GFC011: The Crypto Narrative (w/ Demetri Kofinas)
Demetri Kofinas, Host of Hidden Forces Podcast joins this episode for a wide-ranging conversation about what’s happening in our world and how crypto fits in to our global systems. Kofinas talks about the importance of challenging consensus narratives, his view of Bitcoin and why he owns it as an “anti-FOMO” mechanism, how religious templates can be applied to understand the crypto landscape, what is driving the divisions in our world, the prevailing existential angst in our society and how it is playing out in markets, and much more.
Visit www.realvision.com/crypto to join the crypto revolution.
Demetri Kofinas, Host of Hidden Forces Podcast joins this episode for a wide-ranging conversation about what’s happening in our world and how crypto fits in to our global systems. Kofinas talks about the importance of challenging consensus narratives, his view of Bitcoin and why he owns it as an “anti-FOMO” mechanism, how religious templates can be applied to understand the crypto landscape, what is driving the divisions in our world, the prevailing existential angst in our society and how it is playing out in markets, and much more.
Checkout Hidden Forces Podcast : https://hiddenforces.io/
REAL VISION 0:00
Welcome to The Real vision Podcast Network.
ASH BENNINGTON 0:07
Welcome to ground floor consensus. I'm your host, Ash Bennington. Welcome to Episode 11. The crypto narrative with Demetri Kofinas. Demetri is the host of the hidden forces Podcast, where he discusses the world of cryptocurrency, finance, science, philosophy, and much more. This is a wide ranging conversation about what's happening in our world, and how cryptocurrency fits in to those global systems. All that and more on this episode of ground floor consensus.
Demetri Kofinas Welcome to ground floor consensus,
DEMETRI KOFINAS 0:58
Ash Bennington, thank you very much for having me on.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:01
It's really a pleasure. You know, most of our listeners probably already know who you are. For those of you who don't you, of course, are the host of the hidden forces podcast.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:12
That's right. I am the host of the hidden forces podcast broadcast across the world in every single nation. Now I don't know if that's actually accurate. channeling I wanted to channel my inner Alex Jones, deep within the the the info wars bunker deep behind enemy lines.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:31
you are out of the gate.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:34
ASH BENNINGTON 1:35
No, but seriously, kidding aside, you know, what you do on hidden forces, I think is is something that is just as I'm a huge fan of it. I love it from for the educational aspect. And I love it just because it's a great thing to listen to for just entertainment purposes. It's just impressive across the board, you interview some of the smartest people, not just exclusively in the investing space, but in technology. In science, you interview philosophers. And your goal is to get people to think for themselves to challenge the consensus narratives to break outside the box. And to hear some of these very well developed very well thought through alternate narratives of what's happening in our world.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 2:12
That's right. Yeah. I mean, I want people to think critically, that's, that's the critical insight. And, and part of thinking critically means challenging insights. And it means taking, I mean, challenging narratives, challenging consensus, viewpoints. And it means taking an empirical and empirical methodology to trying to understand reality, you know, and I don't I think that this is more critical now than ever. It's critical, whether you're an investor, whether you're a citizen, whether you're a policymaker, an entrepreneur, anything. Yeah. If you believe that there is a discernible reality shared consensus reality that exists independent of our, of our sort of our narratives about the world.
ASH BENNINGTON 2:57
Yeah. And in addition to that, the sort of the broader case the things that you're just talking about, you're also a crypto investor, and someone who has a lot of insight and curiosity, certainly about what's happening in the digital asset space.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 3:11
Yeah, that's true. I've been investing in crypto since 2017. And I actually went down a deep series of rabbit holes at that time, I'd first learned about cryptocurrency, I'd learned about Bitcoin, as early as either 2010 or 2011, from Max Kaiser, who is like, that's interesting. Yeah, I mean, in his own crazy way, Max is one of the most brilliant people I've ever met. And, you know, he has obviously been, you know, really early on that, but that whole the whole space has changed, you know, you Bitcoin used to be a peer to peer cryptocurrency, no longer is that the narrative is shifted to being, you know, digital gold, that's kind of the main narrative, it's not really clear now what the use case for it is other than a way to store wealth in a highly volatile asset class that's highly speculative. And, you know, the fi also, it's, it's used primarily, if I've said this before, it's probably primarily a speculative use case with providing regulatory arbitrage. There are a lot of interesting use cases in the space, but I think it's still evolving. And I think still most of what's out there just going to, you know, just turn turn out to be worthless.
ASH BENNINGTON 4:24
That's really interesting, and something that's very controversial, especially among bitcoiners.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 4:30
Yeah, well, dude, I have I have some really non consensus thoughts when it comes to Bitcoin, you know, I think, like, I guess, the first thing I would ask is, what is the consensus narrative, you know, in the Bitcoin community and about Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency complex, so to speak, you know, and you can see how one is that the dollar is being trashed. There's the hyperinflation narrative, right? It's dollars being trashed, hyperinflation is inevitable. And the Biden ministration gets us there. Faster. Now, I certainly think the dollar is being trashed. But is hyperinflation inevitable? I don't agree with that. Nor do I necessarily agree that we're that, you know, in very, very large amounts of inflation are necessarily going to happen anytime soon. I think there are a lot of factors that that can contribute to that. But I still certainly don't believe in the in the, in the dollar shake coin narrative. So you really have to be on board with that narrative as part of this, like multi leg stool school stool, for Bitcoin? Also, I don't believe that that we're building through Bitcoin and new financial system, quite the opposite Bitcoin is being financialized. I do I do agree that we have rising levels of corruption, that trust in government is declining, that there is a greater degree of trust in cryptography, a greater demand for quote, decentralization, and that those things, you know, are bullish for Bitcoin. But, you know, I think there's a lot more to it than that, again, like there's also the unipolar to multipolar narrative that because we're moving towards a multipolar world. This is what bitcoiners will say that this is all things being equal. I agree that this is good for an independent monetary standard. But I think also, I think also that in such a world, governments and their capacity to provide security in an environment of geopolitical insecurity, insecurity goes up. So I actually am someone who thinks that we're moving into a period of time, that's going to be bullish for governments. But anyway, I could keep going on and on. I mean, we could talk about the theories around I mean, Bitcoin, also the Bitcoin community is very, it's a it's a cult, you know, it's a very religious community. And I don't, I don't say that in a, in a it to be dismissive, or I just made it quite literally, if you look at it, they they consistently cite the white paper and, and canonical tasks. They they mercilessly prosecute apostates, there are special diets that exist within the community carnivore diet you know, they all there's, you know, when it comes to that there is obviously a diversity of views right, but within the core Bitcoin community that sort of ISIS, fundamentalist ideology, ideological plank within a dude, it's true. Now. Now, the vast majority of people don't fit that description, right? The vast majority people aren't religious fundamentalists. And I think the tension in Bitcoin is well, so internally, on the one hand, the the sort of the radical, so to speak, have been instrumental in pushing the narrative and a lot of people take cues from that. There's a great talk by Michael Goldstein bitstamp, he goes by Bitsy and on Twitter, it from 2019, where he actually lays this out in great detail about you know, how to how to treat people that are outside of the faith that really have no intention. They call them no corners. But it's it's it's it's kind of very much like this, this is out there. But the vast majority of people aren't like that. And I think there's also a lot of like internal rebellion within Bitcoin, which is like we don't want to be associated with this kind of maximalism. So and also, I think it's interesting because it's been.
