This is part 4 of a 4 part series with professional U.S. lobbyist, Brian Files, about what it takes for bitcoin to succeed from a legal and legislative perspective.
In this final part, Brian shares his experience on what it takes to lobby lawmakers to embrace and support bitcoin to gain mainstream adoption.
Tai Zen: When we look at the other side for all these Bitcoin developers and promoters and advocates like myself, who are trying to influence and get the public educated about the Bitcoin technology and stuff.
How hard would it be to get them to legalize and accept Bitcoin?
Because right now the IRS rule that it’s just a property. They don’t consider it a currency.
Obviously, they’re not going to consider it a currency because that competes with the current currency they have. So what in your experience or perspective, like what would it take for the law makers, not just in the U.S., possibly in other countries, but especially in the U.S. to accept and embrace Bitcoin as, “Hey, you know what, this is something that is legit and this is something we need to start looking at and support.”?
Brian Files: Well, the first thing is I mean we talked a little bit about is getting outside of the box because you speak in Bitcoin language with ease and most people don’t.
Tai Zen: Okay. So, give the honest idea of these law makers, what is their demographic? Are these guys tech guys? Are these nerd guys?
Brian Files: These are not tech guys.
Tai Zen: These street smart guys?
Brian Files: You say Face Time to these guys and they’ll like face what? We are fast forward, I consider myself fast forward. I’m in my 40s. These guys come in legislature is close to 60 or 70 years old, older white males.
Tai Zen: Older white males behind the times.
Brian Files: Yeah, say Twitter and they’ll go huh, that’s new?
Instagram is who? It’s crazy. So they’re not adept and as quick with adopting new things anyway or adopting new technology much less adopting a Bitcoin or understanding what it is.
One of the things we also talked about is telemedicine.
We make things that make telemedicine as easy as Facetime.
Hey, you’re talking to your doctor FaceTime during consultation. That’s pretty easy but even that is hard to get through.
Tai Zen: So you’re saying that when you represent these different companies about telemedicine, you’re talking about like a doctor and a patient talking to each other on Google Hangout or Google Skype?
Brian Files: Yes.
Tai Zen: And so, you’re saying even that technology alone is brand new?
Brian Files: Yes. Super new! Like they would look at me and say I didn’t know we can do that. It’s not common.
Tai Zen: So these are the people that are setting the laws for this country?
Brian Files: Absolutely.
Tai Zen: Okay. So basically, and then they have all these bankers and all these energy lobbyists pouring money in, so they’re getting all the attention, these bankers, these energy lobbyists.
So for someone who’s from the Bitcoin world, from the Bitcoin technology development world to come and get in front of these legislators and law makers, you’re saying it’s an uphill battle?
Brian Files: Well, you can get in front of them and you can get in front of your local legislative official. That’s not the hard part.
Getting them to understand what you’re trying to do and what’s the value for the greater good and how can they carry this flag up… conversation wise, so what do you want me to do?
First, before you go ask them anything…
You’ve got to be able to tell them, what do you want me [the legislator] to do?
Okay, Bitcoin is out there. It’s great technology.
Is it revolutionized technology? Is it going to make it easier, faster, better for the common people?
What are the advantages that they’re going to get from carrying the Bitcoin?
[The legislators are going to ask you:]
“What do you want me to do?”
“You just want me to adopt it?”
“Well, that’s on you, that’s not on me.”
Tai Zen: Yeah.
Brian Files: So, you’ve got to have a specific answer and then what they are going to ask is:
Who is that pro economywise?
Is it pro bank? Anti- bank?
Is it pro freedom of expression? Or freedom of rights or whatever?
Is it legal? Or if it’s not legal?
Are the Irish going to accept it or not accept it.
Is it volatile or not volatile?
What You Need Before
You Lobby For Bitcoin
Tai Zen: Let’s just say that the guys are out there, the people who are developing the Bitcoin technology and you have a lot of experience with the law makers, stuff like that, right.
And they were to give you… to recruit you to go and lobby or talk to these law makers to allow businesses and to pretty much legitimize and promote the Bitcoin technology. What would you ask the Bitcoin community to do so that it makes your job easier?
Brian Files: First thing that I would ask is:
What do you want?
What’s your goal with Bitcoin?
Do you want Bitcoin to be considered legal tender as valuable as a dollar, as useful as a dollar?
Is it something that is connected to my bank account and credit card?
Tai Zen: So basically, they have to have a goal or an objective, so you can work with.
Brian Files: Exactly.
Tai Zen: And you can’t just go there blinding okay, I got to support [Bitcoin].
Brian Files: Other than that, I’m just being a sounding board for, “Hey, did you know this is out there?”
