Video Of The Week: Jerry Brito of Coin Center Talking About Bitcoin

One of Bitcoin’s strongest voices is Jerry Brito, the Executive Director of Coin Center. This short (~6 min) interview he did with Foreign Affairs is a good example of his balanced and clear and crisp voice on Bitcoin.

#hacking finance

Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Succinct piece. The interviewer comes across as having done his homework; very well informed.

    1. Bruce Warila

      decent video, but it almost seemed a bit scripted.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Yes. Many interviewers do their homework and therefore know the answers in advance.

  2. Matt A. Myers

    Is it really true there’s no intermediary?Certainly are power dynamics possible with miners – however they’re never mentioned in sequence of all of the positive aspects listed, which summarizes most dialogues like this as a dishonest sales pitches.Why didn’t the question get asked about the speculation and money perpetuating the ecosystem?Are the merchants he listed using Bitcoin for all purcahases or within a very narrow scope, or are they allowing purchases with Bitcoin through a service that immediately converts Bitcoin to a real currency?

    1. Sam

      Was thinking the same thing about “no intermediary.” It does seem like we are replacing one type of intermediary (government-regulated financial institutions) with another (self-regulating network of miners).That said, I would bet on Jerry’s expertise here much more than my own. I am still learning in this arena and very well may be missing something in my understanding of the mechanics of the blockchain at bitcoin transactions.

  3. Tom Labus

    An M&A deal maybe down the road a bit.

  4. SubstrateUndertow

    Did I hear him right ?bitcoin = distributive/dis-intermediated value exchange mechanismbitcoin ≠ universal value-storage/currencyIt feels to me, in the long run, that the latter could be truly revolutionary where as the former is just and important evolutionary efficiency ?

    1. William Mougayar

      they go hand in hand. the money transfer is easy to see. the value transfer is more difficult to imagine.

      1. Richard

        Any thoughts on my comment above?

      2. SubstrateUndertow

        I didn’t make that very clearI meant universal value-storage/currencyas in it universally displaces all local national currenciesas in it becomes the primary global currency

  5. jason wright

    nothing on the XT fork. the price has bitcoin is now a commodity. does that matter much?

  6. William Mougayar

    I was sitting with Jerry last Saturday in NYC at the Blockstack summit in NYU :)If there’s one thing to remember, Bitcoin is not just cryptocurrency with wings, it’s wings for any money or anything in digital form, whether it’s a digital asset or a tokenized representation of a hard asset. The innovation is that the trust component is embedded in the digital asset itself, so it knows who owns it, where it’s going, and what it’s doing.While the money aspect is important, the latter (value transfer) is probably more important in the long term, as we’ve got something new that didn’t exist before. (and btw that applies to any public, private or shared blockchain which is the technology enabler, not just the Bitcoin blockchain)

    1. Guy Lepage

      Well said William. I would also like to help clarify the importance of blockchain technology by posting Andeas Antonopoulos’ analogy between the blockchain and the internet.Andreas describes Bitcoin as just 1 application on the blockchain just as email is one application on the internet.In the early days of the internet, a high majority of users were only using email. Email was the internet for most users before there were browsers. I think we can all agree that email is an important application but we know that all the applications later to come were just as important in building the Internet we have today. So true is what the blockchain will become tomorrow. But a better, decentralized version of the Internet.

      1. awaldstein

        I’m following from the wings.There must after all this be real world applications that touch me with blockchain as the plumbing.Can you share some?

        1. Guy Lepage

          Great question @awaldstein and happy to answer..There are quite a few up and coming real world applications and more are being started each day. I suggest spending time where the engineers are and listen to their conversations. There are chat rooms and forums such as, and that are open and public mediums. The mentioned, for example, are where blockchain companies and nonprofits are working to define and develop a set of software protocols and tools to serve as a common backend for blockchain-powered applications. Some app projects to date are browsers, storage, eCommerce systems and authentication. If one were to listen, you would hear conversations about quite a few exciting real world apps that are being worked on and/or are on the verge of being released to the public.I feel that a lot of the individuals, no one individual in particular, who comment on here on blockchain applications are simply lazy. They, therefore, should not be commenting blockchain technology as it’s very easy to search and find communities where engineers chat and hangout. It’s pure laziness. They are not willing to spend a little bit of time listening to what engineers are saying. Join the communities, learn more, everyone is welcome.

          1. awaldstein

            Not sure I”m reading this right.Sounds like you are saying that I’m lazy as a thinker and entrepreneur cause though curious i’m not willing to put in the time to wade into the forums of engineers working and building on this tech.I’m lazy cause i ask for some urls for self professed experts to go check stuff out?I’m many things. A sloppy thinker and lazy individual are not among them.My apologies if I misunderstand. I certainly must be but that is what your words are saying.

