Driving Global Adoption Using #Bitcoin Layer-2s with Samson Mow – Blockstream Talk #36

Welcome back to blockstream talk today's Conversation our first conversation of 2024 is with the CEO and founder of Jan 3 Samson Mo a lot has happened since we Last spoke with Samson so we've got Quite a bit to catch up on 2024 looks Like it's off to a really good start for Both of bitcoin's major layer 2s Lightning network capacity continues to Hover around an all-time high but liquid Is also really accelerated over the last Couple of weeks and months it looks like It could be on Pace to even surpass the Lightning Network in the not too distant Future Samson of course has been busy meeting With policy makers and central banks From across Latin America Asia and Europe and has also just released a Really slick new wallet called aqua a Bitcoin and tether focused wallet that Integrates both of bitcoin's major layer Twos lightning and liquid and I think It's really the first wallet of its kind That's geared more towards Mass market Adoption than for power users we also Touched on the new American ETFs and the Near-term Outlook from mainstream Institutional adoption it's always great To talk to Samson if you think we missed Anything let us know in the comments Below and as usual don't forget to like Subscribe and Share Samson welcome to the show our

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First podcast of the year who else could We have to kick things on for 2024 it's Been a while since uh I've been on and That I hosted you a couple years ago That's right well you're the you're the You're our podfather you're the one who Suggested this idea and created the Podcast so yeah it's cool to Circle back And have you on great to be back so We've got a ton of stuff going on and And you've been super busy as usual and A lot of stuff to talk about today we've Got you know bitcoin price has doubled Over the last 10 or 12 months we've got The having not far away we've got um Bitcoin on both the lightning and the Liquid Network pushing new highs and Starting to look like a hockey stick We've got your new wallet from Aqua that Looks really really swick s looks really Really slick Jesse J and I were just Talking about that before the before the Podcast um and then you've been doing a Ton of traveling as usual and talking to A lot of different global leaders and And and different markets so we've got a Ton of ground to cover today I think Yeah well let's get right into it then Sounds good all right maybe to start off I'm I'm I'm not sure that I'm sure that Everyone who is watching this podcast Probably knows who you are but maybe we Could do a quick rehash on on yourself And and your journey to bitcoin and uh

How you became the the CEO and founder Of Jan 3 sure sounds good so I'm Samson Mo I'm the CEO of Jan 3 um and I guess My journey into Bitcoin first started Way back In 20101 when I first started reading about Bitcoin and I got formally into the Bitcoin industry when I joined BTC China In early 2015 so I guess that is my journey from Being interested in Bitcoin just by Reading about it to joining the industry Working at an exchange and of course I Stayed at BTC China for a few years um Did a little bit of stuff with the the Block siiz wars and then I joined Blockstream for fiveish years and then Here I am at genan 3 and I guess the the Question is why genan 3 right because I Was at blockstream and I guess the Answer is because I wanted to focus more On uh nation state PCO adoption and Reaching more people so I wanted to Focus 100% on this mission of Accelerating hyperviz or accelerating Bitcoin adoption and this is really why We launch Aqua it's meant to be a wallet That serves the average user and I think The um product road map and product Vision differs a bit from Green which is More about power users and a lot of a Lot of uh things that you can do but Maybe complex so we can talk about bit a

Bit about that in the show too but also Just being able to focus full-time on Going around to different countries uh Meeting leaders politicians Regulators Central Bankers too and talking to them A about Bitcoin and trying to orange Pill them yeah that that's great yeah I Want to reiterate too we talked about This last time but people forget that Btcc was a just a behemoth in the in the Bitcoin space back in the early days not Only on the exchange side but on the Mining side as well you guys had this uh Was it half of global hash rate at one Point or just a really really big number It was uh 18 to 20% that's massive and You ran mining there too as well right Yeah so you know you you've been doing a Lot of traveling recently what is your Approach and what's kind of your pitch That you make to to to leaders when You're visiting them um in these Different countries and how do you Identify who might be good opportunities Right good question so I would say we're Very opportunistic at gen 3 we don't Choose um a Target country and say okay We're gonna go to I don't know Australia Today and we're GNA work on Australia we Wait for some some people in Australia Maybe maybe some plebs that have an Opportunity have a connection to Somebody that has a connection because Everyone's connected in some way through

Six degrees and then they will help help Us make that connection make that Introduction and then we arrange Meetings discussions and eventually we Will go there and see what we can do to Orange pill them and that's just largely How it plays out for us at gen 3 so I've Said it a number of times before but we Can't do what we do without the help of You know average bitcoiners all around The world and it sometimes can surprise People that they can accomplish a lot Just by looking into their Network and Seeing who they can connect to and talk About Bitcoin So I guess that is the uh angle of Approach when we look at which country's Orange pill so it's countries that are Ripe for discussions with and are Receptive in some way and then the Second part of your question was how do We actually approach the Bitcoin topic And it's it's a Interesting it's interesting uh problem Set that you have to solve because You're dealing with people that may not Necessarily be Bitcoin They might know a little bit about it But maybe they don't and then you also Have a time constraint whereby maybe you Have an hour with them in person or Maybe an hour and a half if you're Really lucky but it's not a lot of time So your pitch your elevator pitch has to