Okay. Now, let’s say it’s year three, and I’m already hired… Okay, so what’s our goal?
You just want the legislators to know this is out there? And it’s not dangerous and it’s actually beneficial to the fiduciary, the banking system?
Okay, that’s fine. So, what do you want us to do?
Well, you wouldn’t get legislators to get the banks to adopt it, you want to get the banks to adopt it.
We talked about the small banks, the big banks. Once the banks bring it on, then…
Tai Zen: So you would say that the Bitcoin community needs to have a clear and concise objective of what they want the law makers to do?
Brian Files: What they want.
Tai Zen: And once when they come up with that objective and that target of what they want, then what’s the next step that they need to do?
Brian Files: The next step, I mean strategically [you want to know] who’s on your side and who’s not on your side. You would want to make sure that the banks were on your side. LOL!
Tai Zen: Okay. LOL!
Brian Files: And that [Bitcoin] was considered a form of currency that they recognize and trade in easily.
Tai Zen: No, what if this is a technology that was designed to put the banks out of business?
Brian Files: Then, you’re going against the big boys. Good luck with that one! LOL!
Tai Zen: Good luck with that one? LOL!
Brian Files: Good luck with that one! LOL!
Tai Zen: You’re not going up against Golden Sachs, a JP Morgan Chase or a Jamie Dimon? LOL!
Brian Files: I tell people this all the time. If you came up with the newest form of energy and you were threatening the oil [industry]… good luck with that. LOL.
Tai Zen: Okay.
Brian Files: They would find you dead before you became successful. LOL!
I hate to be cynical…
Tai Zen: But that’s just reality of how law makers and congress work.
Brian Files: It’s the reality of business, I mean any business whether it’s grocery chains or street business, whatever, I’m going to protect my business whatever it takes. I don’t care how wonderful the new product is, how wonderful the customers are, I’m going to protect my business at all costs.
Tai Zen: And when you have a bigger influence in the world and you got more money to throw at it. The little guys don’t have a chance?
Brian Files: Right, you have to have something that’s either show breakthrough and revolutionary that everybody in the street knows about it.
Tai Zen: And they just adopt those and the law makers don’t have a choice.
Brian Files: They have no choice! Right now, you are no where in that planet.
Like I said, when I go to a cab driver and say hey listen, “I got some bitcoins, can you get me across town?”
There are professional lobbying machines that you have to consider when you wage this battle.
It’s a great idea.
There’s no doubt about it. I’m pretty sure bitcoins is a great idea. There’s tons of great ideas.
If you’re waiting for congress to make it a better idea, you’re going the wrong way.
Tai Zen: Okay. So you’re saying that there’s too much money and fire power there at this time [against bitcoin]?
Brian Files: At this time for what you’re trying to do. I mean it takes time.
You now have President Obama actually believes in something. Well, it’s 2014.
Now, in China, they’re pushing somewhere way, way past us.
So I guess like I said it’s when the time comes. So, you start out small chirp, chirp, chirp, get the right advocates, get a break here or there, it goes into a divided congress and then you build it up.
Tai Zen: At that point, that’s when they bring in the professionals like you right?
Brian Files: If you feel that on the merits [of bitcoins], it sounds great, works great, we’ve got everything that everybody else does. What is wrong? Why can’t you? … You’re barking up the wrong tree.
Because it’s not about the law making you successful. A lot of people get that wrong. Oh, my god! I got a great, new energy! It’s going to blow it up! I’m not saying it’s impossible it’s very, very difficult to blow that up [and make it successful].
Tai Zen: Because there’s the powers that be that are already in place?
Brian Files: There are powers that be… it’s the way things have been done, etc. There are other issues and who wants to go win on Bitcoin? They don’t know Bitcoin either!
I mean this is the most in depth conversation I’ve had about it and we had 20, 30, 40 minutes to talk about it.
You’re not going to get that [kind] of time with people that matter. LOL!
Tai Zen: No, no, at least you’re being honest. LOL!
Brian Files: I’m being dead serious.
Tai Zen: Some people in the Bitcoin community don’t understand that.
Brian Files: Yeah, you’re not going to get that time.
Tai Zen: Yeah.
Brian Files: And like I said, I don’t mean it in a negative way, you got to get out of your bubble.
Tai Zen: No, that’s just the reality.
Brian Files: No, when I say get out of your bubble, you can’t speak in the same language like “Oh, my god, why can’t we do it!?”
Do you know many technologies people are saying that?
Why can’t [this…]? Why can’t [that…], Why can’t, etc.?
Oh, why are they not using my cable?
I got the best cable that links my thing to that?
- a) had that idea from a bigger part and that’s why companies get sold and new start-ups get grabbed up.
