Sazmining Podcast: Jason Maier on Bitcoin for Progressives
Synopsis: Will speaks with Jason Maier, a teacher and progressive Bitcoiner. He is dedicated to making Bitcoin accessible to all people, including liberals and progressives worldwide. This episode covers, education on Bitcoin, spreading awareness, turning trash into Bitcoin, and so much more.
Will Szamosszegi (00:28):
Jason, thanks again for coming ontothe podcast. I've really been looking forward to this conversation and let'sget into it. I'm curious, how exactly did you dive into Bitcoin? I listened toyour episode on what Bitcoin did podcast and I thought it was reallyinteresting cause a lot of the times when I'm talking to people on the podcast,I feel like you have some of the OGs that have been in since the super earlydays, 20 11, 20 12, everyone in between. But I feel like you've really hit seenhard and been putting forth some really interesting ideas. And I mean, the way Iunderstand it, you got in and around 2020.
Jason Maier (01:08):
Yeah. So I mean, first of all, willthank you for having me Totally stoked to be here having this conversation andreally looking forward to diving into all of the different issues. So thanksfor having me and setting this up. Yeah, I mean my sort of original entry intoBitcoin, I'll even back it up a little bit. Before I even knew what Bitcoinwas, I had an experience in, I think it was 2012, where I said, oh, I shouldprobably do this. And I figured out that the school that I was at was blockinganything with Bitcoin on the internet. So I had to get in my car and drive to aMcDonald's to get wifi and I set up a slush pool account and I was like, oh,I'm gonna mine Bitcoin with my laptop. This is in 2012. Oh wow, okay. You couldactually mind Bitcoin with your laptop.
I had no idea what it meant to dothat. I just thought, oh, I'll be like, I'll make a couple of extra bucks orsomething. Or I literally thought that mining that you dig through files andones and zeros to find the Bitcoin and then totally forgot about it. Cause Ididn't click with me, didn't learn about it, didn't understand it, totallyforgot about it. And that laptop and that account was long gone. So that was myfalse start into Bitcoin. If I had just sort picked up a book or maybe learnedsomething back then we'd be having a much different experience. So I justforgot about it. I totally forgot about Bitcoin for all of those interveningyears. And then a good buddy of mine was just asking me, Hey, what are yougonna do with your stimulus check? I'm gonna get some bitcoin.
And I thought, well that's aninteresting idea. I could figure this is the wave of the future. I'll just buya little bit. And I really did. I bought the tiniest little bit, I bought $20worth of Bitcoin. That was my very first buy. Didn't understand anything stillabout it. But I'm the kind of person who, once I had that skin in the game, andit might sound silly to some people, people or $20 was enough to motivate me tojust learn about the blockchain, how do transactions work, how does theblockchain work, how does Bitcoin work? Because I didn't wanna lose the $20. Ididn't want to feel like a fool or losing $20. So that was my entry into it. Agood buddy of mines just called me up and then suggested it and I went fromthere. And of course happens with most people.
The more you learn, the more youyou're willing to invest in it. Cause you don't understand the foundation isthere and it's a solid invention that's gonna change the world and already hasin some ways. For me, it just started with a $20 buy from my stimulus check andthen it just kept ramping up, okay, I'm gonna take this more seriously. I'mgonna actually keep learning about it and then keep, of course, keep buying andaccumulating, stacking as I went. That was not too long ago. My life is<laugh>. Yeah, I was gonna say Bitcoin a couple years ago. Yeah.
Will Szamosszegi (03:54):
Wow. I feel like that's got their ownstory. I actually didn't know that you had gone all the way back early on andthen gotten into it more recently, but I feel like that's a laptop story. Thereare many people out there who had a similar experience
Jason Maier (04:10):
And it was just sitting in aMcDonald's and the next town over because that's where I could get wifi thatwasn't filtered, wasn't blocked. And then of course it just disappeared and Iwas like, oh, if I could go back and redo it. Yeah.
Will Szamosszegi (04:24):
I feel like so many people in thefuture are gonna be saying the exact same thing about us now. I mean everyonewhen they really get into it, I feel like has that same type of sentiment whereyou're thinking, oh, you're late because you see all these other people who'vebeen in it and focusing on it for a number of years. But I mean, yeah, as thisis a long game here, so it's gonna be pretty crazy looking back in the nextfive, 10
Jason Maier (04:46):
Years. I mean that's a number oneconversation I have with people that when it comes up, which is like it'spretty often where somebody says, oh yeah, I should have done it five yearsago. And I just look at them, well, you're gonna be around in five years fromnow. You don't wanna look back in this. And I pointed out, you're gonna lookback on this conversation that you and I are having right now in five years. Soit just like you, you're not too late and you haven't missed the boat and thisis thing is not really possible for it to go anywhere. And so you expect it tobe a very large part of our financial system one way or the other for 5, 10,15, 20 years. It's kind of amazing to me that somebody can say, oh, oh, fiveyears ago, 10 years ago I should have done it. And then not realize that, well,you can go in the other direction too. You can get some now and then hold itfor 10 years and then you're gonna be also very happy
Will Szamosszegi (05:35):
<laugh>. And so you've got agood background as a teacher as well. And so I think that that's somethingthat, especially in the early industry, you need people out there who cancommunicate ideas, break it down. And with something as complicated as Bitcointhat ties into so many different subjects, I feel like that type of backgroundis really important to help spread the message. And so when you're speakingwith people about it, I'm just curious how you go about it and maybe you take adifferent approach for different types of people. I don't know, but I, I'd becurious to hear how you've been going about that whole process, learning andthen
Jason Maier (06:06):
Teaching. Yeah, so I mean obviouslythe learning side of it, just for me, I'm the kind of person who wants to getinterested in something is gonna dive all the way into it. So it's a blessingand a curse. I have just tunnel vision and so this Bitcoin right now is in mysights and I just wanna learn as much as I can about it. And from all the differentangles, like you said, it intersects with so many different things frompolitics to environment to investing and macro economics and all of thosethings tie into it. So to really understand Bitcoin on a deep level, you haveto understand at least the basics of 12 different things to understand how itplays in. Cuz it really affects lots of things in the world. As a teacher, I'mused to my background, I'm a high school math teacher, I've been doing that for15, 20 years. <laugh>,
I went to graduate school for puremathematics. I love math, I love bringing it to people. And for some studentsthat's going to the dentist, I know I need to do it <laugh>, but I don'twant to do it. So it's really about finding a way through to each individualperson. The most important thing about teaching anything really, but math orbitcoin is to find out where the person is so you can meet them where they are.If I'm talking to somebody who really doesn't have any understanding ofpersonal finance, investing interest rates, how any of that stuff really works,you need to know that because if you dive into the deep end, you're gonna losethem immediately. On the flip side, I have friends who have tons of experiencein investing in traditional markets and they have money and they have peoplethat they talk to and they have move money around to different investments allthe time.