ASH BENNINGTON 8:17
By way most bitcoiners consider the word maximalism itself to be something of a slur.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 8:22
Yeah,I mean, I was
ASH BENNINGTON 8:22
It was created by vitalik. Right? It was an exonym and an endonym.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 8:27
Yeah. Well, I think again, I think the thing with it with is that maximalism has been in some ways good or that kind of the sort of radical fundamentalism has also been good in some ways, because Bitcoin has effectively scaled by converting people in the way that religion does, in large part because it's it has not been able to perform as a peer to peer money. And it has not actually been able to deliver on creating a third party financial system, right? Because that's ultimately like a big part of what made Bitcoin interesting, at least to me and other people after the 2008 financial crisis, it was this idea that we have this corrupt captured system, and we need to find some way to get off it, right, we need to build some alternative financial system because this one's going to blow up and I do agree that this one's gonna blow up or it's gonna obviously be really bad has a lot of really bad outcomes associated with it but what we're building right now is not that we're building as a speculative a speculative game for people to get rich and extract wealth.
ASH BENNINGTON 9:34
You know, it's really interesting to hear you say some of those things to me because I've thought of you as being you know, very bullish in general on the digital asset space and I think you you own Bitcoin, right?
DEMETRI KOFINAS 9:44
I do own Bitcoin. Yes, I own Bitcoin, as a what I call as a anti FOMO mechanism. It takes the edge off as it goes higher. I saw you know, Bitcoin has gotten to a place and the mania and the in those cultures around it and the language. And for me, that's because it comes back down to this dollar Bitcoin narrative, right? It's Bitcoin is, is about much more in the way that it's discussed than simply an asset, right? It's one thing if you have an asset, I invest in gold as well, like, if it's one thing if you have an asset that you buy, because you want to protect your wealth, or you want to make money, it's nothing if you buy an asset, because you want the dollar and the US government to go into decline. And the.
ASH BENNINGTON 10:29
I mean, do you think that people who are who are, you know, very strong bitcoiners believe that they want the US government to go into decline? I mean, do you think that's their stated goal? That seems like a strong statement?
DEMETRI KOFINAS 10:39
Yeah Yeah. I think that a lot of people in this community and a lot of very powerful people, you just have to look at their rhetoric, man, just like read their tweets. Like they, they, they they dance on the grave, they piss on the grave of, of the United States. This is a, it's really disturbing, and it's disturbing. It was okay. Again, this is there's a time and place for this stuff, right? Like, this didn't always bother me. But I think that our country is is becoming increasingly radicalized. And the situation is becoming increasingly dire. Like this is manifestly true. You can look at the, the evidence, you can see what's happened in the last four years. And to, I think, to, to, to respond to moments of chaos, with gleeful excitement, because it confirms the thesis, right, that the institutions of government are weak, and that currencies are toilet paper. And so your speculation of Bitcoin is going to go up is really disturbing. You know?
ASH BENNINGTON 11:47
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it may be a little bit old fashioned, but I'm a deeply patriotic American. It's great that we get to be in this country, and that we get to do the things that we do, like have these incredibly iconic, classic conversations about cryptocurrency and the financial system and the world.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 12:03
Yeah, man. No, I I'm with you. 100%. I didn't always feel that way. I was, you know, you could describe me as unpatriotic. In the early 2000s. I was. I sort of cut my teeth on the progressive anti war, pacifist ideology, the Howard Zinn's the Noda gorgeou dolls, the non tchotchkes I used to listen to Democracy Now. I you know, like.
ASH BENNINGTON 12:29
To me, this is a side of you.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 12:31
Yeah, well, look, I was in a, you know, I was I was very much against the Iraq war. Man, that was my driving. I was a one issue voter, and, you know, for a very long time, and I was very embarrassed by the Bush administration, and how we we end our the history of American and foreign intervention, covert actions, etc. The last four years have really turned me into a patriot in a way that I never imagined possible. And it was.
ASH BENNINGTON 12:58
So interesting. It's such an interest to tell what about that journey?
DEMETRI KOFINAS 13:02
I think it's, I honestly think it's not a political thing. It isn't. Because any particular parties in office actually people who know me and also who listen to the show know how you will look at like, the only negative comments I've gotten on the podcast ever from people have either been people that accuse me of of slandering Donald Trump, which I do not do or slandering the Democrats. So I, you know, I, I actually think I'm much more critical of the Democratic Party because of the hypocrisy of the party, I think. But I, I think the reason that it happened to me is because of all the, the, I guess, how would you describe the empathic, like, what are you what is it when you call someone an empath when they can feel other people's pain? I just, I just feel the pain of the country, I feel the pain of my fellow citizens. I think we, our economy is really just doesn't work out. Politicians are non respondent. We increasingly hate each other. Everyone's arguing, no one's listening. They're cursing people out, I go on Twitter. This is again, this is why I talk about Bitcoin in the way I do. It's because so many in the community, display these sort of anti empirical, contentious, accusatory tent, you know, behaviors. And, and I worry, I worry that we're the country's radicalizing, and this is how you get this is how a country that's, that's a developed nation goes into, into domestic violence and civil war. And when I say Civil War, you know, let's expand the definitions of a war. Like this is not, you know, 1860 we're all going to grab our bayonets and you know, form lines ago rush each other. Like, you know, war today is completely different. The battlefield has expanded, and the definitions of war have expanded. There's economic warfare. We're currently experiencing that right now, we've been experiencing it for years on our end against hat as victims of it, right. But we're perpetuating it in our own way. We've have also as well through sanctions, financial, financial war, there, cyber war. There's biological warfare. So there's all sorts of ways to conduct certain, you know, surreptitious war. And I've covered this on the show. I've done it with Thomas read on disinformation and active measures. I've done it with David Kilcullen, on guerrilla warfare, and alternative forms of war, you know, like liminal warfare, what we saw in Ukraine with the Russians, before they actually brought in Little Green Men, and after in their own way. So there's, there's no reason I think, and and I'll make this last point, the entire informational landscape is a battlefield. Right? This is a massive propaganda engine. And the the the narrative of the met one of the meta narratives in society today is that everything is a narrative, embrace the pump, right? just embrace the pump. Like you and I both had Lily Frankish on the show. Yeah. And she talks she talked about she made this point about narrative investing, right, like learning to basically surf the mimetics of the internet to figure out what's going to be the next trend, and people are embracing that.
ASH BENNINGTON 16:19
Well, you know, one of the things that I find so fascinating about you, in the way that you think about the world, and relative to this conversation, is that you look far outside of just the cryptocurrency universe, and you're looking at all of these broader themes, political themes, philosophical themes, technological themes. And it's fascinating to get your view about how that impacts the kind of information space around cryptocurrency, because I think you're right, there definitely is this kind of, you know, polarization, this kind of this kind of balkanization of the space. And, you know, it's interesting, I've recently begun to, to talk much more to the bitcoiners the people who are, you know, who really have a, an intense philosophical affinity for Bitcoin as a as a mechanism or as a means to change the world, right, in their view for the better. And it's fascinating to me, because when you talk to them one on one, first of all, the first thing that always strikes me, is their passion and their and their positive view of what the world could be with Bitcoin at the center of the financial system, or the center of a new financial system. And the second thing that strikes me, and the reason that I have so much respect for them, in terms of the way they view the rest of the world, is because empirically, they experienced 2017, right? They've all seen people lose money on Icos, and there's this sense of hesitancy, there's this sense of reluctance, there's a sense of skepticism about everything outside the Bitcoin space, because they've experienced it, they've seen it, they've seen people lose money, they've seen people get hurt. Now look, on the flip side of the coin, you know, I, I have a very difficult time believing that the digital asset space ended effectively in 2008, with the Satoshi white paper. So I also obviously am focused on a lot of other technologies, I look at the space much more broadly. But I understand philosophically where they're coming from, and it is, I think, it's a compelling argument, even if you don't agree with every aspect of it.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 18:25
Yeah, you could think about Icos as the golden cow, right as golden calves as as the Israelites, going from worshipping God to worshipping a bunch of different false idols. And then they all collapsed in value, and everyone came back to God. And this is a renewing cycle in Bitcoin. And each time it happens, it strengthens the faith.
