Shaan Puri: All right, I just sat down with Aleks Svetski, or “Angry Aleks” as he’s known in the Bitcoin world. And we talked about a whole bunch of things ranging from Bitcoin itself, his story, trading stocks, and ending up a quarter of a million dollars in debt. As well as how he got out of the hole, built himself back up, made his first million, and what he’s doing in the Crypto space today. It’s a pretty fun conversation, I think you’ll enjoy. Thanks for coming man, I appreciate you came a long way. I like to think you just came for this podcast but I know…
Aleks Svetski: I did.
Shaan Puri: I know there was also that other little conference, that Bitcoin 2019 conference going on.
Aleks Svetski: No, no, no. I just came for this, I swear.
Shaan Puri: So this is going to be an interesting one, because so far the people I’ve talked to are people I know super well. We hang out on the weekends, we blah, blah, blah. I met you five minutes ago, and you came highly recommended. So I said okay, lets do it. Let’s chat. And the thing that I find interesting, is I know that you’re pretty heavy in the Bitcoin space. And so, we’ll talk about that, but I just want to know a little bit about you first. What’s the TLDR on your life story? Give me the one minute version first and then I know we’ll go obviously [crosstalk 00:02:19] Unless the one minutes good, and then we’ll just end the podcast. That could also work.
Aleks Svetski: Easy, done, shortest podcast in history. The TLDR: Went to University, really academically strong, dropped out, thought I was a genius on the stock market. I got taught a few lessons in the GFC. Dug my way out of that door-knocking. Built a successful business when I was 22, 23. Made my first million. Then got taught another lesson from government mismanagement of money. Lost a lot of money there. Went on this random sabbatical, and said, “I’m never going to do business again”. I became a hippie.
Shaan Puri: Are we talking meted silent retreats? Yoga?
Aleks Svetski: Yeah. That kind of stuff. Exactly. I went and did Yoga. I went and did met, all that kind of stuff, before it was kind of cool.
Shaan Puri: Before Jack Dorsey did it?
Aleks Svetski: Yeah, exactly. So about seven, eight years ago. And then yeah, while I was in the states, I spent a bit of time in Venice Beach and up in San Francisco. I ended up going to St. Clair University for a couple days for a short course thing there. Thought tech’s the way to go. Went back, muddled around in tech and built a few little software things, and then ended up down the Bitcoin rabbit hole about three and half years ago and never came back.
Shaan Puri: Okay. So we’re going to go through each of those in order because I think that’s the way to do it. But, how old are you?
Aleks Svetski: 31. I look younger.
Shaan Puri: I’m 31 as well.
Aleks Svetski: Oh really? You look good.
Shaan Puri: I look older, I think. The last start-up, when I started I was a fresh 24 years old, baby faced, and now I have this grizzly beard and gray hairs and all kinds of things.
Aleks Svetski: This shit ages you man. If you think I’ve got this slight baby face now, if I show you my photo when I was 20, just before I’d gotten down the path of running businesses, I look six.
Shaan Puri: Right. I saw a picture of Obama before and after, and I was like “Damn, they got to him”.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah. Dude, it kills you man.
Shaan Puri: No one gets out alive. All right, so you went to University, you said you dropped out. Which University were you going to and what-
Aleks Svetski: University of Wollongong. So it was kind of like…
Shaan Puri: Oh. I’ve been to Wollongong. I went to a party at the University of Wollongong. It was an epic night. So Wollongong is like a party school, from what I understand?
Aleks Svetski: It is. That was my rationale all right. So it was the one offering me the lowest scholarship, but it was the beach, and it was girls.
Shaan Puri: Yeah. Perfect. Cool. So you had your priorities straight? So you go there, you’re studying. What are you studying?
Aleks Svetski: Civil engineering.
Shaan Puri: Civil engineering. Okay cool. And you dropped out. Why drop out?
Aleks Svetski: This is going to sound arrogant, but I just thought everyone was an idiot. I was like, “They’re not here to study engineering because they want to study engineering. They’re just here because they got the appropriate final year of school results”. And that was disillusioning. So I was like, “I want to do more. I want to be better”. So I took that money that I had for the scholarship that they gave me to buy textbooks. I was like, “Fuck it, I’m going to do two things. I’m going to beat everyone with no textbooks, and I’m going to take that money and trade derivatives”.
Shaan Puri: Your textbook money?
Aleks Svetski: Yeah, basically. And it wasn’t much, it was like five grand. But within six months, I turned it into like 60. So from a percentage return standpoint, I thought I was the king.
Shaan Puri: And how do you even know what a derivative is at this point?
Aleks Svetski: I didn’t. I was on [inaudible 00:05:12].com.au trying to learn how to trade shares. And my family was totally anti that stuff. The gambling, this, that. So I ran away from home and did my own thing, right. And yeah I just literally self taught myself. The first trade I actually placed, was not a derivative. It was this small company called GYG. It was some genetic bull-crap that I got sold by this broker. And this was back in the days before online trading became mainstream. And yeah, I lost money on that. I was like, “This guys an idiot”. So I just went and did my own thing, and I was just trading options and warrants.
Shaan Puri: And what was the goal? The goal was like I want to get rich, or what were you trying to do?
Aleks Svetski: I’m going to have a million by the time I’m 20. And I’m going to go back to my family and prove… I had this vision in my head that I’d turn up on their front door with a Ferrari and I’d be like, “Told you so.” 19-year-old kids dream.
Shaan Puri: It’s amazing how much motivation people have of proving other people wrong.
Aleks Svetski: I know, man. I know. [crosstalk 00:06:10].
Shaan Puri: What did your parents think you were going to do? They thought you were just a fuck up? Or what did they think?
Aleks Svetski: Well no. They all wanted me to be a civil engineer. Because I didn’t live with my parents at the time either. So my parents had split when I was young. So I moved out and went and lived with my grandmother and my uncle. And my uncle is very patriotic, and he wanted me to be a civil engineer, so then we could back to eastern Europe, to Macedonia where I’m from, and then we would build a town there and all this sort of stuff. And I mean it was really appealing when I was young. I read Rich Dad Poor Dad, and some other book when I was 16, 17. And it me view the world a little bit broader.
Shaan Puri: I love that book.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah, it was a good book.
Shaan Puri: If somebody hasn’t read that book. What was the epiphany you had when you read it?
Aleks Svetski: I think that EBSI square was really important, and just figuring out which side of the quadrant you wanted to be on.
Shaan Puri: Yeah, the way I understood it, or the way just explaining it If you are lazy and don’t want to read the book, is there’s these four boxes that you can belong to. E is employee, which is, everybody knows and in fact society steers you to. It’s like go to school, get a degree, so you could get a good job. You want from a good job to a great job. That’s the E bucket. Then there’s the sort of like self-employed. Which is basically doctors, lawyers, that sort of thing, where…
Aleks Svetski: Civil engineers. That’s exactly where my family wanted me to be.
