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We are Bitcoin - Prince Philip Karađorđević

Why would Bitcoin be attractive to members of the Royal Family? Is long-term thinking and planning compatible with the concept of monarchy? Prince Filip Karađorđević shared his Bitcoin story, his change of world views, his efforts in Serbia and worldwide. I was also curious if he has been contacted by a Slovenian government representative.

Are you Satoshi?

Philip: No, I can’t code, but I can keep a secret ;)

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your profession and what did you study?

Philip: Before joining

I was working for a globally renowned asset manager in London for close to a decade. I was in Tradfi for almost 15 years. I studied modern languages at University College London.

Are you living abroad or in Serbia?

Philip: I relocated to Serbia with my wife, Danica, and our son Stefan on Vidovdan 2020. We recently had our second child Marija. We live in Vračar, in downtown Belgrade.

Princ Filip Karađorđević
Princ Filip Karađorđević

Does being a prince hinder or help you in your life? Does it give you additional obligations, restrictions and responsibilities?

Philip: Ever since relocating to Serbia, together with my wife Danica, we've felt a strong duty to address the numerous societal challenges our nation faces. The environment, for instance, is a pressing issue, with our rivers and air facing pollution. Additionally, Danica and I stand resolutely in our mission to protect our rich cultural and historical heritage. We adamantly oppose the demolition of culturally significant structures. And economic challenges are also at the forefront.

Globally, economies are facing a multitude of challenges, and Serbia is no exception. The escalating cost of living crisis is particularly alarming. While some attribute our economic difficulties to supply chain disruptions during the Covid era, this argument holds less water now that supply chains have largely rebounded. As of 31 January 2024, Serbia's inflation stands at 6.4%, down from May's 2023 high of 16.2%, with food inflation at 7.2%, a decrease from March 2023 high of 25.4%. However, CPI is at a record high of 269.60 as of 31 January 2024, and it is not contracting at all. Meanwhile, both our M0 (cash) and M2 (cash and cash-like instruments) money supplies, which contracted earlier this year, have recently surged to record highs as of 31 Decemeber 2023, signaling continued inflationary pressures. Such reckless monetary practices will only lead to more inflation, to more cost of living crisis.

Given these circumstances, my commitment to Bitcoin has only strengthened. I view it as my duty to educate our populace about the merits of a hard money-based financial system, epitomised by Bitcoin. In my role at JAN3, I actively engage in initiatives aimed at broadening access to Bitcoin technologies worldwide. My ambition is to empower individuals, autonomous regions, and nations to embrace a financial system rooted in truth, resistant to inflation, and shielded from centralised interventions.

Balancing my princely responsibilities and my passion for Bitcoin, I find synergies in the efforts of the Royal Foundation, which Danica and I founded. The Foundation consolidates our vision for the future, with a focus on preserving traditions and cultural heritage. Moreover, it's my duty to address contemporary societal challenges and support individuals in their quest for prosperity, ensuring our communities thrive. Within this framework, my advocacy for Bitcoin is pivotal, as I'm convinced of its transformative potential for society.

Lastly, our dedication extends beyond Serbia to our vast diaspora, one of the world's largest. Through interactions with Serbian communities in Paris and London, Danica and I are committed to reinforcing unity and ensuring they retain a bond with their homeland. These endeavours mark just the beginning of our ongoing commitment and love to Serbia.

You are a bitcoiner. What does that mean to you?

Philip: As a bitcoiner I am passionate about freedom, truth, responsibility, harmony and prosperity. And I understand that the current system we live under is broken.

The way central banks create money, guided largely by the prevailing Keynesian economic model, and fractional reserve banking, works against our interests. This model's inflationary nature diminishes our savings and encourages a short-term, consumption-focused mindset, and leads many to a destructive life full of instant gratifications.

