WBD059 Audio Transcription
Marty Bent on What Bitcoin Did in 2018
Interview date: Sunday 23rd Dec, 2018
Note: the following is a transcription of my interview with Marty Bent, host of the Tales From The Crypt Podcast. I use Rev.com from translations and they remove ums, errs and half sentences. I have reviewed the transcription but if you find any mistakes, please feel free to email me. You can listen to the original recording here.
In this episode, I talk with Marty Bent from the Tale From The Crypt Podcast. We review the year for Bitcoin and Crypto, looking back at the bear market, what has been happening at Coinbase, the growth of stable coins and look forward to 2019.
“A world of a thousand tokens is not as strong as a world with one token.”
— Marty Bent
Peter McCormack: Marty, how you doing, man?
Marty Bent: Doing well, Peter. Doing very well. Thank you for having me.
Peter McCormack: Hey, it’s great to have you on. You’ve been somebody I’ve been listening to for a long time. Are you all ready for Christmas?
Marty Bent: No, I am not. I’m not ready at all. We’re two days away, and I still have a lot to do. Headed home this afternoon, though. I’m a big procrastinator, so this is true to form for me.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, I’m pretty much the same. I went to the shops today, and it was absolute carnage. It was horrible. Listen, it’s great to have you on, man. We’re going to do a year in review. I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather do it with, someone’s podcast, I really appreciate. So much has happened this year, I don’t even know where the year has gone, right? I mean, we were, last Christmas, we were all kind of over the moon and happy, and everything was glorious, and it’s been the exact opposite this year, but funnily enough, I don’t know about you, I’m still … I’m still kind of happy and positive. I still really enjoyed the year, as awful as this bear market’s been.
Marty Bent: No, yeah. It was a great year, in my opinion, from a fundamental perspective at least, a lot of really cool stuff has been built. A lot of years-long debates have sort of been settled, I would say, this year. This year’s been a year of settling debates and then moving on from that settlement and sort of exploring a new future, a new frontier, if you will, despite the price. Obviously, the public’s not as enamoured with Bitcoin as they were at this point last year, but I’ve never been more enamoured with Bitcoin myself, the project, and sort of the virality of the sort of mission and the people behind it.
Peter McCormack: What’s your position on non-Bitcoin projects? Do you have any kind of anything you like?
Marty Bent: I’m sympathetic towards projects that come from a privacy-first perspective and are trying to iterate and make these protocols more private at the protocol level. Then beyond that, like your Ethereums and platform tokens, I definitely appreciate the use cases there. They’re attempting to sort of prove out and the … Appreciate the conversations they’re sort of inciting with their ideas. Do not sort of agree with the design structure and their way of solving these ideas, but I do appreciate them, nonetheless, as ideas and people exploring them, but yeah.
I’m what you would consider a Bitcoin maximalist. I think Bitcoin as a project is sort of a moonshot in itself, and I think it is advantageous for us to focus on Bitcoin in particular because I think it is a sort of one-shot opportunity at creating a truly sound, apolitical money in the digital age. Again, I think it has some of the smartest people in the world working on it. It’s obviously got the Lindy effect, the immaculate conception, and I just think for me personally, it makes the most sense to spend most of my time focusing and trying to make Bitcoin a better system individually because I think … A world with 1,000 tokens is a lot weaker than a world with one very strong token, I would argue.
Peter McCormack: I think that makes sense. I think, also, everyone kind of goes on this journey, don’t they, of what they learn and what they discover, and I think in doing a podcast, in some ways, that accelerates some of your learning because you have to take sometimes contrarian views, or you have to do certain bits of research to prepare, and I think with the amount of work you end up doing and preparing a podcast, you will know. You just soak up so much information, and over that time, I found, and I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but I found all roads lead back to Bitcoin.
Marty Bent: Yeah. That’s definitely the case, and then on top of that, I feel like a lot of people become jaded, so as somebody who sort of got into the space around 2013, 2014 and caught the altcoin bug in that cycle and really got burned pretty hard when I first jumped into the space and the altcoin markets in particular. It’s funny, this time around. I mean, after I got burned, we went through like a two-year bear market, and still studied Bitcoin and stuck around and was sort of diving deeper into the rabbit hole, if you will.
Really came back to Bitcoin, as you said, and then it’s funny, like the last 18 months, yes, they’re different than the altcoins that were in 2013, but it’s like history rhymes. It’s very similar sort of pitches that are being replayed and sort of remarketed and new makeup put on them. Despite all that, Bitcoin remains at number one from market cap perspective, from a hash rate perspective, from a mind share perspective. It’s been the only sort of steady force in the whole space throughout the last decade.
Peter McCormack: I think that’s a good way of putting it, the only steady force. I’ve had my own epic burn this year. I’ve learned a lot from it, and I don’t feel bitter about it.
Marty Bent: Thank you for sharing that. It was important that you wrote that thread. It was-
Peter McCormack: Yeah, it was funny, actually, though, because I got a lot of private DMs of people in very similar positions. Some were worse. I’ve talked about this. There was one dude who told me … He didn’t tell me how much in total, but he said it was eight figures, like he built up to eight figures, right? Lost pretty much the lot. I think he said he was down to $300,000, which is a good amount of money, but when you’re coming down from plus 10 million, that’s a lot.
But it was strange, I had a lot of people say, “Oh, you’re so courageous and brave.” I didn’t feel like it was at all, in any way. I didn’t do that. I didn’t think, or I wasn’t scared. I think everything works well in crypto when people share and they’re honest. It’s actually, I think hopefully this year will be a bit more honesty, I would love a project, actually. I’d love a project to come out and say, “Yeah, we got this whole token thing wrong. It’s bullshit, and we can’t make it work. We can’t figure it out.”
Marty Bent: Right? Well, some of them are starting to basically just admitted that-
Peter McCormack: Yeah.
Marty Bent: … and-
Peter McCormack: I’m thinking one of the ones that are kind of further down the road with shipped products.
Marty Bent: Right?
Peter McCormack: I’m not going to name names, but …
Marty Bent: No, there is a … Oh, yeah, I-
Peter McCormack: Well, we can.
