Dave Belvedere is a software engineer who searches for opportunities to make the crypto market more efficient and to make money at the same time – e.g. by exploiting arbitrage opportunities. Dave gives show host Gene Tunny and his colleague Tim Hughes an overview of cryptocurrency and also talks about NFTs and decentralized applications (dApps), such as Wizards & Dragons.
Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sending a voice message via https://www.speakpipe.com/economicsexplored.
You can listen to the episode via the embedded player below or via podcasting apps including Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
What’s covered in EP178
- What is Dave’s role in the crypto market? [1:10]
- What is a chain and how does it work? [3:39]
- How long does it take to make a transaction? [9:26]
- What does a crypto exchange (e.g. FTX) do? [15:30]
- What do we know about miners? [20:20]
- What’s the future of crypto currencies? [25:44]
- What is Ethereum and how does it work? [45:57]
- What are the pros and cons of crypto? [52:07]
- What are dApps? [57:01]
- What are the use cases? What would motivate you to have crypto? [1:06:33]
Links relevant to the conversation
Wizards & Dragons game:
Transcript: Crypto arbitrage searcher Dave Belvedere on crypto and dApps such as Wizards & Dragons – EP178
N.B. This is a lightly edited version of a transcript originally created using the AI application otter.ai. It may not be 100 percent accurate, but should be pretty close. If you’d like to quote from it, please check the quoted segment in the recording.
Gene Tunny 00:06
Welcome to the Economics Explored podcast, a frank and fearless exploration of important economic issues. I’m your host Gene Tunny. I’m a professional economist and former Australian Treasury official. The aim of this show is to help you better understand the big economic issues affecting all our lives. We do this by considering the theory evidence and by hearing a wide range of views. I’m delighted that you can join me for this episode, please check out the show notes for relevant information. Now on to the show. Dave Belvedere, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. Excellent Dave, joined by Tim Hughes. Of course, Tim, good to have you here too.
Tim Hughes 00:43
Hey, Gene. Good to be here mate.
Gene Tunny 00:44
And Tim, thanks for introducing me to Dave, who is involved in crypto and crypto is something that Tim and I have chatted about before, and we’re conscious that we need to know more about it, we’re at a certain level of understanding of it, and it’d be good to increase that understanding. So to kick off with Dave, could you talk about your involvement with crypto, please?
Dave Belvedere 01:10
Yeah, so I’m what I do is I’m classified as a searcher within cryptocurrency. So a searcher is somebody who looks for opportunities to make the market more efficient. So one of the classic examples is arbitrage. So when somebody adds a cryptocurrency to one side of a pool, so those get created by automatic market makers, which we can talk about, so yeah, yeah. So if they add, say, you know, 20,000 ETH to one side of the pool, and the other side of the pool holds USD t, then there’s an offset of the balance of how much USD T costs versus what the general market says.
Tim Hughes 01:48
So David, USD t is,
Dave Belvedere 01:50
it’s so sorry, yeah, the USDt is tether. It’s backed by sort of the organisation that runs it to maintain a level pay going against the US dollar. So it’s one to one to the US dollar. Okay. So there’s a couple of coins like that, that are referred to as stable coins. So this is within Ethereum, which is USD T and USDC. So us coin but it’s not the US market coin. So it’s not connected to the US government at all. Okay, so ETH is Ethereum and if there’s a theory, okay, and then you’ll have BTC, which is Bitcoin? Yeah.
Gene Tunny 02:29
And is there a simple way to explain the difference between Ethereum and Bitcoin?
Dave Belvedere 02:34
Yeah. In essence, the cryptocurrencies. So it’s cryptocurrency really is just a digital asset that’s backed by a cryptographic hashing algorithm. Digital Asset is something just like a bank account, or something like that. So yeah, we see it every day. Yeah, technically, all Australian dollars, when you start to pay with your credit card, that’s really just a digital asset. In this case, it’s a digital asset that is then secured by cryptography. So when you go visit the bank, you’ll usually see HTTPS, that s stands for secure, and that’s backed by cryptography. So same sort of mechanism. And in this regard, when we talk about Bitcoin and Ethereum , they’re actually two independent cryptocurrency chains. So they’re not really connected together. And what that means is that they operate a little differently. So Bitcoin was the first one, they came in around 2009. So a lot of people would have heard it, because, yeah, that the market value quite, quite hugely, I think, a couple of years ago, it was up to like 80,000, US or 80,000, Australian. And it’s come back down now. But yeah, head has gained a lot of popularity. So when we get into a chain, there’s a couple of things when we talk about what a chain is. So we would have all heard of the classical blockchain. And that’s what sort of secures Bitcoin and Aetherium. So blockchain is really an ledger, we probably always, always heard it. So transactions just get added, and you can’t go back and modify the transactions. And one way, well, the guarantee for that is the consensus mechanism that gets used. So let’s just say I make a couple of transactions on Bitcoin. So I’m sending some bitcoin to somebody else, that transaction gets added to a block. So there can be many transactions or none, no block. Yeah. And then that block then goes through all gets consensus with the rest of the network. So one of the differences are that, I guess one of the big differences with blockchains is that for most of the blockchains, that distributed systems, so nodes all around the world make up the actual blockchain. So there’s no one entity that can control the blockchain itself.
Tim Hughes 04:53
So this is the decentralised term when it’s used. This is what the what they mean by that.
Dave Belvedere 04:57
Yeah, yeah. So that’s sort of like you can shut down, say everything in the US, but the chain will still operate because you know, it’s in Europe, it’s in Asia, it’s in Australia. So you can’t really shut the chain down.
Tim Hughes 05:09
And is that just on that subject, is that one of the reasons that so much energy is needed for a transaction? Is that where that consumption comes in?
Dave Belvedere 05:17
So to a degree, there’s a couple of things that will maintain the security of the blockchain. So a couple of blockchain. So in this case, Bitcoin itself is actually vulnerable to a degree to the 51% attack. So when we talk about distributed systems, it’s different control most of those systems, you can do whatever you want in the system, which is classified as the 51%. Yeah, so I haven’t heard that term before. So if I control 51% of all miners, and let’s just say in Bitcoin, then I can make any transaction valid, because I control the majority. Yeah, the consensus mechanism that gets used as always a majority, if the most of the nodes agree that this transaction is valid, it’s valid, and there’s no going back once that transaction, that transaction has been committed, there’s there is a couple of nuances to that. So you can challenge a block if it hasn’t been finalised. But for the most part, we you can always just assume, as soon as that transaction gets committed into a block, and it’s on the blockchain, it’s there forever.
Gene Tunny 06:19
Yeah, but because it’s so decentralised. And there are so many 1000s I don’t know how many 10s of 1000s of people around the world who are they’re mining or whatever they’re doing. They’re overseas, so they’ve got a stake in it, then the probability of having that 51% attack is extremely low, isn’t it?