ASH BENNINGTON 18:50
Now, regardless of the sort of philosophic framework you want to put around it, the reality is people did lose money on it.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 18:57
Well, yeah, so I'm not actually so I just wanted to put that out there. I purposefully keep pushing on the point about the religious framework, because the community talks about it, as well. And I think it's also very, very illuminating when you begin to apply these religious templates and archetypes and metaphors, on to the crypto landscape and you can begin to apply it outside of that you can do with Tesla, and you can do it in the stock market. This brings us right back to the early francas in the conversation about memes, right and right and the god meme, right, the god meme and the god meet and the blast radius of the god mean, the blast radius of the God has the best the best lies of my best line of 2020 so far, so. So, absolutely. You know, rhadigan Carter was on my show, you know, this amazing guy spent 20 years in the Middle East and North Africa, either fighting directly for the US military or as a contractor. And he has this you know, he talked about his experience with Bitcoin. When he first purchased it, what it meant for him, one of the things that really stuck out to me was he talked about how, when you're overseas, first of all, it's so difficult to open to move money, right? Because you're calling from some like cell phone and in the desert in Iraq, hey, but and when you first use Bitcoin for the first time and your your payment transfers, you know, in 10 minutes, you see it there on the ledger, you instantly understand it. And he says, For guys overseas, that's particularly resonant because you you've had promises broken to you. And here's something real. And and I think that's true. Also, like Bitcoin has value in I don't know what the exact price value is, but it absolutely has value. And it also, I think, is a legitimate alternative to other forms of savings. But once we get into the details of what that is, and everything else, that's where it matters. I don't, I don't mean I don't in any way shit on or try to minimize people's experiences, I've had the same experiences 2008 was a, I mean, was like one of the darkest, that it was probably just slightly less dark than 911. And this is someone I had been reading about writing about thinking about the mortgage refinancing bubble for at least three years. Yeah, before 2008 I was expecting some type of equity market collapse. I did not foresee the extent of the financial collapse. But I did, I certainly did not imagine the feds interventions, or the scale of those interventions. And that is what was really dark for me. That was what really, really, really put me into a freakin, you know, dark hole. That's when you remember
ASH BENNINGTON 21:51
Well can I ask you this, you know, I'm curious, why was it so dark for you at the time, because obviously, you know, now, with the luxury of hindsight, we can see some of the things that have happened as a consequence of ultra accommodative monetary policy, the formation of bubbles in certain pockets of the economy, but at the time in 2008, what was it that gave you this ominous sense that something was seriously wrong?
DEMETRI KOFINAS 22:14
Well, it wasn't ominous. I mean, there was an ominous sense before 2008, that something was really wrong with what was going on in the mortgage market. And how many people were refinancing and all the ninja loans? A lot of that came out more clearly afterwards.
ASH BENNINGTON 22:29
These are the no income. No job.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 22:30
ASH BENNINGTON 22:31
What you basically if you had a pulse, you can get a mortgage.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 22:34
Yeah. The stripper with five mortgages.
ASH BENNINGTON 22:36
Yeah. Big short, And also, by the way, the other thing that's really fascinating about you, you know, I just appeared on hidden forces, I guess, last Monday, or a couple of Monday's ago.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 22:49
Yeah, the Rhadigan Carter episode. Exactly.
ASH BENNINGTON 22:51
No, it's literally Franco's episode that
DEMETRI KOFINAS 22:53
I'm sorry. Yes, yes. Yes. Correct. No, no, you're correct. Yes.
ASH BENNINGTON 22:55
Yeah. And, and one of the things that was really interesting, we were talking about, and I think this is such a, you know, you've had so many sort of defining experiences in your life, that have given you a context and, and an experience based on a lot of other people just don't have, and you got them in an incredibly young age, I was hoping we were talking about the show that you ran on RT, called capital account, and how you got that show. And I was, I was doing a little bit of googling, and I found this great video of you, I think it's from 2008. From the Greek riots, where, you know, you look like you're about 15 years old in this video, I mean, you really do crazy, and, and you're on a roof, in Athens, where there's tear gas being fired behind you, you see the mountains in the background, you see the protesters, and you're on RT, for whatever it was like a six or seven minute segment. And it's, it's so apparent that like, this is this young guy is going places this guy is going to be doing because you're just us telling it straight. You know, it was amazing, because, you know, you don't very often like you know, the anchor would ask you a question. And you know, what, what do you think is gonna happen next, you know, and do you think that this is going to continue? And like, this is the typical place where you were, you know, well, Barbara, on the one hand, and you're like, you're like Yes, God dammit, you bet your ass it's gonna continue this is fucked up. And like, it is so great to see it. And and to watch like that, like this kind of like your star rising in this in this video back in in 2008. I think it's called till death do us part.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 24:21
There were so many of those man there was one where I was in a room with Michelle Caruso Cabrera. So like every single news organization, you know this but like there are certain companies that speculate on prime real estate ahead of let's say important events, with the hope that they booked this they booked the spaces in the hope that they can then rent it out at exorbitant fees for the satellite space, of course, and these folks had had had done this at the Athens Plaza Hotel, which is at the corner of constitution square and Athens right where the parliament building is. And so this is where everyone have been set up France 24, CNN, CNBC, etc, etc. So CNBC was there. Michelle Caruso Cabrera The chief INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT The time was there. She was lying on a bed. When I came in, she just finished her left side. Oh, she's like, Who are you? You're right. By the way. To your point, I was looking pretty good. I was a young, young buck there. And she was like, Wow, so what do you do? And I was like, Yeah, I got a radio. She's like, Oh, what is it sports?
ASH BENNINGTON 25:19
Let's see. That's, that's actually that's a compliment. That's like saying that too handsome to be an international,
DEMETRI KOFINAS 25:24
like, I was like, no. And like that. So like, I'm Greek. By the way, this is an important point, right? This is all happening in Greece. And I'm feeling like Uber patriotic. I'm a Greek citizen, an American citizen. And I'm feeling Uber patriotic right now with what's happening. And I'm kind of, I never imagined I'd be on TV. Or maybe I slightly imagined it right before it ever happened. But it wasn't something and I certainly didn't want to have a career in news. So I wasn't actually trying to use this as an opportunity to climb the ladder, right? I just wanted to live and I had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor a couple years before that, right or a year and a half before that. So like I'm living with a brain tumor, I have no idea when and how it's gonna end up manifesting into serious symptoms. And so I have a very different sense of like, what I want my life to look like, and I just did I just said it how it is exactly as I thought it was. There were mistakes that I've made have grown and become more nuanced, but I remember standing there with her with Michelle Caruso Cabrera on the bed looking at me, waiting for me to finish my life. God knows you know what she was gonna tell me next. And and then and, and I've got the camera on me and the Greek all the stringers are there. They all love me, by the way, and I'm like, and I end the live I get increasingly animated. I go, this is an LBO, a sovereign LBO. It's a leveraged buyout of a sovereign nation. And she her faces drop her like her, her, her mouth just dropped. And I was like, yeah. By the way, I take that take that media.
