This interview with Dhruv Bansal was conducted by myself in an effort to gain valuable insight into a rather visionary mind of Bitcoiners, and I believe my mission was accomplished. Bansal’s responses are insightful and thought-provoking, allowing us to glimpse his thoughts on Bitcoin in general. Be sure to check his talk on Bitcoin 2021 here after reading the edited transcript of our interview below.
Casey Carrillo: Hello everyone, I have here Dhruv Bansal, co-founder and CSO of Unchained Capital.
I was lucky enough to have a question and answer email with Mr. Bansal, and we agreed to sit here at Bitcoin 2021, where I finally had the pleasure of meeting him in person. First of all, welcome to Bitcoin 2021, and I hope you are enjoying your time here.
Dhruv Bansal: Thanks Casey, it looks like I’m going to be a little overwhelmed, it looks like a great conference.
Cheek: Absolutely. So, jump right in: In your previous article, you mentioned that you are excited to see the Bitcoin-inspired discoveries other scientists make within their respective fields. What, in your opinion, gives Bitcoin this ability to inspire different ways of thinking about things?
Bansal: I believe that every time humanity discovers a new principle of organization, governance, construction or materials science, it affects everything. I think that’s true for the ideas of evolution and for the ideas of computation. I think we are seeing that with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is interdisciplinary. One of the things it does is that it distributes decision making, order matching, reality and truth in a way we’ve never seen before, which gives Bitcoin a lot of its strength and stamina and is what that makes it unique. I would love to see scientists and researchers of all kinds apply those kinds of thoughts and methods to other kinds of systems. My talk with Ryan you’re trying to apply some of this thinking to things like the internet, other networks, and civilization. But I think Bitcoin can go further: it can teach us how to deal with systems that don’t have a defined state at any given time, but eventually become consistent. We know this from databases quite intimately, but seeing that it doesn’t just affect a database in an esoteric programming context, but seeing normal people talking about the notions of forks and eventual consistency is really powerful. I love to see learning pervade humanity as a whole and allow us to be more informed about the tradeoffs and rules of distributed systems.
Cheek: I find your business, Unchained Capital, extremely interesting. What is your personal interpretation of the macroeconomic conditions surrounding the rise in the price of bitcoins and do you think the conditions we are currently in will continue?
Bansal: That’s an interesting question, and I’m certainly not an economist or anyone you should turn to for macroeconomic commentary, but what I will mention is that, like many Bitcoiners, I expected the price to surge enormously in 2021. Why? History, stocks to flow, four-year cycles. It feels a bit silly to say that just because it happened four years ago it’s going to happen again, but I’ve admitted to myself that that’s something I believe in. And here we are: it is happening again and it has been happening. Now honestly, it is not happening simply because it has been four years since the last time. It is happening for real reasons. Most people who buy bitcoin probably don’t care that four years ago it was cut in half or that last year we had a reduction in half. It’s very curious to me, to believe that the price would go up, to see things like the COVID pandemic happen, to see things like money printing go crazy over the last year and to see people pay attention to that and connect it to bitcoin. . And lo and behold, the price began to rise. And as much as I expected it to happen, I was still surprised to understand why it did. Obviously, no one expected the COVID pandemic. There are probably other reasons as well, that if I were more of a macroeconomic thinker, I could get out. For me, that has been the most interesting part of this whole process, knowing what would happen but not really knowing why and then seeing why and understanding the meaning behind why it happened.
Cheek: Coming off of that, I suppose you can believe that these conditions drive the price in the short term. Do you have a personal belief that in the long run these things are irrelevant to bitcoin and we are experiencing a kind of water flowing down a mountain, a kind of inevitability?
Bansal: I think that’s a good way to put it. I mean yeah, this is something Ryan and I were talking about: Bitcoin already won. And I’m not saying there is no risk or worry and that we should all be calm and not try to work hard to make this asset class better, richer, stronger and more robust. We should be doing those things. But essentially I think it’s already earned. That, in his words, is as if we are going downhill in the next fifty years as Bitcoin takes over all aspects of society and affects it in some significant way. However, even water running downhill has to deal with things in its path like obstacles, boulders, whatever you want. And there are many of those. So I think when we see the price go back 50%, that affects my business a lot, it affects a lot of people here. [Bitcoin 2021], so when I see that happen, I think “well, we’re still rolling down the hill, right?” For example, we’ll go back to $ 60,000 in a couple of months, maybe we’ll cross $ 100,000 after that. I still tend to be extremely optimistic. Of course it could be wrong and it won’t work this way, but I hope it continues to do, on the larger scale, what I think it is going to do, which is a huge price increase in the decades to come.
Cheek: Having conducted this interview on Bitcoin 2021, I want to ask you what you are looking forward to the most at the conference.
Bansal: Oh that’s an easy answer. There are so many people here that a part of me is worried that as I go through the conference and all the events, there will be so much noise and chaos. But the thrill is that there are so many people here, so many of my friends and colleagues, people that I have been reading for the past few years and admiring from a distance. And I’m going to meet them, have a few drinks, take a walk with them. You know, the opportunity to dig deeper and have that kind of conversation that you can only have in person is the great thing about lectures in general, and in particular that’s what’s going to be so great about this one for me.
I really appreciate Mr. Bansal taking the time to answer my questions on Bitcoin 2021. Thanks for reading and be sure to review his talk at the conference on YouTube.