Bitcoins and Gravy #60: Texas Bitcoin Conference THIS weekend! (Transcript)

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[0:00] John Barrett (Announcer and Host): Welcome to Bitcoins and Gravy, Episode #60. At the time of this recording, Bitcoins are trading at $259.00 dollars each, and everybody's favorite, LTBCoin, is trading at $0.000141 U.S. dollars each. Mmm…Mmm…Mmm… Now THAT'S gravy!

[Intro music]

John : Welcome to "Bitcoins and Gravy", and thanks for joining me today as I podcast from East Nashville, Tennessee, with my trusty Siberian Husky, Maxwell, by my side. Say hello Maxwell.

Maxwell : Grrrrr…..

John : We're two Bitcoin enthusiasts who love talking about Bitcoins, and sharing what we learn with you, the listener. Thank you so much for listening long time listeners, and new listeners, welcome to the show. Hope you enjoy it.

[end of intro music]

[0:54] John : In the first half of today's show I am thrilled to be speaking with Paul Snow, the Chairman of the Texas Bitcoin Conference, which is coming up in less than one week, March 27th through 29th. Of course, there is still time to register for the conference by going to . Make sure to use the Bitcoins and Gravy discount code which is easy to remember because it is: BitcoinsAndGravy, not to be confused with Biscuits and gravy, wink, wink.

And in the 2nd half of today's show I am speaking with the same guy I spoke with in the first half... yes ladies and gents ,it is Paul Snow once again. Among his many talents, Paul is also the CEO and architect of Factom. Factom is a distributed record-keeping network for securing millions of real-time records in the blockchain with a single hash. Factom introduces HONESTY to record keeping. I hear applause! Factom the Bitcoin community is behind your project 100%. Nice work guys.

[Segway music]

[2:04] John : All right, listeners. On today's show I am thrilled to be speaking with Paul Snow, the chairman of the Texas Bitcoin Conference and the CEO and architect of Factom. Paul, welcome to Bitcoins and Gravy.

Paul : It's good to be here, John. It almost feels like déjà vu. [laughter]

John : I know. It does. [laughter] It really does. Isn't that strange? Well hey, let's jump right in. I want to talk about the Texas Bitcoin Conference, which is coming up. So listeners, you've already heard about the discount code I mentioned in the last episode. So when you go to register for the Texas Bitcoin Conference, you can use that discount code – that you can find here in the show notes of Let's Talk Bitcoin, and also on my web site. You can use that discount code to get – what Paul? - $25 off, right?

Paul : Absolutely.

John : Of the $150 cost of the conference. And then, what else? Twenty-five dollars, additionally, is going to go where?

Paul : I think, in your case, to the Capital Area Food Bank ( ).

John : Yes, that's right.

Paul : And there's nothing wrong with you just telling them what the discount code is. Your discount code is "biscuits and gravy", all lowercase.

[3:02] John : Oh wait, "biscuits and gravy"? Or "bitcoins and gravy"?

Paul : "BITCOINS and gravy". Sorry. Biscuits and gravy is my favorite breakfast. Sorry. [laughter]

John : I love biscuits and gravy. Sometimes when I'm out for breakfast I'll actually make a mistake and say, "Let me get Bitcoins and gravy." And they look at me like I'm crazy. [laughter]

Paul : Well, you know what? I make incredible biscuits and gravy.

John : Really? Wow!

Paul : Yes. Absolutely. It's one of my great talents, and it's made me the person that I am today. The personal growth that I've seen… on the scales. [laughter]

John : [laughter] Hey, that's the kind of personal growth that I need to start thinking about myself, man. I've got to lose 20 pounds, and I've seriously got to get on it. This summer is the summer. I told myself that last summer, and summer before, and the summer before. I want to look good in a one piece again. [laughter]

Paul : [laughter]

John : Okay. So the charity that we've chosen in called Capital Area Food Banks, and that is a local Austin, Texas charity ( ). Can you tell us a little bit about those guys?

[3:58] Paul : Capital Area Food Banks is an incredible organization. They bring in the food that's donated at churches, at schools, at music events. Any time you see, "You can get in with three cans of soup." They bring all that food into one location, and then they check it for expiration dates, for continuity of packaging and all that sort of things. And they build these palettes. I've gone myself to help – they take volunteers to sort food. It's a great way to spend a Saturday. They take all of this food, and they put all of the cereal on a palette, all the canned meat products on a palette, all the milk products on a palette, and all that sort of stuff. Then they redistribute it back out to food banks and pantries across the state, so that the pantries are stocked consistently with the demographic that they serve. So, a food bank that is primarily in a place with a lot of children [will get] a lot of children-like food, aimed at children, and seniors, and that sort of thing.

John : Okay.

[5:06] Paul : It's a great organization. So, basically, using your coupon code you redirect $50 of the $150: $25 to yourself - you save $25 – and $25 goes to the Capital Area Food Banks. So you get a benefit, as well as a charity gets a benefit. It's all about promoting these Bitcoin-accepting charities. All of these charities are going to get their donation in Bitcoin.

John : Okay. That's great. And that's just exclusively for Bitcoins and Gravy listeners? Is that right? [laughter]

Paul : Yeah, yeah. It's exclusively – if you're listening to this, and you came by the Bitcoins and Gravy promo code by nefarious means, then you really can't use it. We've got ninjas that will stop you. No it's actually for everybody. Everyone who uses "bitcoinsandgravy", all in lowercase, all squished together, as a coupon code, when you register for the Texas Bitcoin Conference you're going to save yourself $25, and you're going to help people who are hungry. There are a lot of hungry people in this country, unfortunately, largely due to the debasement of the dollar. But that's another story.

