road, or any types of statistics you might have on that, that someone can, can bring to a conversation?
Adam Wright: Yeah, I mean, I think there's a bunch of different statistics that you can look at specifically from a a methane mitigation perspective. I mean, I think you can, we can say, so we think in terms of modules, you know what, one, one module is, uh, about one and a half megawatts. So, and that's, you know, approximately let's say 400 asic miners. That's kind of what fits nicely in a container. And it also happens to a fairly common size of landfill of small remote decentralized landfills. And so with one module in operation that is going to, in a, on an annual basis in terms of the amount of methane that is now mitigated, you're, that would be the equivalent of planting, I think 4.2 million trees and the, and growing them for 10 years. That's the, that's one point. That's just, that's just one module.
Will Szamosszegi: How long for the module, again,
Adam Wright: No, in one year of a module operating one year,
Will Szamosszegi: 10 years for the
Adam Wright: Trees, that's equivalent of 4.2 million trees growing for 10 years in terms of the equivalent carbon dioxide reduction in the atmosphere in a, from a greenhouse gas perspective. But I think the, the other way to look at it is, so, you know, bitcoin mining and you had mentioned, you know, it gets a lot of just bad rap in general for its energy usage. I think that, you know, energy usage by itself is not necessarily a bad thing, right? It's a, it's a question of how that energy is, is obtained. And you know, today there's some, let's say there's some percentage of Bitcoin mining that's still happening on coal and there's an, you know, an an increasing percentage of Bitcoin mining that's being done via solar, wind, hydro, these types of applications. And then also increasing number of, of mining that's done, uh, via methane sources. And if you look at that kind of red and you, you look at companies like us and in like Cruso and other similar, similar company companies in the space as we expand and more and more hash rate comes on the network from carbon negative sources, because that methane again, is that 25 to 84 x a very small growth in our company as a very big contribution to the overall carbon negativeness of the, of Bitcoin network as a whole.
Adam Wright: So there's, there's a, a very realistic timeline and, and sort of pathway to the, the Bitcoin network becoming globally carbon negative. Even though there are still going, there's always going to be some contributions of carbon positive sources. There's gonna be some contribution of carbon neutral sources and then, and increasing car contribution of carbon negative sources such that as an aggregate a network becomes carbon negative, which is something that you can't necessarily say about Ethereum or a proof of stake is, you know, the best that they can hope for is carbon neutrality. It's
Will Szamosszegi: Kind of funny to to hear that, right? Because so much of the mainstream conversation around this is talking about how oh, Ethereum's trying to help the environment and, and move away from proof of work. But really what you just explained with this technology and what I truly believe as well is that this is a net positive in that conversation. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And one other point that I think it's important for us to touch on is I think a lot of the people who speak about it don't understand the true value of Bitcoin in the long term. And you know, I think that we all play our own role in where we fit into the Bitcoin network, right? I think that what you guys are doing is unbelievably important and very good from an environmental conservationist standpoint. And then you have other people who are mining that might not necessarily be, you know, carbon negative, but they're still contributing to the network in some type of way.
Will Szamosszegi: But what I think's interesting about your guys' approach as well is how the incentives line up for the cost of that power. And so maybe if, if you want to just give some high level talking points as well, like how expensive is, is it to mine on methane? Are the, what are the benefits, what are the challenges? How does that look? Cause it's a completely different type of approach than if you go and work with a utility, right? Just how it's set up, how the cost structure looks and the scalability. What are some of those benefits and challenges mm-hmm. That you face when trying to, uh, run your project, for example?
Adam Wright: Sure. Yeah, I mean, I think that, you know, it's important to draw a distinction from the perspective that, you know, we don't think of our company as, as a bitcoin mining company, you know, Bitcoin mining is not our, not really our end game necessarily. Our goal is to be firstly a methane mitigation company. And then secondly, a long term energy developer or Bitcoin mining and also to Brandon. We, I've had a couple of conversations with him on, on Twitter and we're, we're, uh, we're both actually mushroom hunters, but we can get into that later <laugh>. Uh, but so this, this concept of the, um, pioneer species is very much in play with, with our model because from the perspective of, you know, using Bitcoin mining as that, you know, as that sort of base layer or that, uh, base camp on a, on a mountain to achieve these other uses in the long term, but looking at methane, so a landfill is going to be producing methane for decades, for generations even.
