挪威亿万富翁，石油领域大佬，Akar公司大老板Kjell Inge Røkke最近高调入局比特币，并且给投资人写了个公开信。个人认为是年度最佳比特币吹水文，有些观点挺有意思，所以顺手翻译一下逗个乐。如果能带给大家一点点对比特币更深入的思考，那都是Kjell Inge Røkke老爷子的功劳。先发第一部分，后续部分看时间和情况在更。纯好玩，不是理财建议。
Today we announced that Aker（Aker has a 180-year history as an important industrial group in Norway.） has established Seetee, a new company that will invest in exciting projects and companies throughout the Bitcoin ecosystem while keeping all of its liquid investable assets in bitcoin. The new company has a capitalisation of NOK 500 million, an amount we aim to increase significantly over time as we gain experience and identify exciting opportunities.
今天，我们宣布Aker （作为挪威重要的工业集团，Aker具有180年的历史）的小老弟Seetee成立了，小老弟主要忙着买比特币，在币圈投资好项目和好公司。小老弟一开始凑了5亿挪威克朗 （5千8百万美金），以后等门路摸熟了，也找到好项目了，后面还有大把的钱跟上。
Before I proceed with our story, I want to state upfront that I am aware that Bitcoin is often criticised for a number of perceived challenges, including its electricity consumption, its inability to scale with respect to transactions, and its potential to facilitate anonymous illegitimate payments. We believe that Bitcoin can be a solution rather than a problem for each of those, but we will get to the arguments for that later.
Seetee’s strategy is threefold. （Seetee的战略三重奏）
First, we will use bitcoin as our treasury asset and join the community. In Bitcoin speak, we will be hodlers. We will be diﬀerent, but additive. Perhaps not as rebellious as the cypherpunks who invented Bitcoin. But much more progressive than most established corporates. The team at Seetee is already running open source bitcoin payment servers and will remain active contributors in the community.
首先，我们将跑步进入币圈大赌场，买一堆比特币作为我们的筹码。用币圈的话来说，我们将牢牢拿住比特币大筹码，死都不卖。 别看我们不像发明比特币的赛博朋克（密码学家）敢一把梭哈，我们比起来市面上大多数老牌玩家（公司）要玩的大的多。 Seetee的团队已经在熟悉币圈大赌场了（运行开源比特币支付服务器），并将继续在币圈玩的风生水起（成为社区中的活跃贡献者）
Second, Seetee will establish mining operations that transfer stranded or intermittent electricity without stable demand locally—wind, solar, hydro power— to economic assets that can be used anywhere. Bitcoin is, in our eyes, a load-balancing economic battery, and batteries are essential to the energy transition required to reach the targets of the Paris Agreement. Our ambition is to be a valuable partner in new renewable projects.
其次，Seetee也要当操盘手（矿工），将当地不好用的电力（风能，太阳能，水力发电）变成钱。 在我们看来，比特币经济学上的平衡负载电池，而电池对于实现《巴黎协定》目标所需的能源过渡至关重要。 我们的野心是成为新的可再生能源项目中的大玩家。
Third, we will build and invest in projects and companies in Bitcoin’s ecosystem. This is where our true passion is! Our home game is industrial applications. But we also believe nicely designed modern user interfaces will enable new applications wherever transactions happen. I am particularly interested in micro-payments and how these may enable us to avoid usernames, passwords, and our personal data being monetized with, and often without, our knowledge or consent.
第三，我们也要下注（建立和投资比特币生态系统中的项目和公司）。 这是最好玩的！ 虽然工业应用是我们的主场， 但是我们也相信，只要有交易，更好更新的交易应用就有市场。我对微额支付（闪电网络里的一种技术）特别感兴趣，这玩意让我们做买卖的时候不需要告诉别人我们的用户名，密码和我们的个人数据。
Aker is part of the industrial establishment. As someone who started my career in the engine room of old fishing trawlers outside the coast of Norway and later in the Bering Sea in the United States, I’m immensely proud of what Aker has become, including the newly-formed industrial partnerships we have recently announced. But all large companies have one thing in common: they were once small. And many large companies are victims of their own success and end up small or defunct. I will do everything I can to keep Aker curious, innovative, and able to keep up with the times.