[6:14] Yeah, I was talking to an elderly woman a number of weeks back, and she talked about how what she was seeing TODAY was worse than what she saw during the Great Depression. She was alive during the Great Depression. And that's happening in small towns, and in areas all over the country. But if you watch television you'd never get the hint that that's actually going on. So anyway, Paul, let's talk about the conference. Now that's coming up on the 27th, is that right?

Paul : Yes. The conference is the 27th through the 29th. The 27th is a kick-off party. We have some space allocated for us at one of the seminal Austin venues, Maria's Tacos. There's a bar there, [and] the first 150 people that have registered for the conference will get a free drink – a beer or Margarita, or something like that – and we'll have a good time. There's going to be live music, lots of Bitcoiners, a great time. And on the 28th and 29th we have full packed days of heavy-duty Bitcoin knowledge, everything from highly technical papers and presentations to very fun presentations covering all of the various faces of Bitcoin.

[7:22] John : Okay. You also have a hack-a-thon going on. Is that right?

Paul : Absolutely, because there just isn't enough going on at two stacked days of conference. We have a hack-a-thon that goes on in parallel. At the very end of Sunday night we'll bring the hack-a-thon winners out onto the main stage. We will announce the winner, and this hack-a-thon has about a million dollars in funding – actually MORE than a million dollars of funding - put up for the winners of the hack-a-thon. This funding is going to be used to carry their projects forward. Last year, one of the winners was Stroj ( ). They're providing a Dropbox-like functionality that runs on the Bitcoin blockchain, completely distributed and autonomous. So there's basically no corporate overhead to this feature of sharing files, like Dropbox works.

[8:10] John : Right.

Paul : They were a winning project at the Texas Bitcoin Conference , and they have proceeded forward through a crowdsale, and through a bunch of prototype systems, and I believe they are, right now, in Beta.

John : Okay. So let's talk a little bit about some of the speakers there. You have some keynote speakers who are notable. Is that right?

Paul : Absolutely. Our leading guy is George Gilder. George Gilder wrote the book "Wealth and Poverty". He will be one of our main speakers, and he will be presenting a monograph about a new theory of money. And he'll participate in a fire side chat with myself and Robert Murphy. Dr. Robert Murphy is a professor of economics at the Independent Institute ( ), and he is quite high in the economic school of thought. [He's] written many books and many articles. So that will be a really great presentation.

[9:07] We also have Sumabala P. Nair. She is the chief architect of IBM's Adept, the technology behind their Internet of Things that they presented at CES this year. We also have John Allen. He's the chairman of the protectorate committee for the Hope Gold Coin and Charitable Trust ( ), and senior adviser to the festival of hope. Basically, the Hope Gold Coin Charitable Trust is an effort to use crypto-currency behind charities, to reach out and do a lot of good stuff out in the world. The people behind it are the people who did LiveAid and FarmAid. They've been doing, essentially, concerts for 30 years to raise funds to address needs that are out there in humanity.

[10:02] John : Okay.

Paul : We also have Steve Stockman. Steve is the guy who introduced the Bitcoin bill here recently. He's a huge, huge crypto-currency advocate, and just a very entertaining individual, and very sharp and bright and very committed to the Bitcoin space.

What's really interesting with this selection of speakers [is] : one, none of these have really spoken at a big Bitcoin conference. And two, it's [an] indication of how Bitcoin is beginning to permeate the world. You have a gal from India doing work with IBM, and you've got the guys from the Reagan administration, and whatnot. And some of the big thinkers that have got their minds around Bitcoin and realized what a phenomenal, earth-shattering, and disruptive technology this is. Then you've got fellows like Steve Stockman [who are] a bit more in the mainstream, that are doing everything to push Bitcoin forward. This is just going to be a great event. Now we've got about 48 speakers. Last year we had a few more. It may have been a little heavy. But this year it's all on one stage. Every presentation is video [ recorded] professionally, and they will all be released within a short period of time after the end of the conference.

[11:20] John : Okay.

Paul : But the reason that people go to the conference is to actually meet people face-to-face , to actually be able to ask them questions, to interact, and meet people in the Bitcoin space. I'll tell you, I have gone to a bunch of Bitcoin conferences over the last year, and every single one of them – even probably the least organized, and most chaotic, conference – I have come away with something that I found valuable, and have been able to use pushing both the Texas Bitcoin Conference, as well as my own projects.

John : Yeah, it's a great opportunity for people to network, right? I hesitate to use the word "network", but that's really what a lot of it is, right?

Paul : Yeah, it really is. There's nothing like walking up to Andreas Antonopoulos and talking to him face-to-face, eye-to-eye. I had no idea how much I'm aligned in thought with Jeffrey Tucker. But we were sitting at a meal in Dubai, actually - we went to the Dubai conference; the Satoshi round table –

[12:21] John : Oh yeah.

