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Jullian Duran: How High Can Bitcoin Go?

February 19, 2024

Jullian Duran, product manager at Marathon Digital Holdings, dives into the fascinating world of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. He shares his eclectic background, spanning clean energy in China to fintech in Southeast Asia, and his journey into the crypto space. We explore the importance of building a robust infrastructure for blockchain adoption, the challenges and opportunities in Bitcoin DeFi, and the potential of layer two solutions for scalability and efficiency.

Transcripts are autogenerated. May contain typos.


you know the the best way to build out this ecosystem and I'm not even just talking about Bitcoin I mean blockchain broadly speaking other chains as well is think about the infrastructure and make something that is you know roughly at par with what you know other verticals might offer in the case of traditional Finance we're not going to reach the level and scale of Visa tomorrow but you know try to get to somewhere that's somewhat comparable and then really start building out the use Gale right


because that's the mo Visa has and that these you know different fintech companies has it's it's not in some like absurdly revolutionary technology although their technology stack is pretty impressive it's mostly on the Demand [Music] right here we are with the rare network podcast we've got Juliet on from Marathon digital Holdings really excited to have you on the podcast today before we dive into what you do in Marathon how are you doing today I'm doing very well Rand very happy to be on this podcast


awesome thanks for joining us I'd love to before we dive into Marathon your background before we fired up the podcast we were discussing some really cool stuff there so what is kind of your background educational upbringing and like how' you get into crypto yeah um so I'm originally from Ecuador I was born there um yeah left when I was two grew up mostly in Miami um but yeah my background it's eclectic um it spans everything from clean energy and China to fintech and Southeast Asia and US Presidential campaigns so kind of


had my Claus in all all over the place um I'd say my biggest interest though is what can be done in the emerging world I think that um being from Latin America it's certainly like a pretty important part of my identity but um something that brought me to crypto was the ability to disintermediate and in particular to create payment networks and you know financial institutions that don't depend on local authorities which in many parts of Latin America are really not entities you want to trust and so yeah found my way into marathon


after a number of different Ventures that I founded myself in the defi space um and yeah now I lead product for a lot of interesting initiatives we have most of which are sadly in stealth but the generality is we are trying to really Advanced blockchain adoption not just network security but both how we use it and how we create this asset I love that you said you originally came in um you know reversed for most people that come into Bitcoin you've kind of come in through the ethereum salon aide like how


did you find crypto like was it remittance payments you saw people making and you were like there's got to be a better way like what where did you where did the aha moment come from for you yeah no the aha moment was was a was a strong one I'm not going to lie and I've had so many more aha moments getting closer and closer to the Bitcoin world but for me so I was working at a fintech company out of Hong Kong and uh my big project was basically to expand a certain payment Network we had to Indonesia and you know I joined this


fintech company in large part because I was interested in technology I wanted to really you know grind my chops into product management and to really understand the you know meat and potatoes of right how how Tech works and I thought fintech was you know the best place to go I have a background in economics I'm really interested in public policy this is you know the financial part of that I guess so it it it works right and what I ended up finding is most of the year that I spent at that fintech my job was basically


public policy I was my task was understanding regulations and trying to navigate around those regulations to set up a product it was actually very little technology I'm embarrassed to say but after a year of like product management then I barely understood what an API was right so that that should hopefully give you perspective right on fintech and I don't know for me I guess it was just it wasn't what I expected I liked it I enjoyed it it was an amazing company and it was an amazing experience but it


wasn't Tech but I actually didn't know that at the time I just kind of figured oh Tech is regulation that's that's what are all those Google guys complaining about and so anyway I end up leaving this company in large part because covid policies in China became a little um a little bit too much to handle and so found myself basically all right you know what's the next thing I want to do I love startups and I love you know entrepreneurship generally speaking and basically ended up finding a defi


startup out of Dubai that was doing some cool things with co-ownership of bank account the whole idea was to create like a better than business bank account we started more on the retail side of like co-investing in nfts but then it became like you know web three uh Finance um for institutions that are both Crypt native and non- crypt native and that's when I got the aha moment because this was an ethereum based startup they were using very simple smart contracts but that's when I began to seea said wait this is fintech like


this is financial technology not just like you know public policy or in this case regulatory um navigation it was there's a piece of technology that allows you to co-own assets and for me that was revolutionary I know probably listeners are like dude that's a multisig what are you talking about well to me as somebody who was not very involved in technology and somebody who knows the developing World very well multis are a pretty big deal you know like if you had more multis if people understood how that works think about it


in the traditional Financial world you can't own a bank account with somebody unless you're married to them and in most parts of the world it is not an individualistic you know you own one account and that no most families co-mingle assets that's how most what families do what friends do what you know what I mean like it's it's it's so common and it's so obvious businesses exactly right and to be able to do that without a financial institution hovering over you telling you no that was pretty aha for me yeah I