After forty years in business, I have learned that you always have to keep an eye out for new opportunities and developments on the horizon. Seetee marks that horizon. It positions itself in the middle of an industry that could define the next several decades, much like the internet has done since the early 1990s. Seetee is an open invitation to push, pull, and poke life as we know it. To act like young entrepreneurs every day.
On the shoulders of giants （站在巨人的肩膀上）
Aker’s decision to enter Bitcoin through Seetee is the result of a long and fundamental discussion about value. I have been drinking from the fire hose since last summer. While this letter is my way of expressing my thoughts on the matter, my insights are largely derived from reading articles and books, listening to podcasts and watching videos, as well as conversations with people around me.
Our collective knowledge was derived from the extensive and brilliant material produced by others. These include Saifedean Ammous, Andreas Antonopolous, Adam Back, Nic Carter, Christopher Cole, Ray Dalio, Michael Green, Hugh Hendry, Reid Hoﬀman, Lacy Hunt, Jack Mallers, Raoul Pal, Chamath Palihapitiya, Anthony Pompliano, Pierre Rochard, Michael Saylor, Elisabeth Stark, Erik Townsend, and Grant Williams.
下面是跟我唠过磕的亿万富翁天团，就问你信不信。来来来我给大家点个名：赛义德·阿米斯（Saifedian Ammous），安德里亚斯·安东尼奥（Andreas Antonopolous），亚当·贝克（Nic Carter），克里斯托弗·科尔，雷·达利奥（Ray Dalio），迈克尔·格林（Michael Green），休·亨德里（Hugh Hendry），里德·霍曼（Reid Ho ﬀ man），蕾丝·亨特（Lacy Hunt），杰克·马勒斯（Jack Mallers），拉乌尔·帕尔（Chamath Palihapitiya），安东尼·庞普里亚诺（Anthony Pompliano），皮埃尔·罗查德（Michael Rosard），迈克尔·塞勒（Michael Saylor）， 伊丽莎白·史塔克（Elisabeth Stark），埃里克·汤森（Erik Townsend）和格兰特·威廉姆斯（Grant Williams）
Some of the people mentioned above are not believers in Bitcoin or in agreement with our investment thesis. We like to dive into competing narratives, and mention them here in case the reader wants to dive into the proverbial rabbit hole. It’s amazing to see that the cryptocurrency space attracts so many intelligent people of younger generations much like the internet did when it was in its infancy.
While precursors existed earlier, most would agree that Tim Berners- Lee’s world wide web from 1990 was the start of what we recognise as the internet. Today, we take it for granted, but it has only been around for thirty years and the development has accelerated. Commentary on the internet’s lack of useful applications, and expert forecasts about its likely demise were frequent in the 1990s. Bitcoin was invented in 2009 and will go through waves of development before it achieves the application maturity that we are now used to on the internet.
1990年，蒂姆·伯纳斯·李（Tim Berners- Lee）搞了www，这算是公认的互联网的开始。今天我们觉得互联网是个好东西，但是其实它也就存在了30年而已，还很年轻。其实当年90年的时候，一堆人说它没鸟用，说它要不了几年就会玩完。比特币是2009年发明的，它就像90年的互联网，等它发展好了，就没人哔哔了。
It’s a testament of our times that the internet has given many of us instant access to information. But the real value comes when we let our curiosity navigate beyond the algorithms for recommended content. You can only challenge preconceived ideas when you are willing to go outside of your comfort zone. Bitcoin has inspired us to challenge our intuitive understanding of money.
Having followed the cryptocurrency discourse for a while, we decided to reach out to the engineers who made it their mission to change the inner workings of money more than two decades ago. This morning, we also proudly announced that Seetee has formed a partnership with Blockstream, a global leader in Bitcoin and blockchain technology. Block- stream’s leadership includes Adam Back, the inventor of Hashcash, a 1997 precursor to Bitcoin. With Blockstream as our partner, we are confident that we can navigate this industry.