However, Bitcoin, with its deflationary nature, reverses these incentives. It urges us to save, assuring that not only will our savings remain, but they will grow in value. Such assurance allows people to think long-term, invest in meaningful jobs, start families, and foster community-centric economies. The ripple effects? Happier, less stressed communities with a more harmonious relationship with their environment. Bitcoin isn't just about solely improving finance — it's a socio-economic correction for a better world.

When did you first hear about bitcoin and what was the occasion?

Philip: I was introduced to Bitcoin in mid 2017 by a close friend who advocated its potential as an inflation hedge, highlighting its 21 million hard cap. Initially lured by the prospect of financial gain, I bought a modest amount. He taught me to download a wallet and secure my private keys.

Did you get it the first time or you needed to make all rookie mistakes before you finally got it?

Philip: In the subsequent years after first purchasing Bitcoin my understanding was admittedly limited, as I also bought other altcoins, and I even got into ICOs with hopes of profit. I always knew Bitcoin was king, but didn’t quite understand that it was the only one that mattered. It wasn't until 2020 that my genuine intrigue in Bitcoin really deepened, a result of rigorous study which came after questioning the world during the start of covid. I came to recognise it as the sole digital currency of significance, prompting me to liquidate my other holdings in favour of Bitcoin. What began as a financial venture transformed into a mission to instigate global change.

Bitcoin is the first engineered monetary system and stands out as the only decentralised money ever conceived. Other digital currencies, despite their claims, are not decentralised. They operate under the guidance of small teams, CEOs, and marketing departments etc. It's worth noting that the SEC (the Security and Exchange Commission) classifies Bitcoin uniquely as a commodity due to its complete decentralisation, making it distinct from the rest. The rest of cryptocurrencies are regarded as securities or companies, thus exposing them to centralisation vulnerabilities. Bitcoin is money of the people, free from the control of any single individual or entity, and not dominated by any corporation or dominant stakeholder. Bitcoin remains open to anyone, and in turn, works for everyone's benefit.

Many have aimed to improve or restructure Bitcoin's mechanics, either by altering its core or crafting something new. However, each improvement comes at the expense of another feature. Bitcoin sits in the perfect engineering sweet spot.

Simply put, there's only one Bitcoin, and the trajectory of money points directly towards it.

We met in Riga where you announced you joined company JAN3. Could you please tell us what is the mission of JAN3 and what is your role?

Philip: JAN3 is a Bitcoin technology company focused on expanding access to Bitcoin and financial freedom around the world. We provide tools for individuals, enterprises, and nation-states to benefit from a free and open financial system based on Bitcoin. We are mostly known as the nation-state bitcoin adoption.

Our mission is to accelerate hyperbitcoinization by building Bitcoin infrastructure and increasing accessibility to Layer 2 technologies like Lightning and Liquid for people all around the world. By onboarding and aligning incentives with a wide range of stakeholders, we can transition more quickly to a Bitcoin Standard, preventing societal strife while facilitating widespread prosperity.

I officially joined JAN3 soon after the announcement at Baltic Honey Badger in 2022, my title is Chief Strategy Officer (CSO). I ⁠spearheading strategic initiatives, including reaching out and engaging with Nation-State, Enterprise and high-net-worth individuals. I collaborate with other executives to develop and implement Bitcoin strategies for their businesses or foundations.

I open doors, and drive conversations around Bitcoin that lead to projects with Heads of state, royals, politicians, CEOS, investors, and other VIPS.

What are the core services you provide?

Philip: As a Bitcoin company we provide consultancy services all across the board for anything that is Bitcoin related. For that very reason we have developed our own wallet, AQUA, which encompasses much of our philosophy for Bitcoin adoption by making tech solutions such as the Liquid and Lightning networks easier to use, with the added benefit of stablecoin support for people in developing countries that rely a lot on Tether USDt. The AQUA wallet represents our bottom-up approach to Bitcoin adoption, along with establishing relationships with groups and communities driving Bitcoin usage all over the world in whatever way we can.

