NOTE: I wrote this post before the Hodlnaut trial, Craig’s return to Twitter and the zero transaction miner so I won’t address those topics here.
In this post I am offering my take on how to save BSV.
Who am I and why should you read this?
I have 30 years of business experience in tech, sales, management and finance. I consulted for Fortune 500 companies and worked with entrepreneurs across a variety of industries. Additionally, I coached hundreds of clients on personal and professional development.
Fun fact, Craig Wright and I were born 1 day apart in 1970.
While I have chosen to retain my anonymity, it’s important to know I have experience behind what I’m writing.
Bitcoin SV has underperformed as a payment network, lagged in user adoption and underperformed as an asset. These are all interrelated. In my view, BSV cannot afford more of the same.
Some may say how dare I pen a post on how to save BSV. To that I say “Good, I’m glad you’re here”. You are my target audience. Keep reading.
Let’s start with one of the main speaking points in 2022: BSV and IPv6 integration. At a high level the two protocols can interoperate which enables web based microtransactions, secure authentication, and secure communication. Web based microtransactions have the potential to reshape how we use the Internet.
If the Internet is a snapshot of the human conversation on this planet then that conversation is dominated by clickbait (and cat pics). The incentives for creating valuable content are broken. As a result, humans have been moving the wrong way on the Kardashev vs Kardashian society continuum and the stakes of the outcome couldn’t be higher.
IPv6 and BSV integration has the potential to change how we use the Internet and by extension how we interact with each other. The catch is that IPv6 has been available for more than 20 years with a meager 40% adoption rate globally.
While BSV/IPv6 integration has enormous potential that potential is several years away from being realized. The fact this is the current main talking point nearly 13 years after the whitepaper and four years since BSV was on the path to restoring the original protocol is not good enough. Every opportunity has a limited shelf life, including BSV.
What I am offering below may irk many. I acknowledge up front there is a lot I don’t know and I will likely get several details wrong. Also, text tends to land more harshly than if I made a video so I request this post is read with the context that I am providing ruthless compassion for everyone working hard in Bitcoin. Where I call out failures I’m offering remediation.
So, here are my recommendations:
First, it needs to be stated that without Calvin Ayre BSV would not exist. His investment and contribution are unmatched in the entire space. Thank you Calvin.
Given Calvin’s position atop many important BSV companies he is, like it or not, the de facto CEO of Bitcoin. Calvin may have a team of Generals running nChain, CoinGeek, Bitcoin Association etc but the buck stops in Antigua. Collectively, the performance of Calvin’s Generals could be much better. nChain has had three CEOs in three years. CoinGeek is improving but is far from credible outside BSV circles, and Bitcoin Association, with the loss of Jimmy Nguyen and the voluntary agreement to reassign coins to Craig Wright, is a thinly disguised front for nChain.
This all comes back to Calvin. The good news is he has the power to make changes.
Step 1: Be ruthless in evaluating performance. Fabriik has been an example of what not to do and how rudderless leadership is a bottomless pit of money and time. The opportunity cost lost in Fabriik’s mismanagement of MoneyButton is incalculable. The shift to reorganize Calvin’s BSV entities will require outside help. Hire a Transformative Business firm. What you have now is not going to get you where you want to go.
Step 2: Hire the best. This is simply said yet very difficult. As an example (and I expect to catch flak for naming a sacred cow in BSV): Stefan Matthews has been a key figure in the Bitcoin story and served in several positions for Calvin along the way. He also seems a very likable and competent chap and one of CSW’s closes friends. But has he produced a result worth noting while at the helm of any of Calvin’s companies? Enterprise business is competitive. Results are mandatory. Be ruthless.
Step 3: Take a VC approach to spawn a winner. UNISOT, Maxthon, PowChess have enormous potential and have fallen to the side due to lack of support / resources. These are the potential unicorns that must be nurtured long term to realize potential. Focus and consistency require steady leadership.
Either Calvin steps up to hold his Generals to account or he hires someone who will. I don’t see the current situation improving otherwise. BSV needs incredible leadership to navigate the numerous challenges ahead.
To sum it up for Calvin: less tweeting and more ruthless ass kicking in the board room.
nChain’s website states: “We unlock the potential of enterprise data by making it reliable.”
Products listed include:
Digital cash: A regulatory compliant cash product that allows citizens to use a digital form of central bank money for payments.
Digital money: A blockchain-enabled approach to managing assets, accounts and ledgers across different financial institutions and money transmitters.
Kensei: Enterprise data integrity
I will add a fourth product line: Patents. nChain exists to develop patents. Many large successful companies have patent portfolios. If you have been to Qualcomm’s headquarters in San Diego then you have seen their patent wall:
Being an industry leader in a new space requires patents to protect intellectual property. nChain’s competition is not standing still. However, if you have a patent fortress but are inept at forming relationships due to a revolving door in the CEO suite and a divisive Chief Scientist what is the value of the patents? This touches on another issue in BSV that needs to be called out: superior technology does not always win.