Dave Belvedere 06:40
Yeah, you need sort of a lot of a lot of materials and a lot of money, honestly, to get to that point. Yeah. So when something small, obviously, it’s easy. But yeah, given its past sort of popularity, and its nature, yeah, it gets gets very hard. And yeah, so the Yeah, it’s, it’s extremely hard to try and try and get that in a bunch of, there’s a collection, so you might not be able to create the block. So when we, when we talk about these miners, yeah, suddenly, to I guess sort of to lead up to is why miner are unnecessary in Bitcoin, now and previously, in Ethereum, is that they are looking for the next block. So they’re trying to get consensus on the block. Yeah. So when somebody commits a transaction that doesn’t get added to the blockchain, automatically, it goes to the miners. And what they’re doing is running the consensus algorithm. So the algorithm is just really cryptographic hash. And what it includes is the hash of the header of the previous block, plus all the transactions plus a random number. And what they’re trying to do is run that hash it such that they get a viable block, the block is valid in accordance to the consensus algorithm. That is where all the power is spent all that time, because you’re running a cryptographic algorithm, which is usually quite computationally heavy. Yeah, in the best of times, and they’re trying to beat everyone to the block. Because if you create a block, you get a reward for it. So you might get one Bitcoin, or something like that. So it is viable to try and create as many blocks as you can to get those rewards.
Tim Hughes 08:16
That’s the reward for being a miner. Is that right?
Dave Belvedere 08:20
That’s the reward for creating a block. You spend all your time mining, not create a block and get nothing. Yeah, so one of the things that they’ve done, because obviously, that sort of starts to lean towards people with more money, more resources can deploy more things, is they’ve created these mining pools, such that you can contribute to the pool, and it might make up say, 25% on the network. And then if the pool itself creates a block, you get a you get a little piece of that based off of you know, how much you contribute to the pool.
Tim Hughes 08:57
Quick, quick question with that. So with the people who don’t manage to mine the block, is that part of the excessive amount of energy needed for a transaction because it’s basically wasted energy, they resource is a bit like an Olympic bid or how it used to be. So all that money is spent was for nothing, because it went to wherever
Dave Belvedere 09:18
Somebody else. Yeah, so they’re basically you know, running these things as quick as they can and they might get beaten by nanoseconds.
Tim Hughes 09:26
Yeah. And how long would a transaction normally take roughly?
Dave Belvedere 09:29
So it depends on the on the chain being used, I think at the moment with Bitcoin because they’ve like they’ve mined so much it takes you know, 10s of minutes to actually create a new block in Ethereum. They switched from proof of work the consensus of proof of work, which is what Bitcoin still operates on, to proof of stake which is less computationally heavy consensus mechanism and it also you can argue it distributed through the miners a lot cleaner to, and they’re fairly quick. So compared to Bitcoin, so they generate a new block, I think, every second pretty much and the transactions that get included are just transactions there.
Tim Hughes 10:14
Because yeah, this sorry, Jamie, because this is something like last year or isn’t it when Ethereum. So this is the change that they did way? I think it’s only 10%? Or is it like a 90%? reduction on 99.9%. Wow, okay, of their power, which is enormous. I mean, that’s because that was the we’ve talked about it before with outrageous amount of energy spent. And to hear it, they’re like is completely wasted? Any delegates not necessary for that transaction. So it’s wasted energy. Yeah. So Ethereum have made this quantum leap, basically, to make it far more efficient. Yeah, pretty
Dave Belvedere 10:46
well, efficient in terms of memory. Sorry, in terms of power. Yeah, like the contestants. So proof of stake, the way it works is like a scheduler just goes, you’re going to create the next block. And so only one person is effectively going, here are the valid transactions and pushes the block out, you still got validators that will be like, That’s a good job or challenge to do it. So I guess sort of a little difference between proof of work and proof of stake as the consensus mechanisms. Proof of Work is just really run, like find that cryptographic hash match. Proof of stake is you put up X amount of capital, or for this, in this case, it’s 32 ETH, which is about 80,000 Australian, and you say I will behave correctly and properly. And if I generate a block, you get sort of the rewards for that. Now, in order to avoid bad actors, or just somebody coming in with a massive amount of ETH. And being like, I’m just going to do this, they have challenge periods. So if somebody like, let’s just say, misbehaves as the node and puts in a bad transaction, somebody, anyone on the network, so like, you could be just a little guy on the network and these big, big mining groups around you can challenge the block. It’ll force everyone to go through and actually, like, compute this at a sort of hashing level. And if you’re right, and they did misbehave, they lose all the capital that they put up. So they get slashed, 32. And so the node gets bounced, and then that 32 ETH comes back to the network. Because you challenged it, I think you get like, 90% of that, and a bunch of it gets burnt offs. Yeah. So it’s sort of the that’s the mechanism to make sure everyone is behaving correctly.
Gene Tunny 12:39
Don’t can’t ask a basic question. Yep. Say you bought a couch off, Tim. And you wanted to pay Tim in cryptocurrency? I mean, maybe bitcoins the example to use, since that’s what most people are familiar with? How would it work? I mean, would Tim have to have a wallet, a crypto wallet?
Dave Belvedere 13:01
Yeah, so crypto will only really send to what we call wallets are really just public keys and private keys. So it’s the public key infrastructure that sort of backs a lot of lot of internet, mobile, a lot of sort of infrastructure around the world at the moment. And you have a public key and a private key. Okay, so most people might have heard this, like, somebody’s private key got lifted, and crypto got drained. If you’ve got a private key, you can decrypt anything that gets encrypted with the public key. So in this case, I’m sending it to Tim’s public key, and then only Tim will be able to, to get that from his public key if he’s got the private key.
Gene Tunny 13:43
So who sets up the public key? Tim need to do that?
Dave Belvedere 13:46
And Tim needs to do it. So in order to generate a wallet, you’ll get both the public key and its private key.
Gene Tunny 13:51
Okay. And who are the players that do that for you that is that a an exchange? A crypto exchange?
Dave Belvedere 13:56
Yeah, there’s, there’s a, like, you can do it through an exchange. But then typically, like, there are exchanges out there, okay. They might like to hold the private key or, you know, be able to recover private keys and things like that. Yeah, you can do it through a bunch of, sort of specialised applications. So we call them just wallets. So the most common one in Ethereum is Metamask. So it can you can just plug it in, it’s just a Firefox Chrome app, and you go create new wallet, and it’ll generate that those keys for you.
Tim Hughes 14:29
Is that user-friendly Dave or is that something that you’d need someone like yourself to help set up?
Dave Belvedere 14:36
No, it’s it’s it’s pretty easy. User friendly now. So yeah, like a couple years ago would have been like, what’s going on what’s up, but now, you know, they’ve made many changes has been very user friendly, like to go through you instal it. It’ll be like, how you like recovering your existing wallet. And if that’s the case, you got to provide the private key, or the seed phrases to generate the key Um, ball. It’s just like, okay, cool. Finding a new wallet, you click a button creates the wallet for you. Yeah, it stores the like, you won’t see the private key, but I’ll give you the seed phrases that are used to recover that private key and record these because if you don’t have the private key, this is the only way to get this back.