That ties in nicely with our nation-state level push for Bitcoin adoption, because often these groups and communities provide very valuable insights and connections that give us access to people in government or in the private sector, that may be interested in Bitcoin or that want their countries to do something Bitcoin related. You can’t approach a new country without first knowing the people’s needs and how that society functions, and luckily Bitcoin communities are very interested to share those first-hand experiences with us.

Lastly, there is JAN3 Financial, which, as the name suggests, is our financial consultancy service for governments, institutions, or individuals that already know they want to engage with Bitcoin-related activities. This service is tailored to individual needs. When you engage with us via JAN3 Financial, you receive personalized consulting from our team. Perhaps you want to devise a plan for buying Bitcoin over the next few years, need a custody solution for some Bitcoin you acquired in the past, or you are a public official looking to implement your own legal framework for Bitcoin—JAN3 Financial is designed to cater to these needs.

JAN3 is now lobbying countries around the world to use Bitcoin. What results do you expect in the next 5 years and what in 25 years?

Philip: At the moment, the next Bitcoin halving is approaching fast, which means that within the next 5 years we will experience another halving event in 2028. The halving tends to affect price, and price action moves not only people but also governments to look into Bitcoin — you have failed attempts like Venezuela and the Central African Republic, both of which came at peak prices; and then, you have El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin in the midst of a bull run.

I do not believe we have seen all that there is to see at a nation-state level for this market cycle, for example, El Salvador’s Bitcoin holdings are nearing profitability, and will probably become a very lucrative investment soon enough. That will certainly cause other governments to do something Bitcoin related, whether it’s adopting laws that embrace it, or simply start mining it.

Legal adoption of Bitcoin is much more complicated, because it requires politicians to manoeuvre through several checks and balances, but mining is different. It can be a very profitable activity if done correctly, and can lead to massive gains that can be reinvested in public infrastructure, so dare I say if a country that can mine Bitcoin is not doing, it is outright irresponsible not to do it for the economic benefit of its people. We might see more Bitcoin adoption over the next 5 years, but I guarantee you 100% we will see more energy-rich nations start mining Bitcoin.

25 years is a long time, however, by then Bitcoin will be more scarce, more recognized as an asset with milestones like ETF adoption legitimizing it in the eyes of many people, and as I’ve just stated, with far more countries realizing its potential. In 25 years you get everything we have witnesses multiplied, at the very least.

Serbia and Bitcoin? Have you met with politicians, central bankers, etc.?


I regularly rub shoulders with various politicians in Serbia, and I have met central bankers. Yes I have discussed Bitcoin with various politicians. However, given Serbia’s current political structure I am not comfortable in advocating for Bitcoin in a top-down strategy. Instead in Serbia I focus more on a bottom up approach, the natural strategy of Bitcoin. I am very bullish on Serbians as Bitcoiners. I support any grassroot Bitcoin projects in Serbia. Serbia's primary advantage is its wealth of talent. This is why initiatives like the HUB21 ( in Belgrade are pivotal. They serve as channels into the Bitcoin ecosystem, offering education and enabling our youth to forge connections with leading minds worldwide, creating networking opportunities and opening doors to new ventures.

Our country is home to exceptional designers, software developers, and engineers, among other professionals, who have the capacity to make significant contributions to this flourishing industry. It's a source of national pride to witness Serbians excel within the Bitcoin sector, and I make it a point to highlight these successes when I represent our country abroad.

What would you do in Serbia if you had the power to push things further?

Philip: I want to continue the tradition of the Karađorđević dynasty who paved the way for monarchy and freedom. We come from Karađorđe, who was born in the heart of Šumadija. Later, King Peter I and King Alexander I travelled the country, met with the people, shook hands, stayed in the houses of ordinary people throughout Serbia, drank coffee with them, listened to their problems and helped in solving them. I am open to people on that same level. I want to connect our history with the future. Preserving and understanding our cultural heritage is important to our prosperity. If we lose that, we stand to lose ourselves, to lose our identity. It is imperative that we protect our cultural assets, our nature and the natural resources of our beautiful Serbia.

