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S9 E9: Max hillebrand on Praxeology, Human Action & El Salvador

Before getting into Bitcoin, Max Hillebrand was an avid reader of Austrian Economics. He went through all the major schools of thought, even took a brief detour to explore the works of Karl Marx, but hasn’t felt satisfied until he discovered the theories that advocate for the maximization of individual freedom and the protection of private property.

Naturally, Max is a big fan of the works of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard – and close to the end of our interview, he even praises their consistency, as opposed to Schumpeter’s switch towards collectivism. So when Max Hillebrand read the news about the legal tender law getting passed in El Salvador, he couldn’t help but observe a praxeological conflict which needs to be expressed and potentially mitigated.

As the guy who also criticized El Salvador’s “adoption from above” scheme and compared it to a revolution that won’t last, I just had to get Max on the show in order to figure out where we agree and how we see the situation differently. The result was as Socratic as you’d expect, as we ended up discussing political regimes (democracy vs monarchy) in relation to incentives and time preference, and we also tried to define legal tender by contrasting the textbook meaning with the understanding which El Salvador promotes.

During the first half of this interview we don’t really talk about Bitcoin per se, but try to figure out how nation states should treat it. But once we step into the BTC territory, the depth of our conversation receives an instant boost. We talk about the most pressing issues of our time and even project into the future by asking the question “what are we going to do with our lives after Bitcoin succeeds?”.

Then we also explore free will and the extent to which advertising compromises its exercise. And when it’s time for Q&A with the podcast listeners, Max Hillebrand talks about the most private operating systems and whether or not we can become Bitcoin miners from our own homes.

Listen to Max Hillebrand on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

If you choose to listen to the podcast on any of these platforms, please remember to subscribe and leave a written feedback (a feature only available on Apple Podcasts). When people search for Bitcoin content, they will find my podcast a lot easier. And I like to think that the episodes I produce with these great guests are truly unique and useful.

But if you don’t want to be bound by big tech and their surveillance, I have a more private way for you to enjoy this conversation with Max Hillebrand. Go to bitcoin-takeover.com/audio and you’re going to find all the episodes in the exact same quality – it’s because Apple and Spotify take the RSS feed from this source.

There’s no registration required, you can play any episode you like with maximum privacy (please use Tor or VPN so I don’t know where you’re from) and you also have the option to download the audio files to your computer for offline listening. This can be great if you want to listen to the podcast in your car, during your morning run in areas with poor internet coverage, or during basement workouts. You’re no longer bound to an internet connection and can even dust off your iPod Nano or Zune HD so you can listen like one of the cool kids of the early 2000s.

Alternatively, you can also listen on YouTube, PodcastIndex, Breez wallet, and Sphinx. Learn more about podcasting 2.0 from this short article.

This episode is sponsored by Vaultoro & Wasabi Wallet

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 latest Bitcoin Takeover Radio broadcast and be the first to figure out the secret.

And if you would like to increase your network-level and transaction privacy, you should download Wasabi Wallet on your computer. It routes your connection through the Tor network to hide your IP, it downloads block filters so you validate your own transactions locally without appealing to a trusted third party, and it also connects to your own full node to boost your financial sovereignty. Extra features include advanced hardware wallet integrations, easy UTXO management, address reuse prevention, and even a lurker wife mode.

Wasabi is best known for its link-breaking CoinJoins, which are giving a hard time even to the EuroPol. Use the wallet to increase your financial sovereignty, but don’t do any illegal stuff – use your financial sovereignty with responsibility (also read the Wasabi terms of service).

Interview time stamps:

1:40 – Intro

3:20 – The Austrian School of Economics

04:05 – Why the left-right dichotomy doesn’t make much sense

05:03 – What’s the deal with praxeology and what does it have to do with El Salvador?

10:18 – When is a country ready to adopt bitcoin?

15:00 – Denominating products and services in bitcoin

19:40 – Every country is pretty bad, but some are worse than others

20:05 – Democracy vs monarchy

36:02 – All previous forms of government have failed

40:00 – Choice, opting-out, and opportunity cost

44:50 – First reactions to El Salvador’s decision to adopt bitcoin as legal tender

51:30 – The short-term opportunity costs of adopting bitcoin in El Salvador

57:00 – The unforeseen consequences of adopting bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador

01:00:00 – Bitcoin revolution vs French Revolution vs American Revolution vs the Bolshevik Revolution

01:05:00 – After bitcoin wins, what’s next?

01:08:30 – Opting out by voting with your feet

01:14:20 – How can we consider and individual’s choices to be truly free in a world where everyone is trying to influence us?

01:23:30 – Keeping Bitcoin censorship-resistant with home mining

01:28:00 – Recommendations for computer operating systems (Qubes, Tails, Debian, Nix Bitcoin)

01:31:20 – NixOS vs Nix Bitcoin

02:32:20 – Reflexive behavior in relation to praxeology 

01:39:00 – Schumpeter’s story

01:42:00 – Shitcoiners returning to bitcoin

01:44:00 – We never really had an altcoin (alternative to bitcoin)

01:45:25 – Sidechains & BIP 300 (Drivechains)

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

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