Be very dense and targeted so what we Usually do is we just focus on alignment Of incentives because at the end of the At the end of the day it's all about Aligning incentives that's how Bitcoin Works so we we ask them what they are Interested in and usually it has Something to do with energy or financial Instruments and then we try to fit Bitcoin into what they would want and How it could help them so maybe it is Mining with Flare gas and reducing Emissions maybe it is um tapping into Untapped energy Hydro or geothermal and Mining Bitcoin to do other things like Build airports or roads so we really Focus on they are interested in but what We don't do is go too far down the Bitcoin rabbit hole we try to keep it Very surface level and very accessible So we don't talk about you know ultimate Scarcity and going down that path of Hyperbitcoinization yeah and talking About monetary Theory and all these Other things we we just talked about how Bitcoin could help them in the near- Term that's interesting actually the way You just described how you kind of get In touch with these countries that that Reminds me of how we met because it was Kind of a similar situation right where I was working at a bank and I wanted to Do stuff in Bitcoin I was trying to you Know organize stuff with companies in

The space um and our investors and I Just reached out to you on on Twitter And uh that's how we we set things up And you said I said hey can you come to Hong Kong we want to do this event at at Mcor's um you know regional office in Hong Kong can you come he said no I Can't but we've got this guy Adam back Would that be all right and um and That's how how we met and kind of built A relationship and then um you know the CEO from bit finex was there as well and So we had a chance to kind of build a Relationship with blockstream and and Bit finex and bit Fury was there so that Was it does seem like that's a really Powerful way to move things forward is Finding people within these institutions Um that that know the lay of the land And then can introduce you further That's uh that's such a great way to do It yeah it's funny how things play out And then now you're at Biff security so It's kind of come full circle all Because we sent Adam as my replacement In Hong Kong that's right So of all the places you visited over The last 12 months um maybe you can't Say country name specifically but but Regions where are some of the most kind Of receptive and and and least receptive Um Jesse J and I before the the show we Just talking about all the action that's Happening in in Latin and South America

With Argentina now and and El Salvador And and I was talking about Africa how There seems to be quite a bit of Adoption there but um you know on the Security side we haven't had much Traction over there and it was you know Kind of a region that we're interested To exploring more about where where do You think are the most receptive regions Um at the moment it's a mixed bag it Really depends on the people there and How good they understanding of the Environment is the the macroeconomic Environment and how the world works so I Would say by and large Latin America is Very R for Bitcoin adoption especially Nation state Bitcoin adoption Africa is Is very interesting too but the Political stability in Africa is not Quite there yet I mean you could even Argue in Latin America the political Stability is not quite there yet in some Places too because there has been Upheaval in Ecuador in and some issues In Panama and and Guatemala so we keep An eye on all of that but overall I Would say on a whole Latin America is Quite right for bcoin adoption and you Have El Salvador they're anchoring that That kind of Bitcoin Lighthouse saying You know we are using Bitcoin as legal Tender and you could potentially do it Too and there's a very big influence From that that drives people and and

Especially governments in nearby regions To look towards them and try to emulate That success that they've had so far so Latin America is very interesting but we Also have a a good foothold in Europe as Well in um Montenegro and potentially Serbia and the associated regions with Uh the former Yugoslavia because we have Uh Prince Philip on our team so he opens A lot of doors for us in that region so Right now there are some pretty good Discussions going on there but they will Take time because as you know it's not Easy for people to grasp what Bitcoin Can do but we did meet with the uh prime Minister of Montenegro and he was very Receptive and the conversation we had Was at a very very sophisticated Bitcoin Level I would say so he knows about all This stuff he's a finance guy and he's Been following it and understands a lot Of what Bitcoin can do um we also were In suram recently too it's uh in South America on the the the right side and Not many people know where suram is and There's a there's there's a I don't know Do you know where it is well I I've Talked to Maya before as well I think You were there with her so that I did Before my call with Maya I had to Google It and figure I did not know previously It's a name that I I'd heard of but I Didn't know I had to Google El Salvador The first time you know and and it it

Does expose a lot of like kind of you Know missing holes when you when you go On some of these trips I mean when I Joined and the first time I went to Kazakhstan I didn't know much about Kazakhstan it's in Central Asia it's This huge country all the countries Around it are huge and I knew nothing so No I I had to Google suram as well but It's funny uh just on a tangent how how Bitcoin takes us to odd places that we Wouldn't have gone to like if I met you You know 20 years ago and said Jesse Would you would you go to Kazakhstan You'd probably say no way in hell like Where is that right if you ask me 20 Years ago would you be in Surinam you Know where where is suram but yeah Probably not right so Bitcoin is a very Interesting mechanism where it pushes You into new places and new Experiences but yeah but but but going Back to that we met um the the CEO of The national Oil Company there sat And he gave us I was there with Ben Vanol our coo and he gave us his Business card and on the back of the Business card is actually a map of South America and it shows you where suranam Is so I think they also have the same Problem where people don't know where Suram is so they kind of had to show you Where it is on their on their business Card which is kind of funny that video