In the monarchical era of the past, money backed by gold or gold itself prevailed, and the purchasing power of money consistently increased, or at least held its value over time. During this period, our kingdom thrived as being independent, self-sufficient, and wealthy, fostering an environment where trade and asset creation flourished unhindered. On the contrary, the socialist or republican era is marked by the dominance of paper money, which sees its purchasing power continually eroding. Despite rising incomes, savings rates are dropping, and indicators like inflation, net outmigration, and family disintegration are on an upwards trend.

As much as I'd prefer a return to the gold standard rather than staying on our current paper or fiat money system, gold has its shortcomings. Bitcoin addresses these shortcomings.

At its core, money can be seen as an evolving technology. Gold, paper money (fiat money), and Bitcoin are different stages of this evolution. The comparison between them is based on "salability," which is how well a commodity can keep its purchasing power when used in the market. Better technology in money means it's easier for users to exchange value, either over time, across distances, or both.

Gold holds its value well over time but is heavy and hard to move around, making it less practical for quick transactions and hard to secure. Fiat money, on the other hand, is easy to carry and transact with, but it will lose value over time due to constant inflation. Bitcoin combines the best of both: it keeps its value over time and is easy to transact with anywhere and easy to secure. This makes bitcoin a more effective form of money, surpassing both gold and fiat in its ability to retain value and be used anywhere.

A move towards a Bitcoin standard, or at least to a society where Bitcoin is freely accepted and used without restrictions or taxes, would play a huge part in reversing the damage caused by years of living with paper or fiat money. Not only will we finally have a savings tool accessible to all, but it will also introduce a system of transparency, decentralisation, and resistance to inflation. Furthermore, its fixed supply combats the inflationary tendencies seen with fiat currencies and gold standards, ensuring the long-term preservation of wealth. The inflationary vulnerabilities inherent in both fiat and gold standards are absent in a Bitcoin standard. Therefore, embracing Bitcoin will lead to a more financially stable and equitable society.

At the heart of the issue discussed is the importance of individual property rights. The money that individuals earn and save is their property, and not that of the states or a centralised power. The state’s duty is to safeguard private property, not to continually debase it. A centralised power that constantly devalues your hard-earned money and time by printing money is both morally and ethically wrong. Every individual has the right to turn their hard work into savings that they can rely on for the future.

A monarchy ardently upholds individual property rights, recognising that the longevity of the dynasty hinges on safeguarding society's interests. In contrast, a republic often exhibits short-term state interests, which tend to align with the recurring election cycles. Therefore, a monarchy operating under a Bitcoin standard would cultivate an exceptionally stable society, rich in culture and prosperity. Bitcoin, by design, curbs the malpractices stemming from centralised financial systems, ensuring transparency and fairness. And the monarchy, with its inherent long-term perspective and commitment to continuity, would champion the protection of individual rights. Beyond that, the monarchy serves as the bedrock for maintaining traditions, religions, customs, and the sanctity of family values, fostering an environment of harmony and trust for its population. Together, the combination promises not just economic stability, but societal harmony.

In this proposed system, Serbia would become competitive, and you would instantly notice a significant rise in net in-migration of the diaspora returning home, as the opportunities in Serbia would far outweigh those in most countries. Local talents would finally want to stay in Serbia. You would see an increase in high-quality international talents eager to be part of this fairer and freer society, where hard work is rewarded rather than punished with endless taxes and bureaucracy. Given that everyone's savings would be protected by Bitcoin, the hardest asset and best savings technology ever created, Serbians would feel more comfortable starting families and investing their hard-earned money into their local economies. Serbia’s worrying birth rate, currently at 1.421 births per woman, would increase and eventually surpass the 2.1 needed to sustain and grow the population, eliminating the demographic nightmare predicted for us.

Under this model, Serbia would thrive indefinitely.