love that a lot and then like how did you find Bitcoin like what made you make the move to bitcoin specifically yeah for Bitcoin I'd say so I had um it's actually funny the the startup that I had well two startups before I started at Marathon I was basically creating a crypto savings account in Central Asia in Kazakhstan in particular many um explanations as to why a Hispanic kid from Ecuador found himself in Central Asia but I'll save those for later long story short is I was creating this crypto savings account


and the whole idea was to basically offer a product an intuitive product to retail investors or retail Savers that would allow them to save in usdc and earn yield via a a super simple concept I know but for a lot of people the front for a actually isn't that intuitive and it's funny people you know say oh well these D5 protocols they have millions poured into designers they're very intuitive no they're not if you talk to most people they still have no clue how to navigate Define they're scared of it


and so the idea was create a product people understand savings accounts do it denominated in an asset that everybody wants dollars and earn any yield Because by the way in most parts of the world savings accounts don't actually earn real yield right you you know the interest rate might be 15% but if inflation is 20% you're losing your money on a year-over-year basis that was the whole business model and so you know I did everything I even got my now fiance involved and got the whole team ready and was like oh we're going to go


to market this is perfect this is a great idea and then we start running focus groups and it turns out that people don't really want that and in particular it's not that they don't want the savings account and it's not that they don't want the dollar it's they don't buy the underlying technology stack because the first thing they would ask me is oh blockchain so is this Bitcoin to which my immediate Point as someone who started the ethereum world is well no what can you do with Bitcoin


anyway it's just like an asset no it's not Bitcoin and people would just turn off and so there I started seeing I said wait there's a tremendous value in literally just being built on the Bitcoin Network you know forget the concept of trustless layer twos and protocol Innovations no just the idea of building a product and linking to bitcoin for most people at least in Central Asia and then with other startups I found in letm and you know in other parts of the world it was the same deal there's a value to just the


recognition of Bitcoin everybody has an opinion on it everybody from you know know random person walking in the middle of the you know some kid in the streets in some part of the world to the investment banker in Manhattan right everybody knows Bitcoin and so for me yeah when the opportunity came up to join marathon and you know Advance blockchain adoption in a number of different ways it was it was a no-brainer I said well you know this would have saved my earlier startup let me make sure that others don't make the


same mistakes I did by building on lesser networks to to put it bluntly I love that a lot that makes a lot of sense and you know for me I guess my journey I went to big coin Miami 2021 and I first started seeing like stacks and a few other things getting built on top of Bitcoin that were really interesting and would love to kind of dive into that like are there layer twos is there defi being built on bitcoin that's usable today um you know what what kind of is being built on top of Bitcoin now how is it evolved over those


past few years yeah I have done a lot of looking into this and a lot of research and I should preface my answer with saying a lot of My Views might be very contrarian and people might not necessarily see eye to ey but you know to to put it very very directly I think a lot of Bitcoin defi today is horribly unimaginative and what do I mean by that I mean unimaginative in the sense that the vast majority of projects that I see coming out and projects that you know we have to evaluate internally within marathon it's it's a lot of trying to


bring over exactly what's on eth onto Bitcoin and I just not only is that unimaginative I think it's poor product sense because the thing about most retail defi is you need liquidity right the only way to drive up those tokens the only way to drive up volumes the only way to drive up fees is if there is liquidity and ethereum the you know the base layer and also the layer twos just have so much liquidity so many Network effects that it's very hard to unseat that and so you know just approaching it


not even from a crypto native lens just looking at it as a business person why would you try to unseat the incumbent in the incumbent's own game right so I think where Bitcoin defi should head in the direction of is finding ways and finding use cases where we are betting on the uniqueness of Bitcoin not just trying to replicate success in other places I know there's a theme in Bitcoin that's been going way longer than I've been involved with that you know ethereum is the test net for Bitcoin


well I think it's a form of a test net but in the same way that when you're launching a product the test net ends up being very different from what you bring into Market I think we have to have that same thing in mind so what do I mean by that you know a lot of projects make press because they ported over you know D5 protocols like Unis swap or maybe they make press because they replicate amm pools and other sorts of in other ecosystems look power to them you know in a world in which Bitcoin Layer Two


succeeds Marathon succeeds and we're always going to be in support of different efforts that try to advance the utility of Bitcoin to put it in a more mercenary way we hold a lot of Bitcoin so everything that advances its utility or increases its press helps us you know no doubt about it but I think the next evolution in Bitcoin has to be and Bitcoin defi in particular has to be a place place where again Bitcoin is uniquely required uniquely demanded and a lot of themes that we can tie you know we can double click into in there but um