Of you guys on the boat it looks like if You fell off that you would get eaten by A Snake well you know it's a it's a Dangerous job orange fing governments And uh going to all these countries all Right so it sounds like Latin America is Probably you know where a lot of the Attention is is is still focused then is That correct yeah and there's a ton of Opportunity too because if we go back to Suram we met with the the Central Bank There and we gave them a proposal to um Buy Bitcoin with their reserves and put 1% into Bitcoin and we're still in Discussions and we'll see if they Actually do it while the price is low um We met with President we again met with Satoli their oil company and they new They have newly discovered oil offshore And there's a a big drive to develop That and they're already sourcing Partners and investors to do so but There is an opportunity there to work With them to potentially tokenize some Of their shares and distribute those to Um the citizens of the country too That's initiative that they wanted to do And that's a opportunity it's sort of Like the Bitcoin Bond right I think El Salvador was thinking to do the Bitcoin Bond so Salvadorans abroad could invest Back into the country and this is sort Of along those lines they were talking

About tokenizing equity in the National Oil company and giving that Equity to The people so you could have shares of Satoli in your blockstream green or your Aqua wallet or any amp wallet and that Would be a big change too so there's a Lot of of these kinds of projects that Are possible now or even Capital raises To build new energy infrastructure like There's a a big hydram project there That they could raise Capital to build Out and then mine Bitcoin and there's an Existing Hydro project too that has Excess power I think something along the Lines of five megawatts excess and it's Just a matter of finding enough time and Bandwidth to execute on all these Different projects but my point is there Is so much opportunity for Bitcoin to tr Transform countries like suram Al Salvador and many more in Latin America If they're willing to learn about the The broader Bitcoin ecosystem and what It has in it and how important to the Pitch is the energy aspect and Bitcoin Mining because I think you know if you Look at I'm sure a lot of these Countries have you know other coins and Tokens people flying around and trying To visit them and and and Pitch them but The Bitcoin mining part is kind of a a Unique part of the the Bitcoin value Proposition and a lot of these these Countries whether it's in Africa or

Latin America like you mentioned they Tend to have a lot of natural resources That they struggle to monetize and and The mining is kind of a unique way to do That so how big of a hook is the mining Do you think in getting people to Understand this well I think mining is Very powerful because it allows them to Tap into these stranded resources or Untapped resources in some cases and if You look at the entire world many of the Poorer countries are actually energy Rich they just can't put that energy Into a barrel and ship it across the Ocean but with Bitcoin you can kind of Do that you can put it into a digital Barrel called a BTC and ship that Anywhere in the world and with very low Costs compared to a physical barrel of Oil on a boat so it's very Transformative and part of that pitch That I give is that the equation of Money has changed now so money is now Energy and information so if you have Energy then you can turn that into Information and sell that and build Whatever you'd like to build hospitals Bridges roads highspeed rail whatever You like whatever you need and it I try To drive home the point that it's it's Somewhat irresponsible not to do that or At least look into doing it because you Basically have o energy under your feet Right just like you have oil under your

Feet if you didn't tap into that and You're still struggling with debt to the IMF or um your country is still in Poverty then you know something is wrong Here so we have to see if we can make Them understand that that transformation Has happened and to take action on that And do something and what do you think The state of sovereign Bitcoin mining is Do you think there's more countries Mining Bitcoin than we're aware of yeah Well uh one good example is Bon so They've been mining for years and Recently when I think they were outed um Through some legal case I forgot which One it was was it blockfi or something Else then they kind of owned it and said Yeah we're mining Bitcoin but we didn't Even know for years right and then There's Oman that is also mining Bitcoin I think they have a partnership with Marathon um and they have uh I forgot How many megawatts but it was size a Sizable number of megawatts but there Are probably more countries out there Mining Sovereign Bitcoin mining Operations are at work and we just don't Know about them and that is probably a Reason why hashrate is just going hockey Stick right now because if you're um if You're behind the meter it doesn't Really matter what the price is of the Energy and a Sovereign Nation is behind The meter they don't have to meter it

