Discussing Bitcoin And V For Vendetta

A group of movie-loving Bitcoiners discuss parallels between our current society and the society in “V For Vendetta”.

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[00:00:08] CK: What’s up Lauren, how’s it going?

[00:00:09] LS: Hey, how are you? I’m pretty good.

[00:00:12] CK: Really excited to have this space. Waiting on Svetski to join. If you can, it’d be great if you shared the tweet linking to your article to the top here.

[00:00:22] LS: Sure. Let me do that one second.

[00:00:25] CK: While we wait for Svetski and while Lauren is pinning her article to the top, I just want to really briefly introduce this space. Both Lauren and Svetski wrote articles about how Bitcoin and Satoshi Nakamoto and this, I guess, freedom fight that we’re fighting, all ties into the story of V for Vendetta and the 5th of November. Wanted to get on a space with both of them to discuss. Really exciting stuff. I’m really excited for this conversation.

It’s going to be a short one. Just one hour. But it should be action-packed. Before we get into it though, want to tell you guys about the Bitcoin Conference and Bitcoin 2022. Svetski just sponsored in a big way with Amber, so that’s super freaking exciting. Amber is doing some really great things, but Bitcoin 2022 is the ultimate Bitcoiner gathering in Miami, next year, April 6th through the 9th. Four-day event. Bitcoin only.

On the last day, we’re going to be having a Bitcoin music festival. You GA ticket gets you into all of that good stuff. We also have a lot of awesome VIP experiences as well. Go to b.tc, check out the site and go to Bitcoin 2022. You will not regret it. Svetski, welcome to the chat. How’s it going, my man?

[00:01:42] AS: Yo, what’s up buddy? I heard you say, it’s going to be an hour conversation. Why the hell did you invite me? I can stay for three hours.

[00:01:49] CK: Yeah, it’s going to be tough, but I’m going to try to reign you in and make sure Lauren has a shot to talk, too.

[00:01:54] AS: Oy, I actually did a short article. Can you believe that shit? What the fuck.

[00:02:00] CK: Yeah. Hey, let’s just jump right into it. Maybe Lauren, I want to give both of you an opportunity to talk about your articles. Lauren, maybe you want to start us off and talk about your article and then Svetski, you can follow up.

[00:02:11] AS: Absolutely.

[00:02:12] LS: Yeah. I started doing threads on Twitter about comparing films to Bitcoin, and I thought it was – and I work in film and I’m really passionate about film, but I’m also really passionate about Bitcoin. I thought it would be just something fun and lighthearted and a different comparison to Bitcoin and the value of Bitcoin. The first one I did was on The Matrix. Then, I think, V for Vendetta was my second one. It was just something fun and a different way. I think right now, Bitcoin, isn’t a big narrative battle.

I know, there are films out there being made that are not being made by Bitcoiners and people who genuinely want to put the right narrative out there, just more for profit. I think, this is another good way. I think, Bitcoin Twitter is awesome, but it’s only going to reach a certain audience. I think, we need to look into other mediums to tell our narrative.

I thought this would be something fun. I basically wrote the article, talking a little bit about the background of how the film was made. It was based on a book that was a little bit more graphic than the novel. They changed the film to be a little bit more about freedom versus being an anarchism, and also, another difference between the book and the film was that they incorporated a lot more influences than just the book. I know, a big influence was George Orwell’s 1984.

Again, it was a big influence on just individual liberty, versus state control. That’s the basis. It started off with just background history of the film and then getting into some different points. I took quotes from the film. After each quote, I just dissected it and analyzed it a little bit, on a sense then I compared the – to Satoshi and his fight for freedom and what the problem was and why he started to engage on this battle and how us as Bitcoiners have this responsibility to engage in the network.

At the end, if any of you, I don’t know if everyone’s seen for V for Vendetta, but V was never unmasked. We know Satoshi is never unmasked, which I think has great symbolism and that we are the ones carrying on Bitcoin. It’s all of us. V is us, Satoshi is us. This is a movement. It was fun. It was lighthearted and that’s a direction I went with it. Yeah, I guess that’s short overview.

[00:04:34] CK: Cool. No, I think that was a great overview. Anyone who hasn’t read it, it’s pinned to the top. Aleks, I guess I want to give you a chance to react to Lauren’s article and then maybe you can jump into your own.

[00:04:47] AS: Yeah. I haven’t had a chance to read Lauren’s. I’ve been jumping between conferences and stuff. Lauren don’t hate me. I think, I don’t know. I don’t have enough context to really comment.

[00:04:56] CK: All right. Let’s jump into your article. It definitely had a different tone, but very much of the same ethos.