Not investing is the riskiest decision （不玩比特币才是最大的风险）
Risk is not an obvious concept. What’s commonly considered risky is frequently not. And vice versa. We are used to thinking that cash is risk free. But it’s not. It’s implicitly taxed by inflation at a small rate every year. It adds up.
Central bankers have magically agreed that they should target two percent inflation, which implies that one third of your money’s worth is taxed away every twenty years. If it was three percent, almost half of it would be gone in that time. Now you should ask, why is it two, and not one or three? What’s special about two percent?
The Federal Reserve has recently said it will target an average rate of two percent over time, which implies they will allow inflation to run above the target for some years. Inflation is very good for debtors. And the U.S. is the world’s largest debtor. They owe the bond owners. And they owe pensions. Both groups may be out of luck in the long term.
One way to demonstrate this eﬀect is to price real estate in gold. The Schiller Case Home Price Index is the leading measure of U.S. residential real estate prices. Measured in gold, home prices in the U.S. are among the lowest they have been in the last hundred years4. In 2004, Norges Bank sold its last gold reserves citing poor historical returns. Apartments in the wealthiest part of Oslo are 35 percent cheaper today than they were in 2004 if priced in gold. And most would say real estate returns have been spectacular in that period.
So what’s risk? It’s all relative. （啥是风险？这得看你怎么看了）
In 2018, Twitter hashtag #GetOﬀZero started to circulate. The main argument: it may be irresponsible not to include some exposure to bitcoin given the asymmetric return properties. Even if you don’t get the underlying cypherpunk and libertarian ideals, which I find most interesting, you still need to consider the potential diversification benefits of bitcoin: “Schmuck insurance” in the words of Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya.
I’ve told this story before. On University Street in Seattle, Victor Rosselini had his flagship restaurant, the 410. My mentor, Bob Breskovitch, invited me there to discuss the topic of assisted suicide with five catholic priests. They taught me the importance of scrutiny. Of questioning your own assumptions, listening to others rather than arguing your position, analysing objectively before you decide. It was a life changing lunch.
As a young fisherman in the Northwest, far away from my native Norway, diversification was not high on my agenda. As far as I was concerned, diversification was a rich man’s game. Wealth preservation was something you could do once you had actual wealth to preserve. And since I didn’t have a penny to my name, I was going to focus on getting there. For years, I didn’t think about anything other than building American Seafoods. I was young. Determined. And surrounded by amazing people. 年轻的时候我就是穷打鱼的，背井离乡，想不了多远。那时我觉得，玩钱那是有钱人干的事。俺啥都木有，想个屁的投资。那个时候我想的就是怎么挣钱，想着怎么给美国人整海鲜。不过那会穷是穷，但是年轻啊，虎的很，还认识了一帮牛逼的小伙伴。
In one way, I still stand by my younger self. If you’re certain about something, it pays oﬀ to focus and invest everything you have in it. But uncertainty and doubt build as time goes by. The more experience you have, the more you realize that nothing is certain. Everything is a bet with some associated probabilities. I should know—almost 80 percent of our portfolio was in oil and gas when the oil price went negative after Covid-19 hit.
The pandemic. Nobody was prepared, despite the numerous warnings from scientists who said it was always a question of “when”, not “if.” Like most events, pandemics are rare in a lifetime, but frequent throughout history. Norway hadn’t experienced a pandemic in five generations, so it was hard to imagine. But it still happened.
There are many benefits from owning a few companies in diﬀerent industries, but the price declines for all companies in a crisis. As we saw in March last year. Investors use bonds to diversify their portfolios. Norway’s entire sovereign wealth fund is designed that way and it has worked well in recent history. But what if equities and bonds fall concurrently, which they have done for long periods historically? Before the Federal Reserve stepped in with unprecedented measures, that was about to happen one year ago.