Right they just tap it and use it Whereas you know if uh you're core Scientific or somebody then you know you Have to buy it from the Grid or maybe Some some mining operations have their Own energy production but that's another Topic but uh it's different for Sovereigns they can just use all the Power they want yeah and and given the Imf's attitude towards Bitcoin that if You're one of these kind of like Developing countries you're incentivized Very strongly to not talk about your Bitcoin mining it makes economic sense To do it but it also makes sense to be Very quiet about it too yeah the IMF is Definitely a consideration because a lot Of these countries are in debt and they Do need to renegotiate and uh you know Keep the IMF kind of happy but I think That Looming the looming fear of uh the IMF Uh kind of like going after to you or Being unhappy with you is passing Because they they did saber rattle a lot When El Salvador implemented their Bitcoin law and other things like the Digital Securities laws but they've Largely quieted down because El Salvador Succeeded on a lot of fronts they've got Uh tourism to what 30% growth they have Double digit GDP growth um they have Massive amounts of investment coming in Their traditional bonds are rallying so

It's not like the IMF can say that much Anymore about Bitcoin adoption by Countries so I think it makes it easier For any subsequent country to do Something and I think you mentioned Argentina before but Argentina they've I Think they're almost done with their Renegotiations so once that is settled I Think there is an opportunity for Argentina to do something because uh When mle took office he did preface and Warn people like turning this country Around is going to take 20 30 years but If you could accelerate that to 510 with Bitcoin why wouldn't you yeah Argentina Is a really really really interesting One I mean Jesse J and I were talking About this as well before the podcast That you know when people were leaving Europe in the 1900s Canada Argentina and Australia were all equal choices they Just kind of you know picked one and Then went um and then you know it kind Of fell apart over the last hundred Years um and and to see the it'll be Really interesting to see if they can They certainly have the natural Resources um you know to see if they can Turn it around I think this will be a Really really interesting data point Kind of like El Salvador is such an Important proof of concept you know if We can get El Salvador right and we can Get Capital markets going in El Salvador

And they've already done so much of the Heavy lifting on their own to tackle Crime and make it safe and a safe place For investment um and you see that money Coming back into it it's just a really Powerful proof of concept for the rest Of the world that can help accelerate Things globally it it really is um I'm Not sure did you listen to Malay speech At the WF I did I listened to the whole Thing yeah okay I listened to part of it But he was it was good I'm I'm pretty Sure the rest of it was good too I Listened to the first you know 10 Minutes or so but he was saying like Collectivism is what plunged 100 Years Of collectivism is what plunged Argentina into these Financial Dark Ages Or economic Dark Ages and opening it up Being welcoming to Investments having Free markets is what's going to fix Things and he did give that little bit Of History like when they were first uh But before they went to collectivist it Was very capless and that was what You're touching on about how you know Argentina was one of those countries That people would just choose and go to Because it was a good place I think it's The Paris of um of uh South America well And you know not to dip into Canadian Politics but this is my worry for Canada Is it becomes a cold Argentina and I Think um we're on that path like already

And there's a brain drain out of Canada There's a ton of people from Canada Moving to El Salvador I met a ton when I Was there so you know it could happen It's not like it couldn't happen you Know two countries with kind of a a Similar start there's a definite strong Parallel between Argentina and Canada We're Canada's just a little bit late to The game but you know going strong in The collectivism front and I was Watching this uh Tik Tock video or Something where they had a a guy from an Immigrant from Bangladesh in Canada Working at Tim Horton's and he was Saying this country is so effed up and He was he told he told the the guy Filming there's a university Professor That comes in every day and he's Homeless and then you read the news and Trudeau wants to give a a stien to People from from Ukraine that come to Canada and the total package is half a Billion dollars so it's that same type Of uh Market Force that drove Argentina Into hyperinflation that is working its Way in Canada now and hopefully we can Turn the tide with that but holy that's Like it just boggles the mind that People can run a country into the ground On this level given the amount of Education and resources that they have At their disposal to read and study no It's just squandering squandering

Everything yeah and the lack of up Mobility I met I met an older gentleman In El Salvador who's Canadian he was an Entrepreneur and he said you know he Told his children come move to El Salvador he said you can make you can Come here and start a business and get It up and ready and you can make $15 Million you are not GNA make $15 million In Canada under any situation there's no Possible like Universe in which that That could happen um you know starting From kind of like a normal person and And and that that really resonated with Me because you know I left Canada as Well and and I don't think I'd have the Degree of upward mobility in my life That I had here if I had stayed in Canada so it's kind of a depressing Situation um but I think a real Opportunity for places like El Salvador Yeah you could have been a manager of Tim Hortons that's right well I mean I drink A lot of coffee so that wouldn't be bad Either yeah it's not bad all right so Shifting over to Aqua I had a I had a Bit of a fiddle with it and and I really Liked it it seems easy to use I I had I Don't I use Liquid a fair bit I don't Use lightning that much um I did have I Went when I went to El Salvador you know You had to get get a lightning wallet You got to load that up and and do some