Paul : -- where we were trying to decide how to make Bitcoin regulated – NOT! But anyway, that was the theory. But I had a meal with Jeffrey Tucker, and he actually rubbed my head. We were discussing – every at the table was yelling at each other – and it turned out – I don't remember what I said – but something I said was exactly what Jeffrey Tucker wanted to express, and he rubbed my head. He said, "You know, I've got to rub your head." And that was a highlight. It was one of those moments. And I'll tell – Bruce Fenton was actually the guy who put that on, and he'll be coming to the Texas Bitcoin Conference . So whether you think it was good or you think it was bad - that there be an "invite only" conference - go bring it up with him. He is a very personable guy. He'll explain exactly what he was thinking, which is basically [that] he wanted a small event with a lot of the people that had been speaking at all of the conferences. So in some sense it was like a "speaker only" conference.

[13:26] And it was good. It allowed us to network at a level that I haven't been able to network. I did more networking on that trip than any of the other trips and conferences. And largely that's what I do. If I go to a conference and I get to hear three or four presentations, then that's unusual. Usually I don't even get to see that. One or two conferences I didn't see ANY of the presentations. But some of the conferences I've seen more.

John : I thought it sounded phenomenal. There was so much conversation about it going on on Reddit. [Like] what are these guys planning? It's like Jekyl Island, the Bilderburg Group, or whatever. And it's like, "Come on guys! They're just meeting." People were hypothesizing that the place was going to be bugged by the NSA, [and] that they'd get there before the conference started. It's like, who cares if they did, anyway? I don't think that's what it was about. It wasn't about people meeting in a back room and saying, "Okay. We're going to do these things, but we're not going to let anybody ever know about it." [laughter] I don't know. I think people blew it out of proportion.

[14:26] Paul : They did. And in fact, it was incredibly open. That was what Bruce Fenton said. He said the reason he announced the conference, and the reason he even gave the attendee list, was because he DIDN'T WANT to go behind anybody's back. You know, Jekyll Island was NOT advertised. Come on. [laughter] You know? It was a hidden thing, and it was even denied, and it was only later that anybody documented it. This wasn't that.

And not only that, [but] the people over there [were] not the kind to roll over for regulation. But one of the things we were talking about earlier – that I'd like to bring up here on the show – is the many faces of Bitcoin, and we have those at the Texas Bitcoin Conference. One of the faces [of] Bitcoin is the social aspect. What about women in Bitcoin? What about Bitcoin in developing countries? What about Bitcoin with non-profits? And that sort of thing.

[15:25] We've got a couple of panels, and we have a number of speakers that will be addressing those kinds of topics. Another thing that we haven't really had in the big Bitcoin conferences has been a venue where you can get highly technical information out in front of the community. So the Texas Bitcoin Conference , this year, will have a proceedings, and we will carry on a proceedings going forward. The proceedings to the Texas Bitcoin Conference is going to have those technical papers that go into the kind of depth that you can't go into in a presentation, without putting everybody to sleep.

John : Right.

Paul : I mean, frankly, a highly technical , highly in-depth presentation is interesting – riveting – to 10 people in the audience, and the other 90 are waiting to do something else.

[16:21] John : Right. I'm in the "other 90". [laughter]

Paul : Yeah…yeah…yeah. Well with the proceedings you can have all of the technical detail there in a paper, and then they'll be able to give a presentation that's either on the paper, or peripheral to the paper. [Then] we can tie the author and the paper together, and when you go searching for some concept, because there's a paper involved, you may find those keywords connecting to the paper. Then when you don't really want to read the paper – you just want to see the summary – you click the video and see the author present the paper. It'll be a win-win for both the less technical and the more technical, to get something out of those topics.

Now there's another side, another face, to Bitcoin. That is really what I would call the anarchist-liberal, classical liberal, libertarian side, where we want to be our own bank. We want to do our own thing. We want to be able to go onto the internet and buy a product, and not have a bank involved.

[17:27] John : Mmm…Hmm.

Paul : You had your own sentiment. I've got to let you tell your story, here.

John : Oh yeah. So people talk to me, and they say, "What is Bitcoin?" Or they come to me and they say, "I don't really trust this Bitcoin thing." And that's because they've heard about Bitcoin from reading Time magazine, or CNN, or something on the television that's just some silliness. And I say to them, "Look. Let's say that you're on the other side of the country, or in another state, and I want to send you an mp3 of a song that I just wrote. Well, I just record it and I send it to you. No big deal, right? It doesn't cost me any money. I can send you a 10,000 page document that I've written. I can send you a video of my dog at the dog park, and I can send you as many photos as I want to, right? It doesn't cost me a dime. Why, when it's your birthday, and I want to send you $5 so you can go out with your mates and get a pint of beer, why can I not send you $5 without having to pay a third party?" When I say that to people they look at me and they say, "I don't know. Why CAN'T we do that?" And I say, "Well, because the way the system is set up will not allow us to send even $5 to our friends without a third party being involved. That's what Bitcoin does. Now, with Bitcoin, you can!" Right?

[18:37] So that's my view of why, and when it comes to the whole idea of money laundering – which has been one of the silly things that people keep talking about; money laundering is not silly, but if we look at organized crime in the United States that's still running strong there on Wall Street and everywhere else in the world – they're using the British Pound, the Euro, the U.S. dollar, the Yen – whatever – to launder money. When it comes to Bitcoin, why not just make a rule, okay? If it's under $1,000 who cares about know your customer, blah, blah, blah. Or if it's under $100, who cares about customers. Just go ahead and do it. And certainly for anything that's a $5 or $10, or whatever transaction, is anybody laundering money with $5 or $10 or $100? No. We're talking about HSBC and Wachovia laundering billions for the Columbian [and] Mexican drug cartels. That's money laundering, baby! Right?

[19:24] Let's get real. Let's stop the b.s. So yeah, I don't know, man. It's not that hard to educate people, I think, if you can hit them where it matters to them. Because what matters to everybody these days is that they want the freedom to send their document, their email, their photos to friends, and all this. They want to be able to do that, [but] if you start charging them every time they wanted to do that they're going to say, "Well no. I'm not going to do it as much anymore, or at all." So that really hits people hard. It's my way of educating people, but it's also my way of saying, "Hey, here's why I'm involved in Bitcoin. I'm not just an insane individual."

Paul : You know, it's somebody's birthday. All you want to do is send them a card, a "Happy Birthday" song you wrote, and $5 so that they can buy a root beer float, or they buy a beer, or they can put it in their pocket and save for a rainy day. And why can't you do that?

[20:18] Well, let me give you a couple of observations. One is that the current credit card system that we use for paying for things on the internet is a simulation of the technologies of the ‘60s and 70's. That's it. There hasn't been any payment [rail?] innovation in all of this time. All we have are better ways of doing the same thing that we're doing ever since we took a piece of plastic, put it in some big, metal contraption, and slid it over some carbon paper to get an imprint. Okay?

John : Oh, yeah.

Paul : Yeah, that IS what a credit card USED to be, and what a credit card is today is an electronic, magnetic strip version of the same, sort of, "slide and stamp" thing that we were doing years ago. Now, I'd also like to point out that KYC and AML rules are all about money laundering "theater". It's not about actually STOPPING money laundering.

[21:29] John : Right.

Paul : Because right now all estimates of drug trade, [and other] illicit markets like prostitution, and all of that sort of stuff, in the United States these activities account for an estimates $300+ billion per year. Okay? And the Department of Justice seizes $1.5 billion a year. $1.5 billion a year isn't even a credit card fee on all that. So what you have is a theater where there's an act up-front that disincentivizes consumers. It gets in our way of doing business. It gets in our way of doing what we want to do. It causes a huge amount of cost on the individual level, while organized crime and corporate fraud, and white collar crime goes perfectly unheeded through the system.

[22:28] John : Mmm…Hmm.

Paul : Very, very little of this is caught and stopped. Then you pointed out HSBC, and Wachovia, and all those guys. Those guys made billions and billions of dollars, and they paid a fee – a fine – but compared to the money they've MADE laundering the money, there's no reason to think that they're going to stop. Nobody went to jail.

John : Right.

Paul : Okay? But in the Bitcoin world you ARE catching people. So one of the things that I [got to do] is sit on a panel in front of the Attorney General's office in New York. One of the things I pointed out to them is [that] because Bitcoin in a perfect, immutable ledger, any organization that decided they wanted to use Bitcoin as their money laundering mechanism, is creating an immutable ledger of everything that they're doing.

[23:21] John : Yeah.

Paul : Why would you do that, when all you have to do is run your money across a few international borders, crossing a few jurisdictions, and suddenly it's impossible to chase the money? Because no one has the authority and the resources to dig through all of those jurisdictions and force all of that information out into the open. So you have one system that just has privacy for large organizations built in, and then another system that basically – with just a little bit of data mining on Bitcoin – any large organization would pop into existence. You would be able to see their activity in the Bitcoin blockchain. And we've already seen that. When Mount Gox claimed they lost 800,000 Bitcoins, a bunch of Redditors got together, called for addresses of --different users of Mount Gox handed them addresses they either sent money to, or received money from - and with that data – BING! – they said, "Mount Gox has control of 200,000 Bitcoins they're claiming are lost."

[24:30] And then a day or two later Mount Gox [said], "Oh, we found 200,000 Bitcoins that we didn't know we had. They were just sitting in our couch cushion, and they, kind of, fell out of our pocket when we were watching a movie. We didn't know." You know?

John : [laughter]

Paul : But that's an example of what you CAN do with Bitcoin. If Wells Fargo says they lost $800,000, or $800 million – whatever – you just have to believe them. There's no way you can audit what they've done. There's no way you can look at the records. There's no way [that] even the AUTHORITIES can do it. So why not go for an open system? So, when I'm talking to these guys I'm saying, "Bitcoin has turned the world upside down." It's absolutely true. I'm going to admit it. Individuals can probably get away with more with Bitcoin. [When] large organizations pop into view [and] they can't get away with ANYTHING in Bitcoin.

[25:24] John : That's right.

Paul : What we have today is INDIVIDUALS can't get away with anything, but any organization of any particular size has enough complexity in their dealings that you can't find them. You can't look at their finances. You have to believe what they tell you. So the question becomes – [to] Attorney Generals, and staff, "Are you fishing for fish, or are you fishing for minnows?"

John : Nice.

Paul : Right? So, if you want to actually stop the crime in this world, you've got to catch FISH, not minnows. Now, what about BitLicense? Wow! BitLicense will really make things incredibly difficult, to use Bitcoin, and that will keep people away from using it. You know what you've got with BitLicense? You've got a tarp. You know what you can catch with a tarp? You can catch minnows.

[26:17] John : Yup.

Paul : You can't catch fish with a tarp. You can't drag a tarp through the water and catch fish. But with Bitcoin, where you can just see a tiny percentage of the transactions – [and] you know where a tiny percentage of the transactions are going – that's like a net, where most of the transactions are flowing through, but you're catching a few. That's how you catch fish, because fish are BIG, and they can't avoid some of their transactions being logged; some of their transactions being understood. And once you have SOME of them, you can catch the fish. Now minnows swim right through your net. Okay, come on. Give it up. Decide what you're fishing for, and then choose your technology. You can either kill Bitcoin and continue your system of catching minnows, or you can actually have real reform, [and] real honesty, where you can actually catch REAL culprits in the world.