And it will probably happen again. And what happens if the central banks cannot stop the fall? What happens to the monetary system if people start questioning the stability of the reserve currency? Again, this has happened many times in history.
I respond to today’s challenges as I would when I was a young man. I will always prefer to be a focused entrepreneur rather than a diversified investor, albeit with a tad bit more risk management and infinitely more academic rigour around me than I had earlier in my career. One of my favourite questions to people who ask me about the risk that’s inherent to our ideas: What about the risk of losing out on the upside?
Young professionals know they are risking their careers if they say yes to what eventually becomes bad investments. That’s the name of the game. What you should really get fired for is saying no and losing out to once in a lifetime opportunities. Bitcoin may still go to zero. But it can also become the core of a new monetary architecture. If so, one bitcoin may be worth millions of dollars. The asymmetry is interesting to a portfolio. People who know the most about bitcoin believe its future success is nearly inevitable. Whereas the other camp thinks that its failure is equally certain. Status quo is not possible.
In the past months I have met many new people. One of them was Jack Mallers at Strike. He’s almost forty years younger than me. Experiencing his energy and enthusiasm was special. I felt old in his company, but also very emboldened: I lost out on mobile communications. I didn’t invest in internet companies. It was only recently that I started to invest in and build software companies (and I love it!) When I realized how much brainpower goes into Bitcoin, I saw the future in the making.
最近认识了不少币友，其中之一就是Strike的小老弟Jack Mallers，小了我足足四十岁。 Jack是个精力狂魔，跟他一起玩我觉得我真是老了，但是也打了不少鸡血。我错过了造手机，错过了互联网，亏大发了，最近我才搞了个软件公司。比特币这一波我不能再错过了。
Turning challenges to opportunities （有挑战才有机会）
It has been more than a decade since the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto published her/his/their paper, launching a new form of electronic money: bitcoin. I was skeptical of bitcoin for many years and my arguments were more or less consistent with everyone else’s: the network’s electricity consumption is wasteful, the network is not scalable, its ideals of anonymity play into the hands of criminals, and so on.
Money is a human invention, a social construct that only works since we collectively believe in it. In fact, the term “fiat money” is derived from the Latin word “fiat,” which means “an act of will that creates something without further eﬀort.” It’s a decree. Of all the previous attempts at digital currencies—and there were many—bitcoin was the one that broke out. In the beginning, it was worth zero point zero with as many zeros as you would like. But the more people believe in it, the more valuable it becomes. It’s a classic network eﬀect.
Yes, Bitcoin consumes electricity. And pays for it at the locally prevailing market prices. But we believe Bitcoin will enable applications that can create tremendous value. If so, it will be engrained into the social fabric and can’t go to zero since it’s immune to the political forces that destroys a currency. If this scenario plays out, we might change our focus from the price of a bitcoin to that of a satoshi (one bitcoin is one hundred million satoshi). If our phones are full of Bitcoin applications in five years, the network’s value is a Stairway to Heaven.
So, is it wasteful? （真的是在白白烧电吗？）
To achieve the ambitions in the Paris Agreement, we need to vastly increase electrification of society, which will drive higher demand for electrical power. But we need that electricity from renewable sources. Wind and solar are now cheap enough. But they are intermittent, meaning we can only produce when the wind blows and the sun shines. To transform it into baseload power that can be supplied at any given time, there is a tremendous need for batteries in all forms.
Batteries are the missing piece in the puzzle to enable the energy transition. Remember, one liter of gasoline contains the equivalent of a little less than 10 kWh of energy. But less than 30 percent can be retained as useful power to move a vehicle because of the energy loss in an internal combustion engine. Regardless of where you live, I bet that the price per kWh of useful energy in gasoline is extremely high relative to electricity. You don’t buy gasoline because you want the cheapest energy. You buy it because it’s an excellent battery: Exxon is a battery company.
