Andreas Antonopoulos: Bitcoin, Layer 2 Solutions, and the Wild West of Crypto (w/Ash Bennington)

Author, coder, and educator Andreas M. Antonopoulos (aantonop.com) joins Ash Bennington, Real Vision senior editor, to discuss Bitcoin, layer 2 solutions, and the Wild West of crypto. Andreas describes Bitcoin as enabling trust across vast distances without coordination—trust without a central authority. He explains that Bitcoin allows you to trust in the system, without needing to trust the other person you are transacting with and without needing to even know who they are. Antonopoulos touches on the difficulty of scaling blockchains, mentioning that its design requires everyone to check everyone else’s work in order to remain secure and decentralized. Layer 2 solutions, such as Lightning Network, have been built on top of Bitcoin to help it scale to magnitudes greater transactions per second while still retaining the security and decentralization characteristics. Antonopoulos explains that crypto has enabled innovation of financial services, no longer restricted by gatekeepers, and he observes that the fact that anyone is allowed to innovate without permission, without authorization, and without oversight has created a “Wild West” environment with many “snake oil salesmen.” In light of this, he infers that this is why there is significant defensive skepticism regarding Bitcoin vs. other new projects in the space. Filmed on February 18, 2021. Key Learnings: Bitcoin engenders trust in its system as it does not require trust in a central authority to coordinate transactions, even across considerable distance. The problem it currently faces is scalability. In order to resolve that without compromise, Layer 2 solutions help blockchains scale while attempting to retain similar levels of decentralization and security as the base chain. The permissionless nature of open source blockchains creates an environment ripe for “snake oil salesmen,” and this is why many people who understand this have strong defensive skepticism of non-Bitcoin projects.

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