No, Don’t “Drop Gold”

Published on
July 3rd, 2019
48 minutes

An Inside Look at the Big Money’s Bitcoin Trading

No, Don’t “Drop Gold”

The Interview ·
Featuring Roy Sebag

Published on: July 3rd, 2019 • Duration: 48 minutes

Goldmoney founder and CEO Roy Sebag takes the other side when it comes to Grayscale Bitcoin Trust's recent 'Drop Gold' campaign. In this conversation with Stephan Spears of McEwen Mining, Sebag argues that gold is not an enemy that bitcoin needs to dethrone, but rather an accomplice in shaking up the fiat currency system as we know it. Filmed on June 26, 2019 in New York.



  • IM
    Ilias M.
    21 August 2020 @ 13:49
    Wow amazing thinker and argumentation, congrats, pls bring him again.
  • TB
    Teacher B.
    13 July 2020 @ 04:35
    Outstanding thoughts and insights from Roy Sebag, thanks so much RV for interviewing him and providing this knowledge to your viewers. Roy is not belittling Bitcoin -- he says directly multiple times he likes it, and we know he's invested in it -- rather he's giving us a master class in due diligence. Such an excellent teacher.
  • JG
    Jason G.
    23 June 2020 @ 05:10
    Two guys with, admitted, roots in the gold sector. It's amazing how short sided, defensive and blind they are.
  • SP
    Steve P.
    23 May 2020 @ 20:48
    Gold and bitcoin will combine. Soon, Gold will be stamped with a cold storage ID, and scanning its hash-key upon transfer of physical gold will enable the transfer of value between Gold and crypto. Value throughout history is an equivalency between two consenting parties. Eventually, technology allowed the creation of coin due to improved melting and metallurgy processes. This followed the natural evolution of economies from hunter gatherer to agrarian. Hunters had no centralized demand for a government, study of technology, etc because meat rots, fresh water spoils. Through time we domesticated animals which allowed us to store food with longer shelf lifes. At some point, people decided to appoint other people to design a system of literacy and writing to account for the grains that have a shelf life. That's when Gov's came in, and with that the design of fiction which appointed the smartest in a tribe as the leader. That fiction in leadership (appointed by God, etc) led to mans vanity and technology combining to stamp their face on newly melted metals. Today, things are digital - and we can combine the two. However, like any study of anything there is always the classic thinkers (Gold people are gold people) and the neo-thinkers (Bitcoin people are bitcoin people). I, personally am a businessman that can think of combining the utility of both. Does it make sense? Stamp gold with crypto - combine both.
  • WA
    Wissam A.
    6 February 2020 @ 10:23
    RV can we have Andreas Antonopoulos VS. Roy Sebag debate?
  • MD
    Michael D.
    23 November 2019 @ 16:26
    ...anyone else get the sense this guy isn't from Philadelphia?
  • LK
    Lalith K.
    4 August 2019 @ 13:39
    The regulators understand mining much better than Mr Sebag. While I don't doubt his business and economic expertise, he has very little understanding about how Bitcoin (the system) works. Miners order and append transactions and are reworded for the energy they use to produce this with the block reward (block subsidy and transaction fees). They have no power to change network or extract additional fees from holders. Users who run a full node validate transactions and broadcast them through the network. If a transaction is not follow a set of pre-existing rules (such as rogue miner fees) they will be be dropped from the network and, if this persists, the entity issuing invalid transactions will be banned by regular nodes. An attack by miners and other corporate entities on the bitcoin network took place in 2017. It was called Segwit 2x. It failed for the reasons above, which falsifies his hypothesis about bitcoin being a security. He also incorrectly stated the number of nodes is 10 000. This is only the number of publicly visible nodes (technically, which accept incoming connections). Developer Luck Dashjr has estimated the true number is far higher, as is their geographical distribution. He also shows his unfamiliarity with the technology by claiming the block size (which is the amount of transaction data sent to all nodes approximately every 10 minutes) is 580 GB. It is in fact around 2 MB. What he is instead describing the block chain size, which does not have to be stored by all nodes. Only a subset of nodes, called "archival" nodes, are required so that new participants can join the network. Normal users can run "pruned" nodes, which validate every single transaction, but only maintain a recent set of transactions (which can be adjusted to the user's hardware constraints). Me Sebag is correct to have reservations about mining in terms of whether transaction fees alone will be sufficient to have a stable and secure network when the block subsidy drops (it haves from an original 50 bitcoin every block approximately every 4 years). The plan is for transaction fees to pay for security of the network, but this has not been empirically tested. It is important to understand that this is not an inherent limitation of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. It is possible to have inflationary or disinflationary issuance (as is the case for ethereum and monero respectively, for example). I found the argument about the ongoing cost of maintaining an abstract asset interesting and worthy of more exploration. But it was also slightly misleading. Any mined or transacted bitcoin does not require an ongoing input of energy. As stated, energy is used to order new transactions so that the same bitcoin cannot be spent more than once. This is at the heart of bitcoin's digital scarcity. However, If an ongoing energy input is not provided, new transactions cannot be appended to the ledger, which would practically make the network and the the bitcoin useless. In such a scenario, bitcoin could only be exchanged in a physical manner, by buyers and sellers passing on private keys, much like paper notes or gold. Mining centralisation is a concern. My other personal concern is the about the lack of fungibility of bitcoin, although this is an active area of research. But spreading misinformation about how the system works and inappropriately adding scientific terms, like "entropy" and "metabolic energy", just to sound intelligent, is unhelpful. I think the takeaway message from this interview is that one should not invest in something they don't understand.
    • RH
      Robert H.
      5 November 2019 @ 17:45
      Excellent comment made much more eloquently than I could myself. My attention began to wane when he first mentioned the possibility of Bitcoin being a security. It’s no more a security than the tyres on my car.
  • RH
    Robert H.
