OK Let’s Chat – Bitcoin in the Time of Coronavirus

OK Let’s Chat – Bitcoin in the Time of Coronavirus

As COVID-19 continues to change the way we live our daily lives, some communities are adapting more nimbly than others. The bitcoin community has proven particularly resilient, as Bitcoin Core developer Fabian Jahr observes. 

In this episode of OK Let’s Chat, Alex sat down with Fabian to discuss the overlap of “preppers”  and bitcoin early adopters, how social distancing is impacting the exchange of ideas, and the possible end of cash.

Fabian Jahr, Bitcoin Core developer

In the latest OK Let’s Chat, Alex talks to Bitcoin Core developer Fabian Jahr about what bitcoiners have in common with disaster preppers.

You can listen to our entire conversation above, but here are a few highlights:

The intersection of “preppers” and bitcoin adopters

There’s an intriguing intersection of “preppers” — people who plan ahead for disasters — and bitcoin early adopters. As host Alex put it, “When people are into bitcoin and into decentralization, oftentimes it’s because they don’t trust a centralized authority to solve a problem.” 

Fabian echoed Alex’s sentiments, observing that the bitcoin community seemed to be ahead of everyone else by about a month when it came to knowing about the spread of coronavirus. He observed that bitcoiners’ inclination to do their own research into the virus was likely driven by their pessimistic nature.

“I feel like people distrust the government in terms of handling things correctly, and especially think the government is going to downplay stuff in the beginning and is going to wait way too long with the measures that are necessary. Then that’s going to lead to supply chain disruptions and things like that. I think the “prepper” mindset or in general, the action of prepping, is a result of that kind of expecting the government to [mess] up in some kind of way and then the people are going to have to carry that burden,” Fabian said. 

Time zones are the real problem

The free exchange of ideas is a key tenet of the bitcoin community. COVID-19 precautions make traditional crypto conferences highly unlikely for the foreseeable future, but Fabian doesn’t believe the lack of face-to-face meetings will inhibit progress. When it comes to throttling the flow of information, the real killer isn’t lack of proximity, it’s time zones. 

“There’s lots of conversation going on over IRC and we have meetings there on a weekly basis on different topics. And of course over at GitHub there’s lots of communication, and there are also other channels people use if they have the need to discuss something over in greater detail and focus on something. 

Actually, I think the one thing that’s maybe the biggest problem for communication about ideas in the bitcoin core community is really time zones. You have people in the US, Asia, people in Europe. The weekly meetings are good for most of the US, okay for Europe, and then they are really bad for Asia and Australia.”

We’d like to thank Fabian for taking the time to speak with us! Be sure to subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

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