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An open letter to Lex Fridman

Dear Lex,

I recently became a fan of your podcast ever since you started interviewing people involved in the cryptocurrency space. To be honest, as someone who usually can’t stand Bitcoin maximalists, I wasn’t expecting to like some of your guests. So I was surprised when I came away from your interviews of Anthony Pompliano and Nic Carter with a lot more respect for your subjects than I’d expected.

However, what surprised me even more was how much I enjoyed your non-crypto interviews. Your recent talks with Ryan Schiller and Ronald Sullivan were amazing. They made me reconsider things like the positive impact deep fakes could have on the future, or how some people can be the product of being faced with nothing but a “constellation of bad choices” as Mr. Sullivan so eloquently stated.

With that said, I am hoping to see you interview more people in crypto and was excited to hear you plan on doing exactly that. I sincerely believe you could be a great ambassador for this new technology, which brings me to the real reason why I’m writing you.

I have a humble request, and it’s that you interview someone who might not be very well known but may very well know more about Bitcoin than just about anybody else in the space. In your interview with Nick Carter he brought up the recently published book “The Blocksize Wars: The battle over who controls Bitcoin’s protocol rules” by Jonathan Bier. What follows is the opening paragraph of Chapter 19:

“On June 30, 2017 in Arnhem (The Netherlands), a large blocker conference was held called “The Future of Bitcoin Conference 2017”. Speakers included Jihan Wu, Andrew Stone from Bitcoin Unlimited, Craig Wright (who gave a long and rambling speech), and a little-known developer named Amaury Sechet. Amaury gave a speech entitled “Back to basics”, where he presented what he called “a small project that I have been working on”. He outlined plans for a new hardfork, with a blocksize limit increase and optional replay protection, to allow those that don’t want a blocksize increase to continue on their old chain. Amaury announced a new client, Bitcoin ABC, stating that this was an implementation of the plan Jihan had announced a few weeks ago, the UAHF.”

Considering your interest in the blocksize debate, I can’t help but ask why not talk to Amaury Sechet, the man who actually wrote the code to create the first successful fork of Bitcoin?

Before I continue, let me make it clear that I’m not some Bitcoin Cash maximalist trying to get his favorite developer more media attention. The fact is Amaury was ousted from the Bitcoin Cash project at the end of last year. And while I understand why you’re interested in the blocksize debates of 2015-2017, I think the more interesting story is what happened on November 15th, 2020.

Since you’ve recently been doing a deep dive into Hitler and Stalin, I think the recent split in the Bitcoin Cash community might especially interest you. Instead of the Bolsheviks, we have the story of the Bitsheviks, who managed to run Amaury and his supporters out of the Bitcoin Cash community, forcing Bitcoin ABC to undergo yet another hardfork to work on another new Bitcoin branch that’s currently on no one’s radar.

Considering Amaury once led the #2 project by market cap in all of crypto, even being congratulated on the achievement by the likes of Vitalik Buterin, no one would have blamed him had he chosen to walk away after this most recent split. But rather than give up, he and his team at Bitcoin ABC once again forged their own path through non-violent means. Their newest project doesn’t even have an official name yet, but a small, dedicated group of Bitcoin ABC supporters continue to mine the chain and support the coin in order to keep the mission alive. The way I see it, Bitcoin ABC has effectively carved out their own little plot of land in the Bitcoin universe in an effort to build something they believe can change civilization as we know it. To me it’s what makes Bitcoin beautiful, and I sometimes can’t help but wish we had the same ability to fork in meat space like we do in blockchain.

But I’m not here to tell you all the details about what’s transpired over the last few years, because I want to hear it from Amaury himself. I want to hear his thoughts on the state of crypto, and the world in general, and whether or not he still believes in the mission. Elon Musk recently tweeted that he thinks the most entertaining outcome is the most likely, but the outcome I prefer isn’t the most entertaining one but the most heroic. And I believe that what Amaury and his team at Bitcoin ABC are trying to accomplish is heroic indeed.

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Amaury is perfect. He’d be the first to admit he has plenty of shortcomings. But over the last couple of years no one has made me think more than he has while also opening my eyes to many new perspectives. You criticized some of the corporate leaders in tech for being politicians, for not being willing to be open and honest and keep it real. While Amaury may be just as flawed as the rest of us, what I respect most about him is that he has always been honest, and real, and someone worth listening to.

He is also passionate about his work. He once said in an interview that he believes fixing our money is the most important problem in the world you can be working on today. And when I once asked him why he’s still working on Bitcoin in spite of all the roadblocks he’s had to deal with, he said it was because he still believes in the mission: “The ability for two parties to transact without a 3rd party being involved – in other words, cash – is extremely important for economic freedom. Due to the economics calculation problem, economic freedom is also paramount for humans to flourish.”

I know reaching out to you this way is a longshot, Lex, but I hope these words find you. And in case you don’t want to rely on the words of an anonymous stranger on the internet, here’s a link to a presentation given by Joannes Vermorel, founder and CEO of an enterprise software company called Lokad, who describes Amaury this way:

“My diagnosis as a tech auditor who has been auditing dozens and dozens and dozens of start ups is literally that Amaury Sechet is the CTO you can almost never afford. I’ve met dozens and dozens of CTOs. We are talking about the highest percentile of the most talented people. Talented on two fronts. Basically smart, and gets things done. It’s very rare to have the combination of both.”

I hope you choose to grant me my request, but even if you don’t, I love what you’re doing, and I’ll definitely keep watching.


A fellow human

​P.S. Amaury has no idea I’m writing this, but I did ask him what he thought of the prospect of being interviewed by you, and he thought it would be a blast.