I have been known to go down the rabbit hole on many occasions doing research on Bitcoin, Blockchain and CryptoCurrency. It was during one of these missions when I came across Gabriel D Vine talking about Bitcoin on YouTube. A few weeks later I saw him again on a World Crypto Network show talking about Bitcoin. I really liked what he had to say and quickly became a fan. The next day I found myself using some of the statements he made in a Bitcoin discussion. I even quoted him on one of my early articles.
I had just started doing interviews with people at the time and put him on my hit list of individuals I wanted to learn more about. My interviews are long and take commitment from the interviewees. The one promise I make is to do my best to tell their story as unedited and raw as possible. Once Gabriel agreed to this interview, I really went deep down the rabbit hole trying to learn as much as possible about him. This is when I realized Gabriel had already been here and burrowed out an even deeper network of tunnels. This guy has accomplished a lot and is a man of many more talents - more than I initially thought.
Let me run through a few of them:
Gabriel is a published novelist, producer and DJ who was once signed to a major indie house music label. Adding to his resume, he performed a 9 hour DJ set at Burning Man. He is also Known as the resident conspiracy theorist or man with the tin foil hat on World Crypto Network. Most importantly, Gabriel is an early adopter of Bitcoin and has been in the game since 2013.
I could continue to list more interesting factoids about him, but I would rather you hear it directly from him in this interview. The best part about doing these interviews is getting to know the people during the process. I have really enjoyed getting to know Mr. Gabriel D Vine. His story, videos and writing are awesome, but he is even cooler as a person. Sit back, open your mind and let’s go down the rabbit hole with Gabriel D Vine.
Name: Gabriel D Vine
Online Identity: Gabriel D Vine
RJ: (Real Job) Entrepreneur
Years in the $BTC game: 4
How might people know you?
World Crypto Network YouTube channel: FutureRant, The Bitcoin Group, Bitcoin News Show
How can people follow you?
What is your background, education or formal training?
I am a trained classical composer and professional musician, DJ, producer, composer. Also, I have done web programming for many years.
When did you become interested in Bitcoin and Crypto?
What is the single best experience you have had in this space?
Getting to know crypto people who resonate with my ramblings on Twitter and YouTube. You all mean so much to me.
Tell us your biggest Crypto fail.
Trying to trade without proper training!
Who is at the top of your playlist that motivates you?
As far as motivational speaking, I am very inspired by Andreas Antonopoulos and his incredible knack for analogies. I am also motivated by Jeffrey Tucker, Saifedean Ammous, Clif High, Sharkybit aka Edward, David Wilcock, and Seth Godin.
Who is at the top of your reading list?
Currently, I'm reading John Brunner's award-winning 1968 sci-fi classic Stand on Zanzibar. Vinay Gupta turned me onto Brunner's incredibly prescient work via The Shockwave Rider. My last nonfiction work to read was The Sovereign Individual, which made dozens of predictions that sounded bizarre to most in 1996 and are all coming true today.
Where do you personally get your Crypto news and information?
Twitter and YouTube. I can't wait until both are disrupted by awesome decentralized alternatives, as they are both highly flawed. No T2x!
What do you do for fun when you are outside the Cryptosphere?
I like walking in parks and nature with my babe, going to the gym, cooking, reading, writing, meditating, being with my best friend Lolita (our cat), singing & playing piano also with my girl, writing songs, composing.
Best tips you can give anyone new to the Bitcoin and Altcurrency world?
Nearly everything in the cryptospace is fraudulent one way or the other except for Bitcoin, so if you decide to invest, stick with the bulk of it in XBT and treat the rest as gambling.
You are a bit of a mystery man. You go by the name Gabriel or @GabrielDVine on twitter. Your web page is a photo of the sky with no text. Your medium page states, author, musician, perfumisto, technologist and not so rugged individualist. Give us a little insight about who you are and what you do.
I am fascinated by many things. I'm an autodidact in most things except for music, which I studied at university. I wrote a cyberpunk novel in 2014, and have been a perfume enthusiast for about a decade.
Where did you grow up?
