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Long Live The Degens: The Battle for Attention Between Bitcoin Magazine & Swan Bitcoin

Over the past year, a battle for attention has erupted on Bitcoin Twitter between two prominent players in the media game: Bitcoin Magazine and Swan Bitcoin. While both companies are deeply embedded in the Western Bitcoin ecosystem, their different monetization strategies and ethical stances have led to a noticeable division among Bitcoiners. This divide, intensified by the introduction of Ordinals in December 2022, has sparked a heated debate about the future of Bitcoin and its community.

Bitcoin Magazine: Media Company Focused on Content and Ads

Bitcoin Magazine, a leading voice in the Bitcoin space, monetizes primarily through content creation and ad sales. It has taken a stance of embracing the open protocol nature of Bitcoin, which includes covering the development of Ordinals. Ordinals, a meta-protocol released in late 2022, have created new markets for buying and selling digital artifacts, often marketed as NFT art “on Bitcoin” although not technically on bitcoin, it exists in the meta protocol Ordinals built on top of bitcoin. While some view these “projects” are potential pump-and-dump schemes, Bitcoin Magazine sees Oddinals as part of the broader Bitcoin ecosystem, where both good and bad innovations can and will coexist. This is the nature of an open protocol. As long as you follow consensus, it is bitcoin.

Bitcoin Magazine has published something like 20,000 articles since it was founded and over the past 5 years has solely focused on Bitcoin. In years past the magazine covered shitcoins too. Most recently the scandal has been Bitcoin Magazine auctioning Ordinals and most recently running a paid article on the website for a shitcoin. This was a massive mistake and leadership has owned up to it. The company is not perfect and for the most part, does not platform pump and dump scams. It does run ads for Ordinals companies, casinos, and other businesses that some might not find ethical.

Ownership and Independence: It’s worth noting that Bitcoin Magazine is owned by David Bailey, who previously launched a shitcoin called Poet prior to 2019 when the magazine pivoted to a Bitcoin-only media company. Bailey also owns the Bitcoin conference and a venture capital firm, UTXO, that invests in many non-maxi-approved companies. However, Bailey has little to no input on Bitcoin Magazine’s editorial direction, which operates independently. While his track record draws some criticism, it’s important to recognize that the editorial team maintains autonomy.

Swan Bitcoin: A Media Company that Monetizes Through Financial Services

In contrast, Swan Bitcoin is a financial services company that, while producing Bitcoin-related media, monetizes through selling Bitcoin and related financial services. Swan Bitcoin has built a reputation as a Bitcoin maximalist brand, focusing strictly on Bitcoin as a monetary tool, however the company and leadership continue to take L’s in the PR department but the cult continues to thrive1. This stance is reinforced through its partnerships with Bitcoin influencers and podcasters, and the charismatic leadership of Cory Klippsten. Swan’s position is clear: anything beyond Bitcoin’s monetary use, such as Ordinals, is unacceptable and must be ridiculed.

The Ordinals Controversy

The introduction of Ordinals has been a catalyst for the growing division within the Bitcoin community. Bitcoin Magazine has leaned into Ordinals as an interesting technological development worth exploring, while Swan Bitcoin has vehemently opposed Bitcoin Magazine, labeling supporters as scammers. I wrote about this in December 2023 discussing the divide in “So You Call Yourself A Bitcoin Maximalist”. The premise outlined in that article was highlighting the growing divide between the open protocol camp (I described them as the blockspace demand camp) and the monetary maximalist camp. This was before any official announcement of a Tether partnership, however a deal like the Tether partnership which was signalled earlier this year, would have been negotiated for months. So the frame from Swan was determined well before this post was made.

This ideological clash has led to Swan Bitcoin launching a campaign to frame Bitcoin Magazine as a platform for scammers, questioning the integrity of its editorial stance and leadership. Klippsten and Swan Bitcoin Editor-In-Chief Tomer Strolight, regularly frame Bitcoin Magazine as “Ordinals Magazine” and use the acronym S.O.B. (Scams On Bitcoin) when discussing Bitcoin Magazine involvement in anything Ordinals related.

