EPISODE 363
Perianne Boring
Perianne Boring: Busting the Biggest Bitcoin Myths

Mark speaks with Perianne Boring, founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the world’s largest trade association representing the blockchain industry. Perianne was named one of America's Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes, and was named one of the 10 most influential people in the blockchain industry by Coindesk.

Perianne Boring
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Show Notes

Today, Commander Divine speaks with Perianne Boring, founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the world’s largest trade association representing the blockchain industry. Perianne’s mission is to advocate and educate the public and lawmakers about the future of blockchain. In this episode, Perianne busts some of the biggest myths about the cryptocurrency space, including Russian sanctions, environmental impact, and more.

Key Takeaways:

  • Myth #1: Bitcoin is bad for the environment. It currently takes 189 terawatts to mine Bitcoin.This is about .1% of the world’s energy production. And, over 60% of the energy going to mine Bitcoin is coming from sustainable sources. (We’re also starting to see use cases where crypto mining can actually help stabilize the energy grid.) The energy used to mine Bitcoin is a small fraction of the emissions that are created to mine gold, power our financial sector and support our military sector.
  • Myth #2: Russia is using crypto to evade sanctions. There’s a current narrative that says Russians are flocking to crypto to evade sanctions. But there is no evidence of that, and there is nothing that would lead us to believe that that would ever be the case in the future. Since Russia entered Crimea in 2014, they’ve been working to sanction-proof their economy and diversify out of US dollar reserves. Crypto was not a part of their like sanction-proofing strategy at all. Even if they wanted to start using crypto for illicit finance, law enforcement has significant tools to track and trace the flow of cryptocurrencies, due to the open-source nature of blockchains. Even the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network put out a statement saying that we are not seeing crypto used for sanctions evasion.
  • Myth #3: Crypto is used for money laundering. .05% of crypto transaction volume has been linked to illicit activity. The open-source data shows us that illicit finance using crypto is not common. And it’s also decreasing as a percentage and a portion of the markets.
  • Myth #4: Crypto is going to be shut down by the government. Perianne believes we’ve already won the regulatory battles. It’s already been decided that we’re going to allow this technology to thrive in the United States. There are absolutely no efforts, indications, or even a legal path forward to flat out ban cryptocurrency. The conversations that are happening on the regulatory front are negotiations between the industry and the regulators on what regulatory frameworks look like. There certainly will be winners and losers in those conversations, but those are winners and losers between different companies and platforms in the space, not the technology itself. The case for this technology has been made, and we’re seeing that play out on the global stage right now.
  • Myth #5: It’s too late to invest in Bitcoin. It’s not too late to get in if you want to. We are still in incredibly early days, and there’s a lot of opportunity. (This is not investment advice. Just Perianne’s own opinion!)
  • We are living in a currency experiment. For most of human history, we’ve used objects of scarcity as money – salt, stones, shells. After that, we used a gold standard for thousands of years. It wasn’t until the 1980s that all industrialized nations moved to a fiat system. This is the first time in world economic history that all industrialized nations are using a currency that is only backed by the full faith and credit of the government. Our current economic inflation and collapse is the aftermath of this shift. Perianne believes we’re coming back to our original principles of having a sound monetary system, and that Bitcoin could potentially be the path to get there.
  • Bitcoin is the new gold. Bitcoin is a store of value, which means it’s playing the role gold has played in portfolios for many decades. The Fed Chairman himself, Jerome Powell, has compared Bitcoin to gold, or digital gold, in congressional testimony. Bitcoin is actually more appropriate for a 21st century store of value tool since we’re now operating in digital worlds, and we need to transact in a digital way.
  • Moving forward with Biden’s executive order. One of the biggest challenges the private sector is facing today is red tape and regulatory uncertainty. As a result, it’s estimated that up to 95% of all digital asset transaction volume is happening overseas, despite the fact that a large majority of people creating and developing blockchain technology businesses are Americans. They’re having to take their intellectual property elsewhere, because they don’t have the clarity to operate here. So we’re hoping that Biden’s new executive order signed earlier this year will force all these different agencies to coordinate to ensure that businesses have very clear rules to operate and develop here in the US.

Quotes:

“The energy used to mine Bitcoin is a small fraction of the emissions that are created to mine gold, the amount of emissions related to what it takes to power our financial sector and then also our military sector, everybody. So you know if you’re looking to reduce emissions, you probably would want to start with larger contributors, as Bitcoin would not be considered one of the larger contributors today.”

“This technology, one is the most important technological innovation we will see in our lifetimes, but two, the adoption of this technology, and the development and the integration of this technology, could help solve a lot of those systemic issues, and our monetary and our financial system that I was determined to help fix at such an early stages in my career. So that’s why I’m here. And that’s how I got here. And I’m incredibly optimistic about the future. But we do have a lot of work to do.”

“Here in the United States, but also in developing nations, there are significant people who don’t have access to financial services. Our debt to GDP ratio globally, today is estimated to be at over 350%. There’s over $300 trillion in debt globally, which means we are spending 350% more than we are producing. So in your business 101 economics classes, this is not a sustainable model for any entity or organization or any business.”

“I would argue that the current system is not working for a lot of people, there are significant challenges, and at some point, there will be breaking points.”

“Marc Andreessen, the co inventor, or the co founder of Netscape, he has said that he believes blockchain technology is just as important of an invasion as the internet itself. So buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride.”

“If you have concerns about climate change and energy, and what Bitcoin’s role is, make sure you really understand what’s happening in the renewable space. Because if that goes away, those investments, those innovations that are being made, are also going to go away.“

“When the solar energy plants are collecting energy, they are getting their highest amount of energy sources in the middle of the day, when they don’t have as much demand on the grid. So for these renewable plants, just solar as an example, during the day, if that energy does not need to be fed to the grid, it can be fed into Bitcoin, they can take those energy sources and use that to mine Bitcoin. And that creates a new economic model to make renewable energy plants more viable. And it allows another customer for the renewable sources so they can build more plants and bring more renewable energy to other areas of the country”

“Our founding fathers understood the importance of having a sound monetary system, they outlined a gold standard. And Congress did away with that about 100 years ago, and this is the aftermath of those decisions that we’re experiencing today. And I think we’re coming back to, you know, what our original principles were of having a sound monetary system, and I think Bitcoin, you know, potentially could be the path to get there.”