    5 November 2019 @ 17:42
    24 minutes in, Mr Sebag makes what I believe to be a fundamental misunderstanding about Bitcoin, he says the miners promise a) that this asset will be around in 10 years and b) that there will be a return in this investment Bitcoin WILL be around in 10 years because if every miner shuts off their rigs, all that will happen is the difficulty drops to the point where I can mine it with my home PC. Of course in this case the price would have fallen off a cliff but that’s completely irrelevant, the network WILL still be running. As for b), where is the promise of a return? BItcoin, whether valued as a currency or a commodity, I’d only worth what people will pay for it. Supply and demand dictates the price, bitcoin makes no promises to anyone and neither do the miners.
  • Al
    Aurora l.
    31 July 2019 @ 06:14
    Biased. but some of his view about bitcoin is valuable that pointing out bitcoin's flaws, which we know that it's not perfect and there could be future version or new coin with better solution.
    • CM
      Christopher M.
      9 August 2019 @ 16:52
      So the new coin won't be Bitcoin?
  • BN
    Barrett N.
    13 July 2019 @ 03:14
    Liked the interview, however do sense bias, but I did like the interview. Bitcoin seems like a commodity, like gold or rice, it’s not a Security, according to the SEC, as it kept being referenced. Decentralized miners and farmers sell the commodity produced into the market, the market determines the price based on supply/demand. I cannot buy coffee with gold, rice or bitcoin, and I don’t really care if I can. I don’t want to buy gold to turn into cuff links, Adds no value to my life. The possible utility of bitcoin is both overestimated and underestimated. Many Venture Firms, Pantera Capital, Blockchain Capital, A16 are investing and building platforms for future uses. The energy and capital expense associated w Bitcoin May be a problem. But it’s really not less a problem for gold or farming. The massive Capital investment it takes for farming equipment, seeds, fertilizers and risk their commodity won’t make it through the season is very real. Capital equipment cost for gold is fairly significant. 2 guys w pick axes in a mine somewhere doesn’t quite cut it as a good analogy. Gold will be around for many years and it’s quite possible Bitcoin will too. When referencing energy cost of Bitcoin, if it’s compared to the entire banking system is inconsequential, Banking buildings, operational personal, printing money, trees for paper, regulatory authorities expense etc would be astronomical. If energy renewables continue to be adopted at an increasing rate, energy expense associated w Bitcoin will continue to be deflationary even if energy usage rises. If the Bitcoin hash rate indicates that the price should be much much higher, perhaps, that is telling you something. This gold / Bitcoin discussion will probably be around 5 years from now, but it’s quite possible to like them both.
  • AB
    AJ B.
    10 July 2019 @ 18:10
    Amen. Goldmoney was not ready for primetime a couple years ago when I tried (for months) to establish an account, but I will soon try again.
  • WM
    William M.
    9 July 2019 @ 23:17
    Bitcoin's best use seems to be getting money out of repressive countries and for various illegal activities. As such it has a lasting place in the world. Still, it's hard not to see it as just another heavily promoted Ponzi scheme. Gold is quite beautiful (cosmic money), has a very long history of being highly valued throughout most of the world and is a relatively compact, portable store of value. Still, it's quite possible to see it as just an exquisitely pretty pet rock that we input a lot of extra value to. Both bitcoin and gold depend on people having faith in them as stores of value and a medium of exchange. But ditto for all the fiat money systems humans have used - despite most of them failing over time and the rest consistently losing value via inflation etc. .. even the almighty US dollar. Yet they're so useful for paying for things especially when combined with modern technology like credit cards etc. Then again, investing in stocks and bonds is based on faith and trust in many respects too. It's all relative I guess...
  • MC
    Mark C.
    9 July 2019 @ 11:12
    Simply one of the best RV interviews. Very thought provoking.
  • RS
    Robert S.
    9 July 2019 @ 08:56
    Hey Roy, Standing ovation from me for a very thoughtful explanation of what a store of value is and what it cannot be. PS: Kudos to you for convincing a Peter Schiff ;-)
  • MW
    Moritz W.
    8 July 2019 @ 11:00
    Roy does not understand Bitcoin. The miners are just service providers and do not control the network. The network is controlled by the community of users and developers. Do your own research! ...and read this: >Bitcoin is an impenetrable fortress of validation< by StopAndDecrypt
    • MW
      Moritz W.
      8 July 2019 @ 11:07
      ....and nobody will use Coinbase :)
  • ME
    Michael E.
    6 July 2019 @ 16:24
    If we back the USD with Gold, there is no need for BTC. Very simple. 250 year history of USA, most of it was Gold back USD. Who has 40% of American wealth for 1% of population????
    • CH
      Charles H.
      7 July 2019 @ 23:10
      Reverse Nixon’s decision, introduce Breton-Woods III.
  • MP
    Matias P.
    7 July 2019 @ 00:17
    This guy runs a gold company, how can you expect him to bring objective perspective on bitcoin to the wonder he’s so pro gold....
    • CL
      Chris L.
      7 July 2019 @ 03:39
      Oh, he was very bitcoin positive during the fall 2017 ramp (after talking shit about it early that year). Jumped on the bitcoin train and begain holding bitcoin. Look at GoldMoney's stock on the TSX ($XAU). Mirror image of bitcoin from the ramp to the crash. Now, GoldMoney's financials are such garbage it's just a penny stock.
    • CH
      Charles H.
      7 July 2019 @ 23:09
      Perhaps because he has owned a Bitcoin mining company and understands the physical and business realities of the currency system?
  • CH
    Charles H.
    7 July 2019 @ 23:07
    Some really great insights, thank you. The thermodynamics of instantiating Bitcoin means that it is a negatively-yielding bond. Primary use case in speculation. I felt these things intuitively, but hearing them articulated clearly really helps.
  • LB
    Leanne B.
    7 July 2019 @ 19:49
    Excellent interview, but disingenuous to call Roy the founder of GoldMoney. That would be James Turk.
  • RM
    Richard M.