The network consumes energy to ensure it remains secure. Remember, banks are government regulated custodians we pay fees to mediate trust. Bitcoin has solved that problem in a way where two parties can transact without verifying and trusting each other, circumventing the need for a third party like a bank. But the mechanism requires electricity.
Enter the so-called miners. A miner uses electricity and is compensated with bitcoins. The financiers of mining operations will insist on using the cheapest energy and so by definition it will be electricity that has no better economic use. Bitcoin then acts like an economic battery. What otherwise was of little value locally, is turned into an economic asset that can be used globally. Extremely flexible demand from miners can optimise the local supply and demand for electricity, which may accelerate the energy transition by improving the economics for new renewable projects.
In discussing this with Adam Back and Chris Cook at Blockstream, I realised that they already have grid balancing technology that plays right into what we are trying to do at Aker Horizons. Sometimes we can pump water into hydro reservoirs and turn intermittent capacity into baseload. Sometimes we will produce green hydrogen and ammonia to reduce emissions in areas such as shipping. Bitcoin is less obvious, but I’m certain that it will enable many more renewable projects than would otherwise be possible.
Come on, it consumes as much electricity as…（省省吧，哪有采金子耗电）
Bitcoin’s electricity consumption must be analyzed with respect to the future scenarios for the network. A lot of volatility is natural when market participants are trying to forecast whether bitcoin is (i) a speculative bubble that will implode and be worthless, (ii) a digital scarce asset that could replace gold as a store of value, or (iii) a monetary architecture that will serve as the core trust and verification layer for numerous types of transactions.
If you subscribe to the bubble narrative, you can rest safely knowing that the electricity consumption of Bitcoin will return to zero in the near future. Miners will not expend energy if their bitcoin rewards are rendered worthless. If that’s your view, the discussion is moot.
What if bitcoin replaces gold as an asset class for portfolio diversification and store of value? Now, to all the gold bugs out there, this is not our prediction. Thousands of years of history as sound money means gold will likely remain attractive. We merely use this example to show that bitcoin’s scarcity would be suﬃcient and environmental price would be much lower. Also to be clear, this scenario is not why we are excited about Bitcoin, but it may be the easiest use case to understand.
Current gold production is around 3,000 tons a year against an inventory of about 200,000 tons, which is all the gold that has been produced throughout history. Of that, less than half is used for jewelry. The so-called stock-to-flow ratio, which is a measure of scarcity where a higher number is better, is therefore currently around 56: at the current rate of production, it would take 56 years to double the inventory.
What’s the comparable scarcity of bitcoin? The current block reward is 6.25 bitcoin, which translates to about 900 new bitcoins every day, or 328,500 per year. Given 18.6 million bitcoins in existence, the stock-to-flow is currently approximately 56, which is on par with gold. But after the next halving, which will happen during the spring of 2024, the stock will be higher and the flow will be lower, so stock-to-flow will be more than double that of gold: Bitcoin will be much scarcer than our scarcest commodity.
The estimated CO2 emission for producing new gold is more than 100 million tons per year. Estimates vary, but recent studies put Bitcoin’s around 30 million tons annually. That’s less than one third of gold’s CO2 emissions. And as renewables increase in the mix, Bitcoin’s CO2 emission intensity should drop significantly. Note that this is still disregarding the cost of refining and storing gold, as well as the negative impact land excavation in less compliant regions of the world has on both people and the environment.
然后咱再来唠唠坏境成本的问题。目前黄金生产每年要排放大约1亿吨的二氧化碳。 而比特币大概为3000万吨， 不到黄金的三分之一。 最重要的是，比特币对能源不挑。就是供着一些电脑嘛，天时地利啥的咱都能凑合，太阳能风能都没差，所以比特币造出来的二氧化碳估计还能在降一降。另外黄金这玩意，挖出来了咱还得提炼，还得找个靠得住的地方存着，另外挖完了还得给矿区，给当地的环境擦屁股，这些事你想想多烧钱，得多排多少气。比特币就完全没有这些破事。
That leaves the most optimistic scenario for bitcoin. The one that gets us excited. Where Bitcoin’s ability to verify transactions between two parties without a trusted third party is used to build an ecosystem of applications.
