Michael Terpin at ChainXChange: On Bitcoin, SIM Swaps, and More
One of the headliners at the 2018 ChainXChange Conference in Las Vegas was Mike Terpin, a crypto investor and recent victim of a multi-million dollar hack. In his keynote, Terpin discussed his bullish views on bitcoin, his pending case against AT&T regarding his “SIM swap” episode, and his philosophical beliefs about innovation in general.
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Terpin: Don’t Trust Krugman, I’ve Got the Truth
Michael Terpin, currently the CEO of Transform Group, has also founded BitAngels and Coin Agenda. In addition, he is a partner at bCommerce Labs and the Alphabit Fund.
Terpin kicked off his keynote talk with a snarky quip against Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman. Krugman, who spoke earlier at ChainXChange on the very same stage as Terpin, is a well known “nocoiner” who often criticizes Bitcoin and questions the relevance of blockchain technology.
Terpin referred to Paul Krugman’s talk as “representing fiction” and his own views as “the truth.” He then used this brief rebuke to segway into his discussion of how Bitcoin and blockchain are groundbreaking innovative technologies that suffer from the same oppressions that many great innovations have throughout history.
Bitcoin Is a ‘Great Innovation’
Terpin compared Bitcoin to other innovations from the past, such as automobiles. He explained that in the early days of automobiles there were entrenched special interests, like the Horseshoe Lobby, who had a vested interest in suppressing the nascent automotive industry.
To implement this suppression, vested groups lobbied for restrictive legislation like the Red Flag laws that were eventually adopted in the U.K. However, this legislation did not have the effect the Horseshoe Lobby was hoping for. Instead of limiting automotive innovation, it simply incentivized development to take place in the more permissive jurisdiction of the United States, causing the U.K. to fall behind technologically.
Terpin warned that a similar fate could now befall the United States if the country makes the mistake of over-regulating the blockchain space. To that end, he stated that “governments compete, people vote with their feet.”
He added that independent Caribbean nations and Malta are attracting businesses from the U.S. and E.U. because they have a more favorable regulatory environments in their smaller jurisdictions. However, all is not lost for America. Terpin gave credit to the U.S. state of Wyoming for offering regulatory clarity and for passing policies that are friendly and attractive to blockchain and crypto businesses.
Terpin Calls Out SEC, CBOE, Others
Terpin also took time to levy some serious criticisms against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Chicago Board Options Exchange.
He accused the SEC of being “guilty of throwing the biggest pieces of FUD I’ve ever seen since the beginning of shitstorms.” This is primarily a reference to the multiple delays encountered in getting approval for Bitcoin ETFs, as well as the SEC being too slow to clarify what a security is with respect to the crypto space.
Terpin also accused the CBOE of being responsible for the drastic fall of the Bitcoin price from its all-time-high of $20,000 USD. He pointed out that the bitcoin price started to potently fall once regulated options trading began under the authority of the CBOE.
On companies like JP Morgan and PayPal being rather cold toward bitcoin, Terpin commented:
“Banks are entrenched interests. That doesn’t mean they are bad guys, it just means they like things the way they are, and so, If they have the opportunity to go and kill things in the crib, they’ll do that.”
He conceded that these “entrenched interests” are not going anywhere and that it is better to find a middleground. In addition, he called out Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs for “speaking out of both sides of their mouth” on cryptocurrencies.
Terpin made sure to appeal to his base of anarcho-capitalists as well. He reiterated the traditional criticisms against the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve that have come to be popular among old-time Bitcoiners. He even claimed that the transition away from the Gold Standard to fiat currency was in order for the United States to avoid paying gold debts that were owed to Great Britain.
These last sentiments aren’t universally held in the cryptoverse, of course. Chris DeRose and Junseth were among the first old Bitcoiners to break away from the crypto-anarchist “party line” and have heavily criticized the calls for a return to the Gold Standard.
Telco Companies Have a Great Opportunity in Blockchain, If They Don’t Blow It
Terpin also used his keynote to call out telecom powerhouses as well, especially AT&T.
He explained that he was filing a $244 million dollar case against them and gave his explanation on why. He claimed to have been hacked twice.
The first hack, he said, was too small for law enforcement to worry about and too small to sue over. However, this past January the second hack happened, causing losses then worth $24 million dollars. He then said he had evidence showing that AT&T was grossly negligent in their security. He alleged that there are criminals hiring employees of AT&T to knowingly hand over sensitive information that leads to people’s accounts getting hacked.
Terpin didn’t completely dismiss the telcos in his talk, though.
He gave the telecommunication industry credit for being early adopters of internet technology and for bringing that innovation to every day consumers. He hopes that telcos can similarly embrace blockchain and offer such services to their customers. He also pointed out that they may be in a uniquely advantageous position to capitalize because they already have KYC information on their clients. Terpin suggested a smart course of action for these telcos would be to either buy existing crypto exchanges or at least partner with them.
There’s Always Time to Pump!
Of course, no crypto talk would be complete without the speaker pumping their favorite altcoin.
In this vein, Michael Terpin didn’t disappoint.
He concluded his presentation by plugging Skycoin and expressing the pleasure he got from working with the project. However, he did not delve into what Skycoin actually is or does.
What do you think about Michael Terpin’s talk? Are regulators doing a good job managing the blockchain space? Should telco service providers be held responsible for damages stemming from crypto-centric security breaches? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images and video via Ky Primo