    3 July 2019 @ 14:25
    Fantastic discussion on Bitcoin! I will admit I am a big believer in gold so I do have a gold bias (like believing it really is a valid store of value - with 5,000 years of history to prove it). But I also think Bitcoin is a really interesting tradeable instrument (but realizing it is only a "speculative" trading instrument - there is no "real" value it). But regardless of it's value or not, if I can trade it to make money I'm all for it. I am really interested in reading Roy's paper that was briefly mentioned in the interview (it would have been nice if there had been a link to it in the video description!).
    • MK
      Michael K.
      3 July 2019 @ 14:36
      Check Roy’s Twitter it is the first pinned link on his profile
    • JE
      J E.
      7 July 2019 @ 12:32
      "no real value" ... hmmm. Before 5000 years, before people thought that gold had value... guess what?.... gold ALSO didn't have real value. I like the subjective theory of value of the Austrians.
  • MS
    Matt S.
    3 July 2019 @ 19:39
    That was awesome - good RVTV. I wish the question had been asked, once 21,000,000 Bitcoins have been mined (I understand that's theoretically almost impossible but just assume we are close enough to that number) What would be the incentive for the miners to continue powering their servers? Wouldn't the hash-rate drop off the edge of a cliff? Wouldn't then, the entire Bitcoin system thus become junk?
    • DC
      Dave C.
      3 July 2019 @ 21:47
      And the silence is deafening.
    • CE
      Carlos E.
      4 July 2019 @ 03:39
      When miners solve a puzzle, they receive not only the newly-created bitcoins, but also all the transaction fees embedded in the transactions they validate in their block. Once all bitcoins have been mined, the miners will continue to be compensated by the transaction fees. The hope is that when that happens, bitcoin will be in more widespread use and more valuable than it is now so that the fees are sufficient to incentivize the miners to keep mining.
    • JE
      J E.
      7 July 2019 @ 12:03
      you should research : "mining difficulty adjustment"
  • OB
    Oussama B.
    4 July 2019 @ 23:58
    Roy pretends to follow the Austrian tradition in economics only when it suits him. Near the end of the video he pointed out correctly how Austrian economics show that sound money and deflation are good and hoarding is a myth. However, he is evaluating gold as the amount of "work" or "energy" that went into its mining just to make an analogy against Bitcoin. If he really followed the austrian tradition, he would that the value of gold started from the subjectively value of its uses as a commodity (unlike the old labor theory of value that led to communism) and when it was adopted as money another monetary value was added to the commodity value.
    • JE
      J E.
      7 July 2019 @ 11:41
      Indeed. And bitcoin is better than gold because it's value is completely monetary and there is no utilitarian value. Because bitcoin is harder money - it's stock to flow ratio will be higher than gold's - it will naturally drive out softer moneys, starting with weak countries' currencies, then stronger ones and finally silver and gold.
  • ER
    Ed R.
    7 July 2019 @ 10:54
    One of the best interviews I have seen on RV. Excellent job both.
  • CL
    Chris L.
    7 July 2019 @ 03:37
    This guy is a joke. Ran GoldMoney into the ground.
  • MP
    Matias P.
    7 July 2019 @ 00:08
    The point made about jewelers is flawed. Just because people will not sell the jewellery doesn’t mean the price of gold can’t drop significantly from where it is today. A large fraction of gold’s market cap comes from its financialization and securitization. If you remove those and leave the jewellery on its as a use case you could end up with a different market structure. Also, gold and bitcoin are not mutually exclusive, they can “run” in parallel.
  • GG
    Gabriel G.
    6 July 2019 @ 22:27
    LOL Bitcoin > Gold
  • IO
    Indi O.
    6 July 2019 @ 20:17
    I'd sure hate to have to try to travel with any gold beyond simple jewelry that won't attract attention. Much easier to carry a thumb drive or memorize a phrase. I also love the ease of sending digital money to someone in another country within minutes 24/7. Having constant control over my money without needing permission from any government body to spend it has a value to me, and I'm guessing it has even more value to people in some more oppressive countries with less respective for individual freedom. There will be a use case for these functions regardless of what happens with gold. Both serve a purpose and I don't see them as in a race with each other myself. I wouldn't want to be without a bit of both. And in terms of the cost of paying the miners to verify transactions (even after the last BTC has been mined), I'll gladly accept that over the storage and transportation costs involved with gold and the usury costs involved with the fiat money system. Further, the energy cost that went into first mining it not being fully reflected in the current price is a temporary issue that will be solved by price appreciation once more people understand that it even exists and that fiat will not always exist. Additionally, I appreciate that 70% of BTC mining has its energy coming from renewable sources right now, with the percentage rising. I'd love to see gold mined using something other than diesel. Will that ever happen? Lastly, when the price of BTC falls, the difficulty level falls too, making it cheaper to mine. A falling price also means that those who have old equipment or expensive energy sources can't compete, so there is churn. Someone is always waiting to replace the old guy so long as there is fundamental belief in the longterm story of BTC. Either you believe that people are going to have enough power to demand the same democracy be applied to their money as has been applied to their politics once they are exposed to the concept, or you don't believe that. Time will tell, but I suggest being well hedged for either possibility.
  • SB
    Stephen B.
    5 July 2019 @ 21:27
    Great interview but i would like to add an additional perspective that no one likes to talk about. That is the vulnerability of the power grid itself which, of course, is essential for maintaining the internet (and therefore bitcoin). The fact is that is the high voltage power grid was never designed to withstand a (natural) coronal mass injection type event (let alone a man made EMP). Such an event occurred in 1859 (the "Carrington Event") which fried the then fledgling telegraph system in America. A repeat event is not only statistically possibile but our vulnerability to such an event is increasing, as the complexity of our systems increase and the strength of the magnetosphere decays. Should such an event occur today, the impact is hard to predict but the outcome would almost certainly be multitudes more devastating than the 1965 or 2003 blackouts, as this would almost certainly involve manufacturing new super grid transformers, which in normal times take one to two years to replace and following an abnormal event might take considerably longer. You could argue that such an event would end life as we know it (which is a legitimate viewpoint) but this is the reason that while I speculate on bitcoin i rely on physical gold for long term wealth preservation.
  • FS
    Franz S.
