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Using Systems Thinking To Learn From FTX’s Mistakes

Matthew Pines lays out China’s plan for world domination while reflecting on Bitcoin and the mistakes FTX made when building their inferior system.

This is a transcribed excerpt of the “Bitcoin Magazine Podcast,” hosted by P and Q. In this episode, they are joined by Matthew Pines to talk about China’s plan for world domination and why FTX and Binance are “like a bug hitting the windshield” in terms of the general macroeconomic scene.

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Matthew Pines: We made these typical imperial hubristic mistakes with Iraq and we had a Great Financial Crisis that sort of focused on internal politics, and geopolitics kind of went to the backburner or became a domain of Sunday news shows. “Are we gonna do an Iraq surge or are we gonna do a reset with Russia?” Or whatever.

Now, it’s gonna become present because it filters into every aspect of your lives Where you get your stuff. Is that gonna come the next time? I think COVID sort of woke us up to this. I think we felt that it was just gonna be like a temporary disruption and then everything was gonna just settle back to normal. That’s not the case.

That’s why Taiwan matters. That’s why these things matter because they’re highly path dependent. We live in a very highly non-linear, coupled dynamic system where the butterfly flaps its wings and you get a hurricane. It’s why you have to pay attention.

Why focus on all the little things? Because those little things can turn into very big things very quickly. FTX is a good example of this. “Oh, there’s some weirdness going on with CZ and why did he just post that thread?” And then, all of a sudden, the token falls by 90% in a day.

Like these systems we built look stable and then they break. That’s why I like Bitcoin because Bitcoin’s one of those systems that is by definition decentralized, so it can absorb lots of shocks. The China mining ban was a great example where it took a massive hit exogenous shock boom. But then the hash rate is at all-time highs. Doesn’t mean the dollar price is gonna be stable by any means; it’s gonna likely be highly volatile. But these are very different models for how you think about building systems and that’s what attracts me a lot about Bitcoin is that they model a type of system that assumes nothing’s gonna work out and assumes that things are gonna break. You just need to build resilience and redundancy, decentralization to those systems, so you’re not vulnerable to single points of failure. You’re not vulnerable to an opaque balance sheet or a single person making a bad decision, and then that has cascading implications to everyone who is anywhere nearby.

That’s sort of my broader thesis to kind of connect these things, why it’s so important to look at FTX and be like, “We should draw lessons learned on this.” You’ll see it reflected in asset prices, but if you’re not a day trader, if you’re not trying to time the tops and bottoms, it really doesn’t matter to you.

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