Belonging to a group or community brings a sense of identity and helps us develop a stronger sense of the collective achievements and targets. It’s hard to judge the size, strength, and diversity of our community until we investigate.
The Decred community is thriving and, as we’ve seen from recent interviews, members are contrasting and global. Decred’s members are tackling a variety of work that helps improve the protocol and communicate the values of the project. In this interview, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Ronnie Amato, better known on Twitter as @MadScrilla1. Ronnie is a community member who has been an investor in Decred since 2017 and articulates himself on both sides of the Decred narrative.
On a recent episode of ‘state of the market’ we got to hear from Ronnie and some of his thoughts to help market Decred and ideas for pushing the project forward. He’s also published the thought-provoking article “Decred Iterates Where Bitcoin is Weak or Broken”, which is a must-read for anyone interested in the underlying values of Decred.
Phoenix: Hi Ronnie, What have you been up to lately?
Ronnie: Thanks for asking & thank you for having me on the podcast recently. Well, aside from revising & renaming, “How Decred Differentiates” to “Decred Iterates Where Bitcoin is Weak & Broken”, which can be found in Decred Magazine & soon to be revised & posted on Medium, I’m writing two new pieces; one on privacy & one on how Decred can be the currency that Balaji Sriinvasan speaks about in his book “The Network State”. Hopefully, we will also find that work published here in the Magazine.
I also shit-post a lot on Twitter. Does that count?
Phoenix: Defiantly, I’m really looking forward to your next piece, and I’m very much hoping you’ll be a regular on Decred magazine. It may interest our readers to know that, your piece “Decred Iterates Where Bitcoin is Weak or Broken” and Tivra’s “Peer-to-Peer Electronic Corporation” are the two highest viewed articles.
Can you tell us a little about your background? e.g. Professional skills, Hobbies, and interests.
Ronnie: Professionally, I’ve been a bartender in SF & Oakland for nearly 30 years. I moved to SF in 91, lived on General Assistance until 94. 94 is when I found gainful employment as a bartender. As far as hobbies, I took the time that COVID-19 gave me to kayak across the U.S. Next Spring & Summer I plan to spend the entirety of those two seasons training in Bryson City, N.C. Otherwise, I’m entirely consumed with the objectives, tenets & economics of the crypto space. I’ve always been fascinated by the markets, all markets.
Phoenix: In our pre-show conversation, I found your backstory and the things that you’ve accomplished fascinating. I also like the fact, like myself, you come from a humble background and have found value in preserving wealth in crypto.
What was the catalyst for you becoming a cryptocurrency enthusiast and start learning more?
Ronnie: Three years before building a position(s) in crypto, I had started building positions in metals. The concepts of Sound Money are well established in that community. Still, I had no idea what crypto was all about. That was until my best friend bought BTC in Sept of 2017. I told him he was an idiot. A month later, he was up 30%. So, I had no choice, bought BTC & immediately fell right into the rabbit hole.
How did you find Decred and what year did you dive into the project?
Ronnie: It was December 17, 2017, I had the house to myself. I had been reading everything I could about crypto 24/7. I came across a paragraph that explained that Decred was an “egalitarian privacy coin”. That resonated with me & I never looked back. I still believe that Decred’s governance is still the fairest governance in the space if not the world. Decred’s governance provides a voice, not through representation but directly to every law submitted on the platform. This is a model for Nation-States, Network-States & DAO’s. It is also a model that enables individual liberty, freedom from centralized rulers & provides a catalyst for creativity.
That same night, I read “Blockchain Governance: Programming Our Future” by Fred Ehrsam & thought that Decred most resembled the self-organizing biological systems that he was talking about. I’m still fascinated by the possibilities & the ability for this platform to evolve as opposed to ossify.
The Rabbit Hole is REAL
How would you describe the work that you do for Decred, and how does it help the project grow?
Ronnie: Like I said earlier, I shit-post a lot on Twitter. I’m not necessarily proud or ashamed of that. Twitter is what it is & it’s important as that’s where a lot of ideas, mindshare & community outreach takes place. However, I would like to up my game & write more in depth. My article “Decred Iterates Where Bitcoin is Weak & Broken” is my first attempt at that. I would like to add that it’s vital we support the heavyweight writers that we already have, including @RichardRed0x amongst others.