And so those two conversations arevastly different. You kind of start from different spots and it takes differentthings to convince somebody that they need to be looking into Bitcoin dependingon what their priors are. And so the same thing with math. I teach calculus soat nine o'clock and then at 10 o'clock teaching algebra one. And I can't goabout that the same way I need to adjust where I am with my students or thepeople that I'm trying to get on board with me. So I think really understandingyour audience and understanding what's gonna speak to them and what theyalready know. Because when you're teaching, there's a big thing about calledzone proximal development. You wanna push somebody outta their comfort zone,but there needs to be productive struggle. So if you just throw down a bunch ofstuff and it just really overwhelms somebody, they're not gonna learn. Theyneed to be pushed productively outta their comfort zone. So they're learningnew things but they're not overwhelmed by it. And so I try to bring that sortof strategy when I'm talking about Bitcoin too. I don't just dive in and yeah,<laugh>,
Will Szamosszegi (08:39):
<laugh> just hear all thesecrazy ideas.
Jason Maier (08:41):
Yeah, exactly. Or I don't pull up thered string and then what happened in 1971 and all this stuff. So I need to justtest the water and ramp it up slowly. And I think that by and large you figureout what works and what speaks to different kinds of people. So yeah, I thinkthat it's helped me a tremendous amount just having the experience of dealingwith teaching as a profession to try to teach people about bitcoins.
Will Szamosszegi (09:07):
I've experienced the exact same thingtoo. I mean, not on the podcast, you speak with a lot of people, they bring alot of different types of views on things. It's interesting cuz you have somany different people who are incredibly intelligent and at the very top oftheir field, but they all have their own experiences and all of themcommunicate in different ways and then I'm sure learn best in different ways.And if I'm going and speaking to an energy executive and it's the firstconversation that they're having about Bitcoin, that's gonna be a verydifferent conversation that if I'm trying to teach my mom about Bitcoin or ifI'm going and speaking to a real estate investor about Bitcoin, figuring outcertain things that you can relate and draw analogies. I feel like real estateinvestors actually, they pick up on Bitcoin mining fairly quickly just cuz youhave some of those similar types of concepts, they can see, oh well you'reinvesting in a hard asset and that hard asset, you're not generating rent,you're mining Bitcoin, but that's in their eyes in many ways it could just becash cuz you can
Jason Maier (10:01):
Will Szamosszegi (10:02):
To dollars. So it's interesting goingthrough that process. And I mean I'm curious as how you, you're writing a bookand what's the name of the book again that you're writing?
Jason Maier (10:12):
So the book, I'm working on aprogressives case for Bitcoin. So this is, I've sort of been all in on thisproject now and what I found was my entry into Bitcoin when I first startedlearning about it was just strictly from a mathematical point of view, computerscience, understanding how blockchains work, all of that stuff. And then when Irealized that when I zoomed out and tried to keep learning, there wasn't a lotof resources out there that were meant or targeted for somebody like me whocomes from mo, but a liberal perspective about politics in the world. In fact,a lot of the resources out there were either, maybe they were neutral, but theyhad sort of a little wink and nod towards more conservative libertarian ideals.So the premise of the book is essentially just to educate people about Bitcoinwho are left of center and maybe they don't know anything about Bitcoin, maybefrom, apart from what the mainstream media has said, or some liberalpoliticians have said bad things about Bitcoin and that's all that they know.
So I'm just trying to get thosepeople from zero to one. So the premise of the book is to get, there's millionsand millions of people out there who are left of center and could reallybenefit from Bitcoin and should really understand it and should be involved inthis development of this new financial technology. And so the goal of the bookis just to try to get people interested, have them get a conviction so they cancontinue their learning in a way that's more friendly to maybe their politicalviewpoint as those resources are really hard to find <laugh> otherwise.
