Interview Date : 26th October 2020
My name is Samson Mow and I’m the Chief Strategy Officer at Blockstream. I’m also the CEO of Pixelmatic, a game development company building Infinite Fleet. At Blockstream I’m in charge of product, business development, and marketing. Blockstream is a Bitcoin infrastructure company, and we work on the foundational building blocks for the industry. We have a lot of products like the Green Wallet, satellites, mining, and the Liquid Network which BTCBOX is a member of as well.
Magical Crypto Friends Establishment
Magical Crypto Friends is a show that was started by Charlie Lee, Riccardo Spagni, WhalePanda, and myself in 2017.
At that time, we had just ended the Bitcoin civil war and we thought it would be good to build a platform both to counter FUD in the media and from bad actors. MCF was a platform for our thoughts on different things in the space. In 2017, podcasting was not as popular as it is now – everyone has a podcast these days.
The show was mainly for ourselves. We’re not very hardcore about doing the show and we put up one episode a month usually. It’s usually the four of us talking about various subjects and I’d say it’s a fun, lighthearted podcast – with fun cartoon animal mascots. I’m the lion because in my handle is “Excellion,” (there is a “lion” in Excellion), Riccardo Spagni is FluffyPony, WhalePanda is WhalePanda, and Charlie Lee is the Chicken (spelt Chikun).
In 2019, we were in New York, and just decided we should do a conference because we weren’t happy with Consensus and the direction it was going in. That’s when we launched the MCC conference with a focus on Bitcoin. The last conference was the MCCVR conference on the 25th~26th of September 2020.
Is Magical Crypto Friends a Maximalist Platform?
Magical Crypto Friends isn’t a maximalist podcast; Charlie has his own coin, Litecoin, and Riccardo was the lead maintainer on Monero. WhalePanda, A.K.A WhalePanda, is a Bitcoiner but trades altcoins all day long. We have very different backgrounds and views, but I think the common thread for us is that we are very much privacy maximalists. We believe very strongly in privacy. For example, Blockstream’s Liquid Network has confidential transactions and confidential assets, so it is a privacy-enhancing technology. Monero is all about privacy because it was founded on that premise. For Litecoin, Charlie is working on MimbleWimble Extension Blocks (MWEB) to enhance its privacy features. So, we are very much all focused on advocating for increasing the adoption privacy preserving technology.
Cartoons and Mascots For Differentiation
The animals were my idea. I wanted to differentiate us from other podcasts. Given that we have our “spirit animals,” I thought it would be fun to make them cartoony, cute, and happy. That’s why our homepage is pink and fun. I think we stand out from most podcasts because we’re fun and lighthearted with cartoons that you just can’t help but remember. We are not your typical podcasting group though – we just put out episodes when we feel like it, so it’s not a job but a hobby.
About Charlie Lee, WhalePanda and Riccardo Spagni
It is amazing to be able to do a podcast with them, and all three have different personalities. Charlie is very cool and he doesn’t really get emotional. He’s very methodical, logical, and very calm at thinking and reasoning. However, WhalePanda is excitable and a fun guy. He likes to joke around and that creates a light atmosphere. For Riccardo, I think he should’ve been an actor. He’s got a very good sense of humor, and he comes up with a lot of funny dad jokes.
In the Near Future of Bitcoin FOMO
I think from a fiat perspective, the price of Bitcoin will continue to go up, and then we’ll see a massive spike in demand / FOMO just like any bull market. However, the interesting thing is what comes after that. People in Bitcoin circles like to call it hyper-Bitcoinization, which is when you stop thinking about converting your Bitcoin back to dollars because you can earn and spend Bitcoin with a circular economy. Once we reach the end game, everything will be priced in Bitcoin and nobody will need to convert back to dollars or yen.
What Country Will Become Wealthy?
The first countries that embrace Bitcoin are probably going to become very wealthy. You can see public market companies holding their reserve assets in Bitcoin today, and once countries start doing the same, that’s when Bitcoin at its best. When nation-states start buying and accumulating Bitcoin, or even mining Bitcoin, on a massive scale, there’s no way any other country can catch up. The first 5 to 10 companies that get into Bitcoin are going to eat up a large chunk of supply, then the nation-states are just going to have to try to get as much as they can of what’s left.
