From his ‘Silicon Prairie’ in Des Moines, Iowa, the former Political Director for the Ron Paul 2008 Presidential Campaign, Craig Bergman now runs a company called Vortex Blockchain Technologies Inc. (Vortex) as President and CEO. In a phone interview, Bergman discusses how he is quietly mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for now, while he catches up on filings with the SEC.
An SEC filing explains “Vortex Blockchain Technologies, Inc (“Vortex” or the “Company”) was incorporated on February 14, 2013 in the State of Nevada as UA Granite Corporation, and a reverse merger with Vortex Network, LLC was completed on October 17, 2018.” Currently listed as VXBT, there are 75,500,000 shares outstanding – all of which are still privately held.
The latest SEC 10-Q Report for the quarter ending September 2019 states, “…the Company is engaged in software and hardware development, bitcoin mining, fintech, cyber security, and A.I., has been issued a going concern opinion, and relies primarily upon the sale of our securities and loans from its CEO and directors to fund operations.” Bergman stated his expectation that his company’s securities will start trading publicly in August.
Almost as interesting as the transactions executed in rolling out his blockchain firm to the public is Bergman himself. From his days working on the College Republicans for Jack Kemp, he quickly found himself between both Austrian economic theorists and gold standard champions. Bergman also has a charitable organization called ‘Patriots for Christ’ that teaches Americans to uphold their civic duty based on religious scripture. Finally, with his work as a movie producer of the documentary ‘Unfair: Exposing The IRS’, Bergman keeps himself busy.
For his leadership of Vortex Blockchain Solutions, Inc., his energy is high and diversity of interests in the crypto and blockchain space is similar to his other endeavors. While admitting he had originally dismissed Bitcoin as ‘Magic Internet Money’, he now considers Bitcoin and its pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto as good at economics, but bad at math. “I would make halvening every year and start with a bigger pool. Satoshi was good at economics and bad at math. Bitcoin cannot make it another 100 years as it is not big enough to capture the 100 Trillion dollar world economy,” says Bergman.
As Bergman laments that in his second experience with Bitcoin, he cashed out early enough to put in new marble countertops in his kitchen, but did not ‘HODL’ or hold on for dear life. Many in the crypto community describe their intent with not selling Bitcoin no matter what happens, based on their long-term beliefs in the technology. However, according to Bergman, Bitcoin has a limited time before the currency no longer is able to manage the capacity of the world economy that he believes a new ‘Future coin’ will be able to do. “Cardano is close, but it’s like watching Shawshank Redemption where [Charles Hoskinson] is chipping away at a wall behind a Marilyn Monroe poster. Will he finally break through? Probably, but it will take 20 years.”
According to Bergman, this ‘Future Coin’ will be something that will change everything instantly, like Thanos from the Avengers snapping his fingers. He describes the future as a proof of stake, proof of trust blockchain protocol that will be invented ‘out in the wild’ as a ‘zero-day’ coin that will become the next Bitcoin, only much better. Bergman believes Cardano went back – but not far back enough. He expects the same phenomenon will occur that did with Bitcoin, where there is no ‘pre-mining’ and just like Satoshi and Finney started with their transactions, this new ‘Future Coin’ will need experience its genesis moment. “The reason pre-mined tokens and ICOs don’t work is because nobody wants to make that guy a billionaire,” Bergman claims.
Regarding blockchain, Bergman has been involved with distributed systems for years. He had started a company called Vortex Network focused on distributed network systems back in 2010-2011, similar to Napster. Bergman claims that back then, new centralized platforms would eventually be doomed to fail. Prior to George Gilder’s book ‘Life After GoogleGOOGL’, the idea of giving away your product and using others as the content creator he dramatically considers a form of socialism.
Bergman referenced companies such as Radio Shack, Montgomery Ward and Sears, that had incredible market valuations; yet, they are no longer with us.
Bergman foresees the upcoming decade as another iteration of a decentralized infrastructure – where AOL was. “AOL was downloaded from a disk and ran on your local machine. You could change the interface with AOL and use it locally with neighbors. You can’t do that with current Web 2.0 technology (such as Twitter or Facebook) – you are on their server”.
For current profits, Vortex relies on mining. “If people think Bitcoin and mining is profitable this is what we do like everyone else,” said Bergman. “However, unlike Riot and Hive, we haven’t borrowed 150 million dollars; we have no debt.”
Presidential Candidate Ron Paul
Regarding his time as political director for Ron Paul, Bergman notes Ron Paul is three generations older than he is. Bergman says he talked him into running in 2007, after he had first supported him for President against George H.W. Bush in 1988 when Jack Kemp didn’t win. In terms of the way the Fed works today and how the crypto community embraces the ideas of Paul, Bergman comments, “The Founding Fathers could not artificially alter the monetary supply without putting effort into it. Politically, socially, and economically it is the truth. Printing money makes money worth less”.
Bergman proclaims that when the Fed prints, “…two trillion dollars out of thin air, there is no gold or silver mined, no electric spent, no jobs were given and no infrastructure built. All the printing does is cause the price of goods to go up in relation to the value of the currency just printed.”
For the future, Bergman is also developing a voting system and software with a name brand that people associate with and trust, an American publicly traded company. He hopes his firm will be trading by August or September. “Bergman may not be your typical crypto-community member. However, his work in mining cryptocurrency is just the beginning of his foresight in to the future of blockchain technology outside of finance. From blockchain enabled voting platforms to AI to looking beyond to Web 3.0, Craig Bergman will be able to fit right into any cryptocurrency conference.
To the degree that he was the former political director for Ron Paul will win Bergman praise enough; however, should he go too far back to Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan, he may get some blank stares from the millennials. However, he should also be able to relate well to the baby boomer crowd, a challenging but perhaps untapped marketplace for the growth and acceptance of crypto.