Owen, who tweets from @beefbackbetter, kindly agreed to be our first respondent to 21 Questions for Bitcoiners and to share some of his perspectives. Thanks for joining us!
1. How did you learn about bitcoin?
Max Keiser, and Jeff Berwick (yuck). I used to travel a lot for work throughout the Asia Pacific region, and RT [a Russian controlled international television network which showed the Keiser Report] was often on the hotel cable TV, so Max and Stacy were on high rotation.
2. What is bitcoin’s most important function?
That’s a difficult question, but broadly, to function as Sound Money. My personal favourite feature is the price elasticity of supply of zero – no matter the price, the production rate remains the same, due to the difficulty adjustments. There has never been an asset in human history that has this feature.
3. In what ways has bitcoin changed you?
I basically used to be a communist, and I’m not sure how much just getting older and learning more along the way has influenced my becoming a conservative / libertarian / free market capitalist / anarchist. But I think bitcoin contributed to this more than anything else.
4. Are there bitcoiners that you admire?
Yes, many. I seek these people out and try to meet them personally if I can.
5. What are the biggest hurdles to broad adoption of bitcoin?
Overcoming the propaganda campaigns of central bankers and big governments. Propaganda is powerful, and many people are completely hypnotized by the mainstream and social media, as was made very clear to us over the last two years.
6. Is hyperbitcoinization inevitable?
As George Gammon says: there are no certainties, only probabilities. But as Jeff Booth says: humanity will have sound money eventually. Bitcoin is the only sound money we’ve ever known, so I think it has a good chance.
7. Do you run a bitcoin node? A lightning node?
Yes I’m running Umbrel on a Raspberry Pi4 and finding it very reliable.
8. Do you use a hardware wallet?
Of course, I lost all my bitcoin in a boating accident, but generally speaking I do like hardware wallets and for beginners recommend Trezor Model T at a minimum, and for advanced users Coldcard with dice-rolled seed and/or passphrase air gapped with Wasabi or Sparrow. (I wouldn’t use Wasabi for coinjoining, but as a wallet it is reliable).
9. Have you tried multisignature?
Yes have tried Casa, and Specter. I like it but only for advanced users at this stage.
10. Have you made a purchase, paid a debt or sold something for bitcoin over lightning?
Yes, as much as I can. I used to go through Brisbane airport a lot and would make a point of paying with bitcoin at the restaurants. BTCPay Server for online purchases is excellent, so use it whenever websites have it as an option. I also spent a month in El Salvador recently and so spent bitcoin daily, mostly on lightning but occasionally on chain with zero conf with RBF disabled at vendors where lightning was problematic.
11. Do you evangelize bitcoin?
I did for about 4 years, but these days I tend not to bother trying to convince people, unless they show some interest, and then I devote as much time as I can to helping them.
12. Are the exchange rates for bitcoin important?
Price is important, long term price that is. I think price needs to go up over time for it to reach broad adoption such that the beneficial outcomes for society and humanity that we expect become apparent.
13. Which country will (or ought to) adopt bitcoin for legal tender next?
I have no idea really but probably not a wealthy western democracy, maybe a Latin American or African country.
14. Do you mine bitcoin?
I did in 2018, for a few months, until it became unprofitable. The noise, heat, and cost of hardware makes this probably always a bad idea. However I’m glad I did as I learnt a lot, and I would love to again should the opportunity arise – ie if I had access to very very cheap electricity, or if I lived in a cold climate and wanted to heat the house or something. I’m watching closely the home mining setups that people are coming up with.
15. Do you attend, host or contribute to meetups or conventions on bitcoin?
Yep, yep and yep. I’ve run some meetups and helped a bit with the Bitcoin Bush Bash here in Australia.
16. How far have you traveled to meet with bitcoiners?
I traveled to the US in 2019, and recently to El Salvador. I enjoy meeting bitcoiners so will travel pretty much anywhere to find people I can actually handle talking to.
17. How relevant are bitcoin adjacent movements? (E.g., carnivory, ghost guns, encrypted comms, counter-narrative movements, traditionalism in culture and architecture, etc.)
I think it’s important. I’m thrilled to see the crossover of bitcoin and real food, self reliance, strong families etc. Fiat money has destroyed so many of the good things that humans had created. Hopefully sound money will get us back on track.
18. How will bitcoin influence politics? Could a bitcoin focused political party emerge?
Democracy is a failure, [expletive] politics, and [expletive] politicians. I won’t be against a bitcoin focused party, but I won’t expect it to success.
19. What is your favourite bitcoin-inspired art?
StarfuryFlames on Twitter.
20. Are we anywhere near the peak of popularity for bitcoin podcasting?
I doubt we’re at peak popularity, but it feels a bit like we’re at peak number of podcasts – there are so many now!
21. How do you keep abreast of developments relating to bitcoin?
For those interested in hearing more from Owen, you may enjoy his recent interviews with John Vallis in which he discussed regenerative beef production and with the Two Bit Idiots in which he describes his experiences in El Salvador and thoughts on bitcoin adoption there.