Main Show March 4, 2022

Why Authoritarians can go fuck themselves with @odell


Why Authoritarians can go fuck themselves with @odell



I speak to Matt Odell about privacy and why it’s more important now than ever. After listening please make sure to read the article bellow.

Thank you Foundation Devices for sponsoring the show. Use code BITBUYBIT at check out for $10 off your purchase

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(Edward Snowden)


At this stage I can offer nothing more than my word. I am a senior government employee in the Intelligence community. I hope you understand that contacting you is extremely high risk.

For now know that every border you cross, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cellphone tower you pass, every friend you keep, article you write, site you visit, subject line you type … is in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited


As Bitcoin matures into a teenager today, it’s never been more clear how valuable privacy is becoming to maintain free speech, liberty and open society. The anonymity surrounding its birth and absence of corruptible leadership are key aspects of its decentralisaton, distribution and universal dominance. As it grows to challenge failing fiat currencies, this protects against massive centralization risk and central points of failure. Smear campaigns, imprisonment, blackmail, coercion, maybe assassination would all be on the table if Satoshi hadn’t had such watertight OpSec. Things may have turned out very differently. 

It takes an insane amount of skill and self control to maintain that level of OpSec all these years with such a large bounty on your head. Satoshi’s anonymity is his second greatest gift.


As a public figure in the privacy space, I don’t say certain things publicly because I don’t want that to be on my permanent record, even though I strongly believe them.Matt Odell

We’re hitting a crossroads humanity has never experienced before. Never before have our lives been so digital, with governments and Tech oligopolies designed and incentivised to store and monetize our data. Looking at the history of Nation States and governments, they’ve always used information against internal opposition, cataloguing their enemies lives and any dirt they can find on them. 

Nazi surveillance was underpinned by one of the most sophisticated data collection and analysis systems of the time and possibly the first systematic use of ‘dataveillance’ by a Nation State.

The system was developed and operated by a company known as Dehomag, a subsidiary of IBM. They had a monopoly on data analysis for the German government in the years leading up to and during WWII. In 2022, Free and Open Society is once again under threat.

There’s been a crescendo of high profile data breaches with Facebook, Equifax & TransUnion recently losing data on hundreds of millions, if not a billion users. Rather than convincing people that they need privacy, it’s perhaps more productive to build out the privacy tools, education and support so it’s ready when people inevitably realise that need themselves. As hacks, leaks and oversteps from corporations and governments become more and more apparent, it’s inevitable that more and more will realise this need.


Snowden helped me realise how much we need open source tools and encryption.Matt Odell

So what’s the answer? In no small part it’s E2E encryption and free, open source software. Transparency of an apps code allows verification of how that code works, the presence of any tracking or privacy leaks. Of course not every user can verify this but independent privacy communities will. Open Source software isn’t owned by a single person. It can be shared, modified, improved and like a virus, is very hard to kill. Copies of the code can be shared to all corners of the world and reshared ad infinitum through any medium, encrypted or not. Free and open source software is a key aspect of Bitcoin acting as free and open source money. 

Blockstream satellites & mesh nets, with nodes on this network communicating directly without relying on centralised internet infrastructure.Matt Odell


No matter what happens, there’s going to be a period of darkness, we’re already decently into that. Vaccine passports are essentially movement licences and opting out of them will be a significant sacrifice but one everyone should make, regardless of their views on the vaccine. 

Bitcoin’s no good if you’re locked in a cage.Max Ungovernable Misfit

We’ll have to make trade-offs, perhaps live rurally, not attend the events we’d like to, and some of us even change our jobs and careers. We may well become outliers in our communities and amongst friends and family.  If we don’t make a stand, the authoritarianism will continue to get worse. As more and more people do stand up, we will hit that critical mass however.

I operate under the belief that we have to win. If we don’t, then us & our kids are going to be living in a growing dystopia that gets dark very quickly. We have no choice. Matt Odell


Freedom movements benefit from individual participants practising better privacy, but we must also bring more of those conversations into the real world. These movements gain a lot from having public individuals speaking out, at least until the moment they can’t like ‘canaries in the coal mine’.

Hong Kong did ultimately fall, but their most recent Freedom Movement was a lot stronger than their previous one, the Umbrella Movement, because it didn’t have official leadership. CCP crushed the Umbrella Movement by going after its official leaders. Later the movement turned into more of a Hydra forcing the CCP to go even more authoritarian by going after protest participants. 

If we’re afraid of talking about privacy & freedom publicly, then we’ve already slid way deeper into a pure authoritarian society.Matt Odell


People tend to get overwhelmed with the idea of private money independent of governments but it may not be that different from recent history in the 50s & 60s. People didn’t buy Amazon/Google wiretaps for their homes and the government wasn’t able to track all their transactions. They used cash and money was based on gold. 

This is the kind of world we see developing in a post Bitcoin world, with a digital element of course. It was an era before they fucked up the money, before everything moved to credit cards and digital payments, before people had internet connected cameras on their doorsteps and posted everything they did on centralised surveillance based Social Media.

We used to live in a relatively private world & it wasn’t Armageddon. Families were strong & people felt purpose. A lot of what we’re fighting for is to get back things that previous generations lost. Matt


Perhaps we can expect more just getting back what we’ve lost though. Bitcoin encryption, global encrypted communications, censorship resistant global money networks are fundamentally different than anything we’ve had before. It’s emergent properties could empower the individual like we’ve never seen before – a revival of sound culture based upon sound money. 

There’s likely to be a bifurcation of society, a completely surveilled group that goes headlong into the centralised Metaverse (the pod people) & those who opt out.Matt Odell

On the sovereignty side, private money and communications, 3D printing tech and tools that empower the individual and local communities will flourish. Small local communities halfway across the world might trade between one another because of the ability to communicate and send money privately, something that was never possible before.

The birth of the modern Nation State was basically a coordination issue where local communities couldn’t efficiently coordinate amongst each other and top down larger formations out competed them. In the ideal post Bitcoin world, local communities could compete and trade with each other without the interference of larger hierarchical governments. Will this herald a new radical high-tech localism?

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