          2. Guy Lepage

            Ha. Did not know you were so sensitive Arnold. ;)No. I did not said you were lazy. In fact I said, “…no one individual in particular…” to show that I was not talking about you. Was poking at others. 🙂

  7. JLM

    .”The killer application will come…”Therein lies the report card (perhaps the tombstone) for bitcoin. If the guys inside the tent are saying the exact same thing that others have been saying for a long time, then it is apparent that the killer app is still not identified.The killer app thus far has been of the Silk Road variety and that did not turn out well. Life sentences will do that even for an innovation.Still, I must say I personally think there WILL be a killer app but right now nobody knows what it will be. New ideas have a certain marination period after which they are just sour vinegar, a spoiled vintage.The clock is ticking.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Guy Lepage

      @JLM it’s quite clear to those of us who attended the Blockstack Summit here at NYU last Saturday that it will come. Blockchain technology is a technology that is here to stay and there are some very intelligent computer science minds that not only understand the importance of this technology but they are building real world applications on the Blockchain. I highly recommend everyone to start attending the Blockstack Summits and other blockchain application events so you can talk to some of these great engineers and get a better picture of what is coming.

      1. JLM

        .Guy, I think we’ve had this convo before, no?I am holding an envelope. I am breaking the seal. I am opening it.Right now, there is nothing inside the envelope.Call me when the envelope is full.Not saying it will not be full one day but right now it has the same promise as a county commissioner running for re-election in far South Texas — full of unfilled promises.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Guy Lepage

          > Call me when the envelope is full.There are some being built. If you’re an investor and I call you when the envelope is full. You’ve probably missed the boat. Weird.

    2. William Mougayar

      There may not be one killer App, but a wider variety of apps and use cases. What’s the killer App for the Internet? It’s whatever you’d like it to be, for you. Each one of us has their own Internet killer app(s).Advice to anyone, not just to JLM: If you haven’t owned some crypto-currency inside a wallet and experienced the power, openness, speed and cheapness of transferring value around the globe, then I suggest you put $20 into that, and start playing inside the ring, Come down from the spectator’s zone. It’s open.The barriers to get in are getting lowered. Get a Coinbase or ChangeTip wallet by depositing funds from your bank account or debit card in a few minutes.There is nothing stopping Bitcoin’s adoption, nor cryptocurrencies, nor blockchain technologies, nor smart contracts implementations….nothing. It’s on its way. It’s perhaps another 10 year trend of innovation and re-engineering. I’m seeing it from the ground floor, from inside the kitchens, in the ovens, in the labs, in the board rooms, the VC rooms, the conferences, the events, the meetups, the ecosystem, the startups, the corporate VP’s, etc. It’s real, and it’s on its way.

      1. JLM

        .What is the difference between evangelism and proselytizing? Blowing smoke?Bitcoin is so full of unfulfilled promise as to be caloric. I feel myself gaining weight as I listen to all the great things about bitcoin but which are devoid of a killer app.The problem with your analogy is that the players are all playing with themselves right now. There is no killer app — game — and no rules for the game.Killer app me. Please.BTW, the quote above I used came from the video, not me.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. William Mougayar

          I heard the same thing about the Internet during 94-96, and longer for some others.BItcoin is more difficult to grasp than the Internet, so it might take a bit longer to get to mainstream.Imagine the kids that grow-up with cryptocurrency around, where it’s not a new thing, rather it’s one of the normal things.

          1. JLM

            .Yesterday I sat with My Perfect Daughter at Wells Fargo Bank where a brilliant young MBA banker took her through all of her options as to opening a business bank account with a debit card attached.It was easy. It was painless. She received excellent service and great advice.My Perfect Daughter has her own startup and she makes sleep masks.She is the creative director for a hot as shit startup which is crushing it. More than a bit of a techie. Her second such gig. This is a sidepreneur deal for her.It worked just fine.I am having a very hard time seeing how the existing financial infrastructure is going to be disrupted any time soon.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Guy Lepage

            Attend an event

          3. JLM

            .Do you mean like a Donald Trump campaign rally?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. Richard

            Have a little extra coffee this morning?

          5. Guy Lepage

            I sure hope that’s a joke. @JLM. We can have real conversations here that are productive for everyone. Just a suggestion, if you’re going to reply jokingly also address the topic at hand please sir.

