Jürg Kradolfer was a guest today for our Relai Bitcoin Session. He is an experienced fiduciary & accountant and owns one of the most visited Swiss Bitcoin websites bitcoin-schweiz.ch.
You can watch it on YouTube…
… or listen to it on podbean.
Jürg Kradolfer is an experienced fiduciary & accountant and owns one of the most visited Swiss Bitcoin websites bitcoin-schweiz.ch. He got into Bitcoin more than five years ago and since then he’s a very active Bitcoin community member, educator and advisor. His mission is to get “normal” people onboarded to Bitcoin. He wants them to be able to understand Bitcoin and its advantages and use it accordingly.
What is Bitcoin? Jürg sees Bitcoin as digital money with many characteristics that make it very valuable (more valuable than any other form of money we know so far). The main difference between Bitcoin and other forms of digital money like CHF, EUR or USD on people’s bank account is that Bitcoin is not issued and managed by one central institution (central bank) and therefore open for everybody to use (even unbanked people), censorship-resistant, immune to artificial inflation, and tamper-proof.
How does Bitcoin work? It is a peer-to-peer financial system, so one person can send money directly to another person and vice-versa, whereas with the traditional banking system, banks debit and credit people’s bank accounts and hold the money on their behalf. All these peer-to-peer Bitcoin transactions are public and available for everybody to check. They are saved in the Bitcoin Blockchain, which is basically a list of all BTC transactions ever conducted. There are more than 10’000 copies of this Blockchain on different computers around the world, therefore the transaction history cannot just be changed by a few individuals or institutions.
How does Bitcoin mining work? This is a topic many people are very interested in, but actually this is not very important according to Jürg Kradolfer, because the majority of Bitcoins have already been mined. There are already 18 Mio of them in circulation, and in the coming 120 years, another 15% will be added to the network, but there will also be quite some Bitcoin losses in that timeframe, which balances it out. Nevertheless, Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that from the start allowed everybody to obtain some coins by participating in mining. The miners are being paid for their important and energy-consuming work (mainly securing the network and processing transactions) by receiving newly minted coins on the one hand, and by earning the transaction fees that Bitcoin senders pay on the other hand.
Why should people buy Bitcoin now? Today, speculation is the biggest reason why to buy Bitcoin. People buy it because in hindsight, it has gained enormous value in the past 10 years, and chances are good that it will accrue even more value in the coming 10 years because more people will want to have some Bitcoin (demand is increasing) but there will only ever be 21 Mio Bitcoins (supply is fixed). Everybody should be aware that Bitcoin is a very volatile asset and regarding price, it can go one step further and two steps back sometimes, so it should be seen as a very long-term investment.
Can Bitcoin be banned? Yes, it can. And that’s exactly the reason why we need it. The majority of people on this world are living under suppressive governments and very limited freedom. But Bitcoin will distribute itself whether or not governments decide to allow it or not. It’s like the USA for example who tried to ban alcohol and gold in the past, they weren’t successful, and the same will happen if governments will try to ban Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the money for the free people and that’s extremely important to Jürg Kradolfer.
Can Bitcoin be used for payment? Yes, it can. And there’s one more shop every day that accepts Bitcoin as a payment method. There are several lists, for example on coinmap.org or bitcoin-schweiz.ch/bitcoin-akzeptanzstellen-karten/ where people can find an overview of where they can pay with Bitcoin. In Switzerland, because we have a stable and well managed national currency, people are a bit more reluctant to accept bitcoin as a payment, whereas in countries with weak currencies like South America for example, people actually prefer Bitcoin as opposed to their local currencies, and that shows the real value of Bitcoin. Even bigger organizations will sooner or later accept Bitcoin because it’s actually easier and cheaper to integrate Bitcoin as a payment method than Credit Cards or other payment alternatives, as demonstrated nicely by the Bernese Sandwich & Coffee Shop Energy Kitchen which integrated a Bitcoin & Lightning enabled self-order point developed by (our cool software partner) Puzzle ITC.
Is Bitcoin scalable? Bitcoin is scaling the same way as the internet did, relatively slowly but steadily. At the beginning, the internet usage was very limited, having a video call or watching a movie over the internet was not possible 20 years ago, now it’s daily business. Even though Bitcoin in its current state can only process a fraction of the transactions that credit card companies and banks can, it is making great scaling efforts with on-chain / base-layer improvements like Segwit and off-chain / second-layer improvements like Lightning, that will eventually lead to the capacity of multiple times that of credit card companies and banks.
What are the most important next developments for Bitcoin? There need to be more improvements in terms of speed and ease of use. In order for everyday people like your mom and dad to be able to use Bitcoin, it needs to be as easy as whatsapp. Jürg actually likes the Relai App a lot and thinks it is going to reach a broad user base, precisely because it makes Bitcoin so easy and accessible for everybody.
What about other cryptocurrencies? Jürg sees additional or better features in other cryptocurrencies and that’s why they gain some popularity, but the problem with them in comparison to Bitcoin is that they are mostly owned & managed by a small centralized team, and many of them are not as censorship-resistant, open, public and neutral like Bitcoin. While he acknowledges that some of these experiments can have some sort of value for a specific clientele, Jürg strongly believes that Bitcoin is the most promising of all of them and deserves his trust.
How much of Jürg’s wealth lies in Bitcoin? Usually, he does not advise people to go all-in on Bitcoin. He’s a firm believer of investing in Bitcoin step-by-step to reach at least 1% of one’s wealth, and up to one monthly salary, in Bitcoin holdings, but not more. A Bitcoin savings plan, like putting 100 CHF per month in Bitcoin, is a very good idea and gives savers peace of mind for their financial future. Jürg himself currently holds a significant portion of his wealth and around one yearly salary (that’s around 10% of his net worth) in Bitcoin.