Breaking the Bank: The Future of Bitcoin

Published on
October 18th, 2019
38 minutes

Breaking the Bank: The Future of Bitcoin

The Expert View ·
Featuring Meltem Demirors

Published on: October 18th, 2019 • Duration: 38 minutes

Are we rebuilding the traditional banking system — with all its numerous flaws — in the bitcoin and crypto space? Meltem Demirors, Chief Strategy Officer at CoinShares, joins Real Vision to discuss how the rising forces of centralization are creating a counter-revolution in the digital asset universe. Demirors also explores the similarities between bitcoin, gold and other traditional commodities. Filmed on October 1, 2019 in New York.



  • JF
    John F.
    29 May 2020 @ 09:45
    Brilliant overview. Listened to this conversation several times and walked away smarter. I have to say though, the millennial, valley-girl accent kept throwing me off again and again - made me chuckle.
  • DB
    Daniel B.
    13 November 2019 @ 11:57
    I think I'm In love
  • jy
    jose y.
    22 October 2019 @ 03:30
    she talks millennial for sure, does not stick to the topics, so much time not used properly
    • RC
      Richard C.
      9 November 2019 @ 20:24
      ok boomer
  • AK
    Ado K.
    18 October 2019 @ 11:47
    I would say that the rollback of the chain was never discussed in any meaningful way at all. I think the wonderful Meltem is a bit of a prisoner of her professional circumstances. The idea that the full nodes and the holders of last resort would have accepted the rollback is non realistic. All it would have lead to is a hard fork, and the chain that was immutable would have won on the open market since it has immutability as a value proposition. The fact that some with all due respect sh*tcoin promoters like CZ proposed such an idea was just met with laughter by the holders. Barry Silbert, CZ, The Winklevoss twins etc are non significant to the hodlers, as a matter of fact we the hodlers kind of despise them. This due to the fact that they are wall streeters with a small touch of Bitcoin in them. They reek of corporate America and Bitcoiners have a rather good sense of smell.
    • CT
      Crispim T.
      18 October 2019 @ 12:50
      Rolling back the BTC chain was never a possibility. Totally not viable technically and in terms of [social] consensus. The comment from CZ (guy running one of the biggest exchanges) about it was just that - a quick comment without thinking if it was even viable. BTC isn't Ethereum or XRP or other shitcoins where you can just rollback if you make a mistake. That's one of the many reasons why it is the best store of value mankind ever had.
    • LP
      Lauri P.
      18 October 2019 @ 15:00
      Actually, the "rollaback" was doable, not easily, but doable nonetheless. Basically Binance would have needed to reveal the private key for the hacked coins, and the whole hacked coin pool would have been a "prize pool" for miners to do a re-org and double spend the coins away from the hackers. The hacked 7000BTC would be equal to about 4 days worth of mining rewards. The hard part would obviously have been to convince couple of big mining pools and coordinate the effort quickly enough.
    • MM
      Matt M.
      18 October 2019 @ 20:26
      I agree. Surprised that she brought this up. One tweet by CZ is not a meaningful event for the industry.
    • AK
      Ado K.
      18 October 2019 @ 21:36
      Lauri, it would have been doable in theory but not in practice. I as a full node choose which chain I want to follow, I would follow the one without the re org, even if it means a hard fork. This really illustrates that the miners are merely a service provider, the full nodes collectively set the rules. Hashpower does not determine consensus. To summarize my answer to your very insightful statement, they can roll back whatever they want, The full nodes still choose which chain is "valid"
    • JB
      James B.
      26 October 2019 @ 19:15
      How are you making that choice? IF a big enough group coordinated a rollback attempt and actually managed to produce a longer chain, your full node would accept the longest chain as valid.
  • WB
    William B.