          6. JLM

            .Confirming that was, indeed, a small joke. In the future, I will make sure to help you spot them. You will undoubtedly get better at it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. LE

            My Perfect Daughter at Wells Fargo Bank where a brilliant young MBA bankerWow was that a diploma mill MBA? What a sorry state it is that a guy gets an MBA and then has a job opening up business bank accounts at a bank branch. Meanwhile I can’t find a local contractor who isn’t overflowing with renovation work and can’t even manage the quote process. All of these guys picked the wrong career path to pursue.Unless of course this was some guy that you deal with and that is the reason he did the setup.My Perfect Daughter has her own startup and she makes sleep masks.Nice. She should merge the designs with an easily buyable embroidery machine (or contract with someone) to be able to customize these. I am an inveterate Bucky user myself. Wear a sleep mask everyday.

          8. LE

            I heard the same thing about the Internet during 94-96, and longer for some others.I was around then and I can vouch for that.There were a few differences though. The Internet was slow and there was no content. As a result it didn’t look like a practical solution to a problem that people actually had. If people had gotten a chance to try the internet and understood that technically it would get faster and also have more content I think they would have not said those things back then. Where is the “you will be able to do this with the blockchain” by comparison?In contrast, I remember early 90’s when I saw my first quicktime video at, I think, Macworld. It was a small 1″x1″ video of a rocket launch. I immediately knew that had potential right on the spot. Immediate. As did most people. The potential was in educational purposes. Killer app right there. I didn’t have to think “one day there will be Netflix” or I will be able to watch retro live concert videos on youtube. The value was apparent on the spot. And in fact if you had just described that concept I think that you will agree that most people would have seen the potential. (Same with cars, same with airplanes, same with fax machines..)

        2. Rick Mason

          I remember trying to interest my friends in the Internet in the 94-95 era and was mocked. By 98 they all of a sudden saw the value and urgently wanted my help.Around 2001 I had one of the first PalmPhones (they weren’t even called Smartphones back then) and when I showed it to the same people they mocked me again. ‘Why would I want the Internet in my pocket’? Six years later Steve Jobs convinced them they needed it ;<).It’s fun being an alpha geek but in a way it’s also a curse. Bitcoins only issue is that there isn’t a Steve Jobs around to convince people they need to use it. So don’t blame the early enthusiasts for trying to evangelize.

      2. LE

        If you haven’t owned some crypto-currency inside a wallet and experienced the power, openness, speed and cheapness of transferring value around the globe, then I suggest you put $20 into that, and start playing inside the ring, Come down from the spectator’s zone. It’s open.What percent of people have a need to do that though? I did a significant amount of business with people in China and the established way or transferring the money and insuring delivery worked fine for all parties. The actual money transfer part (the part that bitcoin takes care of) at least for these particular transactions was not anywhere near significant enough to use anything but a wire transfer. For smaller transactions (credit cards) the established methods work fine.So the question is this. Is part of the value so niche as to never be widely adopted as opposed to (the video comparison) with the Internet whereby every single person is getting something that they never had before?I could go right now and do what you are suggesting. However it becomes an “out of sight out of mind” issue. I don’t have the everyday use of the product or the need so I will forget to use it the time that I could use it.I have found this to be the case with the ipad vs. the Apple Watch. The ipad I rarely actually need. So it sits in my laptop bag don’t even remember the last time that I used it. My apple watch I wear everyday. And everyday I “need” it I get reinforced in that I see it and do things with it (really). And it becomes habit. The habit part is important.I am not suggesting (as JLM might “head fake” iirc) that there is no future with bitcoin because I think that there is. I just don’t believe the future is in the way people are describing now or saying “try it” as you just have done.

    3. ZekeV

      Anyone can now write software that handles non-forgeable tokens. Whether those tokens represent data, assets, or nothing at all, it’s the nature of scarce tokens with some utility to accrue a financial value. Personally, I’m enthusiastic about the Deckbound game project, which uses provably scarce digital assets recorded in bitcoin to create digital collectible trading cards. Zynga should have thought of it.Bitcoin is full of scams and wishful thinking, yes. So is real estate. That doesn’t mean people can’t make money in real estate, or that it has no value.

  8. iggyfanlo

    The blockchain, decentralized exchange mechanism and idea is a very powerful and has many killer use cases, witness the 9 largest banks adopting this as standard for them in the future with R3. That’s a better and more secure system than what’s currently in place and will become the backbone of most value exchange in the next 10 years.But bitcoin is different. It’s the first use for the blockchain and a great one, but the killer use case is loss of confidence in government. If/when (I’m in the when camp) we experience a very serious and long term threat to confidence in major government (China, EU, US, and such) or a serious and perhaps uncontrollable debasement/inflation of currency (they could be related), then bitcoin will have its killer use case. The limited NUMBER and certainty of bitcoin (machine versus man) will give it the confidence and transactional advantage by a long shot.Bitcoin would have been perfect in the Weimar Republic. But today, technology and open competition is making for a largely and persistent deflationary world. In this environment, we LIKE BTC, but we don’t yet NEED BTC.