ASH BENNINGTON 26:48
I worked with her at CNBC. I didn't know her well. But every time I talk to her, she was just an incredibly nice.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 26:51
I'm sure she is I'm not saying she isn't at all man. I'm just putting the context. I'm like this. I'm like, I don't know how many years I got to live. I was like, I'm young. I'm vitals. My moment is my country. It's gonna say it how it is. But of course, it's also important to point out I was wrong about a lot of things, man, you know, I also was a very strong Austrian, right, like I I have a lot of people that are now in the Bitcoin community and the crypto community used to watch capital account.
ASH BENNINGTON 27:21
How did you go from Garvey doll to being an Austrian economics fan read and then like Bitcoin and then like, sort of like, slightly anti coiner. I mean, you and this has been like, quite an intellectual journey for me
DEMETRI KOFINAS 27:33
by the way,my fun for punishment.
ASH BENNINGTON 27:35
By the way, my favorite line if you want to hear Dimitri, just dripping with disdain, listen to the way you say the Troika. Just coming off your voice. The Troika
DEMETRI KOFINAS 27:48
Oh my god. The Troika. Remember that the IMF the ECB? And was it was it was he is it was. I feel like these to be in the you were part of the same. It was the I can't remember now. Maybe it was. Maybe it was the ECB, the ECB and the and the IMF. But yeah. For those that remember that period, they'll remember that they'll remember European Commission. Not that not Yeah, yeah. The ECB the European Commission, EC ECB, ECB and IMF. The Yeah, the FSM the SF, the OMB all the different acronyms. Those are the days
ASH BENNINGTON 28:23
These are the these are the these are the bailout facilities, the bailout mechanisms that the Detroit use to infuse money into the Greek economy,
DEMETRI KOFINAS 28:30
and we cut our teeth in that period, man, really good.
ASH BENNINGTON 28:33
But it's so it's so interesting to me, obviously, you know, what we talked about here on ground for consensus, a little bit narrower than that the global view that you have the world on hidden forces, but it's so interesting to think about how that shaped your view of monetary systems of economics of these trade offs that we negotiate within a system. And I think it's such a fascinating perspective to bring to the table to talk about the digital asset space.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 28:59
Yeah. What precisely are all the different ideologies you mean?
ASH BENNINGTON 29:05
Well, look, you've had all of these experiences, and you've seen the level of conflict that can come from different actors, and different in different factions within a monetary system, whether it's, whether it's the the the bitcoiners, versus the no corners, whether it's bitcoiners versus people who are partisans of aetherium. I mean, this is a really contentious space. And I think as you point out, this level of polarization, balkanization division is something that we're seeing just broadly metastasize throughout the entire culture.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 29:36
Yeah, for sure. It's really interesting. I mean, that. The question is, why on the one, like, what is it that's driving the division? You know, people keep asking themselves this, most people discuss it in the context of politics. Right, which I think if if, in fact, it's, it's, you know, primarily thing,
ASH BENNINGTON 29:55
what do you think the answer is?
DEMETRI KOFINAS 29:58
Well, I think You know, I mean, in, I think part of it's generational.You know, and like, that's also a big part of the narrative and crypto like everyone's read the fourth turning, again, canonical texts, the fourth turning, Neil, how generational theory. And I think that there's a lot of truth there. Right? There is a,
ASH BENNINGTON 30:18
That's always the case, people who are older always get pissed off that people who are younger, and people who are younger are always annoyed at the fact that older people fucked up the world before them. I mean, that's something that's pretty consistent in look, you can see that in the 1960s. You know, the, the baby boomers against their, you know, their parents who fought in the Second World War. That's always a theme. But you know, when it's something that seems to be dramatically, dramatically exacerbated this particular moment in time.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 30:44
I do think social media plays a role. You know, the thing that is the case today, that wasn't the case in the 1960s, though, in the 1960s, we had mind altering with the proliferation of mind altering drugs. I think those, those those were, they were expansive. I think the opposite is true here in the case of social media as a drug, right. It's contracts are our spectrum of experience, right closes us off from the world and it is addictive in a way that psychedelics and marijuana were not
ASH BENNINGTON 31:23
by the way, psychedelics is such a red hot topic, right?
DEMETRI KOFINAS 31:26
Yeah. Well, it's a great example to have something where like, it's a red herring, like you said it straight up. It's a red hot topic. You know, it's like it there's a, there's a, there's a framing for it. That I think it's so I What, what can I say? Like, I agree, by the way, I haven't done psychedelics, I'm terrified. I feel like I would really like to I have friends that have done it. I have one friend in particular who's like my private shaman. In terms of like, educating me on everything. I think it's fantastic. Yeah.
ASH BENNINGTON 32:00
Do you know that it's now legal that there are these these clinics in New York City, where you can do these ketamine.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 32:08
Yeah, I do know infusions. ketamine infusions?
ASH BENNINGTON 32:11
Well, I think they're, they're doing it now with tablets as well. What's really interesting, the first wave as I understand it, I've just followed it cuz I think it's a really interesting investing story as well, because a couple of these companies Republic, but apparently like in the first wave of these, and maybe I'm misinterpreting this. So if somebody knows more about this, please tweet me I'm really curious to hear more. But in the first wave, it was like the ketamine infusion, and you would go into a room and you'd put on eyeshades, and you'd basically kind of just like, lie there and be totally detached from the world and kind of go into yourself. But now, apparently, the next generation of ketamine clinics are doing it with pills and they're doing ketamine ketamine assisted psychotherapy. So they're, you're taking ketamine and just talking with a therapist, about the stuff that's coming, it's really like a strange, strange moment to see these things. And and the other thing that's really amazing to me, is how this kind of flew under the radar, right? Like this would have been unthinkable a decade ago, people have been, you know, on the one hand, completely up in arms, and on the other hand, incredibly excited enthusiastic about it. But because COVID and politics has sort of sucked all the oxygen out of the room, these things are sort of happening in the background, and, and they're not getting as much media pickup as, as one might think they would.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 33:20
Yeah, you look, I mean, the the potential for talk therapy, clinically assisted use of psychedelics is enormous. I put on a conference in 2015, in New York City at the New Yorker hotel, where we also had Steven Ross, Jeffrey Gus, and Anthony bolsas, of the NYU psilocybin research project, present their phase two results at the time.