Mark Divine 0:00
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Coming up on the Mark Divine Show…

Perianne Boring 1:33
The energy used to mine Bitcoin is a small fraction of the emissions that are created to mine gold, the amount of emissions related to what it takes to power our financial sector and then also our military sector, everybody. So you know if you’re looking to reduce emissions, you probably would want to start with larger contributors, as Bitcoin would not be considered one of the larger contributors today.

Mark Divine 2:11
This is the Mark Divine show and I’m your host, Mark Divine. Welcome to the show. In this episode I’m going to discover, dive in and discuss just what makes the world’s most inspirational, compassionate, resilient leaders so courageous. I talk in depth to technology leaders, martial arts grandmasters, Navy SEALs, meditation monks, top executives, Stoic philosophers, proud survivors, and many more. And I endeavor to turn their life’s experiences and their insights into lessons that you can learn to follow and to lead a life of your own filled with compassion and courage.

Today, I’m super excited to be talking about, again, the important role of digital assets, Bitcoin and blockchain, and how it’s going to transform America’s economy and political systems and our lives. Blockchain was introduced to the world by an individual or group named Satoshi Nakamoto, who subsequently disappeared from view a couple years later, but back in 2008. And it’s a public transaction ledger, a digital ledger and a cryptocurrency. It subsequently led to the explosion of many other ledgers that have led to decentralized finance applications. And that’s transforming many industries.

My guest today is Perianne Boring, founder and CEO of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, established in 2014. The chamber advocates and educates the public and lawmakers and promotes the blockchain industry. She was named one of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes, and one of the 10 most influential people in the blockchain industry by Coindesk. Prior to forming the chamber, Perianne served as a television anchor, and began her career as a legislative analyst in the House of Representatives and served as an intern in the White House.

Welcome Perianne, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you today?

Perianne Boring 4:01
I’m amazing. Thanks for having me.

Mark Divine 4:04
I love that you’re amazing. And you’re a busy woman right now. I mean, founder and president or CEO of the Chamber of Digital Commerce. We have so much to talk about. And, you know, we’ve met only once but you know that I’m a fascinated bystander and, you know, hack investor in crypto and the digital industry, but I am a big believer in its future as really the underpinnings of a new economy. But so I want to get your take on all that. But first, you know, I love to really, I mean, this podcast is about people, people who are doing really unreasonable things in the world for good and making some change and you’re unreasonable in terms of the challenges you take on.

Perianne Boring 4:54
I love that description. Yeah, yeah.

Mark Divine 4:56
How did you get this way? Like what made you you in your or early formative years and, and then also, let’s talk about the founding of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

Perianne Boring 5:07
There you go. I, it’s funny, I was actually just talking about this earlier today. So I come from just a middle class family in Central Florida. My mom was a stay at home mom and my dad was a software developer. And my dad worked a lot. And he also, he had clients that he consulted for and developed for. So we traveled a lot. When I was seven years old, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. And so my mom was in bed sick for multiple years. And I had a younger brother, who is five years younger than me. And so at the age of seven, you know, I think that had a big impact on me, one becoming really independent. And I remember having some conversations with my parents as a little girl, and then saying, gotta be a big girl now, you’re the big sister, and I very much helped take care of my little brother. And I have memories of being in elementary school and having my own little alarm clock, and I would get up for school, and I would get ready. And I would walk into my mom and dad’s room, and I would have my mom do my hair for me. And then I would get on the bus and I would go to school, and I would come home. And now that I’m older and kind of looking back, it’s like, wow, I was really independent at such a young age. But I’ve also been incredibly determined. So maybe just to give you kind of the starting point as like, why I’m involved in the crypto space and so enthusiastic about it.

When I was in college, I went to the University of Florida. So public university here. I majored in economics during the 2008 financial crisis. And as you know, the financial crisis of ‘08 was largely the real estate market blowing up, which was largely the state of Florida, which was everyone I knew. So everybody I knew was impacted by what was going on, my parents, they lost a lot of their life savings in the stock market because of what had happened, and they’ve recouped all that. But I just remember thinking like, this isn’t right, this shouldn’t have happened. Nobody did anything wrong. But yeah, normal people, just average people are being harmed by something that’s happening in the financial system.

And so I was really determined to understand like how the financial system works and how the monetary system works. And maybe I was a little naive, but I was a little shocked. And I learned a lot of disturbing things about you know, just the fact that when I graduated college our national debt was between 40 and $50,000 per capita. And I remember thinking, how is that even possible? Now it’s at over 90, by the way, you know, around that time, I dedicated my career to working in public policy, and I wanted to fight for a better economic future for my generation, and those that will come after me. And that took me to DC.

I interned in the White House, I worked on Capitol Hill. And then I learned about Bitcoin, this virtual currency that wasn’t controlled, or cannot be manipulated by bureaucrats or central bank or commercial bank or anything like that. And that idea was just incredibly fascinating to me. And I’ve come to the realization, fast forward a number of years, that this technology, one is the most important technological innovation we will see in our lifetimes, but two, the adoption of this technology, and the development and the integration of this technology, could help solve a lot of those systemic issues, and our monetary and our financial system that I was determined to help fix at such an early stages in my career. So that’s why I’m here. And that’s how I got here. And I’m incredibly optimistic about the future. But we do have a lot of work to do.