Will Szamosszegi (11:39):
Yeah, yeah. Well that's one of thebig things too, and I completely echo that sentiment. I feel like a lot of theideas that you have within Bitcoin are naturally more attractive, willnaturally draw on a lot of the libertarian type of political leaning. And sowhen you're going about, and you've set out that goal to go and educate peoplewho might be more left of center than the traditional person in Bitcoin today,how are you breaking that down? One of the big pieces that I think has stoodout a lot that I've just with friends have fielded a lot of conversations aboutis the energy side. Cuz the only thing that they know is, oh well it's verywasteful. There's a lot of waste and energy. And a lot of times I've run intothat same type of what you mentioned earlier, that same type of barrier,obstacle that you try and overcome where if they don't have the understandingof how the financial system works or all these concepts that are necessary tounderstand the true value of Bitcoin, it's difficult to have that conversationaround energy. If they automatically are assuming that Bitcoin has no value. Imean you can still make that argument because are, once you dive into the energyside, you see a lot of other benefits, but it really doesn't help to start fromthat ground zero of them thinking, oh well this is just for nothing. There's novalue behind Bitcoin. So I feel like I always have to start there to somedegree and then kind of dive into the energy
Jason Maier (12:53):
Side. <laugh>, I mean I thinkyou're right. I think that the environmental piece right now is probably thebiggest piece of fudge out there and it's really just targeting publicsentiment for people who aren't, are low information Bitcoin people, so peoplewho know very little or nothing about it. And so on this very surface level, ifyou don't know anything about Bitcoin, then you're thinking, all right, wellit's something on the internet that makes people money, so therefore it's ascam. That's sort the thinking. And of course that's not true and it takes alittle bit of effort to get past that and then, okay, well let's just pretendstuff so it doesn't really matter. And any energy use is wasted energy use. Ifound a lot of people in conversations recently just sort now that moreinformation about my book is coming out. People have approached me and sayalong the lines of, well, Bitcoin is scary in terms of understanding, it'scomplicated to understand.
So Bitcoin is scary and I just keepwaiting for it to go away. And so there's these people of usually a certain agebracket who think of Bitcoin like TikTok, it's something that other people careabout, I don't need to worry about it, it's gonna go away and then it'll bereplaced by something else and that will be equally valueless, that kind ofthing. So it's a long form conversation is to get somebody to have andunderstanding that this is not something that's just gonna go away, it's gonnabe part of our lives whether you interact with it directly or indirectly forthe next several decades. So I think that it's a next level conversation tohave the energy discussion with somebody, which is who thinks about any energyconsumption, any energy uses is not worth it. It's bad for the environment,it's damaging to the environment.
So we need to stop anything that usesenergy <laugh>. And then there's people out there who really think thatway. And especially if you think Bitcoin doesn't have any sort of underlyingvalue, it just makes logical sense. If that's your starting point, then wastingenergy on it is wasteful and it's damaged to the environment. So I think you'reright in saying step one is understanding what is the value, what is theimportance of Bitcoin? And then understanding that things that are valuabletake energy and it's important. We need to use energy in a way to solve theseproblems. And we talk about those, but you're not gonna just say, all right,well we can't use any energy at all. What you need to do is say, okay, well howcan I use good forms of energy? How can I incentivize further using good formsof energy?
How can I use less energy, makethings more efficient? Those are all good reasonable things to talk about.Those are important steps. You're just not wasting energy. You want to use itas efficiently as possible. You want to use it as marine as possible, you wannaincentivize more, build out of green energy. All of those things are possiblewith Bitcoin on top of the underlying technology, the monetary technology thatexists, that is fundamentally better than anything that we've ever had in ourlifetime. And so that's a really complicated conversation. It's like a two partthing. It's a
Will Szamosszegi (15:50):
Valuable one's, very complicated.
Jason Maier (15:51):
Yeah, exactly. Why is it valuable inthe first place and it's okay to use energy on it, and then let's have a morenuanced conversation about what's the energy mix going into it, how can Iimprove that energy mix? Those are all reasonable things to have, butconversations to have. But it's not okay to just say, okay, well it uses energyand therefore I'm done. I'm out <laugh>, <laugh>. Like that's nothelpful.
Will Szamosszegi (16:13):
And because there are so manydifferent avenues too, I feel like it's such a difficult question too. A lot oftimes people, once they know that you're in it, they'll want to, if they havesome type of interest there, they'll probably want to talk about. And then avery common question is, what is Bitcoin or why is Bitcoin valuable? And thething is, I feel like to explain that properly, you have to have such a broadamount of knowledge. You gotta know your audience and you gotta find a way toteach it where they can follow you and you're not just dumping views on them.And I feel like that's a real difficult question. So I mean right here, let'ssay that you're talking to someone and they're like, they understand thefinancial piece, but they're still kind of new to Bitcoin, but they have afinancial background. So let's say you're talking to a student, he's intoinvesting or he knows about finance, he understands banking, how all that sideworks, but he really is, doesn't really understand Bitcoin. He's, I don'treally get it. I haven't looked into it that much, pretty much. I know thatit's bad for the environment and it <laugh>, but I don't really see it.I, I know the people that made money on it, but not too much more. I guess howdo you go about talking to someone like that?
Jason Maier (17:22):
I think even stepping back from that,if you think about somebody who's in my target audience, elective center personwho know doesn't know anything about Bitcoin,
Will Szamosszegi (17:31):
That's probably a better question ifyou're talking to that type of
Jason Maier (17:35):
Will Szamosszegi (17:36):
Jason Maier (17:36):
Doing it, what that person does knowand knows deep in their heart <laugh>, right, is that the current systemis messed up <affirmative>. And so I think that if you just pull aliberal person off the street and just sort ask them some questions, they'regonna tell you, alright, well there's like this inequality that's a hugeproblem. The system is sort of rigged to favor rich people. They get to maketheir own rules and they get to do, they benefit from crises and all of thesethings. They understand that the system is not set up to help normal people orregular people. And so that's a real acute problem for just an average typicalleft of center person who votes in America that that's a massive group. Yeah, Imean that's right. That's a huge group of people. Huge group understand thatthere's a problem. And I think that the best way to understand the Bitcoin'spotential is to say, for me, learning about Bitcoin helped me better learnabout that system.