Gene Tunny 15:20
Okay, so who would do the transaction? Is that through the exchange? If you understand money to Tim, or is the exchange doing is FTX? I mean, what did a company like? FTX do so
Dave Belvedere 15:33
FTX was primarily changing, like currency for cryptocurrency. So they, they act as the middleman. Okay, so you know, I’d give them Australian dollars from the bank, okay, and then I could buy on their market at their rates, x amount of crypto that they’re holding in their wallet, okay. And then from that I can either like so as a part of that, typically, you’ll find an account with the exchange that will have like an embedded wallet associated with it, or whatever their infrastructure needs. And then I can transfer that to say, my wallet, and then I can transfer some to Tim or I can use that exchange to transfer it to Tim directly. Okay, so exchanges are primarily there for transferring currency. So, so transferring dollars to currency, or transferring between cryptocurrency across chains, or transferring between cryptocurrency on the same chain. So when we talk about an Ethereum is not just ETH it has a bunch of coins on the same chain. And yeah, you can use an exchange to say transfer one Eth to USD C or USD t. So the two stable coins you’re talking about before. Or I can, you do that what they call on chain through DEX’s. Okay, decentralized exchanges. Okay. So they create pools or what we call automatic market makers. Yeah, so they usually have a pool, which is, this is a 50/50 pool. So it has Ethereum and USDC. So the pool itself, ideally, at any point is trying to maintain half of its quantities Ethereum and the other half is USDC. And now what sort of I look for on chain is when somebody then dumps 20k Ethereum into that pool, means there’s an imbalance between the side. So yeah, who would automatically want USDC or getting rid of ETH. So it’ll make eath very cheap to buy, so wants to get rid of it to maintain the balance, yeah, or give me a really good price to put USDC into the pool, because it wants more of that to try and maintain that 50/50. And that sort of is the classical arbitrage from that I can buy low at some other pool or on the decks itself, and then put it into this. And what makes that possible is decentralise exchanges. Don’t look at you know, a fee that says the market price for ETH is x to what exchanges use. So exchanges will typically have, you know, the current market price of ETH is whatever $1,600 And that’s based off of, you know, what’s happening now what’s happening on other exchanges, like Binance and things like that, and they sort of get a get a market price for that. Whereas decentralised applications, their market price is literally what the pool says. So yeah, you can sort of get really good deals. And yeah, when you sort of try and make that market efficient on the decentralised side it Yeah, can can open up a bunch of opportunities.
Tim Hughes 18:55
Can I just ask Dave? So with winning that transaction in your, you know, for that particular situation, is that all about speed? Or is so what are the factors in being able to get that transaction?
Dave Belvedere 19:06
Yeah, so there’s, there’s a couple of things that will impact that transaction. So on Ethereum, it’s not necessarily about speed, you certainly have to be there when they’re trying to create the block. So let’s just say the timing window for creating a block is 100 milliseconds. So as long as my transaction to do that is in that block time creation window, I have a chance to potentially win that transaction. And what it comes down to on Ethereum is you can tip the miner to be like, you want to put my transaction first. So let’s just say I’m going to make three ETH. From this transaction, I can tip the miner 2.5 of that ETH so I get half of that if I can give the miner 2.5 If they put my transaction first, so which means the Miner is getting more money to make sure that my block Isn’t there first my transactions in there first, and then they can put the rest of the transactions. And so that’s sort of making up what we, you know, sort of what gets identified as MeV. So mine extractable value. So they’re looking for the most profitable transactions to put inside their block in order to make the most money. Yeah.
Gene Tunny 20:20
So what do we know about these miners? There are professional miners aren’t there? And are there amateur miners? I mean, is it guys in the basement? Or is it? I know there are some dedicated companies aren’t there that are doing the mining and they’re all around the world? Do we have any here in Brisbane, I’m just fascinated with these miners are.
Dave Belvedere 20:40
Ya know, it’s really it’s, it’s anyone that has the computer with the resources and is running the algorithm, you can be a miner at that point. Yeah, mine is there to operate the chain it does. Under proof of work, it is better to be with other miners, like around other miners, because you want to broadcast the block that you find to the network as quickly as possible, because two people might come up with the same solution or like different transaction orders. But both of the blocks that they produce pass the consensus algorithm, it’s whoever can saturate the network or saturate 51% of the network they’re blocked in is the next block. So you might do all this work, find a block, create the block and then still miss out.
Tim Hughes 21:29
Right, which was the original problem, anyway. So yeah, just is it? Well, as far as energy consumption goes. So with the changes that Ethereum made, it’s the same process, but just quicker, and with fewer people vying for it. Is that right?
Dave Belvedere 21:41
Just just one person vying for it. So it’s like, with proof of stake, it’s like, it’s your time to create the block. And you have to answer within a certain timeframe. If you don’t, there is a little bit of a penalty, like you lose, start to lose some of your stake, and they just go to the next person.
Tim Hughes 21:56
And how do you be in that little group or chain? Or?
Dave Belvedere 22:00
Oh, it’s just really running the node software, So the actual node software is executing, you just connect to it. And and you’re pretty much in it.
Gene Tunny 22:09
Yeah. What do you know about the profitability of the mining? Because is it something where there’s such low barriers to entry, there’s just, you know, lots of people have come into it seeking the profit. And then that gets, you know, that those opportunities get dissipated? Or? I mean, I’m guessing there are some players in the mining game who have, they’ve just got such great computer capability, or there, they’ve got a better algorithm, that they could get a lot of the winnings, but what do you know about the profitability of mining? And the, I guess, the market structure, I suppose you call it?
Dave Belvedere 22:48
Yeah. So um, under proof of work, mining profitability, I think sort of, when we talk about Bitcoin is starting to fade away very quickly, because you need to spend all this energy. And I’m, I’m pretty, pretty sure that they’ve dropped the block rewards, quite recently. So what you get for actually creating a block that’s come down, so you’re getting less and less, sort of Bitcoin for creating that block now, right? So the profitability is starting to go away. In Ethereum, it’s still kind of there, it’s sort of like a random random shoot, if you get a really good block, where let’s just say something skewed pool a lot. And you’ve got these searches, trying to like get money out of the pool to make it market efficient, you might end up with a block that might pay you say, 50 EtH, in those tips. So that’s random. But the problem is, is that there’s a lot of like, nodes around the world for a theorem, because now it’s just super, super, super basic to set up and those sort of requirements are starting to fall away a little bit. That yeah, it is hard to like, get to that block, like it is pretty much a random chance. Okay.
Tim Hughes 24:04
But, Dave, you mentioned a couple of terms, actually, you have Bitcoin operate and how Ethereum operate, which is essentially then the difference that made it possible for Ethereum to use so much less energy. What was that again?
Dave Belvedere 24:18
They’re their consensus mechanism. So proof of work versus proof of stake.
Tim Hughes 24:22
Yeah, right. Okay. So Bitcoin have proof of work, Bitcoin and proof of work? Yep. Is it possible for them to do the same thing as a theorem and move to proof of steak?
Dave Belvedere 24:33
It is they would have to change how the chain would not have the chain, well, how the miners would operate. So the actual software that the miners run. One of the things with Bitcoin is there are very big miner groups now. So there’s a lot of sort of power in these groups because they don’t want the status quo to change. Because they they’re making they’re making money. So proof of work, works for those miners. Yeah. And so you have to convince like majority of the miners or like 90% of the miners that this is the way forward. Otherwise, what will happen is you’ll get a hard fork. So you’ll potentially see if you’ve looked at sort of some of the crypto you’ll see like, Bitcoin classic and a theorem classic. Yeah, these are hard forks of the chains where miners have just disagreed. Okay, and so, you know, a group of miners went one way. And other group of miners went the other way. People yeah. Always soiling it.
Tim Hughes 25:34
Humans always do. Okay, so, um, because with that, I mean, it looked like such a big change for Ethereum that Bitcoin might have its days numbered, like, Is that a fair assumption?