Marty Bent: Yes. I mean, oh, it’s funny. I see those, in particular, I go back and forth. Again, like I said earlier, like I like people exploring ideas and sort of new ways to organise in the digital world, but with that being said, I think a lot of what drove last year’s mania was bullshit marketing that I would argue that most of the people launching ICOs really had no intention of … I mean, there definitely are people who launched ICOs that have the intention to bring a product to market, but I would say 90% probably didn’t. It was probably a get-rich-quick scheme for a lot of these people.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, I agree. I think also I give other people a little bit … I’m a little bit more patient with some people’s decisions, like I’m not a fan of the Civic token or the BAT token, but I can’t eloquently explain why it won’t work, but I don’t believe someone like Brendan Eich set out to scam people, as he’s been accused. I think he genuinely believes the BAT token’s a good idea. It appears that it isn’t, but I don’t think he sat there and thought, “Oh, I can raise a bunch of money quickly and scam people.” I think he thinks BAT is a very good idea for redistributing advertising income.
Marty Bent: No, and I completely agree, and that’s a common theme for a lot of characters in this space in particular. It’s probably a product of the nature that, or excuse me, a product of the fact that these protocols are basically exploring new territory. A lot of people have a lot of opportunities to sort of etch themselves in history if they are able to sort of predict how the stuff will play out correctly, and a lot of people stake their egos and their reputations to these ideas.
What I would caution people who are making these bold claims and these bold claims in this new territory is, if you are proven to be wrong at any point, just say, “Hey, I made a false prediction, didn’t turn out to be true.” We see, or we saw this with Bitcoin Cash, and a lot of the people there, a lot of the big blockers were sort of proven wrong pretty quickly, but as we’ve seen through the last year, they’re sort of clinging to the idea that they may be right in the long term, when the market is sort of telling them that, “No, they’re not,” and it’s going to hurt them in the long run. It has hurt them monetarily as Bitmain, and Roger Ver, and Calvin Ayre, I’m sure are struggling financially by basically pitching their wagon to Bitcoin Cash and the derivatives of it since the fork.
Yeah, if, again, this is an exploratory sort of field where we’re discovering these things every day, everything’s being revealed to us, it’s like an expanding universe, you’re going to be wrong in some of your predictions. Quickly admitting that and then moving on is something I would advise.
Peter McCormack: Okay, so look, it’s been a big year. I’ve written down some kind of categories for us to explore. Usually, I’ve got loads of questions, but I just thought with you, it’d be easy to bounce some things back. Let’s, firstly, let’s just, let’s talk about the podcast game because that’s got super busy, really competitive, really healthy. I obviously started … I kind of started November 17, but really kicked it off this year, at the start of this year, taking it a bit more serious. Obviously, you’ve done very well. Your show’s very good. I’ve really enjoyed Stephan Livera’s show. Pomp came in like a steam train with his podcast. I love the Noded Podcast. Laura launched a second podcast. The podcast game is pretty healthy in crypto, right?
Marty Bent: It’s hot right now. There’s a lot of content, and there’s content wherever you turn, which is a good thing. Again, it goes back to the stuff being exploratory, are people just trying to explain what they’ve seen and what they’re seeing out there, and … I can’t speak for you, but for me, the reason I started Tales from the Crypt was, there is an iteration on the newsletter that I write, Marty’s Bent. Started from the fact that I was getting texts and emails from family and friends who knew that I was the Bitcoin guy, and they were like, “I need to learn. Should I be investing?” I was like, “I’m not going to tell you whether to invest or not, but hey, I’ll write this little note every day that sort of shines a light on a little part of Bitcoin every day,” and earn, something like that, teach you a little bit part of Bitcoin every day.
It was sort of the ethos of Marty’s Bent when it started. It was only going out to family and friends, and I shared the link on Twitter, and it sort of took on a life of its own on Twitter. I was at a point at the end of the summer where I was writing and I was like, “Ah, people want more,” and I figured the next iteration was a podcast where, interviewing people in the space to sort of help people get a better understanding of it, because Bitcoin’s a huge mental barrier for people. There’s a lot of barriers to entry where, because there are so many facets of it. Economics, computer science, game theory, you name it. It’s pretty daunting, and so that’s what I try to do with the podcast, I’m pretty sure you do as well, is to get the people working in and around Bitcoin and these cryptocurrencies to sort of make it more approachable for the average man.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, it’s a pretty similar journey, actually. I had people back in … Gosh, it was towards the kind of Q1, Q2 of ’17 where people were just asking me about Bitcoin, and I had this email I used to send them which was like what it is, why it’s important, how you buy it, what your security is. I just used to forward it to them, and then I did a Facebook group for friends and family where I just explain stuff. I’m actually … I’ve gone back and read all of the content. I find it so embarrassing, because I was very new and a lot of the stuff I’m saying was kind of, is bollocks, really, but, again, it took a life of its own.
I started writing, and then the reason I did the podcast, it was, I knew I wanted something with longevity that I can contribute with, because I’m not a trader, really. I’m not very good at it, and also I felt like when I was trying to learn, everything, there’s a lot of complicated things to get your head around, and there are lots of very intellectual debates going on. I’ve just got dumb questions I want to ask, really simple ones. I kind of … I’ve always shaped my show as a way of just asking those things that are really basic that other people might want to ask who are too scared to ask maybe on Reddit because they don’t want to go on and get called an idiot. That was mine.
Marty Bent: No, yeah, and people want to learn. It’s just … That’s the one thing I saw a sort of disconnect in the space where there was a lot of very technical people trying to explain this and talking in very technical terms that were sort of going over most people’s head. I worked for … I’m a fan of a company here in the States, Barstool Sports, actually wound up working for them. That’s actually where the podcast started, but I sort of had this intention of bringing their voice, which is pretty politically incorrect and not as dry as a lot of the analysis in the space can be, and just trying to make it sort of light-hearted and sort of approachable to like the bro here in the United States that wants to learn more, but wants to do it in sort of a fun way. That’s-
Peter McCormack: With some good whiskey.
Marty Bent: Yeah, exactly, and then the podcast, you get the smart people drunk. They open up a little bit more and get a little bit more poetic, more cosmic. It works out for everybody.
Peter McCormack: What’s your favourite whiskey?
Marty Bent: I’m partial towards Bulleit Bourbon just for like everyday drinking. I’m not like a whiskey snob. Bulleit Bourbon’s probably my favourite right now, but we, Matt always brings the Macallan. I can’t knock Macallan either. It’s a very smooth one, but yeah, I’m partial to Bulleit.
Peter McCormack: Do you know Hudson?
