Adam B. Levine (Let’s Talk Bitcoin): Please introduce yourself and give a brief overview of what you hope to accomplish with your candidacy.
Christian Kammler: Im Christian Kammler, 35 years old, coming from Germany and running for the Individual Seat of the Bitcoin Foundation.
I am doing this because nearly every aspect of human life is related to money and sometimes to the absence of money. And money is complicated and if we will tell our grandchildren in 40 years how the financial system worked in the early 21 century they will most likely not understand us, because hopefully it will be better and far more easy.
From my point of view, Bitcoin is one of the biggest change management projects in human history affecting 7 Billion people on the planet.
It is running for 4 years now and hopefully it will continue the next 40 years.
LTB: Why do you want to serve on the Foundation Board?
CK: I got hooked on Bitcoin for several reasons, and I think that the Bitcoin Foundation has a historical chance to give the decentralized movement a single face.
I do not want to talk about the enormous potential Bitcoin has as both as a technology as well as a global currency because we all know about it but would like to point out instead that there are threats, too.
From my point of view, especially in this start-up phase we all are in the last years, the advantages are being far more euphorically discussed than the flaws.
Yet people should consider the threats, too and this has nothing to do with German Angst, but is due to the fact that the Bitcoin Foundation assumes responsibility when it starts to actively fight for the success of Bitcoin.
I am ready to take this responsibility and as a Bitcoin spokesman would like to help the Bitcoin Foundation becoming recognized worldwide which is definitely not true today.
LTB: What makes you qualified for the position?
CK: Well, that depends on the expectations in the first place. I have some history with IT, which started trading computer games on cassette tapes as a child.
At the age of 15, I cracked my first (and last) video game and studied informatics when I was 20. I have a quite good understanding of the technology behind Bitcoin, because at that time I developed software using smartcards for digital signatures.
At 25, I founded my first company, and from 2004 onward, we started to focus on apps, which I think was quite visionary at that time.
I know how to work in a Board from two perspectives: We had a Board with two Professors in my first company and during my time at Bassier, Bergmann & Kindlera 200 employees agency having the digital Lead at Porsche for almost a decade I was Member of the Board myself.
I have 9 years experience as a CEO in the digital industry, which is why I believe that I have a sound understanding of the challenges some of the industrial members are facing today.
LTB: Do you believe there is a right and wrong way to use a Bitcoin?
CK: No, I dont believe there is, as long as you use Bitcoin. And even if someone buys Bitcoins for dollars just to throw away the private key it will just reduce the availability of the commodity, which is likely to increase the price as long as there are people, who are willing to buy Bitcoin. And I expect that for the future.
I am more concerned and thinking of the Billions of fiat money in offshore and Swiss bank accounts, which are quite hard to move around, and Bitcoin is in fact a vehicle that can transport value fast, anonymously and around the planet.
I do believe that the majority of the people on earth have good intentions. As long as this is reflected in the majority of the network power and in the majority of the transactions, everything is fine.
We do not live in a perfect world and crime does exist. Nobody can expect that Bitcoin is better than other currencies with regard to ethics, but Bitcoin will become attack-able if the relation of illegal activities will be too high in the future.
I think that this risk can only be reduced by making it possible to pay daily expenses and therefore do legal transactions on a regular basis with Bitcoin.
This, however, is only a matter of When will this happen not if.
LTB: What are your views on Bitcoins software development?
CK: There is still a lot of work to do, because what we see today is just the beginning of a hopefully long success story. And if this train moves on in the right direction, we all see the beginning of an even bigger development next year.
Currently, there is a quite small core developer team, and I would appreciate it if it gets bigger and more international. It would be great if the communication between the community and the core team gets better and more transparent, for example regarding the decisions what code contribution is accepted and which not.
On the whole, the cooperation worked out quite well, even in times when software bugs popped up. That’s why I am quite optimistic that this will work out in the future too.
Last weekend, I visited an Open Source Conference here in Germany, and it was quite interesting to see how software developers from other projects see the Bitcoin development.
To keep a long story short: Bitcoin is open source and will stay open source and therefore the community should regulate itself. If this doesnt work the Bitcoin Foundation could try to mediate and, if accepted by the community, this could work.
LTB: Do you have plans to work with the Bitcoin Community, if so how will you deal with the diversity of opinions contained therein?
CK: From the perspective of a software developer, I think the best way is to offer interfaces and to connect to more people around the planet. This would support and be in line with the decentralized approach.
Apart from that, I believe it is possible to give incentives to the community for reaching milestones, which could ultimately lead into some great kind of public/private partnership.
The German Federal Government has recognized Bitcoin as private Money, which was widely noted around the world: During the next
www.bitcoin-konferenz.de that will be hosted on October 22 in Cologne, Frank Schäffler, a Member of the German Parliament, will speak about Bitcoin.
The German Marketplace Bitcoin.de has an agreement with the Fidor Bank, which in the next weeks will allow [users] to do real time trading from Euro to Bitcoin and back within seconds. I think this is groundbreaking, if I compare this to other marketplaces around the world.
So I think we can all learn a lot from each other by simply get in touch exchange information.
That is exactly what I would like to do.
LTB: Should the Foundation hire a lobbyist? If yes, why and where should they lobby?
CK: No, never ever.
And maybe it is just because I have a different understanding of the word lobbyist, that’s why I would like to explain it a bit more deeply, even if it blows 90 seconds.
Let’s imagine that we hire an experienced lobbyist and he/she starts working in Washington DC. We then would have the situation that an employee of the Bitcoin Foundations gets paid to influence the opinion of democratically elected members of the congress to one side.
And I wonder: what could be the best result to be achieved? Everyone can google for Monsanto Protection Act and I think this is result of good lobbyism.
The Open Source Project Bitcoin, however, does not need a lobbyist. This was true in the past, this is true today and hopefully this will be true in the future.
Bitcoin as a currency needs transparency and education.
If corporations [want to] do lobbyism then this is their own investment. Facebook has employees in Berlin just to inform German politicians about data privacy. But is Facebook really a company in symbolizing data privacy? Everyone should answer this for himself.
I appreciate that on Monday members of the Bitcoin Foundation met at the US Treasury Department with members of the Treasurys Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the FBI, IRS, Federal Reserve, FDIC, OCC and Homeland Security Department. I don’t know if even the Secret Service was really at this meeting and if yes, why? Is Bitcoin a threat to the President or do they want to pay hookers next time more discreetly?
I think it’s desirable that if members of the Foundation participate at such meetings that there would a press notification or at least a protocol of the results. And if this was not possible, because it is not allowed to be talked about, what happened then? This is exactly the reason why I am against lobbyism.
In one sentence: Lobbyism: no. Education: yes. Information: yes. Transparency: yes.
LTB: If you had to change one thing about the Bitcoin Foundation, what would it be and why?
CK: Going global thats it.
Currently the majority of the Board Members of the Bitcoin Foundation are from the United States.
I am aware of about 50 million in venture capital which went into mostly US startups related to Bitcoin in the last 12 months.
Please dont get me wrong: I think every investment into any open peer-to-peer crypto currency is welcomed.
Going global means that on every continent there should be a local chapter and the Bitcoin Foundation should have a true international board, which is elected democratically from people who own Bitcoin, no matter how much Bitcoin they own. I think this is too visionary right now, but I would appreciate it to see it happening in the mid-terms.
If you have enjoyed this interview, you can find the other candidates interviews here: