Crypto Bits with Jeff Berwick
Jeff Berwick is a Canadian born entrepreneur, libertarian and anarcho-capitalist activist. Berwick founded StockHouse Media Corporation in 1994, one of the most active financial websites in Canada. He remained CEO until 2002. He is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante, CEO of TDV Media & Services and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast. Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment, bitcoin and gold conferences. He is a well respected individual in our crypto community and is very much in tune with the thoughts here at The Art of Not Being Governed.
Jeff, thank you for the opportunity to have this interview with you. When did you first get into Anarcho-Capitalism and Libertarian philosophy?
I think I’ve always been an anarchist at heart but was never introduced to the true philosophy behind it until about 2003 when I had dinner with Doug Casey in Vancouver. He told me I was an anarchist and told me to read “The Market For Liberty”. As soon as I saw how an anarcho-capitalist world would work I was enthralled and have never stopped learning nor promoting the philosophy since.
After I began learning about anarchist philosophy one of the natural complements was to learn about Austrian economics. After years of studying it I predicted the 2008 crisis and after that happened I became more emboldened that my views on the economy and the financial and monetary systems were correct and decided to start The Dollar Vigilante in 2009 to help spread this information prior to the next collapse. As for Anarchast, I started that around 2011 because I recognized there wasn’t a really good anarchist interview show that could help to get out the information from hundreds of really interesting anarchists in a calm, rational way. The Dollar Vigilante has grown tremendously and now Anarchast has interviewed over 160 anarchists and we’ll actually be holding Anarchapulco from Feb. 27 to Mar. 1, 2015, in Acapulco as a live event where anarcho-capitalists can congregate in a format never before seen.
Who first introduced you to Crypto Currency?
I was first introduced to it by a Dollar Vigilante subscriber in 2011 when it was around $3 and also became enthralled with it at that time and have been covering it ever since. One of the most influential people in my views on bitcoin in 2011 was Trace Mayer who I had on Anarchast and made a compelling argument for why bitcoin was so important.
Do you feel the blockchain is a useful tool for defeating the Nation-State?
I don’t see it as “defeating” the nation-state so much as just evolving past it. The entire concept of a nation state is just an idea and the only way to evolve passed an anachronistic idea like the nation-state is to create a new idea that makes the old ideas obsolete. In this sense, absolutely, the blockchain has already created ways to move passed the central banking cartels, nation-states, legal systems, banking and financial systems to a much better one.
What are your trusted sources for news on crypto-currency and anarchy?
I have the blessing to be good friends with almost all of the main players in the bitcoin world due to my involvement with it since 2011 and also have a worldwide network of readers through the Dollar Vigilante who are always keeping me updated on the latest and greatest innovations in the crypto-currency space. The same goes for anarchy as a whole… if there are any prominent anarchists out there who I don’t know I am sure I will know them soon enough due to my involvement as a leader in the space.
What would you say the state of Bitcoin is today?
It reminds me of the internet circa 1995. I was around when the internet came out and I remember how many people doubted it would really catch on… but there were a certain amount of people who saw the big picture and who were investing and/or developing internet projects that went on to be fabulous investments and companies. If anything I am more excited about bitcoin in 2014 than I was about the internet in 1995 just because I’ve seen this before and because we are all now so connected via the internet I think bitcoin will grow much faster than the internet did in the 90s.
What would you say the state of gold and silver is today?
I write The Dollar Vigilante so I am expecting the US dollar and most fiat currencies to collapse in the next few years so I think its never been more important to hold some precious metals as insurance and potential profit during this collapse. I don’t watch the price of the precious metals daily because it is not of great import to me whether silver is at $20 or $50. When this all starts to collapse you won’t be able to purchase precious metals for fiat currency so I just want to hold them so I can retain some of my wealth during and after the collapse.
The past week or so stocks plummeted all around the world and started rallying again when the Fed mentioned a pause in taper. Do you think they will ever pause the printing machine?
I think it is highly doubtful. The system is so leveraged and indebted now that if the Federal Reserve ever stopped printing money and manipulating interest rates near 0% we would see a worldwide financial system collapse and the collapse of the US government. Therefore, the way of least resistance for them is to keep printing money until it goes into hyperinflation and collapses.
What are some things you can tell people just discovering bitcoin for the first time? How do you approach these people?
What I like to say is to tell them just try using it. If someone doesn’t have any bitcoin and doesn’t want to buy any I will often send them $10 or $20 in bitcoin and tell them to buy something with it on the internet. Once they see that the whole process of opening a bitcoin wallet, receiving funds and spending funds can all be done in a matter of seconds and for free they will begin to see why it is so much better than our “modern” day systems.
Governance 2.0 projects are introducing the power of the blockchain regarding autonomous choice for every individual. Shouldthe Nation-State be worried about projects like this?
The Nation-State should be worried about everything. The western Nation-States will all collapse in the coming years… whether things like Governance 2.0 give it a little push doesn’t matter. They are fated to collapse and will do so even without any help.
Bitcoin or Precious Metals (PMs)? Which do you prefer to hold the most of and why? Should you be diversified in both?
I hold much more in PMs than bitcoin. The reason is that if bitcoin really becomes a worldwide currency it will be worth, in today’s dollars, about $1 million per bitcoin. However, if it doesn’t it could eventually go to zero. So there is no need to risk a lot in bitcoin. Precious metals, on the other hand, will likely not go to zero anytime soon and so have much less downside and much less upside potential as well. The key with precious metals is where you hold them. That’s why we wrote “Getting Your Gold Out Of Dodge” to help people internationalize their precious metals. The biggest risk to PMs is theft from government.
The Bitcoin blockchain has been tested on low frequency radio and is possible to run it using shortwave/HAM radio. Do you think bitcoin will be OK in a SHTF type environment?
At the moment, no. But if technology continues to progress it certainly could be over the coming years.
Thank you for chatting with us and thank you for spreading the message of Free Markets, Anarchy, Crypto and more.