EPISODE 12: Mining for Gold with James Bowater

In Blockspeak 12, the eccentric, but clearly interesting, James Bowater is the London-based guest, representing his new venture, but especially his role as editor of the influential Crypto AM.

This site is part of City AM, a finance-based website that was also a pick-up magazine at London Tube stations and similar places with an audience of 500,000 daily readers.

Since Covid-19, the print element of Crypto AM has been deferred until lockdown has been loosened, but the Tuesday publication has a huge effect on those in the crypto sector.

Bowater has been editor for two years, meeting the great and the good in the crypto space while also setting up his own venture based on gold mining in Africa and a refinery in the US.

In this interview, Bowater looks rather like a Bond villain, his pet sprawled out on his lap like a transvestite in a dubious Bangkok bar. In the background, an esoteric painting and the odd Dali mask, make this a similarly weird background, rather like Richard Heart in BlockSpeak 10.

Whatever his idiosyncrasies, Bowater knows everybody in the business and runs a number of invitation-only WhatsApp groups that create their own ecosystem around cryptocurrencies.

As for Bowater’s enterprise itself, he makes a case for equating Bitcoin mining with the real thing, creating value based on value and the price of coins based on the minerals he intends to mine in the emerging world and then process in the US.

There are others who have similar visions, who want to tether cryptocurrencies to something other than digital code and to merge the physical world with the digital one.

In many cases, such an ambition is a virtuous one, if not a dream based on false gold. History has shown that all that glitters is not gold, but all coins that glisten are not Bitcoin either. History will be the judge on this one.

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