Andreas Antonopoulos is always on the move. He gets so many tweets that most end up ignored. Between his educational speaking engagements all over the globe, to his updates on his popular book on Bitcoin, to his new business venture launching this week, the man has little time to waste. I knew about his business launch, and how important tomorrow is, so my timing was key. The magic words to use weren't hard to find.
Just wish I had shaved.
"Yeah…..Ummm……lets do it in a few minutes."
Grab my Norelco and a clean button-up shirt, expecting to share a video feed. I have written out ten questions already, with another ten nestled inside of each. Ten times ten is a thousand, right? Have to move this table, hit the mouthwash, putting on pants would be nice. Top of the morning to ya!
Video? Andreas Antonopoulos doesn't need any stinkin' video!
His video feed isn't working. He has had some security issues since becoming a major Bitcoin celebrity, so he may have disabled it. He's in a secret location, one time zone from me, but a time zone close to my heart. I know what he looks like, but he doesn't know me, just that I work for CCN. The audio feed will have to do. He has more than enough videos of himself floating through the ether.
After I run some sound checks, we begin with some easy softball questions, more out of my curiosity, and to try to bond a little bit. He says his favorite movie is "The Matrix", and the rest of the franchise fell off dramatically after the original, in his opinion. Considering the fact that he travels so much, I reckon he has a favorite city to visit or work in. His answer is more philosophical:
Evander Smart: You have traveled the world so much as a Bitcoin educator. Is there a city that stands out to you as a favorite to visit or work in?
Andreas Antonopoulos: "My favorite city is the one I haven't been to yet. That's the essence of travel for me. Every time I travel somewhere, I put a little pin on my map (which you can see on his Twitter). When I have the opportunity to pick my destination, I choose somewhere I've never been before. I'm currently at 34 countries and 364 cities, and counting. I am an avid traveler, so if I have any extra money, I'll spend it on travel."
He does live in the United States but would like to spend some time living amongst other cultures, namely Latin America and Asia. Travel and moving from place to place is in his blood.
"If a shark stops swimming, it dies," he crisply surmises.
I look more into if he follows the Bitcoin news space avidly. Does he read through the latest articles on CryptoCoinsNews like a stockbroker reads the Wall Street Journal Monday morning? Or is he just a ramblin' man trying to keep up with his busy seminar schedule? It turns out to be the latter. He would like to follow the daily news of it all, but he says his schedule doesn't allow it.
What may be largely unknown is the price Andreas pays for his Bitcoin fame. He had no idea that he would become famous, in a way, by speaking about Bitcoin so passionately. That was certainly not his goal. He speaks of his lofty Bitcoin status of popularity as "a sharp double-edged sword." There are times when he has questioned if his work in this field is worth what he has given up, personally.
"On more than one occasion I have thought about pulling back from the public eye. Because of some of the negative things that come with this publicity, it has forced me to live a very careful lifestyle because there are many security risks involved with doing this. I've considered pulling back many times, but what I do in this community, in this space, is important. I don't want to stop talking about this great thing I believe in."
He wasn't fishing for a compliment, but I thank him for his work and let him know how much I appreciate all he does for the Bitcoin community. He definitely inspires me to help people learn about Bitcoin in a less technical way and a more philosophical manner, and I have quoted Andreas many, many times. He told me in one of his many speeches about the "Red Flag Laws" from 150 years ago in England. It is a great parallel with where we are in Bitcoin adoption now.
Britain outlawed the early automobile through regulation. The Germans and the Americans have been thanking them ever since for their lack of foresight.
Briefly, the "Locomotive Laws" of the 1860's and 1870's in England made regulations against the very early automobile so onerous and condemning, that the U.K. literally drove the burgeoning auto industry out of England. Cars in England were treated like invading vehicles of death. A scourge of the streets that the common man should fear, and be warned of hundreds of feet in advance. The automobile was pushed into the welcoming arms of Germany and the United States. That only costs them trillion of dollars over the next century. Bitcoin is in a similar developmental period with national regulations, and the ability for nations to take a leadership position as Bitcoin incubators, not banning it out of fear and ignorance. Bitcoin is at the same critical crossroads and may change the next century of economics, like the automobile, or the locomotive in 1860's English parlance, did for freedom and travel. The Bitcoin space has very few people who can break Bitcoin down to that level to connect with new users. Andreas is the best among them.
Having watched him in recent speeches in Australia, Andreas has started to work jokes into the beginning of his speeches, which are normally around thirty minutes. The speech is followed by a Q & A session that is anywhere from thirty to sixty minutes. I bring this up that he works the crowd like a stand-up comic, walking back and forth like Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy. Personally, I just assumed he had a "gift of gab," and knew how to work the stage as a part of his personality. He assures me that he has few natural public speaking skills, and it is much more calculated than that. Rome wasn't built in a day.
"Stand-up comedy is one of the passions of mine. I love stand-up comedy. I've taken some Improv classes, as a professional public speaker well before I got into bitcoin, I found taking comedy improv classes very useful. I get a lot of influence from stand-up comedy. It's a wonderful art form. Every time I speak, I try out 'new material', and try it out with the audience. There's no innate talent here. This is a totally acquired skill through years of practice."