Marty Bent: Yes, I know Hudson, Hudson. Like Hudson as well.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, I like Hudson, so … What was the highlight for you of the year, of all the interviews you did, all the podcasts you released, maybe even one of the ones you heard?
Marty Bent: Gosh, that’s hard. I’m not going to name my favourite because that would be rude towards my guests, but one podcast that people have told me many times, like after listening to it, they’ve reached out to me in DMs and in person, is Bitcoin Sign Guy. I think that was in the middle of July. He obviously was the guy, held up the “Buy Bitcoin” sign behind Janet Yellen, and people only know him via that meme, but once you get to sit down and speak with him, you see he’s actually a pretty, very bright, sharp young mind. He’s got some pretty cool views on Bitcoin, and cryptoanarchy in particular.
Peter McCormack: Oh, wicked. Yeah, I heard a really good interview with him on Noded as well. Yeah, he’s very articulate, a very intelligent guy, slight rebel.
Marty Bent: Yeah, yeah. A Waspy rebel, if you will.
Peter McCormack: Yeah. All right, man. Well, look, the main thread, I think, of the year has been the bear market. I think it’s been in some ways we may look back on this as a healthy thing, an inevitability as well, in hindsight. I think people have been through it before. You’ve witnessed one before. I haven’t really. I wasn’t really that involved in 2013, but I think it’s kind of healthy in the grand scheme of things, but what’s your kind of take on the whole year and the bear market, and where do you think we’re at?
Marty Bent: Yeah. No, it’s … I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already. I believe we’re approaching … Actually, no, I think December 17th was the all-time high. Correct? I think last year, so we’re just five days … We’re just 370 days into a bear market now. I can’t believe it’s already been a year, and like you said, yeah, it’s sort of necessary, so this time last year, let’s talk about Bitcoin, the blockchain, the actual technology, the system, it was pretty stressed. I mean, fees ran all-time high, blocks were slowing down, exchanges were going down because they got to keep up with the demand of the market.
From an infrastructure and system perspective, it seems like at that point in time, at least, Bitcoin probably wasn’t ready for the mainstream, so the bear market just from a network stress perspective is probably good to sort of, so that we can make it more efficient and prepare for the next bull run. This time of less activity on the network is good to sort of focus on building out upgrades that’ll make it more efficient and prepare for the next bull run. From like a technical perspective, I think the bear market is good in that regards. Then, yeah, and then since it wasn’t ready for the mainstream, it’s probably imperative that we had this cleansing of the ICO market and the bullshit that was last year, that mania.
The retail investors, in particular, who got in last year and here in the States, I don’t know what it was like in the UK, but we had people at Barstool Sports, which is a pretty big website here in the States, talking about Bitcoin and shitcoins every day. That’s sort of like a massive demographic here in the States, so it was at least in their minds at this point last year. Now the question is, how many of that whole is sort of still hanging around and sort of learning those hard lessons in having that journey coming back to Bitcoin, and what percentage of that group is sort of completely jaded and thinks this is all just a huge scam?
Peter McCormack: Yeah, I think if we do have another bull run, and I’m cautious about wanting or hoping or expecting another bull run because of that, what that means, it does mean like another round of FOMO, another round of people who will come in and lose money. I’ve become a little bit more conscious about the impact that can have on people, especially with the, like I say, the thread I did, had something like 250, 300 DMs, and I reckon at least half of them were people who had lost a lot of money. I’m becoming kind of cautious about overthinking and over hoping for it, but one thing I do recognise if we do have another Bitcoin run, and Bitcoin’s successful, there are a bunch of shitcoins and tokens that will rally off the back of it, the ones that haven’t been wiped out.
Marty Bent: Yeah, no. These cycles will continue until the market has learned, and yeah, and again, this is a huge learning process. This is, we’re experiencing the monetisation of a new monetary good, the likes of which has only happened very few times throughout the course of human history, so there’s going to be a lot of confusion and a lot of hard lessons learned, but with that being said, Bitcoin doesn’t realize … The Bitcoin, the protocol doesn’t realize all this confusion and money, or loss of money going on around it. It just produces blocks every 10 minutes, so what you have to, we can’t lose sight of is, during these cycles, Bitcoin continues producing blocks.
The protocol is sort of blind to what’s going on outside of it, and that’s all that really matters. As long it’s enabling peer-to-peer, censorship-resistant, distributed transactions, Bitcoin works. Everything around it is sort of noise, in my opinion. As long as it’s sufficiently decentralised, and that’s still up for debate, whether it is or not right now.
Peter McCormack: What do you make of Coinbase, recently? Because obviously, they’ve started to add a lot of tokens, and my kind of conclusion from this was a couple of things. Firstly, they were losing a lot of business to Binance, by Binance having so many other tokens, people wanting to trade tokens. I think secondly, they obviously raised a lot of money based on … Was it 500 million based on an eight-billion valuation?
Marty Bent: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Peter McCormack: They’ve got an animal to feed there, and then kind of cynically, I imagined that if there was a big sell-off of tokens, they make money on the trade whether it’s a buy or a sell, so I think potentially they also want to be part of that, but they’ve taken a huge amount of flack recently. I mean, their 12 days of Christmas probably sounded like a great idea when somebody came up with that, but every single release they kind of got attacked. I mean, especially with the 0x, earn money by learning about 0x, like who genuinely needs 0x?
Marty Bent: I spoke with the 0x, somebody building on the 0x protocol here in New York this week, and he said, “You probably don’t need 0x.” Somebody close to the protocol doesn’t even think you need the token, so just keep that in mind. Yeah, so Coinbase, I have a tenured history with Coinbase in the Bent. I’ve written about them many times. I’m not the biggest fan, and yeah, so let’s break it down. Like you said, they are an exchange that has to make a profit. They’re VC-backed. They have investors. They need the payback, and right now in this space, the most profitable thing you can do as an exchange is adding as many tokens as possible to collect those fees and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Coinbase in particular, for me personally since I’ve been around, and Coinbase was the exchange I used when I first got into the space and had a very good relationship with Coinbase for a lot of years, but you have to judge a company based on their actions. Over the years, I just think Coinbase, again, I like to hold them to a higher standard, and they have not met my standard as a user who would expect them to sort of be an arbiter of Bitcoin as a lot of other companies are. I think this actually comes to back to their CEO, Brian Armstrong, who personally I think has admitted in the past that Bitcoin has disappointed him or made him sad because he wasn’t able to sort of influence the protocol.