ASH BENNINGTON 33:46
DEMETRI KOFINAS 33:47
And I had a chance before that conferences that down with them and review footage from their patients. And I have to say, like, the documentary footage was incredible. You know, like, Michael Pollan wrote about this in his article to trigger treatment in the New Yorker. And that stuff is legit. You know, people really had an epiphany. They really had trans transcendent experiences. And for meiosis,
ASH BENNINGTON 34:09
one of those clinical studies where they were doing end of life,
DEMETRI KOFINAS 34:12
end of life suicide and treatment. That's right, they were helping people, relieve them of their, of their fear of death. And, again, I mentioned my brain tumor very early on my diagnosis with a brain of a brain tumor, at the age of 28, was the most important experience of my life, first of all, in the way that it altered my life for the next four years. Right, at which point four years later, I had to have brain surgery, and I went through brain surgery and radiation. And that experience was transformative in a way that feels very much like what these patients describe, and they're still assignment experiences like, and so I'm a huge believer in the mystery. I'm not an atheist. That doesn't mean that I believe in a biblical God, it simply means that I don't I don't find the I think that an atheistic materialist, philosophical materialist perspective on the world is insufficient for addressing the deeper questions that percolate up in us and this again, you have to bring it back to crypto, this and it's not a coincidence that I continue to bring up religion. And it's not just for crypto, it's also true for Tesla, and some of these other very powerful communal stocks I've done. I talked about this in an episode with grant Williams and, and Ben hunt. I think that this is it's, it's for Bitcoin for Tesla, I actually don't think the primary motivation for people is money, I actually think unity is a bigger motivator and mission and feeling that they're part of something meaningful and important. And I, Jen, I genuinely think that our society is deeply our generation in particular, right? A lot of members of our generation are feel utterly and hopelessly lost, and alone. And they need to feel like they're part of something, and they need to feel like something matters, and that their life has meaning. And, you know, religion used to fill that gap for a lot of people, it does much less any, much less today. Also, the state, the government, being a patriotic American, having a conception of community in that sense, also played a role in that way. Now, I'm not making a value statement on what is right if one is better, if one is not better. If there's truth to one, if there's not truth to the other. In this case, I'm simply pointing out an observation, which is that I do think that there is a deep sense of existential angst in our country today, like anything, unlike anything we've ever seen, and I think it was on full display and something you and I talked about in our episode, which is people's response to the pandemic, the the panic around people's reactions, I think, totally out of bounds of what the science was, was suggesting. And I think that's because people just haven't reckoned with the fact that they're gonna die. You know?
ASH BENNINGTON 37:12
Yeah. It's a profound point. And you could imagine if this had happened at any other point in American history, let's say 50 75 years ago, or in the context of the 1918, flu pandemic, obviously, these are the sort of events these are the sort of emotional traumas that drive people closer to their religion. But that has a factor for much of mainstream American culture, again, not a value judgment. But if you look here, on the east coast on the west coast, religion is not the component of American cultural life that it was, you know, 50 years ago, even 25 years ago.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 37:48
Yeah. And I think that's a problem, you know, and again, not because I think Christianity is what we need. But I'm someone who I think you and I've talked about this many times the work of Joseph Campbell, the work of Carl Jung, the archetype, the mythic archetype of the hero, the hero's journey. I think these these myths, these mythologies and stories emanate from a wellspring of human experience that remains constant. There's something true there. And again, I bring it back to my experience of my brain tumor, my near death, all of that it puts me in touch with the mystery in ways that I can't describe, but in ways that I recognize whenever I come across a fellow traveler, and we can communicate, I'm like, Ah, I see you. You've seen it. You've been there. I got it. You say, Okay. You know, there's an I don't know what it is, I don't know how to describe it. It isn't. It doesn't give me it's not some promise of a beautiful afterlife. It's something else. It's just something deeper that says, Ah, this is all an illusion, I get it nowI get it, you know.
ASH BENNINGTON 38:54
You know, Carl Jung used to greet his patients as a as a social visit, which was apparently revolutionary. It's the opposite of sort of what Freud did, you know, put you on the couch and isolate you and put you in this position of subservience to the dominant therapist as he sucked on his cigar as he sucked on his cigar. But Carl Jung used to greet people as a social occasion. And apparently one of the favorite expressions of Dr. Young was, I see you're in the soup too.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 39:21
Huh? I didn't know that. Yeah. And what did he mean by that? The soup being the whole fishbowl.
ASH BENNINGTON 39:26
The soup being you're in this struggle to I see, you're in the soup, you're in this struggle, you're caught, you're caught trying to find meaning in this life the same way that I am the same way that everyone else is, I mean, it gets it gets into Viktor Frankl right Man's Search for Meaning and that overarching desire to and and I think it's something that as you point out, Dimitri is spot on, has a huge component in the cryptocurrency narrative that search for meaning that search for a place in the world. And if you think about like what we're all doing right now, like what are we doing right now? We're sitting in front of our computers with headphones on you know, talking to disembodied voice on the other side of the city. And, you know, we're in our little boxes. And, you know, you get your groceries delivered, and you stay in your, in your small New York City apartment, and you do your work from home and you don't really socialize, you connect with people over zoom. I mean, this is something that can create in an individual or a culture, a kind of existential crisis, a kind of a kind of moment where you kind of have that point where you were talking about with something, obviously a much more significant experience of having a brain tumor. But there is that sort of existential crisis about who am I? And what am I doing? What does my life mean? What's my role in the world? And what am I trying to accomplish? Here? We've removed that hero's journey from people's lives, it's pretty hard to feel heroic. When you're working from home.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 40:48
Dude, yeah, you know, actually hearing you say that, and made makes me appreciate it more than then I have in a long time, I was just saying all the words, but you kind of put me there. Because it's been a long time since I didn't have a mission in my life. But for but for most of my life, I didn't have one. And I struggled through my 20s, I struggled trying to find that it was so hard for me and I lost it again, after my brain surgery. You know, I went through a number of years of really trying to find my way, and it was so hard. I can't imagine having to live like that again. And with a pandemic, coming in out of nowhere, and shutting down so much shutting down people's livelihoods, their ability to date, to find companionship, to find a note. Totally, and you know, I got to see what
ASH BENNINGTON 41:36
You know Freud used to say the two the two things, it was love, and love and work, love and work. Those are the two things that give life meaning. And this crisis has impaired humans ability to experience both of them.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 41:48
Yeah, man, I mean, and this, this is this, this gets directly to something that I think, is a practice that we all have to engage in, which is empathy. Yeah. And it goes back to talking about what I said very early on around becoming more patriotic. In the last four years, the last four years, what I've seen is an elevation in escalation, pain, and people attacking one another. We're, we're like a family that's coming apart, right? We're like a family where every day, we're if we fight more, we yell more, we hurt one another. And it hurts us. It hurt one another. And I think that we need to recognize that a lot of people are in pain. And a lot of the people and I learned this Well, I didn't learn it from Robert Thurman, the the Buddhist, the father with me, but
ASH BENNINGTON 42:34
Robert F. Thurman.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 42:35
Yeah. But I was actually some of his meditations when I had been first diagnosed. And they were really amazing. So it was like glass, I kind of have flinging off the left. He was he was,
ASH BENNINGTON 42:47
I believe, the first Tibetan
DEMETRI KOFINAS 42:49
he was correct.
ASH BENNINGTON 42:51
Who was an American citizen who was ordained.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 42:53
ASH BENNINGTON 42:54
Like, in the in the late 50s, or early 60s,
DEMETRI KOFINAS 42:57
he after he lost his eye, he went through, he suffered tremendously. And he went on a long journey. And, and so yeah, but, you know, I, but he had given a speech at Zuccotti Park in 2011. Yeah. And he, he talked about how we should not look up at those c suites up there, at the bankers, C suites, and feel resentment, and anger, and jealousy at their situation. Because they're have so much money, they have so much power, he goes, think about what their lives are like, they live in a home, it's highly, you know, it's it's, they, they leave the home, they go to the office, and they live in fear in both places, they're afraid they're going to lose their money, they're afraid someone's going to attack them. They're constantly living in fear. And the more massive they accumulate, the more fierce fearing they become. And so these people are deserving of our empathy. And while easier said than done, perhaps in 2011 Yeah. I do think there's so much truth to that. And actually, it's not as difficult as you might think, when you begin to see people and this is a great example, where we are today the haves, the have fun staying poor tropes of people in Bitcoin, and crypto, right, this is a constant thing. People dancing on the grave of let's say, we talked about of the of the dollar or gleefully celebrating their newfound riches and doing it in a way that can be you know, really insulting to other people. Rather than look at those people and think, Oh, I'm jealous. Like, my assets aren't mooning. Like there's what actually people should should get to a place and again, easier said than done because you have to arrive it at it through experience in your life. Right, you begin to understand and see these people and see the pain that they're in. Yeah, they're in pain. Yeah. Because they're not living like that's not life is very short. It just passes like that, man. It just it literally just does and it can pass at any moment. So you don't know when your number is going to get called. You don't know when your option is going to get retired.
