The Satoshi Roundtable 3,
The Center for Decentralization

APOLOGIES… This post was supposed to be much longer and cover a lot of interesting conversations and quotes from the event, but I moved to Romania to work full time at Xotika and I know I won’t have the time to blog any time soon. So, I cleaned up what I had and I’m publishing it here for anyone interested.

Last Year…

A few weeks ago, I attended the infamous Satoshi Roundtable meetup for the second time. Last year, I attended, uninvited, with Bitcoin’s Biggest Bullies, Chris DeRose & Joshua Unseth, of the controversial podcast, Bitcoin Uncensored. I was living in Florida at the time, and they needed an extra hand with equipment and I needed an excuse to drive to South Florida to finally meet a couple of my favorite content creators.

Our presence last year was met with both excitement and vitriol. Honestly, I didn’t expect to last more than 10 minutes at the event, but Chris & Josh have an amazing ability to find ways to do their thing in the most hostile of environments. People like Paul Sztorc, Luke Dashjr, and Adam Back were happy to see us. Others, not so much. At times we were yelled at, insulted, threatened, and even forced to relinquish video footage to security. As always, Chris & Josh made the most of it by finding a convenient area to broadcast their show, on Xotika.tv, interviewing any drunken Roundtable attendee that was willing to get on camera.

Overall, the impression I got of last year’s Roundtable was that it was basically a Bitcoin meetup on steroids. It had a few people that were noobs, a few that were experts, and a few that merely imagined themselves as experts.

This Year…

Fast forward to this year and not much has changed. The Bitcoin community is more focused than ever on things like the “toxicity” and “trolling” within public discourse, as well as governance, scaling, and comparing ourselves to Ethereum.

While Bitcoin Uncensored did not attend Satoshi Roundtable 3.0, I managed to get an invite legitimately this time. I had been doing some volunteer work for Bitcoin Core and the Bitcoin Foundation, which allowed me to eventually show Bruce Fenton that I’m not actually a troll and might even have something to contribute. I’m no longer the anonymous big red X I used to be, being that I now use my real name to represent Xotika as an executive and stakeholder. I wanted to attend the Roundtable this year to represent one of the few Bitcoin-pure companies out there, but mostly I just wanted to meet up with friends and some industry people I was hoping to spar with.

It was eye-opening to witness, and I personally got a lot out of attending, but I think that’s because I set reasonable expectations for myself. I’m going to attempt to share some observations here, even though I had previously decided I wasn’t going to write this post at all, for fear of it being both uninteresting to the people I respect, and offensive to those I don’t.

Scalability Now!

After some introductory comments by Bruce and a presentation on lobbying and regulation, which included a presenter giving way too much irrelevant detail about a meeting with Donald Trump. 1

“Bitcoin was built not to submit to jurisdiction in the first place. Bitcoin will not submit to jurisdiction.”  ~Anonymous attendee that does not have much support in his or her jurisdiction

The above comment sounds pretty cool on first blush. However, it’s also a bit delusional. Bitcoin usage happens in the real world. It is exchanged by real people. Those people all reside somewhere, thus making them subject to a jurisdiction. The great irony? There we all sat, in a jurisdiction, trying to debate the future of a phenomenon that won’t submit. Such irony was constant throughout the meetup.

“I distrust the federal government with every fiber of my being.” ~Anonymous attendee that may or may not be on government payroll

It was decided that we should split into two groups, in two separate rooms: one for an “ICO” theme, another for a Bitcoin scaling theme. I chose the Bitcoin room, since I don’t really think I’m capable of behaving myself in a conversation about ICOs.

“The usability of the actual network itself is worse than it’s ever been! Double spends are easier to do than they have ever been! Transaction fees are higher than they have ever been! Transactions take longer to get confirmed than they ever have! It’s a big, big, big, big giant problem for Bitcoin!” ~Anonymous attendee that forgot to mention the market cap is also higher than it has ever been.

The Bitcoin conversation began with an extremely emotional and loud rant by an individual demanding scaling NOW! People in the other room were messaging me on Telegram, asking what the hell was going on. Our group spent an hour or so going back and forth about the same old scaling considerations we’ve heard for the past year. Some wanted a fork, some wanted SegWit. There was regular interruption by some attendees taking time to criticize the lack of scaling progress, demand better governance, and throw shade on the portion of the community they consider to be toxic and “bad for Bitcoin.”

“We knew this was a problem that was coming years in advance! We knew that scalability was going to be an issue that needed to be solved… All the business community came and said, “PLEASE WE NEED MORE SCALABILITY!” People literally got down on their knees and begged!” ~Anonymous attendee that was not on his or her knees at the time

I am a great sympathizer of Bitcoin’s mislabeled trolls and those who are unapologetic about their candor while criticizing those they disagree with. That’s because many people consider me to fall in that camp. Despite being blocked on Twitter by a number of community figureheads, I rarely speak with an intent to troll.