I'm from Westlake Village, a suburb northwest of Los Angeles, which is my parents' home town. They went to Fairfax High in the infamous Melrose District.
What kind of kid/teenager were you when growing up? What were you in to?
I was always very curious and easy-going. I read a lot, especially fantasy and sci-fi, and loved music, starting on the clarinet and later composing and playing piano as a teenager. My parents were great exposing me to art, theater, music, and literature from a young age, and always supporting intellectual and artistic pursuits. Also, I liked playing with computers and video games of course. My brother and I used pre-dialup modems (starting at 300 baud) and got involved in old-school hacker type things with BBSes and so forth, although I never really developed a love of programming or knowledge of command line, etc. I did learn very basic BASIC skills from a young age, however.
You mentioned you are a musician. I found a Gabriel D Vine DJ page and a track on Spotify with your name called, “Take Me Or Leave Me.” Tell us more about your music.
That was one of three house remixes I did for Warner Bros. to promote the album version of the hit musical Rent. I actually dislike most Broadway musicals, so it was fun to get the stems (original recording tracks) and change around major to minor, etc.
Although I took basic music lessons as a toddler with a couple dozen other munchkins, I think perhaps my dive into music as a personal journey began with placing Seargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the turntable at 8 and just laying down on a scratchy wool couch to listen to the whole thing. (Spoiler: my patience ran out during "Within You, Without You"). From there I started playing clarinet and later jazz piano. I wrote a lot of jazz tunes in high school and went on to study classical composition & theory at university in the U.S. and Austria.
I dropped out of grad school when I got sick of academia and returned to LA to throw parties with friends and produce electronica after hearing Daft Punk's "Aroung the World", Aphex Twin, and Squarepusher. That's when I learned how to DJ as well, debuting my career with nine-hour sets at Burning Man.
After getting signed to a "major indie" house music label and seeing how the industry worked, my interest in professional music waned for a bit, and I got by writing code.
They often refer to you as the man with the Tin Foil Hat on World Crypto Network. Why is that?
Short answer: I'm the resident conspiracy theorist. I was never much of a mainstream thinker – on 9/11 I asked myself, "Why the hell was that building just demolished right after a plane hit it?" and when reading the great Indian epic the Mahabharata I thought all the "celestials" sounded like ETs – but after the Snowden revelations and finding Bitcoin in early 2013, all bets were off. I descended into the rabbit hole, never to return to the surface world of lamestream consensus lies again.
What is your take on privacy today and how do you think it will evolve in the future?
Privacy has been under severe attack from government entities for over a hundred years. In the 19th century, you could travel across Eurasia without a passport, as no borders were manned. The digital age has brought the issue to a head, as it has enabled both a mass surveillance panopticon never before possible, while also placing cryptographic tools in the hands of individuals to allow unparalleled protection of communication – if you take the time to learn and implement them. It is my sincere hope (and possibly ambition) to help along projects of the latter sort in future. Prediction: the panopticon will weaken due to lack of funds as a direct result of the rise of Bitcoin, and the pendulum will swing sharply in the direction of increasing privacy. However, it's also possible that surveillance becomes so bloated that it tips in the opposite direction, where no cabal can "own the means of surveillance" and everyone spies on everyone else, due to a proliferation of nanosensors and other technological perceivers.
You have a blog and video series, FutureRant, which focuses on “Technology. Culture. Cryptography. Prescience. People.” Expand on this and let us know how this started and what’s the main goal of your blog.
I wanted to write some articles about consequences I saw coming, such as the aforementioned ubiquitous surveillance, as well as the consequences of advanced weaponry becoming easily available – my contention is that defensive technology will be highly incentivized, much more advanced, as well as available. Along the way, I started interviewing a few people I find interesting.
What year did you first invest in Bitcoin and what was it that convinced you to put your money into buying it?
2013 was when I bought my first Bitcoin. I had finished up a programming contract and was tooling around on the web. I had heard of Bitcoin tangentially in December 2012, but I think it was coverage of the April Cyprus bank bail-in and price spike on Slashdot that piqued my interest. Then I descended into the classic two-week deep dive, during which I read and watched everything on Bitcoin I could get my hands on – at that time there were only two or three articles a week on the entire web about it, and no specialty publications. Soon after, Thomas started his daily show Mad Bitcoins which is always so much fun.