ASH BENNINGTON 44:58
Right. You know I know for a fact that it's going to happen at some.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 45:02
You know, as a fact, but you know what most people don't. Like, you know, most especially younger people, we live with the illusion that will live forever. That's how I live my life. I literally remember sitting in a therapists office in 2005, I think. And I remember telling the guy I'm gonna, I'm never gonna die. And he literally, like looked at me like, well, that's a little megalomaniacal or something. He says, I'm like that. And I was like, Well, I have no empirical evidence to to prove the contrary. I was like, I'm living. I have no idea what this simulation I mean, right now I was Hey, you know, before anyone was talking about simulation, Uber in my head, but you know, speaking of simulation theory, this is another thing man, people are feeling increasingly disembodied. today. Yeah, right. All this digital technology. We're in our heads. Also people are, are, are, I think, you know, increasingly narcissistic, self focused. What do people think of me? I'm on social media, my impression crafting my image people are in their heads, they're in their heads. And when you're in your head, you can't be grounded.
ASH BENNINGTON 46:09
Yeah. And you know, it's really, if you think about it through an evolutionary perspective, right, human beings reached behavioral modernity only 50,000 years ago, right? anatomical modernity 150,000 or so years before that. And you know, the world that we evolved to experience, you know, running on the African savanna being chased and chasing wild animals compared to what we actually do with their lives. We are not biologically adapted for social media, we're not biologically adapted to this massive, diffused network of people that we're having these conversations with, and often yelling about the most sort of recondite areas of cryptocurrency theory, we're just not evolved. We're not built for that. We don't have the emotional equipment or the or the neurological equipment to have that conversation.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 46:59
Yeah, yeah, to that point. I think that I mean, I've noticed this for myself, when it comes to engaging on social media. And this is why I actually keep a certain distance from it. And specifically, why I try and avoid conflict on social media, because like, my nature, like, I'm a very, I'm much calmer now as an adult. But again, you know, me, so yeah, you know, I, I'm a highly aggressive, highly animated, energetic person. And when I was for most of my life until I became a functioning adult in my 20s. And then, in my 30s, a more serene, calm human being. I was much more prone towards getting into physical violence, when I dealt with insults or confrontation. And that's a very kind of natural animal response. And, you know, one of the things that social media does in a really weird way, and in a really awful way, is that it allows people who would normally never say things to your face, to say insane things to you. Yeah. And likewise, and that can make you very angry, and then make you say things that you'll regret. Right? And then the other thing it does is this really weird thing, where people sit around, work themselves up into into a rage, and then Tweet, tweet about it. Yeah. Which is the dumbest thing in the world. But it's, it's and I don't quite understand it. I'm sure people have done some look into it. But what is it about? work, getting angry, sitting down by yourself and getting angry without anyone doing anything to you? And then going out, and I think you know what it is? I think now that I think about it, I'll tell you what I think it is social media, is this weird environment where normally you're just sitting like say, this is how it used to be turn on Tucker Carlson and turn on Rachel Maddow. And you'd be like, well, f you Tucker F. Right.F U Rachel. It's social media. Is that but plus like a little chat window.
ASH BENNINGTON 49:09
Right, right. Well, and you have the ability to connect with other people who who disagree with you and who feel every bit as passionately as you do, except on the opposite side of the issue. And yeah, your house yelling at Tucker Carlson or Rachel Maddow, pick your poison, depending on which side of the aisle you're on, right. You know, you're not really doing anything, but potentially irritating your spouse. But now, because of social media, because of this incredible conductivity that we've developed through technology. Now you have the ability to say something in politic or stupid or noxious to the entire world in five seconds.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 49:42
Yeah, it's it's exactly it's like a funnel, to shout into the void from your place of equal disempowerment. Right? You're just as disempowered you're you're feeling just as disempowered when you're in front of Twitter as you are when you're in front of a television screen. The difference is that you just have the ability to grow Cast your house. So it's really it's not it's not really empowerment, though, you know?
ASH BENNINGTON 50:05
No, and it is it is it.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 50:07
Yeah and I think it's so important. Like I don't I don't understand people at any anymore who, who engage with trolls, like our guests, our previous guests, Lily francas. She had someone tweeted at her, or I tweeted the episode or she retweeted it. And then some troll tweeted something nasty to her. And she actually didn't, she didn't engage. She just said something back to that person. But like people like that do this all the time. And if you're going to sit if you're going to sit there and let that affect you. Well, I think you have a lot of sort of, you know, you have to some internal work to do I think and we all do. I mean, like I we all have egos. And I think social media tests our egos, you know?
ASH BENNINGTON 50:55
So what is it especially around the the Bitcoin, digital currency, digital asset space that you see coming from this weird context of social media? And if you think about it, really, that's where the disagreements are happening, right?
DEMETRI KOFINAS 51:11
When you say what's coming? Do you mean? How do you mean that?
ASH BENNINGTON 51:14
Well, what how do you think that that plays into it, like this ability, I struggle with myself, right? Someone says something on Facebook, that's just just fine, absolutely infuriating. And you want to respond? I can't tell you how many comments I type that I just don't click the Send button on right where you're just like, no.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 51:28
Thats's that's great. I love you for that. Thank you can I do it?
ASH BENNINGTON 51:31
Can't do it.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 51:31
Thank you for Thank you. That's brilliant. I do the same thing. Everyone should do that there should be I say there should actually be like a government instituted, like, delay mechanism on every tweet where you can retrieve it after a minute doesn't go out right away, the world will be a much better place.
ASH BENNINGTON 51:46
Yeah, those are mandated by the government. But just like a 92nd delay, where it's like it actually kind of like the end. Ideally, there should be like AI around it, where if you see something really stupid, it comes back and like, are you sure dude? like really? Do you really? Do you really want to do it? But you know,
DEMETRI KOFINAS 51:59
ASH BENNINGTON 52:00
when that filter obviously isn't there in the real world. And when you see things that so I had an interesting experience, right? So obviously, you know, I host this show and and I run content on the crypto side of religion, and I jumped into a clubhouse room. A couple of like, I think it was like, the week before last. And it was a Bitcoin er room, and I'm in the room and I'm listening. And you know, a guy gets up and says something and like, yeah, and of course revision, and they're talking about all these other shit coins. And I'm like, okay, whatever, that's cool. And they're 1000s of people in the room. I forget whether it's 1000 or 2000, or 3000, but a lot of people and, and then somebody else says something about revision, and I'm like, oh, man, do I want to jump in here? And I started pinging the guys on Twitter. I was like, Yo, man, I you know, I run content at religion crypto, like I'm here, if you want to bring me up. And a moderator comes on and says, guys, it appears that we have Ash Bennington, who actually runs the religion crypto, editorial, and I'm gonna bring him up on stage. And so from there, it's literally like, it's like, it's like 90 minutes of me against the right people are like, kind of like, and, you know, I'm a pretty mellow guy, right? Like,
DEMETRI KOFINAS 53:10
ASH BENNINGTON 53:11
I always joke like,
DEMETRI KOFINAS 53:12
you're super mellow. You're like, the least threatening person on the planet.
