Preaching Crypto to Non-Cryptic Folks
Last week I was invited to give an introduction into Bitcoin and to discuss alternatives to the current monetary system by the member of the EU parliament Beatrix von Storch. I gladly accepted this opportunity to present Bitcoin (and other decentralised currencies) to an audience whose majority probably heard about it for the first time.
I like to speak at Bitcoin conferences, but I like even more not to "preach to the flock", but to introduce the concept of stateless money to people who are completely new to it.
Beatrix' party Alternative für Deutschland has originally been founded as a protest movement against the ridiculous "Euro saving activities" (dubbed "Without Alternative" by Angela Merkel), so they are naturally open to alternatives.
AfD is pretty conservative, and I suppose most of their members can only think of a revival of the Deutsche Mark as an answer to the failed Euro. But they do have a libertarian wing, which is small but still more relevant than in any other German party.
Some of their leading people like Beatrix von Storch and our other speaker Alice Weidel even have a good understanding of economics, which is rarely the case with German politicians. Nearly 300 people showed up for the event, which was heavily secured by the police, as AfD is regularly attacked by fascist groups (who call themselves "Anti-fascist", but use the same methods as Hitler's SA).
Beatrix gave the first talk about her work in the EU parliament and her campaigns against the Euro. I first met her in 2011, before she even became a member of parliament. Back then she organised a campaign of civil resistance against the "European Stability Mechanism" and other dangerous tools to rob our money.
She once invited me to sing my ska song Euroshima at a rallye in Karlsruhe, where the German surpreme court is based. It was fun, and we had a great conversation about politics and economics on the long train ride.
Then Alice Weidel, who studied economics and worked for several Internet start-ups, gave a good introduction into the flaws of the current monetary system. She even mentioned Friedrich August von Hayek and his concept to denationalise money.
So she perfectly laid the ground for my talk about Bitcoin and the competition of currencies. In my opinion, Bitcoin is the realisation of Hayek's ideas, which seemed to be utopian when he first presented them in the 1970s.
My friend Steffen Krug from the Institute for Austrian Asset Management, a leading expert in Austrian Economics, gave the Master of Ceremonies. He also moderated the Q & A session at the end, which was really vivid and interesting. People lined up in front of a microphone and asked all kinds of curious questions, most of them about Bitcoin.
It was obvious that my short talk had stirred many in the audience. Money without the state that cannot be touched? Isn't that an IT security problem? What happens if the Internet gets shut down? To which court shall I appeal if my Bitcoins get lost?
I loved the questions! It was quite a challenge to answer them in a way that was understandable to normal people who had probably never heard about mining and the blockchain before - but that is exactly what we need to do now.
Some people bought my book and I hope that many will try to get more information about decentralised money after this event. I am grateful for this chance and I am looking forward to more talks like this.
I even got a bottle of wine and a history book of Berlin as a present. Thanks!