it has to be unique right we have to find differentiation we can't just copy what other ecosystems have done that makes a lot of sense and a lot of people complain about like Bitcoins how slow the network is for confirmations and things like that to build defi on top of it what is your response to to folks like that that say that it can't be built on bitcoin yeah I'd say that's categorically false I mean there's a number of ways that you can actually build a layer two while at the same time


guaranteeing faster uh confirmation times and lower fees than what the Bitcoin Network um involves I would advocate for layer twos that involves something called merge mining which by the way is a concept that is long predates me and 99% of bitcoiners out there but it's simply the concept that you can set up a piece of mining Hardware to mine several chains at once and to in particular mine Bitcoin using bitcoin's consensus but at the same time also be mining Layer Two side chains across the network and I think this is really a piece of


technology that doesn't get a lot of press but needs to and will I guarantee you on that front um and I think there that's when you actually start developing a layer two ecosystem that well first off can work much faster and much U at a much cheaper rate than Bitcoin think of it this way if you are mining multiple chains at once you know not everything has to have Bitcoin same level of difficulty right that's the reason why Bitcoin blocks take a while to confirm right block every 10 minutes what is it if you lower the difficulty


you can now get you know 10 blocks in 10 minutes or 20 blocks in 10 minutes whatever you'd like and there are ways to create layer twos where you also have a hybrid consensus model where you're not just mining but maybe you have an element of I don't know proof of authority involved or some other sort of consensus mechanism that allows that gives you better Fork resistance that maybe lowers fees in the process that maybe creates a fast lane for transactions you know I'm nothing of what I'm saying here is revolutionary


all of this is stuff that the community knows very well it just really takes a team to put it all together but what I mean to say you know to simplify the answer yes you can very well have a Bitcoin layer to that inherits a lot of the appeal and security of the main chain while still being more scalable in other words faster in other words cheaper so that that is entirely possible it's just we're waiting on the team to crack that egg to crack it I love that a lot and like what do you say to folks that um like the discussion


between proof of work and proof of stake what what what do you guys say there like why why continue with proof of work why is that better than proof of stake I think a number of reasons um and Marathon you know the most important one I think is actually sustainability and yeah maybe getting like darts thrown at me with people who listen to that and don't know much about it and I was one of those people actually like shortly before going to Mar like joining marathon it's actually funny on my Twitter I ended up deleting the post I


was like oh man I hope my new employer doesn't find out but I got into this Twitter battle with a random person about the sustainability impacts of uh proof of work and so I think I might have mentioned this in my intro but I used to be a climate researcher in China and so I I know quite a bit about what it takes to you know the challenges of climate research of the importance of doing it and of course of the importance of reducing our energy footprint all of that is extremely clear but something else that I know from my climate


research days is the issue with curtailment and the fact that renewable energy resources don't always operate at 100% capacity to put it in layman's terms the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow and when it does it doesn't mean that everybody's turning on their lights at home and so Something Beautiful about proof of work that I've have now come to learn being a part of marathon and of course you diving more into Bitcoin is that you have the opportunity to essentially use


energy stranded energy use energy that these renewable resources would otherwise not be selling to the grid and actually help the financing help the ROI on these renewable energy projects let me put it more simply right I am selling you an asset and I'm telling you it's only going to be 80% useful on average across its lifetime let me change that narrative and say no it's going to be 100% used and I can guarantee it without an ounce of doubt that's the Bitcoin mining difference right when that's


something that Marathon has pioneered in a number of different ways and you know we've talked publicly about a number of these different approaches and we're going to be talking about more upcoming but I think from the sustainability lens it's something that when I talk to my old like Cent buddies they first scoff when I say yeah bitcoin's actually climate friendly um in many ways or it can be at least obviously it takes companies like Marathon who are you know actually focused on the topic to to


achieve um but no it's I think most people end up agreeing when you really dive into the details now that's one part but if we're looking at it from less of an environmental lens and more of a protocol lens of the adoption side I think proof of work is first off it it tethers the underlying crypto asset to something real right I I just I find proof of stake I had a friend a former colleague of mine um we were talking in Dubai a couple years back but he mentioned this thing he was like you know what I was thinking about proof of


work the other day Julian or proof of stake rather you're basically banking on the network being secured by the asset by the native asset itself whose value is driven by speculation and only with increasing speculation can the network actually be secured it's total logical and so obviously if the native asset itself is something that's immutable and you know it's its value is always going to be enshrined into public consciousness of course proof of stake matters right like a gold bar for example no way you're going to just get


humans to stop valuing gold bars but a crypto asset come on like that that goes up and down in value like nobody's business and every time it goes down in value the network becomes all that more insecure and so look proof of work yes it requires a great amount of energy and obviously the the equipment that it takes to mine is very expensive but at the end of the day it is something that I believe ends up being a a lot more decentralized and tethers the underlying crypto assets value to Something Real I.E the hardware I.E the energy you know