Have any Slovenian officials reached out to you?

Philip: Not yet, but of course I would be very open to start a dialogue with any Slovenian official about Bitcoin.

How would you address politicians about bitcoin in Slovenia?

Philip: I believe it is vital to distinguish between Bitcoin and crypto. This year we will see the initial rollout of the EUs MiCA regulations, which look to enforce a set of rules and policies more geared towards the crypto space and its many scams, rather than Bitcoin. This confluence between the two is very common among politicians.

Slovenia also produces a lot of hydroelectric power, which due to its nature, can sometimes go underutilised. Politicians might want to understand how you can maximize that energy potential via Bitcoin mining.

If many European countries have shied away from Bitcoin, and this is all the more an incentive to adopt Bitcoin-friendly policies for others because it helps them stand out among the pack. There are still plenty of successful Bitcoin companies and startups in Europe. You do not want that number to diminish, you want it to grow.

Why do most developed countries still don't see or don't want to see the rationel in Bitcoin? Do you think they are afraid of it?

Philip: It depends on who you ask. For the people in developed nations, they often don't see the need for Bitcoin because they are privileged in a way, because they have access to more banking and financial services, credit, and more stable (or at least somewhat stable currency), that's why the average person will tell you Bitcoin is not useful. Ask someone in Argentina, Venezuela and Lebanon the same question, or even countries that have not experienced a big monetary debacle like Nigeria, and you get stories of how Bitcoin is the one thing that has helped them survive in a dysfunctional economy, because for years they could not buy something as trivial as online subscription abroad, but now they can thanks to Bitcoin.

Simply put, Bitcoin is much easier to understand when you actually need it to survive — and it is not that people in developed countries do not need, they might just not be aware that they do yet, because if the government or your bank starts to censor your transactions, then you definitely need Bitcoin.

At the higher level, leaders of rich countries do not want to see Bitcoin’s potential, largely because they have something to lose. Currencies like the U.S. Dollar and the Euro give the United States and the EU a lot of power, it’s logical that politicians do not want to give up that all that power. BRICS nations are starting to revolt against that logic, the one problem is that by trying to push for their own fiat currencies they are only halfway to the solution that is Bitcoin, largely because they also want the power that printing your own currency brings.

Countries like El Salvador, Panama and Ecuador, who use the U.S. Dollar have nothing to lose by embracing Bitcoin because they do not get to exploit money printing to fund their political ambitions. Similarly, when you have a failed currency like the Argentine Peso, the incentives to look elsewhere are also much higher for pragmatic leaders that want the best for their people.

Which do you think will be the next countries to accept bitcoin as legal tender in 2024/2025?

Philip: Like I said, El Salvador’s case is an outlier, because they have not printed their own currency for years. While we at JAN3 do advocate for legal tender, it is rarely the easiest way to go when you have laws or even the constitution saying there is only one national currency. You do not need legal tender laws to adopt Bitcoin, some Bitcoiners would argue that goes against the very Bitcoin ethos. What you want is for Bitcoin to be treated as money.

Javier Milei’s election was important because he is the first openly libertarian president. Milei and people from his cabinet have not said they want to adopt Bitcoin, they want people to use whatever currency they wish to use, and that includes Bitcoin, because that is the libertarian approach. That is why we can see eye to eye with the Milei administration, and why we are hoping to be able to meet with him soon.

So legal tender as a concept is quite misunderstood. Even if a President wants to enact it, there are no guarantees they will be able to pass it, so it is very hard to name a specific country. What I strongly believe we will see is countries willing to give Bitcoin de facto currency status, and it is very much looking like Argentina might be the first as part of its ongoing economic reforms.

All political systems such as democracy, socialism, totalitarianism etc are robbing people of their fruits of labor and reducing their rights (some faster, some gradually). They do not produce, they just consume. The government is taking care of the present moment and completely ignoring the long term consequences (long time preference). In a monarchy things are different. Why?

