Vin Armani: A Tale of Tech, Liberty, and Legacy

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Vin Armani: A Tale of Tech, Liberty, and Legacy

Vin Armani Podcast coverPlease welcome Vin Armani, also known as Cyprian, a man of many lives and many talents. Originally from Southern California, Vin first made a name for himself as the star of Showtime’s “Gigolos” TV series which chronicled his life as a sought-after gigolo in Las Vegas.

By day he’s been a professional Bitcoin developer since 2014. He’s an author, a researcher, an entrepreneur, and now a married man who moved his wife and children to Saipan in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a little known U.S. territory, as the lunacy around COVID lockdowns kicked into high gear.

We discuss everything from the rise and fall of his start-up,, the utility and spiritual aspects of Bitcoin to his baptism in the Eastern Orthodox church. I really enjoyed this show and I hope you do too!

Favorite Vin Armani Quote

Vin Armani quote


“The global economy is picking winners and losers…and that has economic ramifications and it also has huge political ramifications.[And you have] the ability to develop an app and say, ‘Okay, you can come and pay now with this.’ It’s huge, it means so much, and it can [allow] especially the youth of Africa and Latin America to participate in the global economic system. That’s huge…that’s actually even more important than censorship resistance.” – Vin Armani

Additional Resources

Full Transcript of Our Conversation

Introduction to Vin Armani

00:00.77 – Brian David Crane
Please welcome Vin Armani also known as Cyprian he is originally from Southern California a former world famous jiggalo he was the star of a Showtime series called Jiggalos he has been a software developer for the past twenty years active in the bitcoin community since 2012 he has been a bitcoin developer since 2014 he is an author he has a podcast. He recently moved with his family to saipan which if you don’t know where that is you’re like most americans it’s in the micronesia in the ah commonwealth of Northern Mariana islands and he’s welcome. He’s coming on today to talk about philosophy authorship and life being a father so please welcome him Ben how you are doing.

00:54.30 – Vin Armani
I’m doing great Brian. Thank you for having me.

00:56.72 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, thank you? So um, real quick just to kind of give people some context like if you want to explain your journey from Vegas to Sian How did that evolve for you.

Journey from Entertainment to Technology

01:12.51 – Vin Armani
Ah, well as you as you mentioned I was on a tv show that was filmed in Vegas and I did that from 2010 to 2016 was the last season so we did 6 seasons of that show which was. Very unexpectedly going into it I thought it was just going to be like a fun couple of months getting to film a tv show and just have that adventure and experience and then it turned into like a thing and um, all along I knew that this was going to be a temporary. Situation and I knew that I would be going back to my software career. Basically I assume that that’s what it would be barring some you know some other adventure and avenue opening up so you know I spared no. Expense in sort of silly ah adventures during that time entrepreneurially right produced some shows and produced a feature film and some other things just to see like oh is this entertainment thing. You know what I’m going to do? Open an art gallery in vegas and an event space and just you know was like it.

02:16.45 – Brian David Crane

Philosophical Shifts and Moving to New Hampshire

02:28.64 – Vin Armani
Am I going to do this entertainment thing or am I going to go back to software which I love and I met my wife there my my now wife and we after the show ended I started picking back up software and was doing ah a little bit of a podcast got into. I Could finally be libertarian in open in the open which I really couldn’t you really can’t do in Hollywood. So I had kept that under wraps for sure and um, you know when when that happened it just you know I was around.

02:54.20 – Brian David Crane

Venturing Into Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

03:06.54 – Vin Armani
Some very cool people and started a little bitcoin company called cointext basically plucked out some old libraries, some software libraries that I had had and. Then you know it. It was really the show was never officially canceled but it just really looked like well this is not. You know, not going to happen and there was a trip I took to Acapulco for the little anarcapulco libertarian event back in 172.

03:33.80 – Brian David Crane

03:37.41 – Vin Armani
Ah bitcoin I think that was bitcoin getting back above a thousand for the first time I think that happened when I was there this is February Seventeen I remember it was pretty wild and it was a lot devoted to cryptocurrency it was there that I learned about New Hampshire and what was going on with the free state project I had never really known. And actually the executive director of the free state project sort of pulled me to the side and he had checked out I was presenting there and he had checked out my presentation and he said you know maybe you should come to New Hampshire and do this at porkfest our summertime thing and I went. And met the people and really fell in love and cryptocurrency was just at its height. It was the perfect place. We were just getting interest from investors at that time in our company and I was like okay well. Maybe this is the place to go. It has had some good laws at least at the time. So ah, we decided to establish our company there. I had just had my first child and so the wife and I left Vegas. Vegas is a cool place and I think it’s better now to raise kids. But. Given sort of what my background was and it was really difficult at the time for me to even like to go to the grocery store without people stopping me and then having a child and kind of the lack of privacy of being a local celebrity especially in Vegas where people and things can be a little.

Family Considerations and Moving to Saipan

05:10.47 – Vin Armani
Shady at times was like okay this is a good move so we went out there but I really enjoyed it and enjoyed the community there and um, you know we got our company off the ground and then had another kid go back to California to be around family. That’s where I’m originally from, you know.

05:27.12 – Brian David Crane
Um, Why did you decide to leave New Hampshire? Was it to be around family?

05:30.35 – Vin Armani
And go ahead. Yeah I mean we so we had ah my kids are about 3 years apart and so we basically we had a 3 year old and then we had this newborn on the way and you know my mom.

05:40.84 – Brian David Crane

05:47.10 – Vin Armani
At the time was really like oh maybe you should come back and be around family and have have some support for your wife and all these things and she really wanted to be around her grandchildren of course and and so it made sense I I was able to work from anywhere as as I still am and as many software developers are. So yeah we went back and it was actually really great. I’m glad we did that because um, my mother passed away just a couple of years ago so she got to really spend time with both of them before she passed and so that was wonderful. But when the pandemic hit, quote unquote right.

06:08.12 – Brian David Crane

06:23.12 – Vin Armani
When that whole thing happened that craziness happened we were in Southern California and it was cuckoo. People were cuckoo. The government was cuckoo. Everything was super weird. Couldn’t get into my office. We couldn’t take the kids to the park. We couldn’t go to the beach people I mean we’ve already forgotten how crazy this whole thing was and here I am with like a not even 1 year old and a three year old and so I said to my wife do we really especially coming from New Hampshire right just coming from New Hampshire live free or die and I was like do we really want to do this here. This is not going to be two weeks to save Grandma this is Goingnna be like years that this is gonna happen I know this is gonna be years and she said I’ll just ah, whatever you decide I’ll roll with you and so i. I had found out that there was a little bit of an intentional community here of cryptocurrency enthusiasts and developers actually with some people that I had known from New Hampshire that was starting up in Saipan which I knew nothing about and I just sort of kept my eye on it. And around April Twenty Twenty the governor here said well we’re going to shut down flights. We’re not going to lock down internally but we’re going to shut down flights and we’re gonna put a quarantine on everybody coming in but we’re not going to shut down internally you’ll be able to do whatever you want to do internally.

07:51.62 – Vin Armani
And so I said well I guess we’re on the we’re on that flight and so we were on the last flight coming in April Twenty Twenty and we’ve been here ever since and it’s been. Ah, it’s been a huge blessing. It’s been real. I really feel like I was called to be here. It’s a wonderful Wonderful place that I had no idea ever I had no idea it even existed and had I known I would have been here a lot earlier for sure because it’s awesome. Um, especially as an American being able to live and work here with like no visa no nothing.

08:25.17 – Vin Armani
Because it’s a Us territory and so yeah, so then I’ve found myself here and continued working on ah bitcoin while here as well as you know integrating with the community and so now we have a lot of very cool projects. You know, trying to raise the profile of the commonwealth and also to. To integrate more. We’ve already done a lot of cool things with cryptocurrency here and I think it’s what I call my sandbox, so it’s a great place. It’s a great place to be. It’s been really productive.

08:54.53 – Brian David Crane
And you all had never been there prior to getting on that flight in April. It was like you had seen videos about it. You knew some people there but you’d never been in person. It was like we’re just going to go? yeah.

09:07.36 – Vin Armani
Well, yeah, ah I sort of looked at it as like it really didn’t matter where I went like I hadn’t been anywhere at that point like none of us had liked. Where was the place that I was living so I went back to my hometown which is San Bernardino right to be around my extended family San Bernardino California and the place that I was when all of that hit was not the place that it was a month before it was a completely different place.

09:33.80 – Brian David Crane

09:36.39 – Vin Armani
So I was like well you know I haven’t been to this place either. So it’s like it wouldn’t really matter where we went at that time everywhere you went was somewhere you had never been. You know it was completely. Everything was completely new. So I figured Well maybe if I’m going to go somewhere I’ve never been, maybe I should go to a tropical Paradise I’ve never been to.

Exploring the Utility of Bitcoin

09:55.66 – Vin Armani
Rather than stay where I’m at.

09:56.58 – Brian David Crane
Makes ah, yeah, it makes sense. Yeah in California spelled with a k yeah um, instead of a c yeah, um so one one 1 1 of the things I heard in one of your Youtube videos and you have a series on Youtube diving into cryptocurrency.

10:00.76 – Vin Armani
Yeah, exactly exactly.

10:14.84 – Brian David Crane
In these streams of consciousness post gym workout videos that are ah very very good. 1 of them. You talked about your time in Vegas as if you were making money, you were paid in cash and you needed a way. That cash was being held in a safe I think in your house and you were like what can I actually do with this and and bitcoin was an increase in the utility value of your US dollars or your cash is that right.

10:42.40 – Vin Armani
For sure I mean I was looking for first off I was looking for ways to just store. It. So for you know I don’t know if you’ve had this experience or your people listening but having large amounts of Cash. Ah, in a physical location it really creates a lot of anxiety at least it did for me. Um, you know it it just it just becomes this target your home becomes this target and for me I was you know I was also. Like I say I was a celebrity and people knew that I was getting paid in cash right? So There was no question about this and ah and although I lived in a gated community with security still man you know and so it was I wasn’t even a father yet. But. You know, just as my career was building up and as ah, my reserves were starting to build up and as I was holding all of this in my house I was like well so what are the things I could do with Cash. So Vegas is a huge cash town.. There’s actually a lot of cool services like um, ah anonymous like private Vaults. You know that you could put it in and so I definitely took advantage of those which are awesome and then bitcoin came onto my radar. I don’t think that I had seen something about it in probably 20 maybe late.

12:15.90 – Vin Armani
Twenty ten something like that being a software developer right? I may be reading. Ah maybe it’s a wired article or something and I said oh that’s interesting and I actually looked at an old hard drive the other day and saw that oh I had actually downloaded the client I don’t think I ever ran it but I had downloaded it and.

12:27.43 – Brian David Crane

12:32.99 – Vin Armani
Then in 2012 was when I was like oh maybe I’ll what about this bitcoin thing. Let me let me go and check it out and at that time vegas was really hot for bitcoin and you could get it hand to hand some like well-known people were around and i. You know, I met some folks and got some coins and at the time it was fifteen bucks. It was the price when I got it in late 2012 and ah, you know I thought it was really cool. There wasn’t much of a place that you could spend it except for silk road at the time.

13:08.47 – Brian David Crane

13:11.86 – Vin Armani
And I went on silk road and I saw what was on there and it became immediately clear to me that this was an absolute revolution, especially with the flow that I had in terms of being able to take my physical cash. To convert it into bitcoin and then to be able to spend it online I hadn’t read the white paper at the time but it was immediately viscerally evident to me that all the things that Satoshi said in the white paper in terms of what the problem that bitcoin is solving. In those early days. It was absolutely evident and I think one of the reasons why was that there was no noise about numbers going up like there was no thought that the price was going to go up and I know this and I show people the email sometimes like I said I would. Basically what we would do. There were several guys on like local bitcoins who you could you could purchase from or who would buy from you and vegas is awesome because you could go into a casino and exchange cash under the cameras. And it became very very safe. You’re basically leveraging the casinos because if somebody pulls a gun on a casino dude like you’re leveraging the casino security right? So we would go to win or wherever one of the big ones and sit under a camera and exchange bitcoin for cash and just sit there and maybe have a drink or whatever till it confirmed and.

14:33.92 – Vin Armani
Thank you very much and leave and one of these guys I remember I’ve got the email and I show to people and it blows their mind is that he he said ah hey then the email’s like hey then I just got back from la and I’ve got a tranche of one hundred ah bitcoins and I’ll sell them to you. For 20% below spot and my response is oh well, what? What will that be? What will that be 20% below spot and he goes $14 and twenty five cents and my response to him is ah dude. Thanks. But that’s a look. I think the price is a little too high.

15:12.87 – Vin Armani
Right? Um, so that noise and people are like oh there’s shock but it’s like no no now you weren’t there. You don’t understand why there was no thought it was shocking to the people who had been involved in bitcoin that it was even at that price.

15:28.96 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

15:29.15 – Vin Armani
Because we knew what the actual use for it was, the use was not speculative. The idea was you get some with cash and then you use it on the silk road. Um, and so then eleven months later it went to a thousand and what was kind of cool I had.

15:36.28 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

15:45.11 – Vin Armani
I had actually given away and lost some bitcoin and wallets and stuff like that right? So first. The scramble to get back as much as I possibly could when it went to a thousand and then it’s like this is insane liquidate and by that time I actually didn’t even have to go on to an exchange. So I’m not going to say how much because I don’t want to get called out for it. What’s that?

16:06.17 – Brian David Crane
Could sell it in person know you could sell it in person you could You could You could do an over the counter trade to to liquidate the the window windows that a thousand dollars. Ah, bitcoin.

16:15.88 – Vin Armani
Well I could have but I didn’t. Actually what I ended up doing was like e giftter was up at the time and and there were some other things had popped on so I actually got nothing but Amazon gift cards. So I knew that.

16:30.29 – Brian David Crane

16:35.56 – Vin Armani
Yeah, am I going to spend $200,000 on Amazon in the next like five years yeah absolutely I will no question. So like yeah I’ll just get all the Amazon gift cards and you could get them all with bitcoin and it was great so it’s just like yeah tank up my that may as well be us dollars. As I was using Amazon at the time and I can’t now in saipan. But as people use Amazon that may as well be us dollars and so my account was just jacked. You know, just jacked full and I just went through it just buying everything on Amazon. So um, you know that’s what it was at the time and then it sank. But Again, people are like oh you shouldn’t have sold. You shouldn’t have sold I’m like bro 60 x in eleven months if you don’t so if you get 60 x in eleven months and you don’t sell. You’re an idiot. I don’t care what the asset is, especially when that’s the all-time high. You’re a moron.

17:30.84 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah, yeah, yeah.

17:33.49 – Vin Armani
You know? So yeah and I nobody’s gotten 60 x in eleven months since then and they never will not on bit not on bitcoin. You can on shit coins but not on bitcoin.

17:41.31 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, yeah, was there something you touched him? Yeah, yeah, we’re gonna want to get to that. I want to come back to shitcoins relative to bitcoin but there was also a part in the video that you talked about um with. With regards to bitcoin being censorship resistant and you did talk a little bit about gift cards and Amazon gift cards in particular and what the way I understood what you said in the video was namely bitcoin is censorship resistant because there’s no intermediary who can hold the funds and keep it from being settled and so that’s. That’s something I want to visit and then also with respect to Amazon and Amazon gift cards you are trusting Amazon as the intermediary to hold those funds.