He notoriously has backed every contentious hard fork going back to Bitcoin Classic, Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Unlimited, SegWit2X, so that’s four contentious forks that he really tried to push via Coinbase using their sort of clout to try to force these contentious forks. That rubbed me in the wrong way, and then they get too political in these fork wars. Going all the way back to Ethereum during the DAO fork, I believe they should have, regardless of whether or not they thought that their aim was going to be successful and Ethereum Classic wasn’t, I think they should have offered those tokens to their users immediately. It took them two years to do that, and they eventually did it, but it took them two years. It should not have taken two years.
Then going to Bitcoin Cash, they ninja launched it on, I believe it was this day last year on a Tuesday night like at 10:00 PM, didn’t even like announce it or warn anybody that they were going to launch it. They just did it. It was completely irresponsible sort of timed up with the media blitz, like for good media of Bitcoin cash. It was a really weird scenario, and then on top of that, like you said, more recently adding more tokens, so now they have more ERC-20 tokens than cryptocurrencies, so they have more tokens than actual protocols. They’re definitely pushing a certain narrative. Brian Armstrong himself has said that he owns more Ethereum than Bitcoin. He thinks Ethereum is the future.
Then lastly, Hasu on Twitter broke down … I believe Chris Dixon interviewed Brian Armstrong recently, and he basically said that Coinbase wants to create a global payment system, and Bitcoin was not able to fulfil that need, so Coinbase the company has a different goal than Bitcoin the protocol. Bitcoin, yes, it can be, it is a payment system. There is a payment system built into Bitcoin. It’s not going to compete with PayPal or Visa at the protocol level right now. We’re going after sound money with Bitcoin, and that’s, I would argue, orders of magnitude more important and for the world to create, is like a sound money in the digital age than a really good payment system.
I just believe Coinbase, if you’re a Bitcoiner, if you want Bitcoin to succeed, it’s sort of misaligned with Bitcoin’s incentives. I choose not to use them. I advise the freaks out there, everybody who reads or listens to the podcast, to choose other exchanges. Do your research. I just, yeah, I just think Coinbase has acted poorly too many times in the past to gain my trust.
Peter McCormack: I think this is a very good point. Another thing I noticed, as somebody who’s come in late on and doesn’t know the history, I’ve gone back and read old Bitcointalk threads and old email chains, and it’s very interesting to see the names popping up on there or names who are leading quite major projects, but what I’ve noticed is, there has been a certain number of, let’s say, old-school Bitcoiners who have for business reasons spread their wings into shitcoins. It feels like, I don’t know, it’s almost like their … How do I put this? It’s almost like their business interest has changed their opinions on what’s important.
Marty Bent: Yeah, it’s a … You live long enough to see yourself become the villain or you die a hero. It’s sort of that problem, and yeah, like I would argue Erik Voorhees is a perfect example of this at ShapeShift. Early Bitcoiners did a lot of good things for Bitcoin, helped us realise that small transactions are probably not advantageous at the protocol level with Satoshi Dice. Thanks for that, Erik, but yeah, he’s, for somebody who was once one of the most ardent sort of crypto-anarchists or libertarians in the space for freedom and free transactions, ShapeShift has sort of evolved into this KYC/AML hellscape. He’s literally built a company that is overtly, is in overt conflict with his early sort of principles and stuff, so his principles have changed over time as … I don’t know if it’s money. I don’t know what it is, the allure of profits. I can’t speak to that, but it is something that you do witness.
Peter McCormack: All right, and the other threat that’s come through in a lot of this stuff is the rise of the stablecoin. We’ve had a lot of them. I have a love-hate relationship with stablecoins. I wrote a thing on Medium. It’s not that great, actually, in hindsight, but one of the things I felt with ICOs, if they were going to be a way of raising capital, if they were going to be used by just, say, traditional businesses who just want to raise capital from a global liquidity pool rather than go to venture funding, I was like, “Well, if it was going to work, I would imagine a stablecoin would be much better than, say, Ethereum, because it’s less volatile. Right? You don’t want raise 10 million and find out the next day you’ve got eight million because the market’s dropped 20%, and your runway’s changed.”
I kind of thought, “Oh, stablecoins make sense,” and then I read a bunch of stuff maximalists said about stablecoins, and they were really against them because of essentially it’s just digital fiat. It’s PayPal 2.0, it’s like … I was, “Oh, okay. That makes sense, and now I hate them,” and then I interviewed Zac Prince at BlockFi. He said to me, well, it was quite interesting, he said, “There’s a huge demand for borrowing dollars around the world.” He said, “It’s not logical for someone in Argentina to put all their money in Bitcoin.” It’s too volatile, it’s too risky. They could have a small amount, but they want to borrow dollars. The easiest way for them to borrow dollars is to borrow from BlockFi, BlockFi to issue as a stablecoin which they can transfer into their local currency on the local exchange. I was like, “Okay, that makes sense.”
Then I met with, spoke with Alex Gladstein from the Human Rights Foundation, and he’s a huge fan of MakerDAO, because he said, “Look, Bitcoin’s great. Bitcoin’s great for so many things, but its volatility is dangerous for people who don’t have a lot of money. A stablecoin is a bit more reliable,” so I kind of, I go from one to the other. Where are you with the whole stablecoin thing?
Marty Bent: Stablecoins are only stable until they aren’t. That’s where I am. I mean, I do think the concept of programmable money and being able to send digital U.S. dollars around the world is a novel idea just as a … In the long term, though, I would not store a significant amount of money in stable, so I would take the opposite approach, like if I were going to use a stablecoin, it would be sort of like a hot wallet type thing where I’m moving it to, moving Bitcoin to a stablecoin to send on short notice and keeping most of my holdings in Bitcoin, because you never …
Stablecoins are, again, they’re only stable until they’re not, so they’re susceptible to black swan events and what they’re pegged to. I don’t think this is likely to happen for the next 10 to 20 years, but if they were ever … I’m not even going to say 10 to 20 years. I don’t know if this will ever happen, but if there was ever like a hyperinflationary instance with the U.S. dollar, the pegged stablecoin is inherently unstable because it’s pegged to an unstable currency as well. That’s a long-term threat. Then the proliferation of stablecoins, so like competing stablecoins, they sort of eat at each other’s market cap and each other’s value prop, so the more stablecoins there are, the sort of less stable the stablecoin landscape becomes, I would argue.