John : The "big fish".

Paul : The "big fish".

[Segway music]

[27:19] John : Congratulations to Darryl Giors. Darryl is the second - and final – winner, in the great "Joe Perry Barbecue Sauce Giveaway 2015". Darryl, and his band of derelicts, put together their very own musical tribute to Joe Perry. Well, kind of. And here it is for your listening pleasure. Darryl also asked if I would mention their web site, which I will right now. That's .This is where their podcast episodes can be found. Thanks guys. Well done… and roll ‘em…

Darryl Djors : Hey John Barrett. This is Darryl Giors. You've seen me in the forums before. I thought I would just send you a sound bite, and take a chance to get some of that barbecue sauce that you have on offer. I'm here with my buddies from "The Incohorent Ramblings". We have…

Joey : The wannabe host, Joey!

Pablo : Pablo Jalepeno.

Kale : Kale.

Darryl Giors : And Darryl.

Multiple speakers : G I… Ors!

Darryl Giors : And what we would love to do is just get some of that delicious-sounding "Joe Perry Rock Your World Barbecue Sauce" ( ).

[28:20] Joey : Whoa, whoa, wait! Joe Perry? The rocker guy, right? From the group….

Darryl : Yeah, Joe Perry. Yeah, total rock star.

Joey : Uh…Uh… Oh that song. I love the song…. "Don't stop believing…"

Darryl : No. No. No.

Joey : We could make a commercial… "Hold onto that barbecue sauce."

Darryl : That's the wrong band.

Pablo : "I'll eat that barbecue sauce, faithfully."

Darryl : No. No. No.

Kale : "You know what, sir? I'd like to have some barbecue sauce on my ribs." "Hey, barbecue sauce? You can have it…"

Chorus : "Anyway you want it. That's the way you [?]…"

Darryl : STOP! That's "Journey". No, Joe Perry! He's the guitarist from Aerosmith.

Pablo : Huh? Is that, like, Steve Perry's brother?

Darryl : No, [he's] the guitarist from Aerosmith. You know, you guys are crazy. It's amazing you don't know this. I think you all need to get a grip. Just because I've been in Bitcoin for so long doesn't mean I'm jaded. Well John, if you liked our submission, I would really appreciate it if you gave us a taste of that really good barbecue sauce. We would appreciate it like "love in an elevator"… I just said that, didn't I?

Kale : You did.

[Segway music]

[29:23] John : And now a question that came in from one of our listeners by the name of Advait. Advait writes, "Hey John, I've been listening to your wonderful podcast- very well done. I am new to the Bitcoin world, and I am now learning all the basics. Question : where are the best places to get info about alt-coin pre-sales. For example, the Ether ( ) pre-sale, and the Gems ( ) pre-sale happened a while back. Is there a place that lists news for legitimate, upcoming alt-coin pre-sales? Thanks for the show, and the music is great. Cheers. Advait… P.S. You're welcome to also answer this on the show if you feel it is worthwhile."

John : Well Advait, I definitely feel it is worthwhile to answer questions from ALL of my listeners, but in this case I'm going to have to defer to my listeners themselves, because I personally don't have an answer to this, except to say [that] reading all you can online in the forums, and in the various crypto-currency web sites is probably the best way to keep abreast of happenings as they happen, and sometimes EVEN BEFORE they happen.

[30:28] But if there are any listeners out there who have a better answer than that, please put it in the show notes, or drop me a line by way of email to :

[Segway music]

John : So I am back with Paul Snow in the second half of the show today. Paul is the CEO and architect of Factum ( ). Paul, tell us about Factum, because I know there are people out there who do not even know that Factom exists. But this is important stuff, and I'd love to hear it from the horse's mouth.

Paul : Sure. There are a lot of really cool Bitcoin 2.0, "beyond-the-blockchain" kind of projects that are out there. You have things like Etherum, where you can do smart contracts. NXT ( ), where you can do smart contracts, as well as every other thing known to man. Counterparty ( ), a lot of assets are being traded on the Bitcoin blockchain using Counterparty's protocol. Bitshares ( ). And I can go on.

[31:35] Basically, all of these projects differ from Factum in one fundamental way. They actually DO something, while Factum really doesn't do anything at all. Factum is not about building an app that you can use to do "X". It's about building a general purpose data layer for the Bitcoin blockchain.

John : Mmm…Hmm.

Paul : And as a general purpose data layer, it doesn't do anything but record whatever data you give it. That's it. It's like blank paper. It records, but it doesn't judge. It doesn't validate or verify. It just records your data.

[32:21] Now, blank paper itself is a bit of a mess. I don't know if you've ever been in my office, but you can see stacks of paper and notes and stuff, all in disorganized piles. Over time, that's really not terribly useful. What you want to do is take that paper and put it in a binder, so you basically are adding this paper to a binder, or adding this paper to a book, as you use it. So that way, you can keep it organized and keep it in order. So Factom does the same sort of thing. If recording general purpose data can be thought of as a blank page, the Factom chains that you are able to create are like binders or books, filled with blank paper. You can imagine it this way : you open your book, you write on the page, [and] when you turn that page and submit it to the Factom protocol, the contents become immutable. You can't modify them. You can't delete them. And you can't back-date something in front of it.