The Shift to Defi and Cryptocurrency’s Broader Implications

18:24.11 – Vin Armani

18:27.97 – Brian David Crane
Um, although they’re not necessarily holding the funds but you are trusting that Amazon at least is a marketplace is going to exist and you have somewhere to spend those funds when you have $200,000 worth of Amazon gift cards is that right.

18:34.60 – Vin Armani

18:40.81 – Vin Armani
Yeah, ah yeah I mean but if you’re going to trust anybody I think the and if I had to bet on will Amazon be there 10 years from now I think that’s pretty safe. You know if Amazon is not there 10 years from now a whole lot more has gone wrong.

18:51.23 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

18:58.65 – Vin Armani
Like you’ve got bigger problems. You know what to be we’ve we’ve all got bigger problems if Amazon isn’t here 10 years from now so that so that so that’s a safe bet.

19:05.89 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, but it’s also useful. Sorry it’s also the utility of it in the sense that like there’s there’s a plethora of items on Amazon if Amazon was only limited to 10 items. It wouldn’t have nearly the same amount of usefulness to you or you and you wouldn’t want an Amazon gift card. So.

19:20.65 – Vin Armani

19:22.13 – Brian David Crane
Yeah I will link to the video in the ah in the show notes because I thought it was a very interesting way of both understanding the value proposition. The initial value proposition of bitcoin and why it’s censorship resistant in the sense of it doesn’t allow a credit card company or. You know, an intermediary like Youtube who decides or Twitter decides that they don’t like what you’re saying to withhold payment from you.

19:46.64 – Vin Armani
I Think even more important than censorship resistance is permissionless and for you know I’ve been a software developer and being in the space around payments anything financial. That’s really big.

20:01.23 – Brian David Crane

20:06.33 – Vin Armani
That’s the big piece of control with the establishment of digital Networks. The censorship resistance I think is ah political or ideological I don’t want to say like dog whistle but it’s certainly something that people will bring up.

20:06.61 – Brian David Crane

20:26.11 – Vin Armani
But you know 99.9 percent of people will never have a large enough platform that the things that they say will be enough of a threat that they will ever have their money censored but people don’t appreciate the opportunity cost.

20:26.85 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

20:43.63 – Vin Armani
In their average everyday life and in their economy of the amount of gatekeepers that it takes to be able to participate at the level of a point of sale or payment processor or any of these things like. This is all in the background for us so people don’t realize that like oh when I go to the processor that is world pay and they process 80% of the mastercard and visa and they have a whole application process and there’s businesses that are not allowed to participate in that. And the difficulty and the hoops that you have to jump through and the cost associated with that and the things that are necessary necessarily means that there are innovative businesses with innovative business models that you will never see that will never be able to see the light of day. Um, and. And that there’s a huge opportunity cost there economically for everyone and particularly for underserved and underbanked places in the world right? if you’re not like if you’re in California if you’re in San Francisco California okay no problem. But even here we know for ah, a business to establish here and get credit card processing. There’s like 1 reseller for world pay and they’re out of Guam. You know we don’t have access to stripe if you’re a business you can’t have stripe here.

22:17.55 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

22:17.57 – Vin Armani
You know if you’re you can’t have there’s paypal just only got here. You can’t have a square here if you’re a business you know and these are the types of things where and this is a Us territory never mind the places that are like even less served and so you say wow that. Global economy. It’s really, it’s picking winners and losers. The system is picking winners and losers and so it’s really I think more than the censorship resistance is the permissionless aspect of it. Um, and that has economic ramifications and it also has huge political ramifications. Ah, because if you’re in an oppressive regime I mean this is 1 reason why Venezuela has always been on the radar. Latin America has always been on the radar when it comes to crypto and I know developers in Venezuela and and. Yeah, the ability to just develop an app and be like okay you can come and pay now with this it’s it’s huge it means so much and and it can move us past the golden billion to actually unlocking, especially the youth of Africa latin america and allowing them to actually participate in the global economic system. That’s huge. They’ve got the internet but they don’t have access to the financial networks and so I think that’s actually even more important than the censorship resistance.

23:43.46 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, it’s a great point. Do you want to? What is the golden billion for people who don’t know what that phrase means?

23:52.19 – Vin Armani
The golden billion is basically I guess what they would call the global north or the west right? The first world is basically what? Basically what they’re talking about there. Um, and the opposition of that is the global south they call it now. And that disparity between the golden billion and the global south which the global south is well aware of is the the pivot point on which Russia and China are well the brics countries. It’s the pivot point on which that thing exists. Because if there was the ability for the people in those countries to participate in the same economic system on a level playing field with the golden billion then there would be no, there would be no friction. They would have no leverage and so it’s really the west shooting itself in the foot by by. By being these gatekeepers and by keeping it a permission system that they’re they’re going to screw themselves in the end.

24:51.95 – Brian David Crane
So the internet. Why do you think I want to take that last sentence you said? So why do you? Why is it that you think it’s the west that’s serving as the gatekeepers and let me frame that in a different way. So you know, um.

25:00.20 – Vin Armani
Um, go ahead.

25:07.50 – Brian David Crane
If you use pornography as an example. So let’s say that world pay doesn’t want to allow credit card payments or that vis and massaccard don’t for pornography and so therefore there is a moral dimension that they say we don’t want to support that industry is effectively unbanked or debanked.

25:07.18 – Vin Armani

25:26.76 – Brian David Crane
And then if you are in a pornography shop. You have your Apple wallet open on your phone. You cannot pay with your visa card or your Mastercard and the like the knock-on effects from that. So when you say um.

25:38.00 – Vin Armani

25:42.74 – Brian David Crane
Like the west in the stranglehold it is driven by a like, is there a moral element to it or like if you trace back the policy decisions that decide which industries are banked and which ones aren’t or which people get banked and which ones don’t. What do you think about that?

26:02.10 – Vin Armani
I mean that’s it’s so multifaceted right? There’s no, there’s no 1 thing just like there’s no one like a rule book or somebody that’s on high who’s making those decisions. I think that you know we would think about things like pornography. Cannabis you know that’s ah that’s a big one those those industries even when they’re legal in the us can’t get banked um casinos you know accept the biggest ones that are publicly traded like win and sands and you could definitely use your credit card all all throughout the win in in vegas or any of the other locations that they have. Um, but you know smaller ones. Perhaps we would tend to think about those and I think you know many people would just say well. That’s the prerogative of the processor that you know that they don’t really want to process but it’s really more what they do on a regional basis. Of using the system as a weapon and if you need anymore you know I mean just look at the sanctions look at the sanctions on Russia right? Um It’s really all the set the majority of what the sanctions are is just you just cut off swift.

27:18.95 – Vin Armani
And if you cut off swift it effectively means that like none of these other things that rely upon swift that rely upon wires moving all those businesses are going to be like no no, no the risk is too high and the friction is too high. We just can’t even forget about it. There’s no way for us to support this if we’re a multinational corporation. We can’t move money into that country. Don’t forget it. The country’s gone and that’s that’s a lot more dangerous because that doesn’t just happen on that. That’s ah, a blatant one. Like what happened with Russia is blatant or like what happens with Iran is blatant. Um, but the question is like who are you punishing with that. You know like the regime isn’t punished the regime can move their funds. However, they want and we see that.

28:00.44 – Brian David Crane

28:09.76 – Vin Armani
The regime has no problem getting the money who you’re punishing is like you’re punishing the people who are just the average person. The small businessman who’s been doing e-commerce and I saw this with like developers that I knew who are in Russia some guy who’s like oh yeah i.

28:20.98 – Brian David Crane

28:27.23 – Vin Armani
I have to move out of Russia now because I’ve been doing freelance work and most of my clients are in Europe and now I can’t get paid and it’s just like that’s who you hurt.

28:34.69 – Brian David Crane
Yeah up upwork is an up upward upwork is an example of a deep deep platform to everybody in Russia and ah, um, and and and so if you were a russian developer working with you know, somebody in Serbia doing graphic design all of a sudden you. You either needed to leave Russia or you needed to come up with some other means of accepting payment. Um, and that was.

28:59.71 – Vin Armani
And that’s and you know the venezuelans the venezuelans have known that already right? The Iranians have known that already and it’s like whoever today the global ah financial hegemony is pissed at or or doesn’t like. And you know it doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you’re completely deplatformed but it can just be a situation where they’re just like it’s not worth the effort to support this country South Sudan right it’s just it’s not worth the effort. We have no infrastructure. There. The banks. We don’t trust. Um.

29:23.88 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

29:34.13 – Vin Armani
It’s not worth the effort to support them so everybody that’s there guess what? You don’t get to participate in the global economy like everybody else even though you could have the internet, you have a laptop, you know what I mean and so you know the question becomes if you allow that situation to. Continue since the golden billion are in like demographic freefall and you have Africa and the stands in the Middle East the muslim countries all over the world. You know, you know, replacing themselves and you have this younger generation. Well. You know I think we’re just as likely if this continues in 20 years to see the powers that be shut off those places that have a whole bunch of young people when the west doesn’t have young people basically to put them in a crisis so that they immigrate.

30:21.88 – Brian David Crane

30:30.26 – Brian David Crane
Um, interesting.

30:32.25 – Vin Armani
And so it’s like it’s a weapon. It’s a weapon to use so that people can’t participate in the global environment from their own home country. That’s what it’s turned into and I think that it’s just it’s the.

30:41.92 – Brian David Crane
Um, yep, yep.

30:48.98 – Vin Armani
It’s a dumb move. Basically it’s a dumb move.

30:51.17 – Brian David Crane
Well, it’s ah it’s also a dumb move for the Us because you want the utility or the acceptance of dollars to spread and be.

30:55.20 – Vin Armani
See here.

31:05.49 – Brian David Crane
You know you want it to be the global reserve currency and you also want it to be the unit of measure that people use like it has a lot of utility for the United States for that to be the case and so anything that impedes that um. Either in the short term or the long term is a net negative for the US. I would say it’s a net negative for the dollar and this is one of your arguments. So as far as why Um why crypto actually will perpetuate the us dollar. Um, as ah, as ah, you know like um, what actually helps the US dollar is because. Number 1 people talk about crypto in dollar terms. That’s their unit of um, their unit of measure and number 2 is because tether’s success in crypto whether it’s on bitcoin or on ethereum or other networks um has enabled. People and correct me where I’m wrong on this but to effectively become dollarized without actually having access to dollars in their home country is that right.

32:01.40 – Vin Armani
Um, that’s exactly right? and not only that but it has with tether b and especially I think defi more than anything exposed this and it was something that I really and. You know there’s so many of these phenomena that you have to actually like to see happen in order to then get the value of the wisdom out of them. I really Pooh Pooh Defi ah in the beginning certainly and I still think that it’s just sort of.

32:34.79 – Vin Armani
And an interesting game I think that Defi is mostly a casino but whether it’s a casino or not, you know it created a situation where the dollar was being used in ways that it had never been used before. Let’s put it like that. And as cash dollars were being used in ways that they had never been used before and not some other currency. So. It’s like it’s got the market share and the mind share and the thing is once you are the currency. In a casino. It doesn’t like the casino is not going to change that currency. You can’t, you’ve got the momentum. So even if it is a casino at a certain point you reach a critical mass and it’s like okay well this is just we just use dollars for this. This is what we do. We computed in dollars. We use dollars.

33:22.40 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, okay.

33:27.43 – Vin Armani
Because the the interesting thing about defi was that that you had the sort of derivative aspect of it where people were making games on top of games on top of games on top of games with Usdt and to a degree usdc as the but dollars right interchangeable with each other as the as the core piece. Of the game. The the they’re the world of Warcraft Gold if you will of the game and so as you build the game on top of the game on the base pair. It’s the base pair as you build the game on top of game on top of game you can’t remove the base pair. That’s a dependency throughout the entire system and.

33:49.82 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, yeah, was the base pair.

34:05.99 – Vin Armani
This really was the catalyst for this sort of rampage that the us ah that certain people in the Us legislature along with the bankers are going on about stablecoins they’re they’re not scared of bitcoin at all and they’ said that like they’re. Terrified of stablecoins coins. You know, but huge huge that that well this is this is why it’s the end of the empire because we got nothing but dummies nothing but dummies. You know I’ve been.

34:26.54 – Brian David Crane
Which again seems so short-sighted because tether’s been a net benefit for the dollar.

34:42.72 – Vin Armani
Been going back through and reading Ben Franklin so there’s this great paper that he wrote I guess it’s technically it’s a pamphlet on the nature and necessity of paper money. So a lot of people don’t know that like Ben Franklin was. He was the guy the innovator of paper money and even the whole his the the continental dollar is one of the most misunderstood things I mean it paid. It’s how the US funded they figured out a way to have currency innovation and to fund the American revolution.

35:02.14 – Brian David Crane

35:18.35 – Vin Armani
You know people think that it is inflated to a point where people were walking in with wheelbarrows and stuff like that like the Reichsmark and all of that. It didn’t. That’s not actually what happened? Um, it’s I won’t go into the whole story but it’s it’s It’s just basically that they had created maturity dates.

35:19.20 – Brian David Crane

35:36.67 – Vin Armani
It could be redeemed for Silver Dollars but they were different. They issued them with differing maturity dates so people had to pay attention to like oh can I be this one that I could actually take and get a spanish Silver dollar now or can I only get it like 5 years from now and will they will we have won the war or lost the war that was. That was the interesting thing that they did to where it’s like you by accepting this and Franklin said this after the war he wrote another essay on it where he said yeah this was the tax that was people betting that they would win the war and so you know if you’re that’s it. That’s it.

36:10.32 – Brian David Crane
Um, and getting invested. They had a vested interest in the Us winning the war then right? yeah or the colonies at that point. Yeah.

36:15.32 – Vin Armani
And so but if you were a merchant just on the street if you were a merchant. Obviously if I come in to buy something and I’m using a currency that the merchant can exchange now for silver dollars the price will be less for me than if you come in with one that is maturity 5 years from now. And so that’s been the narrative that has come up was like oh it’s inflated and people had to bring in wheelbarrows yeah of the one that was like if they were losing if there were battles that had been lost and you had a whole bunch that matured 5 years from now. Yeah, yeah, it’s inflated beyond belief. Right? But if you have one that is already matured that I can take down no inflation and so you know you had some Gresham’s law aspects in there. Super fascinating. But I’m just like and and this is for me. What’s been frustrating is we’re the country that we like.

36:54.91 – Brian David Crane
And then.

37:09.26 – Vin Armani
Our founding fathers the guy on the $100 Bill but not just him the entire congress understood the power of innovating with money and that has carried us through you know to this time. It’s why the US dollar became what it became, you know.

37:14.89 – Brian David Crane

37:28.27 – Vin Armani
And now we’ve got a bunch of morons that it’s like you know it’s. It’s just all, it’s all lost squandering everything and completely ignorant of the history, completely ignorant of it or or actively trying to loot the treasury before everything crumbles.

37:33.32 – Brian David Crane
Squandering the opportunity squandering the lead. Yeah. Government.

37:47.60 – Vin Armani
And it’s hard to know who is who. It’s hard to know who is who but that’s definitely the place that we’ve reached and um, it’s really sad actually because the US dollar is incredible. It’s in it. It’s the greatest currency that has ever been. And perhaps the greatest currency that ever will be honest in terms of its trajectory.