Bitcoin Association (BA)
From their website:
Bitcoin Association is .. the global industry organization which advances Bitcoin SV (BSV). It brings together enterprises, start-up ventures, developers, merchants, exchanges, service providers, blockchain transaction processors (miners), and others in the Bitcoin SV ecosystem.
Jimmy Nguyen did a fantastic job as a spokesperson for BA. He traveled the world speaking at conferences and networking with family offices to educate people about BSV. Yet, the markets didn’t move and development has been slow. This raises tough questions about how someone like Jimmy can be on the road for 2 years pitching a trillion dollars in family office money and leave BA without multiple marks in the Win column and billions of new investment in BSV.
My recommendations for BA (if I am correct in assuming allocating resources is under their purview):
Chess has gone through a renaissance over the past 5 years. Visitors, logins and games on Chess.com have exploded in number. There is also a pantheon of interesting and charismatic Chess professionals including the highest rated player ever: Magnus Carlsen.
BSV is a perfect match for Chess. Entire games can be permanently recorded in a single BSV transaction. If you wanted to play your favorite professional you could do so with a BSV powered and monetized POWChess.com. It would be an absolute thrill for many to pay to play 16 year old Indian Grandmaster Praggnanandhaa. A BSV powered POWChess could make this possible and your game could be an NFT. Chess influencers (yes they exist and they get millions of views) could make a living just playing Chess on a monetized POWChess.com The possibilities are endless.
Instead, BSV sponsors a professional darts player and a UFC fighter? This does not translate well into BSV use cases. There are numerous opportunities to sponsor Chess professionals who produce daily content for their millions of online followers who would then be exposed to BSV on a daily basis.
Chess is a golden opportunity and POWChess should have an entire team at BA supporting their efforts as well as an eSports team recruiting and supporting Chess professionals. The lack of vision in this area is a head scratcher.
UNISOT (Universal Source of Truth) entered the BSV scene several years ago with a focus on tracking salmon caught in Norway from stream to table. This makes a lot of sense for fine dining (or any luxury good) to verify, protect and justify premium prices.
There is a legendary seafood restaurant outside Chicago named Bob Chinn’s that would publicly post their waybills for all of the food they received that day. If you feel like eating crab you could see that the crab you are ordering was caught off the coast of Alaska less than 24 hours earlier.
UNISOT gave several CoinGeek conference presentations about how they were addressing food quality, safety and freshness on the BSV Blockchain. Today fish, tomorrow every consumable, luxury good and manufacturing SKU known to man could be verified on BSV. Or so we thought.
The issue is, where are the transactions? If there are clients of UNISOT we’d see the transactions on BSV increase. Something is “fishy”. I’m reminded of this Wendy’s commercial from the 80’s:
Wherever this roadblock is it seems to be in Bitcoin Association’s wheelhouse to address it so UNISOT can deliver.
Non Fungible Tokens
In April 2021 I wrote “Real World NFT Case“. An excerpt from that post:
Electronic Arts, has made $1B on a game called Apex Legends that is 100% free to download and play. Respawn’s revenue originates from an in game market where players can buy unique items for their characters: cosmetic weapons and outfits….
Each of these in-game cosmetic items could be an NFT. That NFT could then be traded between players in the store via auction or via set prices with Respawn taking a cut of each resale. Some of these cosmetics were time limited meaning they can no longer be obtained unless purchased from another player. Respawn currently has no way for users to trade cosmetics. An NFT based user to user store is instant additional revenue for Respawn.
EA earned $1B in cosmetic skins in a free to download online game but they have no way to capitalize on users trading limited version skins. There is a lot of money being left on that table and BSV / BA can provide a solution.
Now, imagine if BSV made progress with Bernard Arnault who runs the worlds largest luxury goods company LVMH. Knock off goods are a major drain on a luxury brand’s image and revenues. One way to protect that brand and ensure that consumers are getting what they paid for is to track the ownership of any item with an immutable record on BSV via NFT. See below this collection of knock off Goyard and Louis Vuitton bags available at a Thailand night market for a fraction of the cost of the authentic goods.
One of the hallmarks of a luxury brand is a strong resale market. With an NFT second hand buyers can be assured the second hand market good they want to purchase is authentic strengthening the brand and justification for charging a premium price at retail. This concept can be applied to anything you can imagine. Luxury watches, paintings, aircraft parts etc.
Maxthon: 670,000,000 users
The Maxthon browser is used by millions of users. The founder, Jeff Chen, has been a BSV proponent and a speaker at several CoinGeek conferences. BSV on Maxthon has tremendous potential and was declaring their intention to further integrate BSV. Today, there seems to be little collaboration with Maxthon and BSV. When I reached out to Jeff Chen on Twitter he responded:
That is unacceptable. Maxthon and Jeff should be receiving top tier support and resources needed to integrate BSV. A workaround is a missed opportunity. Maxthon should be leading the way in providing a Bitcoin based micro transaction and secure identity browser.