    19 October 2019 @ 21:15
    Why is she here this is weak. The way she talks and her whole ideas seem to be based on some lectures or story she read. She studied Keynes but doesn't seem to realize government spending didn't mean print money. Bitcoin is ultimately going to fail it has no intrinsic value and is something that can only happen in such a late stage bull market. All this talk about bitcoin halving is ludicrous as well. Just because the supply is low doesn't mean it automatically has value. Even if the bitcoin bulls are right answer me this what happens when the FED takes it over and seizes all your bitcoin by sending in FBI or insert agency. Crypto currency will stay but the FED in the end will run it making bitcoin fiat money. I will keep my gold 6,000 year track record of holding and maintaining its value.
    • AW
      Andrew W.
      20 October 2019 @ 01:12
      Bitcoin is international and cannot possibly be stopped by governments or any agency. You need to study a bit more on this before you comment.
    • JA
      John A.
      20 October 2019 @ 14:59
      It can be made illegal. That doesn’t stop you from owning it, but it could stop you from converting it back to dollars. That would also stop most vendors from accepting crypto in payment. (Most legit businesses would not risk their futures by transacting in illegal spaces) My guess is that governments figure out that with distributed ledger, they can track every penny spent, and make those pennies taxable. We will see government-sponsored cryptos, replacing those fiat dollars. I’m not a fan of the idea, I just can see where this is heading.
    • jv
      jacob v.
      20 October 2019 @ 15:16
      Hey William, I will try to avoid being too stereotypical but the FED or FBI is not going to seize any Bitcoin that I or my neighbour would own. USA is only a part of the Bitcoin network which is one of the reasons why Bitcoin has value. It is also permissionless, fungible, secure, scarce (with an impeccable Stock to Flow Ratio that increases over time ), expensive to create, durable, portable and highly divisible. The Stock to Flow Ratio has just shown correlation with price development so far - it will be interesting to see how Bitcoin behaves in the time 1 - 2 years after the next halvening in 2020. Nobody knows and that includes the guys who writes "period" after his opinion in the paragraph above. Owning gold has always been a good idea - maybe owning a little bit of this magic internet money called Bitcoin could also prove to be a good idea. Nobody knows but as time goes by and the "bubble" has burst and the value ended higher more than a handful of times the chance of success for Bitcoin is increasing.
    • WB
      William B.
      20 October 2019 @ 20:19
      Hey Andrew how about you study more when the government outlaws it and throws you in jail they don't need your actual coins. Just because you can't stop it doesn't mean it can't be illegal or government can't prevent access or make it very difficult and not worth it ie. drug war.
    • WB
      William B.
      20 October 2019 @ 20:28
      Jacob V. you are missing the point they don't have to seize the bitcoin you can have and keep all of them. What they will and can do is prevent banks and businesses from accepting it because it isn't legal currency and then the FED launches their own digital currency. Keep buying bitcoin a digital currency that only exists as 1's and 0's as soon as the next crisis comes watch it fade away into memory. Just be patient and remember bitcoin is still going down from all time highs. I'll come back and post my lol in 5 - 10 years if it even takes that long.
    • jv
      jacob v.
      21 October 2019 @ 04:11
      Hey again William, As I see it USA is slowly losing economical sovereignty. Opting out of a potential world currency is of course an option - risky but doable. What do you mean FED will launch a digital currency? We have had digital currencies for years. I personally haven't hold any bills in my wallet for the last couple of years. I pay with credit card or with my phone. Gold has functioned well as a standard but a purely digital version would work better for the future and it should not be controlled by any government. When you use gold to back a currency you need to trust that the gold is actually there and that is not tampered with. You can easily trust your Bitcoin is real because the whole network is constantly verifying it and if you responsible you have your own node checking it too. And your comment on the price is misleading. Bitcoin has crashed many times - it was not invented in 2017. If you look at the history you will find that when it falls from a new ATH it has never gone below the previous ATL as is the case this time. Bitcoin is not about having a "lol". I don't care about being right I just hope I am because I believe a decentralised non-sovereign world currency will create a framework for more unity. Peace out my friend and green lights to all.
    • CW
      Chris W.
      21 October 2019 @ 07:51
      You do realize not that long ago it was illegal to own gold right? With bitcoin, if you don't share you private key with anyone it's impossible for the government to seize.