I went for years saying, oh, well ittakes money to make money and there's inequality problem and rich people justget richer and all of that stuff, which is true. But without reallyunderstanding how does that work, how does inflation impact poor people versusrich people? How do governments are able to, or corporations or banks are ableto take advantage of easy money policies by government. Why is the government havinga monetary policy that's easy or hard and when does it make that decision andwhy and who does it benefit? You get to have a much more robust understandingof why the system is broken instead of just saying, all right, well thesystem's broken and it's a very surface level thing. Well, we need to tax richpeople more and we need to solve these other problems of inequality. Instead ofattacking the symptoms of broken system, we can actually start to look underthe hood and understand better why our system is faltering and broken and on anice edge and all of those things that are happening right now as you and Italk.
And I think that's for somebody who'spolitically minded and is of that mindset, it's not a far stretch to say, allright, well Bitcoin is one option to understand why those things are broken andin what way they are. And then understand that Bitcoin is an option that's sortof outside that system completely. So the metaphor that I've used is liberalpeople who are voting are just voting for politicians in the United States whoare working within the system and just turning the dials a little bit. They'retrying to make things a little bit more fair for working people, or they'retrying to make sure that rich people pay their fair share of taxes, they'rejust turning the dials and nobody's able to zoom out and see that there's awhole other system that we might be able to adopt that is just more fair fromthe beginning.
So there might be less need to turnthose dials with policies and different things like government actions andthings like that. If we just adopt this new policy or this whole new systemthat exists and is almost ready to go getting Bitcoin is ramping up. And so Ithink that's a good segue for most people in my target audience to say thatfeeling you get when thing the world is fundamentally unfair and it benefitscertain people and disadvantages other people like that. Let's look at themonetary system we have for the last 50 years, for the last 100 years and gothrough why is that. And not to say Bitcoin fixes everything because itcertainly doesn't, but it's a great way to understand why the things are brokenthe way they are, and then hopefully a way to fix some of it, at least maybeeven most of it.
Will Szamosszegi (20:59):
That was so fascinating as you wererunning through that entire background. Yeah, cuz I think that that's one ofthe communities or groups that I would say hasn't been served as much tounderstand Bitcoin. For example, one of the go-to books to start learning aboutit is the Bitcoin standard, right? Right. That's for example, in size mining.We have reading club book club. That was a very, as soon as we started book club,that was the first book that we all went and just wanted to make sure everyonehad read. And I think that lays it out really well. But from that economicspoint of view, understanding how money works and that background, but noteveryone's necessarily gonna be drawn to that type of an explanation to gothrough it that way. Other people might be more motivated by justunderstanding, hey, there are these things that I think are messed up with thesystem that are wrong and I don't have a good solution. The solution right nowmight be to, rather than playing within the system and trying to turn the diala little bit, finding a better way to actually approach this. I'm curious as tohow you go when you take that further, right, when you start trying to just talkabout that a little bit more depth. Do you have any examples for how you have aparticular conversation within that stack? Not sure what the best word is, ifyou understand what I'm saying there.
Jason Maier (22:13):
Yeah. Well, so first of all, I'lljust say the Bitcoin standard is an excellent resource and everybody shouldread it. And at the same time, for somebody who does not already have aconviction about Bitcoin and who is left of center or a liberal person, there'sparts of that book that are gonna completely turn them off and not leave a badtaste in their mouth. And so I was lucky enough to read the Bitcoin standardwhen I already had a conviction about Bitcoin. I already believed in it, Ialready understood some of it and you're always learning, but I had a goodunderstanding of it savoring, talking about modern art or something, or it isnot gonna upset me, but for somebody without a Bitcoin conviction already thatcan really turn somebody off and maybe leave a bad taste in their mouth aboutBitcoin. So my book is a way hopefully to give them their first taste and say,Hey, this is a book that describes Bitcoin and teaches you about Bitcoin that'sgonna sort speak to your values. And I say my book, hopefully my book is thefirst book that some people read but not the last. And so that once you havethat conviction, you go out and you explore different resources and things likethat. So just to speak to the Bitcoin standard as an excellent resource, butit's not, the target audience isn't the same as my target audience. Right?Yeah. Oh
Will Szamosszegi (23:29):
Definitely. That was one too. When Iwas running through it, people were interpreting it in different ways. Somepeople were just super, this is the best book on Bitcoin ever. And then thereare other people that they just weren't as excited. They're more excited byother books that might have touched on it. Yeah, I mean at the end of the day,if we want Bitcoin to spread, if we want the idea to grow and capture thehearts and minds and build a better system, then you're gonna That's right.Need to have resources that people can learn
Jason Maier (23:56):
From. Exactly. So you're just gonnatry to meet people where they are. And again, my view on Bitcoin is oneparticular view. I don't, I'd be very happy to have an apolitical view aboutBitcoin. I don't think that the protocol isn't political at all. There'snothing inherent political about it. I just think that there's a social layeraround Bitcoin that is not very welcoming to liberal people right now. And sothat's where I'm trying to step in and fill that void. But ideally Bitcoinbecomes the internet. It would be weird to talk about only Republicans usingthe internet <laugh>. So that's the idea now, to get back to yourprevious question, how do you dig deeper is it goes back to what's gonna speakto that person? How do you meet them where they are? And I've had lots ofexperience where my book is is 10 chapters and each one of them is, this ischapter five, this is a one path that I tried with some types of people.