Shaan Puri: And so considered, it’s a better version of a job. And then you get to business owner, which is good, because at that point you’re not trading hours for dollar. You own some entity, but you still have operate it and you still own it, a better quadrant to be in. And the last one, I, and this is the goal. The story of Rich Dad Poor Dad, is that his real dad who he calls, “The poor dad”, tells him “Go get a job”. And his rich dad, which is his friends dad, is making all this money and living a different lifestyle and seems to be working less and earning more. And so he was looking at him like “How do you do that”?
Shaan Puri: And basically it was, you take the money from the business you own and jump into the I bucket. You start investing and then your money makes you money, which is even better than your hours or your ideas making you money. And so I think when you read that book, you can’t help but put yourself in one of the buckets and ask yourself “Do I want to be here”? And he paints a pretty good picture where you’re like, “Hell no, I don’t want to be in any bucket but the I bucket.” How do I get there?
Aleks Svetski: And that’s what I think was the thing that drove me down, thinking about the stock market. I just wanted to…
Shaan Puri: Start investing.
Aleks Svetski: Exactly. In my infinite wisdom at the time, right? I’m an, I. That’s what I’m going to do, and here we are.
Shaan Puri: So you take 5,000 bucks from textbooks, you invest it. You get a run up, up to 60,000, what happens from there?
Aleks Svetski: August the 16, 2007 happened there. I still remember the date because I woke up, it was a week before my birthday. About a week before that, I placed all these trades and I thought “This is it”. I’ll live it the hell up if my trades go the right way. I want to be a millionaire by the time I’m 20, but I’ll have about a quarter of a million.” And I woke up that morning, and everything was in the red, my account and my account was down about like 70, 80 percent, some ridiculous amount. And I was sitting there refreshing the fucking page thinking that something wrong with the page.
Shaan Puri: And what had gone wrong? What was the issue?
Aleks Svetski: Oh, I can’t remember if it was Best earns or Lehman or something like that, but one of those collapses happened. And then the entire market tanked. And I was livid long financial [inaudible 00:09:27].
Shaan Puri: The kid sitting in Australia who is trading text book money derivatives ends up feeling the burn of something happening in Wall Street over there.
Aleks Svetski: And I had no idea, right, because the way I was trading at the time, was I didn’t give a shit about the companies or the macro situation or any of that. All I looked at was these charts and I was just swing trading. And I was just looking at things if they were too over extended, I’d buy a put-up option. If they were too under extended, I’d buy a coal option, and if they were breaking out of a patten or something, I’d go long or short, or whatever the case was. And that’s how… I’m listening to a book now called Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke, or whatever her name is.
Shaan Puri: Poker player.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah, yeah. That’s it. Exactly. Really, really, good book. And she talks about the idea of resulting, which is confusing a good decision with a good result. And looking back on it, that’s what I was doing. I was thinking, “I’m a genius and I had to make money. This is how it works.” So then on the way down, what did I do? I just doubled down the whole way until I lost everything. And then I got some loans because I had an okay history of trading. Within four or five months, I was about a quarter of a million in the hole. So it went the wrong way.
Shaan Puri: So how old are you at this point?
Aleks Svetski: Well I just turned 20.
Shaan Puri: So you’re 20 years old, quarter million dollars in the hole. This is not the game plan.
Aleks Svetski: This was not the game plan. [crosstalk 00:10:50].
Shaan Puri: I wanted to drive up in my Ferrari to my parents house and tell them I made a million bucks before 20 and instead I’m down a quarter of a million bucks. Now what is that realization like when you wake up that day? Thank God, knock on wood, I have not felt that. I have felt a lot of things, but I haven’t felt that.
Aleks Svetski: Well, I mean, that morning when the chaos started happening, I remember walking around… because I was living in this little shitty apartment because I was putting all the money in the trading account. And I walked around and kicked a hole and the wall and I was like “Aw fuck, now I need to pay for that as well and fix it”. That’s my memory of it. Woke up to shit, then kicked a hole in the wall and felt worse. I just think I was in reactionary mode for the next three or four months.
Aleks Svetski: I couldn’t fathom how… and I mean this is one of the downsides of paper wealth, right? Is that you don’t appreciate it as much, and I was running around trying to figure out how to get it back to where it was. I remember as I was going below the zero mark, I was like, “I wish I could just get back to zero”. I was thinking in my head, “I don’t want the 60″. The 60 grand that I made. Not even the 20 grand that I made, just get me back to zero.” And then when I got down to 100 grand, I’d be like “Look I’d be happy if I just lost 50”. And then all the way down until it was over.
Shaan Puri: Have you heard Chris Sackett tell his story? Do you know who Chris Sackett is?
Aleks Svetski: I do. Yeah, yeah.
Shaan Puri: He’s this legendary investor now. He has I think, probably the best early stage investment portfolio of all time. He has Uber, Instagram, in there. He has, oh my God, a whole bunch of companies. Kick starter’s in there. He got maybe eight of the billion dollar companies that came out in that era in his portfolio. But he tells a story where he did almost the same thing. Went to law school, started trading stocks, and at one point he had levered his way up to where he thought he was going to be up 12 million bucks and he had turned a few hundred thousand dollars into 12 million dollars and then in the course of about a week, swung down to negative four million dollars. And from there, clawed his way back. And he has this great line, which you remind me of, which was, “I’ve never felt richer than when I had zero dollars of net worth”. When he got out of the debt and got back to zero, he’s like “I’ve never felt richer”. And the guys a billionaire now. So does that resonate with you?
Aleks Svetski: Yeah, yeah the contrast man. There’s nothing like that contrast because it’s the same. My reaction, despite being very reactionary, was I then dropped out of Uni and I looked for the first thing I could do to make some money. And I got myself what’s called an ABN in Australia which is like… I went into the S bucket, so I got myself my own little business number and I went and door knocked for any company that would have me. And there was one that I did basically all the work for, selling pay television in Australia.
Shaan Puri: So door-to-door sales?
Aleks Svetski: Basically, door-to-door sales. And maybe this was inspired by Rich Dad Poor Dad, I don’t know, but I was very introverted. But it was the only thing I could get on short notice that I could make some money straight away without having a skill, without having to do anything.
Shaan Puri: And so how does that work? Because I’ve never actually met anyone who did door-to-door sales. So what happens? You wake up, you just drive to a neighborhood or how does it work?