They’re an interesting concept. I think programmable money is very interesting and something that will be figured out in the future. I do think it will be Bitcoin. I think people will accept volatility to a certain extent. I don’t think Bitcoin will be this volatile forever, and that’s another thing. I think people are a bit impatient in this space and expect Bitcoin to be this hyper stable currency out of the box, and that’s just not going to happen. This is a monetisation event. There’s going to be volatility early on in the stage, in the early stages, excuse me, but yeah, with stablecoins maybe they do fill that niche for Bitcoin while it’s going from a regime of high volatility to relative stableness. Who knows? Relative stability, excuse me.
Peter McCormack: Okay, so let’s talk about Bitcoin, the year for Bitcoin. It’s been a mixed bag of … If we forget about the price, I think everyone knows what’s happened with the price, but let’s talk about like what’s been going on. There’s been a huge range of things. There’s been a huge amount of FUD, still. People still spreading the nonsense about energy waste and things like that. There’s been a huge amount of FUD. There are the likes of Nouriel Roubini attacking it etc., etc., but at the same time, every measure I look for Bitcoin seems to be up, transactions, volume. I know the hash rates drop, there was FUD around that as well. Lightning’s growing. Infrastructure’s growing.
Even though we don’t have an ETF, the fact that it’s been discussed so regularly at such a high level is really interesting. Jay Clayton’s comments were very positive. There’s a huge amount of positive stuff’s happened for Bitcoin, so how do you balance the year for Bitcoin itself?
Marty Bent: Yeah, no, like I said, I think Bitcoin fundamentally has never been better. I’m pulling up a tweet here, Jameson was tweeting yesterday, “Despite massive exchange rate decline forced many miners offline due to unprofitability, Bitcoin’s hashrate doubled during 2018 from 19 to 38 exahash.” Yeah, so despite the precipitous hash rate decline since the summer or since September, the hash rate’s still doubled from what it was this time last year, so the network’s that much more secure or that much more energy-focused on the network. Then, like you said, Lightning’s beginning to proliferate, and the experimentation I’m seeing around Lightning, in particular, is blowing my mind.
We’re close to sort of one to three-click UX experiences where users can spin up a node, open up channels, and travel the web with the Lightning Wallet in an extension. We’re not that far away. I mean, the vision’s there. It’s being proven out. There’s a lot of people sort of gravitating towards Lightning to build on it. At the BitDevs meeting here in New York, in particular, there’s been a lot of people who have previously worked on other protocols that have started coming to Bitcoins meetups just because of Lightning has made it a lot easier to build on, so I think we’re going to see sort of an exponential rise in the activity on Lightning, in and around it.
That is an incredible sort of development, and it goes back to what I’m saying in the beginning of the episode where this is the year where we’re moving on from settled debates and sort of proving out the use cases that we believe are the most viable to scale this system in layers, and it seems that base layer being very efficient for large transactions, and Lightning is beginning to take form. That’s very great to see.
Then yeah, protocol development continues to amaze me. Peter Wuille just came out with a new proposal that would make the initial sync, I think, a lot less data-intensive, which is huge for ensuring the decentralisation in the long term, so small tweaks like this are very encouraging. Then on top of that, though, we should mention the CVE bug. We were reminded pretty starkly that bugs do exist, and they will exist, and they can be pretty catastrophic bugs. We’re lucky that that bug, in particular, was not exploited, but it did sneak its way into the codebase. These developers, though, I’ve been very generous towards them. They are fallible, at the end of the day, and this is humans writing code, so we always have to have that in mind when building the system as well. I would actually argue that we should probably be more careful and maybe move a little bit more slowly than we have been. Yeah. There’s a lot, that’s a lot that’s happened in development, both good and sort of worrisome.
Peter McCormack: I did a really interesting interview the other week with Bryan Bishop, trying to find out and understand a bit more about Bitcoin development because I don’t understand a thing about it. He was great. He was really patient with me and very articulate, but he was very clear to me that there are bugs in Bitcoin that they know about that exist, and there are bugs in Bitcoin they’re unaware of, and that’s always going to be the case. I also remember hearing, I think it was Nic Carter saying once that he looks forward to a time where the base chain calcifies, there are no more updates, which I think it’s kind of interesting.
Marty Bent: I mean, that’s ideally the point you want to get to. That’s actually something I say to my friends in Bitcoin a lot is like, “I want Bitcoin to be as boring as possible as soon as possible.” The quicker it becomes boring and sort of solidified in its ways at the protocol level, again, like I said, it only really needs to do one thing and continue to do that thing and will be good into perpetuity. That enables peer-to-peer censorship-resistant distributed transactions roughly every 10 minutes. If we can just ossify that single process, then anchor trust into that protocol level via second and third layers, I think we’ll be good. Like I said, the quicker we get to that point, the better for Bitcoin, because you want Bitcoin’s selling point to sort of being very, very bland in the future. You don’t even want to have to talk about the technical details. You just want to tell people that it works and you have a certain amount of certainty that it will work that way into perpetuity.
Peter McCormack: Where do you stand on fungibility? Because there is progress, but it’s slow, and I’ve heard … All the interviews I’ve done, I heard so many different views. Most people kind of want it, and Bryan actually, his point, as well, is that you should support fungibility because fungibility improves scaling, which I hadn’t heard, but also, there are some people who said they prefer if the base chain wasn’t private, if you can analyse the base chain, and you can see it, the Bitcoin people holding, and especially when it comes to, say, Wall Street adoption where you want to ensure that there is fractional reserve Bitcoin being operated. There’s kind of different views. I’m kind of in the middle now. Where do you stand on that?
Marty Bent: Yeah. Fungibility is a very interesting topic, and I think, yeah, so I’ve been saying this for a while. It’s going to be the next big block size war or, what, scaling war, is going to be a fungibility war. I, yeah, so again, it all comes back to trade-offs, and like you said, you have to trade off at the protocol level. In particular, do you want complete anonymity or complete fungibility, or do you want auditability to know that the supply is 21 million? This is at the protocol level only, and so people are pretty certain that if we get complete fungibility at the protocol level, it won’t always be possible to check the supply.
