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We are Bitcoin - Andrej P. Škraba

I interviewed Andrej, co-founder of the education portal Astra.si. A person who understands mathematics very well and at the same time helps the rest of us to understand it. I asked him about Bitcoin, AI, economic schools, the educational portal and the steps needed to improve the level of monetary literacy of Slovenians.


You are a bitcoiner. What does this term mean to you?

Andrej: For me, this term means that you understand bitcoin on several levels: technological, cryptographic, economic, sociological, philosophical and political. I think bitcoin is the most interesting and important thing in the world since the invention of the internet.


When did you first encounter Bitcoin and who introduced it to you?

Andrej: I was first introduced to bitcoin in the spring of 2010 by a colleague who was mining bitcoin on his laptop at the time.


You're an economist and maths is close to your heart. During primary school, secondary school and later studies, Slovenians arm themselves with sufficient mathematical and economic knowledge, yet it turns out that we don't understand the basics of economics - money. I always had a feeling that something was not "right" with the existing system, but I could not decipher what it was. Why do you think that is? Do you have similar experiences?

Andrej: I believe that society has three foundations that are crucial for its functioning. The first foundation is the legal system, or the rules of the game and how society works. Without some basic laws of how society works, civilised life is not possible. The second foundation is the school system. This regulates the transfer of knowledge and information to the generations that succeed them in the world and in society. The third foundation is the health system, which should provide health services to society and raise people's awareness of the importance of health. For only healthy, educated and moral people can create a prosperous society. Because these 'foundations' are not working optimally in Western countries and societies, we have sick, stupid and corrupt people. Of course, this is a very simplistic description and money plays a key role as a connective tissue between all human interactions. I believe that economics is part of the legal system where we agree on how we will value and exchange value. If one group can control this part of the "game", then all the other "players" are in a deprivileged position and trapped in an inflationary spasm.


What do you think of the Austrian School of Economics? Has it been deliberately excluded from the existing curriculum?

Andrej: I came across the Austrian School of Economics while I was studying economics, mainly because of the GEP, the movement for economic pluralism at the EF. At that time, we were exploring many other ideas than just classical and Keynesian economics. Because of my own libertarian worldview, the Austrian school is close to my heart. But I am not a fan of religiously following ideas that have emerged in history. Every historical period has its own characteristics, and these change over time. That is why it is always necessary to look for a mixture of ideas. I do not know whether the Austrian school is being deliberately squeezed out, but it is a fact that politics prefere Keynesian principles, precisely because, in this kind of set-up, it gives them more power.


Bitcoin is mathematics. How do you explain that statement?

Andrej: The Bitcoin protocol uses mathematical functions and methods to validate transactions and maintain transaction histories, ensuring the accuracy, precision and security of the information stored in the blockchain. Without cryptographic methods based on mathematical concepts, the existence of Bitcoin would not be possible. Therefore, we can say that mathematics is at the core of Bitcoin.



You are the founder of the Astra.si educational portal. What does it offer, what do you want to achieve and who is it aimed at?

Andrej: Astra.si is a portal for all pupils, students and other knowledge seekers who want to refresh, deepen or learn new mathematics knowledge. It is a non-profit project, all explanations, more than 2.500 videos, are free!


You have recently expanded your offer with an AI instructor. What does this mean for the user?

Andrej: Astra AI is the most advanced AI instructor that utilises the power of artificial intelligence to teach maths. It is available to anyone who wants help with learning maths and is much cheaper than traditional tutoring - that is the main purpose and goal; to drastically reduce the cost of tutoring and to provide each person with a personal tutor. We have designed Astra AI so that the user experience is very similar to tutoring, and the answers are tailored to the level of knowledge.


How complicated was it to "train" the AI programme so that the quality of its results is satisfactory to you?

Andrej: Astra AI currently runs on the Azure Open AI API, so we can't drastically affect the quality of the results. It is a language model, so its accuracy is somewhere between 95-98%. By developing dedicated mathematical models and a combination of mathematical-linguistic models, we will be able to raise this to 100% in the future. For now, the solution is good enough to focus on growth and market education.


AI is a tool that humans can use to benefit the majority. But it can also be misused to work against the vast majority of people. How do you see AI and its further development?

Andrej: Just like any other technology that has an impact on people. The consequences can be both positive and negative. I will fight for the use of this technology in education because I think it can drastically improve learning processes and bring mathematics and other subjects closer to young people. The next decade will certainly be a turning point, because artificial intelligence will make a huge number of people redundant. I fear that this would lead to countries flirting even more with totalitarian ideas.


Can we already pay for our Astra.si subscription with bitcoin?

Andrej: Not yet, but you can support the project with bitcoin on this page.


Are you thinking about adding Bitcoin content to the portal?

Andrej: I have a dedicated Bitcoin section on the portal: https://astra.si/bitcoin/.


You've mastered marketing. What is the simplest way to introduce people to Bitcoin? What is missing or what do you think is too much in the current approaches?

Andrej: Good marketing always tells a good story and influences people's emotions and thinking. That's why you need to tell people a story.The story about money, economics, how their lives are affected by the fiat monetary system, etc. Most people still see bitcoin as a speculative investment and not as a tool for economic sovereignty and independence.


How do you think we could raise the level of general knowledge in Slovenia about the current monetary system that is not working for people and show them an alternative, Bitcoin?

Andrej: Through education, through events on the topic, through podcasts, through books, etc.


Are you otherwise active in the Bitcoin community?

Andrej: I try to attend meetings and participate in debates.


Why bitcoin? (In one sentence)

Andrej: Bitcoin is a unique and special way for people to store and exchange value.


You have one orange pill. Who in Slovenia would you give it to and why?

Andrej: Blaž Brodnjak, CEO of NLB. He is an extremely intelligent man, but he has not taken the time to study bitcoin and its properties. This is clearly evident from his public statements.Bitcoin books are finally available in Slovenian (bitcoin-knjiznica.si).


Which book would you give to the President of the country?

Andrej: Bitcoin standard.


Where can people find you?

Andrej: They can contact me via Twitter/X or LinkedIn.


Andrej, thank you for your time.If you need help with maths, don't forget to check out Andrej's web portal Astra.si, where you can find more than 2,500 free resources. You will also find Bitcoin content in podcast form, suitable for beginners and those who have already taken the initial step. As Andrej says, education is one of the foundations of a successful society. Take advantage of quality content.

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