38:09.17 – Brian David Crane
And it’s a and it’s a huge misunderstood advantage for the Us You know it’s one of these that it cuts across political lines. However, you see the state. However, you see your relationship to the state. You should be pro- dolar in the sense of if you’re an American you know like yeah yeah.

38:23.50 – Vin Armani

38:27.31 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, and I think that’s one of your points in your countermarkets essay in March which was that there’s 3 camps of people and how they view the dollar. Do you want to talk about those 3 camps?

38:36.58 – Vin Armani
Yeah I mean so these are fundamentally the 3 camps of people who want to see the dollar go away right? and it’s unfortunate because I think at least 2 of those camps are useful idiots for the third. So I’ll start with the two. I’ll start with the 2 useful idiots and then move to the third. So the first one is the group that wants to make a cbdc a central bank digital currency of the dollar which is basically the end of the dollar like you should know that like that’s it’s it’s the end trust is out the window. You know there’s. The US dollar is so trusted people don’t understand how trusted the Us dollar is. I think it’s 60% of all paper currency is not within the borders of the United States and 80% of the hundred dollar bills the paper hundred dollar bills are not within the borders of the United States which is. Insane if you know anything about why the faces are on the currency and always have been like the saw the face of the sovereign is because it basically says if you muck around with this and you don’t do what you’re supposed to do with this. This is the guy who’s going to kill you.

39:50.10 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, yeah.

39:51.92 – Vin Armani
That’s what that’s what that says. But if it’s outside of the borders. It’s like whoa. It’s so it’s so trusted that you don’t even need to have the sword of the king. It’s that it’s become that trusted and like no currency. The Spanish Silver dollar to a certain degree is the peso right? with like to a degree but still not on the level of us dollars for sure. Um, so that’s the first. The first group is the cbdc group. The second group is like. Gold bugs and bitcoiners and this is a weird kind of bitcoin maximalist. Yeah, this is a weird kind of culty really not well-examined situation where they and I don’t even know how this is really.

40:30.81 – Brian David Crane
Um, well bitcoin maximus.

40:46.49 – Vin Armani
Come into play I mean I see it but it feels It’s always very underpants gnome style when you like to look into it that there’s all of these missing pieces. You know what? I mean um, and it’s like oh we should have a we should have ah precious metals backed. Currency or a bitcoin backed currency and like that will somehow be better because it won’t inflate. It’s like well look we had metals backed currencies like the paper notes I mean the continental dollar was one. You know what? I mean like we’ve had them. So then you’re like but wait a minute. Why do we not have them anymore and why do we like them since not having them. Why has global trade and the standard of living for literally everyone on earth increased? I mean there are people living in the like. The poorest people in the United States live better than the Kings of medieval Europe. They live better than Thomas Jefferson and it’s like well.

41:45.62 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

41:50.62 – Brian David Crane
We got it. They have it or plumbing and they have electricity which already puts them ahead of somebody like Jefferson right away you know? yeah.

41:57.77 – Vin Armani
There’s homeless people with cell phones and the internet. There’s fat homeless people. There’s fat homeless people. Okay like that boom is done.

42:06.59 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

42:12.84 – Brian David Crane
The question.

42:13.85 – Vin Armani
And it’s like well we haven’t had metals backed currencies. We’ve had this other type of currency and that’s what it produced and so it’s like well what was the what was the point of the currency in the first place and it’s like go read on the nature and necessity of paper money by Benjamin Franklin

42:30.25 – Brian David Crane

42:31.56 – Vin Armani
And he’ll tell you because that was written when Pennsylvania was they didn’t have enough metal currency to go around and that’s what he’s talking about right and it’s not backed by metal. He actually Pennsylvania issued it and they actually backed it by land. Mortgages like this actually happened. It’s part of the story of America and nobody knows it and the guy on the hundred dollar bill is the one who innovated it and so these guys are like they’re just ignorant.

42:50.92 – Brian David Crane

43:09.50 – Vin Armani
They want it. They think that moving It’s like well guys. Why don’t you just go back to Model T’s then why are you driving a tesla.

43:13.71 – Brian David Crane
I think some of them want fiscal discipline and they see it as a means of enforcing fiscal discipline.

43:23.57 – Vin Armani
Yeah, but fiscal discipline has nothing to do with the type of currency that you have. You can squander your treasury in gold, you know and it’s happened before many times in history, right? And in the same way that you can have.

43:30.26 – Brian David Crane

43:42.65 – Vin Armani
Fiscal discipline with a non gold backed currency. That’s that’s just about that’s about the individuals and what they want to do right? Power is going to find a way.

43:49.50 – Brian David Crane
Um, yes.

43:54.86 – Vin Armani
Power is going to find a way and you know at the end of the day you can still mortgage off your children regardless like okay now you do it with printing money but like what was the taxation system of ancient Egypt. Oh, I was part of the labor.

44:11.78 – Brian David Crane

44:13.55 – Vin Armani
It was the core of a tax system. You paid your taxes in Labor. So It’s like well the future, like you could still sell off the future labor and the lives of your children whether you have a gold back currency or not. It has nothing to do with it right? like. If that’s your if that’s what you intend to do? Oh you can find a way to do it. Believe me and it’s been done.

44:37.80 – Brian David Crane
Yeah yeah yeah I have just I’ve listened to ah quite a few gold bugs in bitcoin maximum suit their core point of contention is they don’t like the deficits that the us runs and they don’t like the amount of debt that the us has incurred and they are Jim Rickards is a.

44:54.95 – Brian David Crane
Famous one in this camp of the doom loop that the US has entered or is on the cusp of entering given the amount of debt um relative to gdp I think I think they have a point as far as the um. I think they have a point. I just also agree with you that I’m not sure that a gold back currency or a bitcoin back currency is the solution to cutting spending to a sustainable level. They’re not they’re not synonymous let’s say

45:22.10 -Vin Armani
Well, it’s funny. It’s a funny sort of logic that those individuals have right because they’re like oh all of these people who make the laws like they’re all all of them are voting to have deficits and to spend.

45:40.94 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah, yeah, like.

45:41.23 – Vin Armani
Yes, all of them are liked by the vast majority and then they’re like and the solution to that is we need to have a gold back currency and it’s like who votes for the gold back currency. You miss that part. That’s why I say it’s underpants gnomes.

45:54.40 – Brian David Crane

45:55.40 – Vin Armani
Like literally everybody who would make that vote is voting to do something that they would be prevented from doing. So you’re like yeah something it’s like something something something then we don’t know what happens and then all of a sudden these people change their mind.

46:02.80 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

46:13.54 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, yeah.

46:14.86 – Vin Armani
And then you’re like well we just need to elect them and vote them into office and it’s like well what’s required then well we’re going to need to fund some campaigns and it’s like well the people who are who want who can print unlimited money are going to fund the campaigns. Of the people who are going to keep allowing them to print unlimited money. So It’s like you’ve got to fill in the underpants known for me here. Fill it in because I’ve never heard it done where the gnomes are. Okay, that gets you to the gold back currency. So for me I’m just like those guys are gone.

46:36.35 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah, um.

46:51.79 – Vin Armani
It makes no sense right? They’re useful idiots but who they’re useful idiots for and I’ve seen and I’m seeing it because it’s like it’s the gold bug to brix pipeline like it’s the Jim Rickards to Putin and g pipeline.

46:57.75 – Brian David Crane

47:08.56 – Vin Armani
See it all. You gotta read 0 hech and you can see the pipeline. It’s right there and it’s like that’s the other side and the other side is you’ve got Putin and she’s Putin’s you know. The military side g is the economic side and they realize oh sanctions on Russia that’s really played to China’s advantage. It’s like hey let’s do our own thing look at how much power these guys have with their thing. Let’s do our own thing and then we’ll just be convinced.

47:39.73 – Brian David Crane

47:45.27 – Vin Armani
Global south that like well look how terrible this golden billion is like they’re just the worst come and do our thing but like really you want China’s thing that’s the 1 you want. That’s better like, have you been paying attention to China? Do you know anything about how China runs their financial system and how they use it to control their people? No. Well maybe you need to look at that before you’re like down with the dollar down with the fed. We’re all about her and Putin and what they want to put together. So that’s the other 2 sets are the. Absolute useful idiots for basically the great power struggle now in the financial system.

48:24.73 – Brian David Crane

48:33.60 – Brian David Crane
And so how does coin text your previous startup like how does that fit into that narrative and also how does um yeah so I think it’d be useful if you explained coin text what happened there. But more importantly I would say like if you have. I’m going to try to tie this together but let’s say you have a bitcoin number go up, you have gains in bitcoin you know to bring it back to defi you can pledge it as Collateral. You can take out a loan against it without needing to sell it. Um, that loan is denominated in dollars. Um, you know.

Cointext: Bridging Crypto and SMS Technology

49:00.39 – Vin Armani

49:10.30 – Brian David Crane
And you can go off and do stuff with those with those dollars so there’s kind of 2 parts so cointex if you want to talk about that first and let’s get back to defining what people are doing with bitcoin to actually unlock the um. The dollar value of their bitcoin without necessarily needing to sell it.

49:30.80 – Vin Armani
Kotex we started in 2017 and the idea behind cointext or the problem that we were looking to solve was how could I send and receive bitcoin if I did not have the internet or a smartphone. So I have no internet access and I don’t have a smartphone. How could I send and and receive bitcoin and so it was an sms text ah text wallet. Um, and then also how could we do it in a non a non custodial way. Basically where we couldn’t we couldn’t take your money. And you had your private keys that you could also use with another bitcoin app or whatever and so we did. We created that in 2 17 and we launched it now you know there’s some trade offs so the tradeoffs are. It’s not fully peer-to-peer. There are some middlemen so you’ve got like your sms gateways you’ve got your phone companies. You know? Um, but I mean it’s you know we we? Well we thought that was what was interesting.

50:27.85 – Brian David Crane
In your case you had whatsapp.

50:35.50 – Vin Armani
Um, Yeoman’s capital ah which is headed by David Johnston who’s been in crypto space for a long time. He’s actually the person who coined the term dapp he was in the white paper for omni which was the protocol that um tether was first released on. He’s the backer of factum and so some ah some other chains that are escaping me right now. Ah, but then he reached out and basically said hey I want to back this thing I’ve got a ah you know group of investors and we want to come in and we want to be your we want to be your Vc to. To do this and so they did and when they came in what they yeah and it’s the typical sort of Vc thing is that the reason that we’re coming in as customer acquisition right? because we we didn’t need the money we were ramen profitable from the jump like we had figured out a good business. Business model all we needed to do was just get more users and that was it but they came in and they said look we want to go user acquisition blitz and throw this at it. So like we want you to, we were in 4 or 5 countries to start. We started in us Uk South Africa where we were. Us Uk South Africa I think maybe Sweden I forget what? all of them were but we ended up in 45 countries. They were basically just like get numbers in every country you can get numbers in like just go and do it. Ah.

52:02.10 – Brian David Crane
Phone numbers.

52:05.64 – Vin Armani
Yeah phone phone access numbers. So you basically are like you know you’re texting back and forth. It’s a text app. Um, but it was pretty awesome because it was the first time people were using their old Nokia flip phones, grandmas and stuff where you know you send in cryptocurrency and the other cool thing about it was that you could send to a phone number. So we had an algorithm with a proprietary algorithm that turned your phone number. Ah a phone number into a private key that could end and then an address right? So it was the first time that you could actually push cryptocurrency to people so we had a bch.

52:32.22 – Brian David Crane

52:41.85 – Vin Armani
Dash light coin and then we had a hidden btc one that we put together for other oh Canada that was because it was a canadian guy that we put that together for Canada was one of the early ones. Um, and so it was the first time that you could onboard people and actually push it to them so it was like oh have you ever.

52:57.42 – Brian David Crane
Without them necessarily knowing that you’re going to send them currency or send them ah crypto I mean yeah.

53:00.68 – Vin Armani
Or just stay or just stand next to them right? like let me send you some bitcoin. No downloading a wallet. No nothing and so that was groundbreaking for a lot of people who are real enthusiasts. They were like whoa this is crazy and we got a lot of buy in and a lot of Goodwill very early on. Um, but the goal for yeomans the whole time was Whatsapp ah one point five billion users at the time and basically we we push that and push that and push that and we developed our our k connects within the people in the Sms Gateway world and we’re one of the first people when whatsapp business was released. Actually we were reached out to ah by our gateway and they said hey do you want to be like 1 of our first apps to go on this thing you guys are awesome like we think that this is cool. We love your project and so. Yeah, we put everything together. There was a huge vetting process and a whole bunch of agreements that we had to go into with Facebook at the time now meta and some fees that had to be paid and like all that was done and we were literally six that we went into beta and. Started testing in all these countries man and it was crazy like I brought up South Sudan earlier that was one of the ones where we were like holy crap like these guys are in South Sudan use using this like they don’t even have internet where they’re at and they’re in the middle and nowhere and they’re using this and we were like yo this is crazy and and.

54:29.60 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, they’re sending electronic cash back and forth.

54:33.80 – Vin Armani
It was crazy. It was crazy and um and we had a whole bunch of other things we had already you know made partnerships and there was stuff out there people paying for things at point of sales with any pay this company any pay in New Hampshire and and um you know sending remittances. There’s a video that’s out there of. A guy in Germany and a guy in Ghana and there’s a remittance guy and they’re sending remittances via text and then cashing it out to cash. It’s just crazy the things that that we were doing and we were like this is going to be amazing and. We’re six days away and we got a call and they were like guys. We are so sorry we are totally bummed about this. We just got a call from Facebook. No financial apps are allowed on Whatsapp, they were like we had to shut down a bank that we had brought on. We had to do all this. We shut it all down. We’re like what’s going on and because they were about to release libra remember their their failed stablecoin where they brought everybody in front of congress and they got lambasted by Maxine Waters and all them so it was because they were about to release libra that they were like nope nope we’re going to have the monopoly we’re going to have the monopoly. And so in some ways you know again that was in many ways that was like god just coming down and being like I’m going to shut this off before you guys have 10000000 users and then Facebook comes along and shuts it down and then what do you do.

55:58.43 – Vin Armani
Like talk talk is like a life destroying kind of event. You know what? I mean like all these people’s funds locked up. How do they get there? How do they get it out of all of this because the way that we had built it and so that really opened up for me. Um, just like really moving. Moving in a way where there’s no where there’s no gatekeepers and um, and yeah, so I think the second part was about Usdt right? And ah the second part of your question hit me with the question again. So that I can line it up after talking about cointex.

56:24.61 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, and yeah, well I want to. I want to finish on cointex and we’ll bring back the second part of the question. But so with the if you fast forward now to where we are libra.

56:34.67 – Vin Armani
Yeah, please.

Reflections on Digital Currency and Financial Systems

56:44.26 – Brian David Crane
Has never launched or if it did launch. It was a stillbirth and is now ah um, tabled and Whatsapp Business Whatsapp is continuing to grow in terms of market share whatsapp business has continued to expand.

56:46.54 – Vin Armani

56:56.50 – Brian David Crane
Um, still nobody has done it. This is that right? They still are not allowing financial service apps into Whatsapp business and also there’s no money transmission mechanism or electronic cash transmission mechanism inside of Whatsapp is that correct.