    • AA
      Aldo A.
      25 October 2019 @ 03:27
      Gold is so heavy, so slow, so easy to confiscate, so hard to cross frontiers
    • JB
      James B.
      26 October 2019 @ 18:51
      If the government starts seizing assets your gold with maintain its value for them.
  • JF
    Joseph F.
    23 October 2019 @ 15:54
    BTC/USD -500.55 -6.29% Oct 23/19. HODL, LOL.
    • SC
      Sean C.
      25 October 2019 @ 20:47
      BTC +1245 +16.6% Oct 25/19
  • MC
    Margarine C.
    20 October 2019 @ 18:17
    MD a few steps ahead (per usual!) "Will we get rich or get free?" then she says something like "Millennials are desperate to triple their net worth".....did she just answer her own question? :-( I hope not. A perspective worth sharing, regardless. thanks!
    • AA
      Aldo A.
      25 October 2019 @ 03:25
      Milleniala are coming for the money, staying for the freedom
  • CS
    Charles S.
    24 October 2019 @ 05:22
    Presentation style more apt for touting pot stocks than currencies
  • IR
    Ian R.
    22 October 2019 @ 05:54
    I didn't find anything objectionable in this interview, but the way she speaks with all the positive spin about all the good that can come from crypto reminds me of the Zuckerberg spin about social media -technological nirvana and utopia where everyone can communicate and exchange ideas and live happily ever after. Social media in reality is a bulletin board for bullies and is in general a cesspit. Hasn't turned out anything like what was envisaged. Id like to know what her plan is to ensure that crypto doesn't turn out the same way. Everything was about what 'we want' and 'we' have intended etc. I admire her positive approach to it all but I find that there is limited discussion about the possibilities of the positives not coming to fruition. Alexander the Great was always one for having an exit strategy before going to war-question is what is their exit strategy especially given her use of the word 'revolution'?
  • jy
    jose y.
    22 October 2019 @ 03:19
    13 tons of gold were confiscated next to 37 billions in cash/assets from a former mayor, it was confiscated during a corruption investigation. these incidents happened a lot all around china.
  • MP
    Matias P.
    20 October 2019 @ 23:43
    What has she achieved? Not sure her record warrants allocating weight to what she says
    • AG
      Andre G.
      21 October 2019 @ 19:18
      Does her arguments, articulation, knowledge and manner of communication warrant any weight? I had never heard of her before, but she came across well to me, just based on her words and communication skills.
  • AW
    Aaron W.
    18 October 2019 @ 16:02
    Bitcoin isn't decentralized. Created by 10 people. One person today owns 40% of lightning network. One person. Five companies (all Chinese and Russian) own 80% of hashpower. The sole named successor by Satoshi, Gavin Andresen, has literally called in rich and given up. Decentralization is a myth. Marketing.
    • MF
      Michael F.
      19 October 2019 @ 04:56
      You are extremely misinformed.
    • TS
      Taranvir S.
      19 October 2019 @ 11:04
      Source please, thanks.
    • MC
      Marc C.
      19 October 2019 @ 15:01
      Decentralization is demonstrated by the historical fidelity of the bitcoin blockchain. If someone could have taken advantage of the system, they would have.
    • SM
      Sebastian M.
      21 October 2019 @ 19:11
      OK, so tell me: how do any of these parties you mention influence consensus?
  • GC
    Gary C.
    21 October 2019 @ 18:19
    Meltem, incredible discussion. You briefly mentioned the issue of consensus: would be interested in your thoughts on the Hedera Hashgraph, from my standpoint, it looks as enticing as my bitcoin investment years ago.
  • RM
    Russell M.
    21 October 2019 @ 13:15
    Thanks for posting the sci fi reading list on your website. I’ll be checking that out.
  • MS
    Michael S.
    21 October 2019 @ 11:14
    Future of BTC: Napster
  • RW
    Ryan W.