    5 July 2019 @ 07:17
    Probably the best critical discussion of Bitcoin that I've heard so far. I look forward to hearing more from Sebag. I will forgive him for mentioning (in passing!) that all systems of logic are incomplete -- presumably a reference to Godel's Incompleteness Theorem and/or the Halting Problem -- as if it should be obvious to the listener how this point supports his thesis.
  • JS
    John S.
    5 July 2019 @ 02:36
    Roy Sebag is a truly brilliant young man gifted with the ability to make the complex fairly easy to understand. As for bitcoin, I find it increasingly difficult to understand how so many continue have faith in something that's flawed in so many ways. It seems to me that's it's value is based on faith in an idea. A powerful idea but the fact that it's difficult to obtain and requires constant input of resources to exist does not automatically endow it with value.
  • NR
    Nelson R.
    5 July 2019 @ 02:05
    The best interview on Bitcoin in the history of RV. Excellent content. Thanks for keeping it outside of the Cryptoweek pump.
  • AE
    Anthony E.
    3 July 2019 @ 19:55
    Gold vs BTC is a silly angst. I love/own both, but the echo chamber in the RV community is dangerously biased against BTC. Roy has a great perspective, but he wasn't debating BTC on its actual value or potential. This wasn't an actual G v B comparison. First of all, Silbert should not be validated as a thought leader in the crypto space. His skill is confrontational marketing, NOT keeping up with Raoul in a conversation, as you'll see. That said, you know his name and his video which does no favors to anyone. Roy is also marketing and knows his audience. His POV through the lens of physics/thermodynamics is very interesting, but we already live in a digital global economy transacting every day, without utility of physical gold as a currency (save computer parts). Gold is gold, and always will be valuable, but it's not competing with the most compelling aspects of BTC: 1. Ease of use: Once Crypto simplifies and transacts as easily as a bank, it's over. It's still early with plenty of work, but too many innovators are way too incentivized to slow down, which is why speculation ranges from 50k-400k per BTC. Perhaps we, in the RV community, are insulated from the actual desperation of folks oppressed by the current financial system. Billions of people are looking for a way around it and they'll use it, regardless of any regulation, if it means a healthier future for their families. They will be able to transact and send money globally, with a fraction of the fees. Regulation and hiccups are to come, but you have to remember that policy makers are on their heels as well. It's already way bigger than anyone imagined, they don't understand it, and they won't be effective because......they've never been effective in any financial arena. They're dealing with innovators moving at a speed the world has never seen. 2. Centralization: Roy's definition of BTC being centralization may work for an academic contrarian, but that is an exaggerated spin at best. I could write a paper that my family loves me, but you would call bullshit if you saw the hurtful birthday cards. Remember that BTC was a direct response to the GFC, when mainstream consumers experienced the actual fragility of the global financial complex. The largest generation of all time (democrats & republicans, alike) has come of age, scarred with a profound disdain for any financial tool exposed to lobbyists. A worldwide community of millions of miners are well incentivized by the value of btc (currently 11.2k) and fees to leave their rigs on overdrive, in the background, to accumulate btc and validate transactions for fees. This puts the power in the hands of millions of miners all over the world. By any definition in the realm of central banks and tax cuts, this isn't centralized. That point was ridiculous. Other cryptos are centralized, but not BTC, LTC, and many others. 3. Institutional adoption: Already happening. Unless you do research, you'll only hear the hubris of new money ass-clowns. The leaders in blockchain dev are so far advanced, that the largest institutions in the world are either partnering or trying to create their own. The tricky part is that consumers don't trust the largest institutions in the world, so in the short term, there will be partnerships skyrocketing cryptos bridging the gap between traditional markets and crypto. BUT, if we see anything like the "RV endorsed everything bubble" (on the heels of 2008), the masses will seek a currency that they control. Important Side Note: all cryptos can be stored on a hard wallet, offline, on a drive, encrypted almost beyond comfort. 4. Security: Storing Gold in a vault is the exact same way BTC holders store their BTC. It lives offline on an encrypted drive, with complex pass words. Things will always change and evolve. I think the entire RV platform provides a collective bullish thesis for crypto AND gold. I personally cannot envision a scenario wherein the world sinks into recession and Bitcoin loses value. You should read about crypto to understand a very complicated movement, because it's not going anywhere - look at the yearly higher lows. A closed mind has never helped an investor.
    • JB
      John B. | Contributor
      3 July 2019 @ 20:16
      It doesn't sound like you have watched the interview. Roy pointed out that most miners are unable to generate a profit and the ones that do are forced to liquidate their coins for fiat. Consequently, the centralization of cryptocurrency "miners" or "issuers as Roy has coined them, is at this point beyond debate.
    • AE
      Anthony E.
      4 July 2019 @ 01:43
      I spent way too long on that last post, admittedly. But, come on, if miners weren’t making money doing it, there wouldn’t be miners. There is no need to debate that? They will always get paid btc to validate btc transactions even after the 21M. When it is halved btc will be worth a shit ton of money and miners will be making more. But you should stick to your guns, because of this video. One video finally proves that bitcoin is not actually worth $600 more than my earlier comment.
    • RS
      Ryan S.
      4 July 2019 @ 09:26
      Pretty arrogant comment John. Cryptocurrency mining centralization is a fantastic topic with plenty of arguments on both sides of the spectrum. But let's not debate that at all because you say so. Hmmm
    • OB
      Oussama B.
      4 July 2019 @ 23:36
      very well articulated Anthony it's almost like you're reading my mind. it's become common for the finance community to not realize that the financial repression they benefit from and which hurts the average folk is the reason crypto is appealing to people. Instead they focus on details that are irrelevant on the grand scheme to say " I got you foolish young crypto enthusiasts your technology has a fatal flaw ". What they forget is the brightest minds in the world are designing the consensus mechanisms in crypto and they are aware of all the issues and there are tons of other cryptos taking different tradeoffs. Roy is only half right about one thing: his twisted interpretation of bitcoin's nature as an asset (security/commodity) can easily be bought up by regulators. That would be my major concern. I don't know wether that will happen and how would it affect Bitcoin. let's wait and see.
