Brian Lockhart has been into Bitcoin since 2010 and currently works at Casa doing product managment for their Bitcoin + Lightning node product. Brian also runs the Seattle Bitcoin Meetup and is well known in the Bitcoin community.
I have known Brian for years on Bitcoin twitter, and his firm position on Bitcoin has never waivered. I consider him one of the “good guys,” and believe everyone can learn a little something from his diary interview.
How do people know you?
I work at Casa Inc., doing Product Management for our Bitcoin + Lightning node product. Our goal at Casa is to make Bitcoin easier to use for everyone, without sacrificing the fundamentals that make Bitcoin special. Check us at https://keys.casa
I educate and occasionally aggravate on Twitter as @BrianLockhart
I run the Seattle Bitcoin Meetup @bitcoin_meetup (and need to do it more often!)
How long have you been into Bitcoin?
Stumbled into it in late 2010/early 2011, got hooked.
Got super busy and ignored Bitcoin completely from 2012-16.
Got less busy / back into it in late 2016 and am hooked even worse now.
Best Bitcoin experience?
First time I ever sent + received some from some rando on Bitcointalk. Seeing how the TX’’s got broadcast, then mined into a block? Without knowing anything about the other party? Magic.
Worst Bitcoin experience?
Temporary panic when I couldn’t recover a wallet because I didn’t have the derivation path handy. Found it eventually, but whooboy. Thought I had lost some BTC!
What do you think is Bitcoin’s biggest threat?
Self-inflicted regulatory capture. Brought on / encouraged by too many 1st world new users who see no problems with submitting to full KYC, and just buy their Bitcoin via a traditional banking entity like Fidelity. By the time people realize how important the privacy they’ve given up actually was? Too late. We’ll have just recreated the same old banking structure, with Bitcoin on a regulatory leash.
What are your thoughts on the various Bitcoin forks?
Free market; go ahead and try to copy Bitcoin if you think you’ve got a shot. Just don’t expect a free ride if you try to pass yourself off as “the real Bitcoin”. You will be called a scammer, and rightfully so.
What are you optimistic about in this space?
The opportunity to put sound money into the hands (and control) of individuals, and not the state. Bitcoin is our best, and likely only chance at getting this right.
Biggest regret during the last Bear market and what did you learn?
Wish I could’ve bought more. I’ve been on a mini-retirement for the past few years / wasn’t earning a salary during this last bear market. I’ve maintained a decent cash reserve, and DCA’d throughout the bear market, but if I had been working, I could’ve been buying a lot more bitcoin during the dips. No major regrets tho, I took the time off so I could hang out with my kids. That’s worth more to me than missing these years while I was gone at a job raising $$$ to buy a few more bitcoins.
What is the biggest fail you observed during the last bear market?
Capitulation selling – I don’t mean people who begrudgingly sold at a lower price than they’d prefer because they needed to pay living expenses. I mean people who were clearly just high-time-preference and dumped because “Bitcoin is dead”. Weak hands.
What do you think helped turn things around to the current Bull market?
UASF/NO2X effort proved Bitcoin can survive and deflect an orchestrated takeover attempt. This in turn gave Bitcoin users confidence that this was a long term play worth sticking with, which in turn inspired more people to BUIDL on Bitcoin. Lightning Network, and the growing suite of apps and services that support it? Man, that stuff came out of the hearts and minds of people who survive bear markets and think past them.
Who are the heroes of the last Bear market?
See above / the developers, builders, and people who didn’t give up, and continued to educate people even when interest among mainstream folks had withered away.
Why do you think altcoins are still struggling?
The last big market correction flushed out a generation of dumb money, and shook out weak hands that will not come back – alt markets need new suckers and they aren’t here yet. The quality levels of these coins hasn’t changed, all that’s changed is the # of fresh victims needed to come in and prop up the price.
What do you have to say to those who claim alt-season is coming?
Wish I could say “no chance” – but people want to believe in get-rich-quick schemes. I don’t think there’ll be another alt-season like the Ethereum/ICO fueled orgy of 2017, and I suspect the # of altcoins being actively pumped / traded will be much smaller than 2017. But (sadly) there will likely be a new crop of scams and/or bad ideas coming.
Do you hold any alts? If not, why?
No other coins / projects hold any long term investment interest for me at all. I do have a negligible amount of XMR / Monero – I own just enough to learn how it works. I’m interested in the privacy aspects of XMR and the approaches they’re taking vs. Bitcoin. I don’t use it myself or trade it or anything, I view Monero as a sort of testnet for privacy features that I hope can help inform future privacy efforts for Bitcoin. Long term, I believe Bitcoin’s privacy will improve to the point where Monero and other privacy coins are no longer needed.
