I'm Andrew McMillen, a freelance journalist and author based in Brisbane, Australia.
Our "fireside chat" – accompanied by a beautifully warming YouTube clip of a fireplace – went for about an hour, and included a mix of questions from myself and the audience. The full conversation can be viewed below.
Note: the interview begins at around 4 hours and 32 minutes into the livestream: click here to jump to the beginning of the session.
I have transcribed the fireside chat questions below. However, I'd really like your help to make this more user friendly to navigate!
If any Steemians feel like either providing clickable YouTube timestamps for each question, and/or transcribing Ned's answers in full, please create a separate post and reply below with a link. I'll edit this post to include those details. Thanks in advance.
Fireside chat questions, in chronological order:
- Ned, I wanted to ask if you could take us back a few years. You were sitting at the dining room table with your father, and you read an article on Yahoo Finance that mentioned Bitcoin. You were interested in this topic, and you turned to him and asked him what he thought of it. What did your father say?
- Your father is a longterm Wall Street trader and banker, right?
- A lot of the talk around cryptocurrency back then, and even now I suppose, was about the monetary value; the dollars associated with these currencies. Was that part of the initial attraction for you, or did you see something more at that time?
- From that early point, starting throughout 2013 and onwards, you were involved in Bitcoin meetups and travelling into New York City to meet people face to face, to talk about this whole ecosystem. As anyone in this room can probably attest, there's quite a lot of research required at first to get your head around understanding how cryptocurrency, and its functions in the world. Did you enjoy that process of self-education?
- To bring you closer to the present, was Steemit designed maybe in part as a way to bridge the gap between that huge amount of self-research and knowledge that was required to understand it a few years ago – was Steemit designed to bridge the gap between those heavily well-read people and the mass market, who may not have the time or inclination to read about it?
- [This is a conversation between Ned and myself, but if you guys have a question for him at any point, please raise your hand and we'll get a microphone to you.] Ned, if cryptocurrency can be thought of as a religion – perhaps you buy this premise, perhaps you don't – what are your intentions for enrolling more believers in cryptocurrency?
- Sticking with that idea of religion: have you had any religious experiences along your journey so far? Any that come to mind?
- Do you have people in your life, or in your business, who keep you in check in that regard? So if you're acting out in a certain way, or maybe being a bit too grandiose, are there people that bring you back down to earth?
- With Smart Media Tokens: how do you see that plugging into existing media organisations?
- With that example, I can see an objection that a media organisation might have: how do you moderate comments on a blockchain, which is immutable and uncensorable?
- I think everyone in this room would be on board with that, because they already have Steemit accounts, and they could be earning Steem on their comments on [the websites of] major news organisations. How do you see yourself convincing such organisations for getting on board? What's your roadmap for pitching to them, or getting them to say, 'Alright, we'll give it a go'?
- That's just one example of Smart Media Tokens being used. Are there other use cases that wanted to mention?
- This may be hard to answer, but do you have a launch date in mind, or a rough idea of when Smart Media Tokens will go live?
- You are the face of a cryptocurrency movement. What are the pros and cons of that role; being the public face of a currency and platform that hundreds of thousands of people use regularly?
- That's a diplomatic answer. Have you had any strange or unexpected interactions with fans over the last two years?
- Well, I'll give you a direct example I heard from someone last night. Last Steemfest, in Amsterdam, I believe several people came up to you and gave you artworks of your face they'd drawn themselves. What was you reaction?
- To return to financial matters: your account on Steemit has an estimated account value of USD$3.5 million. What does that mean to you?
- [Audience question about whether Ned has ongoing conversations with his father about cryptocurrencies]
- Many people have noticed that you have chosen not to participate in Steemit so much. You don't vote, you don't resteem very often, you comment a bit. Is that a conscious choice, and what's the thinking behind that?
- But why don't you vote? What's the thinking behind not voting? Is that to remain impartial?
- [Audience question about social change]
- You might be the world's first post blockchain nihilist...?
- What occupies more of your time, day-to-day: [working on] Steem or Steemit?
- [Audience question about the "elephant in the room"]
- [Audience question about Ned's hairdresser]
- [Audience question about value of Steem currency]
- You've had a lot of conversations over the last two years with people who don't understand Bitcoin, blockchain or Steem. What have you learned about how to frame those discussions for people, and tell it to them succinctly and directly?
- [Audience question about Steem delegations]
- [Audience question about using the staked value of @steemit account]
- [Audience question about upcoming 'communities' feature on Steemit]
- [Audience question about vision for the forthcoming year, and what Ned what like to be able to announce at Steemfest next year]
- [Audience question about value of Steem potentially decreasing when Smart Media Tokens are launched]
- [Audience question about vote buying on Steemit]
- Hypothetical: if you were to be looking Satoshi Nakamoto in the eye, meeting him or her or them for the first time, and had one question, what would you like to ask them?
- [Audience question about whether Steem will be described primarily as a social media token in future]
- Where does cryptocurrency fit into your daily or weekly life? Is it something that you use to buy things, or are you more of a holder?
- [Audience question about how Steemit will beat entrenched players in the social media space – I think that was the question, speaker was quite difficult to understand, apologies]
- [Audience question about using Steemit for crowdfunding projects]
- [Audience question about future direction of Steem price]
- Last question from me. You've learned a lot in the last two years, from already having a fair bit of knowledge to now running a company, a currency and a platform. Is there anything you now know about cryptocurrency that you wish you knew two years ago?
Once again: if you've read this far, I'd really like your help to make this post more user friendly to navigate!
If any Steemians feel like either providing clickable YouTube timestamps for each question, and/or transcribing Ned's answers in full, please create a separate post, and reply below with a link. I'll edit this post to include those details. Thanks in advance.