    21 October 2019 @ 01:53
    I hate these repeated arguments that try to compare physical gold to crypto pass phrases when the electronic account of gold holdings, are just as protected whether in a physically backed ETF or private vault. I still travel the world with my password protected gold holdings, convertible at any time, which is REAL gold and it is just as convenient and secure and transportable as my crypto. What's more, I have the luxury of personally holding or carrying around the world a little gold in my pocket, and in some unusual emergency, my coins means something to everyone on the planet including the wife, kids, and farmer down the road. PS got something against kittens?
  • RW
    Ryan W.
    21 October 2019 @ 01:16
  • CW
    Christian W.
    20 October 2019 @ 21:13
    Meltem always manages to surprise me with her well-rounded take on Bitcoin and the crypto asset space. We belong to the same generation and I do agree with her: real estate is outpriced for most of my generation, but almost all of my peers are bitcoiners, precoiners or shitcoiners, with the latter usually being the first step to becoming a bitcoiner. This interview alone was worth my yearly Real Vision subscription.
  • cp
    claude-vincent p.
    20 October 2019 @ 13:18
    Bitcoin and other cryptos are for flight capital, illegal transactions and speculation. Period. It does not own anything (e.g. blockchain) it has no intrinsic value but costs lot in terms of energy at all time and forever. The rest is just blah blah blah.
  • wj
    wiktor j.
    20 October 2019 @ 09:42
    Does she get her news from CNBC? I heard democrates dont have the votes and the whistle blower is a fake.
  • FF
    Francis F.
    19 October 2019 @ 13:05
    Is she married ?
    • RM
      Robert M.
      19 October 2019 @ 17:15
      She is wearing a wedding band, but not sure it is a relevant question.
    • RS
      Rajat S.
      20 October 2019 @ 01:10
      She had her wedding ceremony recently. no chance here. I had the same question seeing her the first time.
    • as
      andrew s.
      20 October 2019 @ 09:22
      Try going out and talking to real people!
  • BK
    Brian K.
    18 October 2019 @ 21:59
    I could only stand about 15 minutes of this. It’s like watching a high school kid who is making it up as she goes and thinks giggles, side looks, and up talking will make up for it.
    • AK
      Arnold K.
      20 October 2019 @ 01:38
      Yeah...that gigling and inflection at the end of many sentences doesnt work for me. Having said that she is smart and mixes with many other smart people so I listened through to the end.
  • AW
    Andrew W.
    20 October 2019 @ 01:19
    Great talk except for the bit about no recession for 10 years. Is she qualified to make this assessment? I pay for Macro Insiders for that part.
  • TH
    Timo H.
    19 October 2019 @ 09:22
    Meltem is probably onto something here. There's a risk, that people consider the Bitcoin as The Innovation, and try to place it into the existing world. That's what the whole Bitcoin vs. Gold conversation is about. Should I jump into a digital world by investing into a new digital asset without really thinking about what's the real promise of the digital world? The bitcoiner thinking basically leads to what we have today. We have a new digital asset, which is managed in the traditional manner. You trade bitcoin in 3rd party operated exchanges and you store them in 3rd party operated custody services. Where's the talk about making 3rd parties obsolete? Wasn't that supposed to be THE great promise of crypto? If you have a proper look under the hood of the Bitcoin technology, you can extract from there some great ideas about how to really disrupt the world. What about just digitalizing existing assets, like real estate, shares, commodities etc. and changing everything else around them? It actually IS possible today to trade in the network without any third parties, i.e. without stock exchanges, custody services or clearing services. It just requires you to accept, that the real innovations are a couple of steps further from the Bitcoin innovation. The punch line is, that you don't need any cryptocurrencies in this redesigned world. Any digitalizeable asset considered as money-good can be used as the means of settlement there. Creating a new digital asset class (cryptocurrencies) and fitting it into the current structures of the economy vs. Digitalising an existing asset and rebuilding the world around it using the innovations first demonstrated in Bitcoin. Which approach is more disruptive? Both are possible today.
    • GA
      Giedrius A.