Peer to Peer Electronic Cash
The promise of Bitcoin is “Peer to Peer Electronic Cash”. Bitcoin has fallen behind in this regard.
I currently live in Thailand and recently established a Thai bank account. A Thai bank account unlocked a new payment option that is very similar to a Bitcoin wallet: QR code scanning. Anywhere you can spend money (including the local street vendor) you can use your phone to scan and send money. This works from any Thai bank to any other Thai bank for zero fees. It’s nearly identical (but slightly better) than the best Bitcoin wallet experience. As a result, I haven’t touched physical money in months. Another feature, this does not require Visa, Mastercard etc.
While Thailand may be just one country it’s an illustration of the lost opportunity for Bitcoin.
BSV has spent the past few years in numerous battles to establish a return to the original design. That lost time has allowed the competition to cement their network effect with zero fees and outstanding user experience. It will be very difficult to displace this ubiquitous payment solution in Thailand.
If you want a product to go viral take something people do every day and make it easy.
Peer to Peer Electronic Cash is no longer the main talking point for Bitcoin. The shift to data ledger, time stamp server and audit trail are the current talking points. I think this is a mistake.
One of the sticking points to Bitcoin adoption is user onboarding with the main the challenge being the volatility of the value of Bitcoin. My recommendation in this area is a stable token. Note: I did not say a stable coin. A stable token can be issued on Bitcoin pegged to a dollar value. Calvin, or a group of investors, could fund this token in a regularly audited account to provide the means to transact online with BSV (via the stable token) without fear of volatility.
Example target market: Paywalls. One single account using a stable token that can grant access to any paywalled article on the Internet. It’s a starting point to show the proof of concept and establish the value of BSV as a means of exchange for small Internet based transactions (which hopefully leads to unit of account later).
CoinGeek is the media arm of Calvin’s BSV empire.
Step 1: Change the name. CoinGeek is not a name befitting the role that Bitcoin needes in this space. The name change provides the opportunity to refresh the entire PR strategy for BSV. DO NOT craft this strategy in house.
Step 2: Hire new editorial staff. Most of the articles are so heavily biased that they aren’t fit for mass distribution. I understand this challenge myself as it’s difficult to cover a space and not leak bias.
Step 3: Build credibility. Raise the standards to be published and strive to strike a balance in reporting. Is Coingeek a news source or the Op/Ed page? This will be difficult work but not impossible.
Plain and simple, I believe Craig Wright to be the person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Craig has an extraordinary intellect and work ethic.
Craig’s gifts also come with a diagnosis of high functioning Asperger’s. Craig is open about his condition and has recommended several books on the topic for anyone who would like to learn more about how he thinks and operates.
In the early days of Bitcoin there was a team acting as a buffer between Craig and the public persona Satoshi. As a result, Satoshi responded with impeccable grammar and the highest level of professionalism.
Satoshi isn’t a man, he is an ideal. This is why I stated that Craig is the man behind the pseudonym and not the man himself. No man can be an ideal, but any man can strive to live up to an ideal.
Stick with me because this is important.
Satoshi is an ideal. Craig Wright is a man. Craig can be petulant, pedantic, bombastic and unreliable. But what man can say they are not these things at certain times. Like it or not, Craig is now in the public eye so his statements can be endlessly criticized. It’s not fair but it’s true.
Add into this mix that Craig is, self admittedly, handicapped when it comes to interacting with other humans and the stage is set for the damage to be done. Let me say that Craig has handled an extraordinary level of stress and pressure. Yet, like any man, there are limits and when those limits have been pushed Craig has lashed out with threats and hyperbolic statements that have undermined his credibility and had a negative impact on Bitcoin.
My recommendation is that Craig reestablish a support team to be a buffer between him and any public communication. I understand through discussions with others close to Craig that establishing a new team has been attempted and failed. Understandable. Craig had a team once and that failed so he is reluctant to try it again. But, for the good of BSV, Craig’s own happiness, and his legacy there must be a buffer between Craig and the public or his Asperger’s will be a roadblock to Craig achieving his goals and to BSV realizing its full potential impact on humanity. I cannot understate the stakes of this game.
Craig, I urge you to accept this support to further your goals. Get off of slack and any other social media. Let your team support you in communications and focus on your work. You have so much to give to the world. Don’t waste another second listening to or communicating with anyone that isn’t contributing directly to your goals.
No man can live up to an ideal 100% but they can achieve more than they thought possible in the attempt.
To that end, I salute everyone who is working in Bitcoin. We may have disagreements but we are working towards the same goal. I hope my feedback is constructive and I am open to discussing any of these ideas. You can reach me via DM on Twitter: Coinspeak.