[00:05:01] AS: Yeah, my tone is always similar across the board. What I wanted to do this time was just something short, sweet, and a reminder as to why we’re here in the first place. What actually inspired it was the TabConf, a speaking gig that I had to do. What’s his name? Mike Tidwell invited me. He’s like, “Hey, do you want to open the conference?” I was like, “Yeah, fuck it. Sure. Let’s do it.”

I was trying to think of what should I speak about. I looked at the data, thought, “Oh, shit, it’s 5th in November.” I have watched these event at a maybe 20, 30, maybe even 40 times. My favorite movies are basically, V for Vendetta, Braveheart, The Matrix, Fight Club, The Last Samurai, Legends of The Fall. That era then, I call the golden era of film, 1995 to 2005. That’s peak film, peak meaning, peak quality, peak, everything.

Yeah, I noticed the 5th of November and I said to Tidwell, I said, “Look, I know this is more of a technical conference,” but I said, “I’m not going to really add much value to the conference from a technical standpoint. Where I can add some value is to remind everyone why we’re here.” It was just, I sat down – Actually, no, I didn’t sit down. I was in Dominican Republic with my girlfriend and she was coughing, poor thing had pneumonia and she wouldn’t shut the fuck up, because she kept coughing.

I was like, “Goddamn it. I couldn’t sleep.” Then just something hit me. While I was asleep, basically, while I was in bed, I just quickly wrote up the talk in in five minutes. I was like, “Okay, this looks good.” Next morning, I got up. I cleaned it up a little bit and then I thought, “Shit, this is a nice little punchy article, actually.” Anyway, I put it together and the whole premise, if no one’s read it, it’s literally five minutes. It’s a reminder to think about Bitcoin as a much larger phenomenon than just another financial product, but just another way to get rich or make some money. It’s not just another fucking fourth turning event, like a cultural phenomenon. It is so much greater.

We’ve seen echoes of what’s happening in society today, all throughout history. We keep repeating the same mistakes. For me, Bitcoin represents a step change in that process, and something that we can stop repeating the same ridiculous cycles that we’ve had in the past. Yeah, that’s what my goal was, to remind people, remember this is the 5th of November, the Bitcoin, I think I called it the Bitcoin revolution and plot. This is hopefully the time where we can actually, we don’t have to blow up any buildings. We don’t have to do anything like what Guy Fawkes was trying to do in the absence of Bitcoin. We can do it in a way that fixes everything, but empowers everyone along the way. There you go. That’s my 2 cents.

[00:07:43] CK: Awesome. No, thanks for the background there, too. Neil, you’re on stage right now. Curious what your thoughts between the connection between Bitcoin Satoshi and then this story behind the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes, V for Vendetta.

[00:07:55] NJ: Yeah. I think, V for Vendetta is the perfect movie right now for what we’re going through. I remember when it came out around 2005, 2006. It was right after the US went to war in Iraq. A lot of the parallels, there were a lot of parallels into the movie about waterboarding prisoners and patriot act type stuff. Now we’re dealing with a virus that there was a lot of conspiracies behind. There was manufactured, or whether it occurred naturally.

Obviously, V for Vendetta, they released the virus to scare people. Not that I’m saying that’s exactly what’s happening now, but we have governments definitely overreaching and using scare tactics on their citizens. At least, that’s my perspective. It’s really poignant to, like I said, what we’re going through. Bitcoin enables us to break away from this fear. Whoever controls the money, controls the people that rely on that money, and Bitcoin frees us from that. Hopefully, it will prevent things, like V for Vendetta, dystopian type scenarios from playing out in the future.

It feels like right now, a lot of us are living through that depending on where you are in the world. I really think Bitcoin is going to stop that from happening in the future.

[00:09:20] CK: Just to continue this conversation – Wait. Svetski, do you want to react to that?

[00:09:24] AS: I was just going to say, it’s funny, all these movies almost became instead of a warning, they became documentaries as if the moron parasites like, watch them and they’re like, “This is a great idea. How about we release the virus and fuck everyone over, and then pretend like it was not?” I don’t know. I just find it hilarious. It’s funny, because I always used to call V for Vendetta a documentary. I remember, Nick Carter wrote a couple of really brilliant articles a couple years ago, and one of them, he wrote, which I think he published on his own blog, and the other one was in the Bitcoin Times edition two. They both opened with a quote from the movie.

I don’t watch shows. I don’t watch TV. I haven’t had a TV for 20 years, at least. I don’t do any of that stuff, but movies have always been a big part of my life, because I just – I love storytelling and these ones in particular, and for me, V for Vendetta just holds a special place in my heart. I don’t know, hold a special place for people like Ross Ulbricht as well. It was one of the things every 5th of November, him and the crew on Silk Road would watch that together. It’s a special thing.

