This week we’re re-broadcasting a very special episode of Founders Talk. Adam was invited by our friends at Square to host a fireside chat with Jack Dorsey as the featured finale of their annual developer conference called Square Unboxed. Jack is one of the most prolific CEOs out there. He’s a hacker turned CEO, often working at the very edge of what’s to come. He’s focused on what the future has to offer and an innovator at scale. He’s also a Bitcoin maximalist and has positioned himself and Block long on Bitcoin.
Adam was invited by our friends at Square to interview Jack Dorsey as part of their annual developer conference called Square Unboxed. Jack Dorsey is one of the most prolific CEOs out there — he’s a hacker turned CEO and is often working at the very edge of what’s to come (at scale). Jack is focused on what the future has to offer, he’s considered an innovator by many. He’s also a Bitcoin maximalist and has positioned himself and Block long on Bitcoin.
What you’re about to hear is the fireside chat Adam had with Jack at Square Unboxed 2022. Jack and Adam discuss the vision Square has for the developer platform and why it’s so central to the company’s strategy.
Andrej Karpathy, Sr. Director of AI at Tesla:
We are going to create, digitally sign, and broadcast a Bitcoin transaction in pure Python, from scratch, and with zero dependencies. In the process we’re going to learn quite a bit about how Bitcoin represents value. Let’s get it.
This post is a technical deep-dive. At the end he posted a reader exercise which was to steal some bitcoins his wallet. The challenge, of course, was completed within 45 minutes of publishing. 😁
While it’s less proven to work in the real world (Bitcoin’s uptime and security over the network’s 12-year lifespan is perhaps its greatest asset), PoS is quite promising and we’re starting to see the fruit of that promise with early numbers from Ethereum 2.
Ethereum will be completing the transition to Proof-of-Stake in the upcoming months, which brings a myriad of improvements that have been theorized for years. But now that the Beacon chain has been running for a few months, we can actually dig into the numbers. One area that we’re excited to explore involves new energy-use estimates, as we end the process of expending a country’s worth of energy on consensus.
Why do something like this? For the fun of it, mostly. Definitely not for this reason:
By creating a crypto trading bot that buys bitcoin every time the Tesla boss tweets about it you can rest assured that you are going to catch a VIP seat on the rocket that will slingshot right past the moon and make its way directly to Mars, where Elon spends most of the summer months due to its cold weather and dry climate.
Lulz aside, I love posts like this because they demonstrate how someone tied together a bunch of disparate things (Twitter API, trading API, regular expressions, etc.) to accomplish a real thing, no matter how silly/foolish that real thing is.
Also check out part 2 where he adds sentiment analysis. (Although, it’s hard for me –a human– to decipher Elon Musk’s tweets, so the results of said analysis are probably no better than flipping a coin.)
After announcing the program in a tweet, Jack Dorsey followed up with some details:
This will be Square’s first open source initiative independent of our business objectives. These folks will focus entirely on what’s best for the crypto community and individual economic empowerment, not on Square’s commercial interests. All resulting work will be open and free.
Square has taken a lot from the open source community to get us here. We haven’t given enough back. This is a small way to give back, and one that’s aligned with our broader interests: a more accessible global financial system for the internet.
Whether you’re a devout Bitcoin hodler or an avid nocoiner, you have to admit this a great way (the greatest?) for corporate entities to support the open source community. Full-time salaries. Not focused on commercial interests.
Let’s hope it plays out that way! 🙏
Why cold storage? Because security:
For security purposes, Square stores a reserve of Bitcoins in an offline setting. By having these funds offline, we reduce attack surface and hence risk of theft.
Square can move the funds offline at any time, but moving them back online requires a multi-party signing ceremony. They can also embed programming logic into the cold storage modules, so that only Square-owned addresses can receive the funds. That’s defense-in-depth, right there.
Bitcoin’s latest bull run is over, but those who believe in decentralized money continue to toil away… building the future they want to exist.
This news is a few weeks old now, but I’ve been tracking the ups and downs of the crypto markets for a while now — especially after we had those crazy highs in Q4 2017. Everyone was rushing to get theirs and loose it — after-all, it’s so simple to get in, right?!
Of course, putting some effort into mining Bitcoin or Ethereum isn’t a bad thing, but c’mon, dropping all of your savings into the Bitcoin bucket is not a smart move. Tread carefully.
Eric Holthaus writes for Grist:
Bitcoin’s energy footprint has more than doubled since Grist first wrote about it six months ago. It’s expected to double again by the end of the year… And if that happens, Bitcoin would be gobbling up 0.5 percent of the world’s electricity, about as much as the Netherlands.
I can’t be the only one paying attention to Bitcoin’s rise in energy usage…
That’s a troubling trajectory, especially for a world that should be working overtime to root out energy waste and fight climate change. By late next year, Bitcoin could be consuming more electricity than all the world’s solar panels currently produce — about 1.8 percent of global electricity… That would effectively erase decades of progress on renewable energy.
Scam shouldn’t be used as a label for Bitcoin at large, but the hype machine and pump-and-dump schemes around Bitcoin are most certainly teetering on the lines of being a scam.
Bill Harris, former CEO of Intuit and founding CEO of PayPal and Personal Capital, writes:
Promoters claim cryptocurrency is valuable as (1) a means of payment, (2) a store of value and/or (3) a thing in itself. None of these claims are true.
- Means of Payment. Bitcoins are accepted almost nowhere, and some cryptocurrencies nowhere at all. Even where accepted, a currency whose value can swing 10 percent or more in a single day is useless as a means of payment.
- Store of Value. Extreme price volatility also makes bitcoin undesirable as a store of value. And the storehouses — the cryptocurrency trading exchanges — are far less reliable and trustworthy than ordinary banks and brokers.
- Thing in Itself. A bitcoin has no intrinsic value. It only has value if people think other people will buy it for a higher price — the Greater Fool theory.
Chris Dixon on Medium:
Early internet protocols were technical specifications created by working groups or non-profit organizations that relied on the alignment of interests in the internet community to gain adoption. This method worked well during the very early stages of the internet but since the early 1990s very few new protocols have gained widespread adoption.
Cryptonetworks fix these problems by providing economics incentives to developers, maintainers, and other network participants in the form of tokens. They are also much more technically robust. For example, they are able to keep state and do arbitrary transformations on that state, something past protocols could never do.
What Chris is advocating is the protocols of the past weren’t made for the internet of the future. The next era of the internet is being built with Web 3.
Adding Bitcoin-related functions to your iOS/macOS apps has never been easier.
For Stripe, Bitcoin isn’t scaling well to make it “useful for payments,” and it’s expensive in both time and money to process transactions. However, Tom Karlo said “Bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited as an asset rather than a means of exchange.”
A line in the sand has been drawn for Bitcoin as a useful payment currency.
Therefore, starting today, we are winding down support for Bitcoin payments. Over the next three months we will work with affected Stripe users to ensure a smooth transition before we stop processing Bitcoin transactions on April 23, 2018.
Clearly the value of Bitcoin is still there as an asset. It’s just not working out (for Stripe) as a means of exchange for payments. Though they remain optimistic.
Despite this, we remain very optimistic about cryptocurrencies overall.
Tom also provided some insights to where things are heading for crypto and payments.
We may add support for Stellar (to which we provided seed funding) if substantive use continues to grow. It’s possible that Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, or another Bitcoin variant, will find a way to achieve significant popularity while keeping settlement times and transaction fees very low.