Aleks Svetski: No, no. You come to the office in the morning at about 9:00. Door-to-door companies are effectively two types of businesses. They do sales and they do recruitment. Because they have the highest turnover of any kind of business you could imagine, because you get paid commission, [crosstalk 00:14:19] right?. That’s it. It’s not whether you need more sales, but everyone leaves after the first two weeks basically. There’s only a rare few that actually stick it through because it’s such a shit job. You could go out and work all day, and get nothing. But it’s a really good primer for business and I think that’s why Kiyosaki talks about it in his thing, which is you can go out and you get paid for the result, not for the time you put in it. So yes, you go to the office at 9:00, people are recruiting. If you’ve been there long enough and you’re a good enough sales person, you become what is known as a leader, and all this sort of stuff.
Shaan Puri: But when you started, what was it like? You go there and what happens?
Aleks Svetski: I went there, I’m like “What the fuck do we do now”? And then there’s some dude coming and training sales people in the morning and revs everyone up, by about 11:00 AM we go out, we get a map. This was before we had smart phones and GPS and shit. You mark out with a texter the blocks that each person has and then we all go out. And you’re not allowed step on each other’s turf, so we all had our own turf. And we’d go and knock on doors, and it was just the luck of the draw.
Shaan Puri: And what’s the sales pitch? Knock, knock, I open up. What would you say? Do you remember?
Aleks Svetski: I think the reason I was successful was because I never had the same pitch. So what they taught us there was, there was this five steps, this eight steps principle of smile, and this, and this, and this. And this is how you take people through it. I threw all that shit out the window.
Shaan Puri: Yeah, no smiling.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah, exactly. No, but I spent some time really digging deep on your linguistics and NLP and all that sort of stuff. And I managed to go to Robins conference just around the time when… just before I lost everything, the last bit of money that I had, I went to a Robins conference and then I paid for an NLP certification some practitioner things. I used that. And that is all about not-
Shaan Puri: Give us an example. How do you use that in a sale?
Aleks Svetski: I’d knock on the door and someone would say “Get the fuck out of here”. And I’d be like “I’ll get the fuck out of here in a minute” and I would match their tonality, match the speed at which they said something, and I would say something that would shock them. They were like “What”? And I’d be like “You heard me”. And then they would come to the door and then I’d start a conversation. I used to use a lot of body language, and instead of standing face to face, I’d lean on the door, to the side. So slightly more on their side. And then just ask them about themselves. Or I’d pick something out about what they’re wearing or the neighborhood that they were in.
Shaan Puri: Just kept them talking.
Aleks Svetski: Exactly. And I’d open up… So it had nothing to do with the product. And I got to learn this in the early days about sales having very little to do with product. Because I didn’t have the TV. I didn’t know what was on the channels, I didn’t know any of that shit. I just could pick things out and pick really quickly. The key thing was to build rapport inside 30 seconds. So yeah, I’d match their body language, doing a lot of mirroring and matching at the door with whoever the person was. And be suggestive in the process of letting me inside the house. And that was the key. As soon as you got inside of the house, it was game over. You could make the sale.
Shaan Puri: Got you. So what sort of thing gets you into the house? Hey you’ve got some water?
Aleks Svetski: Water was a big one. Fuck it’s cold out here. It’s hot out here. Can I use the bathroom. So that was like the sneaky tactics, but then also when I was young, but now I’m an old ugly fucker, but when I was younger, I was half good looking. And that used to always work. So most of the people who ended up buying off me, were moms.
Shaan Puri: Got you. Cool.
Aleks Svetski: And I really played up the son cut. It’s like “Hey, how you doing”?
Shaan Puri: Okay. So you start selling. Were you good at it? It sounds like you were pretty good at it.
Aleks Svetski: Dude, within three weeks, I was the third best in the country. And I was living on some dudes lounge, paying 20 bucks a week rent. And my motto was this, I would carry two can of tuna in each pocket, so four cans of tuna. I would only eat if I sold something and I would sprint between doors because then I could get to doors faster. And-
Shaan Puri: Did you want to eat one tuna in your pocket? Was that like a motivating thing?
Aleks Svetski: I didn’t give a fuck. I was just like “I’m getting the sale, then I get to eat”. My cost of food budget daily was $4, because it was a dollar a can of tuna. And I just funneled everything towards paying the debts off. And during the day, I would knock on doors and at night time, I would read and study economics, markets, and what the hell did I do wrong and how was I so stupid to have lost so much money.
Shaan Puri: And so how much were you making doing door-to-door sales?
Aleks Svetski: Two grand a week. And the average person would make about four or five-hundred. So I was about four times above-average.
Shaan Puri: So you start paying off the debts and it sounds like, because you got humbled, you started looking at the science of business and how this thing works. How do you actually make money reliably, repeatedly?
Aleks Svetski: Correct.
Shaan Puri: And what came out of that? That period ends. What happens after that?
Aleks Svetski: Well, I door knocked for somebody else for a little while. Then I was like “Why am I building this guys business”? So I moved myself from the S to the B if you’re going to use this mental model. And then I set-up my own sales company and then I got a lot of the people that were selling under me that I would get a comb off, if I trained them, they came and worked for me. I gave better commissions and this sort of stuff. And we started competing with that company and we did really well because I just had a different style, a different method of teaching people to sell and all this other stuff. We got our hands on more products and I went from leaving that place with two or three people that came and followed me to about, within six months, we had 30 people running around door knocking for me.
Shaan Puri: And you’re selling the same thing? Paid TV or something else?
Aleks Svetski: We were selling a little bit of paid TV. We were selling this car wax stuff. And then that was the Segway that I said, I want to sell things that are more meaningful. So we looked at renewable energy, selling solar systems. That was a real culture shock because going from selling a $40 product at the door to like, “hey, do you want to give me 12 grand for a solar system”. “Who the fuck are you, get out of here.”
Shaan Puri: Even the charming, good looking son, is not going to do a great job of selling that one. Yeah.
Aleks Svetski: Dude, I remember the first couple weeks of trying to do that, zero sales. And I’d never in my life gotten zero sales, more than two or three days in a row. And I was disillusioned. I was like “Fuck this ain’t going to work”. We’re going to be stuck selling…
Shaan Puri: Tuna’s going bad.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah, dude. I was like “We’re going to be stuck selling shit to people for the rest of my life”. And then it just happened over like four or five sales, just came back through who were thinking about it, all in one day. And that was like 100 grand in turnover. And I was like “Holy shit”. And that changed it for me. And then from there I transformed that sales company into actually… because the solar companies that I was selling for, again have this recurring theme in my life. I felt they were incompetent. I can do this better.
Aleks Svetski: So I went and met with different suppliers, with installers, and because I also had an engineering background, I was able to design the systems, like bespoke for people’s houses. So we went for quality over quantity. And we built a really good business. So by the time I turned 22 1/2, 23, roughly that, everything was paid back. I’d made my first million. I had about 30 staff across three different states. We were turning over maybe, in a really, really, good week, maybe half a million a week, at about a 10, 20% margin. So we were making really good money.