It is already well-embedded in our culture. When I say our culture, the Bitcoin culture. What we’re seeing is elements of those warnings actually playing out around us. Unfortunately, people are still fucking sleeping. I don’t know, maybe we need to get more people to watch these movies. I know everyone that I hold dear to my heart. I basically, forced them to watch V for Vendetta and a series of other movies. I don’t know if I had a point there, but I just wanted to say that V for Vendetta is not a movie. It’s a documentary.

[00:10:52] CK: Lauren, do you want to jump in?

[00:10:53] LS: Yeah. I’d love to add to that. I think, another really interesting aspect of the film is when V goes into the newsroom and he hijacks it, and he goes on this 10-minute monologue. The basis of the monologue is not him necessarily placing blame on the government. He’s actually placing blame on the people and saying, “You guys need to wake up. Yeah. You guys need to wake up. This is in your hands. You guys are sitting around and letting them get away with this.” To me, that was really interesting. I think, that’s also the basis of Bitcoin. Look, it’s in our hands. It’s our option to opt in. By doing that, we’re taking things into our own hands.

Coming into point with financial literacy, I think most of our world is very financially illiterate and that’s in our hands and that is that’s our fault. If we can’t educate ourselves and look into what’s going on, then we are just sitting by and letting things happen. If we take things into our own hands and that’s on us. I think, that’s why what’s so cool about Bitcoin is that we’re finally at a point where we can do something about this and it’s not like these tactics, which are, they say, his tactics were very terroristic. Bitcoin is the most peaceful tactic we’re ever going to have to fight such a big-scale problem. I think, that’s what’s so special, but it’s up to us ultimately.

[00:12:09] CK: I like that point too, because this is the world that we’re seeing right now is that these encroachments are coming. Two weeks to slow the spread, and when are the people going to stand up and say enough is enough. If they keep complying, then isn’t it on them to some degree? It is a battle that is up a hill, because we’re seeing on Twitter, all these videos of protests, but no mainstream coverage of them. It does feel the chips are stacked against the people to some degree here.

[00:12:37] LS: Totally. Yeah. I definitely think so. It’s only going to do so much, but I feel Bitcoin – It’s simple. You just buy Bitcoin, you opt out of the current system and you opt into one that’s for the people. I think, it’ll take care of itself. I think, that’s what’s so cool. That’s how the film ends. V, he dies and ultimately, the people take over from there, and they have that incredible shot where everybody’s in a V for Vendetta masks, which is so powerful. I think, that’s what the stage that we’re in right now with whether it’s –

I don’t talk too much, just because I work in film and I’m not working in Bitcoin full-time, I don’t talk too much about politics and vaccines and masks. It’s just not something I’m comfortable with doing for where I’m at career-wise. I think, ultimately, my beliefs are that Bitcoin is going to fix a lot of these problems in the end. I just focus solely on Bitcoin. I think, Bitcoin is going to work its way out with all these other problems in the world. Yeah, I think this is the best thing. I think, we’re at the stage right now. I think, if we just keep focusing on this, things will go in a better direction.

[00:13:39] NJ: How you said V sacrifices himself at the end. Satoshi, although he didn’t necessarily die, we don’t know what happened. He did disappear. He said, “This is out of my hands.” He left it for all of us. It’s the same thing that a V did in the movie.

[00:13:52] AS: It’s the symbolic nature of the act. Exactly. In the same way as Guy Fawkes, his act was symbolic. The movie, V’s act is symbolic. It’s the exact same thing here is that Satoshi’s mood was symbolic. Does anyone actually know the first time – I think, this would be hard to pinpoint, but when the V for Vendetta meme started being attributed to Satoshi, does anyone have any insight on that?

[00:14:16] CK: The original issue of the Bitcoin Magazine in 2012 has a person holding a sign saying, “The corrupt fear us. The honest support us. The heroic join us.” He’s wearing a headscarf and the Guy Fawkes mask. That may have been the first time, but that may have also just – maybe it was already a thing. I came in 2017. I’m a little late to that. Maybe Mr. Hoddle, or some of the OTs. Hoddle would have more insight. Definitely in 2012, the connection was really being made in the front cover of the original Bitcoin Magazine had the Guy Fawkes mask.

[00:14:51] AS: Yeah. It’s so fucking iconic. It’s just, I don’t know, for me, probably the three most relevant films to Bitcoin are probably on – Matrix and V for Vendetta are probably the two that stand out. Fight Club’s up there with them as well. It’s just uncanny and unfortunately, these days, the dribble we see coming out of fucking Hollywood and film is just, it’s a disaster. Everything is dripping with cringe and –

[00:15:16] CK: Cringe or bullshit remake.