Dave Belvedere 25:44
I think so. Like, I think bitcoins done really good stuff and trying to like break into the businesses and operate as like, Hey, here’s a digital asset coin and sort of challenge the status quo that was previously that it’s days to look, you know, pretty, pretty bleak. In terms of future it is just a coin, and it’s just a digital asset. And you’ve got other sort of crypto currencies like Ethereum that operate as a coin, but then also have these decentralised exchanges, as you know, on chain games that you can play and like, do stuff with, they’ve building out an entire ecosystem over top of them. So they’ve now got what what gets referred to as layer two chains. So chains that operate on Ethereum. So you can bridge assets, I can take what I’ve got on a theorem and hold it up to this layer two chain, and that layer two chain is secured by Ethereum. So typically, you’d like to take arbitrage, for example, it’s a really popular layer to chain on a theorem, what they do is they’ve got their own. They’re a centralised chain. So the way that they validate and sequence blocks is controlled by off chain labs. But what they do is when they’ve got a bunch of blocks, they roll them all up. So they have a rollup mechanism. And they send that data back down as a transaction on layer one. And so when it gets committed into layer one, I can essentially rebuild the layer two chain from just layer one. And that’s where I sort of think Ethereum is going to head towards the future, is that a Ethereum , what we call layer, layer one will end up being more of a security mechanism, rather than sort of what exists today with DEXIS and coins, that will still be around, but I think the majority of us will start to go towards layer two and potentially even layer three, because they can upscale the amount of transactions they can handle. So that’s, that’s the other one. That’s pretty key, if this was going to take over sort of like, a digital asset is how many transactions you can compute per second. So you know, take Visa, for example, I think can do like, what 4000 transactions a second. And so yeah, that sort of puts a minimum requirement on how many transactions you can compute per second, in order to like, not really notice, it’s like you don’t notice, like when you tap a credit card to go pay a delay of like, hang on, gotta mine that block.
Gene Tunny 28:22
This is where we need quantum computers. And are they, are they something that will actually happen?
Dave Belvedere 28:28
Potentially, yeah, it depends on like, what gets used. So hashing is always a weird one for quantum computers, because hashes are typically not vulnerable to, I guess, you know, Shor’s algorithm, which says, basically, sort of at a high level, anything that’s secured by, say, just a cryptographic algorithm, you can break with Shor’s algorithm. Yes, yeah. it all up. So cryptography today depends on the fact that when I make like input equal output, if I have to break that output, it’s a brute force attack. So I have to just iterate through all possible inputs to try and find what input gave me that output. It depends on that that is pretty much impossible. You need a lot of resources. And it’s going to take a lot of time. Not to say it’s not impossible, but it’s so far out of just, it’s 100 years to like, try and work out what this input equals that output, that it’s just not worth it. So that’s what fundamentally secures all cryptography today in those sort of algorithms. What the concern with quantum is, is that you’ll be able to do that a lot quicker. Yeah, but with hashes, not so much. It’s still just run through how the hashes work.
Gene Tunny 29:56
Right? Okay. Yeah, fair enough. I had another had another question about this proof of work versus proof of stake. One. Criticism I heard at the time when this merge occurred was at the merge, like the merge. Yeah. Was that Well, the great thing about Bitcoin and I think I had Yeah, I had a guest on the show, who was a Bitcoin enthusiast, and he was also a writer of thrillers. Lars Emmerich. I think it was, yeah. It was interesting. Guest fun. Yeah. All right, is excellent. And former fighter pilot and oh, yeah, writes thrillers. And he’s, we talked about crypto among other things. And he’s a big Bitcoin enthusiast because he sees the risk of he’s concerned about the US dollar hyperinflation, etc. So we had a good conversation on that. But he was saying the great thing about Bitcoin is decentralised, the proof of work means that there’s benefits from having proof of work, and it is, I guess what I’m asking is Ethereum still crypto, is it still, I mean, there’s moving to proof of stake move away from the benefits of having to do that proof of work.
Dave Belvedere 31:23
I mean, oh, yeah. Yeah. No, not Not really. So okay. It is still crypto. It’s still cryptographically you know, okay, locked in and secured, as is still decentralised, still decentralised.Yeah, so absolutely. So it’s even some people can argue it’s even becoming more decentralised than say, Bitcoin. So Bitcoin itself is moving towards centralization, because you have the big miner groups that start to control more and more of the chain, sort of moving towards a centralised figure. And so that’s that 51% attack that we talked about earlier, with moving to a proof of stake in order to control or sort of start to centralise the chain, I have to control 51% of all Ethereum. So every single ETH that’s ever been issued, I need to hold 51% of that, which is, you know, starting to become trillions and trillions of dollars. Yeah, so it is less viable for me to actually try to attack at the network. And yeah, it’s sort of proof of stake kind of starts to push more of a distributed type of feel to it doesn’t stop big groups coming together and like, obviously, trying to pull the chain towards centralization. But I’d probably argue that proof of stake makes that harder than say, proof of work.
Gene Tunny 32:51
Okay, we’ll take a short break here for a word from our sponsor.
Female speaker 32:57
If you need to crunch the numbers, then get in touch with Adept Economics. We offer you Frank and fearless economic analysis and advice. We can help you with funding submissions, cost benefit analysis, studies, and economic modelling of all sorts. Our head office is in Brisbane, Australia, but we work all over the world. You can get in touch via our website, http://www.adept economics.com.au. We’d love to hear from you.
Gene Tunny 33:26
Now back to the show.
Tim Hughes 33:31
Can I say what would happen with layer one, layer two, if someone was to get that 51% ownership? Do they then become the layer one? They’ve got their? They’ve got the conch as it were, you know, so is that where the layer one status is? Is like yeah, because the majority.
Dave Belvedere 33:49
so yeah, pretty much like yeah, if somebody can control, you know, the, the layer one and you’ve got layer two, and layer three is built on top of it. They call the shots, they call it. Yeah, they effectively have the control of the network.
Tim Hughes 34:02
Because it’s an interesting part of how this seems to be unfolding is that the decentralised nature seems to be one of the big attractions and I’m sure it still is. But as far as confidence in the currency, it seems to be the downfall of, so it’s it looks quite possible that so for instance, Reserve Bank of Australia or Bank of England may want to bring up their own cryptocurrency which would then be centralised that would be layer two as you were saying so if they did it with Ethereum it would for instance, you know, hypothetically will come on as a layer two and be centralised. Yeah. What are the is that the direction we’re heading in? Is that seem to be most likely?
Dave Belvedere 34:47
Yeah. Maybe. I think because they would want to control the chain. So one of the reasons I guess that a lot of people are still You know, fairly excited is that cryptocurrencies do bring some anonymity to the game. You’re just identified by a wallet, not by name, address or anything like that. Yeah, right, sort of what the banks need. So you don’t get KYC in exchanges, KYC so know your customer.
Gene Tunny 35:19
Yeah, that’s the stop money laundering. Dodgy transactions, technically, they’re supposed to know their customers. And this is where some banks have got into trouble. Yeah, he is that they actually didn’t know their customers and all of the money laundering through the Westpac ATMs. I don’t know if you remember that.
Dave Belvedere 35:39
It was it Westpac? There was a little I remember stuff with Commbank, they’ll doing.