Shaan Puri: That’s a really good business.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah.
Shaan Puri: So this answers the question of the podcast, right? This podcast is a promise, where I basically said, “I’m going to go study the rich because from a young age I’ve wanted to be rich.” I know a lot of people want to be rich. And I know that there’s two things that come out of when you talk to rich people, you do understand strategies, tactics, tips, those sorts of things, but more than that, you hear the stories, and the ups and downs and the, started from not knowing anything and just worked my way forward. So I want those stories to come out, and I appreciate you telling yours. But this answers the question, right? How did you make your first million and for you, it was, you were selling solar panels.
Aleks Svetski: That’s it. Yeah. Seriously. And we got a really big boost from the government. So they came in and they started handing out rebates to everybody, and in typical government fashion, incentivizing the wrong layer of the stack. What they should’ve done in hindsight, was they should’ve gone and incentivized manufacturers or importers, or whatever, to bring the stuff in, and as a result that would’ve trickled down to the consumer via natural competition. They, instead, gave the money to the consumer and then what ended up happening was all of these morons who had never been anywhere near solar, didn’t understand electronics, they were literally just random electricians or even roofers, or even just morons who had never had a job before became solar companies. And we went from being one of two companies in our entire region to being one of 30, in X amount of months. And so I mean, that ate into margins and things like that. And this is what I call the next big lesson of my life is that don’t trust the government.
Shaan Puri: Now we’re getting to the Crypto part.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah. Very, very shortly. It was June, I think, man, I think 2012. And I can’t remember if it was 2011, 2012, it was one of those years. And they sort of made an announcement in June. They realized that thing had taken off way too fast, in terms of what they were anticipating. And they said, “all right, anyone who hasn’t done their installation by the end of this month, which is three weeks away, misses out on the rebate”. And so from a consumer perspective, they’re going to miss out on all this money. So everyone went ape shit.
Aleks Svetski: I mean that day that they announced that, I sold I think, probably a million and a half worth of systems on the phone, in my fucking desk. I didn’t even get up. I just called through everybody and just closed, closed, closed, closed. It was the best day I’ve ever had. And I thought, “Fuck, we just made a killing”. We were high-fiving each other. We were like, all we have to do now is install these over the next three to six months.
Aleks Svetski: And whilst the solar industry wouldn’t go away, it would be subdued, this would give us enough to manage our way through. So everything was all good. So we went ahead, and the way it worked, was basically the customer would pay half the money up front, and the government would effectively pay the other half in about two, three, four, five, six months later, whenever all the certification, all that sort of stuff went through.
Aleks Svetski: So we got the money upfront. We would basically carry the cash flow until we got that money in. Margins were about, say at that point in time because of the competition, was probably about 1,000 bucks a system. So we were waiting on all this money. And when it came time to pay the money, the government was like, “We’re going to give you all 50 cents to the dollar”. And we’re like, “What”? And overnight, every job that we’d done-
Shaan Puri: Became negative.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah, became negative. And it was a fucking kick in the nuts. I was lucky because I was trying to build an empire here, so I hadn’t spent money on stupid shit. So I had enough money there to pay everything out. Where I had made some mistakes, was I had bought a half a container of LEDs, LED lighting, because I thought that was going to be the next big thing. It did neat rebates and everything, and that was sort of half paid for and it was sitting on a dock in China. I didn’t have the money to pay that off, so I burnt 150 grand there.
Aleks Svetski: I had a half-built gym because I was trying to get into the 24/7 fitness craze at that time as well, and we couldn’t finish the gym because we didn’t have enough money. So I was lucky in some senses because I had enough cash to wind up the solar business, but then I didn’t have enough. So I had to make this decision of what I was going to keep, what I wasn’t, and what I going to try and do. Anyway, about a year and a bit of torture, I ended up shutting everything down. And I kind of had a little bit of money left.
Shaan Puri: This is where you went on the Sabbatical?
Aleks Svetski: This is where I went on the Sabbatical. So just before I went on the Sabbatical, I had put the balance of my money… because during this entire time of running this business and building this business I didn’t take my eye off the ball with respect to the markets and what was going on there. So I was very, very early in gold and silver. Studying Austrian economics and understanding how money works, and inflation and QE, and this sort of stuff. So I could see that the Australian was going to pumbled and that we needed something. It was a prudent decision to invest into some more sound money. So I bought a shit load of gold and silver. And my brother and I made a lot of money out of that. That saved my ass during that period. And that’s what funded my Sabbatical. And I came to California, spent some time here. I was in Venice Beach, California for a little bit. That was an experience.
Shaan Puri: Saw some interesting things?
Aleks Svetski: Yeah. Enough said.
Shaan Puri: Saw some parts of bodies?
Aleks Svetski: Yep, basically. And I was actually living right on the board walk for about a month, and I couldn’t handle it after that month. It was this cool loft, it was funky and shit and it was… When I got there, it was like typical tourist, came to Venice I thought muscle beach, Gold’s Gym around the corner, I thought I was in heaven. And I realized it was such a shit hole. One night I remember walking back in from the boardwalk. There was some dude inside my fucking apartment and he’s sitting there shaking on the floor. I’m like, “What the fuck are you doing”? He’s like, “Oh, you got some money man”? And I was like, “Get the fuck out of my apartment”. It was the weirdest thing because that kind of stuff doesn’t happen in Australia, right?
Shaan Puri: Welcome to America.
Aleks Svetski: I don’t know man, I was like, “Holy crap”. Yeah man, and that Sabbatical was an interesting period.
Shaan Puri: So when you came in, you handed me this. I’m looking at this thing, if you’re listening you can’t see if obviously. But is says, “Breaking news, Blockchain is dead” and it looks like… Is this real? Is this a mock newspaper, what is this? Is this your business plan? I see an ad for your company at the end. What I’m looking at? Because this looks kind of genius, but I don’t know what it is.
Aleks Svetski: Okay. So about-
Shaan Puri: Is this what you were giving away at the conference?
Aleks Svetski: It is. Not this conference though, at another conference. This conference I gave it away to a couple people because I had a few print-outs left. But basically at a conference earlier this year, I’m known as either, Angry Aleks, or Contrarian Aleks back in Sydney, or back in Brisbane or Australia, whatever you want to call it. And that’s because I generally have a very contrarian viewpoint to norms that I find stupid. And of the latest norms that I find stupid, is this whole Blockchain thing. The norm that I found stupid before that, was Crypto and ICO.
