Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey continued his love-letter to Bitcoin on a recent episode of the Stephan Livera podcast, where he proclaimed that while there may be interesting ideas emerging from other coins in the crypto space, they can all eventually be integrated into Bitcoin if they’re good enough.
In what is beginning to feel like a press-junket, Dorsey has been talking up Bitcoin to the extreme in the past week, and he recently told Joe Rogan that he thought Bitcoin could become the native internet currency of the future – to much applause and fanfare.
However, not everyone is so keen on the idea as Dorsey, and his latest comments are likely to further fuel the competitive fire that’s raging between the disparate coins, tokens, and principles in the crypto space.
Echoing his own statements from the Joe Rogan Experience (video above), Dorsey explained to Stephan Livera that it’s the principles behind Bitcoin which appeal to him:
“It’s very principled, it has a strong point of view, and I love that it was put out there through pseudonymity, which just feels very internet to me.”
Dorsey also details his background as a member of the hacking community in St. Louis, Missouri – a “very internet” background. He continues:
“The whole thing just feels very native to internet ideals, and that appealed to be a lot. This thing that was ideated on the internet, and then created on the internet, released to it, and then continues to be developed throughout it.”
One thing Dorsey conveniently leaves out during this spiel (as he speaks alongside Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark) is that Bitcoin’s development broke out of the pseudonymous, meritocratic internet a long time ago.
No longer is Bitcoin’s development swayed by a decentralized band of coders and hackers, but rather by a for-profit company, named Blockstream. Blockstream, along with Lightning Labs, are the two main developers of the Lightning Network – a protocol for the BTC blockchain which re-imagines the original ideals set forth in Satoshi Nakamoto’s famous whitepaper.
Dorsey continued to talk up the current incarnation of Bitcoin, and pointed to its “brand name” recognition:
“The brand strength, the brand of Bitcoin is really spectacular. It enables more of that resilience. It’s a mainstream, well-known ‘household’ concept. Not everyone really knows what it might be for, and may have different perspectives on what it does… but everyone knows that it’s digital currency, digital money, a digital asset.”
If we can focus on the Bitcoin brand for a moment – it’s certainly true that Bitcoin is the household name when it comes to cryptocurrency, just like Coca-Cola is the household name when it comes to… cola.
And just like Coca-Cola, the public-facing brand of Bitcoin has been drastically changed since its inception. When Coca-Cola introduced New Coke in 1985, the public’s reaction wasn’t just negative, it was hostile, and ultimately forced a swift reversal of policy.
When Blockstream came in and obstructed a block size increase, and then proceeded to sell off-chain scalability solutions to solve the problem they’d just created, the public reaction might have been the same – had the public actually known about it.
Instead, dissenting voices were kicked out of prominent community subreddits, and Blockstream and its CEO Adam Back continue on with their plan, quite open and honest about their intention to sell private services on a supposedly public blockchain.
When asked why he tended to focus hard on Bitcoin and not any of the other currencies in the crypto space, Dorsey replied:
“There’s interesting ideas elsewhere, but I think those ideas can be integrated to Bitcoin if they have a merit that’s above some bar. It [BTC] feels like it’s the one that wants to be the currency the most, versus others that are doing more general purpose things, or distributed computing and whatnot.”
It’s difficult to tell if Dorsey’s appreciation of the technology behind Bitcoin is genuine, mainly because he’s one of the investors in Lightning Labs, and financial motivations have occasionally been known to override our more rational functions.
When you’re on a podcast to talk about your Bitcoin-specific Cash App, sitting next to the CEO of Lightning Labs – which you’re also invested in – then, it must be almost impossible for Dorsey to be positive about anything other than Bitcoin. To even mention another cryptocurrency would be like the aforementioned Coca-Cola going around talking up Pepsi.
Note: There’s nothing wrong with the business-head of a private company talking up their own product – but at least be honest about what you’re doing. The average Joe tuning into any of these recent podcasts thinks they’re hearing an impartial, open discussion about innovative, public technology.
They are not. In the case of the Joe Rogan episode, they were hearing possibly the largest sponsor of the JRE podcast use the global media platform to plug a smartphone app – the success of which happens to rely on another investment vehicle of said sponsor (Bitcoin/LN); which he also proceeded to plug.
Anyone already familiar with what I’m talking about has probably already seen the videos where Roger Ver gets Bitcoin developers to admit that BTC is no longer the peer-to-peer digital payment system it once was.
It’s true that the Lightning Network is attempting to make it easier to conduct micro-transactions via Bitcoin – a feature possibly essential for the growing online micropayments industry.
But that kind of scalability comes at a cost – namely, security and decentralization. Within months of the Lightning Network’s implementation, the push for scalability had already resulted in a trade-off on decentralization.
My assertion that we’re witnessing a press-junket for Dorsey, the Cash App, Bitcoin, and the Lightning Network is not a throwaway line. The CEO of Lightning Labs, Elizabeth Stark, also talked up the Lightning Network protocol, and dropped this rather saccharine sales pitch:
“It’s a hobby and it’s a way of life… I really think we’re building a movement here.”
Unfortunately, not many people seem to know what that movement actually is – but Jack Dorsey does.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.
Jack Dorsey Image from Prakash SINGH / AFP
Last modified: February 11, 2019 15:37 UTC