Bitcoin Magazine, in response, has justified its position by releasing an editorial policy regarding Ordinals and other layer-2 technologies. Several pieces addressing concerns and clearly stating their beliefs have been published, emphasizing the importance of covering all aspects of Bitcoin’s development, even the controversial ones.

The Hypocrisy Of The Tether Partnership

Adding fuel to the fire, Swan Bitcoin’s recent partnership with Tether has sparked accusations of hypocrisy. Tether, the world’s largest stablecoin and a significant player in the global financial system, is seen by many Bitcoin maximalists as antithetical to Bitcoin’s principles. Despite initially denying the partnership, Swan Bitcoin recently confirmed it, leading to criticism from Bitcoin Magazine and others in the community.

This partnership is particularly controversial because Tether operates2 across multiple blockchain platforms, many of which are considered “shitcoins” by Bitcoin maximalists. Moreover, Tether’s connections with U.S. government agencies and Chainalysis, a CIA-funded organization, further complicate Swan Bitcoin’s stance as a purist, Bitcoin-only company.

The Implications

This battle for attention highlights a deeper ideological divide within the Bitcoin community: the “degens” versus the “comply guys.” Bitcoin Magazine represents those who embrace Bitcoin as an open protocol, open to all kinds of innovations and experiments, even if some might fail or be exploited. Swan Bitcoin, on the other hand, stands for a vision of Bitcoin as a strict monetary tool, aligning more closely with regulatory compliance and traditional financial systems.

As the global monetary war heats up, with stablecoins/CBDCs on the rise, the stakes are higher than ever. The introduction of stables on the Bitcoin blockchain is seen as a double-edged sword: while it could enhance Bitcoin’s scalability and adoption, it also brings the risk of increased state control and surveillance.

The table stakes are literally the survival of the dollar. We are in a legitimate Operation Chokepoint 2.0. The list of aggressive action from the state towards bitcoin companies, projects, and bitcoiners is ramping up very rapidly. We are even seeing very prominent politicians signalling the importance of passing stablecoin legislation in order to increase demand for US Treasuries into the trillions. So it should come as no surprise that the actions from Swan at defacto to serve the hand that feeds. This means running ops to frame Tether’s demand for US Treasuries as good for bitcoin. The frame that they are doing something moral and good for bitcoin in partnering with Tether. They are the good guys here. The jpeg degens and scammers are the bad guys. The dollar system is not the bad guys! This is the frame Swan is trying to achieve.

Final Thought… (for now)

In this Twitter drama, both Bitcoin Magazine and Swan Bitcoin are attempting to frame the narrative directs the Bitcoin community. While Bitcoin Magazine advocates for an open approach to exploring Bitcoin’s development, Swan Bitcoin champions a narrow, and questionable view, that is a view influenced by Tether. This ideological battle is crucial for the future of Bitcoin, determining whether it remains an open protocol or evolves into a regulated, compliant monetary system (slave money 2.0).

The most ironic outcome might be that the so-called “degens” – those embracing the full spectrum of Bitcoin’s potential – could ultimately safeguard its future against the “comply guys” who seek to restrict its use to a narrow, compliant path. BTW, compliance is slavery.

Long live the degens.


Supplementary Receipts

Swan Bitcoin Launches Institutional Division, Deploys $205M Across Equity, Credit, and Hedge Funds

(We are hiring! Please share this post with Bitcoiners who can help us orange pill the financial world!)

Swan Institutional business lines include bitcoin-backed lending, advisor services, asset management, private equity, and the USA’s first Bitcoin-only trust company.

In 2023 @Swan raised and deployed $205M of capital across its equity, credit, and hedge funds, and currently generates $125M annualized revenue. The company expects to cross $200M annualized revenue in Q1 and plans to raise an additional $150M to fund expansion.

CALABASAS, CA – December 7, 2023 – Swan Bitcoin, a leading Bitcoin financial services company, today announced a new unit, Swan Institutional, broadening its presence in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Swan also disclosed revenue and funding achievements in 2023 and expectations going forward.