Aleks Svetski: So there’s this capital raising conference called, Wholesale Investor, that happens… They do multiple events, and they basically get investee companies who are looking to raise capital in front of wholesale, high net worth’s, angels, etc., and funds, right? So you get the opportunity to get up on stage and pitch your business. And as part of that, some of the more well known people in the industry get to also do what’s called, an educational session.
Aleks Svetski: So this little publication, actually started the year before, which was, I got invited to speak at that event and it was right during the ICO craze, right? Everyone was making money off ICO’s and we consciously made a decision not to fucking do an ICO with Amber, because I just found it fraudulent, stupid, moronic, and every other word I could give it. Because people were effective using the narrative of what Bitcoin is, which is about creating symmetry in society and being the money of the people. They were using that narrative to print money and do what the bankers just did in 2000, just to dump your worthless tokens on people. And that pissed me off so much. So I was like, “we are categorically not doing that”. So I got up at this conference-
Shaan Puri: I want to pause for a second because I want to test the Contrarian Aleks, or what was the first one? Angry Aleks?
Aleks Svetski: Oh, Angry Aleks. Yeah.
Shaan Puri: [inaudible 00:29:40]. So for people who are listening, I want to hear your views on a couple things. I’m going to give you the prompt, you give me the answer.
Aleks Svetski: Hit me.
Shaan Puri: Prompt is, why should I care about Bitcoin?
Aleks Svetski: The world needs a better form of money and fundamentally if money is the basis of society, the current form within which we know it, is fucked up.
Shaan Puri: Okay. Cool. How’s it fucked up? What’s wrong with money today?
Aleks Svetski: Money is owned and controlled by a few, and if we look at money as a form of communication, we all believe in freedom of speech. We should all believe also in freedom of owning and doing what we want with money because it is a fundamental form of human… It’s a tool of human collaboration. That’s what money was designed for, and you cannot have a collaborative, cooperative, complex society without having money. So in today’s day and age, the way money works, it’s owned and control by the few.
Shaan Puri: And who are the few here? Who are you talking about?
Aleks Svetski: The few, is the central banks and basically sovereign nations. That’s the lever that they use to basically run society. And we all know that society has some fundamental problems. You don’t have to walk far in San Francisco to see some issues, right? So in business, you and I know we go out and set up a business, we do something. If we fuck up or if we get it wrong, the consequences, you lose money, you go bankrupt, you have a negative consequence.
Aleks Svetski: If you get it right and you do well and the stars align and you’re lucky, and all this sort of stuff, you get a nice payout. Something good happens. In government, and central banking, and that side of the world, and this is the assymetry you get when you own money, when you own the world’s most important resource. If you make a good bet, and you invest, and you do the right thing, you make a bunch of money. If you fuck it all up and you do dumb shit, like 2008, or if you’re a government you just print your way into as much debt as you want, it doesn’t matter. Guess who pays for it? Everybody else.
Shaan Puri: It’s all the power without the consequences.
Aleks Svetski: Zero consequences. So what happens is you get this assymetry in society where the very few, the rent seekers effectively, get to do whatever the fuck they want and there’s zero consequence. And the rest of us, we either pay for it in taxes, or through a hidden tax of inflation. You cannot do that in a sound money type society. Something that could potentially be built on Bitcoin.
Shaan Puri: And here is America, we’re not hyper inflation right? It’s 3% a year, that sort of thing. If I’m an American, I’m sitting here saying, “What’s the big deal? Money seems fine. Money’s never did me wrong”. If I don’t have enough money, but money itself is not treated me wrong. I think most people don’t feel the consequences of what you’re talking about, but in some countries, that’s different. So give us an example of a country where [crosstalk 00:32:21].
Aleks Svetski: Well I mean, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, people have heard about that. I mean, I don’t have my wallet here, but I’ve got a Venezuelan… I’ve got like 100 million bolivars, or whatever it is.
Shaan Puri: Like a bill? It’s 100 million.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah, it’s a bill. Exactly, right?
Shaan Puri: And what happened there? The government…
Aleks Svetski: Hyperinflation is a function of the loss of confidence in the currency of a jurisdiction, whether that’s a nations state, whether it’s whatever. I mean, in the world we live in, the jurisdiction is always the nations state, effectively. So money’s supposed to be this thing that perform three functions: store a value, medium of exchange, and a unit of account. Now when people lose confidence, it loses the first one. That idea that it’s a representation or a store of value. And if it loses that, the fact that it’s a medium of exchange, or a unit of account basically goes out the window and people don’t trust it anymore. They don’t want to hold it, because what’s it’s supposed to do… you would rather than hold goods, or you would rather hold anything else other than this worthless paper.
Aleks Svetski: And that happens more so in countries that have weak governments or a weak social system, or all that sort of stuff. It hasn’t happened in a place like the US and I don’t think it’s likely to happen here because of how entrenched the US dollar is. I mean maybe not for another 50 or 100 years, right? That’s not the argument but I want to touch on the thing you mentioned, how at 3% inflation, right? So I mean I think M2 money supply inflation’s like 6%, but in perspective, it’s an amount that not many people feel that much. But a friend of mine puts it, he calls it, crystallized life force. It’s like we in society, as human beings, we perform work, or we add value by inputting energy into the world and what that’s measured in, is this unit, which we decided to call money.
Aleks Svetski: And then we trade this unit around, and that’s how we built society, right? That unit doesn’t make sense for that unit to depreciate for some nonsense. Because if you go and work for 20 years, and you’ve saved that money, the money that you’ve worked for at the beginning that 20 years, is now worth less in purchasing power if you compound that 3%. It’s worth about 60% less than it was when you began it. But is your work technically worth less 60% than it was? It’s not.
Aleks Svetski: And I was talking with this lady who not into Bitcoin, and we were talking about all sort stuff, and she brought up Trump and all this sort of stuff and anyway, I kind of got me down the Bitcoin rabbit hole, and she mentioned a show, and I think it’s Seth Rogen. Is he the dude that does those-
Shaan Puri: The funny guy?
Aleks Svetski: Yeah. The funny guy. Yeah. I can’t remember if it was him or someone else, but it’s a Netflix show and it’s like a parody of Star Trek. And they’re all on this ship and they’ve got that machine that can replicate anything, right? And whether it’s the wallet or this or that, whatever they want. So they have an abundance. But the only thing they cannot replicate is the value of the contribution to their mini society because that’s the one thing that’s unique. That’s the one thing that’s fundamentally scarce. So when she said that, I was like, “holy shit. You have basically just described what money is at it’s fundamental… The basis of what money is”. It’s something that cannot be replicated, cannot be diluted, and it’s a measurement of work. It’s a measurement of energy.