Myself, I got into this for sound money. I think you should be able to check the supply, so I’m not for complete fungibility at the protocol level. I think there are things you can do with things like CoinJoin, and then if we get Schnorr signatures in, I think you can have a degree of fungibility at the protocol level that is acceptable for me as a user. It just makes it a lot harder for people to find you. It makes people have to do very good detective work. It’s not foolproof, but I think it’s enough fungibility at the protocol level, especially with things with Lightning, where if you take it to the Lightning Network, you can even make it more secure and more private on those other layers. I think the ability to audit the supply at any time is imperative for Bitcoin’s value prop, so I think a degree of fungibility at the protocol level’s fine, but I think if it ever got to a point where we had to decide complete fungibility at the protocol level and not being able to audit, I don’t think I would support that.
Peter McCormack: Okay. Another big topic for the year for me was journalism within crypto and Bitcoin, and there are a few things I’ve noticed. Obviously, The Block has arrived with their unique form of kind of investigative journalism, but also some really good analysis work, but they’re coming in kind of all guns blazing, and I think they’ve, in net, do a really good job. We also have the exposure that a number of people were allowing for pay for coverage, which is morally wrong. We’ve had Bitcoin Magazine going Bitcoin-only, which I think is super cool, and then we’ve had just really crappy reporting from the mainstream press, like the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNBC, so what do you make of the whole, what’s happened with journalism in this space?
Marty Bent: Yeah, no, I think the entrance of The Block has been great, if not only to light a fire under the ass of everybody else in the space, so I think journalistically struggle at some points. CoinDesk has been very good throughout the years. Bitcoin Magazine has been the crème de la crème, in my opinion. I think Aaron van Wirdum is the best writer in the space, so I really like what Bitcoin Magazine has done up to this point, and The Block entering the space, I think Frank Chaparro’s a very good journalist. They’ve got a very good, young crew there that’s dedicated to sort of … I don’t want to say start controversy but get under the scammer’s skin, which I’m all for.
Yeah, I think it’s been good, and then, yeah, so mainstream, they’re still learning. That’s actually, yeah, I don’t know if I’ll ever hold my breath that the mainstream will come around. There are few good journalists in the mainstream would get it. I would argue Joe Weisenthal at Bloomberg gets it, a couple others get it, but most, throughout the mainstream crypto beat, are pretty clueless and just spit out falsities. I think it’s imperative that we have companies like The Block coming in, and then I’ll shill my own thing, like I think individuals who have been in the space like yourself and are small content creators, like we, like us, are imperative as well to give a different perspective.
I think crypto is going to sort of piggyback off of small content creators who actually know what they’re talking about into the future, because, again, this is such an arduous subject to tackle. Just thinking of a mainstream media beat reporter figuring this out and being able to report on it accurately, again, don’t hold your breath for that.
Peter McCormack: Yeah. Definitely. The last thing I want to talk about the year is, I just want to go back onto tokens a little bit, but specifically towards venture capital and what’s happened with venture capital money in the space. It seems to me that whilst there are a number of funds who’ve lost money and closed down, there is still a narrative of build a better Bitcoin and token economics within a number of funds. I’m not going to directly criticize them, and actually, I find some of what they’re doing quite interesting, say, over at Multicoin. It’s not calling them out as a fan, but if there is something that’s going to work, they’re going to find it, because they’re challenging and trying everything. What I do worry, though, is that actually all these funds really just kind of push narratives which are probably going to fail. I don’t understand why these seemingly smart people don’t get it.
Marty Bent: Well, that’s the thing, Peter. These seemingly smart people are not as smart as they seem, in my opinion. That’s, yeah, like I said, there’s, earlier in the episode, people cling to these ideas, these lofty ideas that these protocols can solve, and sort of hitch their reputations to it. A lot of the VC funds have in the space, and I think that’s a reason why Coinbase is doing what it’s doing, because its biggest investor, a16z, is a big believer in Ethereum and Web3, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a lot of pressure from Coinbase’s investors to sort of flesh out this idea just to sort of justify their investments.
That’s another thing you have to take into account. As a retail investor, somebody’s looking at this space from an outside perspective looking in, a lot of the VC funds, I mean, to me, they’re just completely anathema to the whole ethos of Bitcoin, and the fact that you could get a considerable percentage of a network before it’s open to the public just doesn’t make any sense to me from a Bitcoin perspective. It sort of defeats the whole purpose of a decentralised, open-source system, so all these presales and like deals that are basically VC friends getting in at an early stage, getting a discount, and then trying to grow the network with their social networks, with their social clout.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. That’s what I think it is. It’s a lot of rich people trying to use their social clout to will something into existence, but they will be found to be naïve in the long run, I think. I believe a lot of them are naïve that they can sort of bootstrap these what are supposed to be organic protocols very inorganically, so just from a heuristic standpoint, that’s the way I view it. We’ll see, though. We’ll see.
Peter McCormack: All right, man. Well, listen, look, I think that’s covered kind of the main things that went on this year. Unless there’s anything else you want to add, I want to go through a few predictions for next year with you.
Marty Bent: Let me think. Yeah, the ETF’s going to come. Don’t hold your breath for the ETF either. That’s been clamoured about since 2013. The Winklevii were coming out with one five years ago, so keep that in mind as the headlines about an ETF keep coming out.
Peter McCormack: We do apparently have Bakkt coming, though, which certain people like Jake Chervinsky think is way more important than an ETF.
Marty Bent: Yes, but they’re even having a, and they just had the pushback there their initial launch, correct?
Peter McCormack: Yeah, they did, and that Mike, there was like a rumour up, on I think it might have been The Block pushed it, it might get delayed again.
Marty Bent: Yeah, so don’t hold your breath for these mainstream financial products. That’s a prediction rolling.
Peter McCormack: Well, it’s funny also, did you read the Tim May thing on CoinDesk?
Marty Bent: The one that he wrote?
Peter McCormack: Yeah.
Marty Bent: Yes.
Peter McCormack: I mean, that blew my mind. Right? I read through that. I’ve been kind of wanting the ETF to happen, and expansion, etc., etc., so something he said in there was really interesting. He said, “I can’t speak for what Satoshi intended, but I sure don’t think it involved Bitcoin exchanges that have draconian rules about KYC, AML, passports, freezes on accounts and laws about reporting ‘suspicious activity’ to the local secret police. There’s a real possibility that all the noise about ‘governance,’ ‘regulation’ and ‘blockchain’ will effectively create a surveillance state, a dossier society. I think Satoshi would barf. Or at least work on a replacement for Bitcoin as he first described in 2008, 2009.”