Gene Tunny 35:43
maybe it was Commbank, I actually have to check that in the show notes. So I don’t get sued. But I thought it was Westpac is one of those four. Yeah. So
Tim Hughes 35:58
Good to know, because I’ve got to deliver a CAPTCHA apparently. So. Good thing to know.
Dave Belvedere 36:03
Yeah. So So currently, sort of government regulations, sort of say like, Okay, if you are transferring currencies and things like that, you have to KYC. So you have the customer have to provide details. Yeah, and one of the great things about digital coins is, you know, you just identified by a wallet on the network. So, you know, is that really you? I don’t know. So, you know, this is where, yeah, recently I had to go through tax in a year, which is, which was always fun. And yeah, you got to provide like, his wallet addresses, these are all the wallet addresses I touch. These are all the transactions I made to, obviously, ATO, so they can make sure that you are getting taxed correctly.
Tim Hughes 36:48
That’s a really good point. I hadn’t thought of that. So how does this work with a tax return? Like, you know, with your transaction, what you own what you dont own.
Dave Belvedere 36:56
Every transaction is considered an investment or sell, buy or sell order, basically. So cryptocurrency still is considered, well, it’s a high risk investment, right? It is extremely volatile. And yeah, and there are many dodgy things that do happen on chains. And, you know, one of the classic examples is you can’t even trust exchanges, because FTX, for example, they were messing around with customer funds and things like that.
Tim Hughes 37:27
So yeah, sorry I was always going to ask at some point, now is obviously that time, I guess, what happened?
Dave Belvedere 37:33
So sort of the story that we got for the collapse of FTX customers are obviously putting in the money FTX I believe that the time offered, you know, futures options, traditional sort of trading markets that people could play around with. However, they also sort of had a behind the doors deal with one of their sub companies, I think is Ella Mira or something, something similar to that, where they will lend them a bunch of money at them was backed by customer money from an FTX, FTX perspective. And they played around with it and lost, I think it was they lost billions and billions of dollars. And so when customers started to lose confidence in FTX, I can’t remember what the particular event was. And they tried to withdraw their money. They couldn’t, because FTX didn’t have that money anymore. So and that’s sort of what led to the collapse. And what Yeah, ultimately forced the US government to start to step in. And that’s where I think we’ll start to see more changes. I think crypto is here to stay. But in its current form, probably not. I think governments will start to get involved. And yeah, you’ll start to see sort of a traditional securities market approach, I think, come over the top of it. So yeah, whether you’re more KYC or, you know, more rules around what you can and can’t do in particular countries, which makes it quite hard because there is no one thing controlling crypto, and it’s all decentralised. So it’s like, well, if we see you’re coming from the US, you gotta use this. If we see you’re coming from Australia, you got to do this, which, yes, is it’s hard to make that work well.
Tim Hughes 39:27
So that was a failure of the exchange, not the currency.
Dave Belvedere 39:30
Yeah, that’s, that’s purely a failure of the exchange. So the people running the exchange are doing Yeah. Yeah, questionable. Questionable things.
Gene Tunny 39:38
Yeah, because they should have just been exchanging or holding that money on behalf of their customers. And they were going to use that to purchase cryptocurrencies were they?
Dave Belvedere 39:51
Yeah, so effectively, like, yeah, they would purchase cryptocurrencies and then they would sell it on so they, you know, if starting up they would prop we’ll be running at a bit of a deficit or like have a raw, somebody’s given them a bunch of money too, and have that initial crypto. Yeah. And then yeah, as people come in, and they, like, give money for that crypto, obviously at a particular market margin. Yeah, they start to be able to add more crypto and sort of become profitable in that regard.
Gene Tunny 40:22
Yeah. But they went in, did they go and lend that money that they should have held in trust, or they shouldn’t they were looking out for customers to that. That other company was run by his ex girlfriend. By Sam Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend. Yeah. Yeah, it was a daughter of an economist, economist. MIT economist, I think, I think he’s a professor at MIT or one of those schools. Really good school. Yeah, that was a debacle. The other thing I hear about is the rug pull. Rebuild, goes on about rug pulls. And when coffees Zilla, you probably follow Him or you say he’s really sceptical of crypto. Have you seen coffee Zilla? I will flick you some videos.
Tim Hughes 41:07
I love the fact that rug pulled got a conversation. I’ve never heard of this. About this.
Dave Belvedere 41:13
It’s a funny term. So obviously there with with anything new and like, Give somebody a little bit of anonymity, they just go wild. You know, there are at the moment, a lot of yeah, a lot of good actors that people are trying to, you know, accomplish and create new things. But there are also a lot of bad actors. So classical pump and dump schemes are not uncommon. And yeah, one of the other ones is what gets what got its own name, which is a row pool. So let’s just say, you know, there’s, there’s a, there’s a token that I’m releasing, people buying that token, so they’re sending me money, and I’ve given them the token back, and then on the owner, cool, I can just like swipe all that money out of the account, and then that token is now worthless. That’s, that’s effectively a rug pull. So the people who created that, that have control of that sort of asset, because the assets on an Ethereum are controlled by contracts. So if you’ve got the private key to the contract, you effectively control the contract. And you can just take all the money that’s in that contract, and then the token then becomes worthless.
Tim Hughes 42:20
Actually, on that note, so this, this brings up the question I was going to ask, who started these? Obviously, they’re, you know, whoever is behind bitcoin or Ethereum? Are they known?
Dave Belvedere 42:33
So, Bitcoin, no. There is a famous paper that is written but no one knows the true identity. Within Ethereum, it’s Vitalik. So he traded a theorem and then it’s now run by the Ethereum foundation. So the people who sort of operate and try to improve the chain and things like that are known as a foundation whereas Bitcoin it’s, it’s murky, who started.
Tim Hughes 43:00
It’s very James Bond, the whole thing of like, you know, having something like Bitcoin with, you know, who’s behind it is fascinating that it’s anonymous at that level with potentially a lot of power.
Gene Tunny 43:11
Well, it was this person with a pseudonym was it’s a Satoshi
Dave Belvedere 43:16
Satoshi. It started with Okay, yeah, but yeah, Satoshi, something
Gene Tunny 43:19
like that. I’ll put links in the show notes. And what they did I think they published a white paper. So they publish the code or the rules for Bitcoin and then people read it and thought, actually, yeah, this would, could work. This is a great idea. Let’s go ahead with it. So it’s obviously a computer scientist of some kind, potentially. Yeah, I think is there an Australian who claims that he invented it? I think, as well?
Dave Belvedere 43:44
Yeah. There are claims that the Australian is Satoshi. Ah, right. Yeah, so sort of he released the white paper with the chain already there. So one of the things that you have to do to I guess, you know, start a chain, is you got to create the Genesis block. So the first block that then things build on top of, and typically, if you’re going to create the Genesis block, well, you might as well just create a good fundamental base. So I think, I think Satoshi has like, a ridiculous amount of bitcoin, because you’re effectively controlled. The base asset right at the start, and then you sort of like, give yourself as much as you need as you’re building these blocks, like you might release the chain to the public, say, and it’s got like, 200-300 blocks. So you’ve got all the rewards for those blocks are doing no work, no competition, but now you’re going to release the chain. And so I think, from memory, reading papers, like everyone knows which coins because obviously the coins effectively get numbered based on the block that they were minted in.