Transactions over there so I moved some Um you know lightning um some from my Lightning wallet to the aqua one Everything it it works really well it Seems really really smooth so what are Some of the key features there and Improvements for the aqua wallet and how Do you think that fits in in driving um You know your hyperbitcoinization Strategy and and can you take credit for The the uptick in lbtc that we've seen Recently I don't know hard to say maybe that's Just like the did you see that Commercial I forgot who made it it was Uh the baby pressing that terminal and They had a a picture there of a sid Swap And they had Adam back calling the Factory saying we need a yeah I saw that That was a good one yeah that was a good One I don't know it's hard to say who's Driving the volume maybe it's Aqua maybe It's bolts well it's probably all of the Above yeah yeah it's probably all of the Above but or or just necessity because People are now starting to understand Well maybe it's good to have a layer That's not the main chain when you need To you know top up your lightning Channels because you know lightning is Very tightly bound to main chain right If uh main chain fees Aren't anything more than $5 then it Kind of makes lightning very broken and

Having this intermediary layer to Bounce Down on and come back up is very very Useful yeah definitely definitely so What what are some of the the key Features that you rolled out in the Wallet like how would you differentiate It from from Green I think in the Beginning you mentioned that green is Definitely more for power users I think That's probably my feel as well um how Would you differentiate the two in terms Of features and and just the feel of it Right so the core segments of Aqua are One we have to give users a lot of Utility and this is why we're Integrating a lot of different services So we're we're adding ways to swap Between uh USD and lbtc and then to BTC Uh we have the ability to do submarine Swaps to lightning so you can go in and Out of lightning uh we have sides shift Powering swaps for usdt on all the Chains so you can go you can receive From Tron ethereum tether transactions And send out also but you keep your Funds in liquid usdt so the that sort of Utility is the core Foundation of Aqua That you have to be able to to move in And out freely so in the in the words of Bruce Lee Be Like Water you want to Channel the channel the turbulence and You know let people move things where They want to move them the second key Component of Aqua is the marketplace and

It's just spinning up so we don't have That much there right now but we will Have a lot of on and off ramps um in all These different countries for Fiat so That will be coming over the next few Months but if you look at the whole Thing the value proposition for an aqua User is that this is your daily driver You can get this and use it for all your Spending bill payments grocery shopping You name it and you can travel to Latin America with it and interface with the Usdt economy there and I would say a lot Of Bitcoin wallets seem to neglect that They just make themselves a really good Bitcoin wallet but all they do is send And receive Bitcoin and maybe buy Bitcoin but you can not say like USD is Not valuable because the market says it Is there's billions and billions of Dollars like 80 somat billion dollars of USD right now and a lot of that is just People in developing countries in the Global South using it to protect Themselves and they haven't even though They're using all this stuff like They're able to make a a transaction They they know what an address is or Have a pretty good idea of what an Address is they're not necessarily Bitcoiners and and this is what we're Hoping to change by making a Bitcoin Wallet that has usdt in it so we can get Some of those hundreds of millions of

People into Bitcoin and uh we had a Critique before when people said why do You have the Bitcoin price at the top of Aqua that's because in this target Market here in latam we want them to Learn about Bitcoin and we we label the Bitcoin on train wallet as your saving Account and then the bottom is spending With layer 2 and tether so the idea is That we educate them that Bitcoin is Savings technology and here's the price And keep an eye on it that way so I Guess that kind of encapsulates how we Differ from other wallets and uh where We would put ourselves in the Marketplace and yeah we we are based on GDK just like green is but we want to Deliver a More um targeted user experience so There's a lot of things that we remove So in green when you receive uh a liquid Asset it'll just show up in aqua we only Let you see the ones that you've added And right now the defaults would be you Know lbtc layer 2 and usdt so you'd have To manually add something else if you Want to see it and the reasoning behind That is to keep it very simple for our Target and user and I think that is very Important because you can add a lot of Stuff and a lot of people want a lot of Stuff like people are saying about Hardware wallet support in in aqua or um You know Noster or um connecting to my

Own lightning node and this this is all Really cool cool stuff and there are Wallets that do it really well but I Don't think that's what we want to focus On because we want to just get people on Boarded into Bitcoin layer to and tether On liquid yeah I I would definitely Agree with that I mean it feels like That's green kind of Niche is to cater More to the power users um but Definitely having something that's super Simple and super basic and just getting The user numbers up is something that we Really really need as well you know I've Always been kind of usdt on liquid works So well it's so fast and it's so cheap And and I I still don't think most of The market under I mean you can see that The market doesn't understand that Because liquid as percentage of of usdt Is is Tiny right it's all it's all on Tron and but it's it's cheaper and Faster on it's just a better product and The problem is there just hasn't been Enough Integrations and we just don't Have the numbers yet so I hope this is One of those products that will help Change that I think there's a real Opportunity for it yeah and I would say It is coming because uh well one we have Some ad campaigns going out in Latin America that are comparing liquid to Ethereum and Tron and we show the the Price to send USD on liquid is like you

