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The fact that Jimmy Song and Samson Mow were in the same bill as Vitalik Buterin was interesting enough, but the actual panel was the equivalent of an atomic bomb blowing the stage up. What started as a discussion about the FTX collapse and saga, turned into a heated debate about bitcoin Vs. Ethereum pretty quickly. It was a spectacle. And Song and Mow ensembled into some kind of bitcoin killing machine right before our eyes.
Let’s start at the beginning, though.
Besides the already mentioned characters, Ripio’s Juan Llanos and Kraken’s Alejandro Palantzas completed the panel. The moderators were Rodolfo Andragnes and Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar, Co-founder of the Bitcoin Argentina NGO. At first, Llanos tried to explain the FTX saga in a polite way. It was a stressful situation and mistakes were made, he said. However, Samson Mow wasn’t having it. “The main problem is that they built their business on a sh*tcoin,” he said. Vitalik laughed. Everything was fine.
"The main problem is that they built their business on a shitcoin", explains @Excellion about #FTX's collapse at the main stage of @labitconf
Tell them, boss! #LABITCONF @JAN3com @BFXLeosESP pic.twitter.com/WIcvVSL0gU
— Javier ₿astardo @ (@criptobastardo) November 11, 2022
According to Mow, “this had nothing to do with regulators. FTX was deeply in bed with regulators,” which is a phenomenal point. Sam Bankman-Fried was the face of sucking up to the government to make the whole crypto industry more regulator-friendly. Where does that movement stand now? After that, Jimmy Song went even higher and said that yeah, all of that happened, but the real problem is the use of centralized services as custodians. As the old adage says: Not your keys, not your coins.
So far, so good. But there was already tension in the air…
Jimmy Song And Samson Mow Vs. Vitalik Buterin
Finally, it was Vitalik’s turn. He criticized Bankman-Fried’s megalomania and compared the FTX billboards and the stadium naming to the behavior of dictators from the last century. Vitalik explained how the FTT racket worked, and Samson Mow dropped the bomb. Mow said that a lot of what Vitalik was saying also applies to Ethereum and all hell broke loose.
The moderator, Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar, tried to keep things focused on FTX but he failed. The cat was out of the bag. Gutiérrez Zaldívar asked Samson Mow for the definition of “sh*tcoin” and the former Blockstream just described Ethereum and its functioning while Vitalik watched in disbelief. “The problem with sh*tcoins is that they pretend to be decentralized while they’re running on Amazon, mostly, and nobody can run a node.”
'Shitcoin' definition, by @Excellion @ @labitconf #LABITCONF @JAN3com pic.twitter.com/CYIeSKTcCA
— Javier ₿astardo @ (@criptobastardo) November 11, 2022
According to Jimmy Song, the FTX’s collapse real lesson was that people have to self-custody and verify their own transactions, period. Song criticized the Altcoin culture of trusting and not verifying. “You need to learn how to verify your own stuff, and if you don’t learn that lesson you’re all getting wrecked. It’s just a matter of time.”
Since it was two against one, Gutiérrez Zaldívar took it upon himself to protect Vitalik and Ethereum. He didn’t do a very good job. He gave Alejandro Palantzas the word and Palantzas said there’s a reason companies like Kraken and Coinbase are still in business 10 years later. They have resisted the temptation to print their own token or “sh*tcoin,” and “they didn’t do it because it’s morally wrong.” According to Palantzas, all the scammers in the space don’t understand what bitcoin really is. Bitcoin “is freedom, it’s liberty.”
BTC price chart for 11/16/2022 on Bitstamp | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
Mow Compares The Altcoin World To A Casino
When Samson Mow defined “sh*tcoins,” he said that they advertised themself as decentralized when they had an obvious issuer. Vitalik challenged him asking if Satoshi was bitcoin’s issuer. Mow responded that what Satoshi did was set up a number of rules that a lot of people followed, which is not the same as being a central issuer. Neither Mow nor Song stated the obvious, that Satoshi is not among us while Vitalik and other altcoin CEOs are. And their influence over the protocols they preside over is immense.
Vitalik had his biggest hit of the night while talking about making self-custody convenient to regular people. He went the crowd-pleasing route and said that the whole industry should work together to make that happen, and the public exploded. Mow said that, contrary to popular belief, self-custody was easy. People just have to follow the hardware wallet’s instructions. Jimmy Song went further and said that if people are unwilling to put in the effort and learn a few things, they don’t deserve “self-sovereign money.”
Also, Song went for the Ethereum creator’s throat by saying “I know you don’t want to hear this, I know you want to give your money to Vitalik.” To that, Vitalik replied that he doesn’t even trust Vitalik with his money, and explained the setup of his 4/6 multi-sig wallet. Which was funny, but evaded the real question. Is he at the center of Ethereum or not?
To end the awkward but extremely fun panel, Gutiérrez Zaldívar closed with his biggest hit of the night. He said that the open questions remain for everyone to think about, “because we don’t have the truth, we are only sharing our way of thinking.”
So, what do YOU think?
Featured Image: Song, Mow, and Buterin at LABITCONF, by Ed. Prospero | Charts by TradingView
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