  • PG
    Philippe G.
    4 July 2019 @ 23:35
    Thanks a ton RV for this interview. Great to hear directly from Sebag; his company/stock has been on my radar for some time now - an interesting blend of FinTech and precious metals. More importantly, not yet another pre-revenue hype machine with lofty promises that you often see listed in Toronto... Excellent conversation! Mathematical abstractions, natural elements, and philosophical differences....oh my!! Would have appreciated more details/context on GoldMoney's exit from the crypto space...
  • JE
    James E.
    4 July 2019 @ 21:40
    Very impressive interview, thank you RV and Roy for clearing the fog on this subject.
  • RS
    Rajat S.
    4 July 2019 @ 19:04
    Great interview and excellent communication from Roy especially the inherent decay portion which has been apparently and allegedly raised as a flaw in BTC design. The last 2 chapters in Saifedean Ammous book "The Bitcoin Standard" gives a great explanation of why the monetary dynamics will work in 2040-2140 even when the miners are incentivized with new BTC and transaction fees to secure the network. However the biggest difference that Roy hasn't addressed in this interview is the complete lack of ability to assay/validate and establish the TRUST in centralized parties like Fed/Gold Money for Gold purity and numbers. Which is why there are no fake BTC when you can validate your own transactions running a full node on min req of 585 GB and 6GB RAM. "Validate not trust" is what makes it worth to run these miners coz it's simple math accessible to everyone and NOT some "secure" trusted entities forcing people to use them. Digital Scarcity with complete trust is an unbeatable feature.
  • PV
    P V.
    4 July 2019 @ 15:57
    Notwithstanding that Gold and BTC are not a zero sum game, Roy conveniently forgets two key issues: 1) He references the "cost" to the network, ie mining. He does not mention the massive cost that implies the gold ecosystem, eg storing, handling, insuring etc. Incidentally Goldmoney is part of the ecosystem, hence perhaps the remission. 2)The greatest feature of BTC is the resistance to censorship. You can carry $1mio with you anywhere you want and use to buy a coffee or draw money at any ATM. Try to carry with you 20 1 Kg gold bars through an international custom. Good luck with that. History shows that sovereigns systematically confiscate gold (eg US in 1933). Virtually impossible to confiscate BTC. That is why BTC ultimately excels
    • JB
      John B. | Contributor
      4 July 2019 @ 16:41
      PV, Roy spent the entirety of the video explaining why comparing those additional costs for Gold vs. Bitcoin is already a misunderstanding of their inherent differences. That was the purpose of his argument. By showing the inherent decay in Bitcoin's design while it attempts to embody gold's natural attributes, it should be clear to you that the costs to store, handle, insure gold are insignificant. It always goes back to the feature of gold being an element that can be held in your hand. The "ecosystem" is a service that has optionality but not necessity. As for your second point, I think Roy also addresses this directly in his comments about the temporary regulatory "arbitrage" that exists, which allows you to use bitcoin today in a way which is not bearing the true costs of financial regulation. You can just as easily transfer $1 million legally via a same day SEPA payment in Europe and I assure you the time to cash out would be far less than the time it took to offload the funds from Coinbase. The costs of the bitcoin monetary system are not yet being fully recognized by its proponents. As are the relative disadvantages.
  • PC
    Philip C.
    4 July 2019 @ 04:14
    Good interview. The following is a summary, and to some extent my gloss, of the main points, with my own comments in parentheses. 1. Gold, because it is a physical feature of the universe, does not need human agency to exist. It is mined once and need not have any further operations performed on it for it to retain its value. BTC on the other hand exists essentially as information. It cannot function without a computational and organizational structure to keep it working. If the mining were to cease, BTC would lose its value because it could no longer be transacted. Hence owning BTC is a bet that these computational and organizational operations will never cease. 2. Gold is a compact store of energy, while BTC is not so compact. (Gold is not a store of energy: it is not a battery. The reasons for gold being valuable have little or nothing to do with thermodynamics. Compactness is an irrelevance: there is no shortage of space in the world for gold or BTC mining rigs.) 3. BTC mining is a waste of electrical energy. It entails a huge cost to the miner that leaves only a little room for profit. The miner is thus compelled to exchange their earned coins for fiat, which defeats the purpose of BTC as a rival to fiat. (Also, the waste of electrical energy will only increase as the price of BTC rises, since a higher price will motivate increased mining and this will cause the difficulty of the hash calculations to increase and hence more electricity to be consumed. $1 million BTC is potentially an ecological disaster.) 4. BTC functions more like a security than a currency or a commodity, because of the way mining works. The regulators have not correctly discerned this yet, and if/when they do, BTC will face additional regulation. 5. BTC is not as decentralized as its advocates claim, because of the relatively small number of mining pools and companies. BTC is vulnerable to a 51% attack. 6. BTC is not as antifragile as its advocates claim. It could be regulated, taxed, or even shut down by governments. (Gold could be banned too, though this might be more difficult to enforce.) 7. BTC is not a replacement for gold because it is not wearable, or it does not take a physical form to which we have a sentimental attachment. (Dubious.) 8. The BTC price is too volatile and this has inhibited its use in banking or payment services. It is mainly being hoarded or used for speculative trading, rather than as a transactional currency. (As Jimmy Song said in a recent interview, this might be just because BTC is still at an early stage of its use and it will transition from being a store of value to a medium of exchange as it matures.)
    • MZ
      Martin Z.
      4 July 2019 @ 10:03
      Good summary, but you are 'missing the point' in Point 2: The value of gold has EVERYTHING to do with thermodynamics. Gold is not a store of energy in the sense that a battery is!...It is a physical manifestation of the energy (work) that went into finding, mining, and refining it. This energy cost alone does not determine the price of gold, of course, but it is this high energy cost of extraction that makes it 'scarce.' (There is a lot of gold in seawater - not to mention asteroids - so obviously, scarcity alone does not make it valuable.) And compactness is a MAJOR factor, because it largely determines storage costs. As much value can be stored in a small number of gold bars as in a silo of corn or a tanker of oil, and this high 'value density' is one of the attributes (along with durability, portability, divisibility, uniformity, limited supply, and acceptability) which make it - as Roy has often said - 'money par excellence'. Bitcoin - not to mention more sophisticated cryptocurrencies like ether - have their own desirable attributes, but they lack many if not most of these attributes of gold, which are unique in fact to the precious metals. That is why they can be money surrogates, like fiat (which is actually, a surrogate for a surrogate) but can never actually be money in the traditional sense.