Adam Wright: So as long as that landfill is open and accepting, you know, new trash, that landfill is gonna be producing more and more methane over time because you have the contribution of the older garbage as well as the new garbage. So as that landfill gets bigger, it's gonna be producing more and more methane. And that's generally on average, I think about three to 4% year over year in terms of increased methane production. And even if you were to close the landfill, like, like I was just talking about in Berkeley, if you close a landfill, that landfill is still gonna be producing methane for 40, 50 years and, and beyond, like it's gonna start trickling down, but it's still producing more and more. And so, you know, this, this makes a landfill basically a, a very long term energy source, right? And so from that perspective, it's, it's very important for us to make sure, sure, that as a, as an energy producer or an electricity producer, that we have a very low sort of production cost, right?
Adam Wright: And so we use, you know, we take kind of great care in making sure that we select the right equipment for the job and that the, the landfill gas is properly cleaned and and processed kind of prior to going into the generator. So, you know, if you a, if you add in kind of our cost structure plus what we, what we pay to the landfill itself, and we can go into sort of how we structure that, but we have sort of like an overall all in cost of somewhere in the 3 cent a kilowatt range with when you add in, you know, amort, you know, cost of production, uh, in terms of your maintenance on your generator and your maintenance on your conditioning equipment. And so from that perspective, you know, the trade off there is that we have a higher CapEx, right? So we have a, typically speaking, we have a, a higher CapEx than certainly than you would have in a traditional mining setting.
Adam Wright: As, you know, you're sort of buying grid power and you set up a big facility or even even oil and gas flare mitigation. We have a higher CapEx than them. Again, because we have this other step required to kind of clean the landfill gas, landfill gas has a bunch of kind of impurities in it that, that generally speaking, they, you know, mess up or muck up the generator. But, but the trade off is that we, we have, uh, a very predictable and constant source of methane with a low cost of, of production. So therefore it's, you know, it's key for us to use that Bitcoin mining at the, at the front end to get to extract as much value as we can and then sort of constantly be on the search for hedges to that, to that revenue stream in the form of, you know, electric vehicle charging or, or from Grid Connect itself.
Will Szamosszegi: Yeah, it, that's pretty incredible the how low cost the ongoing operations are for, for that type of a model. But definitely, you know, with its own challenges in terms of the scalability per site and, uh mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and everything else. So fascinating. And in terms of actually sourcing these landfills and then spreading, it sounds like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you guys are building like a decentralized network of these power generation sources that mm-hmm. <affirmative> can be used for mining or used for other things and mm-hmm. <affirmative> be located in remote areas. And so, I mean, in terms of like a game plan, long-term vision, it seems like you could go in so many directions as of today. What would you say is the main focus and where do you see this potentially
Adam Wright: Going? Yeah, I mean, our focus right now is kind of a combination of, you know, landfills are split up into two different categories. There's private landfills, which are owned and operated by private companies, which are, you know, there's, there's some big players in the industry like Waste Management and Republic Services. You've probably seen their logos on the side of garbage trucks. So these are the big, big players in sort of the, the private sector in the, in the pu. And then, so they're, they're split up about 50 50, so 50% private and then 50% public, which are owned and operated by municipalities, so a city or a county. And our efforts are kind of split up, split up between those two. So we're engaging with private companies, uh, in terms of getting sort of a portfolio approach to expansion. Public entities are much more kind of onesie twosies, and that requires kind of more business development and, and education and, and sort of outreach in general.
Adam Wright: But I think our general strategy is we're not beholden, certainly not beholden to the US at all. So I mean, we're using the United States and the regulatory framework as a, as a springboard such that we can set up a model that we can then extrapolate and and scale into other jurisdictions internationally. If you think the methane problem is bad in the United States, wait until you look at the global south and developing countries in terms of there's, there's much bigger problems and bigger fish to fry in other places in the world. I mean, the US certainly we can make a big impact, but I think the bigger impact kind of climate wise and potentially socially will be made in international, uh, jurisdictions.
