Bitcoin Magazine had an opportunity to interview Tuur Demeester, author of the financial newsletter MacroTrends which goes to investors in the Netherlands and Belgium. Tuur pushed the Bitcoin to a higher level of prominence when he added Bitcoin as part of the recommended currency basket in January of 2012. Tuur views Bitcoin through an international lense, having so far lived in nine cities and traveled to thirty countries.
Prior to his involvement in the Bitcoin currency, Tuur co-founded the Murray Rothbard institute in 2007 and additionally co-founded two private schools, one in Netherlands and one in Belgium. With a desire to spread free market economic ideas, Tuur translated Jesus Huerta de Soto’s “Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles” into Dutch. As the current author of MacroTrends, Tuur recommended Bitcoin as an investment, starting from when it was $5 in early 2012.
Bitcoin Magazine: When did you first hear about and get involved in the Bitcoin currency?
Tuur Demeester: I first heard about Bitcoin when traveling in Argentina in the summer of 2011, my friends there couldn’t stop talking to me about it. Seeing the very real way in which Bitcoin changed their daily lives and futures made it a lot easier for me to see its incredible potential.
BM: How did you first get involved in the Bitcoin currency?
TD: I think the current financial system is structurally insolvent and that we’re entering an era of bank defaults, sovereign defaults, and destruction of currencies. That’s why my initial interest in Bitcoin was from a wealth preservation standpoint. After I did my research, I tried to time the market and started buying bitcoins in February 2012. I recommended my subscribers do the same, and I’ve been researching the space ever since—the opportunities are quasi endless.
BM: Can you elaborate on why Bitcoin is such a great investment?
TD: I think Bitcoin and the crypto currencies are the greatest investment opportunity of our day and age.
First of all because Bitcoin has all the qualities to make for an ideal money, to a greater extent than any digital or tangible commodity on the planet.
Second, in contrast with traditional fiat money, Bitcoin is designed for the internet: it’s open source, it’s mobile, fast, and it allows for personal privacy.
Third, because we are approaching a bankruptcy event in the developed economies, both in banks and governments, I think that Bitcoin, as a discrete and nonconfiscatable currency, will benefit greatly from the capital flight that will ensue.
BM: As you are an international traveler, out of the countries you have either lived in or visited, which holds the greatest potential for Bitcoin development and success?
TD: I think some countries will prove to be excellent ecosystems for Bitcoin centered hard- and software companies, especially those countries with a history of commerce and with a political class that puts little obstacles in the way of ‘cointrepreneurs’. Countries that try to tax or control their local Bitcoin corporations too much will lose it, just like how medieval France’s rising taxes pushed merchants away from the Champagne Fairs to the harbor cities of the Hanseatic League, which could not be reached by the French royalty. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bitcoin corporate activity blossom in peripheral countries like Thailand, Sweden, or Panama—but what the physical centres will become is hard to say as it is so dependent on political decisions.
As far as Bitcoin adoption goes, it’s clear to me that countries with a large informal economy (cash market) in place, are at an advantage. The same goes for countries with a history of embracing new technologies easily. There is also the fear factor, because economic panic in a specific country will seriously speed up Bitcoin adoption in that place. Taking all that in consideration, I think a place like Argentina, or an Eastern European country may very well end up being the first with cities where you can put gas in your car, buy groceries, and get paid at work, all of it transacted in Bitcoin.
BM: What is the outlook for the Bitcoin communities in the Netherlands and Belgium?
TD: I think the outlook for Bitcoin adoption and innovation in the Benelux is bright, as we [are] a culture of software innovation (it’s no coincidence that 2 of the 6 Bitcoin core developers are from the low lands), a very high internet penetration rate, and an internationally oriented culture. The community here is still small, but every week I talk to new investors and entrepreneurs who show interest in doing something with Bitcoin.
BM: What will it take to get Bitcoin to a higher level of utility and prominence?
TD: All it takes is for things to continue the way they are. It’s a marvel to witness how the market self-organizes, and how entrepreneurs globally are continuously adapting to new challenges. This process will continue and it will continuously push the Bitcoin economy towards mainstream adoption.
BM: Where do you see the Bitcoin currency in a year?
TD: From here we could see further consolidation, possibly until late 2013. Early 2014 I think we’ll see a recovery with the old high of $260 as a technical target. If the market is ready and the high is broken, then $500 is feasible. If the old high is not broken in the next twelve months, my base case projection for Bitcoin is $1000 before the end of 2015.
BM: What is your favorite aspect or characteristic of the Bitcoin currency?
TD: Personally, I love the fact that it is a currency designed to provide privacy. There are really only two functional economical strategies to solving systemic crime and conflict in the world, and those are the removal of scarcity (creation of abundance) and the reasonable restriction of access to an individual’s person and property. Bitcoin makes it possible to easily and effectively draw the line between what’s mine and what’s thine, and that’s why I believe [it] will turn out to be a great force for good in the world.
BM: What advice would you give to individuals who are just learning about Bitcoin and looking for ways to get involved?
TD: Buy some! And try a few of the many services that are available in Bitcoin today to experience for yourself what real financial freedom means. Several people I know only became convinced about the potential when they decided to use bitcoins for an actual transaction, which showed them how efficient the system really is.
BM: What can Bitcoin Magazine readership and staff do to get Bitcoin to become a household name?
TD: In my experience, something only starts making sense to people when they can connect it to another thing they already care about. So I think a good general strategy is to really be open to people’s goals and values, and to only then see whether Bitcoin might play a role in achieving those goals and in meeting those needs. Since I started paying more attention to that, my Bitcoin pitches have become much more effective.
I also think that many people underestimate the power that lies in just buying some Bitcoins. By that simple act, you help increase liquidity in the market, which allows ever bigger businesses to start accepting the currency. Your purchase also effectively helps raise the value of the currency across the Bitcoin economy, which provides all the cointrepreneurs and their investors with more purchasing power, and that allows them to build better services that make Bitcoin really user friendly—allowing it to become the digital currency also used by grandmothers.
Bitcoin Magazine thanks Tuur for his time and insight and would like you to heed his advice and not only buy bitcoins but to also share about Bitcoin with your family and friends! You can listen to Tuur’s talk presentation at the 2013 Bitcoin Conference in San Jose here and stay up to date on his role in the Bitcoin community at www.tuur.demeester.com.
Elizabeth serves on the Bitcoin Foundation Board of Directors and as Secretary of the Board. She also serves Account Manager for BitPay, Bitcoin’s lead payment processor where she focuses on bringing charities, political candidates and non profits into the Bitcoin ecosystem. Elizabeth previously served as Director of Operations and Outreach for Bitcoin Magazine and as the Scheduler and Policy Assistant for a US Member of Congress. She has a background in public policy, grassroots activism, and a keen desire to promote decentralization and individual liberties. Elizabeth holds a BA in Political Science from Wheaton College (IL).