57:11.26 – Vin Armani
Um, as far as I know but I I do have to say I do want to say this that I don’t think so so we sold off the assets ah of cointex. Ah, two years ago I believe it was. Um I would not do it if I was looking at doing something for a project now. Cointex would not be something that I would do. We probably were just on the end of 2 17 when we brought it to market. We probably were just.

57:36.96 – Brian David Crane

57:46.73 – Vin Armani
At the very end of where you know there was a large enough addressable market that didn’t really have fast internet and didn’t really have smartphones and I think that now even in the developing world. That’s not the case and part of the reason actually is Whatsapp because it’s become. Like the communications tool of the developing world by far and it requires mobile Internet. So If you’ve got mobile internet Then that means that you can do the other thing. Go ahead, please.

58:15.39 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, but I think that’s key. Sorry so I think that’s ah I think that’s key right there like with Whatsapp a lot of people don’t understand that whatsapp when you send a text is on data. It’s not a text in the normal sense of how you think about it and so that’s why. You know I’m in South Africa as you and I speak. There’s people that just need to get their phone onto wi-fi or they just need to pay strictly for data. They don’t need minutes. They don’t need to make calls. They just need to get data so that they can use Whatsapp and it’s one of these things for people. It’s also why Whatsapp was so successful.

58:36.71 – Vin Armani
And okay, a.

58:49.99 – Brian David Crane
Because the carriers at the outset were charging quite a bit more for minutes and for and for text messaging than they were for data. So go ahead? Sorry, yeah.

58:51.35 – Vin Armani
So that’s right but that’s I mean and so you know the thing is if you have data then like why are we? Why are we sending text you know and I even and in many ways I really even thought that. For Whatsapp when we were going into it. But I think you know David had a good time. He presented a very good argument and his argument was well one. It’s going to reduce your costs because we were paying obviously per sms right? and he’s like it’s going to reduce your cost. Overall. But then when we have them. He’s like it’s about customer acquisition. Well now we have them and so now not only can we push them the coin text stuff but we can push them a link for an app. So. You know that’s it’s it’s that aspect then now they would want to use the app because they could use the app with the private key that they have and access their address in an app right? So it’s like moving them in and then moving them out. I think it was a very good argument that you know he was like yeah people will probably know it’ll be tied to their app and their whatsapp.

59:47.20 – Brian David Crane

01:00:04.97 – Vin Armani
And you could just send the phone number as an address right? The phone number as address is really what he was after and I think he’s a brilliant guy who’s very forward thinking and I think that he was right like I think that we would have. We would have nailed it had we been able to stay on the platform. I do think that that would have happened. Um. But now no and and now you know everything that I develop I don’t even develop downloadable apps anymore like at most I do progressive web apps which most phones will allow you to sort of install a thumbnail as an app anyway, just because again the gatekeepers. Google and Apple are insane about that look. I believe it was a Kindle or an autoba kindle on the Kindle app. I think it is a Kindle I don’t think you can actually buy. The last time I tried out. Yes, it’s a Kindle. You can’t buy an ebook on the Kindle app because it’s not going through like Google pay or Apple Pay. You have to actually go to Amazon so it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous and the reason why is the gatekeepers. So.

01:01:00.64 – Brian David Crane
Um, a book.

01:01:14.65 – Brian David Crane
Yeah I think it’s important , sorry I was going to say like for people who don’t know what a progressive web app is, it’s effective. It’s an applike experience but it runs in your browser and you have um, a thumbnail or an icon on.

01:01:17.00 – Vin Armani
We have the web, we have progressive web Apps, you know.

01:01:31.98 – Brian David Crane
You know on your home screen or on your phone where you can launch it and it gives you an app-like experience but you don’t have to go through the approval process of you know the app store or Google play to get your ah to get distribution is that right.

01:01:39.97 – Vin Armani

01:01:48.24 – Vin Armani
That’s right and you know the other thing about a progressive web app is that you can release it open source and someone can compile it themselves and run it on their own server so they can be sure right that it’s that that they can audit the code. Ah, which is a lot. I think it’s a lot harder for people to be sure of when you’re talking about a downloadable app. That’s the byte code right? Um, and then you know if that’s it. That’s it. That’s it. It’s just.

01:02:05.90 – Brian David Crane

01:02:15.50 – Brian David Crane
Well again, they’re trusting Apple and Google. Yeah.

01:02:23.49 – Vin Armani
And it’s not even that they’re trusting Apple and Google necessarily because Apple and Google to be honest aren’t really checking these apps. You know every once in a while something will come up and they’ll be like oh yeah, there’s a back door in this sucker but like this is bad news like it’s leaking all kinds of data out of here. Um. You know they check as best they can at least on the initial go but having been an app developer I know that you can push changes you know and if it’s so easy to hide a back door It’s so easy if you’re even just a halfway decent developer. So. I think that it has a lot of advantages but in the space of cryptocurrency in that permit is like really going for that permissionless space. Ah the the mantra that I’ve really been pushing is protocols not platforms or protocols greater than platforms.

01:03:09.31 – Brian David Crane

01:03:13.60 – Vin Armani
We have the protocols. You know the web now what you can do in a browser is incredible and the whole web 3 movement and you know again, defi and Dapps like it’s shown that like wow we can do some very advanced things inside of a browser. So why? Why do anything except the browser? That’s that I really think that that’s where it’s going anyway, the capabilities are only increasing what what your browser can do and you know the the html standard keeps getting better so and Javascript is like it’s the language man at this point you could run it server-side you could run it. You know in the browser There’s so many Javascript and node Js and other framework developers that yeah, it’s just that’s where the future is going so that’s that’s what I’ve bet on for sure.

01:04:03.69 – Brian David Crane
So are you now working? So let me ask a different question. So um, that friction or the frictionless. How do I say this? So my experience with um with defi. And I’ll frame my question this way. My experience with defi is that it’s cool. You have to first get a metamask. It’s a browser extension that you need to run in order to even interact with metamask. You need to first buy crypto on a centralized exchange like coinbase and then you have to move it off of coinbase to your metamask. Once you have it on metamask then you can actually connect metamask to some of these third -party apps um in defi dapps and do something with it that’s quite a bit of a friction to get to that point. So I’m talking from an ethereum standpoint I don’t know on the bitcoin side. What that looks like um. But or if it is, is that the world that you’re working on now is like trying to make that smoother or how do you see that evolving.

01:05:07.11 – Vin Armani
Well, we’ve accomplished making that onboarding smoother. Um, that’s basically what we’ve done over the last two years and I mean we piloted in the cannabis industry here a set of protocols that I’ve developed over the last four years I mean myself and then there’s some other individuals who have. Who have been sort of pivotal in that not defi. Um, like I say I mean defi for the most part is really, it’s a casino and I think that the one of the reasons that it is just a casino is because of the friction and. The friction is unfortunately inherent in ethereum . There are things that you can do with bitcoin that Satoshi that Satoshi Nakamoto built into bitcoin from the beginning that enables some workarounds to where you don’t have to have that friction.

01:05:58.19 – Brian David Crane
Um, this post office analogy that you wrote about.

01:05:59.53 – Vin Armani
But that friction. Yes, yes, and so and so that’s built right into the transaction fundamentally what Satoshi built in is he built in what it’s called script sig but it’s different ways of signing a transaction. As to what it is that you’re signing which basically ends up the most important part is that it ends up changing who can participate in the transaction and when so the most important thing is a flag on your signature. That’s called.

01:06:33.58 – Brian David Crane

01:06:38.43 – Vin Armani
Anyone can pay. This is the most important out of all of them and fundamentally what it means is like I’m contributing coins to this right? So you have to have the sum of the input coins to be greater than because you have to pay a fee. But fundamentally it has to be greater than or equal to the outputs. So like let’s say that I’m outputting you know I don’t know 10 bitcoin to you I can put a utxo of 1 bitcoin and sign that transaction anyone can pay now. Obviously it’s ah it’s an invalid transaction. At that point because it’s only 1 bitcoin and then there’s 10 that’s out but I would like to pass that around it still is secure. I could pass that around and if somebody else wants to add 9 bitcoins on that or 9 people want to add 9 bitcoins or 100 people want to add enough to make it 9 bitcoins and they all do any one can pay on it then we could broadcast it to the network and it’ll be valid right? So this is like. So the way that bitcoin’s transaction structure is structured is totally different than ethereum like ethereum is really more like a bank ledger type of system.

01:08:01.27 – Vin Armani
Right? Sort of line items and that’s how the transaction is inside this grand ledger and then inside a small little ledger. So every smart contract has its own ledger and then there’s the grand ledger and they could interact with each other and that’s cool but bitcoin is really more an analogy of almost like a. Physical coins are really how you would move physical coins and the transactions can stand by themselves and they can be manipulated. You know you pass a transaction to somebody and then they can sort of manipulate it. So. That’s how you get things like multisig. You know bitcoin can do multisig in its transaction structure. You have to have a smart contract to do multisig in Ethereum which in the early days created some very difficult things. So the first one was the parody wallet which was basically a smart contract and then the smart contract got hacked. Hacked quote unquote because it’s always an inside job and and some major early ethereum projects that were some of the most groundbreaking for instance, swarm city which was doing like a ah decentralized uber they they basically got all of their funding robbed and that project shut down and they weren’t alone.

01:09:15.28 – Vin Armani
Because you can’t just do it in the way you do it with bitcoin you got to make a smart contract and do all of this so like that complexity that friction and complexity is baked into ethereum I think partly because it was created by ah, a 19 year old now mind you a brilliant 19 year old but still a 19 year old right? and like you can have many things at the age of 19 but what you don’t have is experience and wisdom and so what you get is. That’s what you get? That’s what ethereum is, whereas if you know bitcoin clearly you know I’ve. I’ve made the case that Satoshi Nakamoto is quite clearly finny. And whether it was Hal Finney or not whoever created bitcoin, whoever was Satoshi Nakamoto was a seasoned veteran, absolutely seasoned veteran um, and the reason I say that is because Hal Finney four years earlier had created a reusable proof of work. Ah a project called. You know, shortened to our pal that was basically bitcoin but he hadn’t figured out how to decentralize it. It was bitcoin with a centralized mint and so it’s like well if one of the greatest cryptographers of all time right to work for Pgp for many years is the one who developed it.

01:10:22.96 – Brian David Crane

01:10:29.49 – Vin Armani
Web of trust was the second person to work on bitcoin and contributed a lot of the early code if he wasn’t satoshi. If that person can only do it centralized and then somebody comes along and does it decentralized well that person is clearly a seasoned veteran. This is not some just random person and so there’s a lot of that in bitcoin. But. I mean in terms of the casino. Yeah, you can’t do smart contracts like that in bitcoin. But it’s not really meant to let you know you could still do all of those functions but they would be this person would do this this entity would do this this entity would do this. You could secure it with crypt cryptography and all of that doesn’t have to be on a chain. Um. So yeah, I’m getting into the weeds now. I like geeking out right because I love to talk about the geek out stuff but needless needless to say the friction will never go away in Ethereum. Never it can’t be, it can’t be coded out. There’s nothing that you could do. It’s just the structure, which also means any EVM chain.

01:11:11.63 – Brian David Crane
That’s okay, yeah.

01:11:26.70 – Vin Armani
Which are the most popular you know and so it’s It’s just that the reason why they keep building is because there’s a critical mass of people who have gone through the process that you’ve gone through they’ve downloaded metamask. They want to go and gamble.

01:11:28.89 – Brian David Crane
Yep yep.

01:11:42.12 – Vin Armani
You know they’ve gone to the exchange, they’ve filled it up. They’ve gone and now they want to play on all these different things. All these different financial instruments and ah you know and try to try to fill their bag so you know it’s It’s the.

01:11:58.34 – Vin Armani
The shitcoin casino of defi. Basically.

01:12:02.82 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah I mean it’s it’s it’s you know as as as a defi user and as somebody who has you know participated in this casino as you said, um, the the frustrating part generally speaking is. When I walk into a coffee shop and I pay with an Apple wallet and it happens in sub 2 seconds and I’m able to walk out with my coffee and then you look at something like ethereum with you know, just the transaction cost the time. Um. Not only the user experience but just as a settlement layer or as a um, yeah, the transfer of value. How long that takes um, it seems that the ah the sizzle and the steak do not match right? There’s ah, quite a bit of um, there’s quite a bit of promise and not to um. It doesn’t deliver. Let’s say that and then so you wind up with this yeah on a paper like you understand okay cool. You know you can be your own bank. You can um, opt out of the financial system. You know, traified to whatever degree and then you really can’t.

01:12:55.43 – Vin Armani

01:13:10.62 – Brian David Crane
I’m friends with Joel in New Hampshire who’s tried to Joel Valenzuela who has ah done a lot of work around actually trying to just live on crypto and he’s big on dash and um, but it’s yeah I think if you use a lot of this stuff you kind of go. It’s very innovative.

01:13:14.14 – Vin Armani
Me 9

01:13:29.53 – Brian David Crane
Inside of its ecosystem. But for the average user. It’s just um, it’s just a nightmare like it just doesn’t ah um, you just they’re just not going to get it. You know it’s like years off you know or or serious technological innovations off I don’t know if it’s ah it’s a timeframe but like there’s like and so I’ll be curious to know what it is. You’re actually working on it. When it comes to because I know you’re a bitcoin wallet developer you were doing ah wallet development for bitcoin dot com.

01:13:56.90 – Vin Armani
Um, so yes, all of the things that you’ve said are all the realizations that many of us came to or I also know Joel obviously I was there in New Hampshire right so how could I not um, he was one of the reasons why we included dash in coin text right.

01:14:01.71 – Brian David Crane

01:14:08.50 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah, are.

01:14:12.15 – Vin Armani
Was he cool? Cool guy I haven’t talked to in a while but I probably should just just reach out and say what’s up. Um, what what we and when I say we there’s a you know there’s a I don’t know group group of developers. Not too big.

01:14:16.10 – Brian David Crane
Was one.

01:14:31.51 – Vin Armani
Who were who all moved to bitcoin cash. Well, let’s just say there’s 2 things right? and there’s 2 very important things, friction and fees and fees is kind of friction to you know Um, the title of the bitcoin white paper is bitcoin a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. And those of us who want it to be cash and who had that revelation early on with the you know the silk road revelation that I talked about earlier if you want to spend it and you want to live on it. Like Joel said and you want there to be adoption. We’ve had negative adoption right? There was this period where I mean look Microsoft for steam right? They had ah they accepted bitcoin and then they stopped because fees got too high and it’s like whoa. What is that? What is that like? how? But how is that not going to be a wake up call but many of us who said okay well the fees got to be low at least in this initial stage like as we’re moving through if we’re going to do this. The fees have to be low. So were those of us who were.

01:15:24.98 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

01:15:43.20 – Vin Armani
In the bitcoin community. We then migrated to bitcoin cash and a lot of people migrated including some you know notorious scammers like Craig Wright who finally just got his come up and this last week of a court finally declaring that? no he was not satoshi nakamoto and destroying bsv. But. I was there for that split and the hash war like I was a big part of it and and then the other split that happened later with the bitcoin cash and ecash and now those of us who have followed that vision now all build on ecash and because we realized all the things that. You said that these are the things that we have to overcome so first subcent fees sub one cent fees which basically means free if somebody’s paying less than a cent because you can’t actually pay somebody less than a cent. So. That’s basically nothing if your transaction fees are subcent. And they remain subscene. that’s that’s viable that’s viable as peer-to-peer electronic cash um, then. Also ah the volatility got to go away so you got to have stablecoins man mandatory got to happen. it’s got and it’s got to be dollar based because why even use something else like if if you can use a dollar you got to use a dollar so you got to have a good token protocol. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the tokens can compete with each other. You can find the best dollar token. The best stablecoin token doesn’t matter. but yeah but the protocol has to be good. It has to be able to scale to accommodate those things. So.