Know 10 cents or something like that and Then uh Tron is like a dollar most Tron Wallets charge a dollar even though the Tron fee is lower and then ethereum is Like 12 13 bucks a transaction or Something like that and then those can Also fail too and you lose your money so I think with that that push we should Start educating some of those people and At the same time we can work with the Aqua model of that Marketplace and drive People to support liquid tether because We'll tell them like we want to add you To Aqua but you need to support liquid Tether and that's also a criteria for Not Latin America but other places too When we engage with people interested in Being in the aqua Marketplace we tell Them our priority is one you Port liquid And two your integration is Straightforward and apis are easy to use And then that that makes it easier for Us to get more companies to support Liquid what are the what are the push Backs you get on liquid like if we had Uh we should we should make liquid fud Dice I think that would be great what What do you think if we're making liquid Fud dice what would you put on the fud Dice ah I don't know it's it's difficult To say because uh the the fud doesn't Make sense that's the problem right it's Sort of like the Bitcoin fud about Bitcoin boiling the ocean it's just not

True so I I guess one of the liquid fud Points is um it's a Federation but then people love Federations like they love Fetti they Just don't like that liquid is this Federation I think it has to do with um Fetti being new and people are okay with It now right but technically it's the Same thing a federation is a federation Liquid Federation is Bitcoin companies And exchanges a Fetti Federation might Be you know you And I don't know pick a couple other Guys that doesn't sound ideal yeah well It's different right like yeah liquid is All about being a a piece of Bitcoin Infrastructure so you have exchanges and Bitcoin companies running their their Functionary their the block producer in Data centers versus Fetti and I'm not Sure how they they do it or how it will Be done but what is the up time is it Some guy running a node in his basement What if he has a power outage I don't Know it's it's a different set of Tradeoffs right like yes they're your Buddies but you know I don't know how Good your buddies are going to be at Running uh 247 uptime Hardware yeah I I Like the idea of a federation that's Kind of anchored by people you know Cyppher Punk companies that are well Capitalized like bitfinex and and uh and Blockstream I think to me that seems

That you know you know their ideology is Is is pretty much in line with the users And that seems um like a pretty good Pretty good way to go another is uh Liquid's not Layer Two like we get that A lot because in aqua we label that Wallet Layer Two because it's liquid and Lightning and people keep saying it's Not Layer Two um because it's Federation But I mean we were calling liquid Layer Two probably before they even came into Bitcoin right this is 2015 and we've Been talking about liquid as being a Layer to for getting close to a decade So uh a lot of the fight is just Misinformed or people just irration Al Angry and we call that liquid Derangement syndrome LTS yeah lightning adoption has you know Been up and to the right all this year Um and and that's been driven I guess Partly by this High fee environment do Do you think that better Interoperability with liquid and and Lightning can help in certain areas Definitely this is another thing too I Think people have this misconception That liquid competes with lightning and Any anytime we say something critical About lightning they they say you know You guys are blockstream Shields and You're just fighting lightning but they Kind of also forget that blockstream has Invested a massive amount of capillary

To lightning infrastructure development Too and is one of the main Implementations right it's uh L&D cln And then I think U the one from Clair Async right so it doesn't make any sense And if you look at it liquid and Lightning are Very um useful in interaction Ing and Working with one another and I think That is why yeah they're very Complimentary and this is why Blockstream worked on both things at the Same time liquid and lightning there was A post a couple weeks ago by uh Ben Ben Carman and he was saying well you know It'd be brilliant if there were some Simpler layer that lightning interacts With and uh can bounce off of because You know main chain makes it very Difficult to use lightning when fees are High and there's congestion well yeah Blockstream and Adam and guys figured That out in 2015 right so I think people Will come around to it and if the market Is any indication they're definitely Coming around to it right so we had a Lot of people give very positive Feedback on Aqua saying well it works Really well because we're using bolts to Do submarine swaps into and out of Liquid and you're you're Outsourcing all That complexity Channel management Channel rebalancing all of that stuff to Um a professional Sur service and you're

Doing it in a trustless manner so I Think we can offer The Best of Both Worlds we offer that lightning Experience but with the Simplicity of Having liquid which is just you know you Have the liquid Bitcoin and that's it You can sit there in your wallet you can Put it into a harbor wallet like a Jade And there's no need to worry about the Other side force closing the channel on You and and that reminds me there's Another little tidbit of uh liquid Derangement that's really good saying You have to trust the Federation but I Was running through some um experiments With other lightning wallets the outset And I think it was uh Phoenix wallet That's it's a really good piece of tech Right and I I like to use it but when You when you buy a channel from them First of all they charge 1% and then They Also promise you that they will keep That channel open for at least a year And I saw someone ask a question like Well how do I know you're going to keep That channel open with me and they said You know well we'll sign a commitment And uh we'll it's we we we'll commit to It but you have to trust us so in Anything other than main chain Bitcoin You always have some degree of trust Because you know it's not Bitcoin at lay One where it's completely trustless