in many ways Bitcoin can be seen as a proxy for energy cost there's obviously a lot more on the top line of it but at a minimum if somebody is plugging in a minor and paying that massive electricity bill then I guarantee you they see a lot of value in that Bitcoin and if they see a lot of value in it they're being driven by market forces and so you basically have an exogenous reason for caring about that cryptocurrency as opposed to an endogenous one which just kind of in the economics world that just blows the


model to smiing right it you need to have something real behind it all that makes a lot of sense and um I you know digging into Marathon a little more myself I was excited to learn that you guys are kind of like investing in Asic Hardware development and stuff like that um and that that's getting decentralized in itself I think is very important um I think the more that we can do to popularize this Hardware the more that we can do to lower the cost of it and to make it more accessible that definitely helps the Bitcoin


Network that makes a lot of sense and for for those out there have you ever heard of like cardano and the extended utxo model what are your thoughts on like changing that model for utxo and all that what are your thoughts on that style of blockchain versus like an ethereum or yeah I think look I look at it very practically I think at the end of the day the cardano team is filled with Geniuses and it's you know often pitched as the blockchain for the future the unhackable one the the one who scripting language and whose smart contract


programmability is at the Forefront of our insight and I don't deny that look I'm I'm at the end of the day I'm not a I'm not a scripting expert and I'm certainly not an expert in building and developing applications on cardano but I what I will say is that if you look at most reports on the knowledge of blockchain development of what developers are most familiar with the vast majority know solidity I mean it's look it's I wouldn't say it's it's not 90% but it's definitely in the order of


55 to 60% so if we're talking a new Layer Two and you're thinking about what to build and what scripting language to leverage the most important thing you can have as a protocol is developers you need contributors you need people to be building apps on top it's it's oftentimes you know layer layer ones layer twos they forget who the customer is the customer is not the user the customer is the developer who will then go and find the users right and so I think at the end of the day my view on it is for better for worse solidity and


evm compatible chains winning the game and so I think for a lot of Institutions we speak to and a lot of different adopters a lot of different developers it's common sense you know these debates between the utxl model the evm they don't have strong opinions over it they just build on evm and that's just that and so I think it makes the most sense just to build upon Network effects you know we can't Port over the liquidity necessarily of eth but I think Bitcoin can do a lot to replicate that ease of


development on eth yes it comes with its security tradeoffs and yes it's not the most efficient language and a lot lot of people who know solidity and who know evm style Contracting have issues with it but at the end of the day it's what's easiest to find talent and it's what's easiest to create like that community of of contributors and who knows maybe the compu Community sorry ends up taking it in a different direction and we ends up adopting the cardano standard and power to them but I'd prefer to just follow


what most developers use I I like that a lot like there's a pool of developers out there on evm and I didn't even know like you can do evm development on top of big coin and a layer two and everything like you can bring over those solidity developers and I had no idea that was even a thing so that's a really cool alert so I would like just to to further on that the the challenge with layer twos that I find is that they conflate the consensus with the protocol and so what I mean by that is the protocol the the you know the scripting


language right that can be evm compatible but that doesn't mean that you need to copy over ethereum like consensus and it's it's a curiosity I have with a lot of layer ones that come out and a lot a lot of layer twos as well is that they basically Bank on new forms of consensus winning the day but you're doing too much at once a stack is hard enough to create a stack is hard enough to innovate creating programmability standards smart Contracting capabilities making it secure that's a you know multiple PhD


dissertations worth of work consensus is a question of incentives and so I just I mean you know I wouldn't necessarily yet call me though I'm inching toward it a Bitcoin Max but that's why Bitcoin Maxis exist actually it's it's because that that incentive model is so robust and has been so Dynamic across time that you know it just makes sense to build stacks on top of it you I I think Celestia and some other um new projects talk about this about like composability right that you drawn consensus here you draw a


stack from here you draw the applicate that's what we should do but the consensus layer has to be Bitcoin I I think it's it's it's just very obvious to me I mean obviously that's easy to say coming from a Bitcoin miner but I think in terms of the consensus model it's the one that has the best proof so we should just plug it in right it's easy to build these things on top of each other that that part isn't isn't the challenge yeah and I think that's like the misconception a lot of people


like myself have out here that it's like the the thought that I have and I think the narrative pushed on folks like myself is it's impossible to build on bitcoin it's just digital gold you can't do these things and here we are talking about layer twos and D5 being built and would love to get your opinion on ordinals and things like that it seems like even nfts are coming over to bitcoin so it's like I I can see why it's like why start a whole another consensus model and kind of replicate


all that when we have one that that's here and has been battle tested now for well over a decade at this point almost we're going on two decades now so exactly right no it's um yeah and look I would say the the misconception it's something within Bitcoin that people are just flabbergasted by but I get it look I had that same misconception I'd say say like if you talked to me two years ago at this point I probably would have no idea that that was even possible I just it to me and I get the eth mindset


