When it comes to cryptocurrency, it seems that there are always two sides of the (bit)coin.
On the negative side, there’s everything that can go wrong. For example, the unpredictable value swings can cause coin holders, savvy and suckers alike, to suffer life-changing losses. An exchange can get hacked and attacked, allowing hard-won earnings to vanish into the coffers of criminals without a trace. The blockchain, in all its beauty, is gobbling up power as it grows, raising questions about its environmental impact as it drives decentralization.
Podcast hosts and their guests, however, have a tendency to look on the bright side. That’s understandable, because every day that cryptocurrency and its users evolve, the more possibilities unfold. In the financial alternate universe that is crypto, the points of light are consistently attributed with the power to outshine the dark matter.
Pockets of Progress
In the recently-aired Episode 24 of What Bitcoin Did, host Peter McCormack interviewed the team of Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, who together host their own financial show The Keiser Report. It’s a duo that seems determined to see the best in bitcoin, seeing as how both of their careers are driven by disillusionment with the financial world.
They are not just vocal in their criticism but also active in it. Keiser once called JP Morgan Chase "the biggest financial terrorist on Wall Street" backing those words up with a campaign to crash it by encouraging people to buy silver, which would leave JP Morgan with a significant short position. He and Herbert make it a point to call out big banks’ unethical practices as well as governments’ fiscal mismanagement.
The Keiser Report was an early pioneer of Bitcoin reporting, with their first coverage on the topic dating back to 2011. Listening to McCormack’s interview of the two, it’s clear why they latched on early to crypto: Both share a very hopeful vision for the positive impact it may bring to economies worldwide.
Asked about the use of bitcoin in Venezuela and other “basket case countries” where fiat currency is collapsing, Keiser gave examples of significant cryptocurrency development. “The coin is definitely huge in Venezuela, Argentina, and also now huge in Africa,” he said. “Countries across Africa are now using bitcoin and crypto mining, because it leapfrogs the entire infrastructure. You don’t need a third party, you don’t need a central bank. The unbanked, as they’re called, can now become banked.”
“So it’s flourishing, it’s thriving,” Keiser continued. “A lot of companies are relocating, and there’s a lot of jurisdiction-hopping, where companies in the crypto space are going to countries where it’s friendly, as far as the crypto framework.”
“Genuine Economic Sovereignty”
“Bitcoin is genuine economic sovereignty,” Herbert added to Keiser’s observation. “It’s, kind of, now what the gold standard used to be, in forcing countries around the world to be honest and to develop sound policies. Because if you had a basket case economy, you had to send gold, your national wealth, overseas to other countries. They haven’t had that discipline since we had the U.S. dollar standard, but now the bitcoin standard is forcing the global financial system to operate in a more sound, responsible way.”
When questioned by McCormack if she felt that bitcoin had the ability to ultimately change government, policy and a country’s fundamental way of working, Herbert expanded on her point.
“It provides a better example,” she stated. “During the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, capitalism was so good and strong, and providing so much wealth creation and opportunity and fair distribution of wealth because there was this thing called communism that was an alternative. They had to compete with that system and the ideology. Here, when you see all this economic sovereignty, and people able to totally be free — completely be free, no government restriction on what this person can do as an individual — that provides an alternative to see how those people get to live … They can live and be and do and create in any way they want.”
From Herbert’s viewpoint, cryptocurrency’s impact has the potential to be quite profound, with the potential to move mean regimes to a kinder, gentler place. “That provides, in this globalized world, an alternative that governments have to be a little less abusive to their own population,” she said. “They have to be a little bit less violent in terms of seizing assets and taking from taxes. They have to provide a better option for them.”