Factors that persuaded me Bitcoin was worth buying:
Lindy Effect: quick, efficient recovery from the "accidental" (Mike Hearn sabotage) hard fork of March 2013
The issuance/inflation schedule
Price crash – I wanted to buy at $80 but couldn't get my little investment in place until it was $135. Just that rise had proven my gut was right about getting in at that time (just after the April crash). Wish I could have afforded a lot more and I hadn't spent so much since!
The thought that Bitcoin had the chance to upend central banking's stranglehold on the planet's money production / wanted to support a project that I thought had that potential to help humanity, while possibly also gaining wealth. Bitcoin must be the ultimate win-win!
Did you tell anyone that you invested at that time, and if so, what was their reaction?
Oh I told all my friends, family, everyone. As you can tell from my appearances online, I have a big mouth. Only one friend of mine bought (about a year later), so I suppose I wasn't very persuasive. Smh!
When did you realize that you had a voice in the Bitcoin and Crypto world and that people actually were tuning in to what you have to say?
I was chuffed to find out that other people appreciated hearing things I used to just yell at crypto YouTube shows in my kitchen, from the very first time I looked at the supportive and intelligent comments on our videos. It means a lot to me to get feedback – it inspires us to keep going, giving us the idea we're doing something important by giving a voice to these ideas.
Would you consider yourself a Bitcoin maximalist, activist or evangelist?
I'm not sure what the criteria are for those titles, but I definitely consider myself an evangelist. I think the neutral and rather superficial title "Bitcoin pundit" is probably the most accurate.
I first learned about you while watching you on WCN shows. How did you get involved with this cast of characters?
I used to listen to The Bitcoin Group and yell at my phone when Tone or Thomas didn't mention something I thought was crucial, and then Vortex was kind enough to let me on one of his first informal Blab chats for The Bitcoin News Show before that platform went under. He and I had a great chat, and Thomas appreciated the perspective I shared and asked me to appear on The Bitcoin Group, on which I was only too happy to indulge him.
You speak coherently about the development side of Bitcoin. What is your background in code or software development?
I worked on and off as a front-end web developer for 15 years.
Do you have any affiliations or are you working on any Crypto projects?
I recently made a pull request to the Electrum Bitcoin wallet with a single-character error message typo fix. Does that count? Seriously though, so far the closest thing to an affiliation would be some writing and an interview I did with Manfred Karrer of Bisq (formerly Bitsquare), the awesome decentralized Bitcoin and altcoin exchange software, for which I'll likely receive a small distribution of the initial voting coin for their new DAO. I love that project and may just learn Java so I can work on it. (Probably not.)
What do you think about the current state of Bitcoin and the infighting between developers resulting in the forking of Bitcoin?
I think that your question is flawed. The bcash fork was not a result of infighting between "developers" but a failed takeover attempt of the development process by business interests (and/or veiled government agencies, which amounts to the same thing), as is the upcoming bizcoin fork. It will fail, too – more spectacularly so because it has even less to differentiate it from Bitcoin.
How do you think this is going to end?
There will be many hard forks, some for experiments, many as takeover attempts. None will work. Eventually they'll give up.
How do you feel about the new wave of hedge funds and wall street type money managers getting into Bitcoin, and how do you think this will play out in the future?
We old-timers (technically early adopters, as opposed to innovators) have seen the writing on the wall for Wall Street since way back. Bitcoin is an asset with a huge future and is the best investment of this decade, bar none. The market cap just needed to grow large enough to support the capital levels at play among the gambling parlors of lower Manhattan (aka trader pens). Pierre Rochard correctly diagnosed $50 billion (reached in the middle of this year) as a sort of market-cap tipping point, after fiat value from the larger economy can begin to siphon off into the Bitcoin ecosystem. Sure enough, early this year family investments with 7-figure funds got interested, and now hedge funds can begin to allocate 8-figure amounts with some doing. Watch that trend grow exponentially until Bitcoin is the unit of account for all investment funds worldwide.