I’m also working on a marketing proposal. That won’t be ready for about a year, unfortunately. However, it will resemble how Ben & Jerry launched their brand by touring the country. The idea is to hit college town after college town & America’s national parks & camp sites & hold Meet ups at these locations. I’m hoping to set sail Spring 2024.
If applicable, is there anything the community can do to aid you in your work?
Ronnie: Keep me honest. Challenge my assertions & criticisms. Play devil's advocate & reach out to me for any reason, especially if you are interested in organizing Meet Ups. I could be open to travel & hosting.
Phoenix: It’s actually, one of the reasons I was drawn to your account on Twitter. I like the way you’ll put an idea out there, which in turn drives a deeper conversation. It’s quite a natural way of putting Decred in the conversation without overly shilling the project. A perfect example of this is, over the past months, we’ve seen high-profile crypto people who know about Decred. Openly ignoring the project exists whilst at the same time expressing an interest for its features.
I also like the idea of more Decred Meet Ups and think you would be a great host. Anyone in Ronnie’s area should definitely get in tough with him and organise this, it would be fantastic if the community could make this happen.
What would you like to see Decred work on next, and how might you be able to help with this?
Ronnie: This is a loaded question. I have a long list. I’m afraid of being a Monday Morning Quarterback; however, I’m an investor & as much as it pains JYP, these are my concerns. By the way, critical thinking is not trolling. Here is my list:
- Stronger Privacy
- Merchant Adoption
- Branding & Marketing (in addition to PR. PR is not marketing)
- Engagement on Politeia
- Engagement on Twitter
- Attracting L2 Teams
- Being Quicker to Market, perhaps by…
- Incentivizing Devs
- Defi Products on the DEX
- Listings (even if we must pay fees)
- Liquidity (Rune & Haveno Integration)
- Facilitating Custodial Solutions for Institutions
- Facilitating Governance for Nation States (e.g. the Brazil elections & otherwise) •Becoming a Network State (this is the focus of my next piece)
- Sending Satellites in Space, e.g. Blockstream (I know that some will find this one far out; however, stay with it for a good minute)
- Being honest & using Growth as a metric for success (if you’re not growing, your…)
Phoenix: It’s fair to say there’s some much anticipated items on your list and some controversial ones. If the community has any thoughts on these, don’t forget to comment at the end of the post, it would be great to hear your feedback. If I had to pick one, it would have to be merchant tools that integrate with DCRDEX.
What other projects are you interested in, and how do they differ from Decred?
Ronnie: Privacy projects. Obviously, XMR. I have a small position & like SCRT. I trade other projects & parlay my winnings into DCR & have for 5 years. Furthermore, I do accumulate BTC as a hedge to being wrong, yet I have no love for the project because it fails on Privacy. Sound Money is NOT Sound without Privacy.
In your opinion, what are the three things every cryptocurrency should include and why?
Ronnie: Privacy, Fair Distribution, Adoption, Security, Fair Issuance. How many was that?
Finally, is there anything else you would like to add that could give the community a better understanding of your work or your ethos.
- I will explore the idea of the Circular Economy in the piece I’m writing about the Network State. We can create a marketplace for goods & services traded among ourselves in the Decred Community. That circle & hence Decred will grow should we as individuals “add value” to the circle (I’m still trying to find my niche, quite honestly). The goal would be to be recognized by the greater political institutions of the world & to acquire land as a sovereign Network State that can’t be overlooked economically. Hint, neither BTC nor XMR can achieve this with their protocols at this time because of their lack of fair governance. Decred Can. We need to get ahead of that curve.
- I believe in incentivizing DEVS with the objective of being quicker to market & if we must, pay for listings. I would be willing to revisit the Block Reward Split to facilitate these objectives. I like the idea of 33/33/33. That 3x’s the current Treasury Reward, incentivizes POW, which is critical to fair issuance (otherwise we end up being an oligarchy & it ups the stakeholders reward from the original split.
Thank you, Fam., All of you. Absolutely every one of you.