Aleks Svetski: And what Bitcoin represents, is this uninflatable unit that cannot be compromised or confiscated or changed by any particular party with asymmetric power. And as a result, we can map that directly to the input that human beings put into society. So the only way in a sort of Bitcoin denominated system. Let’s say in the future that’s what it looks like, or at least the parallel economic system that’s run on Bitcoin. The only way to get ahead in a world like that would be to add more value or to put more time in. That’s it. And that’s how an economy should function.
Shaan Puri: How life should be.
Aleks Svetski: Exactly. Not rent seeking.
Shaan Puri: Okay. I’m with you on all those things. What part of why I’m interested in Bitcoin, but I like hearing it from you. So you’ve got this app. Is it coming out, or is it already out?
Aleks Svetski: It’s already out in Australia.
Shaan Puri: Already out. Called Amber. And tell us about Amber, because I think it’s pretty clever. There’s like an equivalent app like that for Fiat currency but it looks like you’re doing it for Crypto currency.
Aleks Svetski: Bitcoin.
Shaan Puri: Bitcoin specifically. But tell us, what is Amber?
Aleks Svetski: Really simply, I believe that everybody should be buying and holding some Bitcoin at the moment because when a new asset emerges, there is incredible upside. So what you want to do, if you picture… I’ll give you a really good example to picture Bitcoin. There’s going to be 21 million Bitcoin, and that’s like a fixed upper limit. It’s infinitely divisible, which means everyone can hold some at some point in time, but the upper limit is fixed. If you look at it, like the planet, there’s so much land. It’s like, holding some territory in Bitcoin is like holding some territory in the physical world.
Aleks Svetski: So you want to accumulate now, while the fucking thing’s cheap. You don’t want hold minimal territory in a hundred years from now when everyone’s got a lot of chunks. So what Amber does, it helps you dollar cost average into Bitcoin by you download it, you link your bank account and you forget about it. And you’ve got options whether you just want to do spare change, or you whether you just want to do a recurring buy. But if effectively just purchases an amount of Bitcoin, from as little as five bucks a day, whatever it is. And it stores it for you in cold storage.
Shaan Puri: So this is for the person that says, “I’m interested in Bitcoin. I don’t have a ton of money to go buy 10 grand worth of Bitcoin right now” which as of today’s price gets you less than one Bitcoin. So I don’t have a ton of money to go invest in , but I don’t want to sit on the sidelines, I’d like to be in the game.
Aleks Svetski: Correct. This is about accessibility.
Shaan Puri: And so you’re trying to put people in the game by saying, “Do no work, just download the app”. And it will passively say, the spare change use cases, I buy something let’s say for $5.60, and it can round up and take the last 40 cents and buy some Bitcoin with it?
Aleks Svetski: Yep. Correct.
Shaan Puri: That’s one thing you can tell it to do. And cool, you’ll just accumulate little by little. Every time you’re buying something, just round up. The spare change you would’ve forgot about it anyways.
Aleks Svetski: Correct.
Shaan Puri: The other thing you can do is set-up a recurring buy. Five bucks every Monday, type of thing. That gets you in the game. So you’re trying to help the person who is interested, but on the sidelines today, get in the game.
Aleks Svetski: Correct. Well there’s three main reasons. It’s too risky, it’s volatile, it’s too hot. So we alleviate all of those. Volatility is smoothened out via the dollar-cost averaging. That’s what it does. So what happens is when you’re dollar-cost averaging, when the price is exorbitantly high, you buy in a little bit less. When it’s exorbitantly low, you buy in a little bit more. In particularly in emergent asset classes, they’re all over the place.
Shaan Puri: So if you’re not a finance nerd, dollar-cost averaging just means, you don’t have to time, when’s the right time to buy. You’re just always buying a little bit so as things swing, you’re riding the ups and downs. It smooths out the problem of trying to time the market, which nobody can do.
Aleks Svetski: 100%. So you nailed it there. It’s about time in the market instead of timing the market. So the only thing you have to do in that sense, is you have to look for opportunities which have long-term upside and ideally you want look at the opportunities with not only long-term upside, but with asymmetric upside. So Bitcoin is the only asset that I know of today that is likely, has an opportunity to be worth 100 X. We don’t have many of those today, unless you’re a Chris Sackett and you can get yourself [crosstalk 00:39:41], yeah, exactly.
Shaan Puri: Yeah. So the most you can lose, is the five bucks you put in?
Aleks Svetski: Correct.
Shaan Puri: But the most you can gain is a thousand times the five bucks.
Aleks Svetski: Exactly.
Shaan Puri: That’s the assymetry you’re looking for.
Aleks Svetski: Exactly right. And that’s how most people should invest. So after all the years of trading, and all the years of stuff that I’ve done. If I had just dollar-cost averaged into things that had some asymmetric upside, I would 100 or 1,000 times further ahead than I am now. Instead of trying to be a genius and trying to fucking trade my way through.
Shaan Puri: Right. Okay. Well that’s the wisdom. All right so, how’s the app doing? Are people using it?
Aleks Svetski: It’s great man. So we’ve actually… What’s today? Today’s Friday, so it’s Saturday in Australia. So we just finished our public Beta yesterday, which is on. So we go fully, fully live, on Monday next week.
Shaan Puri: And why only Australia? Why not the rest of the world?
Aleks Svetski: Dealing with a product like Bitcoin, it’s less a tech problem… Well there’s the tech problem of connecting to the bank and getting direct debit services. Because banks inherently don’t like Bitcoin because you’re pulling money out of their system into a new economic system, right? So number one, so they’re not very friendly. Number two, governments don’t like it so they make it jurisdictionally difficult, compliance, licensing, and all this bullshit. It’s different in every single place. We might not even come to the US because here you guys have a different set of rules for every single state. It’s complete nightmare, so we might just skip over to your friends in Canada and give them the service.
Shaan Puri: They get all the nice stuff now.
Aleks Svetski: I know, right? So [inaudible 00:41:15], that’s the lay of the land.
Shaan Puri: Got you. And so the price today is what? We looked it up on our Uber ride over here. It was 12,361. I know you’re not trying to time the market, but I’m curious what you think the price trajectory looks like. Do you think this is a temporary rally? Do you even care about the price? How do you think about the price? Everybody’s focused on the price, price, price.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah. Correct. Look, I try and be a little more long-term in my viewpoints. So everyone has this tendency to gamble. So there’s a popular website called Bitmax, which lets you trade leveraged versions of Bitcoin, long and short and all that sort of stuff. And I’ve had a play on Bitmax. I started with one coin and got down to 0.2 Bitcoin, traded my way back to one Bitcoin, and I’ve been like, “I ain’t touching that shit anymore”. Because it’s just unnecessary, right?