So you just figure out what's a thingthat speaks to somebody where they are. And I've tried many times to push back,have somebody in my life who I was trying to convinced to research aboutBitcoin. And no matter what I tried, it was not helping. She wasn't buying it,she didn't, Elizabeth Warren had already told her it was bad for theenvironment. She wasn't hearing any of my explanations, wasn't interested inwhat I had to say. And then finally I was able to explain to her, Hey, there'speople who are remitting money back to their home country. They're working inthe United States and Western Union charges them a lot of money and they coulddo that same thing now and send money seamlessly. It's not censored. Thegovernment can't take it, and it happens for fractions of a penny. And that's areally important use case for Bitcoin.
It's helping underprivileged peopleall over the world receive money and funds that they need to survive. All of asudden that clicked for her. I tried for months all different sort ofexplanations and conversations and arguments to get her to be interested inBitcoin, but that was the thing that clicked for her. So it's just a matter offinding that little inroad for each person. Or in the case of the book, I'msort of laying it all out so you could find the piece that worked for you, buthopefully, I mean there's enough there and it's so complicated that there'splenty of arguments to be made for why somebody who is left of centerprogressive person would think that this is a valuable and worthwhile projectand thing to invest in and think to support. So you just gotta keep digging <laugh>.And eventually I was like, I enough. I was like, I gotta write a book. So haveto keep
Will Szamosszegi (26:19):
Jason Maier (26:20):
It one by
Will Szamosszegi (26:20):
One. That's good. And I will saywe'll add the book once it comes out to the reading list for our book club.
Jason Maier (26:27):
Sure. That's awesome.
Will Szamosszegi (26:28):
One thing that I really wanted totouch on with you during this conversation as well is the environmental piece.And this is something that at says mining, we've been extremely focused on justtrying to do Ed be a part of the education. And just personally, my views havecompletely changed. They've changed many times in having a lot of conversationswith smart people who are involved in energy, who are involved in mining, whounderstand all the levers that can be pulled and how projects expand. And I'mcoming from a view that I think that it's better to harness energy moreefficiently as a society. As a society can harness more energy, moreefficiently, then you can improve the lives of people around the world in areaswhere if they couldn't access or harness energy, then the standard of livingwould be much lower. I think that the Bitcoin pieces a really interestingconversation because you have environmental conversation happening around it.And then you have what are the particulars when you're in the middle of aproject and what's actually happening. So I'm curious as to what you've noticedor if there's anything that how your views might have changed on it over time.And I'm seeing where we go with that.
Jason Maier (27:31):
Sure. Yeah. So I mean, I'll just saythe overall, the 10,000 foot view of your business model, which is to host minsfor people and say, here, if you come with us, we're gonna give you theelectricity that goes into your machine is gonna be coming from a sustainable,renewable green source. That's a business model that speaks to me just on apersonal level, the buddy that called me up and the orange peeled me and got meinto Bitcoin, he and I both care about the environment and he and I both wouldlove to mine. And he and I are both very concerned about, well, if we plug itin at home or we go somewhere else, where's that energy coming from? It'sactually something we really do care about. And so the idea of having somebodyhost a minor for us and we know that energy that comes into that minor is green.
That's exactly what we wanted. And heand I talked about that many times before I even knew that SaaS mining was athing, <laugh> probably before while you had the idea we were talkingabout it, Hey, I wish somebody would do this and you guys are doing it. Sothere's a market and a demand for people who want to support Bitcoin andsupport the network and to secure the network by mining, but want to actuallyput their money where their mouth is and say, yeah, I want to pay for greenenergy. I want to make sure that the thing, the electricity going into my minoris sustainable. So I think that there's something to be said about the businessmodel, which I really appreciate and it's actually kind of fits exactly what mybuddy and I were talking about months and months before I even heard about it.
So kudos to you guys. I know that youguys are working really hard and it's not easy work to set up a mining companyfor sure, but that's exactly what we had wanted more generally. I think youasked me how my views changed and I think that before I started getting intoBitcoin, I was definitely of the mindset that you have to use less energybecause using energy pollutes the earth and pollutes the air and uses upresources. So the answer is used less of it. And I think that thinking hasevolved quite a bit just by being exposed to these different ideas and learningabout Bitcoin mining and understanding some things are worth the energy andsome things actually require, you're not shutting off electricity to hospitals.Things are important. So you have everything that uses energy, has some sort ofbalance, give and take.
What's the benefit, what's the cause?And I think that I have a much more nuanced appreciation for, well, not allenergy use is just inherently bad, which is I think where I started to be quitehonest with you. And I think there's a lot of people that are still of in thatcamp. So to understand that using energy helps people build better lives. Andcertainly in the case of Bitcoin, it helps people build a sound monetary systemthat we kind of need right now. So that energy is well used, it's a moredelicate balance and conversation to say, well how can we use that energy, likeyou said, as efficiently as possible? How can we do it without wasting energy,without wasting resources, and to do it in a more sustainable green way? It'snot practical to say, oh well we're gonna snap our finger and everything isgonna be wind and solar tomorrow.