[33:28] So you essentially get an ordered list of data as you placed it into the factum protocol. Now what can you use such a thing for? There ARE uses for Factum. You can build on top of this a system to record the process of creating a land title, and then subsequently record the exchanges of value; record surveys of the property; record inspections; record any other kinds of information.

John : Public records, or what-have-you, right.

Paul : Yeah. The [paviance?] of the land can be recorded, as well as exchanges of ownership. So basically, the point of Factom is that there are a lot of problems out there that are [coin?] problems, that are asset-trading problems, basically tracking the ownership of something. But there's a much, much larger set of problems in business processes that are just about recording data, and it have nothing to do with a coin at all.

John : Right.

Paul : It's just about recording data.

John : Like medical records, for instance.

[34:33] Paul : Well, medical records is a very interesting concept, because a doctor or a hospital has to be able to prove that they have certain business processes in place to keep medical records safe. So certainly, you want to make the medical records have not been changed, altered, post/back-dated, or anything else, right?

John : Right.

Paul : But you also want to make sure that the people handling your records have gone through the proper training, [they] have had the proper background checks, [had] the proper securities placed on the computers that are holding the records. Or if they're paper records, the proper physical security has been established. You know, "Who has gone into the room where they can access the computer or access the records?" There's so many business processes AROUND the medical records, including the medical records that Factom can help with.

[35:26] The key observation is that lies are generally about the past. There's no point in really lying about something that hasn't happened yet.

John : Right.

Paul : When I say, "The Saints are going to win the Superbowl next year." I'm not LYING! I'm probably wrong, but I'm not lying. The fact that I am probably wrong may keep me awake tonight, because I really, really, really want the Saints to win a second Superbowl. But I'm just wrong. I'm not lying. If I said, "The Saints won the LAST Superbowl .", now I'm lying, because I'm lying about the past.

John : Yeah.

Paul : Now, if you're having to record, and go on record, in the present about the data that you use to make decisions, it becomes incredibly difficult to lie about what went into a decision. So it's very difficult to know today what lie you want to tell tomorrow.

[36:23] Mmm…Hmm.

Paul : Now SOME people might be good at it, but [in] the vast majority of people, and vast majority of businesses, and the vast majority of business processes, lying about something in the future is just too difficult to do.

So Factum brings a technology that can insert honesty in many. many business transactions. One guy pointed out to me, in a conversation, that if the government has all of these records they can go in and just change the ownership. They can just say, "We're seizing this property." My response is, "Absolutely they can." But what they can do today is they can go to the property, bulldoze it, and say, "We've ALWAYS owned it." How can anyone tell the difference? At least with Factom they'll have to admit [that] this property existed, it belonged to this person, but we took it.

John : Right.

Paul : And it's the fact that you can hold parties accountable for their action that is the real reform, because we do not have a regulatory compliant problem in the world, or in the US. What we have is a LAW compliance problem.

[37:33] And so it's NOT about what kind of regulations we need to establish and make everybody follow. The question is, how can you force people to follow the law? And if you can mathematically – you know, if I go look at the body of regulations, a good chunk of them are there just to create records that the courts can later trust. Well, all of those regulations go away with a simple statement, "Put it in Factom." Back it up with the blockchain. Factom won't be the only technology that does this. There are already "proof of existence" and "proof of process" systems that people are building. But the point is [that] we now know how to go to business and say, "You can record what you're doing as you do It, and we will hold you responsible for what you record."

[38:24] John : Yeah, I love it! So Factum can be used for all kinds of thing : public records, insurance safety audits, medical records – as you mentioned.

Paul : You can track the creative process, so that you can prove that you were the author of, say, "The Bitcoin Song". What's the title?

John : The title is, "Ode To Satoshi", [and] in paretheses, "The Official Bitcoin Song". That's part of the title. People are thinking [that] I'm saying, "This is the official…" No, that's actually part of the title.

Paul : Hey, that's a great way to do it. Next time I go to name a conference it's going to be, "Texas Bitcoin Conference - The Most Popular Conference in the World."

John : Hey, there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with having that as the title, but I think you guys are also talking about not just these serious things, like land title records and public records. But also, you guys can hash some FUN things, like I think you mentioned : the human genome project, the works of Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, all of the world's alphabets. With Factom the possibilities are ENDLESS.

[39:20] Paul : They really are. I mean, even look at Hillary Clinton. She's in a bunch of hot water about emails. [What if she…?]

John : Wait… wait… wait…wait…wait. Hang on a sec. Do I HAVE to look at Hillary Clinton?

Paul : Yeah… yeah… yeah… Come on. She's not so bad looking…

John : I don't want to look. I just – there's nothing about her I want to look at. But go ahead. I'm sorry, go ahead.

Paul : Well, I'm looking forward to her presidency. In any case, look at this hot water she's gotten into with her emails. The fact is that with emails, she can't prove that she didn't delete any. She can't prove she didn't modify any. She can't prove that the emails that she is taking out of the group are, in fact, personal..

John : Right.

Paul : And yet, with Factom she can actually list them out, and they could have been Factomized so that there was [an] actual list of hashes that prove that the email hasn't been modified, that prove it was written when you said it was, that prove that nothing was back-dated, and [that] this IS the complete list.

[40:22] John : Yeah.

