Home News PODCAST What Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation, and Gutenberg Can Teach Bitcoiners

PODCAST What Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation, and Gutenberg Can Teach Bitcoiners

TL;DR: Economist Max Gulker and his brilliant essay is the subject of our interview. He writes at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), and he’s has come up with a theory as to how to think about Bitcoin and its development. It’s a pretty original idea, and involves famed reformer Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation, and Gutenberg (Gulker took inspiration from the incredible book, Brand Luther by Andrew Pettegree). This episode is available embedded in the article below, and on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherRadio PublicBreakerPocketCastsPodBeanYouTube for Newer Episodes, YouTube Older Episodes, and Overcast

What Martin Luther Can Teach Bitcoiners

German religious reformer Martin Luther holds a key place in Western development. He’s credited with what eventually become the Protestant Reformation, literally a fork of the Roman Catholic Church, a protest against the old order.

He’s also, according to economist Max Gulker of AIER, a catalyst for what we understand to be the popularly written word. Most folks give that honor to Gutenberg and his printing press, movable type. Gulker acknowledges as much, but places the real historic technological headwind on the machinations of Luther many years later.

Martin Luther
Max Gulker

It turns out the printing press wasn’t really that popular during its initial period. The devices made their way around wealthy patrons, but more or less stalled in being any kind of popular technological upheaval.

Luther’s later claim to bring the Bible to more laity and away from the cleric class, along with printing it in the vernacular, was, to Gulker, what eventually gave the printing press its main use case. There are parallels to what Bitcoin is now and how the ecosystem believes it “knows” how it should be used or which cryptocurrency will take off in terms of adoption. Gulker’s eventual argument is a cautionary theory about maximalism and the hubris that comes from over-valuing present-day notions. This is a really fun and thought-provoking episode.


00:00 Max Gulker, PhD

03:55 AIER

05:40 Edward Stringham, Jeffrey Tucker

08:10 Inspiration, Brand Luther

12:05 Who was Martin Luther?

13:15 Gutenberg and the printing press — the next cool thing

14:40 The printing press bubble

17:40 The catalyst

21:25 Different use case: best selling author, cosmetics

25:20 Technological use is not obvious

26:30 Bitcoin as an evolutionary learning process

28:40 The internet didn’t just fall from the sky, neither did Bitcoin

30:30 Reformation parallels to Bitcoin forks

31:50 BTC maximalists are central planners, protectionists; network effect fallacy

34:00 Shouting at cryptocurrencies is futile in a free society

35:00 Bitcoin is just at its start, historically

36:05 Mass extinction events sober thoughts of inevitability

39:20 Tsunami movement or small cracks?

40:25 Medium of exchange versus digital gold



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