What types of attacks and security issues do you foresee lay ahead for both Bitcoin and other Altcurrencies?
Many – supporters and critics alike – have predicted over the years that governments would be forced to ban cryptoassets out of sheer desperation, to protect their monetary monopolies. I'm a little surprised to see them so slow on the uptake, but now that Bitcoin has surpassed the Rochard Point, it's conceivable we may see outright bans, which of course won't work any better than bans on drugs, prostitution, or raw milk have.
As for more thought-through attacks, what we've been seeing from the big blocker crowd has all the hallmarks of CIA operations – false narratives, projection, straw men, red herrings, and pretty much every other fallacy in the book. The glaring issue I see with these attacks is how poorly they have been carried out. Their arguments have been so ridiculous, their methods so sophomoric, that I now believe several of the characters involved, such as Gavin Andresen, Jeff Garzik, and fraud Craig Wright secretly undertook the heroic, unsung mission of luring the CIA into trusting them to carry out Mission Break Bitcoin, and proceeded to completely botch it intentionally.
Have I earned my Tin Foil Hat nickname yet?
What or who really pisses you off in the Crypto game and explain why?
Would it surprise you to learn that no one pisses me off in Bitcoin or outside? People are wrong and sometimes I'll shut them down or call them out, but I'm never angry about it. As far as I'm concerned, Bitcoin won a number of months before I had ever even heard about it and its fate as world reserve asset is already sealed. Call me sanguine, but I genuinely believe that.
You are also very interested in Cryptography. Explain why Cryptography and Bitcoin go hand in hand.
Well of course Bitcoin consists of a clever combination of pre-existing cryptographic innovations, combined with a bit of special sauce in the math design of the miner algorithms (or at least that was my impression from the whitepaper) and a thick dollop of Austrian economics. To learn more about the role cryptography has taken through history, check out Neal Stephenson's novels, especially the Baroque Cycle which has fascinating plot elements centering around codes used in political communiqués from the turn of the 18th century – not in a technical sense, but rather the effect such encryption and decryption had on the society and culture in Europe at that time.
Since the 1970s, cryptographic innovations have worked in tandem with the microcomputing revolution to enable electronic communication and commerce at scale worldwide, all the while offering individuals unparalleled power to defend their privacy and, increasingly, property. The U.S. government considered cryptographic computing algorithms munitions as recently as the 1990s!
What measures do you take to encrypt your personal data, and what would you recommend?
My drives are encrypted. I use PGP/GPG when necessary for high-security communication (which is almost never), a VPN for everyday web browsing (I don't trust SSL algos), and a desktop NON-INTERNET-ENABLED OPEN SOURCE password manager. I place my vital info inside an encrypted folder, and make sure to use a hard password for all master passwords. Lastly, I recently learned how to do checksums to ensure the pedigree of downloaded software binaries (especially those having to do with bitcoin) before running them.
In your article, “Force in a Cryptocontractual World, Pt. 1” you talk about a hypothetical place called “Crypton” where every agreement is carried out by a cryptocontract. Do you think we will eventually evolve to something like this in the future, but within the boundaries of a nation state?
No. I don't believe the 20th-century nation-state will survive as a political structure for very long this century, and such technologies (as cryptomoney & cryptocontracts) will play a central role in their dissolution. I agree with the authors of The Sovereign Individual that micronations, aka city-states and surrounding food-production zones, will form the largest political entities as of, say 2040 or thereabouts.
FutureRant - Vinay Gupta Part 1/4 - "The Mind of Design"
Your first video interview on “Future Rant” was with Vinay Gupta. Explain who he is and why you chose him as the first person to appear on your show.
Vinay is one of those self-proclaimed "guru" types that like to spout wise-sounding, ambiguous phrases to draw in people susceptible to their brand of "intellectual hero" marketing – but with the added factors of claiming to be "enlightened" in a specific spiritual tradition, and also genuinely coming up with some excellent metaphors for explaining some of the fast-moving technological innovation in the crypto space, somewhat like Andreas Antonopoulos but far more opinionated.