Will Szamosszegi: Yeah. It sounds like there's a lot of education that you guys are <laugh> must be involved in and teaching everyone about this. Cause I, I mean I've spoken with people from different utilities and the non technologists, but the, the energy side, and I'm curious, what are some of the most like ridiculous or not ridiculous, but crazy questions that you've had to field when you've been speaking with these, these people who are completely outside of Bitcoin or cryptocurrency industries?
Adam Wright: Yeah. Well, I think the main one is that comes up early often is, you know, how do you know that there's bitcoin in the landfill? You know, that one, that one comes up a lot. But I think that the way that we approach that is by, by sort of describing Bitcoin mining in, in terms of data processing. And I think that, you know, that's, that's the main thing that it's kind of that aha moment with people is that if you, if you describe it in, in, in the data sense that you're, you're essentially operating a, you know, decentralized data center and you're monetizing data which is being sent remotely. And so therefore we don't require the, you know, the grid connection or pipeline that then it starts to click with people and then it's, they can see how it can solve their problem. You know, a lot of the landfills that we're talking to have been and are generally overlooked by the larger developers because of the reasons that I mentioned.
Adam Wright: You know, one example was Phil that we were talking to, which, you know, I think they, they were flaring 700 some odd cubic feet per minute of landfill gas, which would be, you know, enough for let's say more than one module. So let's say a two megawatt opportunity. And they had had a quest for proposal out for a year and they had hired kind of a private, you know, independent consultant to kind of see and do a feasibility study and et cetera, et cetera. And basically this consultant came back and said, Well, sorry, like this is not a fit for beneficial use, so you're just gonna be flaring for the rest of your life. And then we come along and, and sort of provide this solution, you know, and so you
Will Szamosszegi: Go look at it and they're like, It looks like there's like 27 bitcoin in here. I think that we can, uh, go and build something up and, and get some if you, if you work with us
Adam Wright: <laugh>. Yeah. So this, so this is the, this is the, the kind of the baseline of conversation that we have with people is that we're, we're solving a very known and present problem with how to properly monetize small and medium sized decentralized landfill, you know, methane.
Will Szamosszegi: No, it, it's great. And in terms of like your, your background and, and your conservationist approach to things, are there things that you think that people should be talking about or mentioning when they're having these conversations? Cuz I feel like a lot of times, I guess I'm circling back to what's happening with Ethereum right now cause it's, it's the news of the day. But, um, and also before even diving into that, I just wanna say that I think it's an incredible technological feat of what we saw with Ethereum being able to make that transition and make that move. But granted a lot of times with Bitcoin or Ethereum or these different communities, people got very tribal, right? And they're like, it's like my way or the highway mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, rather, And then you have the attack vectors on the communities and ener a lot of times it comes back to energy. From your perspective, what's the right way to have this conversation around energy use and bitcoin mining, and what do you think are some of the things that should be given a spotlight that might not be given a
Adam Wright: Spotlight? Right. Yeah, I mean, certainly the, I guess to to back up a little bit, uh, you know, about I think five days ago or so, there was a report that was put out by the, the White House office of, of science and technology policy that was written specifically about the climate effects of what they called crypto mining. And the report definitely was flawed. It, it definitely, you know, had references to dubious, uh, sources which have been sort of, you know, by and large debunked by, you know, industry analysts. But there were some very positive parts of that report, specifically regarding mining's contributions, uh, from a methane mitigation standpoint. And actually landfills were mentioned specifically as one application of mining that is in line with the administration's broad, you know, climate goals. And so this was very, you know, this was timely and exciting for us that that was actually mentioned in this report.
