Anita Posch is an educator, keynote speaker, and the host of her own Podcast that is mainly about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. She has done some wonderful work inside and outside of Europe to inspire people, and to teach them about how to protect themselves and their assets. In this article, she talks about her background, and expresses her thought on our current traditional monetary systems, hyperinflation. Please have a look.
Interview Date : 1st July 2020
- Anita Posch (All Interviews)
- Widen you Spectrum
- The Issues with Traditional System
- The Bitcoin Movement
- Podcast Guest – Andreas M. Antonopoulos & Adam Back
- Podcast Guests
- Trip to Zimbabwe
- 50% Inflation every 5 years
- Internet Access Is an Issue
- Eager To Learn About Bitcoin
- As an Educator
- 1000s of Ways to Use Bitcoin
- Fearing New Development
- Trip To Bostwana
- Privacy is a Luxury
- Extracting Value from Developing Countries
- Blockchain is not the only Tech Behind Bitcoin
- Lightning Network is the Future
- Lightning Network enables high payment throughput
- Duplicates of Bitcoin
- Bitcoin Can Adapt Too
- Need To Have An Inbuilt Filter
- From Here On...
- The COVID-19 situation in Austria
- Educating in Europe Is Hard
Anita Posch (All Interviews)
Widen you Spectrum
My name is Anita Posch, and I am an independent Bitcoin podcaster and an educator. I published Bitcoin For Beginners in German and translated two volumes of Internet of Money authored by Andreas M. Antonopoulos into German. My podcast is available in English and German where I talk with developers and makers of Bitcoin about the ideas and philosophy behind Bitcoin. Bitcoin is not easy to understand because it has many facets, so I try to shed light on all of them with my interview partners.I think it is a great idea to show other use-cases for Bitcoin, how things run in other countries because everybody is most of the time too focused on their surroundings.
It is good to focus on the regional stuff, but especially with Bitcoin, which is a global phenomenon, you need a perspective that is also out of your borders. That is also a reason why I talk to matters and issues in other countries.
Here in Germany and Austria, many people can speak English, but there are also a lot of people who do not have the English skills to follow an English interview. That is why we try to make some content in German as well.
I would like to do more in German than what I do now, but it’s a question of resources, and I work alone. However, I hope to expand my scale and be able to operate as an educator and publish more content and do more work for the people who support me.
The Issues with Traditional System
I have been in the web development space since 2000. I have had an agency where I worked with clients and built a lot of websites and shops. Through my work, I have experienced the complexity and problems that come with the traditional payment finance system.
For example, the company “Wirecard” is now bankrupt, and they have lost 1.9 billion euros that maybe they never had from the start. The traditional financial system is old technology and a closed system with gatekeepers that provide us with payment services. It makes it costly to participate in this economy for a small business or a single independent person.
Besides, I always have had a great interest in sustainable development, sustainable environments and cities, and small-scale systems where people and small entities can thrive as opposed to the “bigger is always better” slogan or the idea of “endless growth at low cost”. I think Bitcoin as a tool can contribute a lot to an economy that is built on real connections and value creation for the people.
The Bitcoin Movement
Unlike the current system that has brought the need to commodify every human-to-human interaction and natural resources, I think this is a powerful concept, and I would love to see people realizing that there is an alternative to the financial system now. Bitcoin is a liberation tool. It is the first time money can be sent globally and decentralized, without the government being able to stop it and interfere. It is the people’s money and it is great to contribute to this movement.
When talking to others about the effects money like Bitcoin could have on our structures, I think it is important that we now have alternative money that does not mean it will bring down governments. It can be an alternative, and that’s how I see it as at the moment. There is a very interesting video by Andreas M. Antonopoulos called “Rules without Rulers”. You can listen to how he sees the future regarding the problems we have at the moment, like for example, we do not trust our governments anymore and that there is a huge tech gap. We are becoming more and more international, and with all the internet and digital communication, it is not possible anymore for a national government to rule or have a coordinating effect on the economy alone. Hence, I think Bitcoin and the government will eventually go hand in hand, and our government systems are going to change internally as well soon.