Gupta has made numerous claims that Bitcoin had veered from its original vision and could now never succeed, but those statements often contradicted themselves, so I wanted to clarify his position on air, while also finding out about some other interesting activities of his in the past. In addition, he has held a couple public positions with the Ethereum project, which I find to be flawed both technically and ethically.
FutureRant - Vinay Gupta Part 2/4 - "The Mind of Design"
I kept a completely open mind for the interview, pressing directly only statements I thought were incorrect or assumptions that struck me as ill-founded. Vinay showed what "enlightened" means to him via his flaring anger and sad, futile attempt to shut me down during our segment discussing Bitcoin (in part 3).
Since then, it has become clear to me that Vinay, who cut his teeth when younger at policy body The Rocky Mountain Institute, falls prey to the authoritarian fantasy that some people – including, of course, him – are blessed with special wisdom and intelligence which entitles them to force their will via coercion on the rest of humanity, "for their own good."
It is this underlying philosophy of violence, rather than any genuine technical considerations, that lies behind Gupta's critique of Bitcoin, for he is well aware the widespread success of its sound money paradigm spells the end of his centralized authoritarian fantasies.
FutureRant - Vinay Gupta Part 3/4 - "The Mind of Design"
I believe it is only through destroying the acceptability of that fascist viewpoint that humanity has any chance of surviving, since such a system will always be co-opted by the small percentage of psychopaths present in our species (a fact of which surprisingly enough Gupta is very aware).
That said, I read with interest of his involvement in a recent project to create a professional association meant to bridge the gap between 70-year-old legally binding international private arbitration law and automated computing ("smart") contracts. Such an arrangement is practical and makes a lot of sense to weather the transition to an increasingly automated future, although some argue private arbitration is a tool used by the powerful to circumvent the law in oppressing individuals of humble means.
FutureRant - Vinay Gupta Part 4/4 - "The Mind of Design"
Vinay's battery ran out as we were about to commence the last section of the interview, in which we were to discuss more "woo-woo" subjects. He has experience in more esoteric "magick" domains and wrote an interesting article about angels around 10 years ago. He did give me his short answer off the air, which was: "I do believe in secret engineering, but not secret science." That aligns with his view that scientific mandarins are smart enough not to get hoodwinked by lamestream academia, an opinion I find laughable. (Just look at the latest nonsense from American university science departments to see how objective their "science" is.)
What is your take on all the Altcoins and shit coins in the marketplace and the shills who promote them?
Scammers gonna scam.
How do you foresee government's taxing and regulating Cryptocurrencies in the future?
They'll do whatever they think they can get away with. But their marketing departments ("political parties") won't get paid for much longer, so whatever plans they have, governments need to get them going quickly, because their budgets are about to implode as they lose the ability to determine what does and does not function as money among their populations.
Do you think the privacy mechanisms built into Bitcoin will erode as government’s regulate? How will this influence its evolution?
No, quite the opposite: privacy mechanisms will only be developed more quickly as a result of crackdowns. This is the Catch 22 governments find themselves in, and why they appear as deer in the headlights before the Bitcoin juggernaut. It's because central banks struck a Faustian bargain when they took over the world's money system early last century: once they lose that power, it's over for good. I find it entertaining and heartening to watch the crumbling of the central banking paradigm unfold before us every day.
What do you think it will take for widespread adoption of Bitcoin?
Widespread adoption of Bitcoin can only be stopped by large-scale EMP attacks and/or worldwide natural disasters such as asteroidal impacts or gargantuan solar events. In the absence of those, mainstream adoption will be the natural consequence of bitcoin achieving a market value and decent liquidity (around 2011).
What Crypto projects excite you or do you see most potential in?
Well, I already mentioned Bisq – I think it will play an important role in the next five years. OpenDime is amazing. Unlike many Bitcoin maximalists, I also really like MaidSafe, which has a totally different structure (non-blockchain) than Bitcoin, but is still based on scarce resources (storage & bandwidth). I think safecoin will be a good parallel currency – and Bitcoin over Safenet will be the most secure way to transact with XBT. I really like what Puri.sm is doing on the hardware side – they just succeeded in crowdfunding their open-source smartphone, due in 2019 – and predict we'll see a lot more general computing projects focused on security on the near horizon.