    • PC
      Philip C.
      4 July 2019 @ 13:27
      @Martin. I don't agree. It is misleading to describe gold as a store of energy. The energy that has gone into mining and refining gold is simply a sunk cost. You cannot get it back. The price of gold, like everything, is set at the margin where demand intersects supply. The energy cost of producing gold has little to do it: if it did, you would expect to see the price of gold strongly correlated with the price of energy, which it is not, except in so far that both are inversely correlated with the USD. Compactness is desirable in a form of money, but storage cost is not a major factor. You can store gold with GoldMoney for 0.25% per annum: that's less than the negative yield on some bonds. Some owners of gold even completely offset their storage costs by leasing it out.
  • AB
    Alberto B.
    4 July 2019 @ 12:40
    Very good interview. But it seems Roy also does not understand how bitcoin works. In fact, very few people truly understand bitcoin (myself included). Maybe it is only me, but it seems that Roy thinks bitcoin only as form of money, but in fact bitcoin is not money. It is competing money, as Rick Rule mentioned once (competing with gold, dollar, euro). It is also a complete payment system, storage of value and medium of exchange. All into one single platform. I like Goldmoney, Roy’s company. So, what is Goldmoney? It is a payment system platform where I can send value to anyone who has a Goldmoney account. He uses gold in digital form change ownership to transfer the gold. Does It look similar? So, I have to trust Goldmoney platform to send money to somebody else. Gold is not bitcoin and bitcoin is not gold. Gold has 5 thousand years of history. Bitcoin has only 10 years. We may know or have an idea what can happened with bitcoin in the next 10 years but in fact no one knows what is going to happen in 100 years with bitcoin.
  • TB
    Tim B.
    3 July 2019 @ 18:56
    Ironic that this superb video is available free. I appreciate the sentiment, but if superb stuff is free, why subscribe?
    • bm
      brian m.
      3 July 2019 @ 19:07
      The best Real Vision interviews are put on youtube advertising the quality of Real Vision
    • DH
      Damian H. | Founder
      4 July 2019 @ 11:03
      Only around 20% of our content is put on Real Vision Free.
  • BB
    Bojo B.
    4 July 2019 @ 10:58
    Great interview. One key question of the next few decades is whether we will have a human society of nature and authenticity or a non-human society of 31-gendered AI robotic zombies recording themselves with selfie-sticks. Total digitalization of money seems to serve the latter, to simplify just a bit. : )
  • CD
    Chris D.
    3 July 2019 @ 16:58
    Roy is the best! Have'nt even watched the interview yet, but I know he'll perform as always!
    • SF
      Simon F.
      4 July 2019 @ 10:32
      I am perplexed why some people comment on a video readily available to watch before they comment?
  • SS
    Sam S.
    3 July 2019 @ 15:37
    Arguably the BEST Gold vs Bitcoin side by side factual comparison, detailing the structure, mechanics, costs and reality of each! Bitcoin is expensive to transact, with the costs of "keeping it going", it's not going to get any cheaper. I've got to believe the bitcoin exchanges and the brokers, so to speak, are the real profiteers in crypto. Roy Sebag is very smart guy with the ability to communicate the facts. Stephan Spears did a fantastic job of listening after asking questions and letting guest expert lay it out for us. Well done!
    • SS
      Sam S.
      3 July 2019 @ 15:45
      Another thought---for the bad actors, robbing/stealing Bitcoin and the like, is easier than robbing gold from a vault, especially because it can be done from behind a computer screen from anywhere in the world. Got to physically be there to rob a vault.
    • JS
      Jerad S.
      3 July 2019 @ 16:18
    • RS
      Ryan S.
      3 July 2019 @ 19:23
      Depends on your point of view. For local everyday transactions its fairly expensive. Currently sitting around $1.50. For international remittances its a no-brainer. You can move millions of dollars for one paltry amount. Personally, I earn in dollars and use Bitcoin to transfer funds home. I don't get hit with the ludicrous 4/5% that banks take on top of a dodgy exchange rate. I also get the funds in 10 minutes and then 1 day to clear at my bank as opposed to sometimes waiting 2 weeks.
    • GN
      Griffin N.
      4 July 2019 @ 10:01
      Stealing bitcoin is much harder for a government then confiscating gold, stored in centrlized vaults. Gold has already failed once. Bitcoin might at least have a chance against state actors. Bitcoin is super cheap to transact with if you compare it to other base layers. Try sending $10 mil worth of gold across the world for a few dollars. That said, I like gold and would rather see gold bugs and bitcoin maximalists work together. Compete on the free market and let the best money win.
  • SS
    Shanthi S.
    4 July 2019 @ 09:13
    Enjoyed every second of this! Roy is a brilliant thinker and a clear communicator. Big fan. Stephen did an excellent job as interviewer. As another commenter suggested, a debate between Roy and Saifedean Ammous would be great fun. I suspect the Gold side would win, but any “coercion free” money is A-OK in my book. It would also be interesting to hear how some of Roy’s arguments would change if, hypothetically, proof of work were replaced by proof of stake or even some other system of verification like gossip protocol, in BTC mining. Just curious. I’m still banking on gold out living BTC!
  • FC
    Frank C.
    4 July 2019 @ 03:15
    Where is Tuur Demeester? I’d like to hear his thoughts of what was mentioned. Thanks RV!
  • JM
    John M.