We are already exploring Blockstream’s Liquid and Elements products for industrial applications: foreign exchange, cash management, trade settlements, emission verifications. But these are merely the obvious ones. The broader potential? Economic access for the unbanked through saving, spending, and lending services. Micropayments. Ownership of private data. Technology that can disrupt compliance, which is now more than ten percent of bank employees and increasing. With the added benefit of improved security and near-instant settlement.
We obviously can’t know how this will play out. Many technologies will compete to solve these challenges. But we do know that many applications are too important to leave the verification to centralized systems owned by a corporation or controlled by a single country.
So what about the electricity consumption in the scenario that we are most excited about? Clearly, the protocol is designed to cut the rewards in half every four years or so. Miners will only expend the electricity if it remains profitable. 18.6 million of the maximum 21 million bitcoin exists today. So at the end of this year, 90 percent of the bitcoin is already in existence and paid for. Nine tenths of the infrastructure is there.
Since the block reward goes down significantly over time, the miners would be willing to expend less electricity all things equal. Either the variable transaction fees or the price of bitcoin have to increase substantially to compensate the miners. Since the block reward will approach zero, fees are the only viable long-term compensation mechanism.
Since the transaction volume cannot increase given Bitcoin’s design, fee increases imply that the value of single transactions must be substantially higher than today. Presumably, that’s only possible if every transaction on the mainchain always involves very large amounts. Billions of smaller transactions would have to execute with acceptable security in second layers and sidechains.
Again, all of this is only commercially and economically viable if the value of verifying large transactions without a trusted third party is suﬃciently high. This implies high demand for the network’s architecture, which again means that useful applications that create tremendous value have been built on top of the core network. Bitcoin can therefore only survive, and electricity will only be consumed, if the value created by the network is suﬃcient.
Even completely disregarding Bitcoin acting as an economic battery that may improve the economics of renewable projects, which could accelerate the installation of intermittent sources of electricity, we don’t see a long-term problem related to Bitcoin’s electricity consumption.
If it’s a bubble, it dies and consumes nothing. If it’s digital gold, it’s more eﬃcient and will emit much less than the asset it disrupts. And if it’s really successful, it’s because of demand from truly value creating applications that define our future and should be worth the electricity.
唠了一圈，总结一下。比特币要是气泡，它就会归0，没人用也不会有耗电。 比特币要是数字黄金，那它比黄金效率更高，对环境更友好。比特币要是实现 终极进化，那咱这点电真是用对地方了。
Fine, but how will it scale? （比特币怎么把交易量做大？）
It is true that the Bitcoin mainchain cannot process the number of transactions that we depend on in modern society on its mainchain. But that’s because Satoshi Nakamoto’s design didn’t trade censorship resistance and security for scalability. So scalability has to be solved by making slight tradeoﬀs.
Bitcoin doesn’t compromise. To ensure it’s open and secure, resistant to censorship and retroactive edits, it’s decentralized. But that’s a major drawback for scalability: Keeping one central spreadsheet up to date is obviously more eﬃcient than having numerous copies that all must be updated. A Bitcoin transaction takes about ten minutes to be confirmed and the design capacity is about seven transactions per second. Hardly suﬃcient to deal with today’s transaction volumes.
But when I heard Jack Maller’s talk about the Lightning layer I had another Rosselini moment. The Lightning Network is built on top of Bitcoin to make it scale. Transactions are done in bilateral channels that connect in a network and each channel is anchored to Bitcoin’s mainchain with a single transaction. Lightning transactions complete in milliseconds and can process millions per second with hardly any use of electricity. It therefore leverages Bitcoin’s security while increasing speed and reducing cost to levels not achievable by legacy payment rails.