Mark Divine 8:50
Yeah, that’s a great place to pause, because it brought up a couple of interesting kind of questions that I want to probe a little bit more. You were in college studying economics in 2008. I don’t think the average person appreciates just how close our entire financial economic system came to collapsing. Could you give us your view on 2008, and kind of how close we were to, to the mayhem that could have happened if the whole system collapsed? And secondarily, a lot of people don’t recognize or understand that Bitcoin was birthed out of that. And so I’d love to hear your take on Nakamoto and publishing the white paper in response to the 2008 crisis, which is coded into the first block, and kind of like who you think that is, or where did that come from? Where did the code come from? Where did the white paper come from? I’ve got my theories. And I talked to Brian Estes about this recently, but I’d love to hear yours.

Perianne Boring 9:42
Yeah, there’s a lot of theories. Nobody knows. And that’s part of the beauty of it because nobody gets to be the king or you know, someone put on a pedestal. It was given to us as open source technology free for anybody to use or to opt into or to opt out of, you know, that’s an intentional part of the design is that open source nature. But yeah, there are pretty systemic issues in our financial system. Some of the things that I look at, just to use as a reference of the health of our economy, one would be financial inclusion. So even today, in 2022, it is estimated that as many as 1.7 billion adults worldwide are unbanked. And this is an issue that impacts countries all around the world, even the most prosperous countries in the G 20. Here in the United States, but also in developing nations, there are significant people who don’t have access to financial services. Our debt to GDP ratio globally, today is estimated to be at over 350%. There’s over $300 trillion in debt globally, which means we are spending 350% more than we are producing. So in your business 101 economics classes, this is not a sustainable model for any entity or organization or any business. I know you have a lot of astute business people who follow Unbeatable Mind, there’s no business that can operate that way.

Mark Divine 11:19
Modern monetary theorists would claim that we’re in a new era, and that we can continue to print money, and somehow it’s different. I don’t agree with that. I don’t know how they come up with their models.

Perianne Boring 11:29
It’s a big bet. That is a big, big bet to take. And for most of human history, and most of human civilization, we have used things of scarcity as money. So in early civilizations, it was things like salt, stones, shells, we then moved to gold, and we were on gold standards for 1000s of years. And it wasn’t until 1951 when Nixon closed the gold window that we moved to fiat. And it wasn’t until the 1980s that all industrialized nations moved to a fiat system. So this is the first time in world history, you know, all economic history that you have the whole world or all industrialized nations using something that is just backed by the full faith and credit of the government as money.

So this idea that we can go on forever, we don’t know that, this is an experiment. And we can all kind of speculate on how this is going to end. But they’re still pretty systemic issues. And we talked about the debt, we talked about financial inclusion, you know, inflation is another indicator, over 80% of G 20 nations have inflation rates of over 2%. So the Fed previously had a 2% inflation target, they’ve had a hard time keeping, that’s the kind of change the way that they do their targets going forward. But most nations cannot… are having a hard time keeping inflation at bay. And this includes the wealthiest nations in the world.

And so I would argue that the current system is not working for a lot of people, there are significant challenges, and at some point, there will be breaking points. You know, you mentioned kind of when Bitcoin was introduced, I do think part of the introduction of Bitcoin very much was to solve these issues of providing a monetary and financial system that can operate outside of government issued monetary systems. So they can’t, you know, the money can’t be, money supply can’t be inflated, and people can protect their purchasing power and their wealth. And it gives us an option to the paradigm that we are all in this experiment that we all find us in today.

Mark Divine 13:47
Yeah, I think that’s fascinating. I’m curious and I don’t think anyone really has the answer to this, but I’m curious if the creators of Bitcoin, whoever they were that Nakamoto, whether it’s an individual or group or an agency, for instance, an agency in the United States Government, understood or could foresee that the distributive ledger that could you know, where you’d be able to transact money, just like an email on the internet without an intermediary third party bank, would lead to the creation of the entire new layer over the internet that had applications like Etherium, and the other, you know, smart chain or smart contract applications, which is leading to an entirely new way of organizing our economy. It seems like that was like an OH SHIT, look what we’ve done moment. Like we’ve created something that we didn’t really realize the extent of it, we’re just trying to create digital money. And now look what we’ve done.

Perianne Boring 14:40
Yeah, I don’t think anybody could have predicted where we are today, or is going to be able to predict where we’re going to be 10, 20 years from now. And I would argue it’d be the same same thing with the Internet. The Internet was created in the 70s by DARPA, a government agency, and it was built to be a peer to peer communication system and then several years later, I want to say several decades later, but you know, over time you had the Clinton and Gore administration set in motion, a set of policies to help the private sector commercialize this technology which became the internet. And nobody could have predicted how the Internet has completely revolutionized entire industries, from communications to media, and so many other things. Marc Andreessen, the co inventor, or the co founder of Netscape, he has said that he believes blockchain technology is just as important of an invasion as the internet itself. So buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride.

Mark Divine 15:44
Yeah, and we’re really in the early stages. Still, we’re kind of like, pre Netscape and Mozilla, aren’t we? Well, I want to come back to your reference to Al Gore and related to the recent Biden presidential order. But before we get there, tell us about the mission of the Digital Chamber of Commerce, or the Chamber of Digital Commerce shoot, I got it wrong again, and the impact that you hope to have and you know what it’s like to testify before Congress, when there’s so much, you know, ignorance around what it is, and so much misinformation and myths floating around, that’s gotta be really frustrating. I don’t, you got to have a pretty thick skin to, to do what you do.

Perianne Boring 16:18
At this point, it’s just become a part of life for me. So we founded the Chamber of Digital Commerce in 2014. So we’re celebrating our eighth year anniversary this summer. And the industry looked really different back then, we’ve just seen it grown so much, from 2014, to where we are today in 2022. But I’ll just kind of maybe share some of the early things that happened that led us to starting the Chamber of Digital Commerce. I was a big believer in Bitcoin. I am a big believer in this technology. And I really want to see it be successful. I think it has incredible benefits to our economy and financial inclusion and financial stability and help build a more sound and stable financial system potentially.

But there is a lot of misinformation. There is a lot of disinformation, I would argue there’s probably intentional disinformation that’s still very prevalent out there today. And we saw that in 2013, as well. So in 2013, there were two pretty big things that happened. And I call 2013 the breakout year for bitcoins, that’s kind of when it went from this crazy, weird virtual currency that not a lot of people knew about to being on the international headlines.