Podcast Guest – Andreas M. Antonopoulos & Adam Back
I have been podcasting since 2018, and the idea was to cover marketing and educational content. However, I was lucky to get Andreas M. Antonopoulos is one of my early interviews. Thus, I have interviewed him once a year, which is a huge learning experience for me. It is great to have a guest who has a sophisticated and well-balanced answer to every question regarding Bitcoin. I also worked with him and his team when I translated the two first volumes of The Internet of Money. They have a very focused and professional work atmosphere. It has been an everlasting learning experience for me because Andreas M. Antonopoulos always adapts his talks and educational material to recent developments.
Another prominent guest, and interesting person, I interviewed on my podcast, is Adam Back. His work is cited in the Bitcoin whitepaper and the Tor Browser whitepaper. His work was and still is very influential in the Bitcoin space.
Usually, I have developers, users, and company founders from the Bitcoin space on my podcast. We talk about ideas and philosophies behind Bitcoin. The people in the Bitcoin space are very discreet, supportive, and they do not run around bragging around how good they are. They are very humble, and I like people who put a lot of effort into their work. Like both Andreas M. Antonopoulos and Adam Back – I would call them polymaths, people who know a lot of different disciplines, and that is what I admire a lot.
Trip to Zimbabwe
The focus of this year was on Africa. I have been to Zimbabwe earlier this year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit us all. I traveled down there, because I was very interested in what ways Bitcoin was used, if it is used, and if it can be used there. In the Bitcoin space, we often talk about Bitcoin being the perfect money for countries battling hyperinflation. Other relevant topics I wanted to cover there were privacy and financial inclusion, which are the reasons why I became interested in the first place.
It was great to talk to the people in Zimbabwe, and share the Bitcoin basics. People are very curious and want to learn, and the average age of people in the African continent is 25. So it is a very young continent and everybody wants to work, and they need money.
50% Inflation every 5 years
People living in African countries have to suffer very high inflation. I talked to Tim Akimbo, who is a Bitcoin core developer, he did research and found out that, all the national currencies of the African countries, on average, lose 50% of the value every five years. Moreover, in Zimbabwe, the inflation rate is much higher. Now, Zimbabwe is a kleptocracy, meaning that the government has been extracting value from the country since independence, for the last 30~40 years. It is a cruel system, and the human right situation is very bad.
The government also controls the monetary system. Last week they banned the payout of EcoCash. EcoCash is a mobile money payment method in Zimbabwe. 99% of all digital transactions in Zimbabwe are done through EcoCash. However, EcoCash is a private company, so the government can interfere at any time and use private data leaving no privacy for the people.
The government banned mobile money and changed it to cash or transactions through banks only. It allows people to buy and exchange money, but they cannot payout. The authorities also halted the stock market, so they influence the financial system and the market as well.
Internet Access Is an Issue
For people in Zimbabwe, money like Bitcoin, which is uncensorable and not inflatable, would be a great store of value tool and a great advantage. The problem is internet access as it is very expensive, so most people have so-called internet bundles. I saw many people with mobile phones, so the technology is there. However, they are not able to go to the world wide web and download the Bitcoin non-custodial wallet. For example, most people only have a WhatsApp bundle, so they can only communicate over WhatsApp. So, some technical difficulties and restrictions have to be solved.
Eager To Learn About Bitcoin
I think for poorer countries, they will need the lightning network because it allows for microtransactions. You can send transactions smaller than 1 US dollar cent on the lightning network.
After talking with many different people there like entrepreneurs, start-ups, and founders, I understood that they were very interested in Bitcoin and technology. I also interviewed some of them who already use Bitcoin as a way to store value or to earn money from abroad. That is the only way they can generate income over the internet. This includes doing tasks like editing videos or affiliate market. If you are a business in Zimbabwe and you want to import goods from, for example, Japan, you have to ask the central bank in Zimbabwe for permission. That is not a free way to do business.