There's always some dimensionality to That and the question is do people Realize that and I think people are Starting to realize it and the high fees Congestion all of that maybe it's a good Thing because it's forcing them to learn And challenge their own preconceptions Or assumptions on what a layer 2 is and What liquid is and what a federation is What about the other layer twos like Arc And and fedy men do you have any you Know plans to integrate those into kind Of your nation state adoption strategy Or is there already kind of a lot on Your plate already and it's difficult Enough to get people to digest you know Liquid and and Bitcoin yeah it's I would Say it's difficult enough to just deal With what we've got right now and liquid Is very good for Securities issuance Right with services like amp you can be Like El Salvador and issue a Bitcoin Bond or Surinam or fingers crossed Argentina but um yeah like there's Enough things for us to work on and Build on top of right now that we don't Need to focus too much on technology That does not yet exist right and I Think fety is good Tech but again it's Not meant to be super robust I think It's meant for communities but if I was Advising a country on securities Issuance I would definitely say build on Liquid and use what's there because it

Is Battle tested it's been running for Eight years or so and you have a ton of Issuances on there already you have Tether the largest stable coin in the World the most dominant you have uh $200 Million of promisory notes from Mel um You have the blockstream mining note you Have exo I I would say it's a proven Battl tested technology for Securities Yeah yeah definitely I was just checking On the Block stream mining note I mean We're already we're almost at a thousand Days in the block stream mining note so It's already been out there you know in The wild as well people trading it on Telegram peer-to-peer and all like in a Compliant way because of the wh listed Ecosystem so for Securities I definitely Think it's the the the leader in the Industry I'm waiting for all the the Biffin Securities to come out I was Gonna Segway into that into a yeah into A into have plug here but yeah no we're Going to be announcing that the uh the El Salvador platform will go live in the Next couple of weeks and I think you'll See a lot more happening on the security Side as well we've got a pretty good Pipeline there so I think that's that's Really exciting so definitely sign up Now to the platform you can actually Sign up to the El Salvador platform now If you go to the verification tab in Bitfinex but we're going to start kind

Of announcing that and banging the drum Over the next couple of weeks um and Then uh and then I think we'll start Seeing more issuances come to Market so It could be a really exciting year I Think for for liquid for lightning um For all of this stuff yeah I'm pretty Sure you saw it but the Larry Fink CEO Of Black Rock was talking about Tokenizing and digitizing all these Legacy assets so we just have to get on A call with the guy and tell him use Liquid we do but I'm kind of like you Know these guys because you know Hong Kong has been doing a lot of security Tokenization as well and then when you Start to dig into the stuff that these Big banks are doing it it's not Tokenization as we understand it a lot Of it looks kind it's a lot of smoke in Mirrors and it LO looks a lot like the Legacy system like not a lot is changing They want they want Innovation but they Don't want anything to change I think Basically what key part of their Motivation is they want to fire their Back office right so they want Operationally for it to be cheaper and More efficient so they can fire more People and get their margins up but you Know the BMN you pull it off the Platform you can self- custody it you Can trade it peer-to-peer I'm not sure That this is the vision of tokenization

That that they necessarily have so we'll Have to see how that that plays out I do Feel like it's a little bit of a race Between what they see as tokenization And maybe what we see um I'm sure some Degree of it will be complimentary but I Think I think we have to to see what Going on well it's there for us to win That battle right like they can Definitely go off on their own path and Use some private blockchain but I think If we can engage with them they're yeah Maybe that's what they want but I think It's better to go back to something like Liquid and restoring this the the bearer Notes of past right and Bearer shares And I think that's a better way to do it Like being peer-to-peer trading Peer-to-peer is better than just you Know tokenizing but it's in a database Yeah I mean that's that's a good segue To the next question I wanted to ask is That we've got this sharp uptake in Institutional interest in in in Bitcoin Based security products again so I mean I've got mixed thoughts on the ETF in Some ways you know I I understand that There's mandate restrictions and that There's regulatory restrictions and a Lot of these large institutional Investors were difficult for them to buy Bitcoin directly at the same time I find It slightly disappointing that they Absolutely have to have it spoonfed to

Them that it needs to to be not only Securitized but it has to be securitized In the US having an ETF in Canada is not Enough they don't want to buy that it Has to be securitized in the US for them To want to touch it let alone going out And buying you know wild Bitcoin so what Are you what are your thoughts on the ETF I saw that you made some interesting Comments like uh it was in an article I Think I can't remember which one but it Said that it might trade at a discount Or a premium to to real Bitcoin to Wild Bitcoin maybe kind of similar to the way The gbtc did for most of its um Existence why do you think it'll it'll Do that why do you think there'll be Premiums or discounts well it's to be Seen but um what it comes down to is ETF Bitcoin is going to be encumbered in a Number of ways so it it depends like What exactly all happens but you can you Can have some rules or regulation Whereby you cannot redeem and uh exit The system or well right now it's not an Issue cuz is Cash creates but let's say There is ink kind right I think I wrote This commentary before when ink kind was Still at play but they could just say You you can withdraw Bitcoin but you can Only withdraw to another authorized uh Authorized uh Financial entity or Something like that and there is Precedent for this I think in the UK

