February 24, 2022
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/robert-breedlove-podcast/
[00:00:52] Podcast Sponsors
[00:03:57] Guest Introduction
[00:07:45] The Journey To Becoming A “Freedom Maximalist”
[00:19:43] The Creature And Its Cronies Fight For Survival In The Digital Age
[00:27:34] Podcast Sponsors
[00:30:42] Cont. The Creature And Its Cronies Fight For Survival In The Digital Age
[00:32:10] What is money, anyway?
[00:41:07] How The Gold Standard Began Its Descent Into Obscurity After World War 2
[00:49:10] Why strong private property rights are necessary for prosperity to thrive
[00:56:08] The superiority of Bitcoin to any other financial medium
[01:04:57] Health Protocols And Biohacks Common Among Bitcoin Enthusiasts
[01:13:27] Closing the Podcast
[01:16:44] Legal Disclaimer
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Robert: What happens when people can hold their property in a medium that cannot be violated? They can hold money that cannot be stolen. Scary, actually, because I know a lot of really smart people that invest a lot of money and they don't get it. They still think this is good. It's a good idea to print money.
What services people seek to render from money or what properties they seek in money? Bitcoin is effectively the most perfect monetary technology that's ever been invented.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
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Well folks, my guest on today's podcast actually wrote a book about Bitcoin called “Thank God For Bitcoin.” We were actually just riffing a little bit before we started recording. And, it's kind of funny because my 13-year-old sons were actually reading that as part of their financial and economics curriculum. And, I wasn't aware that they were actually going through it. And then, I saw it on the counter a couple of weeks ago and realize I was actually interviewing the author in a couple of weeks because he's a very prolific voice in the crypto space and the economic space. His name is Robert Breedlove. And, he's known as a Bitcoin-focused entrepreneur. He is also a content producer who writes articles and records podcasts and had some fantastic interviews on his show, which is, I believe, where I originally found him about Bitcoin of all things. His background is from Tennessee, but he lives in Kauai now. And, he'll be able to share with us a little bit of his story about how he eventually got into Austrian economics, and the teachings of Jordan Peterson, and what has kind of brought him to where he's at now in terms of his status as what he calls himself as a “Freedom Maximalist.” And so, we'll delve into that and a whole lot more.
Everything that Robert produces his book, his podcast, he has a great Twitter feed as well where he posts about Bitcoin, and macroeconomics, and philosophy. I'll link to all that if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Breedlove. BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Breedlove is where the shownotes are going to be. And, we're just going to dive in.
So, Robert how's Kauai these days?
Robert: Yeah, things are good. It's been a peaceful place for us to write out all of the craziness in the world. As I was saying offline, it's very quiet place to live.
Robert: It's pretty much a small town on an island. There were 70,000 people here. I've heard that the population has expanded 20% since COVID, so maybe we're somewhere in the ballpark of 85,000 people.
Ben: It's expanded, really?
Robert: Yeah. Which makes sense with everything in the world, Americans can't vacation, a lot of people working remotely. It makes sense that people would move to paradise under those circumstances.
Ben: It's a great hiking down there though. I mean, I've been to Kauai a few times, and usually of all places, when I go to Hawaii, I tend to go to Kona because I used to do the Ironman triathlon down there. And now, I like to go down there and do bow hunting, but Kauai, oh, my gosh, for the hiking and that 8 billion different species of fruits down there, and just the general vibe of the island is very–I don't know how to describe it, it's just a very different kind of peaceful laid-back feeling.
Robert: Yeah. It's very Aloha as they say here. So, it's a slower pace of life and there's tradeoffs. So, as I mentioned, in our opinion, essentially no good restaurants. There's no city life. There's no shopping. You're in the United States, but you've kind of got one foot out. So, unless you are really obsessed with nature and you just like to get outside and hike, or go to the beach, or do water sport, then I think you would not enjoy living here. But, fortunately for us, we enjoy all of the above.
Ben: Or, do Kundalini yoga in your crystal room. There's a little bit of that vibe down there too. But, I think that if I lived down there, despite the seeming lack of decent restaurants armed with the spear down and a decent Traeger grill, I think I could be happy for quite a while.
Robert: Yeah. Plenty to eat here. That's for sure.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
So, I'd love to hear a little bit more of your story, man. You call yourself a “Freedom Maximalist,” and I'd love to hear a little bit more about what that means and what a freedom maximalist actually is. But, feel free as you explain that to describe to me a little bit about how you got down this rabbit hole in the first place anyways.
Robert: Yeah. And, I'll start with just a quick overview of the journey because that really informed my self-designation as a freedom maximalist. So, my educational background is in accounting and finance, master's degree in accounting, I focused in taxation initially. My first job out of college was as an entrepreneurial strategist, essentially. So, I would consult with high-net-worth individuals and other investment vehicles typically. So, they're investment partnerships and whatnot. And, the aim of that consulting was to optimize tax strategy. So, these individuals or vehicles that were generating income, they could basically do so in a tax advantage way. So, I learned a lot about kind of the underbelly of the beast, so to speak. But, I also discovered pretty quickly the linear career path of accounting, public accounting was not for me. You kind of start out on junior staff, senior staffs, junior manager, senior manager, partner. And, it's like a 10 to 15-year career path. Typically, before you make partner, and then you make low seven figures a year typically forever. So, it's good, it can be lucrative, but it's very hard work. You are somewhat living life as a computer depending on what specific role you're in, but it's very heavy on the cognitive cerebral mathematical side of the brain.
Ben: Right. A dangerous career, by the way, to be involved in in an era where computing and automation, artificial intelligence does a large degree of the computing. If you could describe your job as being a computer, you might be out of a job at some point in the next decade or so I would say.
Robert: Yeah. Anything that can be done algorithmically is at risk in the digital age. Tax as a whole, it's a mess though like so much there, so much there. The IRS tax code, I think, has nine. This is, again, a decade ago when I worked in tax. I think it has 9 million words, the IRS tax code. So, it was just a staggeringly gigantic tax. No one knows all of it, and it's just a complete disaster of arbitrariness. And anyway, it's just a mess, the career path and that field. Very linear, very predictable. The work is very monotonous. It wasn't for me. I just, in those few years that I spent doing it, learned a tremendous amount. I went through four tax seasons essentially. And, when you go through a tax season, you're working 80 plus hours a week for months on end, three to five months, you're working 80 plus hour weeks. So, it was very much an inhumane grind. But, I had this, I guess, desire to do something more entrepreneurial, frankly. So, I ended up leaving that field and went to work as a CFO for a startup company. I was initially in sort of special event planning. We did tradeshows and conferences largely in Las Vegas, all over the country. And then, I was then transitioned into tech. So, as a CFO for hospitality technology company, all about healthcare software company.