Aleks Svetski: So short term, I don’t think it matters. If I had to take a guess, I’d say short-term I’d probably a little bit overextend it, but hey, I could be wrong. I personally think in the medium term, or during this wave, or during this run-up, we’ll probably see Bitcoin peak somewhere between 150 to 200 K, maybe even more, US. And then it will probably correct from there. So we’re probably going to see another mania. It’ll correct from there to probably 20 and then it’ll probably do another run-up during the next-
Shaan Puri: Cycle.
Aleks Svetski: …four-year cycle that it has. And then it might go to a million now. Things are never that clean, but if you can sort of anticipate a broad, brush of cycles, I think this round, right now, Bitcoin is cheap as shit.
Shaan Puri: What percentage of your own personal net-worth are you putting into Bitcoin?
Aleks Svetski: I lost all my Bitcoin in a boating accident.
Shaan Puri: Okay. All right.
Aleks Svetski: Traditionally speaking, it was about-
Shaan Puri: Tax man doesn’t listen to this podcast.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah, yeah. I was probably closer to 70%.
Shaan Puri: Oh, wow. Okay, so you got [crosstalk 00:43:09].
Aleks Svetski: I’m very bullish, yeah.
Shaan Puri: Okay. Yeah. Somebody’s got to be bullish about this, right? There’s a lot of people out there who will say all the right things and then they put 2% of their net-worth, and they’re already rich and that’s a nice to have proposition. That might be the correct, conservative way to do it, but.
Aleks Svetski: For most people, that is correct. Exactly. Yeah. I think the level of… So I don’t look at Bitcoin as a risk asset. I actually look at it as a risk-off asset. But that just comes from my level of understanding of what’s actually going on here. And that is the same as someone who might say, “Oh yeah, investing in Uber in the first couple of years was a risky thing to do”. Whereas the people who understood it or were close to it, had a very different view and a very different picture of that. So those founders, obviously, had a much larger stake. So to them, it was a risk not being a part of it. So I think the more you peel the onion, and the closer to the core of what you’re involved in, you get, the more that profile changes. So if people don’t understand it, one, or two, 3%, that’s enough. But for the more you understand it, the more you’ll find that you want to put more into it.
Shaan Puri: And what have you noticed, Australia versus Silicon Valley, the opinions on Bitcoin because you spent time at both places. Do you feel like it’s the same viewpoints or do you see anything drastically different?
Aleks Svetski: Look, I haven’t been back here for a while. And this week was obviously skewed because I was at Bitcoin 2019 conference.
Shaan Puri: Who goes to that? Is that like guys wearing a Bitcoin outfit? Like is it like the nuts or the?
Aleks Svetski: Dude, there was actually really good turn out. You had Blockchain Capital there. They were like one of the first funders of Coinbase and things like that. So you had everyone from VC’s. They had Snowden Telecasting, so that was really cool.
Shaan Puri: Where’s he living now-a-days?
Aleks Svetski: I don’t know. He’s not going to tell us.
Shaan Puri: What region of the world do you think he’s living in?
Aleks Svetski: I don’t know. Isn’t he still in Russia or something? I don’t know. I don’t know. But that was really cool. So they had that, they had speakers from all different start-ups in the Bitcoin space, people that are working on lightening. There was so much happening there and it’s really interesting to be… Being in the Bitcoin space right now is like being part of this cool club that very few people know about. And sort of tying it back to that little newspaper thing that I gave you, is I got up and I opened that talk.
Aleks Svetski: So that little newspaper started off as a talk that I was supposed to give. And that was the second talk at this wholesaler-investor thing. It was a year after the first talk that I gave where I bashed the shit out of ICO’s. At the second talk, they were like, “Look, can you not do what you did last year because you scared a bunch of people away, telling people that ICO’s were scams”. And I was like, “Well, was I right”? And they’re like, “Well, you were. But can you not”. And I said, “All right, this time I’ll be nice”.
Aleks Svetski: So this time I got up and I said Blockchain was a load of shit. Bitcoin is where it’s at and not this term, Blockchain. Which is just this femoral term that someone’s picked out of the fucking hat, that has nothing to do with anything. And they’ve made it seem like Blockchain can give you security and readability, when those two functions come from something like Bitcoin, which is an amalgamation of the Blockchain architecture, along with economics, game theory, incentives, disincentives, networks, all this other stuff that you don’t get.
Aleks Svetski: So I got up, and I said… I had [inaudible 00:46:17] on the screen. I said, “What truth do very few people agree with you on”? And I told the organizers the talk was going to be entitled, “How lightenings going to deliver on what Blockchain promised”. But then I got up and I said, “The real name of my talk, is Blockchain is dead. The future is on lightening”. And now mind you, this is a Blockchain conference where people are raising money for Blockchain companies.
Aleks Svetski: So that’s Angry Aleks and Contrarian Aleks at work. I think in the contrarian bit which I’m personally sold that it’s going to win, is that Bitcoin and the layers built on Bitcoin, much like the internet and the layers that were built on the internet, are where the game is at. Not in trying to build. And the analogy that I give to people is, trying to compete with Bitcoin, is like AOL trying to compete with the internet. The companies that succeeded were the ones like Google, Netscape, etc. who build on the internet, which was this really dumb, basic, packet-routing network.
Aleks Svetski: And it didn’t do anything except for route packets of data and didn’t give a shit what was on that data. It was the value added service and the business and the layers that were built on top of that, where everyone converged to use the internet. Same things are going to happen with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is this really basic… basic is maybe not the right word, but this robust, fundamental, network, that routes value. And it’s unstoppable at routing value. You cannot stop it. You can’t turn it off. You can’t turn it on. That’s what it does. It’s this autonomous-
Shaan Puri: No one owns it, no one controls it.
Aleks Svetski: No on owns it, no one controls it. Exactly. So it routes value, the same way as the internet routed data. And what’s going to happen is, people are going to realize that hey, I can provide the service of what traditionally, a bank, with hundreds of millions of resources is required to… What a bank needs to do to provide a simple service of freaking checking account and the ability to send money to your friend requires hundreds of millions of billions of dollars of infrastructure. I could provide the same guarantee of funds and the same guarantee of send, store, receive, that a bank can, with a little app, that we can build with a couple hundred grand.
Shaan Puri: Love it.
Aleks Svetski: Tell me that’s not revolutionary. And people are still here running around trying to look for the killer app on Blockchain. The killer app is here, it’s Bitcoin.
Shaan Puri: It’s here. Bitcoin. It came in the bundle.
Aleks Svetski: That was the zero to one moment. And that was my argument. And that’s in that paper there. I make this whole argument. I display what’s promised for Blockchain and I talk about how that’s a broken promise and that. Out of all the stuff that came out of the ICO craze, like 99% of it was all just bullshit. Like autonomous drone powered token that’s going to wash your clothes and make you rich overnight, right? All this shit. There might have been 1% of the stuff that made sense. That stuff, is going to be built on Bitcoin. It ain’t going to be build on its own Blockchain.