ASH BENNINGTON 53:17
I think that's a compliment.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 53:18
It is a compliment. Of course, it's a compliment.
ASH BENNINGTON 53:20
You know, I was joking. I was like, Look, I'm not you know, I'm not always the smartest guy in the room. In fact, I'm rarely the smartest guy in the room. I'm usually the most mellow like I can I can kind of just like lay back. And so I'm listening to these, you know, to these guys yelling at me about about religious content. There isn't enough about Bitcoin. There's too much about all coins. And like I was coin Yeah, right. Right. Right. And at one point, the moderator jumps in and says, Ash, I just I just before you answer that question, I I just want to make sure that you're okay to continue here. Like, yeah, no, of course, I'm okay. They're not like attacking me. They it's an idea, right? Like, I don't feel I don't feel personally attacked by Yeah. So we engage and we have this conversation. It goes on for like 90 minutes. And what's really interesting to me is that after the the room after I left the room, at least, I connected with all of the worst critics on on Twitter. And they're all absolutely lovely. We connected in indirect messaging. I've, you know, I've done a whole series of like zoom calls with these guys. And it's just a kind of like, Alright, well, what's on your mind, tell me why you feel so passionately about this. And they tell you their stories. And for the most part, as I said, Actually, the beginning of this episode, what it's really about is like, Look, we've been there, right? We saw this in 2017. We watch people invest in all coins, and we watch people get hurt, and we just don't want to see it happening. And then they tell you their view of Bitcoin, but it's fascinating to me to see the group dynamic of social media and how people can be really riled up and then when you have the opportunity to talk to them, one on one. It's a totally different dynamic. They can connect with you, as a human being. You're not just someone who represents the idea that they hate or that they're supposed to. It's fascinating. It's just actually fascinating.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 54:54
Yeah, totally, man. Well, good for you for doing that. And I, I love doing this, I'd love doing something similar, you know, I love, I love being able to engage with people in a manner where we don't we none of us feel existentially threatened, right, where we can actually bring our ideas out. And that also requires ash, the reason why you're able to do that, is because you don't actually attach yourself your own identity to a particular position. You know, that's not something that you do. And I think that and I try to do that as little as possible. I certainly I didn't always do that it was the opposite of that. But since I started the podcast, that was very much something I wanted, and it's what allows me to be able to, to be wrong. Because if I'm gonna, if being wrong means that like, I have to look like an asshole every time, well, then I'm never going to accept that I'm wrong. You know, and if my brand is attached to being the know, at all, which so many people, they make money by being the person who knows, I'm the expert on XYZ, Call me when you need an answer to this office, you're not the expert of that anymore, you can make money. Right? You know, and that's, that's a real, that's a real problem. And I to your point about the Bitcoin all coin Bitcoin thing again, that is 100%. True. And I think that is also a very, but I think it's also not it's not entirely because people don't want to see other people get hurt, right? I think it's also about it's about belief, you know, it's about believing in Bitcoin, and not believing in these altcoins and associating their own experience and extrapolating from that. And this is a very, it's a very common narrative in the space. And yet, there are some very interesting projects that are not Bitcoin.
ASH BENNINGTON 56:49
Of course, of course, I think that's absolutely true. And, and, you know, the the world did not end in 2008. And, by the way, we should say, and I'm sure bitcoiners would also point out that Bitcoin didn't end in 2008, either, it's obviously something that's continued to evolve. But there are incredibly interesting projects out there. But I have to say, like, while I'm not 100%, on board, with everything that I obviously not surprisingly, everything that I heard in this in the last like two weeks or so since I've been going down that rabbit hole, I get the position and I and I understand it, and I and I do have respect for it. And I really want to do more of the of the core Bitcoin content on religion, because I think it's an important story to tell, look, one of the things that that for me if like if you know, talk about this debate, but if you're talking about it, just like as a journalist, and not sort of from a, from a philosophical position, one of the things that's interesting to me is that there's a hard number, right? There's a quantifiable number here. And that number is right, as of right now, as we're taping this 61.5% that's the Bitcoin dominance index. So right now, roughly two thirds of every dollar 61 and a half cents of every dollar that's invested in the digital asset space is invested in Bitcoin. And so it is kind of, you know, it's unquestionably it's a, it's a massive part of the space, just a quantitative dollar for dollar basis.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 58:06
Well, I want to point out something and then I want to pose a question to you ash. So the thing I want to point out is that I bought into this idea in 2017, that the tokenization of everything, now the tokenization of software, would be was this brilliant mechanism for for moving capital, where it was needed in order to accelerate the build out of this decentralized database. Right, and, and all the applications that could be built on top of it. And I've since actually come to have the opposite point of view,
ASH BENNINGTON 58:42
DEMETRI KOFINAS 58:42
.I actually now think that this has been actually a big negative for the space. Because rather than focus on the opportunities, the applications and the use cases, everything becomes about the money, because everyone that that invest in these projects, can now trade their coin, and they see these things trading on exchanges every day. And they begin they become increasingly motivated by their by their dreams of Avarice, and not by the actual underlying technology and the geeky excitement of getting into it, which is something you and I can really relate to. So yes, um, you know, in terms of geeky You and I are mystery, we have geeked out so many times you and I, I think I remember the very first time that we met at a bar in New York, which I think it was like, I feel like it was was it bathtub gin? That our mutual acquaintance David introduced us, or was it in the West Village somewhere?
ASH BENNINGTON 59:37
I don't I don't remember. I just remember winding up at a party in Brooklyn with you at a sculptors house.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 59:45
That was no I mentioned before that no,
ASH BENNINGTON 59:48
Was it one was it the second was John.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 59:50
It was John's studio in Brooklyn, the industrial the industrial ovens. Yeah, giant that we met before that we met before that so what I want What I want to mention is that the very beginning you, you talked about Bitcoin being at the center of the financial system. And sort of I think you suggested that somehow you get the vision or your response,
ASH BENNINGTON 1:00:12
it's the center of the it's the center of the digital asset space, I wouldn't say it's right.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:00:15
Okay, or Okay, fine.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:00:17
couple more questions.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:00:17
What It certainly is not now. But the vision is the new vision for Bitcoin is that it should function as Prime collateral. That it should be the collateral upon which the entire financial building system is rebuilt. So rather than building a new system, you basically it's almost like you your Bitcoin, sort of, you know, falls underneath the sediment layers of the of the financial system, it becomes the settlement layer of everything.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:00:40
Yeah. Or at least a pristine collateral layer of everything. Yeah.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:00:44
Or at least the collateral.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:00:45
I think that's the view. I think that's the view.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:00:47
Yeah. So the question is, what is Bitcoin solving for ash? What do you believe that Bitcoin is solving for in this narrative? That is the widely accepted narrative today, which is that Bitcoin is at the very least prime collateral for a new digital gold based financial system?
