Montana Blockchain Innovator: Josh Schultz

Montana Blockchain Innovator: Josh Schultz

"Bitcoin mining breaks the scarcity mindset in energy generation by enabling utility companies to dispose of excess amounts of power without suffering a loss."

The following interview features Josh Schultz, who lives in Helena. Josh is an outside plant engineer for fiber optic networks by day and a Bitcoin advocate by night. For those unfamiliar, Bitcoin is the first decentralized blockchain, more commonly referred to as a cryptocurrency. Josh advocated for and testified in favor of SB 178, known as the “right to mine” bill, during Montana’s 2023 legislative session.

You have a full-time job, and for many that would be more than enough. You, however, have gone out of your way to advocate for blockchain and more specifically Bitcoin. What motivates you to do this?

“I think it’s important to have another type of money, especially with our current reliance on currencies. For example, money is universally valuable, easily tradeable or saleable, and ideally divisible. An example of money is gold. Currency on the other hand is typically issued by a centralized entity, is typically only valuable in certain places, and can be manipulated by the issuer. An example of a currency is the U.S. Dollar. Given this understanding, it’s clear why having options for dealing in money is important. However, the problem with one of the most common monies, gold, is that it is not easily divisible, and it has become increasingly difficult to sell.”

“That is where Bitcoin comes in. Bitcoin can be used anywhere in the world. It is easily divisible. And where it isn’t accepted it is still easy to convert to a local currency. Furthermore, Bitcoin is effectively backed by one of the most universally valuable things: energy. The reason for this is that it takes energy to run Bitcoin mining operations, thus each new Bitcoin correlates to the production and use of energy. At the end of the day, Bitcoin provides another type of money so we don’t have to rely on currencies as much.”

What do you see as the biggest implications of Bitcoin?

“There are a long list of societal-wide benefits Bitcoin can and already is enabling. I, however, see its potential to transform and modernize our grid as one of the most important implications.”

“Our energy grid is shockingly old and dilapidated. The current model necessitates creating just enough energy to keep up with demand. The issue is that without new demand for energy, it makes it difficult to update existing energy infrastructure. As a result, both ratepayers and taxpayers end up footing the bill for these updates.”

“However, it wasn’t always like this. Prior to manufacturing and smelting facilities moving to China, these industries drove the demand for energy and thus primarily paid for the grid build-out. What Bitcoin mining can do is drive the demand for new energy, enabling utility companies to increase production capacity and modernize the grid. Furthermore, Bitcoin mining breaks the scarcity mindset in energy generation by enabling utility companies to dispose of excess amounts of power without suffering a loss.”

What do you see as the biggest obstacles to Bitcoin?

“The two biggest obstacles to Bitcoin are the media and politicians. If you were to ask your average Montanans about crypto, or Bitcoin more specifically, they would probably say something like, “I hear there’s a lot of illegal stuff going on with it.” In turn, politicians reflect this thinking and pursue policies in response.”

“What we need is a lot more education about how it can improve people’s everyday lives. They need to know that Bitcoins inflation goes down every four years. They need to know that they can get on a plane, go anywhere in the world and be able to use Bitcoin. They need to know that if their loved one loses their wallet in another country, they can still send them Bitcoin so they can get home safe. They need to know that Bitcoin is completely decentralized. They need to know that Bitcoin is a good mechanism for passing wealth to their children.”

“At the end of the day, we need to be patient and explain to people how powerful this technology is and just how much it can improve their lives.” 

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