Adam Wright: But I think the, you know, the best way to have the conversation is to have data to go along with it. I think that's the main, there's a difference between like, you know, we're a startup, we're building our, our pilot site right now. We have a and another 10 sites that are sort of in the pipeline, but without having quote unquote steel in the ground yet, it's essentially just conjecture in terms of the, uh, the actual climate benefits. And so once we're up to scale and, and we have steel, steel in the ground, we projects operational, then we can, can sort of, you know, and that that's kind of our biggest contribution is, is just, is just built. We're not gonna be the ones that are gonna be fighting with whoever about whether it's proof of stake or proof of work. Like frankly, like I don't really care about Ethereum.
Adam Wright: I think, you know, Ethereum is potentially a, a sort of a, a corporate equity at this point. And so in our view, Bitcoin is a, is a completely different animal than any other sort of cryptocurrency, even though they, they both get labeled as cryptocurrencies, but I think it's wrong to assume that Bitcoin and quote unquote crypto are in the same box. That being said, you know, we're not, we're not out there to preach about any purported positives or negatives about any specific blockchain or, or what have you. Again, our biggest contribution is, is just to build and, and show the beneficial climate effects of Bitcoin mining in our specific use case.
Will Szamosszegi: Yeah, and I love the way you said that too, where they are very different things. I feel like a lot of people group so many of these different networks together and, and I, I'm of the complete same belief that I think Bitcoin is a completely different animal. I like to draw the analogy between sports. And so for example, I'll give to you that, that I play, I'm very into tennis. I'm, I'm very into chess as well. I'm not sure you could consider that a sport, but you, you could use another sport like, like football, for example, Football, tennis, chess. These are all extremely different activities, but you can all group them in in something like calling it a sport. Sure. And I think that that's the same type of thing that people do with like cryptocurrencies. They, they, they might just say crypto and or, or with blockchain and, and they'll start making these groupings that inherently have very little in common. It's almost like just calling it a sport. And I think that that's, that's a very good, uh, delineation that, that you just
Adam Wright: Made that Yeah, totally. At the same, you know, in the same breath. You know, it's not, not really our place to comment politically on the merits of either one. You know, I'm, I'm sure that I, you know, I'm sure there's valid use cases for Ethereum and, and that's great. It's just not, it's just, again, completely different than, you know, if you're like, again, you like tennis, you probably couldn't care less about what was happening in the rugby world, you know? So <laugh> Yeah,
Will Szamosszegi: <laugh>, yeah, that's true. I'm, I'm one of those people, like, I'll watch sports and like, even if I know nothing about the sport, I'll just, like, when you see a good, like competitors going at it and you see a good competition, you, you could not really know any of the nuances of what's going on, but it, it'll just rip you, you know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I, I do really enjoy, uh, tennis and watch
Adam Wright: Football. Like how the, the two things that you mentioned, tennis and chess are the two things that I'm like the worst at <laugh>.
Will Szamosszegi: Oh, really? What, what were your, what were
Adam Wright: Your I mean, I'm sports. Oh, I play, so I play, I play baseball. I still play baseball. Actually. I'm in a vintage baseball league, uh, where we played by the 1886 rule book. But, uh, but yeah, my main sports historically were baseball and swimming,
Will Szamosszegi: Actually. Oh, that's awesome. That's actually really funny because on my end too, those are like opposites. The two, the two things, I never actually played baseball in swimming. I was just like the worst at, like, I was just, I was unbelievably bad at swimming, um, uhhuh. So I, I never did that, but that, that's really funny. What, what position did you play
Adam Wright: In baseball? Um, so I'm a catcher, so I've always Okay. You know, I've always been a catcher my entire life, so I was trained as a, as a catcher and, you know, it was, it was sort of my, you know, just my position from, from childhood. I, you know, I never took the, you know, I, I, I had, there was a pause in my sort of baseball career, you know, I pursued engineering in, in college and that was, you know, more time consuming than, you know, than would be applicable to, to spend on a sport. But in the last 10 years, I sort of picked it up again by joining this, uh, vintage league. So, which has been a, a big part of my, my weekend activities.