01:17:17.61 – Vin Armani
Bitcoin cash actually before the bsv split which is interesting because if you look at the white paper. It’s got even names of the people who split at that time. It was all bitcoin. Cash. So the simple ledger protocol which is a fantastic protocol and and ah. I’ve expanded quite a bit myself. I’ve authored like 4 or 5 additional expansions to that protocol myself that that we that we use here including the postish protocol payment protocol self mint. There’s a whole bunch of them and so you got to have stablecoin and then. Then the next piece of it is you have to have a 1 token. You have to be able to have a 1 token experience. The problem with ethereum is like Usdt is great on ethereum. But if you just got your metamask and you’ve got an address and I send you. $10000 in usdt and you don’t have any ethereum you’re sunk. That’s not cash. That’s not cash that doesn’t work that will never work in commerce. It’s just a non-starter right? So you, so you’ve got to have it.

01:18:14.86 – Brian David Crane
Um, it’s dead.

01:18:33.74 – Vin Armani
That then also it’s got to be instant when you receive it as soon as you receive it. You have to be able to send it now. Bitcoin has that well Btc had that built in until. After the split they added replace by fee which added so you know you can work around it if you’ve got a good wallet but you know there was a guy in Australia ah, who who showed that even you know the in production btc point of sales there he was hacking them and doing double spends on it.

01:19:07.84 – Brian David Crane

01:19:10.69 – Vin Armani
Right? using this replace by fee because most wallets don’t account for it but bitcoin because of its first scene for saving. You can do that with ethereum; it uses something called a nonce which gives priority to transactions. So inherently you can double spend a transaction.

01:19:16.70 – Brian David Crane

01:19:28.75 – Vin Armani
I send a transaction with a priority of one and then I send a transaction with a priority of 2 the 2 gets taken instead of the 1 right? So it’s inherently you gotta wait till it’s confirmed a whole bunch of times as opposed to it being instant. But bitcoin already had that instant but the team that forked bch and now is the team that runs ecash was always looking at not instant, not instant settlement in terms of the blocks like proof of state can have.

01:19:58.38 – Brian David Crane

01:20:01.94 – Vin Armani
But ah instant finalization between the miners using Avalanche That’s what the Avalanche you know people know avax the chain Avalanche That’s what it’s for and so they have now one block finalization already So like financeance with ecash it will do it. Ah.

01:20:17.88 – Brian David Crane

01:20:21.89 – Vin Armani
Basically no confirmations right? So it’s like or or I believe it’s what no it’s 1 block what they’re shooting for is per transaction. So that’s the next thing they call it’s pre-consensus. So it’ll be truly instant. It’s already finalized by the miners. You’ll be able to verify that. That’s what’s finalized but still the first scene rule. What we call a um unconfirmed that’s still zero compf zero confirmation that still has worked and it works on all of our systems and so. What we built here with the protocols that I have and what we’ve been running on the cannabis in the cannabis industry here is a 1 token wallet that’s faster than Apple pay and ed uses a stablecoin so a cache tab is the wallet.

01:20:59.13 – Brian David Crane

01:21:08.23 – Brian David Crane
Um, what’s it called?

01:21:14.53 – Vin Armani
But the token is bucks I can actually after we’re after we’re we’re done you can fire up a wallet and I’ll send you some tokens over and then you could send it back to me and see and when anybody who sees it is like oh crap this is it and you’re able to pay the you’re able to pay the fee.

01:21:20.90 – Brian David Crane

01:21:27.16 – Brian David Crane
They get it. Yeah.

01:21:32.96 – Vin Armani
With the token or at least that’s what the user experience feels like using this post office protocol that anyone can pay right? So Basically you you say?? Okay I’m going to write in an additional output that’s going to this post office. Anyone can pay. I don’t have enough. I don’t have enough satoshis to pay for this thing but I’ve written a payment there and then I send it to the post office and if the post office wants the payment. They just pay in the native token but they get their payment in the stablecoin and so what’s interesting is that it actually gives you. It’s crazy because.

01:22:04.60 – Brian David Crane

01:22:08.79 – Vin Armani
My post office charges 10 x the cost of the satoshis that I’m including so at scale it’s a way to sell your bitcoins at 10 x the market price in exchange for stablecoins.

01:22:24.34 – Brian David Crane
Um, in in in in in so in so in small but and small um yeah in small denominations. Let’s say but in aggregate it would be a lot. Yeah yeah, and how.

01:22:27.66 – Vin Armani
It’s a money machine. Basically.

01:22:34.30 – Vin Armani
That’s right that’s right that’s right right so if somebody’s paying one cent for you know they’re paying one cent for their transaction fee and they’re like that I’m stoked by paying one cent for my or they’re paying half a cent right but the satoshis that they’re paying for is like. You know one tenth of that so in cost so it’s like these sorts of things you know people haven’t realized that they could do them yet. But we’ve got them in the wild and and you know and now we’re taking the next steps because the next piece of friction is the government. The next friction on all of this is the government and the banks basically.

01:23:15.87 – Brian David Crane
And with bucks in this wallet. Um, it’s geared towards the cannabis industry. It’s geared towards people like if you have a cannabis shop in calf. No okay, no, it’s her. It’s for general usage. Yeah, okay, got it.

01:23:21.62 – Cyprian _Vin_
No, no, no, no, no, you could use it for anything. Yeah, you could use it. You could use it for anything but the question is like well why would a place adopt this so and we also have basically like instant onboarding.

01:23:32.67 – Brian David Crane

01:23:40.65 – Vin Armani
So You can onboard with a credit card pretty much instantly. So The user feels like they’re paying with credit cards so you get this you solve the onboarding thing they just feel like they’re paying with credit card but it immediately does a self meant sends it over and it’s regulatorily exempt which is crazy. Right? So it. It uses an exemption that finsen has given yeah but there’s an explicit exemption right? So we built it around that So It’s like these are all the learnings over all of this time. Um, that that you know and just.

01:23:58.43 – Brian David Crane
Um, under the money transmitter license. Yeah.

01:24:14.20 – Vin Armani
Nobody has even taken the time unfortunately to do that because there’s this. Ah Jeffrey Hamerbacher he was the one who created the data model. For he was the lead data scientist in the early days of Facebook. Basically their data architecture is his brilliant guy. He then went on to found Cloudera. You probably know him but he had this quote. I think it was in Forbes they interviewed him and it was like I forget what year it was probably 2018 or so. Twenty Twenty Two Thousand Eight or 9 something like that and he said I’m the greatest minds of my generation and are all focused on getting people to click ads and that sucks. That was his quote right? and it’s like I feel the same way about crypto.

01:24:56.44 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, yeah I have seen this quote. Yeah yeah, yeah, yeah.

01:25:05.39 – Vin Armani
The greatest minds of my generation are all focused on how to make the next casino game in the shitcoin casino and that sucks.

01:25:13.62 – Brian David Crane
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah I agree with you I mean that’s I got into bitcoin in 2013 um and

01:25:26.97 – Brian David Crane
The ethos and the philosophy and the like was what was so interesting with it and then it seems um that a lot of that. Yeah, a lot of that. Energy that initial energy that kind of libertarian energy for lack of a better way to put it and it’s also in response to the 8 financial crisis like when you read the white paper or you read like the genesis story of where bitcoin came from. It was like if you felt um.

01:25:44.47 – Vin Armani

01:25:55.60 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, if you felt like that this bank bailout was too big to fail, this sort of financial system was corrupt like bitcoin was an outlet and a lot of that energy seems to have dissipated and now it’s become um. Ah, yeah, like ah like a purely speculative asset and and I wouldn’t even call it an asset because like it’s just like a purely speculative bet for a lot of people right? Um, and um and maybe the saving grace in all this or at least what I hope is that the early bitcoiners make.

01:26:11.90 – Vin Armani
We have.

01:26:25.30 – Brian David Crane
Ah, so much money that they are able to then create these kinds of intentional communities or create the stuff that like it gives them a financial wherewithal to actually take bigger swings at these challenges because um. Yeah I think that the founding ethos kind of got diluted. I don’t know if you would agree with that.

01:26:44.60 – Vin Armani
No, I would definitely agree with it. But I think it’s natural. It’s natural when there’s that much and and I know I know it’s natural because I was there and I’m a developer.

01:27:00.57 – Brian David Crane

01:27:03.20 – Vin Armani
And I had to choose what to spend my time doing and you know there was pressure even from my partners and people that I knew to be like dude. Why don’t we just have Icos come around? Why are we not doing an Ico? We should be releasing a token like we could do it in our sleep. And it was just that I was like I I don’t I won’t be able to sleep at night because it’s a scar because it’s a scam like like there’s even there’s no way that we can frame I know what’s going to happen like I know what’s going to happen like everybody’s going to lose their money except for us.

01:27:25.49 – Brian David Crane
Um, feel good about it. Yeah.

01:27:39.66 – Vin Armani
There’s not a question about this, I mean we could. We could have the highest hopes and like the best of intentions but like in the back of my mind I know that I know what’s going to happen to this thing. Um and so it takes a lot.

01:27:47.88 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, okay.

01:27:57.20 – Vin Armani
To leave that money on the table especially when the community of people around you are so hype about nothing except greed and I think the only thing that kept me going.

01:28:08.48 – Brian David Crane

01:28:15.61 – Vin Armani
Was that I was just you know such a hardcore anarchist libertarian and that that was it I was just way too hardcore and had a chip on my shoulder about the state like now I don’t.

01:28:24.70 – Brian David Crane

01:28:33.64 – Vin Armani
Now that has flipped in a big way that um and and I mean my last book renders unto Caesar A lot of that was this me the spirit. Yeah, the spiritual aspect of this and it’s also at the same time like half of it I wrote.

01:28:40.67 – Brian David Crane
Great title.

01:28:52.50 – Vin Armani
Coming to these revelations and the other half I wrote like I was a cat, a human becoming Orthodox and I think I’d like to publish it right before I was baptized basically or maybe right after and so. Now for me what I see is that there is a righteous path on this and like really, what’s the problem is that the people who are playing in the financial sphere have lost any righteousness. And that was not always the case you know I mean I think it’s been building for a long time but money in and of itself is not I mean even in the gospel like money in and of itself is not a problem. It’s a lack of righteousness.

01:29:30.45 – Brian David Crane

01:29:46.80 – Vin Armani
And the love of money as opposed to understanding that it’s a tool right and understanding it for what it is and and I think that if there’s ever been a tool that is if there’s ever been a form of money that you know.

01:29:47.38 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, avarice. Yeah.

01:30:06.54 – Vin Armani
Reflects from the render Unto Caesar’s story. You know render unto god that which is god’s the deeper that I dig into what it is underneath bitcoin and it’s like you know they’ll maximalists like to talk about math and stuff but they don’t really. Haven’t really dug into it because it’s like it’s not complex math but it’s just the concept of the cosmic scale of numbers that we’re dealing with and that the security of it comes from the sheer scale of reality like the sheer scale of. God’s creation is what makes bitcoin secure and that’s crazy like that truly is yeah I mean it’s or or it’s like it’s beyond. It’s one of those things that’s beyond religion. You know it’s where.

01:30:49.28 – Brian David Crane
Um, what’s a man pseudo-religious?

01:31:01.56 – Vin Armani
You know, like even Einstein said I believe in Spinoza’s god you know like this if you can’t be operating with these concepts and not see the created order in the universe. It’s like it just jumps out at you that like no, there’s a consciousness here like this is too perfect. It’s too ordered the fact that this the fact that we discover everything in bitcoin, all the cryptography and you even look back. It’s all discovered. Nothing is invented. All of those are all rules of the universe. The hashing functions have existed since the beginning of time. They were just there for us to discover, right? If they hadn’t existed since the beginning of time they wouldn’t work if the signature algorithms existed since the beginning of time. That’s crazy. That’s crazy to think about well if look it’s like if any so ah Ramanusian the famous indian mathematician there was a movie made about him Dev Patel plays him.

01:31:54.95 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah I know sure I’m not sure I actually get that. Yeah like yeah.

01:32:12.47 – Vin Armani
Because he went to England but he did the thing nobody believed him all the English mathematicians didn’t believe that he could do these things because he was getting it from revelation. He had no mathematical training and they were like how is this even possible and he was like no unlike going to temple and praying and like god is telling me these. It’s crazy and like his.

01:32:32.47 – Brian David Crane
Um, hey.

01:32:32.63 – Vin Armani
Dreams worked. He did all kinds of crazy ramen nugen. He’s incredible. But he said no equation can be true if it is not an expression of the voice of god. It’s like if 1 plus one doesn’t equal 2 the universe falls apart. But like we haven’t always understood edition like we haven’t always discovered edition right? All of these numbers were always there. We just discovered that all of the mathematical truths were always there. We just discovered that e equals mc squared.

01:32:52.98 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, we had to discover it but it didn’t yeah yeah.

01:33:09.63 – Vin Armani
Always there if it wasn’t always there. The universe wouldn’t exist right? and so that’s the same for all of the hashing functions and the mathematics of bitcoin and it’s like whoa whoa. That’s it.

01:33:22.11 – Brian David Crane
Um, yes.

01:33:24.99 – Vin Armani
It’s not that it’s digital gold If it’s digital gold. It’s only digital gold in the way that gold has always been there and we just discovered it. That’s the only way that it’s digital gold. But it’s so much deeper than that because it’s just the mind of god.

01:33:32.20 – Brian David Crane
Um, yes.

01:33:42.41 – Vin Armani
And to just sit back and be in awe and be like wait I could use this wait I can use this to send you funds I can use this to pay you to do labor where we can exchange and trade and have a more peaceful world. And every combination and everybody and create economies for people and I can use this the truth that is the voice of God to do it Whoa whoa like just sit and be it without the threat of violence.

01:34:10.26 – Brian David Crane
Without the threat of violence without with yeah without an intermediary. Yeah.

01:34:17.40 – Vin Armani
With no intermediary and so when Jesus says Render Unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and render unto God that which is God’s after looking at a coin that has Caesar’s face on it I’m like well this has the face of God on it. This has the face of god on it. Like and it’s not not like not even kidding like in a real way. You know when you look at a hash you know the number space of a bitcoin hash right? 256 bit number. So that means that you could do you know. I forget it’s a one with I think it’s I think it’s twenty seven Zeros behind it. It’s ridiculous, but it’s the number of possible possible numbers that you could have so the reason why we don’t have collisions is because every transaction hash and block hash is going to be unique is because it’s greater than the number of atoms in the known universe. So like your private key. The reason why nobody can guess your private key is because it would be like having to go through and check every atom in the known universe.

01:35:11.84 – Brian David Crane

01:35:26.18 – Vin Armani
In order to find any given key that’s insane like that’s that’s what I say it’s boom and that’s why it’s That’s why it’s That’s why it’s the face of God because it’s incomprehensible.

01:35:31.44 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah, it’s it’s it’s it’s literally beyond comprehension. Yeah, um.

