Charlie Lee returns to MIT Bitcoin Expo in 2023 to keynote on Litecoin, Fungibility, and Privacy and why it's important for digital money. Many people don't know about Charlie's impressive background nor how he came to understand Bitcoin so early and then created Litecoin. This discussion provides key insights into Charlie Lee and into the foundation of Bitcoin and Litecoin as potential future reserve currencies.
In this discussion, Charlie talks about the courses he took in the late 90s while at MIT. These courses such as Economics and the study behind the monetary policy, how fractional reserve banking doesn't work, and how a fixed supply makes better money. He also took cryptography and hashing courses. One of the courses that he said was instrumental was 6.046 Design and Analysis of Algorithms taught by Ron Rivest. Ron is most known for the R in RSA. A secure algorithm for communications and digital signatures. Ron also create Peppercoin, which was a centralized payment system but never took off. Charlie also took 6.875 Cryptography and Cryptanalysis learning about public and private keys among other classes. He also talked about a course on game theory and how it's what makes Bitcoin work, and how he was able to grasp Bitcoin right away.
Sounds like a great foundation to understand something as special as Bitcoin and Litecoin. This would have built a foundation in the mathematical, cryptographic, and economic principles that underpin Bitcoin & Litecoin and understanding the incentives that drive the behavior of participants of the networks.
Lee also discusses the success of Litecoin and how it has differentiated itself from other cryptocurrencies in the space. He highlighted the fairness of Litecoin's launch, which had no pre-mine and didn't give himself any coins at the start, and its focus on CPU mining early on to promote decentralization and community participation.
Charlie went on to talk about the MimbleWimble Extension Block (MWEB) upgrade for Litecoin, which is a soft fork that introduces privacy and scalability features to the network. He discussed how MWEB works and how it can benefit Litecoin users with privacy, but most importantly how it makes litecoin fungible. Currently, Bitcoin is lacking fungibility and this is the last missing piece of good money.
Watch the video below from 2:08:57 until 2:43:00 where Charlie Lee sits down with Hannah Shen at MIT in the Satoshi room.
Did you know that Charlie Lee also spoke at the 2nd annual MIT Bitcoin Expo back in 2015? One of the biggest takeaways is that Litecoin was built to be 4x faster than Bitcoin and that Charlie thinks Satoshi randomly picked 10 minutes, and it turns out that 2.5 minutes is probably a better confirmation time. This is why Charlie says Litecoin is better than Bitcoin towards the end of the speech.
Watch his 2015 MIT Bitcoin Expo talk below (lots of mic noise):
Both of Charlie Lee's talks at the MIT Bitcoin Expo in 2023 & 2015 offered valuable insights into how he came to understand Bitcoin so early, and why he created Litecoin and their role as potential reserve currencies in the future.