Bitcoin Can Be “a Means of Resistance,” Longtime BTC Pillar Jameson Lopp

Colin Muller

Jameson Lopp, long time cypherpunk, Bitcoiner, and currently infrastructure manager at Casa, sat down with Vlad Costea of Crypto Insider for an extensive chat.

Lopp is an old hand with Bitcoin, having gotten involved in 2012, for both ideological and geeky reasons, and there was plenty of experience to draw on for the interview. Lopp had plenty to say, yet tempered and moderate.

On Bitcoin Cash

Lopp explained that Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash occupy opposite sides in a crypto-philosophical debate; namely, is cost of transaction more important than the cost of validating the entire blockchain, or vice versa?

Bitcoin, with its much different approach to scaling (he refers here to the Lightning network), prioritizes low validation cost, whereas Bitcoin Cash prefers a low transaction/high validation cost on a much larger blockchain.

Lopp’s allegiance is to Bitcoin’s approach, but he does not begrudge the other side. He also considers Litecoin to be in Bitcoin’s camp, in that the Litecoin community is “willing to adopt these cutting-edge layer two technologies" like the Lightning network.

On Proof of Stake and Ethereum

Although a diehard Bitcoiner, Lopp is not inimical to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) methods of consensus per se. He just thinks it’s a hard road, commenting that “right now there aren’t any really great PoS systems that have been deployed” into the wild.

One thinks of Ethereum, and Lopp recognizes that “they’re on the bleeding edge [...] constantly rethinking what they’ve done”. He is most interested to see how sharding implementation will play out. Notwithstanding such concerns, he says “I personally would adopt [a good enough PoS platform]”.

Interestingly, Lopp’s ultimate prediction on Ethereum is that the protocol - the Ethereum Virtual Machine - will enjoy more adoption than an Ethereum world-computer.

On the end of Bitcoin Mining

Although the creation of new Bitcoin will not expire for “like 100 years”, mining/supply reduction will become an issue much sooner, within 10 to 20 years, Lopp says. For this reason, it is crucial that the Bitcoin community develop “a fee market and continue to offset the subsidies”, to make up for the inevitable shortfall in mining returns - otherwise, hashing power will diminish to an unsecure level.

He mused that, eventually, if the network became important enough, “we need to be paying basically millions of dollars a day” for the desired security.

On the B Foundation

Regarding his role in the new non-profit devoted to furthering Bitcoin adoption, Lopp eschewed any role dealing with “with government propaganda or perspectives of people thinking what Bitcoin should be”, continuing “I am interested in funding different projects that are trying to build on top of Bitcoin and lightning, really any other technology to build on Bitcoin...."

On Actually Using Bitcoin

For all his Bitcoin bona fides, Lopp expressed a preference - for now, presumably - for just using fiat, citing that using Bitcoin is not actually very private, that the market is at the bottom of a bear cycle - it would be selling low - and that the state of tax regulation in the U.S. remains a “huge nightmare”.

On Liquidity, Centralization

Perhaps surprisingly, Lopp does not have any specific moral qualm to centralized liquidity pools linking exchanges, pointing to the wastefulness that “a significant fraction of blockspace that is being used up doing nothing more than sending money from one exchange to another”. He does add, however, that he hopes future liquidity pools will utilize the Lightning Network.

Musing on the subject of EOS' potentially dubious governance structure, Lopp lamented that "I think a lot of the regular users don’t really worry about edge-case scenarios, and as long as the system seems to work, then they’re not really concerned with what might cause it to fail. Unless it actually fails, then they generally don’t care”.

On Individual Sovereignty

The conversation eventually veered into a very serious direction, on the subject of “Bitcoin as a means of resistance” to the power of governments.

Lopp identified an over-legalized world, in which “if you are remotely suspected of some sort of crime, law enforcement will just start digging through your entire past. And if they can find anything that is suspicious or gives them some sort of probable cause to dig into and try to start creating problems for you, then it’s pretty easy to do so."

Lopp is hopeful that privatizing money and other previously government-run necessities, will "put nation states back on their heels", forcing them to compete with private institutions in a “free market”. He sees money as a "concept that belongs to humanity in general. It is a shared agreement, it is not something that is supposed to be dictated as to how it operates”.

“But it’s not gonna be easy, either”, he concluded.

Hacked Exchange Cryptopia Enables Trading in 40 Different Currency Pairs

New Zealand-based digital asset exchange, Cryptopia has reportedly resumed trading on its exchange as it is now allowing 40 different trading pairs. This, after Cryptopia recently experienced from several different security breaches.

Support For Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin Pairs Added

Cryptopia’s management announced (via Twitter on March 18th) that it is planning to expand its list of coins which will again be supported on its trading platform. As noted on Cryptopia’s official support website, the exchange has enabled several different trading pairs (as of March 19th, 2019) with major cryptocurrencies. These include bitcoin (BTC), litecoin (LTC), and dogecoin (DOGE).

In response to Cryptopia’s announcement, Twitter user @dgb-chilling, a supporter of DigiByte (DGB), a cryptocurrency that uses five different mining algorithms, said that he had emailed the exchange’s support team to inform them regarding the coin’s latest update (version 6.17.2). He added that “an upgrade was recommended but not mandatory.”

Meanwhile, Chuck Norris (@CryptoTweet6) remarked: 

Now this is good news! Let’s hope the rest of the coins will be released for trading swiftly.

Other users also considered it “good news” that the compromised cryptoasset exchange was gradually resuming its operations. However, one social media user asked when Cryptopia would start enabling deposits while another inquired about why his ARK coins were still not recoverable from the trading platform. He claimed that he had deposited 1,000 ARK, currently valued at around $628, (a popular proof-of-stake based coin) on Cryptopia. The user also complained that his coins were missing “missing because [the exchange] did not update the ARK wallet."

Tens Of Millions Of Dollars Stolen In Hack

On February 27th, 2019, Cryptopia’s management announced that it was “assessing the impact incurred as a result of the hack” which led to the theft of tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency. Last month, Cryptopia’s support team had also estimated that the total loss incurred due to the security breaches was of around 10% of its total holdings (in the worst-case scenario).

Notably, the exchange’s official Twitter account had been silent for several weeks (since Feburary 14th). However, it released several announcements, starting in late February, in which it revealed that its staff members were working on securing each customer’s account individually. Cryptopia’s management also noted that it was taking the appropriate measures to ensure that its trading platform is secure when it is officially back online.