here for a lot of new developers and a lot of new new entrance or new new like blockchain users that Bitcoin is just kind of like it's its own thing it's like an irrelevant thing you just don't even think about it right and a lot of thought leaders in E I don't think think about it either so no there's there's a lot to be a lot um a lot of misconceptions to be to be done away with now on the topic of um you know ordinals and whatnot I I I think this is the clearest example that there's just


demand just bursting at the seams right I think this is the best example of it because ordinals look as a technology and I'm not saying anything that's gonna offend anybody anybody who is an ordal Builder knows this it's an incredibly inefficient technology stack it's ultimately not natively it's not a native Bitcoin feature right and a lot of people in Bitcoin take issue with it but I think both sides would agree to that that it is a workarounds in many ways it's Bitcoin can do X and ordinals


is an attempt to force it to do like YZ a CD you know that that's the whole point of it I respect the community massively because at the end of the day they are trying to innovate a stack that is very difficult to innovate but I think ultimately it is proof that a layer two is needed right and and a decent Layer Two that's the thing everybody every new Layer Two out there to oh we're gonna bring an ordinals to Brand we're gonna bring an ordinals toand you forget why ordinals exist ordinals don't exist because of the


efficiency of the stack or because the limitlessness of the potential they exist because it's on main chain because ordinals inherit the appeal and the security of Bitcoin right and so any Layer Two that's created anyone that goes to Market you have to be very Discerning and see which ones are actually building a protocol that benefits and inherits those security and appeal properties of Bitcoin because if they don't they're not going to capture ordinal demand ordinal demand comes from a desire to create new things on bitcoin


and so yeah I think it's the best proof that we need better layer toos we're being honest that makes a lot of sense and all this traffic of ordinals and like Define layer 2 is getting built like how does that affect fees you know miners fees and the havening coming up like it's really important to have this traffic going on correct and this Innovation how is that how like how does marathon see that how does it affect fees I guess have you guys seen is is a majority of the revenue coming in from block production or is it starting to be


ordinals causing a ton of fees and actual transactions happening what are you guys like seeing there yeah we're def I mean look 2023 was a good year for us and most other miners in large part because of ordinals I I think I've you know I've read some numbers out there that you know as many as at some points last year 80% of transaction fees were coming from inscription transactions it's it's a high share I mean it fluctuates right like the market es and flows there was a point last year where it was almost zero


there was a point where it was 80 90 it it just depends but I think it's undeniable that actually at the beginning part of um and and maybe continuing to some extent till now but I think stronger in January there was definitely an inscriptions craze a lot of people trying to Mint BRC 20s a lot of people you know creating new collections um with ordinals you have a lot of new projects coming out like runes um you know that they're going to have a big airdrop it's just it's any number of different Innovations I would


classify ordinals is broadly speaking it's like an inscriptions Community with ordinals being one channel but many other channels existing and because of that you really have like a pretty vibrant ecosystem that for miners has been incredible because the more that people transact on bitcoin the more transaction fees make simple as that um and so yeah we're you know part of what my job comes into play is how can we make that demand more sustainable how can we keep it going not just into the next hype wave but you know many many


cycles beyond that and I think there are many ways to I think there are many ways to we just got to be creative about it what type of alpha can we pull out here what are you guys working on yeah well we're gonna announce very very soon um I'm excited to but I think for most attuned listeners to what I've said thus far I think it it doesn't take a genius necessarily it it seems like a lot of infrastructure needs to be built out first like the layer to like it sounds like a lot of from our discussion here a lot of the


artists have move in you see things like ordinals happening and people experimenting and now folks like yourself are coming in and really understanding what the fine-tune infrastructure needs to be built on top of Bitcoin to actually bring in real you know decentralized Finance or FTS as you will on bitcoin and things like that is am I kind of hitting on the spot there or I I think look it's a big Focus we've had for the past year is really taking an objective look to the state of Bitcoin Defi and Bitcoin infrastructure


broadly speaking and seeing what's needed um and that that's really where my role is come in handy and what I've enjoyed about this opportunity is really being able to come at it with you know I I know blockchain technology decently well but when I started this job I didn't know Bitcoin all that well and so I was really approaching it with like you know a kids wide eyes so to speak and I have a background in Consulting so I know how to like figure out my way around an industry in a short amount of


time but um yeah I I think I think you you hit it spot on there's a lot of infrastructure that needs to be built um that being said I also think there's a lot of use cases that need to be developed out and and you know really brought to Market so look at the end of the day I think um infrastructure can only get you so far right all right you have great roads and highways but that doesn't mean you have an amazing City around it and so the way I think about it is you know the the best way to build


