In this episode, I talked with Ben Buchanan author of The Hacker And The State. We look at Ben's research into 'Shadow Brokers', the mysterious hacker group who first appeared in the summer of 2016,  attempting to auction off a treasure trove of previously unknown NSA exploits. We discuss the hackers' tense relationship with the media, possible suspects including Kaspersky Labs, and motivations Shadow Brokers may have had beyond their claims that it was 'all about the Bitcoins'.


In this episode, we meet Rich Myers of mesh networking company GoTenna. Rich is developing the Lot49 protocol, which both allows Lightning transactions over a local mesh network and uses Bitcoin incentives to increase the adoption of the network. Rich and I discuss the history of wireless networking and how P2P meshes could turn out to be critical in a time of crisis; why and to what extent we can consider our contemporary networks compromised through what Rich calls 'The Eye of Sauron' problem; and how Lot49 enables an internet-minimized micropayments solution which could function in a distressed, post-COVID environment.


In this episode, I talk to Sean Moss Pultz, CEO of Bitmark Inc. -- a company focused on enabling personal data sovereignty through blockchain technology. We discuss Bitmark's journey and the company's latest pivot to Spring, an app that helps users extract personal data from Facebook and put it to work in all kinds of interesting ways.

We discuss Seans's thoughts on data sovereignty and data rights as critical civics issues and look in detail at how Spring can empower a new level of control over your personal data, providing a much-needed counterweight to big platforms who regard your information as their intellectual property.

During these uncertain times, I'd love to connect with listeners more than ever. For that reason I'm temporarily opening the Patreon discord to anyone who wants to join -- just email me at [email protected] and I'll send you an invite. At times like this, we all benefit from exchanging information and ideas about what we should be doing and how to survive whatever comes next.


This conversation centers around Bitcoin - its past, present and future. Cedric Dahl's 1000x group, which describes itself as a 'private think tank' focused on finding black swans in the world of open and distributed protocols, has a thesis that Bitcoin is on the verge of 'superdominance' in which its value could multiply by a thousand or more from where it is right now. We discuss various evidence for this, from Bitcoin's increasing dominance as the key currency of the darknet, to a surge in coin-mixing on the Wasabi network and the possibility that asymmetrically disadvantaged nation states may be hoarding Bitcoin in order to tip the balance of power in their favour should a 'hyper-bitcoinization' scenario arise. Find out just when Cedric thinks the tipping point for that event might occur, and why the US Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is serious enough about this kind of 'black swan' bitcoin situation to to be sponsoring a study on just what the world would look like if the U.S. dollar lost its status as the world’s reserve currency. 


This is part one of a two-part interview with Finn Brunton, author of 'Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency'. In this part we dig into the secret pre-history of Bitcoin, including the World War 2 origins of public/private key cryptography, how Proof Of Work was initially proposed as a means to fight spam,  and how the 'Extropian' movement - which, Finn explains, stood for 'more life, more energy, more time, more space, more money... more everything! - collected an uncanny number of the early engineers contributing to what would eventually become Bitcoin.

If there's one key takeaway from this episode, it's that there's no one Satoshi Nakamoto -- Bitcoin's a bricolage of math, technology and ingenuity stretching back at least seventy years. Do any of the Extropians who had themselves cryogenically preserved, we wonder, have bitcoin wallets still till accruing value -- and will they still be able to recall their word seeds when they're brought back to life in a hundred years' time?