I guess I should back up a little bit. As a kid, I grew up on computers. I'm 36 years old now. So, I'm an old millennial. I was one of those kids. I never learn to code or anything like that, but I was always really good on a computer. I just knew my way around and was really interested in tech. So, by the time I made my career path back into the tech field, which was something I had an affinity for as a child, tech CFO was kind of a good role for me, had some good success there for some time. But, I reached a point in my career that I decided it was a real crossroads actually. I had been offered the role of CEO actually in the company I was currently in. The board had fired the CEO. I was effectively made executive-in-charge. And then, after a few months, I was offered the CEO position, which was a tremendous opportunity for me. I was moving 33, 32 at the time, 31, so five years ago. Yeah, I was about 31. So, it would have been a tremendous opportunity. We're buying a public company. So, I would have been a CEO of a public company sitting on the board, all the bells and whistles you could want in a position for a young man. But, in my heart, I really wanted to work for myself. I didn't even know what that meant at the time, I just wanted to do something on my own. Again, leaning more entrepreneurial.
This point of decision was 2016. And, I wrestled with this idea for some time. I made a comparative spreadsheet, shared it with friends and family. I was like, “Here's the pros and cons. What should I do?” And basically, everyone told me to take the money and the perks of the position, the CEO plus board seat. The money was crazy.
Ben: Because we all know money and perks buy happiness too. So, that's another bonus.
Robert: Definitely arguable on that. But, not a position I expected to be in. It came about by surprise. I was living in Vegas at that time, we're back and forth between Vegas and Vancouver. Vancouver was the city we're buying, the publicly traded company. I just decided I wanted to live on the ocean and start my own business. And so, I had basically one client at that time, I was doing some consulting, CFO work, and I moved. I just happen to move to Los Angeles and started my own consulting company, which was initially just sort of CFO consulting services. But, at the same time, I was going down, at least starting to go down the crypto rabbit hole. And, I had–
Ben: Was that 2016?
Robert: It's 2016. In 2014, I had heard about, engaged with, and even bought some Bitcoin, but I ended up selling it. I think I bought it in the 3 to $400 range and sold it in the 5 to $600 range, something like that, and thought I was a genius and just never looked at it again. But then, fast forward to 2016, “crypto” got its intellectual hooks into me through Ethereum. Ethereum was marketing itself pretty heavily. It was describing itself as a smart contract platform. And, that piqued my curiosity. So, I was like, “What the hell is a smart contract? I need to dig into this.” And, as I started doing some homework, it was getting more and more interesting to me. But, when I finally stumbled across the work of Nick Szabo who had written about smart contracts in the late 1990s, and he described how pervasive smart contracts really are. Well, the very simple example he uses is the vending machine or the vending machine is a smart contract that holds candy or snacks in a certain sector. There's a certain silo and then you punch in a certain code and insert the money. And, there's a small algorithmic process that unfolds and drops you the snack of the candy bar. Well, that's a smart contract. That's a system that automates a commercial relationship between buyer and product.
So, Szabo's key insight was, okay, anything, any work function that can be adapted into an algorithm is essentially what he called dry code and could be provided orders of magnitude more efficiently by doing it with something like a smart contract, which you can take that same mechanism that the vending machine represents, but you're going to get much more sophisticated when written in software. But, one of the key pieces to this was you needed a digital native money, or you need digital native money to make a smart contract.
Ben: Right. Such with the smart contract. What you're saying is you're able to basically embed the contract into any type of property that has some kind of value. And, that property is then controllable by a digital means of someway.
Robert: I mean, you can think about it as a self-executing contract where you actually have different terms in the agreement. And, when the terms or conditions are satisfied, payments would be released to the provider.
Robert: So, it's a contract. You can't take it to court necessarily. And, this is a whole theoretical complex field. There's Oracle problems and all kinds of things. But, in general, that was the theory. And, my big light bulb moment was what really threw me into the crypto rabbit hole was the entire finance industry is a smart contract facilitated by human beings. So, finance is just an intermediate function, it's not adding any real value to the productive economy. Now, you could argue, it reduces transaction costs in borrowing costs between buyers and sellers, which it does. So, it does add value, but it's not producing anything. It's not producing a tangible good or capital.
So, my realization was “Holy shit, that's a massive chunk of U.S. GDP.” I want to say it's in the 13 to 15% range of U.S. GDP is the finance industry. And, this entire thing was poised to be eaten by software. Okay, you could argue with me. There's things that smart contracts can't do that finance industry does, sure. But, the vast majority of its core function was vulnerable to disruption by smart contract. So, that was my light bulb. I was like, “Oh, my goodness, this is going to be a really big wave of innovation. This is something on par with the internet itself. I need to learn more about this. I really want to be at the cutting edge of whatever is happening.”
So, again, as I'm transitioning out of the CFO/CEO role into my own gig, I start buying positions in the top market-cap-weighted crypto assets.
Ben: And, to clarify real quick, what you're saying is essentially finance could be automated. And, I think I read an essay at some point by Nick Szabo that went into the idea. I think he used the analogy of a car. If you had a car and the key that came with the car was cryptographic, then the only person who could operate the car would be the person who rightfully owns it based on ownership of that crypto contract. So, basically, if the car wasn't being paid off properly or something like that, you basically just have a smart lean type of protocol where if the owner doesn't make payments, this smart contract invokes the lean protocol and returns control the car keys to the bank or something like that.
Robert: Yeah, there's a whole matrix of theories and examples given out there about it, but it's essentially that is you're creating contractual relationships that are much higher fidelity versus, A, you and I put something on paper and it's like, “Okay, do we agree to those terms? Do we mutually understand what each term means?” If there's any disagreement whatsoever, we're not even really relying on the contract, we're relying on the contract and the shadow of the law, essentially. No one wants to go to court. No one wants to get an illegal entanglement. But, that whole model, that analog contract model is very inefficient because, again, things that the contract could do, it's like, “Okay, when you have delivered X number of widgets, release Y number of payments or quantity of money.” These things that could be just automated should be automated because that increases wealth for humans. The more results we can accomplish with less effort, the more wealthy we are. So, in a nutshell, the smart contract became, in my view, one of the key components to unlocking tremendous amounts of wealth in the digital age. And so, you could almost say what you've seen robotics or automation do the blue-collar work, smart contracts, crypto assets, things like that. I thought at the time and still think we'll do to white-collar work.
Ben: Not necessarily to sort of find point there. Not necessarily in a way that would create a bunch of jobless white-collar employees, but that would instead free people up for more arguably creative or intellectual work because of the fact that they're not engaged in autonomous jobs that can be replaced by smart contracts.
Robert: People forget, people are always looking at local discontinuity and market configurations due to innovation. So, one day, you're a custom Italian leather shoemaker, the next day, a shoe factory opens up down the street and you're out of the job. So, that sounds like a bad thing, but that's the seen result. The unseen result is you've increased wealth for everyone because you're making more shoes per man-hour. So, even the shoemaker that's out of a job is able to buy shoes more cheaply.
People very often miss that second-order effect. So, the fact that a smart contract type innovation could disrupt or unemployed many white-collar workers today, it's not a bad thing. That's a great thing. You want that. You want jobs to be automated out of existence because that means the aggregate wealth increased for all, the whole pie of wealth grew for everyone's cost and declined. So, it's a very key point.
