Refusing to shy away from nuanced analysis or existential problems, Natalie Smolenski will bring big picture thinking to Bitcoin 2023.

As a business executive, academic researcher and regulatory policy advocate, Natalie Smolenski is uniquely qualified to advance Bitcoin adoption among institutions, academia and policymakers. She is a gifted public speaker, mastering the difficult recipe of championing Bitcoin holistically, conveying deep knowledge across the numerous disciplines that this technology touches through easily-digestible explanations.

She has channeled that expertise into nuanced, well-reasoned perspectives on some of the most critical issues faced by Bitcoin today, from the advent of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to the void left by devaluation of the U.S. dollar. Next, at Bitcoin 2023, she’s poised to do so on one of the world’s biggest stages, taking on “Bitcoin, Energy Systems And The State” in a panel discussion alongside investment strategist and renowned author Lyn Alden.

“With Lyn, I will be discussing the effects that the coexistence of bitcoin with inflationary fiat currencies will have on global credit, banking business models and the role of the state in monetary policy,” Smolenski explained in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. “We will also touch on the relationship between computation, which secures the Bitcoin network, energy and civilizational growth. I’d like to end on a few policy notes about what the United States can do to ensure an abundant energy future — that includes cultivating a population that has the capacity to harness abundant energy to build new, more resilient institutions.”

Smolenski may be near galactic in her perspective on what Bitcoin impacts, but she’s also all too practical about the urgency of the moment. Her perspective on the ongoing banking crisis is one that necessitates not just deep thought, but revolutionary action.

“As a result of the irreconcilable mandates of governments to both make depositors whole and stimulate economic growth through fractional-reserve lending, the global commercial banking sector holds very few deposits in reserve,” she explained. “Sooner or later, this leads to a crisis of trust — i.e., a crisis of credit — for the sovereign… As the crisis of sovereign credit unfolds, bitcoin will prove to be a reliable store of value and medium of exchange for millions, and eventually billions, of people around the world. However, bitcoin also is a relatively unattractive currency to borrow in, because it appreciates in value over time. As a result, we will likely see a slowdown in the rate of growth of credit in a hyperbitcoinized world, as well as an evening out of the jaggedness of the cycles of growth and contraction that characterize highly-leveraged economies.”

Smolenski’s detailed outlook on the current economic landscape, as well as the many obstacles that remain before Bitcoin can truly realize its promise, is typical of her layered brand of advocacy for this space.The opportunity to bring together minds like Smolenski’s and Alden’s is unique to the agenda of Bitcoin 2023.

“I am looking forward to high-bandwidth speaker sessions and conversations at Bitcoin 2023,” she said. “In general, I am less interested in boosterism than in analysis. My favorite experiences at conferences are the serendipitous talks and encounters that help me see an issue in a new and compelling way.”

For people like Smolenski, optimistic about the potential path forward that Bitcoin gives us while remaining realistic about the many challenges ahead, Bitcoin 2023 will prove to be a unique chance to take stock of where we are and where we need to go next.

“Truly disintermediating traditional banks at scale will require a level of technological accessibility for bitcoin self custody that isn’t there yet,” she concluded. “But there are many brilliant people working to solve this problem. Universalizing bitcoin self custody is akin to universalizing literacy: You no longer have to ask the religious authority in your city to read something for you. In fact, you can read it yourself.”


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