      19 October 2019 @ 11:12
    • CH
      Crag H.
      19 October 2019 @ 11:29
      Someone hacked my wallet and stole my private key that represent the ownership of my house. Now someone's outside the door saying I have one week to move out. Damn.
    • TH
      Timo H.
      19 October 2019 @ 13:26
      Petter, that's what happens in Bitcoin network. In more sophisticated identity and transaction management networks, stealing identity so, that you can execute a big transaction with it, is way more difficult.
    • GH
      Garrett H.
      19 October 2019 @ 14:45
      Blockchains/distributed databases only provide one thing: decentralized authority over data. You don't need cryptocurrency to securitize assets like your house - that is already being done by banks when they create CLOs. Putting assets like your house on a blockchain makes no sense without a counterparty such as a bank or government that can enforce the ownership of that house. The transfer of securities between banks/governments could happen on a permissioned blockchain, but don't require the average person to have to interact with such blockchains. The only thing cryptocurrency can secure by itself is the data stored on its ledger, through the incentive structure of the miners. The Bitcoin network will almost certainly never be shut down entirely without cooperation between all governments on a scale not seen before. Some governments will make it illegal along with gold, but those who want access to sound money will vote with their feet and move to countries where they are still allowed to store value.
    • AW
      Andrew W.
      20 October 2019 @ 01:16
      I only view bitcoin as a monetary policy and money supply that we desperately need. Any higher layer solutions on top of it are fine by me as long as the bitcoin is real.
  • RM
    Robert M.
    19 October 2019 @ 17:14
    Interesting interview, but not sure I am buying the story that someone is holding $624 million of gold in their basement in China. Not sure she appreciates how much 13 tons of gold equates too.
    • BT
      Ben T.
      19 October 2019 @ 21:57
      Very easy to google this and see for yourself...
  • MC
    Marc C.
    18 October 2019 @ 07:13
    first minute was spew of lies. people are now aware of abuses of power? they have been aware since way way back in the imperalist days. markets are in turmoil? which one?
    • CT
      Crispim T.
      18 October 2019 @ 12:54
      QE, negative rates, zombie useless companies surviving on buybacks they afford with the cheap interest... can't be sustained. And when it busts it's going to be bigger than 2000 and 2008. Back then there was no alternative - now there is - BTC. I'm dumping a lot of fiat for it - every responsible investor should do the same.
    • MC
      Marc C.
      19 October 2019 @ 15:10
      Ah, I'm (another) Marc C. and I have not endorsed the above message. /s
  • CT
    Crispim T.
    18 October 2019 @ 13:08
    OK talk. The part about rolling back the BTC chain is a waste of time - the idea was not "rejected" - it wasn't viable at all and could not be done technically even if they had agreed to do it. BTC isn't Ethereum. There are no Undos. No rollbacks. No chargebacks. Vitalik can't pull a few strings to wipe out losses. Meltem has some interesting views but is still way too interested in shitcoinery. Should focus 100% on BTC as that is the inevitable standard. It's the TCP/IP of this market.
    • MC
      Marc C.
      19 October 2019 @ 15:04
      She has spoken many times on the topic of shitcoins. Search (Meltem shitcoin).
  • MM
    M. M.
    18 October 2019 @ 16:10
    Isnt the halving priced in?
    • MF
      Michael F.
      19 October 2019 @ 04:55
      Definitely not.
    • MC
      Marc C.
      19 October 2019 @ 14:57
      Still an open question. Who has the power to price it in? Miners still relevant or is Wall Street calling the shots?
  • TH
    Tom H.
    19 October 2019 @ 05:28
    Excellent! Demirors gave me new directions of thought which is one of the main things I come to Real Vision for. I look forward to seeing how her ideas evolve over time.
  • ww
    will w.