That's not realistic. So I think thatthere's ways to talk about moving away from fossil fuels gradually, maybe evenor as quickly as possible, but not suddenly. And certainly maybe not evencompletely depending on where people are and what they need and where they are inthe development. And so there's just a more nuanced conversation. That's thenumber one thing that has changed for me. So in being in Bitcoin isunderstanding not all energy use is bad, and how can you have a nuancedconversation about what's the energy mix going into something, what's its valuethat's added to society or to people that live in that community? And then howcan you move it, move the dial, make it more green without snapping yourfingers and breaking the whole system? I think that that's the interestingconversation. Not like the all or nothing. People donate each other on theinternet approach,
Will Szamosszegi (31:19):
But those conversations can really gooff the rails quickly when social media gets involved. And that was actuallyone of the things that our president and chief operating officer Kent, whothat's what drew him to this industry. He's a guy who's dedicated his careerbecause he really cares about the climate issue and global warming he's lookingat then he's like, what's the strongest lever that you have to pull? And thenwhen he started diving into it, he started looking at, okay, well to acceleraterenewable energy, you have this new technology with mining that can make theseother types of renewable energy sources viable with Bitcoin mining. It getsvery technical very quickly, but it's just been on my mind a lot recently,which is this methane capture solutions, which is all of a sudden thismassively destructive greenhouse gas that over a 20 year time horizon has 84times the warming effect of co2 and there's currently no economically viablesolution to generate revenue from that.
So we're just flaring it, trying toreduce emissions, harnessing that and using that for mining. If that continuesto take up a larger and larger portion of the total hash rate around the world,then all of a sudden proof of work can not only service and support Bitcoin,but it could actually pull the lever and make proof of work for Bitcoin. TheBitcoin network, carbon neg, I think Daniel Batton has done some reallyinteresting research on that and obviously it's early days, but that issomething that gets me very excited and I'm interested to see how companiesbest being Cruso and others in that industry continue to scale and address thatproblem. It's like every party involved in that equation. It's beneficialclearly in that conversation.
Jason Maier (32:56):
And I think that's the interestingthing about Bitcoin mining. The ability for Bitcoin mining to actually makeimprovements in the damage that we're seeing to the environment right now isthat it provides a carrot instead of a stick. All of a sudden you'reincentivized through monetary incentives to actually mine and use that methaneand burn it off instead of just relying on regulations or penalties from thegovernment to say, oh, you need to flare that methane at a certain rate oryou're gonna get fined. You say, no, I wanna flare the methane because I'm gonnaturn it into Bitcoin. And that's an incentive. Flipping the script completely.Bitcoin allows you to flip the script on, it's not necessarily a punishment,the stick coming from an authority, it's actually you're being incentivized todo the right thing. It's in your best interest to get as much methane aspossible and to flare it or to not flare it, but just to turn it into see ohtwo by burning it, turn that into Bitcoin, you're helping the environment andyou're incentivized to do so.
There's no other viable technologythat can actually do that. There's no user of electricity that can locatewherever you need to locate the way that Bitcoin mining can. That's aninteresting conversation to have is say, yeah, we have these miners, they cango anywhere, they can go to the energy source and if it's the energy source iscurrently being wasted or not used at all, and in the case of methane, you'rejust sort letting it go on into the atmosphere, which was way more harmful thanco2. You actually make a productive use of it. There's nothing, there's notmuch a big difference between just burning it and turning into Bitcoin exceptyou're incentivized to turn it into Bitcoin <laugh>. Well, you actuallymake money by doing that. So that's a huge help to the environment because it'sproviding incentives to do that. So Vine is trying to do that.
And then essentially what you're doingis using Bitcoin to bootstrap an entire electric grid within that landfill. Soyou're charging vehicles or you're using that electricity for other things, butit's bootstrap by the Bitcoin. Bitcoin allows you to pay for thatinfrastructure to actually use in a continuing way that methane that's gonnaprobably be released from a landfill for the next 50 years. Bitcoin allows youto get the infrastructure to use it from then on. There's a lot of really greatways to use it. And essentially, as far as I've learned, it's really the bestway because portable and it's responsive and all of those things that we knowabout Bitcoin mining. So that's all very exciting. And I share your excitement.It's probably hard to really predict where we're gonna be in 20 years. There'sjust to imagine. So it's
Will Szamosszegi (35:26):
Exciting and talking about the carrotand the stick, huge carrot from the monetary incentive of actually mining,creating a Bitcoin, but the stick is almost like the free market of the miningnetwork. Cause if you're too expensive, then you're not gonna be able tocontinue to mine profitably over the long run. And so 20 years down the line,whatever it may be, at that point, you really want to go for the absolutecheapest, bare minimum source of energy, which is that wasted methane mostlikely. So the incentives will line up to incentivize you as a minor to goclean that up or find a way to utilize that methane because the incentives aregonna drive you to be able to do it at the cheapest rate
Jason Maier (36:09):
Possible. And not to mention with themost efficient machines too, if the margins for Bitcoin mining reduced, thenit's not profitable to have old machines that are less efficient. So those comeoffline and out of the Bitcoin network. So the incentives are all there. You'reessentially looking for lowest cost energy possible. In some cases there's anegative priced energy, it's just being wasted or curtailed. Sometimes it's toosunny or too windy and we just have to waste and burn off that energy and noteven use it. There's lots of ways in which Bitcoin can go and find negativelypriced energy or really cheap energy that nobody else is even able to use. Sowe're not competing for energy or electricity with households, it's just usingstuff that would've been wasted otherwise. And so in more than one way thatthose profit margins going down requires us to Bitcoin miners to find cheapenergy and then also use the most efficient machines as possible, which is allgood. Those are good steps for the environment from start to finish.