That’s why some things don’t make it and some things do.
But, my main thing to you is that if in the next six months, six to a year window, you’re looking at… WOW! Legislation is going to make it [bitcoin] explode?
That’s not the right angle. You need to ask:
- Who can you make your advocate?
- Who can sponsor and promote this idea [of bitcoin]?
- How is it become a wild fire?
- How does this become like Twitter?
Remember how people used to talk about Twitter?
Now, Twitter is like old news.
Tai Zen: It’s a common thing.
Brian Files: Right, but we all knew that when it first came up, I didn’t have to do anything about it. I mean who had it, those are dangerous. Oh, my god is it faster or slower. Is it instant messaging, what’s it going to look like?
Tai Zen: So Bitcoin has to get to that point.
Brian Files: And these would get where common language.
Tai Zen: Before they bring in the professional lobbyist.
Brian Files: Before it gets to that level. Because I will tell you when it comes to common language, the Bit people will want to do it.
Tai Zen: Yeah.
Brian Files: That’s how things get snapped up. That’s why Google decides to by XYZ. I mean I know it’s apples to oranges [in comparison] but look at Dre Beats.
Tai Zen: Yeah, the headphones.
Brian Files: When it first came out, well… they’re only crappy headphones but cool label and they blew up. Well, what did Apple just do? They just bought them.
Tai Zen: They just bought them for over a billion dollars.
Brian Files: Exactly. Well, they didn’t buy the technology. They bought the brand and all. And so, I say that not to be simplistic but you’ve got to build your brand enough where people take notes.
Tai Zen: And then, let the law makers chase after you instead of chasing after them.
Brian Files: Yup, they will come. It’s almost like professionals sports, if you’re good enough, they’ll find you.
You make money for somebody, they’ll find you. As long as it’s legal, sometimes it’s not… LOL!
Tai Zen: Okay. Well, hey, I appreciate you taking the time to share your insights with the law makers, with the Bitcoin Community.
Brian Files: I hate to sound so cynical, I’m sorry about that.
Tai Zen: No, no, no, I don’t look at it as being cynical, I look at it as like the community needs to see what the reality is from someone that’s in the heart of it and not just from speculators, everybody’s got an opinion. You actually get paid. You do this for a living.
Brian Files: This is my job.
Tai Zen: So, you know what it takes and you’ve already mentioned that if someone would pay you to go and lobby, these are things that you would need.
So, I mean it’s there.
Brian Files: What would be my message? What would a typical time need be? Sometimes I get 20 minutes. I would have five minutes to make an impression [on the legislator].
Tai Zen: That’s not a lot of time to get somebody to adopt a new technology.
Brian Files: Right. If I’m going to explain Bitcoin, I don’t want to spend five minutes explaining it.
I want to walk in, get to the heart of the matter, what is the ask? If I’m in there explaining, I’m just gonna confuse them and they’re just going to say… well, okay, thanks for explaining.
Tai Zen: Their eyes just glaze over.
Brian Files: Yeah, just like anybody else who, if you went to somebody who doesn’t know what Bitcoin is, how long do you think is going to take them to figure it out?
Tai Zen: Right now, it’s…
Brian Files: Truly understand it.
Tai Zen: I haven’t been able to do it less than an hour.
Brian Files: Exactly.
So imagine a legislator who you’re going to ask to do something about it.
They’re going to be like… bit what? Explain that to me now?
Okay, you got a guy who is out older, he’s just trying to find money to get the bridge fixed…
You’re going to come [to him] with can you help me move Bitcoin into normal coins by adopting this legislation?
Can you support that? LOL!
Tai Zen: Now, if somebody is watching this video and they were interested in getting you to help them lobby for a specific issue or law or something or concern outside of Bitcoin.
Are you available to help them do that?
Brian Files: Absolutely.
Tai Zen: What is the best way to contact you? Is there a website or can you give me the info?
Brian Files: I’m going to give you personally all my personal info. Anybody can give me a call even if they want to just educate themselves on what any legislation is all about.
Tai Zen: Yeah.
Brian Files: Am I bound by any contracts… So you got some interesting stuff going. I will definitely help you in any way.
Tai Zen: Okay. Alright. Well, thanks man.
Brian Files: Pleasure to meet you.
Tai Zen: So thanks for watching this guys and if you want to support our channel, you’re welcome to visit our donation page and donate Bitcoins or whatever and I’ll catch you guys in the next video.
Brian Files: Pleasure to meet you.
Tai Zen: So thanks for watching this guys and if you want to support our channel, you’re welcome to visit our donation page and donate Bitcoins or whatever. And I’ll catch you guys in the next video.
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