Philip: A monarchy's governance is characterised by a steadfast commitment to individual property rights and societal interests, aware that the dynasty's longevity is intrinsically linked to the welfare of its people. This contrasts sharply with other political systems like republics and dictatorships, where the focus often skews towards short-term gains, influenced by election cycles or the absence of a stable succession plan. Monarchs view their rule not just as a duty but as a generational legacy, fostering a forward-looking governance that prioritises the long-term health and wealth of the nation, resulting in policies that are sustainable rather than fleeting.

Understanding their nation as their personal realm, monarchs inherently protect property rights, a cornerstone for economic stability and growth, providing individuals and businesses with the confidence to invest, knowing their assets are safe. This environment nurtures economic activity and assures a secure future, which is further bolstered by the monarchy’s unique position that allows it to focus on long-term prosperity over immediate results. Such a lower time preference leads to economic policies and investments that are sustainable and will benefit the nation over a longer period.

The predictability and stability afforded by a clear line of succession ensure a continuity in governance, advantageous for economic and foreign policy planning, reducing the uncertainties that often deter investment. This stability extends to mitigating rent-seeking behaviours, as monarchies offer fewer opportunities for special interest groups to influence governance, enabling policies that align with the national interest rather than a select few.

Moreover, the monarch’s legitimacy, which is independent of electoral processes, provides a safeguard against the tyranny of the majority, ensuring that governance reflects the interests of all citizens. Monarchs are not pressured by the need to secure re-election; thus, they are at liberty to implement policies for the long-term good without the need for immediate popularity. Consequently, there is no pressing incentive for personal gain at the expense of the nation's welfare, as the monarch’s tenure and legacy span across their lifetime and beyond, aligning personal success with the nation's prosperity.

In democratic systems, politicians are compelled to prioritise short-term, vote-winning policies, but monarchs, free from such election cycle-driven short-termism, can focus on sustainable, long-term strategies. This approach also reduces the risk of policy inconsistency that can arise from frequent changes in leadership, ensuring economic stability and facilitating the continuity of long-term planning.

Lastly, monarchies tend to be less influenced by special interests, allowing for policymaking that genuinely aims for the common good, rather than policies crafted to appease particular groups at the expense of broader societal interests as a whole. In essence, monarchies provide a governance framework that upholds the sanctity of traditions, religion, customs, and family values, cultivating an atmosphere of harmony and trust among the populace.

What was the Royal Family's attitude toward money during the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and later in exile?

Philip: During the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the royal family oversaw an economy that valued monetary stability, underscored by the backing of the national currency, the Dinar, with gold reserves. This gold standard system, where Dinars were convertible back to gold, ensured that the currency remained strong and stable, reflecting a prudent and conservative financial strategy aimed at preserving the value of the national currency in a turbulent interwar period.

The design of the currency notes, adorned with artwork by the renowned artist Paja Jovanovic, not only symbolised the cultural pride and heritage of Yugoslavia but also illustrated the Royal Family's commitment to combining aesthetic elegance with monetary functionality. This approach highlights the Royal Family's understanding of the importance of national identity in currency design, serving as a tool for fostering a sense of unity and pride among its citizens.

In exile, I can only comment for myself; I discovered Bitcoin. This discovery has helped me understand the history of money and how the prevalent form of money in use today, fiat, is an abomination or perversion of what money is meant to be. I will ensure to educate the younger (and older) generations of our family about the important principles of money, and how Bitcoin is perfect money.

How do other royal families (you have contact with) view Bitcoin today?

Philip: I am in touch with one of the members of the Liechtenstein royal family. He owns only Bitcoin and understands that Bitcoin is the only one that matters. Other members of royal families that I am in touch with are not into Bitcoin, yet. Eventually, I will try to teach them about this incredible technology, about how it promotes freedom and favours monarchies.

Why Bitcoin (in one sentence)?

Philip: Bitcoin is the first and last perfect base layer money, this changes everything.



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