    4 July 2019 @ 02:56
    Firstly, I don't see how gold owners should 'drop' i.e., sell, their gold in order to buy bitcoin. If I sell my gold, someone has to buy it. So as long as I sell at the price I paid or higher then the $ amount invested in the gold asset category remains or increases. The money tied up in gold never goes away. Somebody tell me what I'm missing? I like bitcoin for its 'speculation value' but I like gold as a 'store of value'. The performance of gold as a store of value is well documented based on many centuries of historical record. Bitcoin on the other hand has been around for approx. ten years (i.e., unproven record at this point I would say). Why would anyone equate the two as stores of value???
  • ah
    ahmed h.
    4 July 2019 @ 02:45
    Bravo..great interview.. its rare to hear someone who has gd knowledge of both crypto and precious and see them present their arguments so coherently. Roy is different from a lot of proponents who pick and defend one side over the other -- he's actually inviting debate! One of the best interviews in the crypto series
  • ZH
    Zack H.
    4 July 2019 @ 01:58
    This is what real vision is all about - super smart guests speaking freely and well versed in their area of expertise
  • RT
    Rune T.
    4 July 2019 @ 00:48
    Roy Sebag is articulate, highly intelligent and most importantly has commonsense. His points are refreshing and significant to fiat, gold and bitcoin. Excellent interview, thank you.
  • MB
    Michael B.
    3 July 2019 @ 22:06
    Ok so the thing I came away with was gold wins in the end either way. Buy gold. Am I wrong?
    • CL
      Clinton L.
      4 July 2019 @ 00:44
      I think he means gold exists as the gold atom is indestructable. I'll say that to keep gold requires its safe storage, so there is storage cost. I'd also say physical currency requires the safe storage as well as a maintenane cost where the US Treasury spends One Billion currently.
  • CL
    Clinton L.
    4 July 2019 @ 00:35
    The U.S Treasury alone spends almost one billion creating currency.
  • HK
    H K.
    3 July 2019 @ 06:31
    very interesting. calm and measured, he makes the best arguments against a possible future prevalence of Bitcoin so far. I disagree about a whole lot of conclusions but it's talks like this, that present such ideas, that keep you intellectually honest
    • tr
      tom r.
      3 July 2019 @ 23:49
      Great interview except that I think Stephan is over his head as an interviewer. Roy is one of the most brilliant minds out there, in my opinion. Stephan says "ya know" about 20 times a minute and has other nervous body language issues as well. I would think that Rob could find a brighter person in his organization for such an interview.
  • MS
    Mark S.
    3 July 2019 @ 11:50
    What a dumb argument. "There is no definite truth". What a dumb statement. I would ask Sebag if that statement is definitely true? If 'yes' then there is one definite truth and the statement is incoherent. If the answer is 'no' then it is false. What's more in relation to comparing mining of gold vs bitcoin, he says of bitcoin lovers 'they simply don't believe it to be true but of course it is true'. Wow, I guess something is definitely true.
    • JB
      John B. | Contributor
      3 July 2019 @ 12:15
      I believe that you are mistaken. Roy correctly pointed out that systems of formal logic can never be "true". Read Godel's incompleteness theorem. On the other hand, Roy argues that the natural order is the arbiter of truth, things we can see, touch, smell, taste. IE: things two neutral parties can agree to via their common sense.
    • AF
      Andre F.
      3 July 2019 @ 15:42
      You are angry and frustrated, which is why you used the word "dumb". When someone or something comes to us from the environment with a view that is clearly outside of our paradigms (that we feel are so true) we need to exercise caution. The caution to exercise is the following: Is this new information actually ridiculous and I don't need to update my current paradigms or realize my knowledge is lacking in some way? Or is it that my paradigms have met a limit on their usefulness and I'm in danger of overlooking valid (and sometimes important or crucial) information because of my own flaws and limitations, and not the conveniently assumed ridiculousness of the new information from the environment? The study/examination/search for/intuiting of: What is true? or Are their definite truths? is an emotional and intellectual endeavor that humanity has been labouring and engaging in since our very beginnings. Truth-what it is and whether it exists or not, is a precious and vital matter. I am not engaging in mere rhetoric: Viktor Frankl's great recognition in the concentration camps was that the truth that the captives decided on was always instrumental in increasing or decreasing their chances for surviving the concentration camps. You might want to give Frankl a read along with John B's suggestion of Godel's landmark theorem.
    • MS
      Mark S.
      3 July 2019 @ 22:37
      @ John B I've read Godel's Incompleteness theorem. Can we see numbers? No we can only see inscriptions on paper etc to which are representative of numbers. Can we see the laws of logic? No they exist independent of what we can touch. Can we see quarks? No Thus things that we can see , touch smell etc are too limiting a list of all that there is to know. Is your statement to correct me true? If not, then what are you saying?
    • MS
      Mark S.
      3 July 2019 @ 22:43
      @ Andre I've read The Meaning of Life as well. While this is not the venue for getting into a philosophical discussion, objective truths exist. To deny them requires one to state that it is true that 'no objective truths exist', which the speaker is assuming it is true which is self refuting. To your reference of Frankl, ask Frankl (if he was still alive) is it true that concentration camps existed? Or how about is it true that you exist? if not to whom am I dialoguing?
  • DS
    David S.
    3 July 2019 @ 22:39
    Kant was obscure because it was the style. You are smart enough to say it simply. Your case, that I agree with, will be much more impressive with direct language. E = MC^2. DLS
  • SD
    Sebastien D.
    3 July 2019 @ 21:12
    I like both gold and BTC. Unlike most other comments i found this painful to watch. The guest speaks with a tone of authority but there are part that show that he has no idea about some parts of the bitcoin network (centralized with only 1000 nodes in the US?).
  • MM
    Mike M.
    3 July 2019 @ 21:06
    Finally an articulate detailed deconstruction of Crypto Currency. An excellent interview. By far the best description of blockchain ledger as a store of wealth versus the more practical element and store of wealth, gold. More interviews like this please!!!
  • RK
    Robert K.
    3 July 2019 @ 21:06
    Finally! Exactly what I needed to recover from my "crypto week" trauma.
  • JV
    Javier V.
