I was interviewed today for Bitcoin.com about our recent announcement at Praxis to support Bitcoin Cash tuition payments. I’ve been a huge fan of their work for a long time and was excited when my friend Edward Kelso reached out to do the interview.
It was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had in one. Since we couldn’t use the full interview in the article, I’ve posted the conversation entire below with links. Enjoy!
Kelso: How did you first get involved with cryptocurrency?
Magill: I’d heard about it through my involvement with the libertarian club while I was a student at the University of Michigan. Before I dropped out, I actually co-hosted the inaugural public event for the College Crypto Currency Network with Jeremy Gardner and Daniel Bloch. Jeffrey Tucker came to speak and I still remember he said something like “governments and their ridiculous dinosaur monetary systems will die in the face of the peer to peer Bitcoin revolution.”
Stuff like that is what got me excited: the promise of a digital cash that wouldn’t lose value every year, that could not be censored, and that I could send nearly for free to anyone around the world that would eat the fiat monetary system. I never heard anyone anywhere talking about Bitcoin as purely a “store of value,” incidentally. It was money — the best in the world to ever exist.
Kelso: How did you end up finding Bitcoin Cash?
Magill: I became pretty disillusioned with Bitcoin and the community for a number of years despite holding it. The growing animosity towards anyone who thought “user experience” should factor into the discussion was concerning — though I myself am an idealogical person, I think it’s foolish to expect people to make decisions for any reason other than self interest. They’re going to choose the cash that is easiest, cheapest, and fastest for them to use and they should. When Bitcoin started getting more and more expensive and slow, I said goodbye and started looking for something else that would fulfill that original vision that got me excited in the first place.
I used Litecoin for a good while as a temporary solution, but Lightning Network has never excited me and I haven’t been able to get behind the idea that it is the “silver to Bitcoin’s gold.” We can do better than that, but at least it was faster and cheaper to use.
When Bitcoin Cash hard forked I confess it was mostly off my radar. The Bitcoin name was tainted in my mind then, but my good friend Steve Patterson, the author of What’s the Big Deal About Bitcoin?, did an interview with Yours.org founder Ryan X Charles that excited me about Bitcoin in a way I hadn’t felt for years. I’d stay up all night reading reddit forums, listening to YouTube videos and debates, and pretty soon I was sold.
I think Bitcoin Cash is the real Bitcoin, but personally I don’t care if that battle is ever won. I want decentralized digital cash that I can send anywhere in the world for next to no cost and that is also a store of value. Now I have it.
Kelso: You’re unusually active in the BCH space? What compels you?
Magill: I think government control of our money is the great battle. Everything else seems trivial in comparison. Take away their ability to tax and inflate and so much of their power to do evil things to good people is gone. I have enough of an understanding of sound economics to know that this won’t happen if Bitcoin is nothing but an expensive digital piggy bank. It needs to be spendable, daily cash as well.
There’s also a big element of simple financial self interest. I want Bitcoin Cash to enrich my life and anything I can do to help onboard new users is a win in my mind. I think there’s a lot of false selflessness in the Bitcoin space these days. There are a ton of accusations being thrown around about people who “are only in it to get rich.” If you’re argument can only work if you assume people will act for charitable reasons, I think you’re setting yourself up for failure. Everybody in crypto wants to get rich and that’s a good thing. My 85 year old grandpa who asked me to buy him some Bitcoin Cash wants to get rich, not save the world. We should want more of that, not less.
And frankly, it’s a lot of fun. I joked in a blog post recently that I fought in the great Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash Wars of 2017, but in a sense that is true. I love a good intellectual slugfest and I think if you look at history, ideas are moved forward exactly this way. I see this as all similar to the Federalist – Antifederalist debates. We need more people writing and speaking on this, amateurs and experts alike.
Kelso: How’d you hook up with Praxis?
Magill: My obsession with Praxis and what we’re doing is similar to my obsession with Bitcoin Cash. I want to be able to live as freely and as wealthy as possible and I want others to be able to do the same. Money plays a big role in that but so does education. I think the schooling system has cast us into somewhat of an intellectual and personal dark age.
Kids today graduate with no skills of note, no understanding of what they want or how to get it, they’re not well read, not well versed, and totally unequipped to live a free, fulfilling, successful life. Praxis was started because we wanted to offer something 10x better than this. Through Praxis a kid who is 18 or 19 can sidestep all the wasted time and debt they would accumulate in college and jump right into their career. They’ll learn on the job and get paid to do it. The best part is that by the time they would have graduated college, they’ll have 4 or 5 years of solid work experience and a professional portfolio that makes their degree status irrelevant. And yes, we do have some partners in the cryptocurrency space. BitPay is one of our top ones.
I got involved not long after Isaac Morehouse started it in 2013. I’d dropped out of college and was running a marketing business of my own working with clients in commercial real estate, apparel, firearms, and craft beer. I was experiencing first hand the life changing benefits of starting your career at a much earlier age than you’re traditionally told is possible but I also understood that there had been some challenges I’d had along the way that something like Praxis could help with. I couldn’t get the idea of Praxis out of my head and I reached out and pitched them on being a client of mine.
When we’d grown enough to bring on as an early employee, Isaac asked me to be the Director of Marketing. I’ve been there ever since. Last year was our best year ever and we’re tremendously excited for 2018.
Kelso: What do you think the BCH method of payment will do for Praxis.
Magill: We want to provide the best payment options available to our customers. We started accepting Bitcoin (core) in 2014 after some customers requested it. It was great, but by the end of 2015 nobody was using it. We’ve recently gotten a ton of interest in accepting it again though in the form of Bitcoin Cash because it is useable like core once was. Incidentally, we’ve seen dozens of our customers, ages 16-26, sign up for Yours.org accounts and start making their first transactions in Bitcoin Cash. These are people who were previously totally uninterested in cryptocurrency who are now using it daily. That’s telling.
What it will do for our business remains to be seen. Short term, it might just be a couple customers here and there who use it and we’re excited enough by that, but long term the ability to process payments at much lower fees will do wonders for us financially. And keep in mind too that we’re in the education business. I’d love to see more and more of our customers be inspired to learn about Bitcoin Cash and use it because we offer it as an option. I think it will be great for them personally and financially.