Not to get hung up on this, basically, I always like to say, “Where my money went, my mind followed.” I had investments in these assets. This was late '16, early '17. Then 2017 happened, which was an infamous crypto bull run. I think the market was up 1,800% that year, and I had put some real money to work, so it was quite a staggering year for me.
Ben: Yeah. And, to put things in context from a timeline standpoint, the first Bitcoins, from what I understand, were used to purchase a couple of pizzas at a Papa John's. About what year did that take place?
Robert: Bitcoin pizza purchase, you'd have to look it up, but I want to say it's like 2011.
Ben: Okay. So, a few years before that.
Robert: It was 10,000 Bitcoin used to purchase two pizzas. And, 10,000 Bitcoin today is like a half a billion dollar. Yeah. So, there's a lesson in there. Don't spend your Bitcoin. But, in any case, where my money went, my mind followed, I started studying a lot about history of money, which I should back up again here.
I had this background knowledge of central banking. I had read “The Creature from Jekyll Island” in around 2005. So, this is now 2016, like 11 years later. And, another lightbulb moment for me that, I guess, the real crystallization of my current thesis was that when I came to see Bitcoin as disruptive to gold, and gold is the prime money of geopolitics today, if two countries go to war, they want settlement in gold. If one country conquers another, the conquered is going to pay tribute to the conqueror in gold. Central banks today still hoard gold. For instance, China is the biggest net producer and biggest net buyer of gold in the world. So, even though we've decoupled our understanding of money, we think most people, most citizens think money is the paper in their pocket. It's not true. That's an artificial rule set imposed upon you by the holders of real money, which are largely nation-states that hold about say nation-states via the central bank, hold about 20% of the global gold supply. That's the real wake-up call when you're like, “Oh, my gosh, this tool called gold, that's 5,000 years old,” it became the dominant money in the world on the free market. It's still the dominant money of dominant institutions, which are nation-states and central banks. This tool, this pristine collateral ultimate monetary technology, whatever you want to call it, is now undergoing disruption by a 13-year-old at the time it was 8-year-old, I guess, digital upstart called Bitcoin.
It's a big deal. It's a big, big, big deal. If you think the digital age has been wild so far, just wait until Bitcoin really does its thing. Because the follow-on consequences of that are really hard to get your head around. And, that is the true Bitcoin rabbit hole. It's like, what happens when central banks can no longer print money to fund endless government initiatives? What happens when people can hold their property in a medium that cannot be violated, they can hold money that cannot be stolen? The first thing that you notice is, okay, the ability for governments to tax and inflate falls precipitously. So, you have the dominant institution in the world or dominant business model, which is statism and the central bank are now going to see their revenues collapse. So, what happens when these dominant institutions see their revenues collapse as they start to shrink? So, what happens when the nation-state starts to shrink? How do we reorganize ourselves? What services are we giving up?
So, anyway, you get into this deep rabbit hole. And, I guess you could encapsulate that in the term “Software is eating the state.” And, the reason I said software is eating the world, you said this 10 years ago, proved to be very prescient. A16z has made a lot of very intelligent and lucrative investments based on that thesis, but what it fails to articulate in a more nuanced way is that the world includes the state and the central bank. And, I think that's exactly what we're living through today. This is something we've been talking about for five years, but only in the past two years have governments really started to show their true colors. And, I think that's what we're living through today is the state fighting for its survival. Age where technological realities have made it antiquated.
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Yeah. And, you mentioned the book, “The Creature from Jekyll Island” by Edward Griffin, I think is the author of that one. And, that's another one that I had my sons read as a part of their economics curriculum that kind of sets out the dangers of the federal reserve, and fiat money, and the failures of the fractional reserve banking system. I think, probably a better more up-to-date book. And, I don't know if you would agree with me, but it would probably be the one-two combo of–I have the hardest time pronouncing his name, but Saifedean Ammous. I don't know if I said that properly. I read his name a lot but don't pronounce it that frequently. His two books, “The Bitcoin Standard” and “The Fiat Standard” I think lay things out even more comprehensively in a more contemporary flavor with the addition of the consideration of crypto as a possible better alternative to gold, which I want to ask you about. And so, this idea that the federal reserve is essentially creating what amounts to store value that really is not valuable at all and leads to inflation, and usury, and excess interest, and all the issues laid out in a book like “The Fiat Standard” or “The Creature of Jekyll Island” dictates that we may be reaching a point here where we have to return to gold or we have to move on to something better.
And, I think that probably leads to a question that I wanted to ask you because when we look at what we're going to actually choose as a trading medium or store value, your entire podcast, it's called What is Money? And so, that's something that I actually wanted to ask you. When we step back and look at what we actually want to use as a form of trade or however you would define it, why do you actually call your podcast What is Money? In your opinion, what is money?
Robert: Well, there are many, many answers to that seemingly simple question. We go through it at length in the show. I named the What is Money? show out of an effort to incept this idea that I think is very important. It's getting people to question the fundamental presuppositions of their worldview or reality. And, money is just such an obvious one. It's like we think about it all the time. It's what gets most people out of bed in the morning. People want to say, “I don't care about money,” it's like, “Okay, what did you do last week?” “Well, I went to work for 40 hours, and spent the rest of the time in my family.” Okay. Then by definition, your actions speak louder than your words. You went to work to earn money to provide for your family.
So, this idea that money is something that motivates a lot of human action, people think about it a lot, people think through it a lot. When you're actually negotiating a deal or planning a vacation or even just ordering stuff online, you're using money as a perceptual apparatus. If I even say something like $10,000-car or $100,000-car, there's a distinct perceptual shift between those two. You don't even need to know what the car is necessarily, there's a perception there that's very telling just by communicating the dollar amount. So, it's a way we perceive and quantify value. And, we can get very specific and say it's economic value, but money also is used to denominate things of aesthetic value like great art and things like that.
So, my aim with naming the show that was to just get people to start. You can say, again, we're thinking about money or through money, but very often we're stopping to take off the glasses through which we're looking at the world economically through money and examine the glasses themselves. What is this dollar that I'm looking at the world through? It's a prism I'm looking at the world through. But, what is the dollar itself? Where did it come from? Who made this the thing that I would use to see the world through, and to transact and trade, and so on and so forth? And, that's a very key question to start to dig into the history of money, the history of government, the history of warfare.
As largely as I've tried to sum up, the history of human conflict is been both funded by and in pursuit of money, almost always. You can generalize that slightly more to say resources in general or wealth, which is true. But typically, the easiest thing to do is to go and conquer a place and have them pay you tribute which is typically paid in money. You also get in the history of taxation, which is, as I've written about extensively, nothing more than a systemized form of theft. People that believe otherwise don't understand economics, it's economic axiom, it's not an opinion, which can be a little bit disheartening actually because when you're arguing about the nature of the state, the nature of taxation, say on Twitter, and then you have other people saying, “Oh, no, taxation is necessary, we need that.” It's as if you're in the 15th century telling people that the medieval church is taking advantage of them with–oh, forgot the name of the term where it used to paid, basically get into heaven, these indulgences.
Ben: Yeah, indulgences.