What do you think about the upcoming Bitcoin halving and what it will do to the price of Bitcoin?
It’ll be interesting to see what it means for the mining industry, especially at the hashrate size / scale we’re at now. Miners know it’s coming though, and will act rationally.
What’s less certain is how the retail investor market will react. Compared to miners, I have far less confidence in the average investor’s level of understanding re: what the halvening means to the supply rate. I don’t think “it’s already priced in” and there will be an outsized spike in USD price at or shortly after the halvening. TBD, will be fascinating to watch tho!!!
What do you think makes Bitcoin superior to anything else out there?
The “immaculate conception” nature of it. No premine, no central developer(s) in control of it, it has no masters. Once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that cannot be duplicated. We better not screw this up.
Do you think central banks are or will be accumulating Bitcoin?
I suspect small ones might be? Larger ones, not yet – but increasing tensions at the G7 level and growing demand to become less dependent on USD or Gold as a reserve? That should at LEAST be getting central banks looking at hedge opportunities, if not future bets.
How do you feel about the current state and future of lightning network?
Extremely promising, core functionality is awesome. But still rough around the edges and requires an enduser to be familiar with too many concepts (channels? Liquidity? Capacity? huh?) – once more apps and services with better UX are out there, and these concepts are abstracted away more, LN will be able to emerge as the mass market “small payments” method of choice for Bitcoin transactions.
What are your thoughts on HODLing Bitcoin?
(Disclaimer: I’m not a trader at all, I just dollar cost average purchase Bitcoin, and buy dips on occasion, but I never sell the stuff. I occasionally donate it or pay for goods/services with other Bitcoin companies, but that’s it. I HODL.)
HODL tight. Earn bitcoin if at all possible, but if you can’t? Earn FIAT by working a traditional job so you can avoid selling your Bitcoin as long as possible. And hopefully keep buying more.
What are your thoughts on Bitcoin Maximalism?
I love Giacomo Zucco’s take on this and am stealing it:
Bitcoin Maximalism (also known as moderate common sense: “Bitcoin could succeed, maybe”) is in the middle of the spectrum, actually. The 2 extremes are nocoiner extremism (“Bitcoin cannot exist”) & multicoiner extremism (“Bitcoin is infinitely replicable & my clone is the best”).
I don’t take Bitcoin’s success as a given, it can definitely still fail. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe Bitcoin isn’t BY FAR the best shot we have at digital sound money. It’s our best and only shot. Alts are kidding themselves. Bitcoin or “shit, oh well we tried.”
Thoughts on the notion of bitcoinization?
It’s happening right now. Just slowly.
What do you think Bitcoin dominance will do as the price increases?
It’s not a number I pay any attention to.
I reject the notion of Bitcoin dominance, because it relies on a comparison measuring its “market cap” vs. altcoins. The notion of valuing an altcoin by “market capitalization” is meaningless and an easily gamed metric.
What will someone have to do to prove they are the real Satoshi Nakamoto?
Move some of Satoshi’s coins / sign a transaction. Anything less than that? GTFO.
What Bitcoin startups are you excited about?
What “crypto influencers” do you think get it wrong and why?
Ethereum folks who paint grand visions yet fail to deliver on core features / functionality. Quit hyping “Eth 2.0” when all you did with Eth 1.0 was waste billions and tarnish the space with scam ICOs.
What “crypto influencers” do you think get it right and why?
Oh man, that’s a pretty big list – I follow / respect lots of folks in the Bitcoin space, for different reasons. Some for technical chops, others for economics / monetary chops, others for pure entertainment value. But they all share a few traits in common – objectivity, at least some humility, bang-on understanding of facts vs. theories, and honesty. There’s a lot of good people to learn from if you apply those criteria and filter off it.
Where do you envision the market heading in the next 5 years?
Next bull run is underway, hopefully it’s a bit less violent and long term, which in turn would mean more people coming onto the network and STAYING there.
Best tips for storing Bitcoin?
Multisig, using multiple hardware wallets (different manufacturers). Stored in anonymous safety deposit boxes, in separate physical locations. 🙂
Any tips you want to give to people new to Bitcoin?
Never stop reading and learning. Nobody knows it all; distrust anyone who acts like they do.
Name some of your favorite information sources and/or podcasts in the space.
Twitter of course 🙂
TFTC and RHR podcasts with Marty Bent and Matt Odell
What Bitcoin Did podcast with Peter McCormack
Bitcoinoptech and Jimmy Song tech newsletters
Long Read Sundays weekly newsletter from Nathanial Whittemore
Marty’s Bent daily newsletter from Marty Bent
Any last words of wisdom?
Buy enough BTC that you become incentivized to learn how it works and how to use it properly. Put skin in the game and then HODL on tight!