“Die Dinge stehen so schlecht, dass in unserer Zeit nur ein Komödiant wirklich Sinn schöpfen kann aus einer Ökonomie, die auf dem Druck von Banknoten basiert”, schrieb vor einiger Zeit ein britischer Blogger. Diesen Comedian gibt es tatsächlich – nämlich Dominic Frisby. Zugleich ist Frisby – kein Scherz – aber auch Wirtschaftsjournalist. Perfekte Voraussetzung, um eins der ersten Sachbücher über Bitcoins überhaupt zu schreiben, und die Frage zu stellen: Sieht so die Zukunft des Geldes aus? “Bitcoins – The Future of Money?” ist gerade frisch erschienen, und auch aus einem anderen Grund ein echter Hingucker: publiziert wurde es nämlich vom Crowdpublishing-Verlag Unbound, der für die Pre-Order-Kampagne erstmals weltweit auch Bitcoin-Zahlungen zuließ. Anlässlich des Buch-Starts sprach ich mit dem Autor über Krypto-Währungen und die Zukunft des Crowdfundings. (Die deutsche Übersetzung des Interviews wie auch eine ausführlichere E-Book-Review findet man auf E-Book-News).
Ansgar Warner: It’s not unusual that authors get paid in advance for writing a book – but in your case you’ve been paid in advance by your readers. Via Unbound’s “Author’s shed” supporters could even look over your shoulder during the writing process. How much has crowdfunding changed the way you work?
Dominic Frisby: Completely. I’ve never had a book published by a conventional publisher, but I knew I had a following of people who liked my work. I was able to get my first book Life After The State funded quickly and I was away. I never had to wait around for somebody in a publishing to make a decision. It’s quite liberating.
I wrote two books in the 1990s (before the self-publishing revolution) and couldn’t get either of them published. That memory still lingers.
One very remarkable aspect of your crowdfunding campaign has been the possibility to pay with Bitcoins. How much might the future of crowdfunding be influenced by the rise of crypto currencies?
I think crowd-funding has taken off thanks to the cryptos. Loads of ventures have started because of it. Crypto crowdfunding is what sent the Jamaican bobsleigh team to the last winter Olympics, not to mention the Indian luge. On a charitable note, there have been sanitation projects in Africa and homeless projects in North America. Legitimate business ventures, artistic projects, loads of stuff. I helped crowd-fund the Bitcoin comic via Swarm and it was one of the simplest processes I’ve ever been through. Cryptos and crowd-funding go together like milk and coffee.
The concept of Bitcoins by itself is very abstract. But then there’s of course Satoshi Nakamoto – who gives people much to speculate and much to talk about. How important is he really for the success of Bitcoins?
Very. He made something work that people has been trying for 20 years and had all but given up on. He had incredible foresight, seemingly prepared for every eventuality. Knowing who he is is not really important now (but I do think I solve that particular puzzle in my book) but what he has achieved was a major watershed that will rank him alongside Tim Berners Lee in terms of the possibilities he has opened up for people.
Recently I heard someone making his point during a discussion on crypto currencies: “Well, so far, so good, but would you honestly recommend Bitcoins to your grandmother?” Quite a good question, I thought. What would you do!?
I would recommend she got a wallet, bought €20 worth of coins, got a friend to the same and practised sending each other small amounts of money. I would then suggest she went to a groovy cafe and bought a coffee with some coins. Would I suggest she speculate large amounts of money in Bitcoin? No. Bitcoin is in a bear market and the price could fall a lot further (it could also turn around and rally). She’s too old to be speculating in something that could easily fall by another 95%. People were too evangelical about Bitcoin and, as a speculator, that makes me nervous. I am massively bullish about the prospects of the tech behind Bitcoin – the block chain – I think it is going to change the world. But the Bitcoin price itself? I’m much more ambivalent about that.
Abb.: dominicfrisby.com (c)