So the first thing that happened was Cyprus, the country of Cyprus, was going through a bailout with the European Union. And one thing I learned in all my economics courses at the University of Florida is when they developed in the design, the economic union, or the European Union, they knew there were significant flaws in it, and there was going to constantly be issues of countries having to kind of negotiate their standing. So we’ve seen that over and over again. So 2013, it was Cyprus’ year to have those tough conversations. And there was a lot of economic uncertainty for the people of Cyprus. And one of the things that people thought was, maybe they would leave the EU, and maybe they would go back to their own native currency, which probably, you know, could have led to some financial challenges for people who hopefully, you know, who are there.

So people started buying Bitcoin. And that’s when Bitcoin had its first international kind of coverage of people of Cyprus or buying Bitcoin during this moment of economic uncertainty. And I actually had the opportunity to meet with and interview the finance minister of Cyprus and ask him about this. And it was just absolutely fascinating to see, for the first time, Bitcoin being used in a real world instance as an alternative system. And so that was really exciting to see. Eventually, Cyprus figured out what they were going to do, they didn’t leave the EU and, you know, life moved on. But it really solidified that this really could be something important. Two following things happened right after that. So after that, the Silk Road exchange collapsed. So for those who aren’t familiar with Silk Road, Silk Road was one of the first crypto exchanges, it was based in Japan. And in 2013, 70% of Bitcoin transaction volume was happening on this one exchange. Unfortunately, it was grossly mismanaged and it’s still debated exactly what happened, but they’re now bankrupt, and hundreds of millions of dollars of customers’ Bitcoin was gone. And it was the largest bankruptcy in the history of the country of Japan. And that led to a huge backlash from the regulatory community of oh my gosh, we’ve got to regulate this thing.

Mark Divine 19:46
Wasn’t a lot of their commerce you know, what they would consider illicit like drugs and black market activity also?

Perianne Boring 19:52
So the other thing that happened that year was on Silk Road. So there was also this online marketplace.

Mark Divine 19:59
So you referring to the mount Gox being the bank, or that was a hack, or we’re mixing a mount Gox and Silk Road or am I mixing up…

Perianne Boring 20:06
So Mount Gox was an exchange that failed, and customer funds were gone. Well, it’s still debated exactly what happened, were they hacked, was it an inside job, whatever, it doesn’t matter. It was grossly mismanaged customers lost money, Mt. Gox. Holders still haven’t been made whole at this point. That’s been years later. So that was really like a consumer protection, financial kind of institution challenge. And that led to the state of New York issuing a bit license, which is a separate licensing regime for virtual currency companies in the state of New York.

And then you had Silk Road, was a online M\marketplace where people were buying and selling billions of dollars of illicit things, mostly drugs. I heard they also were selling Bibles; that never made it in the media, I didn’t see that. But people were buying and selling all sorts of stuff on Silk Road and lots of drugs. And the FBI took it down. Those two things between Mt. Gox and Silk Road were all over the news. And it was just huge black eyes to the industry, awful for the credibility of this technology. And people just at that point, believed that Bitcoin is just like a, it’s just funny money. It’s just money for illicit actors. And it’s very dangerous. And it’s not, there’s no real reason for this. And it needs to be shut down. And that’s what people thought, that’s what people largely thought in Washington, and you started to see the Washington kind of regulatory stuff get put in motion between the hearings on Capitol Hill, we had multiple regulations that came out, I talked about that license. Benson also issued their initial guidance in this space, the IRS came out and issued guidance in this space, you had warned the SEC was issuing warnings about how dangerous this technology is.

And so that was when we really came up with the concept of the chamber and we launched the chamber coming out of all of that. So you asked our mission, but we’re here to be a resource to public policymakers, to help them understand this technology, clear up any misinformation that may have come across their desk, and also help them build a legal framework that protects against things we all care about, like fraud and consumer protections and investor protections and anti money laundering and stuff like that, but also still allows for this technology to continue to be developed and innovated on by the private sector. So our mission is to promote the acceptance and use of digital assets and blockchain based technologies. We’ve been on that mission now for eight years, and we’ve made a lot of progress. But there’s still a lot of work to do. And the executive order that was issued by President Biden was certainly a milestone in the policy work for the industry.

Mark Divine 23:08
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Mark Divine
It’s been kind of up in the air as to whether the United States would be pro Bitcoin or suppress it or even some people thought maybe outlawed like China did, but talk about this new presidential order of Biden’s. Biden, you know, is he gonna go down in history as the the Al Gore of blockchain?

Perianne Boring 26:07
I that’s a little ambitious. But maybe, maybe I do think this certainly is a starting point, and is going to put in motion a coordinated federal framework for digital assets. So in the executive order itself, as well as press statements all around it, there are very clear statements about this is an important technology, it’s going to have profound impacts for the global economy. And the US needs to be a leader in this space. So that was really encouraging that first and foremost, let’s just make sure we fully understand this is important technology. And we need to ensure the US is at the forefront of developing and innovating this.

And then the next part is the regulatory frameworks. So it also directs a number of different agencies to look into different areas. So a number of studies are going to come out of this. But one of the biggest challenges the private sector is facing today is red tape and regulatory uncertainty. I know that this addresses a lot of industries and many other areas of the economy. But digital asset innovators have gone on for far too long without having legal clarity. Businesses who want to develop in a responsible way, they’re not going to build something if they don’t really understand what the rules to the road are. They’re going to take that overseas. And that’s what we’ve seen. Today, it’s estimated that up to 95%, of all digital asset transaction volume is happening overseas. But we know that a large majority of the intellectual capital, people creating and developing businesses and protocols and technology innovations using Blockchain technology, we know that’s coming from Americans, these are our friends, these are the companies that we represent. These are the people we work with here in the US, but they’re having to take that elsewhere, because they don’t have the clarity to operate here. And that is not okay. And so we’re hoping that this executive order will force all these different agencies to coordinate to ensure that businesses have very clear rules to the road to operate and develop here.

