S9 E1: Chris DeRose on the Philosophy of Demoralization

Five years ago, Chris DeRose was at the top of his podcasting game. His show “Bitcoin Uncensored” would break norms and boundaries before they could even get established – and if you were travelling to conferences in the United States, you could hear his voice reverberating in the hall, on the stage, and even in the men’s restroom.

Ask anyone who was around the time about Chris DeRose and Junseth – they will tell you that they were the sheriffs in town and they were making the law (literally, their show was following the common law tradition of creating jurisprudence that they would often cite).

Today, Bitcoin Uncensored is a distant memory and Chris DeRose finds himself disillusioned with both Bitcoin and the world around him. He has become unusually reclusive, he has drastically reduced his internet presence, and he has even covered his previous footprints. Finding Bitcoin Uncensored episodes is just as much of a grind as discovering Bob Dylan’s basement tapes in the 1960s: while you might find some content, it’s mostly of poor bootleg tape recorder quality.

Back in 2019, I was just starting out as a podcaster. So when Chris agreed to do an interview with me and debate the nuance of Bitcoin topics, I was starstruck. Not because I was interviewing the sharpest and most philosophical of Bitcoin podcasters, but also because I knew I would find myself having an actual debate (for which I wasn’t prepared yet, but I still gave it a shot for the sake of it).

Strangely enough, I’ve felt the same thrill when I e-mailed Chris DeRose back in May of this year and he replied in less than 24 hours. I was surprised to realize that he remembers our conversation and has some good memories from it. So I’ve decided to give it another shot: and the result was as Socratic and Bitcoin Uncensoredy (I know it’s not a proper adjective, but who cares?) as I expected it to be.

Throughout our nearly four-hour talk, Chris DeRose was as sharp and eloquent as always. He expressed his blasphemous views without fear of getting cancelled by the “hive mind” and he was open to every topic proposed by the community: from his shitcoin basket, all the way to his investing index and preferred bitcoin uses. The best conversations are the ones where the other participant is truly genuine and… dare I say, uncensored.

What I found most interesting throughout our conversation was the recurring theme of demoralization and Chris’ struggle with disillusionment. He’s clearly trying to overcome his crisis and now he has goals which extend beyond the apparent selfishness of his own existence. And for all of his unpopular opinions, he just wants to live a normal life and enjoy the freedoms which he deems worth living for.

Sure, we talked about Bitcoin. We disagreed about the level of decentralization that we’ve reached, we referenced Peter Todd and Francis Pouliot, and we shared our opinions on soft forks and Taproot. But in hindsight, the interview was more about our contemporary and society. What you’re about to listen is the serious of reflections that a concerned and disillusioned psyche has elaborated across multiple months.

The only element missing is Chris DeRose’s trusty Shure SM7b microphone, whose booming proximity effect has opened minds and has left unforgettable memories. Since he travels a lot nowadays, he doesn’t carry his audio gears with him and he had to use a rather underwhelming and buzzy laptop built-in microphone. But when you’re talking with Chris DeRose, it’s not really the quality of the recording that counts – and I’ve really done my best to clean up his take and make it as crisp as possible. Enjoy!

Listen to Chris DeRose on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

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Special thanks to Vaultoro, Evan Rose and Vake!

Joshua from Vaultoro is a big fan of the show and I’m happy that he sees potential in my work and supports it without caring about numbers and growth statistics. So I must thank him for his generosity and invite you to check out Vaultoro – the exchange where you can trade with honest money (bitcoin, gold, and silver).

None of this is financial advice from me, but I’m pretty sure that the shiny rock is a better store of value than any fiat currency or “stablecoin”, so maybe it would be wise to use this commodity to preserve your purchasing power during bear markets and get back into bitcoin as soon as you’re convinced that the downwards movement are over. You can also have the gold bars delivered to your house… because you know, if it’s not in your safe then it’s stored somewhere in Switzerland where you can’t touch it whenever you please. For more information, check out Vaultoro’s website.