01:35:46.12 – Vin Armani
It’s incomprehensible except by a being that is beyond that is the creator and yet we can use it. So it’s ah so it’s a mystery it goes So it’s like that’s why bitcoin can have a religious aspect to it.

01:35:52.95 – Brian David Crane
It’s better.

01:36:03.50 – Vin Armani
Is because we have ah this there’s a human thing where we recognize when we’re encountering a mystery you know something that’s beyond our comprehension and the the problem is that instead of delving into it people have created.

01:36:08.89 – Brian David Crane
Um, or something that’s beyond our comprehension. Yeah, like when we see. Yeah yeah.

01:36:20.58 – Vin Armani
The maxs the maximalists have created these simplistic narratives because they want to bring people in and so what they wind up being is they’re basically like a cargo cult in the pacific you know when world war ii happened and the planes landed on these little islands that had never encountered white people before and they dropped off cargo. And the natives got all this food and everything and then when the war was over. They took off and never again. Did they show back up on these islands and so the natives created airplanes out of grass you know and towers John Frum

01:36:52.72 – Brian David Crane
Trying to bring back the food. Yeah.

01:36:57.99 – Vin Armani
Right? to bring so they worship John Fromm that’s their religion and that’s what the bitcoin maxess are that’s what they’ve created and the other religions like bsv and these other ones like they’ve they’re cults but their cargo cults because it’s it’s it’s too much.

01:37:07.73 – Brian David Crane

01:37:13.58 – Brian David Crane

01:37:15.32 – Vin Armani
It’s too much to dig into. But you know if you’re willing to dig in those of us who are willing to dig in. It’s like what comes out is incredible and maybe it’ll be 50 years from now. Maybe it’ll be a hundred years but like what’s in there is incredible.

01:37:21.18 – Brian David Crane

01:37:31.44 – Brian David Crane
Um, how does this tie in with your um yeah, your journey into the orthodox church like how did those 2 play together.

01:37:40.78 – Vin Armani
Like in a very very very strange way I would say so what.

01:37:48.36 – Brian David Crane
Yeah I imagine it like you have a unique story to begin with So it’s kind of some twists and turns.

01:37:57.89 – Vin Armani
Yeah, this one’s this one’s ah, rather freaky. So my wife is Russian and she’s a dual citizen and my children are dual dual citizens and she’s russian orthodox obviously and the first my first time being in an orthodox church was the baptism of my first child. And the second time was the baptism of my second child. But I know I considered myself an atheist when we moved here to Saipan where there is no orthodox church and well there’s a russian community so there are orthodox people but not really, they’re not heavy practitioners. Um.

01:38:34.26 – Vin Armani
We ended up with a house right on the beach which is totally rare here. There’s like no houses right on the beach and I would take you know morning walks and I had started really a practice of prayer and fasting. Ah, maybe six months before we, maybe a year before we came here and so I continued that and so I had started in on a prayer that is an orthodox prayer. But I mean it’s also used by some Catholics as the Jesus prayer to Lord Jesus Christ son of god. Ah, have mercy on me as a sinner and it’s just it’s repeated. It’s ah you know you would say like a mantra or whatever but you would do it with prayer beads and and so kind of like saying the rosary for catholics right? So it’s sort of repeated and. Was doing that on on the beach mornings and it was really It was really really great and at the same time I had been doing a lot of podcasts with people about what was going on during the pandemic and it it had gained a lot because I had said oh this is you know I was making predictions about what was going to happen and these predictions were coming true. And so you know it had gained a set of followers and there was one morning that I was out there and I was coming back. It was during a fast I had been fasting for a couple of days and something just hit like you’re going to start doing classes on bitcoin. Ah.

01:39:57.98 – Brian David Crane

01:39:58.11 – Vin Armani
On these sort of spiritual aspects which I was writing at the time and that I was working on new software. What I was here you know in this great environment and you’re gonna call it bitcoin mystery school. You’re only going to take like 20 students at a time. This is how much it’s going to cost and I was like what I mean. What’s going on here like it was somebody else saying it right? and so I was like okay, well then I guess this is god saying this so I went put the product together put the you know curriculum together and then start you know on my social media started saying okay well here I’ve got this class and I was reached out to actually by a guy. Who I had talked to a little bit. He had reached out to an animator and he said hey listen um I I had spoken with him before he said hey listen I saw that you’re doing this class ah in my parish in Kansas City my orthodox I knew was serbian orthodox. But the parish is mostly all converts he had said we would you do a private class for just like we have a men’s group and we we want to know how to be more self-sufficient and this is one of the things on our radar would you do a class a private class for just like these the men in our. Our group in our parish and our priest were all online and our priest and I were like oh ah, okay, yeah, that sounds great. You guys can actually be my first class. You guys will be my guinea pigs.

01:41:13.89 – Brian David Crane
Um, in person or online. Okay.

01:41:27.74 – Vin Armani
So you’ll be my first class I’ll schedule it before even the class I had scheduled and so we you know got started and he had mentioned to me when we first talked or we first spoke he said a you know I know that you had mentioned on one of these podcasts that you’ve been praying lately and and that you said that you were doing the Jesus prayer and that’s very interesting. You know, considering you’re not orthodox if you ever wanted to talk about prayer or ever wanted to talk to an orthodox priest. You could talk to our priest. I could give you information and his contact number and then he was like. Yeah, he’s a really interesting guy. He’s like a former skinhead who used to be in a punk band. He’s from Southern California and then he became a priest and I was like okay maybe whatever and so then I was like. Okay I saw the sign up and I said oh father Turbo calls and I was like oh what? interesting. What a crazy name for a priest first off father turbo which it turns out is actually a saint saint saint turbo is actually a saint and what an ancient saint and. So I’m waiting as everybody pops up on the Zoom and remember I’m like okay serbian orthodox priest who used to be a skinhead and in a punk band and it pops up and there’s this black dude sitting there and I’m like now my mind is like blown and he’s like tattooed from head to toe. Yeah, he had said he was a tattoo artist before he had told me.

01:42:45.70 – Vin Armani
So I’m like intrigued and we go through this whole class and everything and then I looked at I was like I got to look this guy up on Youtube or whatever and there were just a very few things. But what I saw I was like whoa I’m super intrigued by this guy, very interesting and during the class and everything I was like okay well. While praying I was told to do bitcoin mystery school who happens to show up through this but a priest is put in front of me. So okay, there’s something going on right? Something’s happening here and so I asked him at the end I was like hey father could I talk to you about like my prayer improving improving my prayer.

01:43:13.77 – Brian David Crane

01:43:23.25 – Vin Armani
And what I’m getting a lot out of it. But I’d love to hear some things from you as an orthodox priest and we just started talking and it was just like we were just on the same wavelength. You know it was insane and he definitely helped me and talked to me and my prayer improved and then it was. There was one day where we both got on and I was just like I gotta get in the church or I think he said you gotta be in the church and I said well that’s what I wanted to talk to you about today and it’s it’s been that was when was that 2021 and they they actually he and ah. A reader which is like a minor clerical ah position from the church flew out here. Baptized me married me and my wife in the church which we couldn’t do before because I wasn’t orthodox and you know did services here and and since then yeah since then I’ve been orthodox and it’s been.

01:44:20.25 – Brian David Crane

01:44:21.42 – Vin Armani
The most sort of profound change in my life for sure. So bitcoin is like a huge but a huge piece of this obviously like that that was a huge and then you know like I said I just finished my book and ah he was one of the first people that I gave it to and he you know he blessed it and said.

01:44:26.88 – Brian David Crane
Um, what a yeah.

01:44:39.94 – Vin Armani
Yeah, this is you’re on point with this. This is great. So go ahead and put it out.

01:44:48.10 – Brian David Crane
Yeah I find it I find it interesting as well that the story of you like bitcoin mystery school being if I haven’t taken it but I’ll I’ll say this that um. Is your attempt to let’s say Demystify bitcoin or at least um, explain some of the um, yeah, the philosophical and the spiritual mysteries of it and reveal them for lack of a better way to put it and in doing that you also wind up in the ah um.

01:45:03.80 – Vin Armani

01:45:16.38 – Vin Armani
Um, sure.

01:45:20.38 – Brian David Crane
In in in a church context albeit remotely with this ah church in Kansas City but like it’s like the thing you know the the path that you start down in terms of demystifying something lead you into another one where you’re captivated by the ah um, the mysticism of that and that that draws you in like yeah I yeah.

01:45:36.36 – Vin Armani
Ah, oh.

01:45:39.30 – Brian David Crane
And then and then how does that tie in with you changing your name or changing your brand as you said and on Youtube.

01:45:43.68 – Vin Armani
Well, every so every baptized christian is going to have their baptismable name. Generally you know it’ll be your patron saint and I didn’t get to choose what my father turbo was like. Cyprian of Antioch. that’s that’s you that’s you bottom line you’ll be baptized Cyprian and it’s totally it’s totally correct it’s a very interesting. He’s a super interesting saint and it lines up with him. He was a sorcerer. Actually it’s one of the craziest stories about the cyprian of antioch. As one of the craziest saint stories but he was actually a sorcerer and there was a virgin eutina in Antioch and a guy hired so totally like it’s so crazy and like even the gigolo thing but ah.

01:46:39.81 – Brian David Crane

01:46:40.82 – Vin Armani
Ah, a guy desperate. There was this rich guy who desperately thought she was very beautiful and he desperately wanted her and so he hired Cyprian to basically like to do his thing and get this you know seduce her magically. And she fought off all the demons and all the seduction with you know, making the sign of the cross and everything and ah, then even you know Cyprian got pissed that he couldn’t do this. He was like a top sorcerer and so he even brought pestilence to the city and everything he got made everybody sick. Because he was angry at her and trying to you know show that like this christian stuff was bad and she fought that off also with her faith and then you know everything had failed. He even summoned like a prince of hell to do all these things who couldn’t get it done and so then Cyprian starts.

01:47:18.65 – Brian David Crane

01:47:35.50 – Vin Armani
Going in on the demon and just like you’re horrible what you’re you’re not, you’re nothing compared to like her god and all of this and the demon attacked him the demon attacked him to kill him and was choking him out and he was about to die and the only thing he could think to do was to do the sign of the cross and the demon went away and so the next day he showed up and he was like.

01:47:41.60 – Brian David Crane
This faith.

01:47:55.38 – Vin Armani
I’m gonna be Christian he went to the bishop. He’s like I’m gonna be Christian I’ll throw out all my books. All you gotta get? you got to baptize me everything and so he I think he was a bishop within like a year or 2 He was a priest within like three months because he had all of them.

01:48:07.53 – Brian David Crane

01:48:13.87 – Vin Armani
Tools the spiritual tools he was just playing for the other team. He knew all the mysteries. You know what I mean he was well aware he was just playing for the other team and he became a bishop and eventually he became a nun and she he he placed her as the abbess of a monastery.

01:48:15.27 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah, yeah.

01:48:30.10 – Brian David Crane

01:48:31.42 – Vin Armani
And then eventually the persecutions came and they were both martyred together actually on the same day. So it’s a crazy crazy story. No, not well. It’s just it’s kind of right in a way they’re wed in their martyrdom. Um, but but.

01:48:37.10 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, didn’t if there I didn’t know if there’s a love story involved. Maybe maybe the 2 of them actually wind up together. Ah no, okay.

01:48:49.12 – Brian David Crane

01:48:50.45 – Vin Armani
You know she saved her. You know she really did and her faith. She saved him and I’ve said that about my wife as well. That like my wife and my daughter saved me I don’t know if I would be alive and I think that part of that.

01:48:55.66 – Brian David Crane
Um, go yeah.

01:49:09.21 – Vin Armani
That spiritual path for me and and because I was playing for the other team like I mean I’ve always been a very spiritual person and and I was actively participating in the occult and doing like I was leading a charmed life for a reason. Um, all the things that people talk about about what’s going on in the entertainment industry and and all of that on the the dark side and that’s all 100% real I don’t think that there’s the big cabal that people think but I think that there’s a whole bunch of people who are doing certain practices that are.

01:49:35.26 – Brian David Crane

01:49:45.82 – Vin Armani
There’s a spiritual component I mean you’re it’s it’s you’re doing a thing that’s very emotive and creating a spiritual reality for people and so so yeah, so now I’m playing for the now I’m playing for the other team. Let’s put it like that I’m playing. I’m playing for the right team at this point and it’s . It’s been good.

01:49:47.83 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

01:50:05.85 – Vin Armani
It’s been very good.

01:50:07.51 – Brian David Crane
And don’t you? You also find it interesting that you were blessed with a daughter. I don’t know if both your or both your ah, both your kids both? Yeah so now. So now you have to protect them. Yeah from this ah cult that.

01:50:13.80 – Vin Armani
Both daughters are both daughters. Yeah.

01:50:22.42 – Vin Armani
That’s not lost on me. That’s not lost on me for sure. Sure.

01:50:24.44 – Brian David Crane
yeah yeah god as a god has a funny sense of humor there. You know there’s no doubt in that. Um, okay, let less last topic we go into and I think like how and how countermarkets fit into this as far as um, yeah, but you even. Writing in it monthly for the past seven years it’s a paid newsletter that is both um, but and I’m a subscriber both I would say ah realistic pessimistic and also optimistic in the sense of you’re talking about what’s going on at the state level that is ah um, threats.

01:50:54.87 – Vin Armani

01:51:00.36 – Brian David Crane
To 1 one’s freedom or one’s liberty and then also what are some solutions. You’re a contributor and more so on the solution side. It seems. Um, yeah, what’s your hope with countermarkets and where did it come from?

01:51:13.80 – Vin Armani
So our editor Jeff Paul was actually also one of my partners in context and he was when I was first coming out of the even before kind of cointext when I was first coming out of the whole Tv thing and sort of. Like oh I guess I’ll be a libertarian you know talking head or whatever Youtuber and I started doing these little rants and he reached out to me and he was you know he runs ah another media property as well and said you should do a podcast. And we’ll promote it and do all of that and so I ended up doing that at the Armani show. We did it for several years and during that time you know he had always wanted to do this newsletter basically is basically his dream to do this and you know he just said look let’s. But let’s try it. Let’s do it. We’ll promote it on your podcast and it’ll give you an opportunity to write every month about whatever’s on your mind and other people to write as well as him and you know other contributors. Huge tea.

01:52:22.15 – Brian David Crane

01:52:27.31 – Vin Armani
You know more than anything he wanted to consume the content he was like I want to do the newsletter that I want to read every month that’s what I want to do and I and he succeeded at that for sure it’s you know the the people.

01:52:30.69 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah, yeah.

01:52:43.41 – Vin Armani
I think everybody who’s got it has found a lot of value in it over the years and we’ve made some really so anybody who’s been following our advice for the seven years especially in terms of crypto has made a lot of money like a lot and even just in terms of the trends like you’ve been way ahead. So it’s wonderful for me. It gives me ah for me, it’s given me a real outlet. The things that I’ve been working on during this time to you know every month he’s saying oh I know you’re working on this I know you’re working on this like can you write a little bit about. Just the concepts behind it because like where else would it be and it’s fantastic exercise for me because I get to sit down and really articulate and you know you know how useful that is to just sit down and articulate the concepts that you’re yeah that you’re working with and then to be able to be like oh that’s what I really think about it. You know.

01:53:32.54 – Brian David Crane

01:53:41.80 – Vin Armani
Oh okay, it’s it’s It’s my journal in a way of the things that I’m developing. It’s just like it is, it’s that sort of Journaling um Praxis and it’s that for the rest of the contributors as well. Go ahead.

