This week, I launched Metaverse, my new future-minded podcast for all those eagerly following the hunt for the next big thing. Each episode, I’ll speak with futurists, entrepreneurs and other leaders on the vanguard of technology and innovation about the possibilities and implications of the work they do. So naturally, I could imagine no better guest to help kick off the show than cryptocurrency crusader Jimmy Nguyen. Jimmy’s a public speaker, media commentator, global ambassador for Bitcoin SV and founding president of the Bitcoin Association, a non-profit whose mission is to support BSV as the original bitcoin and build a regulation-friendly system grounded on lawful conduct while encouraging digital currency and blockchain innovation.
Before helping launch the Bitcoin Association, Jimmy started his career in intellectual property and digital technology law, and was recognised as one of the ‘500 Leading Lawyers in America’ by Lawdragon at just age 36. He gained the “Industry Leader Award” in 2017 and has also been inducted into the California Minority Counsel Program’s Diversity Hall of Fame. As to be expected, our conversation touched on an impressive range of issues, from tracing Jimmy’s early career trajectory from law to bitcoin to his beliefs about the cryptocurrency’s transformative potential to shape our future world to the challenges bitcoin needs to overcome, whether addressing security and hacks or liaising with governments regarding regulation and compliance.
To begin, we covered Jimmy’s early days in the industry and how his interest in blockchain was first sparked. As a lawyer getting his start when the Internet was first taking off in the 1990s, Jimmy was fascinated by the revolutionary changes this new technology was causing. While his work as a lawyer was stimulating, he always felt the urge to get involved in the business side of things himself, rather than simply supporting the efforts of others. So when invited to join the efforts of some clients who were launching a blockchain R&D in London, Jimmy decided to take the leap, excited by the prospect of developing new technology himself. As he insists, “I didn’t really find Bitcoin: it found me.”
Jimmy then walked me through a proper Bitcoin crash course on the origins of the cryptocurrency, explaining the founding vision of Bitcoin according to the 2008 white paper authored under the mysterious pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, and the reasons behind today’s multiple versions of Bitcoin. According to Nakamoto’s work, Bitcoin was intended as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, a native method where individuals could send direct electronic payments online, without needing an intermediary like PayPal, and is kept decentralised through the blockchain, a ledger that keeps track of the currency through many nodes, rather than being located in one bank or company. After a rift arose within the Bitcoin community over scaling a new version of Bitcoin called Bitcoin cash or BCH (as opposed to the original Bitcoin, BTC) arose which made the blocks bigger to allow for faster transactions.
Jimmy’s preferred version, Bitcoin SV (SV stands for “Satoshi vision”) split off a year later to restore the currency to its original intended use: not to be bought and “held” as an investment (which is what generally happens with BTC today) but to be used fluidly in transactions across the world, with no set limit or protocol to how many transactions or how big the blocks can be. Scaling in this manner would truly have a revolutionary potential to handle not only huge transactions, but tiny, daily microtransactions as well—which Jimmy sees as the future of Bitcoin SV and its enormous potential to transform consumer behavior on the Internet.
We then delved further into Jimmy’s work in particular, touching on some of the security issues Bitcoin SV has had to address recently—specifically block reorganisation attacks, which is essentially virtual counterfeiting. Such bad actors are “frankly a reality of any technology,” but Jimmy believes handling such issues will ultimately help them learn to become more resilient and secure. We then pivoted to discussing Dr. Craig S. Wright, Jimmy’s colleague and the face of Bitcoin SV, who Jimmy believes is indeed the real Satoshi Nakamoto.
We touched on how, for digital assets and blockchain to be adopted on a wide scale, governments need to feel comfortable with their legitimacy and security. So a large part of Jimmy’s work involves engaging with government leaders on policy around the world and working to ensure compliance without stifling innovation. We also discussed exciting new technologies Bitcoin SV is nurturing. In the entertainment world, many of these involve micropayments—Jimmy envisions a social media that could be monetised, where “likes” send an actual small payment, or where performers can be sent tiny individual “tips” from fans. Lastly, Jimmy covered business applications such as supply chain management and management of healthcare data, and the particularly inventive adoption of Bitcoin SV by the island nation of Tuvalu, which is digitising their government and citizen records in case they need to relocate their entire population to a new landmass, given rising sea levels from climate change.
Ultimately, in ten years’ time, Jimmy hopes we will have consolidated our digital currencies—as currently there are far too many—and that Bitcoin will actually be used regularly, as an efficient way to send payments. This would not only change the way we interact online, but would have a great equalising effect, especially in developing countries where the cost of transferring money is overly burdensome. Once Bitcoin is widely used and accepted, it will offer vast numbers of unbanked people access to financial services—all they would need is a smartphone, not a bank account. As the child of refugee immigrants from Vietnam who benefited from those who supported and welcomed them in a time of need, Jimmy is especially drawn to the social good that can come out of blockchain, and looks forward to using his work to offer support to the disadvantaged populations of the world.
It was a true pleasure to speak to someone who is leading the way in writing the next chapter of humanity’s brave economic move forward. To bear witness to Jimmy’s fascinating insights and hear his unparalleled public speaking skills in action, please take a listen to the episode here.