  9. Brandon G. Donnelly

    “There’s no reason that token couldn’t represent…a house.”Huge.

  10. Richard

    One of the value propositions I hear over and over is that it lowers the cost of a transaction by eliminating the middle man AND that the value of bitcoins will increase as demand for block chain increases (fixed supply).Are not these two propositions in conflict with one another ?

    1. William Mougayar

      Not really. 1 BTC is divisible into 100 million units, the satoshi. 1 cent equals 4,400 satoshis roughly. So the possibilities & upside are there. It’s not just # of transactions. It’s also what they enable, as a lever.

      1. awaldstein

        enable as a lever–can you expand on this pls

        1. Richard

          My point is that until recently most business models charged higher prices until competition or efficiencies lower it, the web often starts free and then raises prices as demand increases

      2. Richard

        I don’t see how this remedies the conflict, if the value of the Bitcoin increases won’t the cost of a block chain transaction ultimatley increase as well

  11. Twain Twain

    There’s something which jars and is inconsistent about the Bitcoin proposition as it currently stands.On the one hand, there’s, “It’s distributed and not controlled by any central authority, government or bank” and then, on the other, a contradiction of, “We need to get Bitcoins from somewhere and the existing banking infrastructures give it legitimacy (or it’s lumbered with Silk Road use case examples).”Maybe it’s time to re-think positioning/comms for more consistency and coherency?

    1. leapy

      Agree totally. There’s a real clash of messages there. It gets me every time. I just assume that I am the one that’s not joining the dots properly yet. No matter how much reading I do around the blockchain. I know that the message that’s attractive to me (“f*** legitimacy, dive in and accept the risk”) will not play at scale but, as you state, there’s still serious positioning work to be done.

    2. Guy Lepage

      Bitcoin or blockchain?

      1. Twain Twain

        Both. One is the pipeline, the other is the oil. Upstream are the miners. Downstream are the banks. Retail are the consumers.

        1. Guy Lepage

          That’s not a great analogy. Let me ask you, can you have a blockchain without bitcoin?

          1. Twain Twain

            Actually, it’s a great analogy. You can have a pipeline without oil. You could be pumping seawater for desalination. You could just use the pipes to build Elon Musk’s Hyperloop if you wanted.So, of course, you can have a Blockchain (the pipe) without the Bitcoin (the oil / whatever natural resource (methane, liquified gas etc).At the moment, the version of Blockchain+Bitcoin as it relates to banking isn’t very interesting. It’s not what I’d define as “WOW, that’s game-changing” but then my team invested in and worked with the ECNs and clearing & settlement systems so it’s a case of “Got the T-shirt…NEXT!”The area of Blockchain I’m a lot more interested in is…IBM is Taking the Block Chain Out of Bitcoin==================================The Adept project launched by IBM’s Business Value Institute is working on a block chain project. Adept is taking the block chain out of bitcoin to wrangle the internet of things. In this application, block chains would be used as a communication medium between devices.A home, for one example, could connect all of its smart devices to a block chain of its own. Smart light bulbs could publish energy usage, on/off time, whether or not someone was in the room using it, etc.Software running on top of the block chain would analyze the data, optimizing power usage.——————–@wmoug:disqus

          2. Guy Lepage

            Hmm.. Well maybe you can explain how there are other non-finance OP_RETURN related protocols, such as id, Fa, OA, etc., on the blockchain then?And there are plenty of other blockchains without Bitcoin.

          3. Twain Twain

            I did write: “So, of course, you can have a Blockchain without the Bitcoin.”Look, I’m more interested in the non-finance applications of Blockchain.The point is that it’s versatile and about a lot more than Bitcoin and crypto-currency.

  12. Dennis Mykytyn

    You want a killer app? I got your killer app right here. It’s called the $100 bill.The blockchain is wonderful, terrific, wave of the future, yadda yadda yadda. The problem is the bitcoin, nobody in the real world of finance/commerce wants to own/use a currency that makes the Russian Ruble look boring.Solution? Somebody should get $100 billion in $100 bills and store in a brand spanking new 21st Century Ft Knox. Then you link a blockchain to the serial numbers of the $100 billion, and suddenly you have a stable value cryptocurrency, denominated in USD, that will be accepted worldwide.Think I am kidding about the $100 billion in cash? It’s just a small part of the $800 billion in $100 bills in circulation, of which about $500 billion is held overseas. Just like the Gold ETF, where you could deliver gold bullion in return for ownership interest, you could do the same with some of that $800 billion. So you get the users of the $100 bills to finance your $100 billion vault in return for a much easier to handle and transport currency.