What tips can you give average joe crypto heads on how to secure their coins?
If you hold about five times as much, or more, as the cost of a bitcoin hardware wallet, just invest in one and take the time to set it up. It'll save you a lot of headache. Give at least one person you trust deeply a backup of your private key.
Stay on top of the latest information and developments in Bitcoin security, and try different approaches.
Where do you think Bitcoin will be in 20 years, and what are the challenges you see that lay ahead?
Woah, that's a loooong period in crypto time. More than triple the current age of the network.
It's 2037. New energy tech (including antigravity) is rapidly proliferating into society, and Bitcoin has already hard-forked another 16 decimal places to its divisibility and changed to all quantum-proof crypto algorithms. Despite "free" energy, it still requires effort to create and run the mechanisms to draw that energy, and PoW still works to create scarce bitcoin, though at a hashrate many orders of magnitude higher than today.
The deflation within the Bitcoin ecosystem has created a virtuous cycle, making all who hold and transact with Bitcoin much richer. Bitcoin and New Energy have lifted billions out of poverty, and now there are only a few isolated pockets of humankind still suffering privations of food, water, or shelter.
There are a cluster of multi-billionaires who have shut down many attempts to attack Bitcoin, including unfortunately some alternate coins that may have otherwise been helpful to markets and humanity. A handful of these individuals have become so wealthy that they are effectively "kings" of their own autonomous sovereign territories around the world, which are ironically some of the freest jurisdictions due to the cypherpunk politics of their monarchs.
Many methods for anonymous transactions have been in use for the past 15 years, destroying the ability of governments to tax. As a result, government administration size worldwide has shrunk by more than 90%.
The brief spate of bans enacted by government all collapsed over a decade ago, in the face of overwhelming incentive to join the Bitcoin monetary ecosystem.
Name some of the key people in the Crypto space that you think people should be paying attention to.
Saifedean Ammous, Elizabeth Stark, Trace Meyer, Andreas Antonopoulos, Nicholas Dorier, Sharkybit/Renegade Investor, Vortex, Chris Ellis, Beautyon, Pierre Rochard, Michael Goldstein, Daniel Krawisz . . . the list goes on. After 2017's bull market, a lot of people have gotten hip to Bitcoin's philosophy of network consensus, so it's great to see intelligent people's commentary, especially on Twitter.
Who has inspired you the most or pushed you in your life to be who you are today, and what do you have to say to them?
In regard to Bitcoin, I have to call out Chris Ellis, whom I heard on a conversation with Andreas Antonopoulos and Thomas Hunt on World Crypto Network in 2013, speaking philosophically informed truth with a succinctness and fervor I hadn't encountered before. So, thank you so much for speaking out and shining a light for us in a dark tunnel, Chris.
It was then that I knew I wasn't alone in my thinking and that I would need to go public to say the things others avoided. I wanted to go public with my real identity to give weight to what I saw as unheralded truth, and to hopefully inspire others to do the same.
There are many others too numerous to name!
Can you recommend any books or publications that you think everyone should read?
I was very affected by The Sovereign Individual – the breadth of vision in that book is quite astounding. It's so farsighted that I think it slipped under the radar a bit in 1997 when it was published; the vision presented extends several decades into the 21st century. It's amazing to read it nowadays and realize we're well into the age described in the book, in which the proliferation of "microprocessors" (a term we hardly use anymore since they're ubiquitous) transforms everyday life, societal structures, and culture.
I love fiction too, but the other book I was also very influenced by is the famous ancient South Asian epic, the Mahabharata. That was the time when I seriously began to doubt the mainstream scientific idea (I won't call it consensus anymore) that we have not yet discovered extraterrestrials. The way "gods" and "demons" are described makes it extremely clear the author is describing intelligent ET beings.
Any last thoughts or things we missed?
That's all, folks! Peace and crypto be unto you.
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