Tim Hughes 44:52
And on that note, Dave, there’s a certain number of Bitcoin and then that’s it. Is that right? And was that determined at the very beginning?
Dave Belvedere 45:00
yeah, so that would have been determined by the actual algorithm that that got generated for Bitcoin.
Tim Hughes 45:05
How many other?
Gene Tunny 45:07
21 million, isn’t it? Yeah, I’ll put it in the show notes anyway.
Tim Hughes 45:14
So that’s part of the strength of it, though, that it’s a finite number.
Dave Belvedere 45:18
It is a finite number. Yeah. So it’s like it is the strength. So once everything’s been mined, you know, that’s it, then it just becomes transactions passing between to and fro.
Tim Hughes 45:28
You need a level of scarcity for it to have a value.
Dave Belvedere 45:31
Scarcity will drive the wealth of the actual element up, or potentially not, depending on which way it flows. But yeah, that’s, that’s the sort of appeal for it is that it’s running out, so if you’re going to grab it.
Tim Hughes 45:45
And Is that comparable to how many Ethereum there are in the in circulation? No. I knew as I was asking the question, this is not right.
Dave Belvedere 45:57
So what gets classified as Ethereum? Has, it does have a max value, but it’s quite big.
Tim Hughes 46:05
So sorry, I mean, this is coming from a very base level of understanding. But I’m sort of fascinated by this. So how does that work? Then with Ethereum? How many? Like what do you call? So Bitcoin is a Bitcoin? Because Bitcoin isn’t what Ethereum? Worked with? ETH. So yes, okay. Yes. So the number of ETH isn’t determined, it’s not finite.
Dave Belvedere 46:28
It, there is a there is a finite, but they can always add more. So it’s, yeah, it’s backed by a contract. And you can always change that contract. Sort of as an example. Like, right at the start, it was ETH. So ETH, is the classical. Everyone knows, sort of what gets defaulted to, technically, it’s not ETH anymore. It’s actually wrapped ETH. So three or four years ago, I think, the foundation or or one of the one of the partners that works with Ethereum, closely, they published the standard that every token should follow, because a token is really just a contract on chain, and you’re calling methods on that contract to say meant, you know, how many does this address have? If everyone is, you know, everyone just goes, I’m going to create a new contract, that API of like, what do I call to, like mean to what do I call the burn could change from token to token. So what got published was what was being classified as ERC. 20 So it’s a standard that every token follows. So an ERC 20 token follows that standard. ETH at the time, didn’t meet that standard. And so they created a contract that did create that didn’t meet the standard called wrapped ETH and you can transfer ETH and wrapped ETH at a one to one. So I can have like eight ETH and automatically make it a wrap ETH, okay? It’s just like taking that asset and making it different. But it’s still what you know, it’s still what we call ETH on chain.
Tim Hughes 48:13
Yeah, okay. Yeah.
Gene Tunny 48:14
Here’s another basic question that just occurred to me. So a Bitcoin. I’m not sure what its value at the moment, but is it around 20,000 USD?
Dave Belvedere 48:23
Gene Tunny 48:27
Okay, yep. Yep, can I have a fraction of a Bitcoin? Can I or, but I How does that work? I mean, all because I thought if it’s in a wallet, does it have to be one Bitcoin? Or can it be gonna be a fraction?
Dave Belvedere 48:40
It can be a fraction of Bitcoin. So typically, with the tokens they’ll have? Like, we call it decimals on chain, but it’s really just precise. Okay, gotcha. So like, I think Bitcoin has a precision of six, I think six or eight. I’d have to double check that. So which means I can have point 000001 of a bitcoin. Right. Okay. Yeah, as long as it’s within that, that precision element, it doesn’t matter. You can you can still operate and work on it. Gotcha. Yeah, so as an example, ETH has a precision of 18. Right. So one eath, actually on chain is one times 10 to the power of 18. That’s what it looks like on chain.
Tim Hughes 49:23
Okay. And what’s a ETH worth nowadays? I think it’s around 1600 USD at the moment. Okay. So, as far as affordability goes in a single as against a Bitcoin.
Dave Belvedere 49:37
An ETH is more affordable.
Gene Tunny 49:40
Okay, can I ask you about smart contracts? So as an economist and speaking with other economists, and just reading about crypto and, and all of that, I mean, there seems to be increasingly there’s a view that will crypto might that There’s a lot of scepticism about crypto itself, but they’re saying, well, the blockchain is great, and smart contracts are great. So, can you explain what a smart contract is? And it’s linked to Ethereum? Is that correct? Yeah. How does that work?
Dave Belvedere 50:13
Yeah. So, um, a smart contract is really just code that’s on the chain. And so one of the one of the sort of, I think, very fundamental things that makes a theorem quite good is that I can store more than just the coin on the chain, I can create code, I can put it on chain, and then that’s the code forever. And so that code can no longer be changed, which does lead to some interesting problems, like, Oh, crap, that’s a bug. How do I actually, you know, patch and fix that bug? And you know, that’s, that’s kind of, we’ve seen consequences of that already. Yeah, somebody’s found a security flaw and just like, stolen millions and millions of dollars from contracts, or from DEXIS in particular. So they’re sort of the common hacks that are in theorem. So whenever you see somebody’s hacked, say, a bridge, or a Dex, that’s typically somebody’s found a flaw in the code and been able to exploit that code. Yeah, so a contract is written in solidity for the most part. So solidity is the most common language used for writing smart contracts. And it’s just, it’s just really code at that point. It’s just structured code. So similar to obviously different but like, similar to as if I was to read a C programme. So well, you know, a Ross programme or anything like that. It’s just common, it’s just code. So that’s why if you’ve ever heard coders law on some of the sort of the defences of hacks, that’s, that’s where that’s coming from, is that this is written as code. And the code allowed me to take millions of dollars, therefore, am I really responsible for it? My view is yes.
Tim Hughes 52:07
That is not a strong defence.
Gene Tunny 52:12
It’s like, if you get a million dollars deposited into your bank account, you can’t go out and buy a Ferrari.
Tim Hughes 52:20
The doors open, so I went in and took what I could carry. With that, as well, because I was zooming out a little bit as well. Dave? Yeah, you know, financial markets. There are so many issues like that may influence like a human emotions, like greed, panic, fear, these things happen all the time, you know, cyclical, or whatever it may be. And banks get robbed, you know, like, you know, cash was stolen, whatever. This doesn’t seem to be answering too many sort of problems, you know, they can get hacked. Yeah. So as far as, as a few questions that I guess, because the number one thing with all of that is trust, in my view is like, you know, if people trust something more and more, then it’s a stronger sort of system, and less likely to be driven by greed, panic, fear, etc. What was the pros and cons, if you like, of crypto, like if we ultimately heading towards something where we might be able to have more trust in a financial system than we currently have?
Dave Belvedere 53:23
Yeah, potentially. So I think if the people in on this so you know, sort of Ethereum, you know, who’s who’s running the show to agree.
Tim Hughes 53:35
So there’s trust there as well, compared to some phantom person with a white paper? Yeah. is less, less trustworthy, I guess. But yeah. Yeah.