Also, Joshua from Vaultoro is sponsoring a Lightning Network faucet – he hopes that Bitcoin’s second layer will one day become potent and popular enough to replace the smart contract and tokenization features of Ethereum. And he also supported Giacomo Zucco’s layer 3 RGB Spectrum experimentation from 2019. So if you’d like to get 10 bits/100 sats on the Lightning Network, you’re gonna have to listen to the episode and scan the QR code on the page that I mention.

I must also thank Evan Rose and Vake – they were generous enough to put an end to my search for a second sponsor by making donations to the show. I probably won’t be this fortunate all the time and the emergence of the donations is most likely owed to the participation of Chris DeRose in the podcast. Nonetheless, I feel grateful for their involvement and if you also want to thank them then you can follow them on Twitter (click here for Evan Rose and here for Vake).

Time Stamps:

01:43 – Hello party people!

04:45 – Trigger warning and Derose’s laws

05:30 – How is Chris Derose’s doing these days and how does his shitcoin basket perform?

09:12 – Using bitcoin as a unit of account

12:00 – We’re living in weird economic times

13:27 – Hope vs clarity

13:40 – What can you do with BTC?

14:46 – Will Chris DeRose make a comeback tour? Does he still have his Pepe cash?

15:22 – Ladyboys, S&P 500

20:18 – What happened to Murad?

21:00 – Is Chris DeRose coming back to Twitter?

26:23 – What does Chris DeRose predict is going to happen to Bitcoin in the next 6 months?

29:50 – Why is Bitcoin not decentralized enough?

32:20 – Decentralization in Chris DeRose’s definition

37:06 – How can Bitcoin replace the dollar without blending in first?

41:12 – Does the average bitcoiner want Bitcoin to be more decentralized?

44:34 – The US-centric comprehension of Bitcoin and rationalizing decentralization 

52:58 – ASICs and decentralization

57:26 – Hard forking Bitcoin

1:01:47 – The one true Bitcoin

1:15:10 – User verification and who controls Bitcoin

1:19:30 – Decentralization is people doing stuff

1:22:00 – The Bitcoin totem

1:26:10 – Chris DeRose overanalyzing 

1:31:41 – Hot takes vs critical thinking

1:41:30 – Lord of the Flies and the weird nature of the left-right political divide

1:46:50 – Why Chris DeRose still loves America

1:50:15 – What is on Chris DeRose’s reading list these days?

1:52:44 – History and the complimentary ideological extremes 

1:57:34 – The internet will demoralize all the religions, ideologies and languages

2:00:36 – The religion of science

2:05:15 – Why did Chris DeRose get into Bitcoin?

2:08:25 – Did Chris DeRose get involved in e-gold, ecash, liberty dollar, or any other precursor of Bitcoin?

2:12:21 – Silk Road and demoralisation

2:16:20 – Mainstream financial institutions are demoralizing themselves

2:17:05 – Is Bitcoin still libertarian?

2:21:30 – Michael Saylor becoming way too influential

2:26:47 – Bitcoin will eat the world

2:33:00 – People who program silicon vs people who program carbon

2:35:07 – Developers vs marketers

2:41:20 – Objective money, gold and bitcoin 

2:48:35 – Chris DeRose on the Lightning Network

2:51:41 – Offering confidence in Bitcoin to podcast listeners

2:57:40 – Arguing is a favor that we offer to society

2:59:30 – Contention in American society

3:02:50 – Connotation vs denotation 

3:06:00 – The pollution of language

3:08:50 – Newsspeak in 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World

3:10:53 – The cat didn’t read the book on being a cat, but somehow humans do it

3:11:59 – We don’t go to school for education, but for obedience

3:15:11 – 50-page libertarians and 1000-page libertarians 

3:16:30 – Bitcoin meetups used to be Socratic seminars, now they’re sermons 

3:17:55 – Chris DeRose’s Florida meet-up

3:20:07 – Bitcoin might just be like Star Wars: commercially successful but spiritually bankrupt 

3:21:58 – Michael Saylor is the textbook spook

3:24:30 – You get paid to leave in this space

3:27:02 – Asserting geographic independence

3:30:26 – The contention is with the medium, not the content

3:31:28 – S9 E2 teaser 

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Vlad Costea

I'm here for the freedom, censorship-resistance, and unconfiscatability. What about you?

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