    18 October 2019 @ 07:16
    A good presentation. One serious mis-statement: America, aka The United States, is not (yet), and was not founded as, a "Democracy"! It was established as, and still remains to some extent, a Republic. Remember what Ben Franklin said, when the 1787 Convention that wrote the Constitution had finished, to someone who asked him what they (the Convention) had done: He remarked that they had established "a REPUBLIC -- IF you can keep it!" Of course, it's now largely corrupted, but it remains important to distinguish between a Democracy and a Republic. Two wolves and a Sheep, voting on what to have for dinner, meet the definition of 'Democracy'...
    • NI
      Nate I.
      19 October 2019 @ 05:25
      The insidious psy-op relentlessly pushing the concept of "our democracy" in order to confuse Americans drives me insane. Kids need to recite the pledge until they get it .... "and to the republic for which it stands". Two wolves and a sheep indeed. Few things are worse than mob rule.
  • CB
    Clifford B.
    18 October 2019 @ 16:40
    Also on the one hand, she believes that there shall be no recession and the market will scream to new highs never seen but are investing in supposed safe haven bitcoin, gold and treasuries in that order. Contradict much?
    • MF
      Michael F.
      19 October 2019 @ 04:55
      The Fed is afraid to let a recession occur. If they keep printing (along with the rest of the world) there is likely to be a short term bull market in USD denominated assets (not 10 years worth though) before the whole thing corrects and a new system is born.
  • MF
    Michael F.
    19 October 2019 @ 04:53
    Great interview!
  • MM
    Matt M.
    19 October 2019 @ 01:25
    Meltem is an insightful thinker and important contributor to the crypto ecosystem. Please have her back to talk about the lightning network.
  • SG
    Sviatoslav G.
    18 October 2019 @ 09:08
    I wish Meltem could elaborate more on why she sees low chances of a recession. Otherwise, it was a good observation that bitcoin is getting more bank-like. Unfortunately, it's inevitable for mass adoption. People, especially the older generations, still find it too difficult to manage their bitcoins not saying about setting up nodes.
    • CT
      Crispim T.
      18 October 2019 @ 12:52
      Baby boomers will retire soon and pass trillions to their millenial children. The new generation is a lot more open to BTC and will have a lot of money to invest. The Internet was hard to use in 1990. We are in 1990 when it comes to the Internet of Money, BTC. Everything will become easier to use with a few more years of development. This is TCP/IP, usability and features are being built on top of BTC. It's getting more ossified, with a strong network effect. In my opinion we're past the point of no return - this thing is unstoppable now.
    • AW
      Aaron W.
      18 October 2019 @ 22:44
      Unstoppable like the most valuable domain name in the world... for five years, until another domain name became more valuable. Bitcoin is just something that's popular. Digital scarcity is just like domain names. Any sovereign or transnational can, and soon will, create a better cryptocurrency.
    • FR
      Frank R.
      19 October 2019 @ 00:27
      I agree Meltem should be on the recession watch series and breakdown why she thinks we are about to take off on a 10-year bull run. She's the first person ive heard this from. Most "experts" believe we have at the most 2 years before a recession.
  • PD
    Pat D.
    19 October 2019 @ 00:07
    The Panama Papers were leaked in 2015, i.e. 4 years ago (not 2)
  • SP
    Steve P.
    18 October 2019 @ 23:16
    Everyone will be connected by machine and IP address. We already are, but transactions don’t clear through your cousin 4K miles away while someone elsewhere earns some coin to lend that cousin some GPU processing power to stream his art work. Etc etc etc. it’s a major human neural network. That’s the point - connect personalities / people via IP and reward good behaviors.
  • SP
    Steve P.
    18 October 2019 @ 23:14
    This woman’s a genius. Her thoughts are even triggering insecure tyrants in the comments section. When crypto takes over , digital and private identities will conflate. 90TB all you need for billions of identities. China has that. Or 900? I forget. Click click click! Attention and focused changed , click!
  • JM
    Jonathan M.
    18 October 2019 @ 20:23
    i don't think there was much originality in anything she said.
  • CB
    Clifford B.
    18 October 2019 @ 16:33
    You're buying and hoping not holding.
  • JS
    John S.
    18 October 2019 @ 11:11
    Very enyoble