Robert: I'm telling people that they're paying these indulgences that are not in their best interest. And then, you have the very victims of that scheme arguing to protect the victimizer. That's kind of what people are today that argue in favor of taxation. I guess, it's been normalized or they've been enculturated to just believe that taxation is the regular way of things but it's not, it's stuffed, it's systemized theft, and that's all it is. And, yeah, I'm just hoping to help people speak behind the curtain, I guess, by asking themselves that question and also as a way of educating people about Bitcoin indirectly. And, instead of just delivering some set of punch lines or findings like this is why Bitcoin is the best money, I'm kind of placing my faith in that if people ask themselves that question assiduously, and they actually try to get to the bottom of it that they'll find Bitcoin.
Ultimately, you're like, “Okay, what is the dollar? How did we get the dollar?” Well, it turns out the dollar was just a paper token redeemable for gold. That's all any paper currencies ever been. Ultimately, it was redeemable for some monetary metal. Gold then is beneath the dollar. What's beneath gold? You get into the first principles of money, which I articulate as the properties of money. There's five of them. I've enumerated them extensively on the show. And then, you also get into this concept of proof of work securing the supply of money, which is what gold was. The energy necessary to extract gold from the surface was the security mechanism that protected its supply from counterfeiting, or excessive expansion, or inflation. And, that's what gives it a store of value function. That's what enables its supply to be predictable over time is the simple fact that no matter how much energy is allocated towards its production, gold's production that no one could expand its supply arbitrarily. And, that meant everyone else could invest economic value, could hold this as a means of exchange right across space and time. That means moving value across space and time we could say without being vulnerable to the opinions of anyone else.
And, once you get all that and you're like, “Okay, I understand why gold, I understand why money, why it became a dollar. I understand why human beings running the central bank and basically corrupted the dollar detached it from gold.” You understand all of that, with all of that history in your noggin, you can then look at Bitcoin properly, which is like, “Okay, what is Bitcoin?” Well, let's look at it through the properties of money, and let's look at it through the prism of proof of work, and let's see how it stacks up to gold. And, I think that's just the most useful framing for really understanding the socioeconomic significance of Bitcoin.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, I want to catch people up here, just so we don't lose anyone who might be listening and unfamiliar with some of the concepts that we've laid out so far. But, when we talk about “The Creature of Jekyll Island” or books like “The Bitcoin Standard,” “The Fiat Standard,” which I think are wonderful reads if you want to bring yourself up to speed on all this along with Robert's book, “Thank God For Bitcoin,” we've seen over the past century or so a real, not a total destruction but a near-complete destruction of fiat currencies led largely by the world's global economic superpowers and a lot of senseless money printing that has resulted in a weakening of the U.S. dollar and other currencies as well. And so, there's this chatter right now that a collapse may be imminent, and so a lot of people are looking at different ways to store value; gold or Bitcoin being two that pop up repeatedly as a financial instrument that might safeguard against inflation. And so, gold has a long history and Bitcoin is kind of this new player on the block, both of them being potential stores of value.
And so, gold in the past has served as a good store of value. It's got good scarcity, it's got good demand to supply ratio, a lot of countries have based their currencies and their paper money on gold reserves for those reasons for a long time. And then, I think it was during World War 2, was it the Bretton Woods Conference, Robert, where the situation kind of changed where a lot of countries agreed to get rid of the traditional gold standard model in favor of a different system?
Robert: No. Actually, so Bretton Woods was post-World War 2. And essentially, it's the United States who was victorious. We “won World War 2.” There's a very interesting history there too. It's not like we came in and saved the day, we kind of came in and cleared the theater of war of our war-weary opponents and then declared ourselves victorious. But, in any case, as I mentioned earlier, money being both the means and the ends of all human conflicts. What's the first thing we do after winning World War 2? We hold the Bretton Wood Conference. And, this essentially represents the United States rewriting the global banking rules in order in a way that the dollar, the U.S. dollar would be pegged to gold, every other currency would be pegged to the dollar. So, this gives the U.S. who is now in a dominant position of gold holding, by the way. A lot of the gold that was in Europe ended up in North America as a means of being a geographic safe haven from Nazis. Nazis were basically plundering the gold of every country they conquered. European countries quickly wise up to this and change their custody arrangement to not be plundered. Well, the end result of that was most of the gold was in North America, most of the gold was in Fort Knox. So, the United States, again, money being kind of the base layer, whichever group of humans holds the most money is the global superpower. And, that's when the United States became the de facto global superpower was post-World War 2 because we had all the gold.
So, we write the rules in a way that we can effectively externalize or export our inflation. So, we can print these new slips of paper called dollars ad infinitum. We can ship them offshore to any country we want and they will send us goods and services in return. So, if you just imagine the asymmetry there of being able to just send someone paper, which is very cheap to produce and send to them, often it's not even paper, you're just kind of updating database entries at the federal reserve or at one of the networked banks, and then they will send your country or constituents goods and services. That's the structural intention of the post-Bretton Wood world.
The problems arose when countries started to redeem, countries started to call the bluff of the United States saying, “Hmm, you guys have printed a lot of currency. I think I want to redeem the dollars you've been sending me for gold.” So, nations would actually send cargo ships across the ocean to collect their gold, to retain the dollar that they've then sent–
Ben: Right, at a pretty high transportability cost. That should be noted back to the consideration of Bitcoin. But, go ahead.
Robert: Well, of course. But, better than the cost of just holding a paper currency that goes to zero because the issuing authority just prints it ad infinitum.
So anyways, a few countries, I want to say two to three countries had redeemed the gold from the United States under the post-Bretton Wood arrangement. When Germany tried to redeem their gold in the early 1970s that we had the infamous Nixon shock where he suspended gold convertibility, which meant the dollar was no longer pegged to gold, which meant all the other currencies pegged to the dollar worldwide were no longer pegged to the gold either indirectly. And, this was said to be a temporary measure. There was a lot of rhetoric and platitudes used. It was fixing trade imbalances. And, it's all the greedy capitalist's fault, we have to fix prices, blah, blah, blah. All the bullshit. And, we went off the gold standard. And, that was the temporary measure that Nixon invoked to solve some of these problems that were really just camouflaged for the truth.
And, the truth was the U.S. government with a monopoly on money used the printing of dollars to implicitly default on its debts and to break the integrity of the post-Bretton Wood agreement, which was rooted in gold. Gold is the disciplinary force that kept governments honest. And, when you suspend convertibility, there's no accountability, there's no mechanism to check government or government action, they can just steal from society through printing money, externalize the cost via inflation, and fund any effort, any initiative they want. There's no risk of loss. You can take on as much debt as you want and then pay off the debt with newly printed dollars. You can imagine how perverse this is if you gave any business power to just print money and dump the cost on everyone else. What do you think would happen?
Ben: Well, 2020 is a perfect example. I mean, our money stock supply was increased by almost 25% with money printing in 2020 alone.
Robert: The numbers I saw were 40%.
Ben: Okay. So, more than that.
Robert: Into expansion. So, that means in the course of less than 24 months, it was actually within 18, I think, global narrow money expanded 40%, which means everyone holding any fiat currency worldwide was basically taxed 40%.