Will Szamosszegi: So <laugh>. Yeah. So I'm, I'm really curious and I think that the reason why I never really got into baseball is cause I just never, none of my friends growing up ever played it. I never really got to to speak about it. So I guess I'm gonna learn right now about at least how, how, uh, a a catcher thinks. Right? So when you're playing, I understand baseline the rules of, of how baseball works and everything. And I've, I've watched brief parts of games and you always see the catcher making these different signs. There are different types of pitches. I guess, what are some of the, the things like the decisions that you make when you're playing that position as a catcher mm-hmm. <affirmative>, are there particular things that like the best ones do better than, than everyone else? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cause Cause I feel like they always catch it like right at, at the end of the day. Sure. But, uh, like what is, what is the differentiator that makes someone like a Yeah. MLB level versus like a D one
Adam Wright: Player? Sure. Catcher is sort of a, it's, it's one of the more underappreciated positions, you know, because it's kind of, it's kind of a, um, a a lose tie scenario if you, you catch the ball that's like, okay, that's baseline of what you're supposed to do, right? So it's hard to determine kind of the, the, you know, sort of the effects of a good catcher are more, um, are more under the surface. So they're sort of, catcher is a very cerebral position. You have to be constantly thinking about the, the runners that are on base, the sort of a situation in the game. You have a view of the entire game, which is sort of different than, than everybody else. I think the primary effect would be on sort of calling the correct pitch, which may not, it may not be true in, in major leagues.
Adam Wright: You know, a lot of times the, the manager will call the pitches, but, so I'm, I'm sort of analyzing, I'm looking at the batter. I'm looking at sort of, I'm thinking about how he's thinking. I'm seeing how far he's standing off the plate and I'm thinking about what the count is, and then I sort of determine what the best pitch would be for that particular situation. So it's very strategic in that sense. And you also have to be looking at, you know, when there's a runner on second is that runner gonna be looking at your signs and trying to, just trying to seal them and communicate that to the batter. So you have to look at his cues as well. And then you might have to switch up your signs so that you have, you know, your signs means something different depending on who's on base. So it's very, it's a very cerebral kind of strategic position, which I think it kind of fits well with my engineering background. And, and I, you know, just broadly being a, an entrepreneur and a ceo.
Will Szamosszegi: Yeah, I, I was thinking about that as we were going through. I'm like, I, I could see you, you doing well in that position. That's fascinating though. Yeah. Is that legal to, for the person who's run on second base to like Sure. Is give whatever signs that he wants to the
Adam Wright: Yeah, absolutely. If, I mean, it's, it's definitely a strategy. And uh, do you always have to, you know, there's, there's sort of two ways to, to get through that. You either, you do sort of a sequence of signs and then you tell the pitcher which number in that sequence is the correct sign. You would be like, you know, if it's the third sign, you could go like 1, 2, 3, 4, and then it would be, you know, you're doing a three, which would be a change up or something. And then, or you do an indicator. And an indicator is basically if you say, Okay, the indicator is two, then it's like, whatever the sign is after I gave a two is the right sign. And so these are, these are different ways of,
Will Szamosszegi: Oh, interesting. So slight analogy between tennis. So there, there's singles and there's doubles course and, and doubles. You'll see if you've ever watched professional tennis, they'll have one hand, the person at the net will have one hand behind their back and then they'll start giving signs. But in tennis, it's a lot more, it's not like all, all this trickery that goes on really as much between the signs. It's, it's like you first will say, Okay, I want you to serve here. So the first serve, like, it's kind of behind the back, but it'll be like here, like down the middle, out wide. And then sometimes like you, if you want like a kick serve, you can go like that. You're like, Hey, I want you to kick it to the backhand, like top spin. So it jumps out that way. But then interesting. So you'll do the direction first and then you'll, the second sign will be like what you're doing at the net.
Will Szamosszegi: So like, you might stay where you are or you might say, Hey, I wanna poach, and like right after you serve and it goes by, I'm gonna go off and try and poach the ball off the top of the net. So you at the baseline are gonna know that. So there are all these signs that go, but it's very like, put it here and this is what I'm gonna do. And like, you'll be like, stay, go or fake poach. And it's much more simple, but there's no like, Hey, I'm gonna do this in case someone gives the sign away. Cuz cuz it would be cheating in tennis to give away the
Adam Wright: Sign. That's fascinating.
