51 - Taking stock and building

51 - Taking stock and building
One year on - what an eventful year...

🇹🇭  With Valentine's day this week, V and I have been reflecting on the year past - it certainly has been an eventful year for us: Hong Kong, Belfast, Dublin, Madeira, Mallorca, Malta, Bangkok, Chiangmai, Hua Hin, Kuala Lumpur and back to Hong Kong.   That said, our week here in Bangkok was relatively uneventful.  The main thing was the rain that came on Wednesday and it was pretty wet.  This is the first rain since we got here.  Tropical rain with plenty of Thunder and Lightning - you can get very wet very quickly.  Anyway it was pleasantly cooler (24-28) and cleared up in the afternoon.

Recall that we have been documenting our journey and sharing thoughts and suggestions along the way  - just go back and re-read any of the previous issues - a few milestones include:

What is your favourite or most insightful newsletter - do let me know.

This week I have been focussing on my projects, studying and reading.  I have also started to build some of the Nostr clients from source - this is the best way to get to know them and the protocol.  More on this below - these new technologies have the potential to be wildly important and impactful.  I am convinced that combining Nostr with other open source projects will result in remarkable developments in the coming months. Items that I am following include Synonym with Slashtags and Holepunch, Fedimint and Chaumian E-Cash (more on these below) - not to mention ChatGPT (to be covered separately).

Excellent Bitcoin meetups this week - you do get to meet the most interesting people and it is refreshing to discuss building and collaborating rather than all the divisive politics that goes on elsewhere.   Nice too is that peer-to-peer trading is also available here in Bangkok - you will always find people who want to buy or sell with local or even foreign cash.  In such situations these guidelines may be helpful.

I continue to onboard people to Bitcoin using Lightning.  When I pay a bill (always prefer cash to card) I ask if they take bitcoin.  For services I ask if they want a tip; if so they can have it in bitcoin - "you want a tip or you do not want a tip?"   Simplest way is for them to install Wallet of Satoshi on their phone (iPhone and Android); I send it and they get it instantly.  Like that they can see it and get used to it and they can show and discuss with their friends.  

Try it yourself and let me know how you get on and I will happily send you some!

More in this issue

  • a few photo memories from around Bangkok this week
  • Guy on Bank Bail-Ins - something you must know and prepare for
  • Important information for those in the UK
  • Update on my projects
  • Links to inform and educate you - a very important one at the end
  • Closing thoughts to make you think too...

A few photo memories from around Bangkok

Podcast of the week

You need to be aware of what is likely coming.  Guy explains how you/we will all get to play our part in "the great deleveraging" - and it will not be "beautiful".  The corrupt intent of those in power to put Derivatives ahead of all other creditors should make it fairly clear where the power lies - and it is not with the people who supposedly elect politicians.  Wake up, folks!

The question is not whether Republicans or Democrats (read your local parties) control the government - rather whether the Government is controlled by the people.   - Dan Glickman
"The government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."
- Margaret Thatcher
Click to watch

Be in no doubt - there will be bank failures and your money will be taken as part of the "Bail In" process - Cyprus was a test.   In the video Guy describes some steps you should consider  - do not say that nobody told you while plenty try to prevent you from hearing or appreciating it.

Democracy dies

Recall too that this what you see going on around you is well known.  Plato warned extensively (in Book VII of  "Republic") about several flaws in "democracy", including:

  1. Mob rule: In democracy, the majority rule, which means that decisions are made based on the will of the majority. However, Plato argued that the masses are not necessarily wise or just, and their decisions could harm the minority or even the state as a whole.
  2. Lack of expertise: Plato believed that the people making decisions in a democracy lack the expertise to make informed decisions on complex issues, leading to poor decision-making.
  3. Corruption: According to Plato, democracy can easily devolve into a form of mob rule where the people can be swayed by demagogues, who manipulate the masses for their own personal gain.
  4. Injustice: In a democracy, the will of the majority may lead to decisions that are unjust or go against the rights of individuals or minority groups.

You can read it for free online!

The Republic by Plato
Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by volunteers.
Click to read the book

Recall that we have discussed how wisdom from End of Empire Times is well documented but surprisingly widely not taught or forgotten:   Empires Rise and Fall  extracts and summarises from John Glubb's paper of nearly 100 years ago,  The Fate of Empires .   Check out Issue 11 and Issue 26.

Meanwhile in the UK

Awareness of the dangers of CBDCs is growing - and people are becoming more aware of the ever increasing taxes that the failing government is imposing on everyone.  You can join with others and push back:

UK think tank launches a crusade against ‘surveillance’ CBDCs
Bank of England’s plans for a CBDC raise concern among UK Tax Reform Council and broader Bitcoin community.

Join with and follow others who are awake:  https://twitter.com/CutMyTaxUK

Cut My Tax - Campaigns
Click for their website

... in Belfast and N Ireland follow: https://twitter.com/AwakeinBelfast


Recall my personality type: As an Ultimate Pragmatist and Perpetual Optimist - Enneagram Type 8 Challenger and Artisan Crafter ISTP - I love to dig into things, understand them and distill out realistic implementation paths that are feasible.

This past week I have been honing my Bitcoin skills and refining my thinking and understanding on how key pieces of the environment fit together and could enable massive scaling and adoption.

Recall that Bitcoin is the underlying asset and store of value (digital gold).   The Bitcoin network is a decentralised digital currency system that operates without a central authority.