Does a global distributed network of bilateral payment channels sound impossible? In fact, that’s how spot foreign exchange works. Aker is the largest investor in Abelee, a non-bank liquidity provider in the foreign exchange market. We have spent a lot of time learning about the microstructure of financial markets. It’s only a matter of time before the old and the new world of money is seamlessly connected.
On that night, with all of us on video from Chicago, Tel Aviv, and Oslo, Mallers sent dollars from a regular bank account in the U.S. via a wallet in Tel Aviv and further on to Oslo. Then, for fun, we sent it to an Aker colleague in Accra, Ghana. All these transactions took place instantaneously and at nearly no cost. This creates the possibility of programmable microtransactions, a payment stream, which can unlock limitless opportunities.
Applications will have diﬀerent needs and people will be willing to make slight tradeoﬀs to achieve those. I’m certain that, with time and creativity, applications that scale in sidechains and layers on top of Bitcoin will flourish. This ecosystem can provide massive scalability, and will only need to settle with the mainchain now and again. Like getting a stamp of approval from the source of absolute truth.
As such, we believe Bitcoin will scale brilliantly in layers upon layers that make the trade oﬀs applicable to particular application. And as we will see in the next paragraphs, it may provide the opportunity to build an entirely new architecture for how information flows in society.
Still, doesn’t bitcoin enable undesired activities? （玩比特币的没几个好人？）
The first industry to take advantage of the internet’s potential was arguably the pornographic industry. When we founded Cognite, a company that enables siloed data and legacy systems to seamlessly interact to improve access and flow of industrial data, we did that with internet pioneer John Markus Lervik. He told us how his first company, Fast Search & Transfer—later acquired by Microsoft to power their search functionality—was constantly approached by the pornographic industry in the late nineties: they wanted access to the company’s leading and proprietary image compression algorithms.
大伙可能不知道，最开始吃互联网肥肉的就是色情业。我们搞Cognite这个公司的时候认识了John Markus Lervik。这哥们算是最早吃互联网肥肉的。有一回给我们唠嗑，他说他最早开的那个公司就老是被色情业的人骚扰，希望拿他们公司的图像技术去揽客。
So when a new architecture for money emerges, it should not be entirely unexpected that criminals became its first users. It was more eﬃcient to use cryptocurrencies than cash, which has always been and is still available for those who want a bearer asset to conduct illegal activities. But when the internet went mainstream it found other legitimate uses. We see the same development with cryptocurrencies: criminal use of bitcoin is relatively minuscule.
In fact, the libertarian ideals of the cypherpunk movement holds promise and valuable ideas for the world today. On the one hand, our basic human rights include freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and association; and right to equal protection of the law. As such, information about the individual and his or her actions and transactions should be available to those with a legal right to access. On the other hand, as has been so eloquently exposed by Shoshana Zuboﬀ in her book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, the internet behemoths have turned us into the product. I’m certain we need to fight back against unlawful access to information, and that requires a new architecture.
On a personal note, I am frequently frustrated that I give away usernames, passwords, locations, credit card details and other information to read newspapers or watch movies. I’m fascinated by the prospect of bitcoin Lightning wallets that may enable instant credit via micropayments without the need to oﬀer personal information that my counterpart can monetise without approval or compensation.
So if you insist on being anonymous, doesn’t that mean you are hiding from the law? Of course not. To the contrary, I believe Bitcoin holds the promise of much more sophisticated KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti money laundering) procedures that enables access when there is legal grounds but keeps everything anonymous in all other circumstances. After all, the legacy bank systems are themselves arcane, complex, and vulnerable, which means there is room for innovation.
Lastly, let’s also remember that the current system doesn’t work for everybody. As a business man in my sixties, I have access. The current system works relatively well from my perspective. But what about the poor but hard working farmer? What about the billions of unbanked that have no way of accessing a bank account, much less credit to build their lives?
From their perspective, what we have today clearly doesn’t work. And the regulatory patchwork makes it even harder for them. It’s unacceptable. Bitcoin’s protocol should enable an ecosystem of applications that may change that because many more people will have access to mobile phones and the internet than have access to traditional financial infrastructure.