out this ecosystem and I'm not even just talking about Bitcoin I mean blockchain broadly speaking other chains as well is think about the infrastructure and make something that is you know roughly at par with what you know other verticals might offer in the case of traditional Finance we're not going to reach the level and scale of Visa tomorrow but you know try to get to somewhere that's somewhat comparable and then really start building out the use cases right because that's the mo Visa has and that


these you know different fintech companies has it's it's not on some like absurdly revolutionary technology although their technology stack is pretty impressive it's mostly on the Demand right people want Visa credit cards right interchange fees are as common as ever and Visa has incredible relationships with a bunch of different banks that's the sort of stuff that we need in blockchain to develop right we need better relationships with the drivers of adoption with institutions with the users themselves we need to


simplify the user experience I'm just you know I'm here just copying and pasting what what I read a lot out there but at the same time it's it's something that I've seen plain and simple you know I get pitched a lot of new app ideas and you know when I see them at first question okay let let let's see the user experience right let's see the design and oh man I mean some teams they Hemorrhage money into trying to develop a design that they think will actually um land and uh ver reverberate within


like retail audiences non- crypto audiences and it just flatly is not the case and then if on top of that you have this like half-baked infrastructure well then you're never going to get adoption but if you have decent enough infrastructure that's almost at par and some use cases that are compelling again that uniquely demand blockchain and in the case of Bitcoin uniquely demand Bitcoin you're golden that makes a lot of sense I want to ask uh you know I am skeptical of layer twos even in my ethereum side of


things because I don't know which one's going to win and there seem to be a lot being built out and it's kind of like where do I want to bridge my funds or do all these things or do I just want to stay on the main chain I hear a lot about the lightning Network on bitcoin and things like that are there other layer twos out there which one do you think is the most um used and things like that and why are there different ones for different use cases kind of what are layer twos on bitcoin at this point yeah so look I I would say like


you hit it on the you nail on the head with the last point it it just it depends on the use case right I think in the case of the lightning Network um you know and obviously it's challenge calling what you know what is a layer two what is not but let's just say you know different Bitcoin scaling Solutions let say the lightning Network micro payments is the big use case and um you know there are a number of reports in the past few months of some increased adoption particularly like with gaming and social media like if you're setting


up a social media channel and you want to stream payments um from your audience as you're talking lightning is definitely the the way to go um in the case of stocks you have you know Clarity there's their programming language they have Smart contracts there's an ability to like create and deploy amm pools for example and you know there are a number of defi companies that are doing that um on the case in liquid you have confidential transactions there there is quite a variety of Bitcoin layer twos


but I mean if you ask me honestly and look none of these teams would deny this it's not comparable with what you see on ethereum layer twos and the interesting thing is I feel like within the Bitcoin Community a lot of layer twos take a lot of they go through a lot of pains to set up a network that is decentralized and they really try to like Echo these themes that you see on the Bitcoin main chain whereas in the case of ethereum layer 2s they just build things that work you know nobody's claiming that


polygon is some super decentralized Network or optimism either right they have the sequencer dependency and at the end of the day people just don't bat an eye to that because it's cheaper and the marketing is good and their BDS are out there and talking so I think that's a shortcoming of Bitcoin is that it could it could do a much better job at getting the message out there and just building things that work all right like Let's ignore the philosophy for just a second second and let's prove out some of these


use cases that we believe might actually work start from there um so yeah that's I mean you know that that's the landscape of Bitcoin Layer Two I would say the most used though of any of the layer two technologies and again is it called the layer two I'm not sure is or by and large right like just listen to what people on these other layer twos in Bitcoin talk about they talk about ordinals they talk about pitching you know bridging in the ordinals and taking in that demand and onboarding those use


everybody's talking about oral so if you ask me like that's really where the Heyday is at the moment I don't think that's going to stay that way I really think that as look at the end of the day ordinals are not unique um this is actually like a funny story that you know I'm pedaling as my own but it's not my technical counterpart of marathon who's been around Bitcoin since like 2012 2011 he always says but ordinals aren't new in the inscriptions technology it's the approach is new the


the exact use cases however are not right the attempt to make Bitcoin linked nfts Bitcoin art generally that was I think the old term was Bitcoin art or Bitcoin artifacts I'm forgetting the exact term but this has been made before but why has all of these other attempts at creating Bitcoin link tokenization asset issuance non-native of course but what have all of these other attempts faltered in it's whenever there's a bull run the second there's a bull run main chain fees Skyrocket and you end up


getting a lot of this a lot of these use cases priced out in fact back in December of last year there was a brief time where we thought there would going to be a bull run fees were through the roof right Marathon was winning these absurd blocks with massive massive fees attached to them and what ended up happening is a lot of the ordinals community that I interact with on a day-to-day basis was telling me things like I can't mint my new collection I'm just waiting for these main chain fees to drop and they ended up dropping hurah