01:53:41.94 – Brian David Crane
Ah, and well when.

01:53:53.30 – Brian David Crane
And it’s also it’s also sorry yeah, it’s also it’s also a useful yardstick because it number your videos you go back and say if you go back and read this. You know, ah this this one from whatever July 2019 I said this or that like you know you can see.

01:53:59.85 – Vin Armani
Is that.

01:54:09.54 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, it’s it’s I think it’s beneficial for you as the writer to be basically be able like look I made this prediction or look I said this was going to happen or look I talked about this and now it is um, come you know you don’t have to believe me, you can go back and read it and either you think I’m you know, being honest or ah or full of it and um.

01:54:25.81 – Vin Armani

01:54:28.92 – Brian David Crane
But I do think it creates a sense of accountability for you as well because you know it’s going to be published. You know people are paying you for it. Um, your name’s on it and um and then probably I don’t know if this is the case but what you write about there also bubbles up as you practice the book into the Podcast. Um. Into your day-to-day or or your work right? like ah because you also know that? Yeah yeah, yeah, yeah I think it’s um and it’s also part. Ah you and I I think would agree on this but that like in the libertarian or anarchical capitalist space. There’s a lot of um.

01:54:50.53 – Vin Armani

01:55:07.52 – Brian David Crane
Angst about what the state is doing and there’s oftentimes like not a lot of um, energy put towards solutions or they’re very vague solutions is sort of like we all agree what we’re against but we don’t really have a um, ah.

01:55:15.15 – Vin Armani

01:55:21.48 – Brian David Crane
You know a lo star that we’re all aiming towards other other than just like more freedom or more liberty or more self-sovereignty but it’s very um yeah I find a lot of people there like and you’ve been to porkfeests this kind of stuff they’re like they’re very clear about what they don’t want but you ask them like So what is it? You actually want it and it’s that much harder.

01:55:32.18 – Vin Armani

01:55:40.58 – Brian David Crane
Um, it’s much harder for them to articulate that.

01:55:43.77 – Vin Armani
Yeah, it’s and this is you know I think am I a libertarian I think yes I’m a clear I think if somebody looked at my values. You’re gotta be like yeah this this guy’s libertarian and And. Am am I Fundamentally probably an anarchist probably um, but you know that orientation piece is really Important. You know that and and that’s what you’re talking about there is like you know you ask somebody like well yeah, but what are you pointed at.

01:56:18.23 – Brian David Crane

01:56:19.83 – Vin Armani
What are you running to? I know you can tell me what you’re running from and that’s fine. But really, you know why I am a libertarian. Why would I say that I’m like you know I am an anarchist. Well yes as an orthodox Christian I think as an orthodox christian if you’re an orthodox christian you’re. Fundamentally an anarchist because you’re like well Christ is the king and he’s the ruler of my life but you also recognize that a state and a leader that is oriented toward Christ and that is serving Christ is probably okay, like it’s the. You would prefer that just everybody was pointed at Christ but there’s also like a hierarchy you know and I think that that was yet another reason why orthodox christianity filled in a lot of blanks for me in my libertarianism or as the anarchist that I was.

01:57:04.70 – Brian David Crane

01:57:16.91 – Vin Armani
Oh yes, that’s why I have a problem with the state as it exists because it’s not oriented toward this thing right? But if it was oriented towards Christ then maybe I wouldn’t have the problem that I have but it’s like well. But then how to get it oriented. Well I need to be oriented in that way, you know.

01:57:32.27 – Brian David Crane

01:57:34.81 – Vin Armani
And then I don’t have to talk about the things that I’m against because it becomes obvious the things that I’m against they’re all the things that prevent me from remaining oriented there you know and and and and that includes totalitarianism.

01:57:45.15 – Brian David Crane
Yep 1

01:57:50.56 – Vin Armani
And that includes you knowing the type of gatekeeping that we’re talking about. Um, yeah, there has to be there because there has to be freedom. Will you have the opportunity to mess up? Um you know, but at the same time.

01:58:01.86 – Brian David Crane

01:58:04.53 – Brian David Crane
And privacy so that you can mess up in private I mean that you know yeah.

01:58:08.40 – Vin Armani
And privacy and privacy. Well can I mean confession is private right? Like you, you go to confession that’s private but between you and the priest who is standing in for Christ in that moment and when you go to prayer that’s private, your private prayer that’s between you and god. And so it’s crucial like these are these are things that are fundamental to our understanding of what it is to be human, but it’s not privacy for privacy’s sake it is. It is privacy for.

01:58:37.41 – Brian David Crane

01:58:41.32 – Vin Armani
Because we need to be able to mess up and we need to be able to ask for forgiveness and we need to be able to repent and we need to be able to have a penance and we need to be able to do all of these things. Um, in a place where other people are not tempted to judge us because that’s bad for them.

01:58:56.48 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah, yep, yeah.

01:58:58.75 – Vin Armani
Like it’s not because me being judged by you is bad. It’s because like why would I tempt you to judge me when I’m working it out between me and god right now you know so I think that that’s and and it’s also 1 reason why you know weirdly enough with bitcoin mystery school. Um.

01:59:05.49 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, yeah.

01:59:14.36 – Brian David Crane

01:59:17.36 – Vin Armani
You know in our private group not because I have tried but just because my orientation has been there and then it’s been rather contagious I guess but like the bitcoin mystery school private group is like so many people have converted to orthodoxy weird like and again like so weird.

01:59:27.36 – Brian David Crane

01:59:36.74 – Vin Armani
Right? to where it’s like it’s almost become an orthodox Christian group which it did not start and I you know I speak the way that I speak like I’m speaking to you now not because I’m trying to convert anybody but just because that’s my reality you know and I think that it.

01:59:49.24 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah, are.

01:59:51.23 – Vin Armani
It resonates with people and especially with libertarians you know the libertarian to orthodox pipeline as a real thing or to traditional Christian or to a traditional Catholic or whatever it is like it’s a real thing because filling in those blanks right now I think is really important.

02:00:03.77 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, and I think the filling in the blanks. There’s this is where Jordan Peterson fits in in a sense of like this like return to traditional christianity or return to traditional masculinity and um, yeah, because there’s a lot of I mean.

02:00:11.93 – Vin Armani
Um, yep, absolutely.

02:00:20.71 – Brian David Crane
But let’s be honest, libertarianism is mainly men in my experience and there’s a lot of um I think a hunger for something deeper that they say okay, cool like I have now kind of gone to the end of the rope on the philosophy of it I get it I understand the justification For. You know the non-aggression principle or these sorts of things and yet I still feel like there’s ah, there’s a spiritual hole that um is waiting to be filled right? There’s still this absence of Mystery right? like I can only um, reason my way through so many things and um, yeah I find it encouraging Honestly I think it’s like ah it.

02:00:41.12 – Vin Armani

02:00:56.65 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, it’s like ah it’s like a beautiful symbiosis that you would not have been able to predict at the outset. Yeah.

02:01:03.21 – Vin Armani
It’s weird. It’s very. It’s very yeah, it’s almost yeah you couldn’t predict it but then watching it happen. It’s almost like duh. You know you look at it. You’re like well yeah of course it went that way like it just it just it. It works.

02:01:13.62 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

02:01:20.80 – Vin Armani
It works perfectly. And yeah I mean and this is what I’ve been calling the dim age like I think that this we’re really headed into a ah ah, very mystical time in the next couple of generations and you know all of the things and and.

02:01:33.20 – Brian David Crane

02:01:39.49 – Vin Armani
The blockchain’s going to play a piece in that and ai is going to play a piece in that and you know religion’s going to play a piece in that and you know but like this has been.. It’s very Blade runner-esque. It’s all I feel like it’s all cyberpunk and been predicted before it’s science fiction. Magic and technology come together and I think that’s where we’re at.

02:02:01.54 – Brian David Crane
What? what? What do you see over? Yeah, the next? Um, yeah, if you say over the next 2 to 3 years um do you see. Part of your purpose of pan and and and the promotion of saipan is a destination for like-minded individuals to build an intentional community. Do you see that? Do you see that taking off? I listened to 1 of your Youtube videos and you talked about New Hampshire and how bad the winter was there and I think that was part of the reason you also left which is the weather wasn’t ah.

02:02:33.80 – Brian David Crane
Suitable year-round. Um, and I know Within You got pretty amazing weather. So as part of the yeah part of the draw to try to um, bring in more like-minded people and build an intentional community. Um in saipan.

02:02:37.12 – Vin Armani
Incredible. Yeah.

02:02:52.18 – Vin Armani
I Don’t think that that’s so certain. That’s not my I don’t know that that was ever my goal that was the people who were coming in to do it but they’ve all left. Um that initial group.

02:03:02.30 – Brian David Crane
Um, okay.

02:03:05.41 – Vin Armani
And I think one of the reasons why was because they had approached it in that way and I think that a lot of their intentions were very much like the intentions of the free state project which is like let’s get enough people here that we can sort of vote our ways vote our way into power and I’ve never been and that was one of the things that turned me off about the free state project to be honest. I’ve never really been a power seeker. I’m not a power seeking person. Um like I like people I like good people to have enough power to do good things but like power for power’s sake has never really been appealing to me and that was ah an early I think. Idea of some of the people who were moving here because they were like well if you could do it in New Hampshire this’s one point 3000000 people. There’s only fifty fifty thousand people in the commonwealth. But then they got here and they got a rude awakening to the fact that like no these people have been here for thirty five hundred years

02:03:55.81 – Brian David Crane
Dark it. Um, yeah, yeah.

02:04:02.60 – Vin Armani
Like you’re not displacing them buddy like it’s their families. It goes deep as the soil and they’ve made it so their constitution and the covenant they have with the United States only people of northern marianas descent can own land and so if you know anything about.

02:04:15.87 – Brian David Crane

02:04:19.52 – Vin Armani
Power if you can’t own land. You’ll never have power, period. So like that’s not going to happen, what you can do is you can participate like you can if you enjoy the culture at which I really do. Um, it’s a wonderful culture. Um, and if you and. If you enjoy the place. They’re very welcoming and open and if they know that you’re about being positive here. They’ll adopt you like they’ll treat you like family and they truly like I mean I literally experienced that today you know they’ll bring you right in and like you’re. They’ll embrace you and they can tell somebody who’s good from bad because look the spanish came here five hundred years ago and they were colonized ever since they know who the good folks who come are and who the bad people are. Spanish than the Germans to the Japanese that the Americans know and the Americans put them in concentration camps for 2 years right? So they know on the island here right? so.

02:05:19.12 – Brian David Crane
Um, on the Island or elsewhere. Yeah, yeah.

02:05:26.21 – Vin Armani
Right? Ah, right? after right after the the war they put the Japanese and the Koreans in the northern camp and then they put all the chamorros and Carolinians who are the indigenous people in the Southern camp because they’re like we don’t know who to trust so look if they if they’re embracing Americans after that like you got to know these are some forgiving people.

02:05:43.19 – Brian David Crane

02:05:44.79 – Vin Armani
You know these are some These are some real good people and that’s what I’ve really embraced and you know coming here and learning about the things that they’ve they’re incredibly sophisticated politically even the Americans when they were negotiating. First off they negotiated something that’s incredible like this place is not a territory. It’s a commonwealth.

02:05:55.25 – Brian David Crane

02:06:04.25 – Vin Armani
They have self-rule and they negotiate it. It’s not a spoil of war. They negotiated with the american government and there’s a document called the covenant that I was just at a covenant event today with 2 of the signers 2 of the founding fathers. They negotiated it. They’ve got all kinds of self-rule and you know the Us government can’t own land here. Imagine that the US government can’t hold title to land. They can lease it from the people like it’s incredible and they’ve been very politically sophisticated. Since 75 when they became the commonwealth and they’ve put all kinds of laws into place and they just haven’t had the execution on it but all of these laws are to attract investment and they’ve had moments like crazy. Go ahead.

02:06:55.34 – Brian David Crane
When you say they haven’t yeah when you say they haven’t they haven’t executed on it I mean that like they haven’t done a good job of marketing it and people just don’t know about it or um, there is yeah let me so frame this question a different way because part of the.

02:07:12.52 – Brian David Crane
You and I prior to the show were talking about Puerto Rico and its tax incentives for mainland Americans and um, there is an element of marketing there with Puerto Rico and if you just look at it compared to the Us virgin islands which has a similar. Um.

02:07:13.27 – Vin Armani

02:07:29.40 – Brian David Crane
Tax incentive program but not nearly as well known so Puerto Rico has drawn a lot of americans usvi has not I don’t know if the commonwealth. Cnm ah except for lack of a better way of putting it um has ah has just failed at a marketing or like nobody understands it or what’s what’s what’s happened there.

02:07:48.95 – Vin Armani
Well one of the things is just ah, just location, just distance right? and also um I mean look, most Americans, you say commonwealth of Northern Mariana islands, don’t even know that it’s part of the American family.

02:07:54.70 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

02:08:06.85 – Vin Armani
They might know Guam which is in the same military. Ah, which is basically a giant military base and is in the same as the Marianas right? So there’s Guam and then there’s 17 islands that are the Northern Mariana islands so Guam is the Southern Mariana Island and then there’s.

02:08:13.39 – Brian David Crane
Um, and this.

02:08:24.39 – Vin Armani
Saipan tiny and rhoda and then 14 others that are uninhabited. There’s 3 inhabited yipan, the biggest of them. Um, and most people don’t even know I didn’t. I knew nothing. I had heard it because of the battle of ipad you know, which was whatever in world war 2 um, but it’s also the distance. Yeah, where is it right? Nobody nobody even knows but everybody born here is an american citizen right? English is the language that’s spoken. Um, you can come here without a pat. You don’t need a passport to get here. You can fly to Hawaii here.

02:08:44.77 – Brian David Crane
Um I looked it up before you and I was talking I was like where is this, you know like I mean I yeah.

02:09:02.72 – Vin Armani
On with your driver’s license. You know what? I mean no passport and it’s ah on domestic flights. But it’s but the sheer distance and so you know our closest trading partners are the closest economic powers are the Asian powers.

02:09:09.26 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

02:09:16.80 – Brian David Crane

02:09:19.87 – Vin Armani
So China is a you know 5 hour flight and they’ve been the main investors here have been Chinese and Korean investors since the beginning and so like some people remember like the Abramov scandal Tom Delay and all of that with the sweatshops in Saipan and that was here.

02:09:31.80 – Brian David Crane
Touched first.

02:09:38.54 – Vin Armani
Because they were the Chinese who had put sweatshops up. They had no minimum wage because that was one of the things that they negotiated in the covenant and they had their own immigration and so they were just bringing in cheap chinese labor but they could stamp made of the Usa on it. And they could ship it on Us ships back and so that was the whole thing in the 90’s remember like Dkny and Nadica and all of these like side brands that were made in the Usa they were all made here and so this is.

02:10:08.74 – Brian David Crane
Um, I Vaguely remember this yeah vaguely vaguely remember. Yeah I.