That kind of knocked me back a bit when I read that. I was kind of like, “Aw, shit. Yeah, like the original vision, the original dream.” In some ways, in some … I won’t, and I haven’t got a lot left now anyway, but in some ways, I almost thought, “God, I almost want to sell all my Bitcoin, not have any Bitcoin, so I approach it from an impartial point of view, not a personal financial incentive, and therefore my considerations for Bitcoin are for what is good for Bitcoin and users, not what is good for price growth.” Right?
Marty Bent: Yeah. No, and this is something Matt and I, in particular, harp on a lot on Rabbit Hole Recap is, if Bitcoin is about taking your financial sovereignty into your hands, so it is a process, number one. It is not easy, number two, but it is a responsibility and I think is worthwhile, so we are always encouraging people to learn, first of all, learn how to use wallet software, become comfortable using a personal wallet software, and then move your Bitcoin to a personal wallet, run a node, and participate in the consensus, because I think in the long run, if Bitcoin is to succeed, we do need people using Bitcoin.
We can’t let these exchanges, I would argue we can’t let them concentrate so much supply, so I do think as Bitcoiners, we should be advocating that people learn how to take the stuff into their own hands. Again, first learn how to use wallet. Practice. Become comfortable with it before moving your money to it, and then on top of that, we need companies like Casa and Unchained, companies working on unique multi-signature sort of schemes that give the user a lot more control when they’re engaging with custody services. We need the UX in that area to improve, and I think it will improve and it is improving, but yeah, I do think Tim, rest in peace, Tim, I do think he, that warning is very warranted. We do not want this system to become draconian run by Coinbase. That’s why I’m very anti-Coinbase because I do think they are trying to position themselves to become the sort of arbiter of the quote-unquote “fake decentralised digital future.”
Peter McCormack: Right. Okay, man. Listen, 2019 predictions. Actually, I’ve got it here written. “Predictions and hopes.” Just predictions about what’s going to happen, but there are the things you hope will happen as well. They’re kind of slightly different, so let’s go with the market. Let’s talk about Bitcoin, then all other projects kind of together, and then personally, for yourself, with your podcast and your own work, so what do you think is going to happen with the market in 2019? You don’t have to give me a price, but just like a general feel.
Marty Bent: I bet we’re sideways for most of it. Sideways to down for most of it, and there may be a pop at the end of the year. I don’t know. I bet it’s going to be a boring year, price-wise. I hope so. I could be wrong. See, I always say-
Peter McCormack: Because a boring year means people focusing on still building, right?
Marty Bent: Yeah, that, and I want to accumulate more Bitcoin. Nah. Yeah. Predictions always suck. Yeah, I think sideways, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, again, it’s all indicative on news … Or not news events, but sort of the developments around Bitcoin, so it’s getting pretty frothy in the geopolitical landscape right now. We’ll see how that plays out, and if that, if Bitcoin factors into that macro play at all. It’s yet to be seen, so that’s actually … All right. There’s a prediction. We will find out how Bitcoin plays into this macro situation in 2019.
Peter McCormack: Okay, and then on the tech side of Bitcoin, what are your kind of hopes and predictions technology-wise? I’m like, my nod is towards Lightning, but you tell me.
Marty Bent: No, yeah, so Schnorr signatures, the first attempt to … The first proposal to add Schnorr signatures to the Bitcoin protocol level, excuse me, was just proposed earlier this week, so our, like the discussion around that proposal in particular, and then other proposals if people want to propose them, how to get Schnorr signatures added at the protocol level in Bitcoin, and what you would include in a package that adds Schnorr signatures.
I would love to see, and I believe it will, and so this is my prediction, the conversation around this upgrade, in particular, will begin to get louder, and I think we’ll have by the end of the year a sort of a path forward with how to implement Schnorr signatures, and so what we have to figure out is, we can probably do that via, we will do that via soft fork, and it’s just, how do we come to consensus on implementing the soft fork, so discussion around the soft fork will heat up as well.
Peter McCormack: For those who don’t know, what are Schnorr signatures? It’s a tongue-twister, right? What are Schnorr signatures?
Marty Bent: Schnorr signatures. Yeah, so let me preface this with, I am not the most technical Bitcoiner out there, but Schnorr signatures is a different signature scheme that allows you to aggregate signatures. In multisig transactions, in particular, you’ll be able to like do everything with one signature, whereas it takes multiple signatures for each output right now. This will be a boon to fungibility, number one, and then number two, data space, so it’ll make the use of data on the blockchain very much more efficient. It’s a different signature scheme to ECDSA, which we’re using now, which Satoshi chose particularly when starting the project, because Schnorr signature, number one, was patented and had not been tested as much. People think that a decade since Bitcoin’s launch, Schnorr has sort of been tested. The patent is not there anymore, and it’s probably most advantageous to add it, just makes a bit more sense.
Peter McCormack: What do you think is going to happen, everything not Bitcoin? What do you think is going to happen with Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple coin, everything else?
Marty Bent: I think Ethereum will continue to struggle on their transition to proof of stake. I don’t think they’ll ever truly transition to full proof of stake, which in turn I think invalidates their whole narrative and their whole investment thesis, so I think the struggle for that transition will continue. From an ICO perspective, I expect the SEC to step in more heavily. I think we’ll see more arrests. I think we’ll see some big names get taken down and maybe a head of tokens get taken down, maybe a head of decentralised projects get taken down. We’ll see. Maybe this is the year that the SEC and the regulators decide to come in and sort of clean house.
Peter McCormack: All right, man, and then, well, any other predictions, or any other hopes? I prefer hopes.
Marty Bent: I bet we get the Trump Bitcoin tweet in 2019.
Peter McCormack: That would be awesome. What’s coming up for you next year? What’s coming up with the podcast? What are you hoping for?
Marty Bent: Just hoping to make it another year. I don’t know. Hopefully, I figure out my sound. That’s the bane of my existence, the bane of my listeners’ existence as well, from what I hear. No, just keep it going-
Peter McCormack: That’s-
Marty Bent: … this interview-
Peter McCormack: … all of us.
Marty Bent: Yeah.
Peter McCormack:: Everyone who does a podcast, the bane of our life is the sound, is the audio from the guest, is the merging of the audio. Actually, I don’t know about you, every show I complete, I have this massive panic that the audio didn’t record.