Mark Divine 28:15
That’s because of this uncertainty, and also, you know, the challenges or the risk that incumbent industries, you know, see to their future. So because of those, what are some of the biggest myths and misinformation that you have to fight against?

Perianne Boring 28:30
Wow, there’s so many of them. Well, around Ukraine, the big one we’ve been battling the past couple of weeks is sanctions. And I for some reason, there’s just this weird narrative that Oh, Russia and Russian oligarchs are flocking to crypto to evade our sanctions. And one, there is no evidence of that, and two, there is nothing that would lead us to believe that that would ever be the case in the future. So for one, since Russia entered Crimea in 2014, they’ve been working to sanction-proof their economy. So they’ve been diversifying out of US dollar reserves and into all sorts of other things. Crypto was not a part of their like sanction proofing strategy at all. Two, even if they wanted to start using crypto for illicit finance, law enforcement has significant tools to track and trace the flow of funds of cryptocurrencies, more so than than probably anything else that’s out there today because of the nature of blockchains. The open source nature, every single transaction is recorded permanently in a public ledger. I mean, you would have to be kind of stupid if you were a criminal to use crypto because every move is recorded somewhere and then put out there publicly.

Mark Divine 29:53
It’s actually the most transparent. I mean, cash the least transparent, you know, compared to crypto. Yeah, that’s interesting.

Perianne Boring 29:59
This is not the currency of choice for illicit finance. It’s just not. And just to give you one more stat, so, money laundering globally, the UN estimates that it’s anywhere from two to 5% of GDP and the crypto economy, according to chain analysis, which is one of the leading blockchain analytics companies in 2021. They found that point zero 5% of transaction crypto transaction volume was linked to illicit activity. So money laundering the data shows us that that illicit finance using crypto is not common. And it’s also decreasing as a percentage and a portion of the Markets. So those narratives, they’re still really prevalent today. But they’re just not correct.

Mark Divine 30:46
Well, that’s interesting, you said is point zero 5% of crypto transactions. And crypto transactions are just a small percentage of GDP either. I mean, two to 5% of GDP greatly outweighs the totality of all crypto transactions, I’m willing to bet.

Perianne Boring 31:01
Yeah, it’s I, you know, I want to say in 20, you know, it’s somewhere between like 800 billion and 2 trillion. And .5%. So transaction volume in 2021, was, I want to say 15 trillion. So I mean, even if crypto didn’t exist at all? Just if you just took it off the table? We still have, we haven’t put a dent in addressing the actual illicit finance issues in the overall illicit finance markets. And then these exchanges, where you even, if you’re using crypto, if you wanted to use this for an illicit purpose, at some point, you got to cash it out. So you do that at, at the trading platforms at the exchanges, those are financial institutions, they are regulated by agencies like FinCEN. So you have, and they have robust compliance programs in play. So you’re gonna have issues if you’re trying to hide something, it’s gonna get stopped there. And we’ve seen seizures through these exchanges with partners with law enforcement over time.

And so you could say, well, okay, they’ll just go to an exchange that’s out of the US and it’s not regulated, those markets are tiny, itty bitty, they’re not large enough to put any type of meaningful amount of crypto through them. So there’s just not the liquidity there in the black markets to really pull anything off that would be worth their time to build or to execute.

And even you know, we’re following this Ukraine Russian situation so closely. But this narrative that Russia has been using crypto to evade sanctions has become so prevalent that even the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network put out a statement just on Monday saying that we are not seeing crypto used for sanctions evasion, while we’re still making sure everyone should be on alert need to be diligent, you know, compliance, obviously, to pay attention to this stuff. This is not where we’re seeing this is not where the issue is, it’s not a concern for us today. So it’s not just me saying that it’s also the regulators who are at the frontlines of this that are also saying that, so that is probably the biggest myth.

You know, another prevalent myth is this idea that Bitcoin uses a lot of energy, and that it is a significant contributor to climate change and emissions. That is also just simply not true. All industries use energy, you have to use energy to do anything and everything. But does it use a lot? No, I can pull up some numbers on this. And we know what the numbers are, again, because this is an open source technology. So we actually know exactly what usage looks like. So today, energy consumption for Bitcoin. So the amount of energy that’s used to mine Bitcoin is 189 terawatts. That is about point 1% of the world’s energy production. So again, if Bitcoin just went away, and you didn’t use any energy at all, for Bitcoin, we’ve only addressed point 1% of energy production.

Mark Divine 34:10
50 some odd percent of that is actually produced with the renewable energy.

Perianne Boring 34:13
Such a good point. Yes. So over 60% of the energy going to mine bitcoin is coming from sustainable sources. So you know, what’s even more important? You know, a part of the conversation is how this technology has the potential to lead the global transition to renewables. There is a huge well, it’s a big political well, especially in this administration, to adopt renewable energy. There’s a lot of challenges with that you have intermittent energy sources, you have to have an economic model to make these types of energy production sites viable, and we are seeing massive partnerships between public Bitcoin mining companies and some of the largest energy producers here in the United States who are partnering and driving investment and driving innovation into renewables. So we’ve been working really hard to help people understand, like, if you have concerns about climate change and energy, and what Bitcoin’s role is, make sure you really understand what’s happening in the renewable space. Because if that goes away, those investments, those innovations that are being made, are also going to go away. So there’s some really big benefits to energy conversations that are new, these are new developments, and certainly worth understanding better. And, you know, I think have the opportunity to help transition us to renewables in a more prolific way.

Mark Divine 35:48
That’s fascinating how these myths propagate. And and if you kind of hold up the contrasting flag, like to contrast to the Bitcoin narrative is, what is what is the energy that it takes to produce Fiat and run the fiat system? It’s enormous, right? And the entire Federal Reserve, all the banks, you know, all the printing of the trillions of dollars, all the ATMs. I mean, it’s, it’s unbelievable. And I know, I’ve seen a chart that said, the amount of energy that goes into that, and none of its renewable.