“Doing the best thing for Bitcoin and Bitcoiners is Swan’s mission,” said Cory Klippsten, founder and CEO of Swan. “Retail financial services remains the heart and soul of Swan, but there is so much more we can do to accelerate Bitcoin adoption. We are addressing the best of these opportunities with Swan Institutional.”

Business lines under the new unit include bitcoin-backed lending, advisor services, asset management, private equity, and the USA’s first Bitcoin-only trust company.

Bitcoin-Backed Lending

Swan Lending provides Bitcoin-backed loans for institutional investors, companies, and family offices seeking liquidity from $1M to $50M. It facilitates dollar-denominated loans for clients using their Bitcoin as collateral.

Jonathan Melton @jmelton21mm, Swan’s Head of Institutional Sales, said, “Swan Lending offers a practical solution for institutions holding Bitcoin that don’t want to sell. We understand the long-term potential of Bitcoin and the importance of safeguarding collateral.”

A core tenet of the service is Swan’s policy against rehypothecation, ensuring that Bitcoin collateral is never transferred or invested elsewhere. Rapha Zagury @rapha_at_swan, Swan’s CIO, added, “In Bitcoin lending, avoiding rehypothecation is crucial. After seeing Bitcoin get mixed up in company balance sheets in the past, it’s clear that this policy is essential for institutions using Bitcoin as collateral.” Swan Lending focuses solely on Bitcoin, recognizing its unique position as pristine collateral in the global asset landscape due to Bitcoin’s proven history, reliability, high 24/7 trading volume, and worldwide acceptance.

Advisor Services

Swan Advisor Services gives financial advisors access to Bitcoin and related services for their clients, extending their trusted relationships to include this unique new asset.

“The consensus is developing that ignoring Bitcoin is irresponsible, and potentially a breach of a financial advisor’s fiduciary duties,” said Ryan Flynn, managing director of Swan Advisor. “Working with the best financial services team in Bitcoin, advisors can now confidently buy, hold, and manage real bitcoin on behalf of their clients. Gaining exposure in the underlying asset, whether personally or in trust, for both regular and tax-sheltered investments, “provides tremendous benefits over proxies like an ETF,” said Flynn.

Asset Management

Swan Asset Management develops strategies that include Bitcoin within the asset allocation mandates of family offices, trusts, HNWI, companies, and institutions. The first fund from the unit, Timechain Alpha, launched fully subscribed with $50M under management. Through a collection of actively managed and systematic strategies, Swan plans to offer best-in-class products at key points along the efficient frontier. Zagury anticipates launching at least two more strategies in 2024. “The unique characteristics of Bitcoin can help institutional investors achieve their investment mandates at a time when traditional strategies are under pressure,” said Zagury.

Private Equity

Through the newly formed Swan Ventures, via balance sheet investments, and in partnership with capital providers, Swan invests across the Bitcoin ecosystem, fostering adoption and technological advancement. With $125M already deployed, the company is well on the way to meeting its target of allocating $1 billion by 2026, according to the company’s president, Guilherme Gomes

@GuiAmadoGomes.

Bitcoin-only Trust Company

@Swan previously announced their intention to create the first Bitcoin-only trust company in the USA to provide qualified custodial services to clients. In partnership with @BitGo, a leader in Bitcoin custody, the new unit will ensure the safety and security of Bitcoin purchased from Swan and other users of its service that is not taken into self-custody by investors. Holding Bitcoin in a legal trust in each customer’s name provides the best form of legal protection for Bitcoin custodied in the United States.

“For years, we’ve heard from major clients, partners, and other Bitcoin companies that they would prefer a Bitcoin-only software and services stack, focused strictly on the best custody and leveraging Bitcoin’s unique features,” said Cory Klippsten. “It’s important for the Bitcoin industry to have a custodian free of the risks that come with securing altcoins.”

Revenue and Funding Milestones

In 2023 @Swan raised $205M of equity and credit funding, and currently generates $125M annualized revenue. The company expects to cross $200M annualized revenue in Q1 2024 and plans to raise an additional $150M to fund expansion.

