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Descending into madness with Bitcoin diehards in Miami. Plus, read to the end for a Crypto Island Director's Cut
I feel like I say this every time, but thanks to everyone who has emailed, listened to Crypto Island, or recommended it to a friend. And thanks to the people who have signed up for paid subscriptions to support the podcast.
Crypto Island is a subscriber-supported podcast. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber. Otherwise I’m gonna start trying to sell you a mattress.
Also, to repeat an old & storied phrase, if you have a minute to rate and review the show on your podcast player, please do! It helps.
OK, enough of the blah blah blah. Here’s the good news: I have a new episode for you.
I’m sorry this one took a minute. It’s the most ambitious story so far. After two years of being stuck in a studio, it was nice to go have a little adventure.
A month ago, I went to an event that bills itself as the world’s largest Bitcoin conference.
I went because a while ago, my editor suggested I do a piece about the Bitcoin White Paper. The short document that introduced the concept of Bitcoin, written by a person or persons calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto. It was quietly uploaded to the internet way back in 2008. It laid out what Bitcoin was and how it would work. Sort of like someone inventing the sofa, and announcing it by just sending IKEA instructions to a furniture enthusiast mailing list.
I’d written a couple versions of a short essay about the White Paper but didn’t know what to do with it.
I had some really helpful conversations with some smart people about their experiences with the White Paper, about other white papers, for other cryptocurrencies. But none of these talks were really answering the questions I had, mainly because I didn’t know how to articulate those questions.
And then, this enormous Bitcoin conference in Miami. It ended up both giving me some answers and helping me spell out the questions. Being there felt like a fever dream. I hope I’m able to give you a portion of the feelings I had there.
I have some personal goals with this series. I’m trying to document a pretty complicated world in a fair-minded way.
And I’m trying to present the people I meet in that world as fully as I find them. And I’m trying to accomplish those highfalutin goals while also sharing with you what makes me laugh. I hope I got near the bullseye here.
One more thing before I go.
I want to start experimenting with uploading audio that’s especially for paid subscribers (ooh la la).
This week though, I’ll give you the bonus for free so you can decide if this is the sort of thing you care about.
The bonus this week, it won’t make sense till you’ve heard the episode. So listen first then come back here?
OK, you’re back. Hope you liked the episode.
Here’s the original version of the essay I recorded in the bathroom, in its entirety. It tells two stories instead of just one. Instead of just being about Bitcoin and its White Paper, it’s also about Ethereum, how one White Paper is in conversation with another.
I worked with the brilliant duo of Steven Jackson and Phil Dmochowski both on the music and scoring for the original cut. I really like what we came up with.
Buuuut .. as I put together the final episode , the Ethereum section felt distracting. Like too much backstory before you got to start, and like we were asking a listener to hold too much in their head. So even though it pained me, we went with a shorter alternate top I’d recorded that focussed on Bitcoin.
I think it was the right choice for the story. But, we all also miss the long version, so I’m attaching it. Both so it gets to live, somewhere, somehow, and also in case people are curious about all the little choices and arguments that can go into making some hour of diversion for you to listen to while you’re doing the dishes or perhaps walking a small dog.
Hope you enjoy the episode, more to come. And please keep emailing!