Will Szamosszegi (37:07):
I think that the status, somethinglike for 0.1% or under a quarter of a percent of the wasted energy around theworld, you could power the entire Bitcoin network, right? And it goes afterthat wasted energy and after those new forms to help bootstrap new energyassets. So I think it, I'm excited to see how the energy sector ends upresponding and as the mining industry becomes bigger and bigger and we go intoeventually the next bull run within the market, cuz I mean when you look at itfrom 2017, that bull market to then going into the bear and then things goingabsolutely crazy again, it's amazing to see how much change between that periodof time. And now that we're back down in this bear market, it's gonna beinteresting to see what those new heights are and how much more mature theindustry get.
Jason Maier (37:56):
Yeah, I agree. It's exciting. Sowe're right now we're sort in this building phase and the market is down andyou can just see there's a feeling in the air of people just wanting to buildand do new things with Bitcoin and to get set up for the next stage. And Ithink a big part of that, not the only part, but a big part of that is energycompanies realizing, geez, I need to probably get on this Bitcoin wagon andactually use my wasted energy and sort get mins behind the meter and all ofthese things in ways that didn't exist. Those conversations weren't happeningfour years ago. And I think for the next 10, 20 years, you're gonna see thisintegration of just energy companies in general and Bitcoin mining just tostabilize the grid and to not have to curtail energy and to build outrenewables.
All of that stuff is gonna behappening and it's gonna be happening with Bitcoin. If I had to make a boldprediction at some point in the future, Bitcoin mining and energy companies,they're gonna kind of meld in a way that you're not gonna be able to tell thedifference between them. You know what I mean? So who knows what the next 20years holds, but certainly it's gonna be Bitcoin mining, picking up some ofthat wasted energy and that cheap energy that isn't really being fought overright now. And that's all of that that's good for human development andprospering and it's also good for the environment. So like you said, all of theincentives line up <laugh>,
Will Szamosszegi (39:17):
It's been. Yeah. And another thingthat I'm also interested in is that the mathematical perspective that you bringto Bitcoin. And so when you look at it in that way, I think that one of thebeautiful things when you look at Bitcoin is the fact that the laws are writtenin code and the laws that govern the protocol. It's driven on this fundamentalreality of just of the mathematical processing that happens in the mining.Whereas if you draw that parallel to any the Fed or really the monetarydecisions of any other network that is controlled by government or a centralbank, you don't know the monetary policy that's going to be put forth in thenext year, let alone 10 years, let alone a hundred years with Bitcoin. Exactlyhow many Bitcoin are gonna be going into circulation until year 2140 and whenthe last Bitcoin is mine from the block reward.
And so I think that that's somethingthat is just in today's world, from the time you're born, you just trusttechnology. You're not worried about your calculator doing two plus two equalsfive. It's, it just works. It's math. I trust machines to do math better thanhumans. So with all that said, I'm wondering are there any types of things thatyou think stand out regarding the Bitcoin network with that type of view? Causethat was just something that captured me from the very beginning. Yeah. And Ididn't focus on or study math in college, but I've always just thought thatthat was something that was very interesting in ripping about how the rules areset in stone and can't just be changed.
Jason Maier (40:48):
Yeah. And I think that, I mean,what's fascinating really I is what you said is all true, but then the way thatyou have to use computer science and mathematics to ensure that Bitcoin staysdecentralized, it's controlled by this completely widespread network of nodesand minors that exist all over the world. It's a total flat architecture. No,there's nobody in charge of it. In order to pull that off and actually have itwork is a phenomenal feat. It obviously, it goes without saying that in orderto actually have that happen, you need a lot of really complicated mathematicsand computer science. And there's solving multiple problems with the inventionof Bitcoin. It's an impressive feat. And so the idea of Bitcoin being writtenin stone is true, but you can also appreciate the fact that the way in whichBitcoin has to change when it decides to add a new feature like a BI orsomething, there's a process that involves the whole non-hierarchical networkof nodes and operators and constituents within Bitcoin.
That is just fascinating to behold.So I think from the mathematical point of view, I'm in awe just personally assomebody who's cares about math, the idea of a shot 2 56 algorithm being usedfor the purpose of showing, doing proof of work and with a difficultyadjustment shot 2 56 wasn't designed to for Bitcoin, it was just the other toolthat people had developed to scramble stuff up. And the idea that you have thisnon invert ability, which means you're gonna know, you can plug something intothis function, you get an answer out, but you can't work backwards. And I'mgonna turn that into a proof of work system that has a difficulty adjustmentthat's absolutely fascinating. Mathematical and computer science innovation.And that's one of the things that drew me to Bitcoin from the very beginning,understanding how that actually works. You open up the hood on Shaw 2 56, it'samazing.
And then you believe, you reallyunderstand that you can't guess, you can't mind the next block by goingbackwards. It's just not mathematically possible. And so to invent a problemthat you can only solve by guessing and checking, which is what proof of workis, a lot of people say that it's frustrating. A lot of people say, oh, they'resolving complex mathematical problems, which is not really true. A Bitcoinminor is literally just guessing and checking and trying to get the answer.Mathematicians don't consider guessing and checking a complicated next, a deeplevel way of thinking. That's
Speaker 3 (43:15):
Not what you teach in algebra
Jason Maier (43:16):
<laugh>, right? No, you don'tguess in check, in fact, it's down upon. But the ability to create a mathproblem that can only be done by guessing and checking, and then to be able topredict with probabilistically how long it will take you to get the answer,which is all what guessing, that's what a Bitcoin mining is. With thedifficulty adjustment, it's completely fascinating, just from a mathematicalpoint of view. It blows my mind that somebody was able to say, Hey, this is aproblem that can only be solved by guessing and checking. And I can tell you onaverage how long it will take you to guess the answer. Amazing, right? Slamdunk. That's awesome. Yeah. So that is, for me as a mathematician or somebodywho teaches math and probabilities and all of that, that's a great kernel tobuild the whole system around because it's fascinating and impressive.