And then the second thing, then, you know, I’d love to hear your comments. This is electric vehicles, right? The battery production of lithium batteries is one of the most environmentally unfriendly, you know, catastrophic things that we have. And furthermore, even Elon Musk has recently said in the last six months, that with the growing demand for electric vehicles, we’re gonna have to double our energy production in the next five to 10 years, like double, I mean, literally 100% more, we’re talking Bitcoin takes point 1%. But EV cars are going to require 100% more electricity, and we just simply don’t have the means to produce that, especially not with renewables. So you don’t hear that in the narrative around, you know, this race to electrification of our auto grids. You know, and you don’t hear that kind of argument about how much energy non renewable energy goes into, to prop up the Fiat systems.

Perianne Boring 37:08
Yeah. So I mean, if you just compare emissions related to the energy used to mine Bitcoin, it is a small fraction of the emissions that are created to mining gold, a much larger change there with the amount of emissions related to what it takes to power our financial sector, and then also our military sector, eclipse everybody. So you know, if you’re looking to reduce emissions, you probably would want to start with larger contributors, as Bitcoin would not be considered one of the larger contributors today.

You know, and then the other thing would just on the renewable side, so I’ll kind of talk about why these partnerships are becoming strengthened between the renewable sector and proof of work mining. So renewable energy, you know, think of like wind and solar, these are intermittent energy sources. So when the grid has its highest energy demands is typically around the evening hour, when people get home from work, when they turn all their lights on, they’re cooking, they’re streaming their Netflix, doing laundry, whatever, that’s where you have large strings on the grid. But that’s typically not when the sun is shining. When the solar energy plants are collecting energy, they are getting their highest amount of energy sources in the middle of the day, when they don’t have as much demand on the grid. So for these renewable plants, just solar as an example, during the day, if that energy does not need to be fed to the grid, it can be fed into Bitcoin, they can take those energy sources and use that to mine Bitcoin. And that creates a new economic model to make renewable energy plants more viable. And it allows another customer for the renewable sources so they can build more plants and bring more renewable energy to other areas of the country.

Mark Divine 39:18
They get to hedge their energy sources, in a sense.

Perianne Boring 39:21
Yeah. And today, I don’t believe I’m not the energy expert. We do have great energy experts that work for us at the chamber. And we have, we represent a lot of mining companies. But my understanding from my conversations with them is that there’s not really any place today, any communities, cities, that are fully fueled using renewable sources because of these issues of intermittent energy sources. So there is a mix of renewable sources plus other like fossil fuels. So it’s going to take Investing in more plants around the country to be able to bring more renewable sources around the world.

And then just the other piece I wanted to highlight on the energy side is how Bitcoin mining is helping to secure grids. So just in the past couple of months in Texas, Texas had snowfall, which typically doesn’t happen there. But it put a lot of strain on the grid because Texas people have thin blood like me, I’m a Floridian. I don’t like the cold. So if there’s like one inch of snow, I’m going to turn the heater on. And if the grid has too much demand on it, the energy operators have to make some very tough decisions. You either overload the grid and break it, which you know, would not be good. Or you have to start shutting people’s power off, which is when you have blackouts. And so the problem with that is people can get very hurt during blackouts, you know, what if a hospital gets cut off, and critical systems are not accessible even for a few minutes. And so just shutting off power, just indiscriminately like that can be incredibly disruptive.

But in the state of Texas, there’s Bitcoin miners who can, with the click of just a couple buttons, can turn their equipment on and off. And so there’s Bitcoin mining companies that have agreements with the state of Texas. And when they say, Hey, we’ve got too much demand on the grid, you got to power down, they do. They have contracts and agreements in place to do that. And they’re also compensated for that. And so we’re starting to see a case where you also have this flexible client or user of the energy who can power up and power down without disturbing their systems or harming their infrastructure and all energy and infrastructure can do that. And it’s helping stabilize the grid, at least in that one instance. So that’s also something I think that’s really important as where you see a lot of criticism about the energy use. Well, okay, we can criticize anything, but let’s make sure we’re also talking about potential benefits so we don’t inadvertently squash something that actually could help us in the long run.

Mark Divine 42:24
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Mark Divine
It’s nice to see pushback against the myths and the misinformation, we’ve got to have more of that. Because people, I think most people really understand the magnitude of what blockchain and Bitcoin and, you know, this new economy means it’s not, it’s not just the economic implications, in my view, it’s also like a philosophy of living. And I know this, for some people, you know, they might not kind of latch on to this. But when we can go back to hard money standard, and governments can’t just wantonly print money, then I think, historically, you would, we would see a lessening or a retraction in the industries propped by that fiat money that do a lot of damage, such as the military industrial complex.

And so one view of the future is that a Bitcoin standard will greatly reduce the cycle of violence. What’s your view on that? That’s a very positive view of the future for me, you know, I’m railing against the, you know, the cycle of violence, you know, we invest in violence and it just attracts more violence. And now we’re seeing the outcome that of that, at a global level over the past 100 years with, you know, two world wars, and one that could potentially be brewing and how do we end it? Bitcoin can be one of the answers.

Perianne Boring 46:17
Yeah, so I maybe just kind of walking through one kind of thought process. So I mean, it takes a lot of money to fund war. And how do governments fund war today? Well, I think if you went around to, I don’t know, probably the people of Russia and ask them, Hey, will you fund this war in Ukraine, I don’t know how much funds they would actually raise doing that. Or we’re going to levy a new tax or war tax. So we can fund this effort to denazify Ukraine. It may get a lot of push back. So what governments can do to fund things like war, but other things, too, is inflation. Inflation is a hidden tax, you just print more money. And they don’t have to ask permission to do that. People may not really understand, although I think more people are starting to understand how the monetary system works and probably don’t agree with it. But it provides a new way for governments to fund the things they want to fund by separating money and state, which, by the way, that’s what are what was designed in the US Constitution, it does not give the powers that be the ability to tax us in this kind of hidden way to use those funds to do things that people may not agree with. Our founding fathers understood the importance of having a sound monetary system, they outlined a gold standard. And Congress did away with that about 100 years ago, and this is the aftermath of those decisions that we’re experiencing today. And I think we’re coming back to, you know, what our original principles were of having a sound monetary system, and I think Bitcoin, you know, potentially could be the path to get there.

