Diving into tbDEX with Mike Brock

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Key Takeaways

  • Open-source technologies have changed the world and will continue to.
  • tbDEX’s guiding principle is to be as decentralized as possible.
  • There are inevitable tradeoffs to be made in order to bring the masses into the Bitcoin system.
  • Bitcoin is a hopeful technology that gives us a chance to fight against the asymmetric risks threatening the continuation of human freedom around the world.


  • Mike Brock, Product Lead at tbDEX aka @TBD54566975, is interviewed by @MartyBent and @Odell in this Tales From the Crypt (@TFTC21)
  • This conversation explores the need for tbDEX and how it will likely work. Read the full whitepaper here.


  • DID – Decentralized Identities. – a new type of identifier that enables verifiable, decentralized identity
  • VC – Verifiable Credentials – provides a standard way to express credentials across the digital world in a way that is cryptographically secure, privacy-respecting, and machine verifiable (from whitepaper)
  • PFI- Participating Financial Institutions.

Block (formerly Square) and Bitcoin

  • During a hack week in Jan 2017, @Jack CEO of Block, asked Mike to integrate Bitcoin so he could buy coffee at Blue Bottle. A week later, they figured it out. This was Mike’s first experience with Bitcoin.
  • CashApp integrating Bitcoin faced criticism EVERYWHERE and was difficult to build. Brock gives a lot of praise to Jack for his conviction to get this done.

Why tbDex

  • tbDEX exists to provide a bridge between traditional, centralized finance and Bitcoin
  • Block and tbDEX is uniquely positioned with their existing infrastructure to work with the legacy system to bring bitcoin to everyone
  • They are intending to serve new people in Bitcoin. Not everybody will want to know through the years-long rabbit hole.
  • It will give power back to the people by giving them the option to choose which financial system they operate in.

How tbDex Works

  • tbDEX will be building upon the already-built web of trust among existing institutions.
  • By using DID and VC, users with existing KYC information by a trusted institution (PFI) will be able to transact with another party as long as they approve of each other’s credentials.
  • This will be a messaging protocol more like BitTorrent than blockchain. There will be no central registry and it will utilize the public key infrastructure and certificate authorities.
  • It will most likely utilize stable coins. Brock views them as positive and thinks it will be safer to transact with them.

Interesting Takes

  • Blockchains are slow and expensive databases and a bad solution for most things. Web 3 is like “people haven’t thought about it for more than 5 seconds”.
  • Brock sees tbDEX as a necessary step towards a decentralized world. Even after fiat ends, he sees the product as useful because of the established social trust the product utilizes.
  • Financial privacy and anonymity are different.
  • Bitcoin “Purists” or crypto-anarchists may not like this product, but they need to accept that our reality needs this product.
  • Natural Law was discussed throughout. Hume – can’t derive an ought statement from an is. There is a split in political philosophy till date.

CryptoTales from the Crypt : , , ,
Notes By Paul Keating

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