ASH BENNINGTON 1:01:04
Well, I wouldn't say it's what I believe that Bitcoin is, is is solving for I would say, the argument goes, that what Bitcoin is solving for, is the search for the hardest money that the world has ever seen money that can can't be diluted by a central bank money that is programmatically capped at a specific level of coins, and money that is decentralized and beyond the control of a nation state. And finally, the last point on decentralization, that the rules of the system are created by the alignment of economic incentives for individuals and entities who transact in Bitcoin to act in their own rational economic interest. That's something that we've never seen before. It's kind of the game theorisation of money.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:01:57
Very interesting. So you brought up a second point on the game theory, which I wasn't thinking of, but I thought about before, and we should talk about it. So in the first case, this idea of inflation resistant money. I am just writing it down because I wanted to make sure it was there, in this case of inflation resistant money. I wonder First of all, and it's not just inflation resistant is deflationary supply schedule one in and of itself, such a money work, construction money work in the economy, and and then to how important is it how that money is allocated at the starting line? Right, the fact that create question that there is such a an enormous wealth disparity in how Bitcoin has been allocated, allocated is the wrong word in which it has will self allocated.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:02:48
So self allocated you consider it on your mind, right?
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:02:51
Yeah, mind and purchased and speculated regardless, the point is that you're building your stew, you're telling us that we haven't built that financial system yet? We're simply right now in the allocation phase. So and, and also all the sort of questions about who owns it? How much of it is how many of these accounts are actually active? How many of them are not?
ASH BENNINGTON 1:03:14
Well, the Bitcoin response is something like the following looks Toshi Nakamoto, posted this in a group, anyone who wanted to have access to it did have access to it, it may not be a perfect system, but it was the most fair system that could be devised. Now, I think, inherent in the question that you're asking is, but is that really, is that really the kind of system that we would want to have to establish the global decentralized monetary system on? In other words, if you didn't happen to be in the group, and you didn't happen to Satoshi in 2009 2010? Is that really the fairest system for the rest of the world?
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:03:52
Yeah, well, so like we had this. I mean, we had, you know, in a, it wasn't on steroids, like Bitcoin is, but we had it with the kid in the case of gold, right. And what we saw were was the rise of populism, the rise of the free silver movement, and all the vitriol pointed towards the money, trust. Why, because the big New York Central Banks, the big banks in Europe, London, and Frankfurt, controlled the supply of gold, right, by virtue of the fact that they control the supply of crude oil of gold, they controlled the supply of credit. And it was very difficult for for certain underserved classes in society, get access to that.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:04:32
And by the way, just empirically, the boom bust cycle during the gold standard era, far worse than the boom bust cycle in terms of the depth and frequency of the recessions than what came after it. Post 1914. With the central bank.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:04:48
Yeah, though, I will put on my Austrian my rothbard hat, and, and will actually side with bitcoiners in this case, which is to say that yes, I agree that we've reduced the volatility of financial crises, but I think we've increased long term system wide instability.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:05:08
Yeah. This is the Hyman Minsky point, right?
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:05:10
Exactly yeah absolutely.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:05:11
Breeds instability and you have absolute true, you basically have, you know, you don't have that steam valve mechanism. You just have a central bank that keeps continually into interceding in the economy. When something looks problematic, and you never have that market clearing system, it's almost like the metaphor, I guess, is forest fires, right? If you suppress forest fire, you don't have the ability to burn out the under shrub. And when the forest fire comes, as it always inevitably does, it becomes an absolute conflagration.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:05:42
Totally. And, you know, the same thing is true in politics. I, I the comparison I make is that interest rate volatility is akin to electoral volatility, that a country that has that has free and fair elections, the more free the more fair, the more constant, the more stable politically that a system will be. The opposite is true for countries that are closed Saudi Arabia.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:06:04
Right. And that's a counterintuitive point.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:06:07
Yeah, so like, you know, that's the case, for example, with China, China's a more closed system, they don't have, they don't have elections, the leaders are chosen within the party structure. And so the legitimacy of the state is not consistently replenished by the will of the population, there's less, less feedback between the populations will and the outcomes. And that causes that causes distortions that pile up over time leading to systemic instability. So So that was one side of it. The inflation you know, component of, of Bitcoin, you mentioned the rational economic interest, I think this is really powerful. Because bitcoins security model, its entire security model is built on the presumption that the risks to Bitcoin are come from people who are operating in their own selfish economic interest.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:07:02
Yeah, Mike green makes this argument about the susceptibility of the Bitcoin network to a non economic actor, especially a state, non economic actor attacking the system.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:07:12
And of course, you know, there are bitcoiners, again, like the you can't paint the community with a wide brush. There are many bitcoiners, who have been around for a long time who know this, this isn't new, these types of these types of attacks. The thing is that the community has gotten ahead of itself. Why because the price has gone up. This is ultimately the this is ultimately what's happening here. Ash, by the way, with Bitcoin, right? There is a there is a technology here, there's a there's an a mission, there's a vision, there's a promise. And because the there is a a short term, opportunity, right to become rich people. As the price goes up, they become increasingly corrupted. And what I would argue,is that simple.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:07:53
victim of their own success kind of argument, hey, too much
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:07:56
That's the victim though, yes, yeah,
ASH BENNINGTON 1:07:57
Talking of the feedback argument, and the will of the people, in this case, the will of our listeners, you know, this has been an incredible conversation. We have gone broad, and we have gone deep. And I think we've obviously strayed away from some of the, you know, the typical conversation that happens around digital assets. But I think it's so important to have these conversations more broadly, if you don't think about the broader social context, economic context, political context. And even as you point out the religious and philosophical context and the meta narratives that we're in, it's really difficult to understand and to analyze this system at the level of detail that you think about it.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:08:37
Hey, man, I appreciate that Ash. You know, right back at you, man, I miss I miss hanging out and nerding out with you. And having I don't get to do that much. I'm kind of in a I actually used to do with you all the time. Again, I talked about this on my episode, but I actually had a respect to you, I stopped calling you. Because I, I knew that.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:08:56
You need to explain this now.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:08:58
Because I knew that I was exhausting. You would like my calls, which were very selfish. And they were very much like, okay, here's a nerd out partner. And, you know, you know,
ASH BENNINGTON 1:09:07
By the way what Demetri talking about here is I would pick up the phone at like, 11:30 on a Tuesday night. It would be Demetri and I'd say to me sure what's going on? He's like, Hey, listen, I got a question for you. I've been looking at the Central Bank papers, white papers. Good. Let me send you the link. And I would look at it. And of course, the funny thing about it is that like, isn't that you pulled me down the rabbit hole, but then I would dive down the rabbit hole after you because you always have these incredibly compelling ideas.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:09:34
Yeah, it's I like talking about this kind of stuff. And I miss it. And if and I actually, for, you know, the first couple years of the show, I tried to find interns who were sort of younger versions of me, who would be really, you know, voracious learners and readers one off get man that's and I couldn't I couldn't I ended up giving up on that stuff. You know, I ended up giving up on it. It was just I couldn't, couldn't find anyone other than Dirty Ash.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:10:01
Well, I'm glad I could play your intern for
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:10:02
Mike Green Mike Green plays that role but he's, he's not as available. Well, this is as an intern would be.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:10:02
I think, that we're coming to a conclusion here, collectively and publicly. We're just gonna have to do these conversations more often. ,
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:10:15
Hey, man I'm down anytime you want. I really appreciate you having me on man.
ASH BENNINGTON 1:10:19
Fantastic. I really appreciate you coming on.
DEMETRI KOFINAS 1:10:22
Thank you, Ash and for your listeners, if they're interested, they can find hidden forces anywhere they can, they can visit our website at hidden forces.io they can follow me at Kofinas on Twitter. And if you're interested in a podcast that tries to show you the bigger picture, making connections connecting the dots, and that can give you an edge to think critically about the systems of power. They're structuring our world I I strongly suggest you check out hidden forces
ASH BENNINGTON 1:10:51
Demetri Thank you for joining us. Thank you for listening, everyone.
REAL VISION 1:10:53
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