Dave Belvedere 53:44
Sort of, yeah. Human nature, we sort of trust. If we can see somebody like that. That’s actually a real person. Yeah, there rather than like talking to a computer screen, we’ll be like, Yeah, who are you actually really talking to on the other side of that? So I think inherently, we will trust, obviously, the traditional market setups more because they are run by people. And that’s where, hopefully, you know, something like Ethereum can start to come in and sort of do that. But while you still have people who can misuse, I guess, the environment of like, these rug pools, and, you know, just doing pump and dump schemes and things like that, it does get hard to trust. Yeah, is everything on there. Really a scam or not? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So it’s sort of a double whammy where it’s like, you know, for myself personally, it’s like, yeah, I trust a theorem like I don’t think the Ethereum ecosystem or anything like that. It’s going to go away anytime soon. The changes that they’re making to it a sensible and things like that, and you can actually see and talk to the people at conferences. However, that contracts and like opportunities that then can be a part of Ethereum, yeah, that’s where it gets a bit dodgy. And that’s where you need to sort of like, okay, I trust this exchange more than the others, you know, uni swap, for example has been around on Ethereum for so long. Well, probably since, uh, since it started, right. And they’re, they’re a decentralised automatic market maker. I trust that, you know, they’ve been around for so long, you know, probably so many people have tried to hack their pools. Nothing’s really happened to it. So if I’m dealing with any swap as a DEX, I’m pretty, pretty confident that nothing’s bad’s going to happen, other than I might not get the best price on chain for my tokens.
Tim Hughes 55:45
But that’s the most likely weak link in that chain is the exchanges or that the middle the people in the middle between the consumer and the Ethereum safe using us?
Dave Belvedere 55:56
Yes. And so sort of the users of Ethereum people are actually creating their own what we call DAPS. So decentralised applications. Yeah, that’s that’s where I think that that trust will start to fade. And and because crypto itself is, you know, it’s it’s quite volatile hasn’t had the best sort of, sort of time it’s been ups being down. It’s dumped to come back and don’t again. Yeah, a lot of people I think a lot of people look at and go cool, that might be a good way to, you know, make easy money because it’s just like going left, right and centre. But it can also backfire very quickly. Yeah. Where, where it sort of blurs the line is that it’s not treated as a traditional investment. Like because it is digitalized. And I can interact with it. And I can like, spend money on it. Like people treat it as money. But it’s really volatile money.
Tim Hughes 56:51
If you’re willing to take advice from Matt Damon and Kiefer Sutherland. I mean, like, it’s so you know, yeah, they are very confident of it being a good move.
Gene Tunny 57:01
Yeah. I’ve got a couple of two more questions. Dave. We’re probably getting close to time. Have you got a couple more Tim?
Tim Hughes 57:07
I’ve? No, I’m good. Thank you. I’ve been I’ve been enjoying as it’s gone on. And my big ones are gone. Thank you.
Gene Tunny 57:16
Yeah, I’ve learned a lot. It’s, it’s great. Would you have any examples of DAPS? That what are some daps that we might want to look at just so we can understand what what they are?
Dave Belvedere 57:28
Oh, yeah, um, a couple of pretty, pretty fun ones. So there’s a game called wizards and dragons. Okay, it’s a it’s a decentralised application, but it’s also a game. It’s pretty fun. It released, I think, a couple of years ago. And what it is, is, you meant an NF T, and it has a chance to be a wizard, or dragon. And then based off of, if it’s a wizard, it can, like interact with, you can stake it. So you can actually say to the contract, hey, here’s my wizard, which is staking, and it might earn certain rewards. So there’s a coin that’s associated with the game as well. So there’s a coin called windy. So it’s wizards and dragons. And that coin can then be used to spend on the contracts to interact with the actual game and stuff like that. So it’s not like I’m continually having to feed ETH it’s just like gas fees at that point. Or if you get a dragon like you have chances to steal wizards when they go and stake and non stake . It’s, it’s it’s pretty, pretty fun.
Gene Tunny 58:36
This is a computer game, is it?
Dave Belvedere 58:38
Yeah, it’s a game on chain. Yeah. So it’s a game that actually happens within the blockchain again, So the game is happening per transaction. So I send a transaction to do something with the game, like the contracts that make up the game are there. And then I like create a transaction to say, stake, my wizard, and then there’s a chance if dragons are staked, that my wizard goes to a dragon.
Gene Tunny 59:08
But okay, I’m gonna ask a really dumb question. But do I see a wizard on the screen? Or do I see dragons?
Dave Belvedere 59:15
Yeah, you can see both. So like, depending on what you’ve meant it, you get an NFT, which is a type of token so a non-fungible token so yeah, they were the ones that got talked about, I think, why the last couple of years because like, yeah, okay, and then the punks and the apes they’re all worth stupid amount of money.
Tim Hughes 59:37
So these are basically like, it’s an in the form of like having something that’s identifiable as being unique, even though it can be copied. So taking the Mona Lisa as an example of one painting, but there’s millions of copies. And so it’s basically a digital form a non fungible token or nifty I’ve heard them called Tim Ferriss calls them nifties. But so base Having something that can be identified as being the original and owned by a person.
Dave Belvedere 1:00:06
Yeah. And so we see that as like a token. It’s just really like a coin is not quite an NFT. Because there are many coins. But it’s like an NFT, sort of superset. There’s only like one coin that represents this thing. And so yeah, so like, it’s just a token. And yeah, that that has things. So like, I can go interact with the contract, you know, meant for a bunch of ETH. So that’s sort of how they get their startup is like, hand over like point zero seven ETH or point zero five ETH, to mint and have a random chance to generate a wizard or a dragon. And then they all sort of give you that NFT. So you’ll get that token back. And then yeah, you can use that token to then interact with the rest of their contract on the actual Ethereum chain.
Gene Tunny 1:00:54
Right. Okay. And are they used in these massive multiplayer games as well, online?
Dave Belvedere 1:01:01
The coins could be. Yeah. So I think they’re starting to come out. I think I read recently with like, digital coins. Yeah. But to sort of looking to go to be fair, that sort of already was kind of going there place anyway. So like, I could pay a bunch of money to the Microsoft store and have like, xbox credits. That was sort of already the lien. And then yeah, what, you know, one of the good things that has come about sort of what’s happening with blockchains? And things like that is Yeah, sort of companies are realising, actually, that’s, that’s a pretty nifty way of like, dealing with this sort of securing that data and making sure like, oh, okay, we can’t accidentally do something. Like, you can’t go back and try and change those records. It’s sort of there permanently. And you can follow a transaction at a time. For bookkeeping purposes, or, yeah.
Gene Tunny 1:01:59
I’m gonna have to come back to smart contracts in a future episode, because I think that’s probably its own episode, is it?
Dave Belvedere 1:02:07
There’s a lot yeah, there’s a lot, a lot of things to talk about, I guess, in contracts, and yeah, sort of, you know, that’s how that how they get built, you know, how they sort of interact. And you know, that’s where these bugs can can arise. And, you know, people might accidentally do something and somebody takes money.
Gene Tunny 1:02:27
Yeah. And I’d be fascinated to know who the parties to the contract are. I mean, could Tim and I have a smart contract where if certain conditions are met or if the then Tim transfers Ethereum. To me, so if, I mean, is there a way of programming, it’s so that if it’s, say, let’s take the weather, for example, if the maximum temperature for Brisbane ends up being over 35 degrees on one day in the future, then the smart contract, picks that up, and then transfers, I don’t know, one ETH from me from Tim.