One hundred years ago, in the Roaring Twenties, the young Howard Hughes produced Hell’s Angels, a World War I epic famous for its spectacular aerial battle scenes. (It was originally conceived as a silent starring Greta Nissen, a Norwegian actress who was replaced due to her accent when Hughes decided the movie was going to have dialogue.) The war scenes were filmed in California and one problem kept delaying and increasing the production cost: the lack of clouds meant perspective was lost and so the planes appeared slow in the skies. Signs were put up that said “War Postponed—No Clouds Today!”
The reference point matters for your perspective.
Progress is inevitable 后浪是挡不住滴
Let me tell you a story about progress. In the early nineties, I was on holiday in Spain and both wanted and needed access to the daily fishing reports that I was used to getting by fax from the vessels in Alaska. To my great surprise the local electronic stores didn’t sell fax machines. But lo and behold, I found a hairdresser in Marbella who owned one for reasons I still can’t imagine. He was not an eager seller, but I was a persistent buyer. I bought it from him and paid a silly price to get the information I needed. I saw him at the bar that night, enthusiastically laughing and drinking with his friends—there was no doubt he was a happy seller that day. Smart phones were still fifteen years oﬀ. Progress is obvious after the fact.
At the end of the Second World War, world leaders agreed that all currencies could be exchanged at a fixed rate to U.S. dollars, and dollars would be redeemable for a certain weight of gold. The dollar became the world’s reserve currency, replacing the British sterling, which once replaced the French livre. For 6,000 years, gold had been the most reliable store of value. As we saw for real estate, the price of various goods and assets don’t change as much when measured in gold as opposed to fiat currency.
When Nixon abandoned the gold standard in 1971, a lot changed fundamentally.5 Interest rates first spiked and have since fallen and caused a forty year perpetual bull market for bonds. The United States have ramped up significant debt and considerable pension liabilities. There is no shortage of global challenges either: rising inequality, climate change. More debt is probably the only source of funding these crises. As Warren Buﬀet famously said: “the “U.S. debt isn’t going to be repaid; it’s going to be refunded.” The end game is clear. There will be a bond fire.
Gold survives bond fires. It cannot be increased to deflate the value (scarce), it is not perishable and can withstand time and use (durable), it can easily be stored and transported (portable), the value of any gold item can easily be related to another independent of form (fungible), and it can be divided into smaller amounts and re-assembled without loss (divisible). Bitcoin is like gold, but better.
Wells Fargo, once Warren Buﬀett’s favourite bank, was founded in 1852. The bank used a stagecoach to transport valuables ranging from letters to gold, contracts to checks, in Wells Fargo’s green treasure box under the driver’s seat. The company employed and contracted shotgun messengers to guard them. “The kind of men you could depend on if you got into a fix,” according to Wells Fargo’s website.
富国银行曾经是巴菲特的老相好， 1852年开的张，也是百年老字号了。那个时候运贵重物品不比现在，银行都是用马车，宝贝都藏在驾驶员座位下方的富国银行的绿色宝藏箱中，然后雇一批枪手来押镖。 看看富国银行的广告：摆不平了？找我们，绝对靠得住。啧啧啧
For thousands of years, societies have mined for gold in all corners of the world with great sacrifices by people and the environment — even today. Once the gold is above ground, it must be protected at all cost. While I believe we do it in more sophisticated ways than Wells Fargo’s shotgun messengers, the principle remains the same. Once again, large capital investments and high operational costs. Waste. Ineﬃciency. We need progress.
Scarcity drives prices, whether we talk about watches or guitars, wine or cars, paintings or sculptures—all physical assets. Making digital assets used to mean it could be copied for free. Not anymore. Bitcoin can be verified, divided, re-assembled, stored, and transported at virtually no cost. It’s the perfect scarce digital asset. By design. All that’s required to keep the network running, is allocating the cheapest electricity in the world. Electricity secures the network. No trusted parties or people with guns are needed. I call that progress.