well you know everybody was saved but just wait the next Bull Run and who knows maybe we're entering it right now it's yeah that that the first thing to go is anything that's non Bitcoin right because you're transacting an nft that's worth $100 but the transaction fee is worth $100 you're out of the business right it's it's simp as that so like what do you say to that in the future of the bull market and fees kind of going crazy like how how are fees going to get kept in line on


bitcoin is that the beauty of the layer twos and them just kind of driving that consensus back to the layer one I yes yes I look I think fundamentally fees on the main chain it's impossible to predict you know there's some thought leaders who say it's you know trending downward and others who say it's trending upward but I think everybody can agree they're not stable so it's very hard to predict where they'll go in the future and the reality is that I look I think one of the killer use cases for Bitcoin is


institutional demand you know Bitcoin is an asset that even the US regulatory bodies view as a commodity so it has that regulatory Clarity it has that resilience it has that security if you pitch a non- Crypton native business on any sort of blockchain innovation and you back it up with Bitcoin what I've seen out in the field is that actually lands a lot better than all other forms and so what do I mean by that why do I say that well look an institution isn't going to use a blockchain that has variable fee structure and that one day


they might just be totally you know totally clogged in terms of main chain fees that they can't do anything for like a week that's not how institutions work they want predictability they want predictability in the resilience of the stack they also want predictability in the day-to-day use and so that's I think where layer twos can really make a make a dent is bringing on that institutional demand that wants that Bitcoin appeal but doesn't want that Bitcoin user experience because you know the ethereum


layer 2 world yeah it provides a superior layer to sorry provides a superior um you know in institutional experience but you know what's really underlying that you know I'm not sure right like is this layer two going to exist for the next year well that you know that also dissuades institutions from participating that makes a lot of sense I I have a lot of interest when it comes to like Defi and borrowing and lending and like you know being able to like Leverage my assets similar to you know I got my start in real estate and having a


rental property and being able to pull a mortgage on that and things like that do you see like a lot of defi getting built on top of Bitcoin and layer twos are there places to to Leverage The Coin you hold safely not like 50x DJ trading leverage but you know like the a of Bitcoin or the maker Dow of Bitcoin is there something like that there there are some um defi teams that I think are trending in that direction but it's like I said before I think at the end of the day if the focus is trying to Port over


a you're never going to win you're never going to unseat well well not maybe not Never Never Say Never things can change in a blink of an eye but it it sounds to me like a poor business a poor business approach a poor strategic approach to try to unseat an incumbent at the incumbent Z game so I think look are we going to see some form of Leverage of different assets and some sort of lending and borrowing on bitcoin absolutely but my sense is that it's going to be different use cases than what you see on eth on salana Etc and in


particular I think for the highest value assets the highest value leverage the highest value defi that what needs to live on bitcoin because think of it this way and I was in Korea last year and was chatting with a lot team they're building like a metaverse and they were talking about building these metaverse skyscrapers and so the idea came to me I thought well all right the first floor the second floor apartments and a metaverse skyscraper yeah that can be unlike salana or whatever it doesn't matter what change just make it cheap


and make it quick chain goes down who cares right at the end of the day like it's it's a question of scale but the penthouse where do you want to tokenize that Penthouse and if you create a security and then you trade on top of that security that's backed by collateral of the penthouse well you're not going to want that on so many you know every any chain right you're going to want that on bitcoin and so to your point I think you could see a world of a lot of vibrant defi but I think the best


type for Bitcoin is the type that people are especially averse to losing right because if you're averse to losing it if you're afraid if you're risk averse Bitcoin is a chain for you I mean if you're getting into blockchain broadly speaking you probably have like a decently high risk tolerance but everything's a spectrum and I think Bitcoin is yeah it it is and should be continue to see be seen as the safe haven that makes a lot of sense and like yeah you don't need to like you know buying gaming skins and things like that


don't need the Ultimate Security of Bitcoin and you probably want something faster whereas you know tokenizing my home and making sure the title to my home is clear I probably want the security of Bitcoin for that specific transaction so that that makes a lot of sense I think at the end of the day blockchain sorry keep going my bad no go ahead no I was just gonna say blockchains are like payment networks it's all about trust and if you have trust in Bitcoin then people are going to use it simple as that that makes a


lot of sense yeah absolutely what do you see like the future for Bitcoin in 2024 like are there any things that you're excited for on the horizon and it might not necessarily be 2024 could be further on but things that that you see in development for the chain um that excite you I definitely think layer 2 is a massive theme there are so many different projects coming out with um a lot of compelling designs for Layer Two networks and um it's like I said before power to everybody at the end of the day you know a few of these are probably


going to catch fire and you know those are going to be the ones that reshape Bitcoin and we're all about it right at the you know it needs more use cases we need to we can't just have the digital gold value proposition I think that's my biggest prediction is that the digital gold value proposition is going to remain a prim Ary driver for Bitcoin adoption but I think it has to and it should and it will end up encompassing other things as well um so I that's my biggest take on it um I think you know