[00:15:18] AS: Yeah. That’s it. Exactly. There’s nothing authentic. There’s no movies with meaning anymore. It’s fucking pathetic.

[00:15:23] CK: I agree. I stopped watching movies a few years ago, so maybe I’m just ignorant too, if there is any movies with meaning.

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[EPISODE CONTINUED]

[00:16:27] CK: We got Alex McShane. We have Clancy. We have Humble Warrior all joining. Clancy, I want to go to you. You are the artist who actually did the art on both of these pieces. I’m curious, what’s your impression of the connection between V for Vendetta and Bitcoin?

[00:16:42] CR: Hey, guys. Sorry. I’m at the Apple Store right now. It might be loud, but I think, it’s one of those things that it represents anonymity obviously, but also, I think the symbolism of V being the people, like he never reveals his face. It’s one of those things where it was the perfect alignment of what he represented and the people and Satoshi. You can’t go wrong. I don’t know if that makes sense.

[00:17:10] CK: Humble or Alex, you guys want to jump in?

[00:17:13] AM: Yeah, I think to me, I read like, it’s hard for me to say who is and was not a Bitcoiner. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, Pete Rizzo’s take on it. I liked the mask, because it strips that need to pin an identity on a Bitcoiner. In the end, we’re all either pro Bitcoin, for each individual moment, or acting against it, and our individual influence. I think, is like orthogonal to Bitcoin’s performance. I do like that removing the human aspect from Bitcoin through the mask.

[00:17:45] AS: That comes back into the symbolic nature of this movie, Satoshi, Bitcoin itself. You can’t kill an idea. It also reminds me of just another element of Bitcoin and its transformation of money into information. It’s like, whenever people ask me about, oh, what if this happens and what if that happens? What if they make Bitcoin illegal? It’s like, anyone can do anything and they can hamper it and they might be able to slow it down. The Internet, for example, is not Bitcoin. Bitcoin is information. Internet is just the information transmission medium.

Yes, should the Internet fall apart fucking everywhere, it will be very difficult and impractical, impossible to send each other Bitcoin around the world, live in the way we do now with the Internet. Fundamentally speaking, Bitcoin doesn’t really stop. I mean, if that happened, we’ve got much bigger problems to worry about, because everything else would fucking stop as well. Planes have stopped falling out of the sky.

It’s just like, the U S government or any power that be in the same way as they cannot kill an idea, whether it’s let’s go to Brandon, or whether it’s whether it’s the number zero. You can’t turn off numbers, like you can’t turn off a fucking word. You can’t turn off a letter. It’s not going to work. You can’t just turn off Bitcoin. That symbolism, I think, is really – I don’t know. It permeates Bitoin’s race on data, and it’s something that I think a lot of people underestimate about Bitcoin and just its resilience.

Money has become information. It’s no longer an object that is either physical, or issued by someone who can turn it off and turn it on at will and tell you what to do with it. No one can tell you to stop thinking about the number zero. It’s not going to fucking happen. That to me is the ultimate thing that you can’t stop. The V for Vendetta message is of that ilk. That’s what it’s telling people.

[00:19:32] CR: Yeah. I love the quote from the movie. It says, beneath this mask, there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask, there’s an idea [inaudible 00:19:38]. Ideas are bulletproof.

[00:19:41] AS: 1000000%.

[00:19:42] CR: That’s why I also love the argument, when people say, “Oh, Bitcoin’s a scam. The CIA started it.” There’s all these arguments going back. All this playing with the real Satoshi, and he comes out and wants to move his point. It doesn’t matter. The idea has been implanted. The seed has been planted and it’s growing and you can’t stop the signal.

[00:20:01] AS: Exactly. Literally at this point, it is its own thing. Basically, I don’t know, I’m already, I believe we’re a post-type of Bitcoinization. It’s just materializing. On a long enough timeframe, and really ranting about this recently, is like this, before Bitcoin and after Bitcoin. It was in the after Bitcoin era. It’s going to be messy for a period, but there is no turning it off now. There is no finishing it. Satoshi can come back. He can dance around and do whatever the fuck he wants. None of it actually fucking matters. Bitcoin is here. The cat’s out of the bag. That’s actually the name of the article that Nick Carter wrote for Bitcoin Times edition two, the cat is out of the bag. It’s basically that idea. It’s out, it’s in the wild. The idea is already infected the world, and it’s not going away. You can’t put that genie back in the bottle.

[00:20:47] CK: No, I agree that you can’t put the genie out of the bottle. The genie can be suppressed for a long time, and that can be painful for Bitcoiners. I think,..