Mark Divine 48:10
Right. What do you know, I asked you, or when before we started, that wanted to talk about what the world looked like in 2030. But let’s take a shorter view. You know, people are curious about the price of Bitcoin, you know, a lot of people, a lot of younger people believe in it and invest in it, and others are kind of like sitting on the sidelines because of the volatility or because they think Oh, my God, I missed the boat, right? Because bitcoin is around 40,000, 42,000 today. That’s a lot for a Bitcoin. But you know, first of all, you don’t have to buy a Bitcoin, you can literally buy, you know, one 100,000,000th of a Bitcoin.

What do you see in terms of businesses, putting some of their reserves, you know, pension funds, mutual funds, in even nation states, you know, starting to park money into Bitcoin as a hedge against or as a, you know, as an allocation of their reserves and what that will do for the price, because Bitcoin is capped at 21 million. And I think, you know, 18 of those have been mined already.

Perianne Boring 49:06
Yeah, this is economics 101. So if, in your economy, if supply is fixed, and demand increases, what happens?

Mark Divine 49:16
Price goes up, the opposite of the inflationary argument, right? Whereas supply keeps, yeah, which price goes down equals inflation? And, you know, we’ve got numbers around eight to 10%. And that’s official numbers, which means that in 10 years, the value of the dollar will be 10 cents.

Perianne Boring 49:32
Yeah, you can’t trust the CPI. I did a study of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it’s definitely a skewed standard as to how they measure inflation today. I mean, we can even just kind of point to what the Fed has described Bitcoin as in 2018, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis issued a cryptocurrency report and they said bitcoin is best used as a diversification tool for investment purposes because it is a non correlated asset.

So it is still early days, we are while the price of Bitcoin today while we’re recording, it’s just hovering over $40,000. We are still in incredibly early days, the real world application that we’re seeing develop and what was articulated in that report by the Fed is that Bitcoin is a store of value. So it is playing the role gold has played in portfolios for many decades, if not longer, and the Fed Chairman himself, Jerome Powell has compared Bitcoin to gold, or digital gold in congressional testimony. So there’s a lot of advancements of Bitcoin on top of what gold has played in our financial system for many, many years, it’s more appropriate for a 21st century store of value tool for a store of value. Because we’re now operating in digital worlds, and we need to transact in a digital way. Plus, carrying a bunch of bars of gold around is kind of difficult to do, especially if you’re having to relocate or evacuate, it is not too late to get in if you want to, this is not investment advice. Just my own opinion. But I still think we are in incredibly early days. And I still think there’s a lot of opportunity.

Mark Divine 51:20
Yeah, I had a conversation with Brian Estes, a mutual friend. And I asked him this question. And he said their models which correlated 95% accuracy historically show the price of Bitcoin itself, not anything else. But Bitcoin being over a million dollars by 2025 2026, and 10 million by 2030, which is pretty extraordinary. Now, we don’t know what the value of the dollar will be.

Perianne Boring 51:43
That’s a real question you have. Yeah, so we have a number of different models to value Bitcoin, you can just use trendline analysis, you can use met class law, which is what we use to measure networks, you can use stock to flow, you can also track that, measuring it with the price of gold. And there are a number of valuation models that put Bitcoin over a million dollars by 2029, when adoption is estimated to be at over 90%. So these are just models, again, not financial advice, but because there is that fixed supply. And again, as suppliers specs and demand increases, we can only assume the adoption is going to continue to increase, the network’s going to become more valuable. So there’s certainly opportunities there. But once everybody, once you get to mass adoption, those investment opportunities aren’t the same. So I do think today, there is a lot of opportunity, but there is a lot of risk. So you have to understand what your own risks are. And I certainly think it’s important to really understand these economics before just jumping in.

Mark Divine 52:55
Where we are today, especially with guidance from the Biden administration, the biggest risk seems to be regulatory. What would the other biggest risks, you know, are big risks, you know, appear to you?

Perianne Boring 53:06
On the regulatory side? I mean, I’m incredibly optimistic. I mean, I’m pretty much all in at this point. I don’t think there’s any stopping this. And I first learned about Bitcoin in 2011. So I’ve been, I’ve been working full time in this space for almost a decade, have gone through a lot of those mental and emotional cycles to get to where I am to where my level of conviction is today, on the regulatory front. I mean, I think we already won the regulatory battles, it has already been decided that we’re going to allow this technology to thrive in the United States, there is absolutely no efforts or indication or even a legal path forward to just flat out come and ban this stuff. The conversations that are happening on the regulatory front, these are negotiations that are happening between the industry and the regulators on what regulatory frameworks look like. I mean, we’re pretty deep into the nitty gritty of how companies have to comply with different types of laws to operate companies in the space. They’re building partnerships to make sure law enforcement has what they need to be able to track funds and protect consumers and those types of things. So I think there certainly will be winners and losers in those conversations. But I think those are winners and losers between different companies and platforms in the space, not the technology itself. I’m very optimistic and very bullish. And I also think what we’ve just seen over the past month between what’s happening in Ukraine, and then what we saw in Canada just before that has just really solidified I think, for a lot of people, how important it is to have an alternative monetary system and to have a safe store of value. And I think that’s what Bitcoin represents. And I think the case for this technology has been made and we’re seeing that play out on the global stage right now.

Mark Divine 54:58
Last question, I’ll let you go. What do you think the most promising other blockchain platform technology is or who will be the winner? Is it Etherium, is it Solana, is it Polka Dot?