Ben: Right. Well, at the same time, commodities and assets are increasing, and salaries are staying the same.
Robert: Well, commodities and assets are increasing in the diminished dollar. This is a key point too. Part of the success of the deception that is inflation in central banking is if I just print money on paper, you have more wealth. Stock portfolios are up, your house is up. Whatever asset that can't be printed or produced more quickly than the dollar tends to go up in dollar terms. But, that does not mean it has gone up in value, that means it has gone up a nominal price. So, when you price things in a diminishing unit of economic perception, which is the dollar, you're seeing the same asset through smaller dollars, through weaker dollars. But, people don't get that. Again, because they don't understand money, so they're like, “Oh, everything's fine. My paper wealth and this.” This is acutely obvious if you look at the net worth position of billionaires post-COVID, post the past 24 months. Most of the, I think the top 10 billionaires in the world doubled their net worth in paper terms over the past 24 months. There's not a lot additional that they've done. I mean, sure, you could argue Amazon's become more popular and it's increased in revenue and all of that as a result post-COVID, so Bezos is richer, but it hasn't doubled. The value of Amazon hasn't actually doubled, it's the dollar we use to enumerate the economic value or price of these assets including Amazon stock that has been diminished that causes it to look like it's expanded in value. So, it's a trick, it's a parlor trick, and it still works so amazingly well. It's scary actually because I know a lot of really smart people that invest a lot of money and they don't get it, they still think this is good, it's a good idea to print money.
Ben: Right, right. There were a few people that did pretty well post-COVID from a billionaire status, though the whole probably rabbit hole here but the whole mask flipping job that a few people picked up on that you could actually act as a broker for a seller of mass. There are people making billions off of basically trading PPEs. I don't know if you heard about that, but it was this crazy thing that happened for the past two years. Some people made a ton of money just trading PPEs.
Robert: Well, that's great. I mean, if you're taking advantage of a market opportunity, an imbalance in supply and demand whether it's mask or anything else and you're making a profit, and you're satisfying consumer wants, I'm all for that.
Ben: Kind of. Unless you get into like Charles Eisenstein's “Sacred Economics” idea of what's that do with all the masks in the ocean. There's more to it than just the financial implications that might be positive but the environmental implications not so much.
Robert: Well, the only way to actually protect and incentivize ecological preservation is through the implementation of private property rights. So, I don't know much about “Sacred Economics.” But, unless he's making the case that we need to privatize ownership of the ocean such that if someone's having mask dumped into the ocean that they could sue whoever's doing the dumping, that's how you prevent pollution. That's the only way.
Ben: He comes at it more from an incentivization standpoint in incentivizing businesses to engage in more environmentally friendly practices. But yeah, that's a general idea.
Robert: But, what's the incentive? There's no incentive other than private property that will do that. Again, I don't know anything about “Sacred Economics,” but I've read a few of these books about spiritual economics or this or that. And, it's always some appeal to this nebulous concern like, “Oh, we just all need to come together and agree to do this thing.” It's like, “That never [BLEEP] works.”
Ben: Well, the reason for that is because most of those books and theories are based upon what I would argue is the faulty assumption that humans in their hearts are good and will always make the good decision based on the golden rule. And, we all know when you look at actual chaos and entropy, and the fact that we are, in my opinion, I know you have a background in Christianity, we're following creatures. Our go-to is selfishness and incentivizing based on the assumption that people will make the right choice and do the good thing is a dangerous, dangerous road to go down.
Robert: This is just another version of the adage hope for the best plan for the worst. So, you have to design your systems in a way that incentivize good behavior. Otherwise, it will not work. If there's even an opportunity to game it, it will be gamed. I mean, this is pointing also to the genius of Bitcoin. Bitcoin's the first social institution in the world that just totally disincentivizes dishonesty and rewards honesty. And, the network effects related to that are tremendous because, as we said earlier, human beings create more wealth by cooperating. That's the only way we create. It's called the division of labor in the school of economics. And, we just say it very simply that free trade is what increases our productivity, and it's also what accelerates innovation, which further increases our productivity. I mean, that is a sacred process. The fact that all we have to do is do what we're best at and honor the property rights of others, let other people do what they're best at, and we all trade, that increases the standard of living for everyone. That is the experiment we're living through right now, which is this post-enlightenment capitalistic society. Semi-capitalistic because the central bank at the heart of every economy is anti-capitalistic. This is literally 1848 manifesto of the Communist Party measured number five central control and state monopoly on all cash and credit. Central bank is a Marxist institution to the core. That's exactly where it comes from, yet we have it and at the heart of every major economy in the world today including the United States, and we call ourselves capitalist. It's bullshit. We're one-half socialist because our money socialists.
So, the point being that that's what you need for peaceful and productive, and wealthy society is strong property rights. You need people to be able to store the fruits of their labor in a medium that cannot be violated arbitrarily via inflation, taxation, regulation, whatever it may be. That's what Bitcoin is. Bitcoin is the most expensive form of property to violate in human history. So again, a base layer for human civilization, I even think that perhaps civilization starts in earnest with the Genesis Block of Bitcoin in 2009. I don't think we actually had civilization up until this point. We've had attempts at civilization, but civilization always devolves into a rampant violation of property, which we're seeing in the world today right now. Again, printing dollars is only a violation of property. You're taking wealth from those that depend on the dollar to hold value to those that get newly printed dollars first or hold dollar-denominated assets. That coercion or theft that's embedded in our social fabric doesn't work. It's not civilized. So, I think Bitcoin's a really big deal. It's almost the discovery of fire.
Ben: Absolutely. And, there's a lot of people who are screaming, “It's just imaginary digital money.” But, I mean, first of all, the Bitcoins are backed by real monetary value that are basically kept stable by the fact that it's an asset with limited supply. And, for people not that familiar with all of your listeners, Robert, are really, really intimately familiar with finances, and crypto, and economics, and Bitcoin, or at least are likely to be. A lot of my listeners, they're really tuned in to health and fitness, and nutrition, and biohacking, and may not be as familiar with this idea that Satoshi Nakamoto designed Bitcoin in a way that it can generate only 21 million coins. So, that's one value that Bitcoin gets. But then, you've got the blockchain network where miners are keeping the system alive by validating transactions and getting rewarded with Bitcoin for every block of transactions that's verified. And so, basically what Nakamoto designed was a way to make these mineable coins to always remain a little bit lower than the existing circulating supply. So, that's what's called, kind of similar to gold, a stable stock to flow ratio is I think the actual term for that. And so, it's a great store value asset.
And, you mentioned a few characteristics of what you might call money that I think are important when it comes to Bitcoin. We touched on the idea of shipping gold around. And, Bitcoin is, of course, it's essentially weightless, so it's completely portable. So, it's far easier to transfer than a million dollars' worth of gold or million dollars' worth of seashells or oil. And so, it's got a great amount of portability, which makes it very, very convenient, you just can't transfer million dollars in gold near instantly from say San Francisco to Hong Kong, it's just the physical transportation is a pretty big bury to entry there. And then, it's got its fungibility, another one of the characteristics that you talk about.