02:10:11.94 – Vin Armani
People vaguely thought it was a huge huge scandal, the Tom Delay scandal and everything. But that’s people remember oh wait where did dk and y and polo sport and nadica you know and all of these like side brands of the designers where did they all go well. Because they shut it all down here. They took away their immigration and they raised it to the federal minimum wage which is where we’re at now because they were because they were just like oh this is killing this is killing our Garmin industry in the United States right but the l a Garment industry was getting mopped and it was all chinese money. And so it’s been chinese investors tourists most of our tourists are korean vast majority. Um, and for a long time Russians were a big deal because Vladivostok is only a half hour flight from Seoul.

02:11:02.22 – Brian David Crane

02:11:03.78 – Vin Armani
Right? So people don’t realize that Russia is an Asian power. I mean they fought wars against Japan and China, they’re an Asian power. They share a border with North Korea right on the northern border and they share borders with China.

02:11:13.93 – Brian David Crane
Doing that. Yeah yeah.

02:11:18.80 – Vin Armani
And so a lot of ostok’s a major city and so like that that’s why there’s a Russian community here as well. But there’s almost no Americans next to none like white Americans or even black Americans Um, so it has just it is just.

02:11:29.94 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

02:11:36.78 – Vin Armani
Never been really a viable thing with the industries that were around but what’s changing now and what we’re what we’re pushing. Oh there’s my wife and kids actually showed up here What we’re what we’re actually pushing hold on if my wife is doing your watch.

02:11:55.89 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

02:11:56.22 – Vin Armani
But they showed up outside my office. Hold it, hold on, commit , come in, come in but be quiet. So what we’re doing now is what is digital businesses right? trying to get digital nomads and people to domicile here because of the covenant. Are you with your taxes? You either pay the Irs. Or you pay cnm I one or the other if you’re a resident or a resident business and so the whole thing is at minimum. We have the same tax code but you get at least a 50% rebate so you will pay the minimum right? so.

02:12:21.51 – Brian David Crane

02:12:29.58 – Brian David Crane
Um, from the local government from Cnm I yeah.

02:12:34.40 – Vin Armani
Whatever you’re paying the Irs you will cut it in half if you’re here and so for all the remote workers which is 13% of the entire US workforce if you move here if you’re paying taxes minimum. You will pay 50% less

02:12:50.28 – Brian David Crane
Um, and and how um, yeah, what’s the um, what’s the sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

02:12:52.61 – Vin Armani
And you get to live in a tropical paradise. Hold on hold on give me give me give me 1 second 1 second 1 second one second yeah that’s it like ah like ah one half you have to be here.

02:13:06.97 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah I Yeah yeah.

02:13:09.60 – Vin Armani
I am a resident. You have to be here one half of the year plus one day. Um, but you know these things are weird right? like this is a small place. You know it’s got. It’s got 97000 now by the last census people. So yeah, it’s like a small town as you could imagine and it feels like a small town which is one of the coolest things right? So it’s like.

02:13:30.11 – Brian David Crane
Small town. It’s like a small town really.

02:13:43.11 – Vin Armani
I mean literally there’s a like I said I was at a there was an event a covenant event and sitting in the same row as me was like the top lawyer like in the world who’s knowledgeable about the covenant earlier today and then as later on in the day I’m just like walking down the street like on my way to this. The little store near my ah near my office and who should walk out of the japanese restaurant like right in front of me but that guy it’s like oh hey, fancy, buffeted to you? good. He’s like oh yeah, hey, great and it’s like that you know so if you love a small town vibe where you.

02:14:14.90 – Brian David Crane
Um, that’s cool. Yeah.

02:14:18.26 – Vin Armani
Where you know everybody including like the Governor you know you’ll just and senators. You’ll just run into us. You know that I fist bump with the speaker of the house at the gym almost every morning. It’s like that’s just but right it’s and that you know getting back to kind of the anarchist thing. When you experience that you start to be like oh wait like ooh the problem isn’t the state. The problem is the scale like the scale and the alienation is the problem.

02:14:38.67 – Brian David Crane
Yeah. Bingo.

02:14:51.19 – Vin Armani
Like the real problem is that the speaker of the house even of a state like I don’t know that person I don’t think they have my best interests at Heart I don’t know what their motivations are but like here I can I remember one day I Just walked up. You know there’s some legislation that we were working on and I was like oh are you.

02:14:58.00 – Brian David Crane

02:15:09.40 – Vin Armani
Ah Mr. Speaker sorry to interrupt you on Wednesday’s next session, the next house session. He’s like oh I wasn’t there was there was nothing. It was towards the end of the year there was nothing on the calendar like so I hadn’t scheduled one. I was waiting for the calendar to fill up but like do you need us to have one. He literally said that. Like was there something you needed. Do you need it? Do you need there to be one and I was like oh no, no, just just just asking and when you get like that you’re like oh maybe the state can be okay, that’s right, That’s right.

02:15:38.15 – Brian David Crane
Well, you just don’t feel disempowered right? like you actually feel like you can touch the levers of power and have some sort of influence on it without being ah you know a billionaire or a political lobbyist or being well-connected in the state Capitol in Dc that’s the difference is that like it’s not.

02:15:48.17 – Vin Armani
That’s right.

02:15:54.90 – Brian David Crane
Yeah I think it’s not the absence of power. It’s the ability to affect that power or at least have a voice that a lot of people in the Libertarian community. They feel voiceless or they feel powerless. You know. So yeah.

02:16:04.15 – Vin Armani
That’s it. That’s it and it and and so yeah I mean that it makes it very well worth it. But as you could imagine at that level like checking to see if you’re actually in the Commonwealth is not really something that’s done right.

02:16:20.60 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah, yeah.

02:16:21.23 – Vin Armani
So it’s like I know for sure that there are people who have residency here. They’ve got their driver’s license here. They’ve got their mailbox here and everything and you know maybe they spend time in Korea maybe they spend time in Thailand maybe they spend time wherever you know, but they’re a resident here. It’s the only place where they’re residents.

02:16:33.85 – Brian David Crane
Um, go yep Yup yep.

02:16:40.80 – Vin Armani
In the US right? They definitely weren’t in the US for six months. That’s really the big thing right? like your residency is here. You have all the things here. Yes, exactly all of that, all of that. Yeah, so.

02:16:45.51 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, yeah, closer connection test and Bona Fide Bona Fide Residency tests under the I s rules. Yeah yeah.

02:16:57.30 – Vin Armani
Ah, oh as you know, having done this right having done the whole digital Nomad thing. So yeah, it’s ah it’s an incredible place to it’s an incredible place to be but you know one of the reasons that a lot of Americans I think haven’t come here is. Like if you’re coming here to do like a job to come here to like look for a job to do That. You’re not gonna find one like it’s just it’s not gonna happen. No sweatshops. Ah, most of the skilled labor is still imported from.

02:17:24.90 – Brian David Crane
Um, no sweatshops.

02:17:33.94 – Vin Armani
Philippines basically we have our own special visa they took away our immigration but they gave us some special visas and it’s a special visa that only lets you into the commonwealth and it’s almost all filipinos so like all the skilled labor and and a lot of the unskilled labor is filipino so it’s.

02:17:45.81 – Brian David Crane

02:17:53.40 – Vin Armani
40% filipino here actually so you hear tagalog constantly out of the 47000 it’s 40% filipino yeah so like if you go into a store. All the workers are filipino.

02:17:56.76 – Brian David Crane
Um, out of the 47000 sorry

02:18:02.70 – Brian David Crane
Wow. Okay.

02:18:09.73 – Vin Armani
If you’re looking at a building being constructed all the workers are Filipino right? Um, the locals who are Chamorros and Carol Chamorro and carolinians. Um there. They all work for the government. Let’s all govern a few like entrepreneurs who have small businesses. Or businesses to contract with the government. But for the most part it’s all they all work for the government. Um, and then it’s um, it’s interesting because.

02:18:36.33 – Brian David Crane
Um, what’s the cost of living like?

02:18:43.70 – Vin Armani
So again, you’ll be. You’ll be renting or leasing. You can get up to a 55 year lease on a property here but you can’t own. Um, that’s where would I compare that and what would I compare it to. It’s a lot less than any major city on the mainland, certainly less than anywhere in Hawaii.

02:18:49.54 – Brian David Crane

02:19:03.52 – Vin Armani
It’s probably comparable to maybe like a midwest suburb, maybe something like that, like I’m thinking like a suburb of Cleveland or something like that. Something like that maybe like upstate. New York you know, maybe some of the non-city areas in New England so like you could get ah you know like a 3 bedroom two- bathroom place for under $2000 a month you could probably get a 4 bedroom something for under $2000 a month. Gas is expensive but you don’t have very far to drive right? because it’s only 10 miles by four miles. But it is hilly so you got that and you’ll do some off-roading. So most people have trucks or like forerunners or whatever.

02:19:43.81 – Brian David Crane
Yeah, small place Small island.

02:19:54.66 – Brian David Crane

02:19:58.29 – Vin Armani
Ah, a four-wheel drive car that eats a little more gas but you can get by with something nice that you know doesn’t doesn’t eat too much. Gas food is expensive because it’s mostly all imported but there’s a lot from all over.

02:20:11.30 – Brian David Crane
Um, from the mainlander from where okay.

02:20:17.12 – Vin Armani
Which is kind of cool. So you know you’re just as likely to find Korean products and Japanese and Chinese products as you are to find American products. So it’s ah it’s really cool in that way. Um, there’s more and more local produce. Good. It’s fresh. It’s organic and it’s super cheap. Super cheap and there’s a lot of it. It’s readily available and it’s becoming a bigger industry now. Um with the local produce but the local produce is not besides like tomatoes and cucumbers. It’s a lot of stuff I mean. From the south like okra but it’s a lot like Asian vegetables. So it’s been really interesting. You mean you know staying in Baly and ah Bali and everything it’s like it’s pretty probably pretty close to the same like tarot root and yeah bak choi and things like the pachai and all of that. Um.

02:20:56.25 – Brian David Crane

02:21:14.21 – Vin Armani
Yeah, So it’s that’s that’s inexpensive, but you know anything that’s imported is Expensive. So I would say it’s definitely less than a major city in the Us. Um, overall but it’s it’s yeah, it’s probably comparable to a Midwest Suburb I would say. Afterwards everything is accounted for.

02:21:38.20 – Brian David Crane
Yup, yup yeah one of the things when you’re describing it is that in Puerto Rico they have this thing called the Jones Act where it requires that only us, um, flagged ships can deliver into Puerto Rico and so winds up.

02:21:43.83 – Vin Armani
This is.

02:21:53.86 – Brian David Crane
Every all the food is more expensive but also it’s kind of hard to get fresh, um, fresh vegetables and fruit because has to come from the mainland a lot of times sometimes it’s grown locally but it’s a very weird phenomenon I was like what you’re on this tropical island it seemingly would be that um. Yeah, it’s nice to hear that there is some local produce in Saipan. Um, because okay, smarter them. Yeah.

02:22:14.46 – Vin Armani
Well we exempt that part of the covenant was exempting us from the Jones act. Yeah, actually actually the guy who they’re old now. But the. The negotiator who was in charge who actually was the one who suggested that was there at this event today got to hear him speak about that and a whole bunch of other specific things that they were like we got to get exempted from. So cnmi is the only unquoted territory that’s exempt from the Jones act.

02:22:39.64 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah.

02:22:46.92 – Vin Armani
So it’s interesting.

02:22:47.40 – Brian David Crane
Um, and then what have you been to Japan? I know there’s a direct answer. There’s a direct. There’s a direct flight to Tokyo and I think there’s also one I saw on the website. Um maybe a direct flight to Hong Kong or so I don’t think there’s one to soul but like have you’ve gone to Asia.

02:22:56.29 – Vin Armani

02:23:00.83 – Brian David Crane
Um, have you left much since you got there in 2020 yeah okay

02:23:03.25 – Vin Armani
I haven’t left it all. My wife has so my wife and kids have direct flights to Korea, we have direct flights to Japan and there’s a flight next month. That’s starting back to Hong Kong but at 1 time there were. Just nonstop flights I mean before the pandemic I mean there were 10 different airlines from China that flew in and then there were like 4 or 5 from Korea Philippines had direct flights Hong Kong had direct flights I think.

02:23:29.49 – Brian David Crane

02:23:39.75 – Vin Armani
Taiwan has direct flights to Singapore now. Mostly I mean Guam has direct flights to almost everywhere, right? like it’s big. Huge hub and we’re a 35 minute flight from Guam so the unfortunate part about it is that like the lack of.

02:23:53.21 – Brian David Crane

02:23:58.42 – Vin Armani
The lack of routes after everything was shut down has meant that it’s very expensive even to fly to Guam. This is one of the big problems now is that it’s just airfare to fly around even our own islands is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous just because we don’t have the kind of we don’t have competition so that’s that’s 1 thing that needs to get rectified and.

02:24:15.55 – Brian David Crane

02:24:18.60 – Vin Armani
Everybody’s working on it. It’s an important thing but it’s definitely expensive and the soul is cheap. So flying into Seoul is very inexpensive. It’s less expensive than flying to Guam and then from Seoul I mean it is.

02:24:31.34 – Brian David Crane
Um, it’s probably a bigger plane. Yeah.

02:24:34.88 – Vin Armani
It is it is and it and you know that’s from Seoul you could fly anywhere absolutely anywhere. So yeah, it’s a cool cool cool city.

02:24:39.28 – Brian David Crane
Yeah I like soul. I think it’s a great city. Yeah, okay, let’s see if people want to get in touch with you. How do they follow you? What do you want them to do? You want them to check out Bitcoin Mystery school. You want to check out counter markets.

02:24:58.42 – Brian David Crane
I’m going to link to all your Youtube videos like what do you do? Yeah, what are you active on Twitter? What’s the call to action?

02:25:06.71 – Vin Armani
Oh boy I may get back on Twitter. I left Twitter in April of last year but have not been back. Um.

02:25:13.20 – Brian David Crane
That’s no Twitter but what would you like them to do? How would you like them to ah hum, check out more what you’re doing. Okay.

02:25:15.54 – Vin Armani
I think countermarkets are probably my Youtube and countermarkets right? So and then the Youtube there’s a lot of content on that Youtube and a lot of playlists that I think people will dig. I try to do like these projects you know of playlists that you could sort of watch through. Yeah so um, that would definitely be if people are enjoying it.

02:25:37.57 – Brian David Crane
Um, yeah themed. And they’re very good but you’re gonna say you’re a good speaker in that when you get on the video and you’ve got a theme in mind you start from the beginning you can watch it in 1 go ten fifteen minutes and come away with the concept. Following the video. It’s and you’re doing it all from memory. it’s not ah it’s not scripted you know it’s you just I think come out of the gym having thought about it and put the camera on and go yeah.

02:26:09.16 – Vin Armani
That’s it. That’s it. It’s either It’s either that or sit down and write that’s sort of my morning routine. So those are helpful to get them down at least but I would definitely suggest to Youtube and I’ll probably be doing more on Youtube shortly. as I so as I start talking more about some of the projects that we’re doing here that are just getting ready to launch.

02:26:30.95 – Brian David Crane
Cool. Okay, yeah, so check out I’ll also link taipan which is sort of the hub to introduce people to cnmi and if they want to relocate either their business or their family um to the Island How to do so and um Vin has or Cyprian has. Contacts and and and service providers for doing so there. So um, thanks so much for your time. I have really enjoyed it. I Know we’ve been all over the place with this and yeah, um, talk to you soon.

02:26:52.69 – Vin Armani
Um, absolutely man.

02:27:02.27 – Vin Armani
Yeah, it’s great. Thanks.