Will Szamosszegi: I mean, pe people probably found a way to, to do it, but <laugh>, right? Yeah. I mean, I
Adam Wright: Heard, I heard about, I heard about a guy cheating in, in, uh, in chess recently too, but,
Will Szamosszegi: Oh my God, this has been big news. <laugh>, this has been big news. I'm, I mean, if we clip this with just something about that and say, Hey, it's, uh, about like the Hans cheating scandal, it'll blow up. Like there's been so much speculation around that right now. It's, it's pretty wild. I mean, I like follow it like at a high level, but that stuff is crazy. And I, I feel like it's weird when you look at a sport like, like chess, right? Because it's a solved game to a certain extent. Mm-hmm. Like in the sense that the best players in the world can't beat the, the engines. And so it, it just kind of opens it up to cheating. And apparently this guy had been caught cheating before a couple of times, and then Magnus Carlson, like the number one player in the world pulls out of the tournament, uh, after losing to him, but doesn't say why. So it's just like all, all this chess drama going on right now. That's crazy. Which is kind of funny. I mean, chess has blown up since the
Adam Wright: Show, the Netflix show. Yeah, exactly. That's
Will Szamosszegi: What got me back into it. I played a pretty good amount when I was growing up and then I kind of just stopped. You kind of forget about it. But that show kind like, it got me back into it for
Adam Wright: Some reason. That's interesting. Yeah. I'm more of a, I'm more of a Majong guy actually myself. I've
Will Szamosszegi: Never played,
Adam Wright: Yeah, I, I used to live in China, so I spent a lot, lot of time learning majong and playing that. So that'd be like my typical, uh, sit down game. I think at this point
Will Szamosszegi: I wanna make sure I'm thinking of the right game. What's the setup for homage
Adam Wright: On, You're at a table, you've got four players. It's a little bit like, uh, and you've got these tiles, they kinda look like Thick Dominoes, but it's more of a, it's more essentially a car. It's a card game that you just used. You use dominoes. I mean, it's very similar to like gin rummy. So there's a whole, there's a whole betting thing that goes on and um, you know, there's sort of multipliers of, you know, if you make a really good hand, you get sort of a multiplier against your, your winnings. It's pretty, it's pretty
Will Szamosszegi: Cool. Is it kind of like a poker type style where you're just winning against other people? Or is it like aina. Okay.
Adam Wright: So you're just winning against other people.
Will Szamosszegi: Yeah. That's interesting. There are a lot of fun games out there, <laugh>. Yeah, you can, I feel like it's one of those things where I, I don't know about you, but I've always just been very like into games. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And if you, if you go and learn about all of 'em, then you'll all of a sudden look, look around and you'll be like, How did I just waste my entire day? Like, like playing these games, like just, just playing chess or I, I, I have the app and sometimes I will be on that app for like mm-hmm. <affirmative> three and a half hours
Adam Wright: Straight. Well, do you know the, do you know the backstory of where, where the name vests been comes from?
Will Szamosszegi: No, I'd love to hear it. Where does it come
Adam Wright: From? Well, so vests be, um, so there's a, there was a, a game that was sort of very fundamental in my, cause you know, I'm a big gamer, video gamer, et cetera. There was a very, you know, very in instrumental or influential game StarCraft that you've, you know, likely heard of. But yeah. Um, Vest Been Gas is a, is a resource in StarCraft that you have to manage or capture in order to really make your civilization get to the next level. And so, you know, from our perspective, we are essentially taking a gas and putting it into a digital asset. And so it had this very, very clear sort of delineation with, with Vest being gas in the, in the game. That was how the name came
Will Szamosszegi: <laugh>. That's awesome. When, when you were brainstorming for the na, was there like a, did it just like hit you like out of inspiration one day? Or was it something like sitting down, like figuring out, like how, like how, how did you come up
Adam Wright: With that? It sort of just hit us. I mean, like, you know, so my name is Adam Wright, so I, you know, we couldn't really call it right mining that wouldn't, wouldn't have the same ring as as you guys, but, uh, um, sort of a, you know, more boring name. But, um, but uh, but yeah, I mean, it just sort of came out randomly. It was, uh, it was, you know, we just thought of it like kind of naturally.