Robert: Yeah. So, I lay out five and people lay out their own framework for this. But, I just sum it up with divisibility, durability, recognizability, portability, scarcity. And, for me, fungibility is a subset of recognizability.
Ben: Right. Meaning that's the sameness, like 2 pounds of gold can have the same value as another set of 2 pounds of gold. Seashells, maybe not so much. 2 pounds of seashells might be have a different value than another 2 pounds of seashells. And, you'll find some fungibility in other financial instruments like stocks or bonds or currencies. But, 1 Bitcoin is always going to be equal to 1 Bitcoin. So, I would say Bitcoin is pretty fungible, isn't it?
Robert: There's some debate about that because if you've only transacted Bitcoin on the main chain and it's never been anonymized or mixed, then you can trace that Bitcoin's history. And, it presumably, if it was ever transacted through an entity or an individual or group that say is blacklisted by the U.S. for instance, is at some point and now the U.S. government has traced it. Technically, Bitcoin would lack fungibility in that regard, and that this could be a tainted coin versus a non-tainted coin. But, the market realities don't show that playing out too much. I don't see coins trading at a premium or discount based on that. That's just sort of theoretical. But then, when you add on things like lightning network, as the density of that network increases, it's going to become all but impossible to trace Bitcoin transactions. And, at that point, Bitcoin is fully fungible.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Because you're now seeing many decentralized exchanges, flagging certain coins. So, it is kind of a theoretical problem I would say. It's even right now, it's highly fungible. And then, you mentioned divisibility. Obviously, my sons were like, “How many Bitcoins would that cost that?” And, I'll be like, “Well, less than one.” And then, I explained to them that just like gold can be cut down into tiny, tiny units and sizes down to a tiny earring on mom's ear. Bitcoin, same thing. You've got these Satoshis I think they're called where a single Bitcoin has 100 million Satoshis in it. So, it can obviously get broken down pretty well. And whereas, gold still has a decent amount of volatility. And, it's got some things going for it, it's just that Bitcoin, it's more slick, it's transportable, it's instant, and it seems as though if we are going to move on from the fiat standard rather than going back to gold, going forward to Bitcoin seems like a pretty logical choice.
Robert: Yeah. Not only a logical choice, but it becomes a game-theoretic imperative. To succeed in the marketplace, it's in every individual organization and institution's best interest to hold the money that is maximally resistant to the opinions of others. That's to say that a money that can't be inflated, can't be stolen, can't be taxed, can be preserved and moved cheaply, easily, securely. That's what the world via the free market zeros in on. That's what gold was. Gold was the most divisible, durable, recognizable, portable, and scarce monetary technology we ever had as a species historically. And, Bitcoin has just taken those critical economic properties of gold and effectively perfected them. I mean, there's a long spiel here. I'd say just go check out.
Ben: Yeah. Even with the time we have available right now, we probably won't even be able to get into that. I don't want to position this podcast as the ultimate go-to guide to Bitcoin as much as getting people thinking about this stuff.
Robert: If you evaluate money through what services people seek to render from money or what properties they seek in money, Bitcoin is effectively the most perfect monetary technology that's ever been invented. Darwinian self-interest/game theory indicates to the rational mind that all economic actors will adopt this money out of self-interest at some point. It's just a matter of what the Bitcoin community here calls the IQ test. Bitcoin is an IQ test. Have you done your homework to understand what money is and realize the importance of holding hard money, or honest money, or money that's resistant to opinion? You can do the homework and adopt it now, or you can just live through the pain that's ahead via inflation, taxation, shrinking of the state, increased aggression of the state. All of these things, you're going to want to be insulated from. And, Bitcoin is the mechanism that lets you insulate yourself from the others.
Ben: Yeah. And, my only hesitation is that due to at least the current volatility with the current moves over the past couple months being a perfect example of Bitcoin compared to gold than the fact that Bitcoin does have a lot of periods of what I think is called high correlation. It mirrors the price action of a lot of assets, and commodities, and currencies. And so, it does have a little bit more volatility and a lot more correlation than gold does. And so, my philosophy is, I'm not putting all my eggs in the bitcoin basket. I've got gold. I've got silver. I've got guns. I've got ammo. I've got sardines. But Bitcoin, I would say, is where I'm putting a decent amount of my focus at this point as far as where I feel that we're probably going to be moving on to from the current fiat standard.
Robert: Yeah. I mean, everything's [01:02:45] _____ to me. I don't know what's going to happen. But, for me, yeah, I agree with you on all the points about I don't hold physical silver. I don't think that's useful. I don't hold physical gold. I think it could be marginally useful under certain scenarios, but I feel good holding U.S. dollars right now and Bitcoin. I only hold U.S. dollars because of the historical patterns of markets. We tend to have these giant deflationary busts, these liquidity crises like we saw in March 2020 that becomes an overwhelming buying opportunity for holders of dollars. So, somewhat paradoxically actually hold dollars as an insurance policy on central bank-induced volatility. And really, I'm looking for one of those big liquidity crises so I can go in and buy a shitload more Bitcoin at a 40 to 50% discount. I also buy Bitcoin every single day, I just have an automatic recurring purchase.
Ben: You do like daily dollar-cost averaging.
Robert: Your daily dollar-cost averaging and daily–well, not daily, but every time it reaches a certain quantity, it automatically withdraws the cold storage.
Ben: Do you have that set up on an automated basis or you have to do that manually.
Robert: No, I have it set up. I use Swan Bitcoin for that currently. And then, also the revenue that I generate in the business is not smooth, it's not consistent every month, so sometimes I have big chunks of dollars come in. And, I'll use that to be opportunistic and buy more Bitcoin preferably on a price step. I have a lot of peace of mind in that portfolio construction because I have the most supreme store value asset that the world has ever seen as my primary savings technology or treasury asset. And then, I have dollars as an option on all the bullshit in the world. If things get volatile or crazy, or there's a crisis, then I can step in and buy things at a discount from four sellers.
Ben: Okay. So, I know we're getting a little bit long in the tooth and we have actually accomplished my objective of basically bringing my listeners up to speed on why they might want to be thinking about this, and also introducing them to you as someone I would consider to be a trustworthy and wise voice in this realm. But, I would be remiss, of course, as many of these podcasts are focused through the lens of health not to ask you a couple of questions. One, that's just kind of been rolling around the back of my mind that you may or may not have insight into. It seems a bunch of Bitcoiners are into things like the carnivore diet, and biohacking, and nootropics or smart drugs. Am I just seeing things or is there like this flavor amongst the crypto crowd that seems to include considerations of some of these more fringe dietary and supplementation concepts?