Shaan Puri: Makes sense. There’s really, I’d say three schools of thought, lets give four schools of thought. School of thought number one. What the hell is Bitcoin? People who just don’t understand yet, too fuzzy of a concept. Cool. That’s where a lot of people live. Number two, Bitcoin is snake oil. And everyone, even Warren Buffet, Charlie Monger are out there saying this thing makes no sense. It’s a Ponzi scheme, stay away from it, it’s poison. Number three is, where I think you and I live, which is Bitcoin is the thing. Bitcoin is the killer application of this technology breakthrough. We had this computer science breakthrough, which enabled a really amazing thing, which is like you said, we could route value as easily as we routed data and packets for the internet. Now we can route money the same way. And money can be something that’s as open, secure, and uncontrolled by a single entity, in the way that the internet is.
Shaan Puri: And then there’s a group of people that say, Blockchain, not Bitcoin. And I think that’s where you stepped in and said, no. I also feel like that’s the… it’s the hedge stance. It’s the stance that says, I don’t want to be anti with this whole Crypto thing, but I don’t want to be in on Bitcoin and the price and the money making side of it, so I’m going to just sit on this technology side because that’s safe. Who can argue with the breakthrough technology. That sounds smart. And that sounds safe. And those are the people that say it’s all about Blockchain, not Bitcoin. And I think that the two are paired together, they’re bundled in. As you said where, Blockchain made something like Bitcoin possible and something like Bitcoin is a huge breakthrough and should be celebrated all by itself.
Aleks Svetski: I’m going to actually push back on one of those things. It’s actually not Blockchain that made Bitcoin possible. It’s Bitcoin that made Blockchain possible, because the word Blockchain never even existed. It’s not even in the White paper. It’s not even in there. So Bitcoin is actually, and this is technically correct, it’s actually a time chain. It’s got nothing to do with being a Blockchain. It’s just that a group of bankers who missed out on Bitcoin and who were bitter about it, came up with the name. I think the R3 consortium, which had a bunch of banks, and this sort of stuff, came up with the term Blockchain in 2012. About four years after the Bitcoin came out.
Shaan Puri: Is that right? Okay. I didn’t know this.
Aleks Svetski: Yeah. Didn’t even exist.
Shaan Puri: You’re say, forget all the noise. Bitcoin is the thing.
Aleks Svetski: It’s the thing. There’s nothing else here.
Shaan Puri: I’ll give you the last minute of the podcast to basically speak to… There’s a lot of people that are going to listen to this. Some of which are already in the Bitcoin game. Some have heard of it, and some never heard of it. I would say, their ears are yours. If you had a minute to just say anything to that group of people, what would you tell them? Because you have the chance to reach a lot of people and share a little bit of what you believe to be true.
Aleks Svetski: Okay. Whether you’re as a fervent believer as me, that the system needs to get better. And we need to bring some more symmetries. And whether you’ve gone down that rabbit hole and you really believe in Bitcoin. Whether you’re on that side of the spectrum, or whether you think it’s okay, or you don’t really give a shit. Or even if you’re even further on the spectrum, you like the current system the way it is, you should still buy some Bitcoin because of the assymetry that it represents. That contrarian, that I don’t give a crap where you are.
Aleks Svetski: Buying and holding some is actually gained theoretically sound because if you don’t you’re just going to end up in the bucket of being left behind. And if you do, and you only do a little bit, say if you just manage that percentage depending on which part of the spectrum you’re on. You do it intelligently, the worst case is not so bad. You will have lost a little bit and life will go on, depending on where you are on the spectrum. But if it does happen, this changes everything. It’s like buying a domain name, 20 years ago. Just buy one. Maybe the internet wasn’t going to be anything.
Shaan Puri: Right. All right. This is not investment advice that [crosstalk 00:52:43].
Aleks Svetski: This is not investment advice, exactly.
Shaan Puri: Yeah, yeah. All the normal disclaimers. Listen man, I appreciate you coming in. It’s a pretty fascinating conversation. Like you said, we had never met before. So for me, I liked hearing, I really liked hearing the story of the ups and downs, trying to make a quick buck, got burned. Learning sales, and building a real business the hard way, and then getting burned at the mercy of the government who changed their mind and how that led you to Bitcoin. I think that’s pretty cool, pretty cool story. And I think that for a lot of people, some of the stuff that we talked about may go over their head and may not understand a lot of the terms. And for them, I would just ask you, what’s a good starting point, or resource? When you do want to go down the rabbit hole, where’s the door? Where’s the surface of that hole? What’s a good place for somebody to start?
Aleks Svetski: There’s a couple good places. If you like listening to podcasts, one of my favorite ones is a dude called, Marty Bent and Matt Model. It’s called TFTC, so Tales From The Crypt. It’s a really, really cool conversational podcast. They do a show every week. It’s really, really cool. So they’re based up in New York, so that’s one. If you want to learn more about the economics element of it, particularly the Austrian economics. There’s a friend of mine called Stephen Rivera, he runs a podcast there. That’s if you prefer a podcast. If you prefer reading, I mean, I’m going to toot my own horn here. I do a lot of writing on medium. I’ve got quite a decent following. I write for Hacker Noon, so I’m one of the top Bitcoin writers on Hacker Noon.
Shaan Puri: Where can people find you? If they just want to hear more from you, where do they find you?
Aleks Svetski: Just find me on Twitter @Aleks Svetski. And my name’s spelled different, so it’s A-L-E-K-S, S-V-E-T-S-K-I. So Aleks Svetiski. It’s on Twitter. You’ll find me on Medium as well. Or if you just Google my name you’ll find me. It pops up all over the place. So a lot of my resources, I’ve done a couple long form articles and probably too you want to look for are, Homo sapiens, Evolution, Money & Bitcoin. That is a journey of how we started and why it’s important. That sets a good foundation.
Aleks Svetski: And then I do, Why Bitcoin Matters. And in there I talk about how… They have some similarities because I talk about society, evolution, all that sort of stuff, but then I talk about the fundamental tenants of money and why this is a superior form of money. that’s those two. If you want to read that publication online, we’ve got it online. Sean has the last printed version that I ever did for that event, right? So it’s still a draft, that’s a three day job there. We fixed it up, it’s online. It’s bitcointimes.news. N-E-W-S.
Shaan Puri: Got it. All right.
Aleks Svetski: Don’t put the www. Yeah so that’s all the resources I think. I hope that all helps.
Shaan Puri: Great. I appreciate you coming on the show brother.
Aleks Svetski: Thanks bro. Really appreciate it, all right.
Shaan Puri: All right.