YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=uIXi6UI5-X0
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Duration:03:46
Uploaded:2018-01-19
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This is a really wonderful and important article: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/18/ophelia-dahls-national-health-service

DFTBA Pin Pals: https://store.dftba.com/products/dftba-pin-pals

Nerdfighteria Census: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9fS7vUP-yw&feature=youtu.be

Thanks, Sean!!

I say in this video that I can't even actually endorse bitcoin because I see a shadow of a lot of familiar foolishness in it. It's very easy to see the flaws in our existing financial systems. It's too hard to move money around, big institutions take a cut when they don't deserve one, and it gives governments too much control over what people do with their money.

But it's easy to misunderstand or even be completely ignorant of the problems new systems will create. It's proven very easy to steal bitcoin from people, and once it's stolen the privacy of bitcoin makes that theft impossible to investigate. Transaction fees actually have started to rise, and already governments are placing the exact restrictions on bitcoin that they have on other money because people are using it to buy illegal things, avoid taxes, and launder money from illegal activity.

Whether or not I thought it was a good currency or store of value, I would not want to be be involved with any of that. But, nonetheless, I am very thankful for Sean's bitcoin and am very happy we were able to give its value to Partners in Health.


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Good morning, John.

So around the time when a single Bitcoin started to be worth, like, thousands of dollars, you started emailing me every once in a while saying you're pretty sure that sometime in the distant past, somebody sent us a Bitcoin.

And I told you that that was ridiculous and impossible and to stop having weird dreams. And then the price of a Bitcoin jumped up to $10,000 and you emailed me again and you were like, "Hank, I am pretty sure somebody gave us a Bitcoin."

And I told you that you were wrong and, if anything, somebody sent us a Doge coin. Which... isn't worth a lot.

And then a single Bitcoin became worth $15,000 and you stopped bothering with me and instead did a systematic search of every email we had received since the beginning of Bitcoin.

And then, John, you found that a nice person named Sean had, in 2014, sent us a Bitcoin - almost an entire Bitcoin.

We had to recreate an old email address to get access to that Bitcoin. It was a bit of a to-do, but at the end of the process, I logged into Coinbase and there was $15,000 that we didn't know we had!

And then we sold it immediately and then donated the proceeds to Partners in Health, so thank you, Sean. 

This is very strange and there's a lot to cover when it comes to Bitcoin. And while the technology of Bitcoin is super amazing, and we made a SciShow video about it and you can watch it, I want to talk about one of the more boring, mundane aspects of Bitcoin, which is how something that cost Sean $100 became worth $15,000!

Where did that value, that actual literal money, come from?

All the times in our minds when we talk about financial markets, we imagine them as being like either magic or invisible hand-ish things are happening.

Like our Bitcoin became $15,000 because the value of Bitcoin increased, but of course that's gibberish! It's basically like saying 'it rained more because more water came out of the sky!'

My Bitcoin became worth $15,000 the moment someone else bought another Bitcoin on the open market for $15,000. And not only mine, everyone's!

And when I sold my Bitcoin, I sold it to someone who bought it. With money. A lot of money! And when they paid for it, they set the price for every Bitcoin in that moment.

And, of course, the same thing goes in the way down. If suddenly there are more people selling Bitcoin than buying Bitcoin, they'll start selling their Bitcoin at lower prices and suddenly every Bitcoin that exists is worth less money!

This is the way that financial markets work and it's pretty weird. The only thing that decides how much a share in Google is worth is the most recent purchase of Google stocks.

If suddenly no one in the world would buy a Google share for more than a dollar, Google shares would be worth a dollar. It's just humans deciding whether to buy or sell to other humans!

The value of Google stock is based on Google's ability to make money, which has some consistency to it. To some extent, it's additionally based on people's belief that it will be able to make more money in the future.

A Bitcoin's value, on the other hand, is mostly based on an uncertain prediction that, at some point in the future, lots of people are going to use Bitcoins as currency. And that's a bet on a future that no one can accurately predict and also that I can't really even advocate for.

But Partners in Health, I know is adding value to the world. 

So I'd rather them have my Bitcoin, because Partners in Health does amazing work with passion and intelligence. And if you want a wonderful way to spend a half an hour or so, I've linked to an amazing article about Partners in Health in the description.

John, thank you for sharing that article with me, it's changed the way I've thought about a lot of stuff. And thank you for finding our Bitcoin! I still cannot believe... that you were right. 

I will see you on Tuesday.

Hey everyone, two things: first, I did the Nerdfighteria Census Analysis, it's over on Hankschannel. It's quite long and very interesting.

And number two, until the end of January, you can join dftba's new pins subscription at dftapinpals. This is the first pin. Shipping is free everywhere in the world. The second one hasn't been printed yet, but it looks like this. And the third one I've been working on, it's... Mars Pathfinder, which, the first rover on Mars - an extremely important object in my life.

There's a limited number of openings in the subscription club so we don't make too many or too few pins, so go sign up! Links in the description.