Robert: Well, Bitcoin specifically is very interesting in that. It seems to be inducing these personal transformations in people. It's one of the most fascinating sides of the Bitcoin culture. And, I've experienced this in my own life. There was the fiat me, I mentioned this earlier version of me that was a career CFO sort of stepping into possibly CEO position, I was very well compensated. But, I was single, no kids, I was just kind of becoming a darker version of myself, I was just traveling and enjoying all the fruits of that lifestyle but at the same time feeling emptier and emptier inside. My work was not as fulfilling. And, a lot of this was probably contributing to my desire to go work for myself. There's just something missing increasingly on the fiat path. But then, getting into Bitcoin, it's argued and almost popularized this concept of time preference that the ability to hold the money that holds its value over time reliably lets you consider the future more, which is to say lower your time preference. And, when you start to lower your time preference and more deeply consider your future or more further consider the future, looking further into the future and making decisions in the present that include all the information and consideration from a broader spectrum of possibility into the future, you start to make better decisions in life. You start to eat healthier. You start to focus more on sleep, focus more on community, and stress management.
Ben: By the way, that's a good point. The ability to hold a form of money that holds its value into the future reduces the uncertainty about the future, it leads to what you just called a lower-time preferences or less discounting of the future. And, a lower-time preferences is basically what allows for the process of civilization to take place. You get increasing capital accumulation, rising productivity, and improved living standards. And, people take better care of their health and better care of the planet because they're not living for today.
Robert: Yeah. The aggregate time preference is quantified by the natural interest rate. And, this is somewhat of a bit complex topic, but essentially time preference is civilization. The lower our time preference, the more we plan for a more distant future, which is to say we accumulate more capital as a buffer against the uncertainty and risk inherent to an unknowable future. The more capital we create, the more wealth we have as a civilization. The more wealth we have as a civilization, the less we need to fight over things. There's just more to go around, there's more abundance. And, you also in these institutions that have say strong property rights, for instance, there's a direct financial incentive embedded in that to increase morality because that's actually going to be a more wealth-producing strategy to be honest and have a long-term trading relationship with someone versus–and, that would be in a world where property is strong. If I can't take your stuff from you, then my only real wealth creation or acquisition strategy is to make some stuff. I need to actually create value in the world. And so, there is this deep relationship between the structural characteristics of money, financial incentives, and what types of morality emerge.
People that swap out their life and start to denominate themselves on Bitcoin, there do seem to be observable differences in their lives and their behaviors. And, they tend to be positive. People focusing more on family, less drinking, better exercise habits, better dietary routines, et cetera. So, I used to drink a lot more, just kind of a social drinker party type guy, and then getting into Bitcoin that's almost fallen to zero for me. I didn't drink at all for 18 months. I do it occasionally now but not much.
Ben: Now, you're on Kauai, so it's all fresh-pressed juices and kombucha, right?
Robert: Something like. So now, actually, I'm almost carnivore. I mean, they call this the abundance diet, actually. In the morning, I do a raw milk smoothie with blueberries and some collagen protein powders. I have steak for lunch and I have steak for dinner, steak butter salt, steak butter salt. And, I surf, go to the beach, hike, and go to the gym.
Ben: That's a pretty darn good protocol, man. You got water, you got photonic light energy, you got negative ions, you got nutrient density of all those components. Honestly, the only thing I'm hearing that you may not have that you could consider at again would be a little bit of organ meats like some liver, or heart, or kidney, some of the nose to tail components if you're not doing that already. But, that's a pretty darn good program, man.
Robert: I do eat some organs. I have a ground beef that has, I think, kidney, heart, liver. But, I eat that pretty often as well. But yeah, I need to eat more raw organs.
Ben: I do a smoothie very much like you. Most of the mornings, my smoothie is bone broth and raw goat yogurt. And then, I add goat colostrum to that. And, I blend it up with ice, but I always have frozen liver bites in my freezer. All I do is just buy liver, I soak it in buttermilk or kefir for a day, and then rinse it, blend it in the Nutribullet, pour it into little molds, and I keep those molds in my freezer. So, when I make my morning smoothie with the colostrum and the goat yogurt and everything, I just throw a handful of the liver in there. And, it feels like I'm drinking lifeblood. It's amazing.
Robert: That sounds really good. So, you're with Kion actually. I use your colostrum as well in the smoothie. I think, it's beef colostrum–
Ben: Yeah. That's exactly what I use is the colostrum is a cow colostrum. I mean, I've got six goats, so my sons actually go out there and milk them every morning. So, I just always have all this goat milk in the fridge. And, there's a doctor named Dr. William Davis, and he has developed some of the most amazing gut healing, sleep-enhancing, muscle building yogurt recipes that exist. He tells you which probiotics to buy on Amazon. You buy them once. Because once you bought them, you can always use one batch yogurt to make the next batch. And so, I made a bunch of this yogurt using Dr. William Davis's recipes. I'm going to interview him in a couple weeks actually about the yogurts. We did a whole podcast just on yogurt. And so, that's what goes in my smoothie with the liver and the colostrum. And then, you just dress that up, whatever, ice, stevia, salt. Yeah, like I said, it's like lifeblood.
Robert: Well, I need to look that guy up.
Robert: I had some, I guess, mild gut inflammation from, I guess, my past lifestyle kind of drinking high-stress work or whatever. And, I've been dealing with that through this new diet. And, that's part of the reason I use the colostrum. But, I'd like to learn about this William Davis's–
Ben: Yeah. His new book, I think, it's called “Super Gut.” “Super Gut.” And again, I'll do a podcast with them soon. The book's big, but all I want to hone in is the yogurt because yogurt, I think, is the best part of the whole book.
We got to go soon. We got to go soon, but what I'm going to do is for everybody who wants to check out your book. And also, Robert's podcasts are dense, I'll tell you guys that, but just go at least check out a few, maybe some of his earlier podcasts. I think, Robert, you did a series with Michael Saylor. I think that was your best series because what Robert does for you guys listening is he'll interview one person 5 or 10 or 12 times. It'll be a series. So, I would say if you were going to go and dig into any of Robert's work, at least from my subjective viewpoint, his series with Michael Saylor is really good. And then, his book, “Thank God for Bitcoin” is really good. I'd also, if you're thinking about it, pick up the books, “The Bitcoin Standard” and “The Fiat Standard,” which I think pair pretty well with Robert's book. And, I don't know, am I forgetting anything, Robert?
Robert: No, that's it. You can check me out on Twitter. It's @Breedlove22, B-R-E-E-D-L-O-V-E-2-2. There's links to all my work there. And, yeah, I'm happy to engage on any of these ideas. I really feel fortunate to be working in this space and I consider it to be my last work or get a deep passion for fixing the money to help fix the world. So, hopefully, the area that I'm contributing to is education. I'm learning out loud, basically, and I get to engage with the smartest people in the world and very sophisticated deep long-form dialogue, and people really seem to enjoy that. So, that's what the show is all about.
You mentioned the Saylor series, that was my first series. We did 17 episodes together so far for about 20 hours of content. And, if you haven't Michael Saylor speak yet, then what do you [01:15:16] _____. Put it to the top podcast queue. This guy is like Steve Jobs on steroids or something. I mean, he's really truly a phenom.
Ben: Yeah, it's great. As a matter of fact, it was so good. I do this a lot just based on the concept of space repetition. I'll listen to a podcast and then sometimes go over like the podcast notes website and review over there. Or, in some cases, I will have my assistant do a big vision overview of all the key points and key takeaways from the entire podcast and create these comprehensive shownotes for me. And, that sounds like it's expensive to go through a 17-podcast series and then pay somebody to transcribe it and make shownotes out of it for you. But, I'll just put them in a binder. And then, after I listen, I'll read them all.