Dave Belvedere 1:03:01
Yeah, it can do. So there’s, there’s a bunch of things that need to happen and be in place for that. But yeah, you can store like money. So you can store ETM with the smart contract, because it is itself really just an address. And then yeah, you like a transaction is usually always going to be the trigger just can’t do stuff automatically. You always have to trigger it with a transaction. And yeah, you can just be like, Oh, okay, cool.
Gene Tunny 1:03:27
All you have to trigger it with a transaction. Okay. So it’s not, it’s not going to automatically. It’s not a way of automating transactions. And I understood that.
Dave Belvedere 1:03:35
Yeah. Yeah, everything that happens on the chain has to have triggered from a transaction. Okay, so transaction might trigger a bunch of things to happen. Yeah, and interact with a bunch of stuff on chain. But yes, every everything will come through from a certain transaction has triggered this thing, which might then trigger events, but, you know, cascade of roll on.
Gene Tunny 1:04:00
Okay, I might have to look at that in a future episode. I promise. I’ve only got one more question. You got any more, but,
Tim Hughes 1:04:07
you know, I just want to comment, um, not surprisingly, to hear that wizards and dragons entered the conversation seems to be a natural progression from the smartest of the smart in, you know, the 80s or whatever it is, whatever they’ve come through to this point. And no doubt behind some of this technology or this, these theories.
Dave Belvedere 1:04:31
We’re all we’re all nerds on the inside. Right. So
Tim Hughes 1:04:33
yeah, but it’s great. It’s sort of like a bit there’s a human element to that as well, which is nice to see.
Gene Tunny 1:04:39
Great. Final question, Dave. For you. What are the use cases for crypto Why do you think it’s good to for you personally to be in crypto?
Dave Belvedere 1:04:51
It’s it’s a fairly exciting field. So I’m I’m a software engineer by trade. I studied as a computer systems engineer And it’s can be difficult to try and see how technology technology progresses through the years. So that, you know, unless you’re sort of, say deep in with Google and working on their, you know, bleeding edge stuff. For the most part, it’s all kind of pretty much the same. And so it’s pretty cool to see something. So you know, there’s this whole blockchain theories and the cryptographic proofs and stuff. I think we’re around since I think the 80s. So it’s always interesting to see how that is getting transformed and evolved into something new. And then yeah, then being used and sort of one of one of the cool things, I think that’s coming, a part of this, it’s sort of attaching itself to sort of a wider push of everyone should be and I think, you know, I think if you look at the world today, most of the kids growing up today are very computer literate. And it is sort of continuing to push that, like, computers are just going to become more and more part of it. And I think the common school like programming, or reading or writing code, should be sort of start to become one of the fundamental things just because of the heavy involvement that we start to have. So understanding why things are doing things, right. Yeah.
Gene Tunny 1:06:21
Now, the other part of that is your you personally, so assuming I may be incorrect, but I’m assuming you own some crypto of some kind. So do you what are the use cases? Why? What value do you see in having it all? So Lars Emmerich, for example, he’s concerned about the value of the US dollar, he’s concerned about all of the money printing, he’s concerned about hyperinflation, what are the what are the use cases? Or what would motivate you to have crypto?
Dave Belvedere 1:06:52
Yeah, it’s, I guess, you know, personally, I’m pretty, pretty basic. For me, it’s just a fun, high risk investment. So I see it as something that that might pay off. Or it might not. You know, personally, I don’t have a lot of money in it. But it also, because I’m in the area, it helps me like interact with chains. And yeah, play around with like, games, such as, like wizards and dragons. sort of have
Tim Hughes 1:07:18
There as a confession. Yeah. But
Dave Belvedere 1:07:21
I still see it as a very high risk asset. Yeah. Yeah. I’m still relatively young. So to me if I lose, lose what I’ve got, personally, I’ve only got about 20k. There. It’s not gonna hit me hard. Hit me hard in terms of I’m gonna make that back over my lifetime of work. Yeah. But you know if it if it goes and like, whoo, and yeah, all of a sudden that 20k goes to 100k. Yeah.
Gene Tunny 1:07:47
Tim Hughes 1:07:49
But that’s actually a good point. Because none of this is in any way. investment advice from us. Oh, goodness, exactly. You know, like, it’s not investment advice. And the one thing that gets mentioned all the time, it’s like going to the horse races or something like that, you know, if you’ve got something that you can afford to lose, then go for it, because there’s a high risk investment and see what happens.
Dave Belvedere 1:08:09
I honestly look at this and go, it should be treated as a casino like, yeah, you gotta walk into a casino going, like, I have money. If I lose it, I’m not gonna, like get carried out by security. Yeah. Sounds like you can afford to lose the money. It is. Yeah, extremely high risk. And I think, like, especially now with the sort of scenarios that happened, like the FTX collapse, and you know, some of the other things that are happening there. And like the US government sort of taking notice, or like the SEC, taking notice more parts and like, pulling out rulings and stuff, it will become a little bit of, like, no one is really certain what’s going to happen in the area. Yeah. So it’s probably, you know, at this point still, quite, it’s probably riskier than it was before, because, you know, the SEC might turn around and say no, crypto goodbye, and like, you shut out the entire US market, like, that’s not gonna play well, for crypto.
Tim Hughes 1:09:07
Sec? The Securities
Dave Belvedere 1:09:08
Gene Tunny 1:09:10
Okay, that’s been terrific. I mean, we’ve learned so much. I mean, I’ve never I’ve been blown away with all this info. And I think it’s helped me understand more what’s going on and it’s dispelled some, or it’s got rid of some ideas or misunderstandings I had. So that’s been really good. Are there any final thoughts? Any final words before we wrap up?
Dave Belvedere 1:09:37
No. Like, yeah, I encourage everyone to like, play around with it. Obviously, I think it’s an interesting technology. I think it’s going to be around for a long time. But in its current form, hard to say. I wish I would probably say I’m confident that as we know crypto today is probably not what we’re gonna see in the future. Yeah, this is sort of the first building block towards something that will become widespread.
Tim Hughes 1:10:08
Terrific. Now Dave, I really appreciate it because so we’ve often talked about this gene and I and it we we have fumbled in the dark somewhat. And I’ve been looking forward to the time where we can get somebody on and talk in depth, as we have done today. So yeah, I’ve really enjoyed that and got a lot from it. So thank you for coming in.
Gene Tunny 1:10:28
Dave Belvedere, thanks so much for your time. Thanks. Right. Hi, thanks for listening to this episode of economics explored. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you. You can send me an email via email@example.com, or a voicemail via SpeakPipe. You can find the link in the show notes. If you’ve enjoyed the show, I’d be grateful if you could tell anyone you think would be interested about it. Word of mouth is one of the main ways that people learn about the show. Finally, if your podcasting app lets you then please write a review and leave a rating. Thanks for listening. I hope you can join me again next week.
Thank you for listening. We hope you enjoyed the episode. For more content like this. To begin your own podcasting journey head on over to obsidian-productions.com.
Thanks to Obsidian Productions for mixing the episode and to the show’s sponsor, Gene’s consultancy business, www.adepteconomics.com.au.
Full transcripts are available a few days after the episode is first published at www.economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.