Marty Bent: Well, I learned my lesson hard when I didn’t hit Record with Bitcoin Sign Guy, and we had a 30-minute conversation that went unrecorded, so we had to restart. It was a hard lesson learned, and I always check to make sure I hit Record, but you only have to learn it once, so I would-
Peter McCormack: Yeah.
Marty Bent: I would advise you to forget to hit Record for like five minutes of a conversation. You’ll be like, “Oh, forgot to hit Record,” and then you’ll never forget again.
Peter McCormack: I had it last week. I interviewed Mike Dudas from The Block, and I just lost the intro where we were talking about football and talking about Liverpool, but I kind of wish we’d had it, and that was the first time I’d done it, but I still have the panic afterwards. The sound is the bane of all our lives. Right? Getting it right is hard.
Marty Bent: It’s not easy, especially if you don’t have a background in like sound engineering. I just hit Record and try to do my best to get the levels in a certain spot.
Peter McCormack: I think you do a cracking job. I love your show, man. Well, listen, look.
Marty Bent: Love your show too, man. Yeah.
Peter McCormack: Well, do you know what? Let’s do a Pomp. Let’s take one from Pomp. Do you want to ask me anything before we close out?
Marty Bent: He got … Yeah, you stumped me on this one.
Peter McCormack: Seeing as it’s Christmas, you can ask me a question if you want.
Marty Bent: No. I’m interested to see, so as somebody who’s coming more and more or has come full circle back around the Bitcoin, like what was … I mean, you had your thread, obviously. You learned a lot of hard lessons, but I just want to make sure I’m not crazy, like do you see the value proposition in sound money and focusing on Bitcoin in the long run?
Peter McCormack: Yeah, absolutely. The funny thing was, I didn’t lose most of my money on tokens. Right? I lost most of my money mining Bitcoin. Somebody was asking me about that the other day, and I said, “The reason I’m not upset is because in the long term, like I’m always going to have a job or be able to support my family, so I’m not worried about money, and if me losing a few hundred thousand dollars on Bitcoin mining in the long term means I still contributed towards the security of what could be the most important technical innovation of our time, then I accept being that collateral damage.” Right? I accept that. I go, “Okay, well, at least I know I partly contributed towards the security of Bitcoin.” I’m proud of that, but no, it does make sense to me, and I’m somebody who takes a long time to understand things.
I’ve sat in debates, whether it’s on Telegram and Reddit, and I’m seeing very intellectual people debate things, and I find it hard to kind of keep up, but the sound money does make sense. It really does make sense to me. Also, with Bitcoin, what really makes sense to me is the decentralised side of it. Seeing how much nonsense happens on centralised projects, whether it’s something, the change in their monetary policy, or there’s a meeting somewhere, or like some guy scams money, I’ve kind of come to really appreciate how Bitcoin is run and how there is this focus on decentralisation and how there’s this patience amongst the developers to do the right things, and like the thing that Bryan Bishop said to me is that none of the developers cares about price. They don’t wake up and think, “What can I do for Bitcoin today which will make the price better?” They don’t care. They want to build the best product. They want to take their time.
I don’t know. I just think there are so many things with Bitcoin that make sense, and I think it all comes down to, I just, I think it’s such an important project, and I trust the people who are … Excuse my tongue, but central to its future, the people … I don’t mean that it’s centralised, but the people who are kind of building it, develop it, all the kind of people I meet and interview, it just seems so important. I mean, my podcast went from anything, like I would interview anyone, like token leaders and traders, and it’s just, it’s really gone very focused on Bitcoin. Some people have got the chicken and egg wrong, the wrong way around with that. They’re like, “Oh, you’re just becoming a Bitcoin maximalist,” blah blah blah.
I was like, “No, the show has led me down to that. All the interviews and all the research has,” and it just, it’s … I can’t articulate it well, but I’ve come to … It’s almost like, are you a programmer?
Marty Bent: I’m not. I’m not.
Marty Bent: Yeah.
Peter McCormack: Yeah, and I’ve kind of, that’s a whole new, it’s a whole new mentality is like, yes, I’m going to get paid some dollars for advertising for the podcast, but when I get some people who do like tips, or like a couple of people have subscribed to have the podcast without ads for $60 for the year, and they paid in Bitcoin, I’m like, “I really liked that Bitcoin that I earned there. I really appreciate it.” Yeah, so that’s my focus change, and actually, it’s funny, like, at the start of this interview, I wrote down on this my to-do list that I need to go through my website and just clear out all the junk I’ve written about tokens and approach before, because my whole mentality’s changed. I don’t know if I articulated it in the way you want, but-
Marty Bent: No, it-
Peter McCormack: … that’s how I feel.
Marty Bent: No, it’s … No, that’s the common theme, like I talked about this with Hasu on Tales from the Crypt. He came to it via negativa just by way of taking things away. Once you take everything away, you realise, again, going back to the core of our discussion is, as long as Bitcoin’s producing blocks roughly every 10 minutes in a decentralised fashion, we’re Gucci. The simplicity of that scares a lot of people. They think everything needs to be a bit more complex, and you need to get these crazy consensus mechanisms, but there’s beauty in Bitcoin simplicity at the end of the day, I would argue.
Peter McCormack: Mate, well, I think that’s a perfect way to end it. I’m going to wish you a happy Christmas, a great New Year. This is going to be the final show of the year that’s going to go out next Friday. I think it’s a fitting way to end it. Thank you for your work. I absolutely love your podcast. You’ve probably heard it a few times now, but I’ve met people, and I’ve said, “No, I think you need to be interviewed by Marty,” because I think you’ve got a real way of kind of calming people and just getting them to open up. There are a few people I’ve said, like when I was with Hester Peirce, I said, “You really should be interviewed by Marty Bent. I think he would really bring, he would really kind of bring a great interview out of you,” but yeah, no, thank you for everything you’ve done, and support you’ve given to me as well. Just yeah, thank you, and have a great Christmas.
Marty Bent: Well, the feeling is mutual, Peter. What Bitcoin Did is an incredible resource to the community as well. Thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for having me on. Merry Christmas to you as well.
Peter McCormack: Okay, and we’ll see you in New York for some whiskies with Matt at some point.
Marty Bent: Definitely.
Peter McCormack: All right, man. Take care.
Marty Bent: All right, see you.