Dhruv Bansal on social group methods and Bitcoin


This interview with Dhruv Bansal was conducted by myself to gain valuable insight into the more visionary spirit of bitcoiners, and I believe my mission has been accomplished. Bansal’s answers are deep and thought-provoking and give us some insight into his thoughts on Bitcoin in general. Check out his talk at Bitcoin 2021 here after reading the edited transcript of our interview below.

Casey Carrillo: Hi everyone, I have Dhruv Bansal, Co-Founder and CSO at Unchained Capital.

I was fortunate to have a question and answer email with Mr Bansal and we agreed to sit down here at Bitcoin 2021 where I had the pleasure of finally meeting him in person. Welcome to Bitcoin 2021 and I hope you enjoy your time here.

Dhruv Bansal: Thanks Casey, it looks like I’m a little overwhelmed, it looks like a huge conference.

Carrillo: Absolutely. So, get started right away: In your previous article, you mentioned that you’d be excited to see the Bitcoin-inspired discoveries that other scientists are making in their respective fields. What do you think gives Bitcoin this ability to inspire different mindsets?

Bansale: I think every time humanity discovers a new principle of organization, governance, construction, or materials science, it affects everything. I think that is true of ideas of evolution and ideas of computation. I think that’s what we see with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is interdisciplinary. One of the things it does is it distributes decision making, order matching, reality and truth in a way that we have never seen before, which gives Bitcoin a lot of strength and resilience and makes it unique. I would like to see scientists and researchers of all stripes apply these thoughts and methods to other types of systems. My conversation with Ryan tries to apply some of this mindset to things like the internet, other networks, and civilization. But I think Bitcoin can go beyond that: it can teach us how to deal with systems that don’t have a particular state at a given point in time, but eventually become consistent. We know this pretty well from databases, but to see that not only does it affect a database in an esoteric programming context, but to see ordinary people talk about terms of forks and eventual consistency is really powerful. I love to see that learning affects humanity as a whole and enables us to be better informed about the tradeoffs and rules of distributed systems.

Carrillo: I find your business, Unchained Capital, extremely interesting. What is your personal take on the macroeconomic conditions surrounding the Bitcoin price spike and do you think the conditions we are in right now will continue?

Bansale: That’s an interesting question – and I’m certainly not an economist or someone you should be looking for macroeconomic commentary – but what I want to mention is that, like many bitcoiners, I expected the price to go up enormously in 2021. Why? History, stock-to-flow, four-year cycles. It feels a little silly to say that it will happen again just because it happened four years ago, but I’ve admitted to myself that I believe such a thing. And here we are: it happens again and it happens. Well, honestly, it’s not just because it was four years ago. It happens for real reasons. Most Bitcoin buyers probably don’t care that there was a halving four years ago or that we had a halving last year. It is so curious for me to believe the price would go up, watch things like the COVID pandemic, drive things like money printing crazy last year and watch people pay attention to it and connect it to Bitcoin bring. Lo and behold, the price began to rise. And as much as I expected it to be, I was still shocked to understand why it was so. Obviously nobody expected the COVID pandemic. There are probably other reasons I could single out if I were more of a macroeconomic thinker. For me that was the most interesting part of this whole process of knowing it was going to happen but not really knowing why and then seeing the why and understanding the point behind why it happened.

Carrillo: On the basis of this, one can assume that these conditions determine the price in the short term. Do you personally think that these things are irrelevant to Bitcoin in the long run and we are experiencing some kind of water flowing down a mountain, some kind of inevitability?

Bansale: I think that’s a nice way of putting it. I mean yeah, that’s something Ryan and I talked about: Bitcoin has already won. And I’m not saying there is no risk or no concern and we should all just hold back and not try to work hard to make this asset class better, richer, stronger and more resilient. We should do these things. But essentially, I think it’s already won. That in your words it is like we will just go downhill in the next fifty years as Bitcoin takes over every aspect of society and influences it in meaningful ways. Even so, even downhill running water has to deal with obstacles, boulders, whatever you want. And there are many of them. So I think if we see the 50% drop in prices it will have a huge impact on my business, it will affect so many people here [Bitcoin 2021], and when I see that I kind of think, “Well, we’re still rolling downhill, aren’t we?” We’re going to be right back at $ 60,000 in a couple of months, after that we may be over $ 100,000. I am still very optimistic. Of course, I could be wrong and it’s not going to work that way, but hopefully it continues to do on the largest scale what I think the price will go up tremendously over the next few decades.

Carrillo: After doing this interview at Bitcoin 2021, I would like to ask you what you are looking forward to most at the conference.

Bansale: Oh that’s a simple answer. There are so many people here that part of me is concerned that there will be so much noise and chaos as we go through the conference and all of the events. But the excitement is that there are so many people here, so many of my friends and colleagues, people I have read and admired from afar over the past few years. And I meet them, have a drink, go for a walk with them. You know, the chance to really get involved and have some kind of conversation that can only be had in person is the great thing about conferences in general and that is going to be so great about this one especially for me.

I really appreciate that Mr. Bansal took the time to answer my questions at Bitcoin 2021. Thank you for reading and be sure to read his talk at the conference on YouTube.

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