Will Szamosszegi: Yeah. That's awesome. That, that's really great. And mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I do really like absolutely love what you guys are doing. I love the mission. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I think it's incredible. And I'm wishing you guys the, the best of success in, in your current pilot. And then it sounds like you guys have quite a few people who, uh, are municipalities, landfills that you could help out after, after you have, have and prove out this pilot. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I always finish up the, the conversations with, with a quick question mm-hmm.
Adam Wright: <affirmative>,
Will Szamosszegi: And it's a question that's designed to kind of figure out, you know, the way that, that you look at the world, ways that you might be looking at things differently than others. And I'm always fascinated to hear the answer on this question. So the, the question is, is what is one belief you hold to be true that the majority of people would disagree? And I think that there's the obvious one that, you know, a large part of this conversation is centered around. So if there's any, and it can be anything. It could be crypto, bitcoin, blockchain, or not related to that at all. It's a tough question, so I'll give you to think about it.
Adam Wright: It's a tough question. I mean, think, I think you can, you can look at it. I mean, so we're, I think that, you know, so we, we hold things true as a, as a company in the sense that we firmly believe and want to show with data that Bitcoin mining has a, will be an overwhelmingly positive force for good. And whether that force for good is for climate benefits or whether it's to incentivize electric vehicle adoption or whether it's just to broadly sort of broadly incentivize electrification in general. You know, I would say that, you know, so we hold that, we hold that very, very dear and close to heart. And so I think that, but that's, that phrase I think would not be shared by the majority of people right now, just based on sort of the, the typical media attention and, and negativity place to, to energy and just not, or, and the energy consumption of Bitcoin and just the lack of nuance with sort of energy and any missions not necessarily being kind of directly related, you know?
Adam Wright: So that was what I would say it would be our, you know, the thing that we, again, you know, hold believe to be true, but probably is not believed by the vast majority of people. But our goal is to, by virtue of, you know, of our company being, being here and, and scaling that, we want to change that narrative over time. And, you know, I think a lot of companies in the Bitcoin space, you know, a lot of companies might shy away from, or similar companies that are in that were to be in our same shoes may may shy away of trying to kind of hide Bitcoin in the mix and saying, Oh, we're, we're gonna build data centers and sort of not even try to mention Bitcoin by name, but we actually want to take a bitcoin, a bitcoin narrative and, and show by, by virtue of our, by virtue of our company, that we're able to make and use Bitcoin as a tool to enable these other, these other opportunities.
Adam Wright: You know, and we, and it's, it's possible that we'll lose some contracts as a result of that, but it's, it's also important for us to, you know, just be honest about what we're doing and the fact that, and, and, and spread and spread that messaging. I mean like by working with public municipalities, kind of spreading awareness around Bitcoin kind of site by site and municipality by municipality and, and sort of helping to quote unquote Orange pill people as we, as we go is all, is all part of the mission and the education. So excited to meet up again in, in a year or so and see, uh, kind of revisit some of these, uh, some of these questions.
Will Szamosszegi: Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah. I'm, I'm looking forward to see how, how you guys progress also for everyone, um, who's listening up there, where can they follow what you guys are doing? Are there any social handles or things that you, that you can direct them
Adam Wright: To? For sure. So our, our Twitter account is vest, Vests being underscore energy. My personal account is Digital Underscore or o e, so digital or, and then you can get us email@example.com. So looking forward to having some dialogue with some of your listeners.
Will Szamosszegi: Awesome. Well thank you so much again for coming on this, this was so much fun. And yeah, we'll have you on after, or I gu I guess probably about a year from now. So you guys are probably up
Adam Wright: And running. Sounds good. Yeah. All right. Take care. Thanks.
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