    3 July 2019 @ 20:45
    I am a Bitcoin believer but I found this interview highly exceptional, the fight isn’t against gold, is against fiat currency
  • AD
    Anna D.
    3 July 2019 @ 20:37
    Great interview! “Bitcoin is not mined it is powered into existence”
  • JD
    Jason D.
    3 July 2019 @ 20:09
    Definitely the most intelligent and coherent argument I have seen against Bitcoin. Would love to seem him debtate Saifedean Ammous on Gold vs Bitcoin, he was recently on a Podcast where he discussed the advantages of Bitcoin over Gold here:
    • JD
      Jason D.
      3 July 2019 @ 20:11
      Wrong link:
  • AP
    Antonio P.
    3 July 2019 @ 20:04
  • HS
    Henry S.
    3 July 2019 @ 18:52
    Bitcoin is a punting opportunity with a great PR campaign IMO. Sure, it could be a form of exchange and used as a currency..... but then again so has salt. Either way this Dinosaur is content hunting other markets. Great interview RV.
  • IO
    Igor O.
    3 July 2019 @ 17:35
    Bitcoin is a solution looking for a problem. Crypto of tomorrow will be build around the problem it solving. Like banking several billions of unbanked.. just a thought. Don't see bitcoin doing it with 80 percent of coins held by 20 percent of addresses. And bitcoin hashrate parabolic.
    • TE
      Tito E.
      3 July 2019 @ 17:55
      Agree Igor. I'm holding, but i agree.
    • IO
      Igor O.
      3 July 2019 @ 17:58
      Or store of value for that matter. Wouldn't it be nice if you could mine bitcoin on you desktop and cost of mining being negligible and network truly decentralised? Crazy idea..
    • TE
      Tito E.
      3 July 2019 @ 18:02
      One would be a bit silly to not simply have exposure to both Au and Btc. Obvious that Roy knows this.
    • TE
      Tito E.
      3 July 2019 @ 18:03
  • QP
    Quinton P.
    3 July 2019 @ 16:45
    Well, he has sold gold to me in a romantic sense. I thought gold was only for insurance purposes but now it’s clear to me, that it is treasured .moments and memories. Then he highlighted my issue with BTC and the mining of it. That issue is a question: “Where the heck is it going?”
    • IO
      Igor O.
      3 July 2019 @ 17:43
      It propped up by Issuance of unbacked Tether.
    • IO
      Igor O.
      3 July 2019 @ 17:49
      Just a speculation though. But I have an impression from crypto week that it is Not institutional money coming in..
  • MN
    Maverick N.
    3 July 2019 @ 17:17
    I continue to be in awe of the clarity and originality in Roy's thinking. Do read Roy's natural order of money blog, which IMHO is spectacular as well. Key takeaway : Start looking at currencies and their true value from the prism of thermodynamics.
  • AM
    Alonso M.
    3 July 2019 @ 15:54
    I enjoyed watching this. Mr. Sebag has articulated his arguments in a very coherent. logical, and quantitative way. Very well done.
  • DP
    Devraj P.
    3 July 2019 @ 15:20
    Bitcoin existence is virtual on internet 😂 while Gold is physical and there are reasons for Gold known as Precious. But agree that constant bombardment can change the mindset until some day reality strikes
  • PU
    Peter U.
    3 July 2019 @ 15:03
    OMG, that was outstanding
  • GW
    Geoff W.
    3 July 2019 @ 14:15
    Smart guy who can articulate a nagging doubt in most people's mind on the efficacy of crypto. This is a class interview, thanks to both Roy and Stephen
    • GW
      Geoff W.
      3 July 2019 @ 14:24
      "meditate on what we are saying here" :)
  • JS
    John S.
    3 July 2019 @ 14:13
    Unique, intelligent interview! Realvision’s core value add. Been concerned recently about quantity over quality and likely missing these gems in the haystack.
  • JH
    Jesse H.
    3 July 2019 @ 12:39
    Interesting and informative interview. Roy is clearly a very smart guy, and enjoyed listening to his thoughts, even if some of them weren't entirely clear to me. I can see some counterarguments that could be significant against the points he is making on cryptocurrencies / Bitcoin in particular, though I tend to agree with his overall view. Greatly appreciate the fact that he brings energy and thermodynamics into this -- the physical world is often ignored by Bitcoin enthusiasts and digital evangelists, though ironically they are all fundamentally dependent on it.
    • JH
      Jesse H.
      3 July 2019 @ 12:43
      Please have Roy back on...would be great to have him go head to head with a crypto investor / entrepreneur. Also want to hear his thoughts on Blockchain - he says that "Bitcoin's primary use case is speculation..." - yes, BUT Blockchain is quickly developing tremendous use cases and potential, and may well be adopted by the banks in the year to come. We shall see. "May we live in interesting times." ;-)
    • JH
      Jesse H.
      3 July 2019 @ 12:51
      Also loved how Roy turned the interview around towards the end to ask Stephan...mad props for having the humility and smarts to do that.
    • JH
      Jesse H.
      3 July 2019 @ 13:00
      Sorry guys - one final comment: last 10 min are especially good and succinct in my view. Especially love the quote, "Gold's 'Blockchain' is the laws of physics."
  • JM
    Jason M.
    3 July 2019 @ 11:48
    Roy is such a clear and robust thinker
  • AH
    Axel H.
    3 July 2019 @ 10:08
    Great interview and a refreshing rebuttal to some of the outrageous self-advertising by interviewees during the crypto week. Last week's crypto players that took on VC money have to play ball with regulators and the fiat system to eventually create the exit opportunities for their investors. I expect a growing split in the community between the original decentralized crypto crowd and the billionaire entrepreneurs at Digital Currency Group & co with their lawyers and lobbyist pushing for monopolistic business models within the established U.S. financial system.
  • LJ
    Liam J.
    3 July 2019 @ 08:43
    Miners have very little to do with the speed of bitcoin transactions. Mining is a zero sum game that just secures the network and that's the only use it has. Honestly there is no need for that much mining power. He makes some good points tho that's why I would love if proof of stake on ethereum is succesful that would be a game changer.