what types of defi do you see what's going to be the layer two that wins the game that you know man I I I stopped guessing political outcomes after I was wrong about brexit Trump and like everything in between so I give up I'm not I'm not like I'm not some political theorist but I would say Bitcoin is equally as unpredictable right there with you where do you go to learn about this stuff like where do you go to get information are you like hunting down coin desk are you in Reddit deep forums like where do


people go to find out more about what's going on in the ecosystem yeah that's you know it I I think that's that's part of what I just personally have an interest in and this is beyond my role at Marathon and whatnot is really much better Bitcoin education and I think there's a lot of cool um a lot of cool social impact Founders in latam that I've met who are you know running Bitcoin schools and like talking about blockchain to Everyday People I I just I love that and you know my background education yeah I


think it won't be long the day until you start see me kind of speaking on these podiums about like blockchain adoption and about the cool stuff that marathon is is gonna create and release um but yeah I mean up to now that a rare Evo yeah ex get you on the podium there without a question you know without a doubt no definitely um but yeah I'd say like for me I mean look I like to keep on some newsletters I'd say some are better than others um token dispatch definitely gives like a really good rundown of what's going on um can be a


little bit hyper technical sometimes but if you like you know click on the Articles and links I think it makes a lot more sense um honestly I loved in terms of learning the inner outs of blockchain I think like some layer twos on bitco I'm sorry on ethereum do it very well um polygon for example polygon University I think explains things very well there are some teams in Bitcoin actually XE you know it's a massive it's like the metamask of Bitcoin so to speak they have a lot of cool articles that


you know actually my my my brother is getting involved in in blockchain and you know he's a developer but anyway I've been sending him a lot of articles that have come from there but beyond that yeah Reddit forums are good um it's really a medley of a lot of different sources I'd say with like Bitcoin and blockchain there's yeah no one source of truth it's really hard to just find one place that's for sure are is the Bitcoin Community as strong on Twitter as it seems like the eth community lives on


Twitter only I'd say so I'd say so yeah I definitely think like crypto Twitter Bitcoin Twitter in particular you got a lot of great debates I mean that's something I love about the Bitcoin Community I should be on Twitter a lot more than I currently am but the times that I do go on that the my team tells me oh Julian you have to read this thread some of the wild debates you get on bitcoin threads are just amazing and Bitcoin conferences too like people really get into the nitty-gritty and I love it I I think there's a lot of high


like top tier thinkers really getting into the meat and potatoes as I mentioned earlier about protocol developments about you know how to redesign incentive models I yeah I I think that's you really get a lot of that at Twitter and at events I love that are you going to be at the Bitcoin conference I believe they moved it to Tennessee this year I am yeah marathon's a huge um yeah we're a huge supporter of like you know the the Bitcoin conferences so I'll actually probably be at because there's one in


Nashville there's another one in Hong Kong and then I think there's a third one later in the year but anyway um yeah I'll yeah most likely be at all of them so when's the when's the one in Hong Kong I think it's uh May 8 to 10th or 9th to 11th but it's that first week of May or like bridging on the second week yeah have to put that on the travel schedule I appreciate that that was a selfish question there absolutely and actually their their whole Focus for that one is going to be ordinals so yeah you


definitely should I think that's going to be a good way look the or one thing I didn't mention about the ordinal Community is it is extremely strong in APAC like in Asia Pacific that's the place to go so I'd say if you want to really talk to some users and some great teams yep that's that's where it's happening head out that way that's one of our goals in the next year is to head out in that direction and kind of explore a little bit we've done a lot of Europe we did Dubai several times in the


past year so uh but we haven't made it out to to the southeast Asia region and that's definitely there's a lot of action happening out there token 2049 in Singapore I had the most fomo ever uh sitting at home so definitely want to make out there I appreciate anything you think we've missed were you there did you 2049 I did yeah yeah I loved it no I think it was the I think it was my favorite event last year by far it looked like it online from everything I saw I was like wow we cannot miss this


uh next year it's a it's a must go so I'll see you in 2024 for absolutely I appreciate the time today and taking a moment to discuss all this I think it's some really interesting information that not a lot of people know about that you're able to discuss with us and would appreciate we' love to have you back on anytime when you guys are making announcements of any releases or anything you're doing would' love to have you on um and continue the conversation and I'm sure after this


gets posted I'll have a bunch of uh uh questions from the community to continue on maybe in the next episode absolutely no more than happy to continue on and yeah I think I'll put it this way I think is going to be a big month so yeah expect to see me back soon love that I appreciate it Julian thank you for the time and uh look forward to having you back on later yeah thanks a lot [Music] [Applause] Rand [Music]