Change in People – Michael Saylor
The thing I like the most is reading what other people are writing about Bitcoin and interesting perspectives on how it can affect change in society. Also, seeing people discover this space is fascinating. I liked watching Michael Saylor going from 0 to Bitcoin guru in the span of a few weeks. That was an interesting experience. I think we will see more of that type of change in society and people in the coming years just as people start waking up and understanding that Bitcoin is so important.
Do you Like Having Become a Public Figure?
If I had a choice to do it all over again, I’d probably be anonymous, but it’s a little too late for that now. When I first started in Bitcoin, the space was still very small, and I didn’t think much of it. I just attached my name to BTCChina and got known as a Bitcoiner from there. I don’t think I’m a maximalist because I can accept other projects existing as long as they are not scammy, which unfortunately most of the things are.
I do call a lot of things a scam because, well, they are scammy. There’re a lot of scams out there and if you don’t call a scam “a scam” then you are enabling them. Certainly, there is a line I don’t cross, and the 3 guys don’t cross either. We don’t go after people personally. We generally just joke about the scams and diss them.
Why Did you Decide to be in the Gaming space?
I was a very hardcore gamer, but I don’t have a lot of time these days to play. Games are a very interesting medium – it’s almost like a movie but interactive, and there’s a social dynamic to it. There’s also an economic aspect as well, so I believe that bringing together the gaming and crypto markets will have a big impact. We have to consider the fact that gamers are very familiar with virtual currencies and secondary markets, INF is just a natural progression.
How are Magical Crypto Friends and MintGox Different?
I think MintGox is interesting in the way they are trying to reward players for playing with Bitcoin over the Lightning network. It’s a really good endeavor, and I hope they grow.
Still, I don’t think that many gaming platforms are using crypto assets. There are some games that mark themselves as blockchain games, but I don’t really know what that’s supposed to mean. They are marketing it as if you can actually own the game assets, but when you read the terms of service, it states that they own all the assets actually. Ultimately, if the game developer shuts the game down, everything will be gone, so marketing game assets on a blockchain as “true ownership” is scammy.
What is Pixelmatic?
Pixelmatic is a game developer founded in 2011. We started out developing mobile games and licensing mobile titles. Pixelmatic has a distributed team from around the world and we’ve done technical operations for a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) called Vainglory. Our team’s experience ranges from creating highly rated, multimillion-dollar AAA franchises to top grossing social games. We’ve worked on games including Company of Heroes, Dawn of War, Age of Empires, and Mass Effect. We wanted to build our own game instead of operating other games, and that was the genesis of Infinite Fleet!
What is Infinite Fleet?
Infinite Fleet is an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) strategy game that uses a dual token model. It is being developed by Pixelmatic and published by Exordium. The dual token model means we have a security token (EXO) to raise capital, and a utility token (INF) in the game that is meant to be the game currency akin to World of Warcraft gold.
The INF utility token is not sold, but rather the players earn it by playing the game. We want to bring more mainstream crypto asset adoption, and we think INF can accomplish that. Infinite Fleet is a major title with a team of veteran developers – what we deliver can rival games like EVE, StarCraft, or Star Citizen.
What are your hobbies?
I was a pretty hardcore gamer in the past, I played Starcraft, Warcraft 3, and Diablo 2. In Lineage 2, my alliance took over an entire server. These days, my hobby and the development of Infinite Fleet is one and the same. I enjoy building the Infinite Fleet universe, and we are working very hard create a very detailed world. We’re always thinking about the story and how technology works in the Infinite Fleet universe. I work with a team of writers and we spend a lot of time on the details and science part of the fiction. I think this is missing from a lot of sci-fi games or even television show – they lack a cohesive universe. That’s something I want to fix with Infinite Fleet.
Wider Horizons for Game Features
Players can create a multi-signature wallet for their guild (a group of gamers in an online gaming context), and store their INF in the wallet. In the game EVE Online, there have been cases where people infiltrated other guilds to steal funds. So, there’s a lot of interesting things that our tech can bring to the table.
Interviewer , Editor : Lina Kamada
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