They were saying you can only withdraw From One exchange to another exchange And if that happens what that means is This Bitcoin all becomes wall off from Rest of world so I called the rest of World Bitcoin free Bitcoin and this is Institutional Bitcoin in this bucket and Maybe it can't leave and I don't think That will have as much value and utility As the free Bitcoin so that would in Theory mean that there would be two Prices for Bitcoin when it's trading so This one the encumbered one would trade At a discount and the free Bitcoin would Trade it at premium yeah yeah I mean Max Kaiser has been making that point as as Well right it's kind of like wild Bitcoin and Zoo Bitcoin it's like um because you get the Economic kind of some of the economic Benefits of Bitcoin where it number go Up but you don't get all the useful Parts of it like the self- custody the You know censorship resistance all all Of that stuff that's really important Especially you know for for different Parts of of the world where there's all Kinds of restrictions on on on on Currency movement and you know Transactions are monitored and you might Be a political dissident or whatever so All of those kind of discrepancies but I Mean that's kind of the difference Between I think probably Bitcoin usage

In the global South and then in the G7 Where it's basically just another Speculative asset and it's for people Largely for people with money to kind of Speculate on ETFs are kind of a a Money-making vehicle right especially The structure they have right now it's Like invest your Fiat make some Fiat so That's already what it is we'll see what Happens but I would hope that people Invest into the ETFs because say they Need to put their 401k or whatever and They they need that vehicle to access it In through this channel but that they Also learn about it and they buy some Free Bitcoin or real Bitcoin wild Bitcoin and keep it for themselves Because if you look at history history Is full of gold being seized for various Reasons most typically most commonly for War so it's not it's actually very easy Now for your Bitcoin to be seized if It's sitting in ETF because it's not Yours right so you know suddenly there's A new executive order to finance World War III and uh sorry like we need your Bitcoin you know but sadly people don't Like to learn from history so we'll see What happens but I hope a subset of Those people do learn about self- Custody and what real Bitcoin is and They do buy some on their own yeah I Think optimistically the ETF could be a Trojan horse right I think this happens

To a lot of people you buy a little bit You know I heard that Kathy Wood has 25% Of her wealth in Bitcoin it probably Started off and people were talk well That's amazing yeah but pric has doubled It probably started at 1% right I think That happens to a lot of people right You put in one or two percent the number Goes up all of a sudden it's meaningful And you become very interested in it and Then you start doing more work and I Think that's kind of the Trojan Horse Effect of Bitcoin and and I hope that's What happens with the ETFs and the other Good thing is that you know how many Bitcoin did the gbtc have like 600,000 Or some crazy number 700,000 it's yeah It's probably better for that to get Split up and and it looks like you know Given their outflows every day looks Like that's what's happening yeah I I Really think they should lower their Fees but at the same time it's good They're not lowering their fees because That's driving this dispersal of their BTC Holdings into other funds and other Vehicles but at the end of the day They're all still American Security so Yeah you have to understand there is Seizure risk right there definitely yeah The other thing with the gbtc is their Fees you know used to be 2% and I think That was generated by selling Bitcoin so It was you know 2% of a couple hundred,

Bitcoin downward pressure every year so You know it's good to clear that out as Well yeah I I love the the answer he Gave when he was asked like um the CEO Like can do you think your fee is Justified and he just said yeah I think We're worth it it's like the L'Oreal Commercial Because you're worth It that's right all right um well we can Talk like this all day I don't want to Take up too much of your time maybe to Wrap things up um what are you looking Forward to most in 2024 and and where do You see Jan 3 and and Bitcoin in maybe Five or 10 years yeah 2024 we have a lot Of uh meetings planned a lot of it is Follow through with previous meetings And countries we visited ready and then Potentially a few more uh we're trying To get a meeting with Malay but I think Uh it might be realistically more in Q2 We'll see but yeah that's uh 2024 I Think is going to be a big year for Bitcoin right now as we are speaking Bitcoin pric is down to I know 40 0.4 oneish or something like that Million but uh I think this will pass And people will start to get excited Again and if you look at all the the Trends of the ETF the are increasing Right inflows are increasing and the Amount that they're accumulating per day Is just crazy when you look at it it's

Like thousands of Bitcoin a day so this Cannot keep up with the price being this Low I just think it it's in an Impossibility so we'll see the price go Back up in 2024 and with price going up Number go up we see more interest and That helps us on the nation state Adoption front because nobody wants Bitcoin when it's 16k right nope you got To be crazy to want Bitcoin at 16k you Want Bitcoin at 100K that's when it's Beautiful right so this will help us on Getting more connections and Introductions to meet with more world Leaders and orange fing them and it's Going to be a virtuous cycle where as Price goes up as we see more adoption it Just keeps on going yeah I think so yeah It's year the dragon too so that has to Be good yeah let's see all right great Well thanks a lot for your time Samson And I think we'll have to do these more Frequently um going forward yeah for Sure let's do it great to talk to you Great to talk to you Too

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