Paul : And because she can create her own book, and she can put all of her hashes into her own book, nobody else needs to know what the meaning of those things are. She has perfect privacy in this case. But one of the things about the personal emails is that she can prove that these are all the personal emails, and she can go to a trusted third party that people will trust – and maybe two or three – and have them review the emails and ensure that they're all personal, and then come back and say, "Yes, we've all looked at it, and they're all personal." They can also Factomize the fact that they looked at all of those emails. People can then look at their audit and see that at least these parties are claiming that they opened each email. Right?

John : Right.

Paul : You can Factomize the process. So this is the thing that the electronic world has never had; this ability to record the past in a way that nobody can say, "Oh, well you ran two machines at the same time. You've had some of the data to that one, [and] some of the data to THAT one. You ended up with two versions of the past, and then you picked which version you wanted later on."

[41:26] John : Mmm…Hmm.

Paul : One of the things about all of the current systems is that there's nothing that is SO public, and SO worked over with proof of work, that nobody could possibly counterfeit it. Yet we have with Factom, in the fact that Factom is inheriting the proof-of-work of Bitcoin – for the data layer – basically we can say, "Bitcoin is a witness. This is the ledger for Factom." And Factom can say, "Here are the books. Here are the records. You can prove it. And you basically have this Bitcoin proof of that data.

John : I love that. So you are talking about something being "Factomized". I love that. I love that word "Factomize". It's funny, because if you think about it, the way we live now, we've got all of this technology all around us. Right?

Paul : Right.

John : We're just surrounded by technology; more and more, faster and faster. More storage every day. Yet we're still – I'm a notary. I'm a notary public.

[42:20] Paul : Yup.

John : But we're still basically stuck back in the days of Charles Dickens, "I'll come and notarize that for you. Here's my stamp, and…" I mean, it's ridiculous.

Paul : [laughter] Well you get a nice embossing, right?

John : Oh yeah. I've got a really nice embosser, man. You can't touch my embosser. But anyhow, hey Factom's got nothing on my embosser, man.

Paul : Hey, I don't want to touch your embosser.

John : Hey, Paul. You stay away from my embosser. [laughter]

Paul : Okay. You've got it. That's something I can give you. Guaranteed.

John : But really, something like Factom only makes sense. This is where we should be going. And, of course, Factom is the platinum sponsor of the Texas Bitcoin Conference this year. Is that right?

Paul : Yes. Factom is excited to be the platinum sponsor of the Texas Bitcoin Conference. We have a bunch of announcements that we'll be making, of real world applications of the blockchain, that will be put in place within months.

[43:18] I mean, certainly by the end of the year we're going to be seeing countries using the blockchain to create more honest, and auditable, systems. Because [in] the developing world that's their problem. They have to have honest systems, and yet it's very difficult them to build systems that are respected in the western world. So they've got to up their game. We'll see. Just like cell phones took over Africa long before they took over the U.S. We' re going to see these technologies move in the developing world.

John : Man, that's really exciting stuff. So Paul, I am really looking forward to seeing and meeting you at the Texas Bitcoin Conference . Before we go, I want you to admit one thing. Probably the Texas Bitcoin Conference would not be so well organized were it not for someone very special in your life. Who is that?

Paul : [laughter] Linda, my wife. She's the manager of the Texas Bitcoin Conference . She has more organizational skills in her left little finger, than I have in my entire body. So, yes, I am totally indebted to my wife, and indebted to a bunch of other people like : Steven Wilkenson, and David Johnston, and Tiana Laurence, and Peter Kirby, and a bunch of other people.

[44:32] But the College Cryptocurrency Network ( )has done a lot for us, and many others. I could give a bunch of acknowledgements, but I'll leave it at that.

John : Okay, great. One last thing, Paul, before we go. Tell our listeners the best way that they can get in touch with you, and to find out more about the Texas Bitcoin Conference.

Paul : Everybody, you need to go to to learn all about the Texas Bitcoin Conference . And if you want to learn about Factom, go to and you will be able to access the white paper, consensus algorithm, the videos, [and] everything. Those are two great sources. From there you can into all of our mass/social media. There's a bunch of that, too. It was really great talking to you, John.

John : You too, Paul. That's totally crypto. Ladies and gentlemen, you've been listening to Paul Snow, the chairman of the Texas Bitcoin Conference , and the CEO and architect of Factom. Paul, thank you so much for your time being on Bitcoins and Gravy.

Paul: Okay, great. Well, I hope to return.

John: All right, man. Hey, take care.

Paul: Okay. Bye.

John: Bye.

[Segway music]

[45:43] John : If anyone is new to the Let's Talk Bitcoin network, here's an announcement about "magic words". Hidden in each episode of Bitcoins and Gravy is a magic word. I know that it may sound absurd, but listen for the magic word, and you can earn LTBCoin. First, set up a free account at . Then tune into your favorite LTB podcast, and when you hear the magic word, don't delay! Submit it to your account, and by doing so you will earn a portion of the week's LTBCoin distribution. Setting up an LTB account has always been fast and easy, and now it's profitable. And while we're on the subject, today's magic word is "snow" – S – N – O – W, as in the sentence, "Paul Snow, and his wife Linda, along with a cast of THOUSANDS, have been working overtime to bring us the Texas Bitcoin Conference."

[46:37] The Texas Bitcoin Conference promises to be this year's most COMPELLING Bitcoin conference. March 27th through 29th, 2015. Come join us in Texas, the cryptocurrency-friendly state, and learn about how Bitcoin 2.0, and blockchain, will impact tomorrow's ultra-connected and decentralized world of technology, business and society.