“Swan’s bitcoin-only focus perfectly positions us to identify and execute on a set of incredible opportunities,” said Klippsten. “Our guiding principle of aligning ourselves at all times with the long term success of Bitcoin has made it straightforward to decide what to pursue, who to hire, and who to partner with. We’re creating products and services alongside Bitcoin that are built to last and to support its expansion, because Bitcoin is itself built to last. This strategy attracts talent, capital, customers, and partners who are themselves interested in creating, employing, and enjoying that which is built to last.”

Said Swan’s co-founder and CTO Yan Pritzker @skwp, “Bitcoin is a movement, and it’s important that we all do our part to further its adoption to ensure freedom and abundance in our society. With the launch of these initiatives, we are playing an important role in accelerating and strengthening Bitcoin every step of the way.”

Learn more at http://swan.com/institutional

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SWAN MINING IS HERE We’ve been working hard on a big opportunity that came our way last year, and today, we’re excited to bring our mining operation out of stealth mode. We’re mining around 4.5 EH — closing in on 1% of the network — with equipment in hand to ramp quickly to 8 EH. Find details in the press release below. Our core financial services business is healthy and growing. We’re building a comprehensive Bitcoin company; having skin in the game by contributing to securing the Bitcoin network is part of that effort. Swan is proud to be hashing!

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Swan Bitcoin’s Mining Arm Comes Out of Stealth Mode, Adding to Its Institutional Division

Swan Mining began operations in Summer 2023. Currently operates at 4.5 exahash, with deployment expected to exceed 8 EH by March. Over 750 BTC mined to date.

Swan Bitcoin today announced Swan Mining, which was previously operating in stealth mode, as a division of Swan Institutional. Bitcoin mining secures the Bitcoin network while supporting the expansion of energy production and stabilization of electrical grids.

Beginning operations in Summer 2023, Swan Mining already supplies 4.5 exahash to the Bitcoin network, meaning that around 1 of every 100 bitcoins mined globally is mined by Swan. The unit has purchased and taken delivery of mining equipment that will bring its total capacity to more than 8 exahash, expecting full deployment by March. Swan has mined more than 750 bitcoins.

“Swan Mining developed and deployed at warp speed,” said Rapha Zagury, CIO at Swan and head of Swan Mining. “Our understanding is that this is the fastest-ever initial deployment of hashrate at this scale in Bitcoin history.”

Zagury said that Swan Mining launched in stealth mode to avoid causing disruption in ASIC pricing and to develop a strategy of partnering with some of the best operators in the space.

“Swan Mining is a great example of our company thesis playing out,” said Cory Klippsten, Swan founder and CEO. “With our exclusive focus on Bitcoin adoption and helping the industry grow, we continue to attract the talent, opportunities, and capital required to launch new business lines and grow them rapidly.”

The funding model for Swan’s mining business uses no debt, and its entities are legally segregated from the rest of Swan’s business. “We bring financial expertise and operational excellence, while our investors provide equity capital to our mining unit in exchange for priority on initial payouts and continued shared upside,” said Zagury.

The new mining unit is also playing a crucial role in the growth of Swan Institutional, which has already created several major strategic partnerships with major industry players on the back of the company’s new mining activity. Swan’s institutional unit supports capital raises and helps restructure balance sheets, unlocking significant operational and financial upside for partners.

“We are proud to play a role in keeping Bitcoin mining decentralized,” said Zagury. “With hard work and a little luck, we hope Swan Mining will help to secure the network for many decades.”

Swan expanded dramatically over the past year, doubling team size and growing revenue to more than $125M annualized. The company intends to raise its Series C financing in the coming months, with uses of capital equally split between financial services, mining, and acquisitions. Klippsten said the company is actively working to achieve a public listing within the next 12 months.