As an Educator
It is great being an educator, and it is even better when the people who want to learn are open. The people in Africa wanted to know what Bitcoin is. If you tell them that it is uncensorable and non-inflatable that nobody can take away from, and you can send it anywhere with no restrictions, they get eager to learn more and excited. They are clever, and they find their ways around it on how to use it.
1000s of Ways to Use Bitcoin
There are 1000s of ways in even those countries and use it to get liquidity. For example, amazon gift cards are used in Nigeria. People from Canada or the US send the amazon gift card code to people in Nigeria. Then, the Nigerians sell the amazon gift cards code for BTC globally, or in the local market. If they can afford it, they will save it. However, for poor people saving money is hard. Following this, they take the BTC and exchange it with the local currency. It is a very clever way around the system, and get away with it.
Fearing New Development
It gets more complicated if people are not so open-minded, and who might also fear new developments. You have to learn a little bit about Bitcoin to understand how it works. The scams that have taken place have taught us that you have many chances with BTC, but you also have a responsibility. If you use BTC and hold it, you have to have your private keys. If you have your BTC or money on an exchange, then it is not you who holds your BTC. It s like a bank. However, many people are frightened to store their assets by themselves, and most of the time, it is simply because they do not know how to do so. Holding your BTC may feel like too much responsibility, and there also is a trust issue. Bitcoin is very reliable and secure in itself, but we had had the banking system for 200-300 years and used gold for 1000s of years. So it is hard for people to just switch to something only 11 years old. They have to feel and see they can trust new forms of money like Bitcoin before actually adapting it.
Trip To Bostwana
After Zimbabwe, I went to Botswana to the capital Gaborone. I wanted to meet with Alakanani Itireleng, who is a Bitcoin educator and the founder of the Botswana Bitcoin Meetup. She has been educating people about Bitcoin from 2012-13, so she has become quite known in Africa. From my experience, Bostwana’s situation seems far better than Zimbabwe when it comes to the country’s governance system.
Zimbabwe is probably the country with the worst problems among African countries. In Botswana, there is a better human rights situation and less corruption than in Zimbabwe, but still, there is a shortage of jobs for the people in Botswana. People graduate from university, but they cannot find any jobs after their graduation.
Another problem is that, like Zimbabwe and Botswana, many African countries live off tourism. So, with the current COVID-19 situation, they will have huge revenue losses. I hope that it somehow will end well.
Privacy is a Luxury
I think anybody should have the right to data privacy. Companies or governments should not be allowed to collect private data by default. The users and the people should have the right to decide who is allowed to see and use what part of our data. People living in poverty struck regions they do not care about privacy measures because they need the services. They cannot afford the luxury to put in extra work to care for their privacy personally. They do not have any other options either. For example, 99% of all digital payments in Zimbabwe are done with EcoCash simply because it is the only other option to pay for anything besides cash.
That is why it is so important to have systems and money like Bitcoin with inbuilt privacy protection where users do not have to think about privacy protection and are automatically protected.
Extracting Value from Developing Countries
If we look at Facebook, it has betrayed us all in the last ten years, and they lie about what they do. If we do take a look at Libra, Facebook has 2.6 billion users right now, and they cannot grow their user base anymore. Therefore, the next step is creating a payment method that is built to strengthen the connection to users all the more, to earn more profit for their stakeholders. The so-called developed countries are and have extracted value from over-developed countries, that is a fact.
Blockchain is not the only Tech Behind Bitcoin
Blockchain is not the is the technology that alone gave birth to Bitcoin and all these innovations. The blockchain is only a database in which all transactions are recorded in a timely correct order. The genius part of Satoshi Nakamoto’s work was to combine several scientific disciplines like game theory, mathematics, cryptography, and IT methods, and then combine them with the proof-of-work mining system, which was a great combination to prevent double-spending. Despite this, there is so much confusion around blockchain. For example, there is blockchain without proof-of-work mining, permissioned blockchain, distributed ledgers, etc. The basic properties such as open-source, uncensorable, transparent, neutral, non-inflatable, and trustless of Bitcoin are what make it so special. If you understand what those properties mean, you can understand the differences between all types of cryptocurrency coins, and payment systems much better.