I find that the people most sensitive to trolling are the ones most deserving of criticism. This amounts to a faction of Bitcoiners that dread being held accountable for their ignorance, all singing a chorus, crying for a greater power to stop the madness. These people have a gross inability to defend their ideas. The best they can do is complain about the style in which their detractors communicate with them. The problem is, we can only be cordial for so long. As skeptics and critics, we grow frustrated with our targets’ inability to make or parse rational arguments. So many of us are looked at as trolls, but we’re just out here defending Bitcoin.

Govern Me Softly

“Bitcoin has huge economical problems, but they’re not necessarily economical in nature… You see, frankly, the network does not function the way we want it to function… That’s a huge problem… The underlying problem is not technical and it’s not economical. It’s social. I’m sorry to say it but I’ve never been in an open-source community this toxic… It’s about governance. It’s about resolving conflict. I’m sorry but we fucking suck!” ~Anonymous attendee proclaiming his or her influence fucking sucks 

I often wonder whether the real issue behind all of the tension in the Bitcoin community is a measurable gap in intelligence, a gap so wide that no amount of communication could overcome it. It’s either that, or I’m left entertaining conspiracy theories. Pick your poison…

“I think one really interesting thing that happened last year was the DAO incident and the resulting Ethereum hard fork, and some people see that hard fork as evidence of a failure, or evidence that whatever happened there was wrong, and trying to avoid that at all costs with Bitcoin, but actually I’m not so sure the hard fork was a bad thing for Ethereum.” ~Anonymous attendee that may or may not have been trolling

 

Bitcoin Error Log Gets a Bitcoin Job

Some Background

Before Bitcoin, I ran a company called Mixed Media in the Jacksonville area of Florida. The business specialized in bringing a branding-minded focus to the various design, marketing, advertising, printing, and website needs of businesses. I oversaw, and sometimes created, a lot of identity redesigns, nonprofit capital campaigns, billboards, and much more. I’ve at least dabbled in every aspect of marketing, advertising, branding, design, and printing you could think of. 1

In the Fall of 2012, I bought my first Bitcoins. I read the articles about Silk Road, joined the BitcoinTalk forum, joined some chat rooms in IRC, set up a GPU mining farm in my garage, “invested” in various Bitcoin IPOs, got scammed here and there; all the while, I was buying whatever bitcoins I could with profits from my “real” business.

Eventually, the real business had to go. I needed more time to Bitcoin, and “bitcoining” was paying more than enough to justify the change. I closed down my business’ physical office, converted to a virtual office, and slowly wound things down til there were no contracts or employees left.

The Bitcoin Bug

After some time without owning my own business I really began to crave having a project I could pour myself into, and add value to. A Bitcoin project. The problem is, finding a place in Bitcoin isn’t so easy for a non-programmer, particularly if you want to be a part of a real Bitcoin project and not some blockchain/altcoin/buttcoin scam.

Over the past couple of years, I went so far as to investigate and perform due diligence on a number of Bitcoin startups that caught my interest, but nothing ever clicked. Real Bitcoin projects, that aren’t mostly about programming, are few and far between.

I tried volunteering for Bitcoin Core, and considered “getting more serious” about my Bitcoin writing, among other wild ideas I won’t bore you with. Nothing stuck.

Discovering Xotika.tv

Fast forward to 2016, when I met Chris & Josh, from Bitcoin Uncensored. They started a habit of live-streaming their podcast recording sessions on a website called Xotika.tv.

Xotika is basically a mix between a strip club and a traditional “camgirl” website, but with Bitcoin… While there are some other aspects that make Xotika unique, the important one is that the website is 100% Bitcoin-only.

Overall, I thought the whole project was fun and pretty damn cool.

Once Xotika caught my interest, I began researching the camming industry a bit and getting to know Xotika’s team and models. What I learned is that both the models and viewers are indeed able to realize added value by using a Bitcoin-only website to do their thang.

Bitcoin & Xotika help models avoid very common issues that are rampant at other websites, including slow payments, nonpayments, and chargebacks.

Viewers don’t have to worry about “embarassing” line items on their family credit card, or getting pwned by malware from shady advertisements, because there are no ads at Xotika.tv.

In my estimation, Xotika is offering something useful, valuable, and fun.

Once I understood that Xotika is more than a Buttcoin business, I started talks with Naphex, the lead developer and original founder of Xotika. He filled me in on all of the history and plans going forward, including the new sister website, called Otika.tv.

The Big Announcement

Today I am happy to announce that I have joined the team at XO Media as CCO. 2

Am I a Chief Commercial Officer, or a Chief Communications Officer? Well, officially, it’s Chief Commercial Officer, but we’re a small entity currently, and there isn’t much difference right now.

All of the titles are a bit puffy anyway.

Simply put, my job is to increase and maintain the value of XO Media’s products to all appropriate users, streamers and viewers alike. That includes a wide spectrum of skills and responsibilities, but I am up to the task.

I’m still getting acclimated, setting up accounts 3, etc, but I am extremely excited about getting started.

We’ll be setting up an official blog at both websites, where I will provide more updates and relevant articles.

There’s a ton of work to do, but a ton of opportunity to go with it. I appreciate your support, feedback, or any viewership you can provide! 😉