###### Swan is a leading Bitcoin financial services company. The user-friendly Swan app simplifies Bitcoin purchases with instant and recurring buys, while Swan IRA provides a tax-advantaged solution for saving Bitcoin in retirement accounts. For HNWIs and businesses, Swan offers tailored white-glove service for large purchases, treasury solutions, and employee Bitcoin benefits. With Swan Vault clients can easily custody their own Bitcoin with peace of mind. Financial advisors trust Swan for client Bitcoin allocations, backed by world-class custody and educational content. Swan Institutional provides financial services to governments, corporations, and other entities, including Bitcoin-backed lending, asset management, principal investments, Bitcoin services for financial advisors, and Bitcoin mining operations. Swan prides itself on exceptional client service, making Bitcoin accessible to all. For more information, please visit by .

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Swan Announces Managed Bitcoin Mining Service

Swan Bitcoin launches Managed Mining service for institutional investors, announces strategic collaboration with Tether, targets 100 EH by 2026.

Swan Bitcoin, a leader in Bitcoin mining innovation, is proud to announce the launch of Swan Managed Mining, a new bespoke approach for institutional investors seeking to allocate $100 million or more into the Bitcoin mining ecosystem. Swan provides its clients with fully segregated and dedicated mining operations, catering to their unique requirements, opportunities, and strategic advantages.

“Large capital allocators don’t necessarily want to pool their capital with pre-existing mining operations, nor are they able or interested in acquiring all the skills, talent, experience, and time to learn how to stand up their own mining operation,” said Cory Klippsten (@coryklippsten), CEO of Swan. “This is where Swan Managed Mining comes in. We can take a large amount of capital and deploy it quickly and efficiently into a mining operation owned by the investor that meets their particular strategic requirements.”

Swan Mining has demonstrated its ability to rapidly develop and deploy industrial-scale mining operations globally, deploying over $330 million since August 2023 and now operating over 7.5 EH, with contracts to build out to 19.5 EH this year.

“By providing our clients with management services for their own separately established mining activities, they can grow their operations according to their own desires and opportunities,” added Raphael Zagury (@alphaazeta), Swan CIO and head of Swan Mining. “They can potentially depreciate their equipment, locate it in jurisdictions of their choice, work with partners they approve of, and receive real-time granular reporting of all the mining activities they own.”

Managed Mining represents an innovative way to allocate resources and capital to mining. Clients gain instant access to deep expertise in each of the core competencies involved in Bitcoin mining, including financial modeling, site procurement, deployment, and machine optimization. Swan’s partnerships with leading ASIC manufacturers, power generators, mining pools, and hosting facilities allows Swan Managed Mining to deliver unparalleled economies of scale, speed of deployment, and operational efficiencies for clients.

Swan is partnered with major investors and operators on four continents and is aiming for continued rapid expansion. Alongside its bespoke programs, the firm also plans to launch a fund to allow HNWIs, family offices, and smaller institutions to participate with investments in the $5-50M range.

Expanding Collaboration with Tether

Tether, the world’s largest digital asset company with $4.5B of profit in Q1, has collaborated with Swan to expand its involvement in the Bitcoin mining sector. Tether has already dedicated substantial capital to establishing a major presence in Bitcoin mining, much of it through Swan. Tether’s significant commitment demonstrates the quality of execution and financial appeal of Swan’s model to large allocators of capital.

Paolo Ardoino (@paoloardoino), Tether’s CEO added: “The collaboration with Swan in the mining sector has exceeded our expectations. Swan’s team has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to transparency and operational excellence, achieving rapid deployment of hashrate. We are thrilled about the future of this collaboration and the significant strides we are making together in advancing the mining industry.”

Vision for Growth

With the official launch of Swan Managed Mining, the company foresees rapid expansion of its client base, with a target of more than 100 EH under management by the end of 2026. The company is currently in discussions with multiple large international institutions and invites interested parties to get in touch by writing to mining@swan.com.

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  1. Just read through the list of photos included. EOS, doxxing, no lightning, ripple custodians, preemptive blocking coinjoins, pedo gate, the tether money, I am missing some shit. ↩︎
  2. This is an incredible tweet from Paolo:
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