Robert: There's a guy on Twitter, Stephen Chow, he transcribed the entire series. I think I linked to those in the shownotes. But, if you can't find them, just DM me, I'll do my best to respond. I get a lot of DMs.
Ben: Yeah, careful what you wish for.
Alright. Well, I'll link to all this stuff at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Breedlove. It's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/B-R-E-E-D-L-O-V-E.
Robert, thanks so much for giving your time and coming on sharing this stuff with us. I think it's an important conversation and I'm hoping that it helps out a lot of people.
Robert: Yeah, Ben. Thanks for having me. This was a lot of fun.
Ben: Alright, cool folks. I'm Robert–I'm not Robert Breedlove, he's Robert Breedlove along with me, Ben Greenfield, signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
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Robert Breedlove, author of the book Thank God For Bitcoin, is a Bitcoin-focused entrepreneur, writer, and philosopher. He was raised in Tennessee attending Southern Baptist Churches but spent most of his adult life “spiritual, yet agnostic.” Through his explorations down the proverbial “Bitcoin rabbit hole,” Robert found himself becoming reacquainted with Christianity at the age of 33. He was particularly inspired by Austrian economics and the teachings of Jordan Peterson, which helped him reconcile his purely objective outlook on reality with its more subjective dimensions of valuation, morality, and meaning.
Robert calls himself a “Freedom Maximalist” and believes he has found his life’s work in the Bitcoin space as a contributor to the separation of money and state. Through his writing and media work, Robert aims to elucidate the importance of freedom and self-sovereignty across all spheres of human action. You can find Robert on Twitter (@Breedlove22) where he posts about Bitcoin, macroeconomics, and philosophy.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-The journey to becoming a “Freedom Maximalist”…07:45
- Entrepreneurial Strategist out of college
- Spent years optimizing tax strategies (tax code has ~9 million words, very difficult to know all of it)
- Became CFO for a startup event planning company; health and software companies followed
- Began CFO consulting company in 2016
- Got involved in cryptocurrency in 2016
- “Smart Contracts” (self-executing contract) such as a vending machine
- Nick Szabo
- The entire financial industry is a “smart contract.” Any work function that can be adapted into an algorithm is called a dry code and can be provided more efficiently with a smart contract.
- Nick Szabo podcast
-The Creature and its cronies fight for survival in the digital age…19:00
- The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin
- Another lightbulb moment – Bitcoin is disruptive to gold; gold as the prime money of geopolitics
- Nation-states hold around 20% of the world's gold supply
- Gold is now undergoing disruption from Bitcoin
- The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous
- The Fiat Standard by Saifedean Ammous
-What is money, anyway?…32:07
- Robert's podcast, What is Money
- Money is one of the primary motivators of human action, for better or worse
- Is taxation theft or not?
- If people really dig for answers, and they understand what money is, they'll eventually find Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies
- Bitcoin meets all the qualities of “sound money”: proof of work, scarcity, limited supply, etc.
- Bretton Woods Conference
- U.S. held most of the gold reserves in the world at Ft. Knox
- Germany tries to redeem gold in the '70s, unsuccessfully
- Nixon cuts ties to gold from the U.S. Dollar in 1971
-Why strong private property rights are necessary for prosperity to thrive…49:06
- Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein
- Leads to profiting off a demand for a pseudo solution such as face masks – The Secret, Absurd World of Coronavirus Mask Traders and Middlemen Trying To Get Rich Off Government Money
- Faulty assumption that all humans are good by nature
- Bitcoin dis-incentivizes dishonesty
- Men create more wealth by cooperating, division of labor
- Free trade increases productivity and accelerates innovation, further increasing productivity
- Strong property rights are the core of a free society
-The superiority of Bitcoin to any other financial medium…56:14
- 5 traits of “sound money”:
- Recognizability / Fungibility
- Bitcoin is the only sensible option for those who truly understand the nature of money
- Robert only holds U.S. dollars and Bitcoin in his portfolio
- Swan Bitcoin
-Health protocols and biohacks common among Bitcoin enthusiasts…1:04:57
- “Fiat” Robert vs. “Bitcoin” Robert
- You lower your “time preference” by considering the deep issues that Bitcoin raises
- Lower time preference (living for tomorrow) is the core fundamental of building a civilization
- “Abundance Diet”
- Milk smoothie with blueberries and collagen protein powder in the morning
- Steak for lunch and dinner
- Ground beef with organ meats (kidney, heart, and liver)
- Ben's morning smoothie recipe:
- Bone broth
- Goat milk (from the goats in the backyard) or get it from Amazon here
- Frozen liver cubes
- Dr. William Davis yogurt recipe:
- 2 cans coconut milk
- Omica Organics vanilla stevia (I use six dropper fulls)
- 4 heaping scoops Great Lakes Powdered Gelatin
- 10 BioGaia Gastrus L-Reuteri probiotic capsules, ground with a mortar and pestle
- 2 scoops acacia fiber
- 2 scoops Vitamin C powder
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- Super Gut by Dr. William Davis
-And much more!…
- Six Senses Retreat Portugal (March 7 – 11, 2022)
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar
Resources from this episode:
– Robert Breedlove:
- The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin
- The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous
- The Fiat Standard by Saifedean Ammous
- Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein
- Super Gut by Dr. William Davis
– Other Resources:
- US Wellness Meats (use code BEN to save 15%)
- Great Lakes Wellness Collagen And Gelatin Powders (use codeBEN10 to save 10%)
- Kettle And Fire Bone Broth (use code GREENFIELD to save 20%)
- Kion Colostrum
- Organic Coconut Milk
- Omica Organics Stevia
- BioGaia Gastrus L-Reuteri Probiotics
- Acacia Fiber
- Vitamin C Powder
- Jordan Peterson
- Nick Szabo
- Nick Szabo Podcast
- Bretton Woods Conference
- Nixon Ends Convertibility of U.S. Dollars to Gold and Announces Wage/Price Controls
- The Secret, Absurd World of Coronavirus Mask Traders and Middlemen Trying To Get Rich Off Government Money
- Swan Bitcoin
–Organifi Green Juice: Now you can get all your healthy superfoods in one glass…with no shopping, no blending, no juicing, and no cleanup. Get a 20% discount on your entire order when you use discount code BENG20.
–Kion Coffee: Elevate your daily grind with pure, delicious Kion Coffee. Available in Whole Bean or Ground, our coffee meets the highest standards for health and taste.
–JOOVV: After using the Joovv for close to 2 years, it's the only light therapy device I'd ever recommend. Give it a try: you won't be disappointed. For a limited time, Joovv wants to hook you up with an exclusive discount on your first order. Just apply code BEN to your qualifying order.
–Magnesium Breakthrough: Top 7 forms of magnesium for stress and better sleep, ALL IN 1 BOTTLE. Get a 10% discount when you use my link.