Relai Bitcoin Session #2 with Lucas Betschart

Lucas Betschart was a guest today for our Relai Bitcoin Session. As President of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland, he works as an entrepreneur in Zug’s Crypto Valley, where he develops software products with his self-founded digital agency. You should not miss this session!

You can watch it on youtube

…or listen to it on podbean.

Summary

Lucas Betschart is the President of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland and works as an entrepreneur in the Crypto Valley of Zug, where he is developing software products with his self-founded digital agency. He got into Bitcoin in 2013 already (according to his bank statement) when he just bought some Bitcoin on Mt. Gox (one of the first Bitcoin exchanges that failed badly) to experiment with it. As a libertarian, Lucas sees Bitcoin primarily as a tool to obtain financial freedom and independence.

According to Lucas, not only from a price point of view Bitcoin will develop very positively in the near to mid future, but also from a technological point of view (scaling via Lightning), and from a finance/business point of view (traditional banks starting to offer Bitcoin investments and Bitcoin trading).

The secret of Bitcoin for Lucas is the fact that once people have really understood Bitcoin, they cannot go back and disregard it anymore. It’s also staggering and convincing to him that there are almost no valid critics against Bitcoin. Some people don’t understand Bitcoin and therefore bring up irrational/wrong arguments, but those who actually do understand Bitcoin mainly have a positive attitude towards it.

If Bitcoin were to fail, it would be because of regulation according to Lucas Betschart. States could ban & criminalize Bitcoin, which would harm its adoption. But to him, it seems highly unlikely that this can happen on a global scale at this stage. The Bitcoin network, ecosystem and economy is far too advanced already and countries are in competition to each other, which is why some of them will always be open for Bitcoin in order to profit from it.

Switzerland is called the “Crypto Nation” for a reason: Lucas sees innovation-friendly regulation and the willingness of local authorities to discuss with the startup community as the main points why Switzerland is so attractive for Bitcoin projects. The Swiss Financial Market Authority (FINMA) is building a real expertise in Bitcoin and is committed to fostering innovation in this area instead of over-regulating or blocking it.

“Which Bitcoin is the best one?” is not actually a question to Lucas Betschart, he says there is and will always be only one Bitcoin. All the copies of Bitcoin and all the other Cryptocurrencies won’t be able to beat Bitcoin in its use case of digital gold / sound money, because Bitcoin has the best properties and the best network effects among all of them. It doesn’t matter which additional cool features other cryptocurrencies have according to Lucas, because all those features can also be implemented for Bitcoin via different layers & technology stacks as well.

In order to reach mass adoption, Lucas thinks it is essential that easy & cheap tools to get access to Bitcoin (like the Relai App) exist. But it’s even more important to him that people start understanding how the old financial system works (money printing, inflation, negative interest rates) and why Bitcoin is superior (scarcity, independence, censorship resistance); in other words what problems Bitcoin solve. People start to be incentivized to buy Bitcoin more and more the more they understand what it can do for them and their personal finances as an alternative financial system and investment.

Lucas Betschart thinks improvements in scaling, like the Lightning Network, and usability, like Bitcoin debit cards, will also boost the payment use case of Bitcoin. Bitcoin could be broadly used as a payment method in the future as well, but for that to happen the volatility needs to continue to go down, and the fiat currencies need to continue to loose purchasing power. Nevertheless, Bitcoin is more a long-term savings technology and can be used as a hedge against the traditional financial system, like digital gold, says Lucas.

From a technical perspective, Lucas Betschart is excited about Segwit and Lightning, which will make Bitcoin more efficient, less expensive, and more scalable in the long run. Also, the number of companies and startups working on Bitcoin as well as Swiss core banking systems starting to implement Bitcoin technology are promising developments for Lucas. ICOs and sketchy projects were/are bad for the Swiss ecosystem, on the other hand, traditional companies and professionally financed/led startups are great for the ecosystem.
Around 70% of Lucas Betschart’s assets are allocated into Bitcoin. He only sells Bitcoin when he absolutely needs money and that strategy worked well for him, even though he admits he would have been better off working in a corporate job and Dollar Cost Average (DCA) into Bitcoin instead of working for startups on a low wage, he doesn’t regret it. He still believes in the long-term value and potential of Bitcoin, and he also really wants to believe in Bitcoin because he sees it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give freedom to the people.

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