Lightning Network is the Future
I think the Lightning Network is the future of Bitcoin. In the future, I do not believe users will distinguish between Bitcoin and Lightning. We will just send Bitcoin or Satoshi, and it will be the entry ticket for poorer countries to be able to use Bitcoin. It also enhances privacy because you cannot follow payments throughout the Lightning Network. Moreover, it allows for microtransactions.
Also, you can have lightning apps you can use as a communication app on top of a decentralized network, that again, strengthens your privacy. So there are a lot of use-cases that can be conducted on the lightning network.
Lightning Network enables high payment throughput
We all remember the big hype about Bitcoin in 2017 when so many people wanted to buy and sell Bitcoin. At that time, we experienced what happens when we have too many transactions. There were so many transactions in the system. Everybody had to wait for much longer, sometimes up to several days. Not to forget, the transaction fees rose as well.
However, with the Lightning Network, you can have 1000s of payments at the same time, and they are settled immediately. So you do not need to wait for 10 minutes, some hours or days. Therefore, the Lightning Network is a big improvement and will be a big next step.
Duplicates of Bitcoin
I do believe that Bitcoin will stay the most dominant cryptocurrency in the world because its roots are manifested deep and strongly. It has grown from a person or a team who invented it voluntarily. Then, some tech nerds used it for the first 2 or 3 years in the beginning, and from there it became a worldwide known digital money. This is huge when you think that it has grown without any company, marketing, or investment capital behind it. Besides, all those Altcoins have been possible because of the open-source character that allows for just copying the code and changing it a little bit, and creating a have a new coin.
Bitcoin Can Adapt Too
Whenever I hear a new coin emerge that states “we are the new Bitcoin” or “we are faster, cheaper, we do not need so much electricity” etc. I become a skeptic. Bitcoin has proven its security in the last 11 years. On the other hand, many of the other coins have lost value. There are so many Altcoins, but I do not see any use case for most of them. They are also experiments like Bitcoin. So, if they have any technological breakthrough or change that makes it better than Bitcoin in any way, I am sure that Bitcoin developers will take a look at that technology breakthrough and implement it into Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a permanently developing technology. Thereby, Bitcoin can adapt too. I think that money should be free and not controlled by a company, state, or government.
Need To Have An Inbuilt Filter
Most people I have met in the space are very welcoming and humble people. I feel inspired by people who are polymaths, people with a broad knowledge of things, who can articulate ideas and complex concepts in simple ways for everybody who can follow and learn.
I stay on top of the discussions following other Bitcoiners in the space. I am discussing things with members of NPO Bitcoin Austria who are doing community meetups since 2012. I have made a lot of friends who I can talk with there. Also, there are a lot of telegram groups one could join, and there is a lot on YouTubers. I follow and support the work of Andreas Antonopoulos because he has so many videos and information on Bitcoin. So there is lots of information around, and you only have to search for information with a filter in your head to take in the relevant information and delete the irrelevant information.
From Here On…
I am planning new interviews all the time. I release one interview once a week. I am planning to release my Bitcoin beginner German online course very soon. Besides that, I will participate in some of the Bitcoin conferences this autumn only if the pandemic situation gets better.
The COVID-19 situation in Austria
We had a lockdown from mid-march until July when almost all restrictions had been taken down. The only restriction left is that you have to wear a mask in public transport. However, the number of infections is rising again, so I am not sure what will happen from now on.
In Austria, the first reaction probably was too harsh, and now to let loose of all the restriction is the other extreme side of the.
Educating in Europe Is Hard
It is incredible to be able to educate people who understand the use-case immediately. However, it is more difficult in Europe because we have well-working banks and payment systems mots of the times. Undoubtedly, there is corruption and fraud on the European banks as well, like we experienced with the Wirecard incident recently. However, people usually can use their money in this system with no problems. We have an inflation rate of 1 to 2 percent a year. Thus, there is inflation, but you do not experience it as severely as in Nigeria or Zimbabwe.
Interviewer , Editor : Lina Kamada
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