And of course, as we know, it leadsto a lot of foundational principles of Bitcoin. The proof of work means thatyou can't just create more of the marginal cost to produce a Bitcoin is tied toa real life, physical expense, electricity in this case. And all of thosethings lead to more sound, financial and monetary policies that Bitcoin has.And as you say, for the next 10,000 years, we kind of know how many Bitcointhere's gonna be. And you can't say that about any other currency that existsright now. So all of those things are really good, like knockoff effects fromjust this sound mathematical principle that somebody who was very clever wasable to put into this Bitcoin system. <laugh> a crazy exciting about it.
Will Szamosszegi (44:43):
Yeah, no, it, it's very exciting. SoI got one last question, but before I ask a question, I want to give you thechance to explain to everyone who's listening where they can connect with you,where they can follow you, definitely when you think that the book's gonna bereleased and where they can find it. And then I'll ask the last question,
Jason Maier (45:03):
<laugh>. Sure. So I think oneof the best ways is just on Twitter, my handle is at c Jason Mayer, m a i e r.And that you're gonna sort be able to see some of my thinking about Bitcoin andthen maybe updates about the book. If you want to know more about the book specifically,you can go to bitcoin progressive.com. And there you can see a summary of thebook, get updates about how far I am along. And then also if you're interested,those are the two ways, either Twitter or the website, bitcoin progressive.com,my dms are open, I'm happy to interact with people and answer questions or sortfield things if people have 'em. Happy to hear from people out there. So yeah,that's the way to get in touch and the way to follow my progress, for sure.Yeah.
Will Szamosszegi (45:44):
So the last question here is, what isone belief you hold to be true that the majority of people would disagree withyou
Jason Maier (45:52):
About? That's an interestingquestion. <laugh>
Will Szamosszegi (45:54):
A very tough question. Yeah,
Jason Maier (45:56):
It is. Feel
Will Szamosszegi (45:56):
Free to, well, I feel like a lot ofthe things we've talked about here, I guess we qualify as something like that.A lot of big corner beliefs that the community hold, I would say as themajority type thinking. But it is an interesting question to think, it kind ofshows a ways in which you look at certain things. Cuz if the majority of peopleare disagreeing with something, then it's like you have a kernel or an insightthat
Jason Maier (46:18):
Might here go with this. Although Iprobably have a lot of opinions <laugh> that most people don't agreewith. But my day job is I teach high school math. And so I've chosen a careerin which I'm surrounded by teenagers all the time. And I think that out in thereal world, out in the majority opinions, teenagers get a pretty bad rap,especially nowadays, they're glued to their phones, they don't care aboutanything and all of that. And I think that our world has a lot of problems thatwe need to solve. The environmental situation is one of them. But there'sother, and I'll just say dealing with teenagers day in and day out, I'll say myopinion is we we're in good hands, they're gonna grow up. I deal with every dayvery thoughtful, very inquisitive, very serious young adults who are gonna growup in, lead this country and lead the world in positive ways.
So I really do believe that that'snot every single person out there is gonna be a leader, but I do think that, Ifeel like as generation Z and these young people grow up, they care about theseproblems and they care about learning how the world works and dynamic andinteresting ways and not just being of spoonfed and they're willing to pushback against authority. And I think all of those things are what we need. Idon't want to get too deep in the fourth turning stuff, but I do think that thenext generation people who are teenagers and preteens right now are gonna bethe ones who fix some of the messes that we have. And so I'm hopeful thatthey're gonna rise to that challenge. And I think I see it, I see it in myclassroom and I see it with the people that I'm surrounded with day in and dayout. They have the ability to do that and they want to do it and they want tomake the world a better place. So that gives me hope. And I think that hope ismaybe just a little bit unpopular cuz most people just like to rag onteenagers. It's easy points. But I think they're gonna step up and I'mconfident and happy that we have them in our lives and they're gonna do goodthings.
Will Szamosszegi (48:12):
That's a great answer. That is,that's fascinating. And yeah, I do think that that is something where I'm gonnabutcher this quote, so I'm not gonna give the quote, but it was something alongthe lines of talking about how, oh, this next generation, they don't knowwhat's going on. They're gonna mess everything up. When do you think that thiswas from, and it was from multiple generations ago.
Jason Maier (48:33):
Yeah, yeah, exactly right. And sothat's, honestly, that's a generational thing that goes on forever in a loop.But I do think that people in the baby boomer generation have made big messesthat the people in my generation haven't fixed, but the people in the nextgeneration will. And so that's what gives me hope. So I think that we're gonnafigure it out. That's my message. I guess. <laugh>
Will Szamosszegi (48:57):
A good message. That's a gooduplifting message to finish with. So thank you so much again for coming on forthis episode. I'm definitely going to pick up the book when it comes out. I'mgonna have to pick up some extra copies to make sure that I can pass it alongto some friends. Cause I think that that's a very good gift. Just in general,if you have a good book that you think it'll improve someone's life and getthem on a good path. And that's my go to. So I'm gonna make sure that I'm gonnaadd your
Jason Maier (49:21):
Book to the list. Thank you Will. Iappreciate that and it was a great talking with you. It's an awesomeconversation. Thanks.
Will Szamosszegi (49:26):
Yeah. Thank you so much.
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