Perianne Boring 55:10
Yeah, so you mentioned smart contracts platform. So it is really important to understand that what Bitcoin, what proof of work is, and smart contracts platforms are two completely different things. So, again, we kind of talked about Bitcoin being that store of value. That’s one application. Smart contracts are platforms. And these are if this, then that statements that allow us to build things like decentralized applications, the smart contracts, protocols, there’s a lot of innovation in that space, I absolutely believe we will see a proliferation of smart contracts make its way into our financial system, and the insurance industry and other industries.

But in terms of like, who would be the dominant player in smart contracts, or what’s going to be the dominant platform, I just think it’s too early to tell, I don’t think we know who the winner is going to be quite yet. Of course, Etherium was the first, the first out the gate, and they’re in the process of transitioning from proof of work to proof of stake, where there’s a lot of fierce competition between the Solanas and the avalanches and polka dots, and others of the world. So I think the jury is out on that. But it’s really important that innovation is allowed to thrive in those ecosystems, because there is a, you know, a lot of promise in what smart contracts provide and will provide.

The other thing that’s really important is stable coins. So there has been a lot of scrutiny of stable coins just over the past year, especially in Washington. But stable coins represent a large amount of crypto activity. So a large percentage of transactions happening on crypto exchanges today are being facilitated using stable coins. So I would consider them critical infrastructure in the crypto economy. And in terms of the winner, again, I think it’s too early to know who would be the winner of a stable coin today. But a big part of that conversation is going to be CBDCs, or central bank, digital currencies. And if central banks issue their own digital dollars, or if the Fed was to issue a digital dollar, I do think that that could potentially, you know, could add some kind of competition to what were happening in the stable coin space. There’s been a lot of regulatory scrutiny about stable coins. But I think it’s really important that we get that correct. Because this is a global marketplace. There’s a lot of jurisdictions that want to lead. I think it’s important for the US to play that role. And we want to make sure we’re leveraging what’s happening in the private sector to ensure we stay at the forefront of this technology ecosystem.

Mark Divine 57:53
Yeah, China has been, you know, they’ve had a digital stable coin in process for over five years, the digital won, and it was used during the Olympics. And the use case keeps expanding over there. And it’s interesting that they’ve banned Bitcoin for their populace, whether they hold it, they probably hold it as, you know, as a country, but it banned their populace from owning it and mining it, which is really interesting, which makes sense for a centralized communist country like that.

Perianne Boring 58:16
I testified in the US Senate during the Olympics, and was asked about this. And, you know, I think the irony should not have been left on us that the US had a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics due to the way they’re treating different citizens and censorship issues. At the same time China rolled out the digital Yuan, at the Olympics, which is a payment system, what is a surveillance system that is being disguised as a payment system, a surveillance system… Sorry, a surveillance system disguised as a payment system that will be used to control an entire civilization. And so that’s probably the topic for our next podcast, because that deserves its own conversation. I mean, just like drop a bomb at the very end here. But that is one of the biggest things that keeps me up at night is what’s happening in China. And I think that is why I am so passionate about ensuring that the US is leading in this space to make sure that the technology that we use for financial services is being developed with democratic values here that we have in the United States and in the West.

Mark Divine 59:39
I agree. And you’re right, that would be the subject of a whole different type of podcast. The World Economic Forum plus China equals what, right? At any rate, Perianne, thanks so much. This is fascinating. It’s such an important, this is really why I wanted to have the conversation. And I want to really dive into this technology more because I think it’s time to start talking about it more and more, because it’s going to affect everybody, you know, sooner than they know. So I appreciate your time. I appreciate the work you’re doing with the Chamber of Digital Commerce. You know, it would work just fine. It was the Digital Chamber of Commerce too, I think. But maybe that says something different.

Perianne Boring 1:00:15
Thanks so much for having me. Really appreciate the conversation. Look forward to coming back.

Mark Divine 1:00:19
Thank you very much. And oh, by the way, how can people find more about the chamber? What’s the website and where can people reach out to you?

Perianne Boring 1:00:25
So our website is digitalchamber.org. And you can follow us on Twitter at DigitalChamber. And you can follow me on Twitter at perrianneDC.

Mark Divine 1:00:37
Awesome. Thanks, Perianne. Appreciate you very much.

What a great episode with Perianne boring founder and CEO of the Chamber of Digital Commerce. Now this is a topic that continues to fascinate me, Blockchain Bitcoins, Satoshi Nakamoto, the myths and lies about blockchain and the Bitcoin industry, including the myths around energy use and environmental impact. Also the myths that it can be used to avoid sanctions by Russia. I mean, there’s all sorts of things we talked about in this episode that are really fascinating to talk about, President Biden’s new presidential order, which will provide regulatory clarity. So it’s a good day for Bitcoin, that happened the day that this podcast recorded. This is a really, really important technology, everybody needs to understand it and be involved at some level because it will form the underpinnings of a new economy, which is emerging in and around the old economy and eventually may be in the rubble of the old economy. And you don’t want to be left behind. Bitcoin and the digital currency economy, decentralized applications will bank the 1.7 billion unbanked someday, so it’ll go a long way toward eliminating poverty and reducing violence.

Show notes and transcripts are up at Mark Divine.com, video up on our YouTube channel. You can reach out to me with ideas and comments at Twitter at Mark Divine and on Instagram and Facebook at real Mark Divine. And you can find me on my LinkedIn page.

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Shout out to my amazing team, Amy Jurkowitz, Geoff Haskell, Jeff Torres, Jason Sanderson and Melinda Hershey who bring this podcast to you every week with these incredible guests. It’s very helpful if you review and rate the show, let’s shoot for 500 5 star ratings this year at Apple. So go ahead and rate and review if you have time. And if you appreciate the show and refer it to your friends.

The world is changing fast. This podcast is a testament to that it’s challenging, chaotic, complex. We need to be aware and we need to develop ourselves and our minds to be able to navigate this exponential age. We will help you do that. You’ve got to do the work though. So I appreciate you doing the work. Together, we can scale our evolutionary consciousness and bring more positivity, compassion and courage into the world. It starts with you. Appreciate you doing the work and appreciate your support. Till next week, this is Mark Divine. Hoo-yah, stay focused.

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