And great news, listeners. Our transcription page is now LlVE on the web site, thanks to the continuing hard work of one of our loyal listeners, who is also a consultant to the show. All new show transcripts will be rolled out approximately one week following the release of each podcast.

[47:24] We are also working on eventually going back and transcribing ALL of the archived episodes, starting with Episode #51, and working our way back, until we hit the very first episode – episode 1, numero uno - of Bitcoins and Gravy . Our ultimate goal is to have every single episode of Bitcoins and Gravy transcribed, and available to you, the listener, for free. These professional transcriptions are provided each week by one of our fans, who can be found at:

And, of course, you can find a link to this web site in the weekly show notes.

And, I'd like to give a shout-out to Mother Nature. Mother Nature, thank you so much for what you have given us, and thank you for the spring time. I am ready. The cabin fever was getting me down. To celebrate that, I would like to play one of my favorite songs, written by Nashville's very own Elijah (Lij) Shaw. Lij wrote this song last year, with his daughter Saraya. Here it is for your listening pleasure. Ladies and gentlemen, "Spring Is An Amazing Thing."

[48:30] [music and lyrics for "Spring Is An Amazing Thing"]

Bah bah bah bah bah... 

I woke up this morning and I rubbed my eyes,  I looked out the window to my surprise,  The sun was shining brightly in the sky. 

Well the birds were singing a song for me,  And the blossoms in the cherry tree , Were blooming for the whole world to see. 

CHORUS:  Cause Spring! Spring is an amazing thing!  With the birds and the bees and the flowers.  You go outside and you play all day,  And you don't come in for hours. 

So I jumped out of bed with nothing to lose,  I'm shaking off these winter blues,  Feeling like the world is evergreen. 

Gonna go outside,  Gonna look around,  Gonna let this sunshine come on down,  Everything is beautiful and free. 

CHORUS:  Well Spring! Spring is an amazing thing!  With the birds and the bees and the flowers.  You go outside and you play all day,  And you don't come in for hours.   

And there ain't no good reason,  To miss out on this season of love.

Bah bah bah bah bah... 

Gonna ride my bike in the neighborhood,  Gonna see my friends,  I'm feeling good.  Come on out,  You know it's time to play. 

We can set up a stand and sell lemonade,  Won't you take my hand,  We've got it made.  Everything is beautiful today. 

CHORUS:  Cause Spring! Spring is an amazing thing!  With the birds and the bees and the flowers.  You go outside and you play all day,  And you don't come in for hours. 

CHORUS:  Well Spring! Spring is an amazing thing!  With the birds and the bees and the flowers.  You go outside and you play all day,  And you don't come in for hours. 

Bah bah bah bah bah...  Bah bah bah bah bah...  Bah bah bah bah bah...  Bah bah bah bah bah... 

[51:51] [show outro music]

John : I'd like to thank my guest on today's show, Mr. Paul Snow, the mastermind behind the Texas Bitcoin Conference , coming up this weekend, March 27th, 28th, and 29th, there in Austin, Texas. We're going to have a great time downtown, folks. So come and join us.

And remember, listeners, please check the show notes at : for details about the show, and links to what we talked during the show. Please feel free, also, to post a comment in the comment section right below the show notes there at Let's Talk Bitcoin.

You can also check out my web site, which is :

And you can also find us on Soundcloud : And if you're so inclined, please feel free to leave me a tip in Litecoin or Bitcoin, and that will help keep the lights on, and coffee in the kettle.

[52:51] Signing off now from East Nashville, Tennessee. I'm John Barrett, with my trusty Siberian Husky, Maxwell, by my side. Say goodbye, Maxwell.

Maxwell : Grr…

John : And remember, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.

[music and lyrics to "Ode to Satoshi" song]

John Barrett : Now climb aboard y'all! This train is bound for glory… and there's plenty of room for all…

"Well Satoshi Nakamoto, that's a name I love to say,
And we don't know much about him, but he came to save the day.
When he wrote about the way things are,
And the way things ought to be,
He gave us all a protocol this world had never seen.

Oh Bitcoin! As you're going into the old blockchain,
Oh Bitcoin! I know you're going to reign, gonna' reign,
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
Till everybody knows your name.

[guitar instrumental]

Down the road it will be told about the Death of Old Mount Gox,
About traders trading alter coins, and miners mining blocks.
But them good old boys back in Illinois,
And on down through Tennessee,
See they don't care to be a millionaire,
They're just wanting to be free.

Oh Bitcoin! As you're going into the old blockchain,
Oh Bitcoin! I know you're going to reign, gonna' reign,
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
Till everybody knows your name.

[instrumental interlude]

From the ghettos of Calcutta, to the halls of Parliament,
While the bankers count our money out for every government.
Oh, Bitcoin flies on through the skies of virtuality,
A promise to deliver us from age-old tyranny.

Oh Bitcoin! As you're going into the old blockchain,
Oh Bitcoin! I know you're going to reign, gonna' reign,
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
Till everybody knows your name.
Till everybody knows, everybody knows,
Till everybody knows your -- "Give me some Exposure" --
Everybody knows your name.

Oh Lord, pass me some more,
Oh Lord, before I have to go.
Oh Lord, pass me some more,
Oh Lord . . . before I have to . . .
Go . . .

[instrumental finale]

[55:58] John : Oh-ho! Thank you East Nashville! Y'all be good to each other out there, ya' hear?

Maxwell : Grr….