Recall also that Lightning is the technology that enables scaling to hundreds of thousands of users over time.  For these it enables small and medium value payments (from fractions of a cent up to hundreds or even several thousands of dollars)  to be done quickly and efficiently at low cost (from free to less than 1%).  

See below the article on Breez SDK - this is a fantastic example of creative solutions to facilitate even easier Lightning use.  This claims to hide the complexities of dealing with the underlying bearer asset - including things like channel opening/closing, current mining fees and liquidity management.   It’s an end-to-end, non-custodial, drop-in solution powered by Greenlight, including a built-in LSP, on-chain interoperability, fiat on-ramps, and other services users and operators need.

Good as Lightning is and can be I do believe that a higher level of scaling (and even simpler UI/UX) will also be needed - one that allows hundreds of thousands of users (even millions to billions) to transact - and this technology should be developed and refined in parallel with the ongoing Lightning developments.    The solution must appear similar to (and better than) the other electronic payment methods (CBDCs) that people will be expected/forced to use as alternative to cash today.

I am super-excited to have found Fedimint and its underlying Chaumian E-Cash.  I believe this has the potential to address the scaling challenges we see with Lightning and also vastly simplify the user-level interactions to be much more comparable with how Cash and Cards work today not to mention the CBDCs for which this must be a credible alternative.

Getting Started | Fedimint
This guide has been developed as a community project and is a live document. We would appreciate any feedback you may have and you can submit edits, corrections and pull requests through the link at the bottom of each page.
Click to read
Click to watch the explainer

You can read more of my thoughts on this here.

As for Nostr, I have learned so much by using, building and experimenting with the Open Source clients.  A most interesting one is Gossip - and it is one of the earliest.  This is an easy one to build from source and as a bonus I am getting to learn Rust!   Listen and learn from this great interview with Mike Dilger - the creator.

Click to Listen and Learn

As you know I do not have a TV and I avoid mainstream media, preferring to take filtered feeds and informed commentary as well as going directly to relevant sources - RSS is your friend here, as we have discussed before.  Quite a bunch of interesting reads and podcasts this week:

📖 There is so much creativity going on around Lightning and this is an example that moves the bar significantly.  This could well be the end of Lightning as a niche technology and the beginning of Lightning as a ubiquitous Service.

Fascinating - click to read or listen

🎙️ Next is a fascinating discussion with Casey Rodarmor on how and why he introduced Ordinals and Inscriptions on Bitcoin.   Thanks to Matt Odell for doing this interview and giving us these important insights.  The truth is out there...

Click to listen - then have an informed position

📖 I have got to recommend this free e-book, supporting your bitcoin education :

The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts.
~ Satoshi Nakamoto - 11 February 2009
Gotta recommend - read, learn and enjoy

🎥 ColdFusion and an excellent source of well-researched and thoughtful commentary.  Indeed the performance of Google this past week was beyond embarrassing.  But be surprised and amazed and what Microsoft did... (AI War Is Heating Up)...

🎙️ From time to time I dip into the All-In Podcast - these are 4 Silicon Valley VC investors (rather well known) and this is their weekly get-together.  Whilst I do not agree with all their points of view - it sure is interesting to hear how they think and what they disagree on:

Click to listen - timestamps below
  • 1:49 US destruction of Nordstream pipelines - and the implications
  • 33:13 The AI Search Wars:  45:06 Sundar's next move:  1:31:14 Disappointing State of the Union

🎙️ Jameson Lopp is the co-founder & CTO of Casa. In this interview, Peter discusses why Casa has extended custody support to Ethereum, important security lessons from the Luke Dashir hack, Bitcoin security & inheritance planning, and how AI came of age in 2022 with the release of ChatGPT - recommended listening.

Next I have got to recommend yet another fabulously insightful analysis by Whitney Webb and one of her interviewee researchers, Alan MacLeod.  It is amazing what good notes and a few LinkedIn searches can surface when you put them on a timeline.

Click for important insights

⚠️  Most Important

Lastly, and perhaps this should have been first:  listen to Pascal Najadi discuss with several well-informed doctors - including one from WHO.  Click here or below

Each of us has a responsibility to stand up and push back - peaceful non-compliance with the evil and nonsense and to help wake others up and support them.  Where is your line in the sand - when was it crossed?

Listen carefully to what Dr Astrid Stückelberger says in this video - she recounts her horror at realising, like many do, how she had been used as part of the evil machine to further their agenda while working at the WHO in Geneva - supporting powerpoint slides here.

Andrew Bridgen (MP)  in the UK is likewise trying to wake people up to what has been going on and to do the right thing.  You likely want to support him too.

Click for the thread - do follow and support Andrew

🤔 Closing thoughts

Jordan Peterson is a well known and outspoken character and whilst I do not agree with all his views I do think that he nails it in this lecture that he gave back in 2017.  Click below for a particularly relevant part of the lecture and/or listen to the whole thing.  You will understand much and likely learn a lot.

Click to watch and learn

And then this - click here if you do not see the video below.

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No one can be told what The Matrix is. No one can be told what The Matrix is.
You have to see it for yourself.
- Morpheus to Neo in The Matrix
Click for Morpheus to explain things to you - once seen you cannot unsee it

You have to see it for yourself.

Anything else?  Feel free to comment below!
You can also email me at: LetterFrom@rogerprice.me

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