Bitcoin philosophy: 7 lessons that we learn from Bitcoin
11 years after the whitepaper was published on October 31, 2009, Bitcoin (BTC) has had many new improvements and contributed to change the world. Thanks to Bitcoin, people get rich and have more lucrative. And many poor people also become poorer because of BTC as well. No matter it is good or bad and understanding or not understanding. Bitcoin has taught people many valuable lessons.
There are questions that easily get answers. However, the question “What have you learned from Bitcoin?” is not among them. We failed after trying to answer this question once. We realized that the lessons from Bitcoin are really many and cannot be expressed with just a few short lines on a tweet.
We also realize that the answer for everyone will be different because each journey to explore the crypto world is different. Therefore, in the series “What have I learned from Bitcoin”, we will share our knowledge, opinions, and personal experiences to answer the questions.
We know that our answer will not be complete and satisfy all readers. Therefore, I hope to receive feedback, comment on the shortcomings and listen to everyone’s views.
“If you choose the blue pill, your story is over, you wake up in bed, believing what you want to believe. If you choose the red pill, you will come to a wonderland, and I will be the one to tell you how deep this rabbit cave is. ”- Morpheus
1) The lesson of decentralization and immutability
It is not easy to briefly describe what Bitcoin is. Bitcoin is a concept and new technology which makes efforts to simplify by comparing it to existing currency such as gold, Internet monetary, etc. are all impossible to achieve the purpose. Whatever you want to understand about Bitcoin, there are two important points that you can’t help but know: decentralization and immutability.
You can understand Bitcoin is an automatic social contract. Software is only one part, not everything with BTC. Any attempt to change the software in the hope of changing Bitcoin is meaningless. One person can adjust and convince the rest of the network to change that makes the story now is more about psychological effort than technology or software.
What we are about to say now may sound silly, but we believe it’s always true: “You can’t change Bitcoin, only Bitcoin changes you.”
It took me quite a while to realize this. Because BTC is software, open-source, you would think that anyone can change it, right?
Big mistake! The father of Bitcoin is who understands this best.
“The essence of Bitcoin is that when version 0.1 is released, the core design will be kept and maintained forever.” – Satoshi Nakamoto.
2) The lesson of shortage
Overall, the advancement of technology makes things more diverse. More and more people have access to what used to be luxury. As Peter Diamandis once wrote, “Technology is a mechanism for releasing resources. It helps to make things that seem scarce to become richer.”
Bitcoin, an advanced technology, broke that trend and created a new scarcity. Some even commented that BTC was one of the rarest things on the planet. BTC cannot be inflated, even if someone tries to change the fixed supply.
It is paradoxical that Bitcoin is scarce due to the… copying mechanism. Transactions, blocks are propagated and ledger is distributed… All these “good” words are describing the copying mechanism. BTC even copies the protocol to as many computers as possible to encourage people to run nodes and dig new blocks. All of these clones work together in an effort to create scarcity for BTC.
In an age of technological enrichment, Bitcoin taught us what true scarcity is.
3) The lesson of immunity
People love to hear stories about their roots. The story of Bitcoin is an interesting thing that is hard to ignore, and the details of that story are equally important. Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Is that the name of an individual or a group of people? Is it male or female? Hypotheses have been put forward, and it is really important.
Satoshi chose anonymously. “He” dropped the Bitcoin seed, spent time to cultivate the soil, water, fertilize, enough to ensure the Bitcoin network will not be shut down when it just budded. And then, he disappeared.
This anonymous choice is really important with a completely decentralized system because there is no central control, no rights management, no role of the inventor, and no dominant person – An immune system.
“One of the best things Satoshi did was disappear.” – Jimmy Song
After BTC, thousands of other cryptocurrencies were created. But, none of them shared stories about their origins. If you want to beat BTC, you have to overcome its mysterious story. In the battle for ideas, stories will be the deciding factor.
“The gold was first made into jewelry and was used for trading over 7,000 years ago. The splendor and charming made gold woven into a story that told them they were gifts from the Gods. ”- Gold: The Extraordinary Metal
Like gold in ancient times, Bitcoin can also be considered a gift from the Gods. But slightly different is the myth of Bitcoin is human, and we know that the “God” who is building and maintaining Bitcoin here is the human being around the world, whether they are anonymous or not.
Bitcoin gave us the lesson that stories are not to be taken lightly.
4) The lesson of identity
In addition to the “What is BTC?” question, there is another philosophical conundrum that has not been answered yet: “Which Bitcoin is the real Bitcoin?”.
This is the paradoxical story “Theseus ship“. If all parts of an object are replaced, is it still the same object?
“Consider how much of the original Bitcoin is kept to this day. The codebase has been modified, replaced, and extended, much different from the original version. Only the ownership register, the ledger, is intact on the Bitcoin network.”- Nick Carter
Especially since the first hard fork, it has led us to think more about the identity story. And the crypto world co-exists in two completely opposite scenarios. On August 1, 2017, BTC split into two chains, and the market chose the original chain as the “real” BTC. A year earlier, on October 25, 2016, Ethereum also split the chain. But for now, the market doesn’t choose the original chain as the “real” Ethereum.
If the crypto world is truly decentralized, then the question from Theseus’s paradox will forever need answers, as long as those networks are valid.
Bitcoin taught us that identity and decentralization cannot coexist.
5) The lesson of possession and positioning
In real life, the question “Where is XXX?” is not difficult to answer whether it is a person or something. However, in the digital world, this question is somewhat puzzling, but not necessarily impossible to answer.
Where is your email? Well, on the “cloud” stored on a computer, it is completely searchable. And where is your Bitcoin? This sentence seems more difficult.
Are statements like “I have a bitcoin” ridiculous when we actually don’t have any bitcoin in our hands?
There are two major issues in this question. First, the blockchain distributes ledger copies everywhere. Second, there is no Bitcoin, neither physical nor technical.
When you encounter a situation like this, remember the characters called private keys. What you hold there, you write down when you need it, is your Bitcoin.
Bitcoin taught us that positioning is not easy.
6) The lesson of the power of free speech
Bitcoin is an idea. In its current form, this idea is entirely operated by the “materials” of characters. Software that runs nodes is written in characters and transaction information is also a character. Public or private keys are also strings of characters. All the components that makeup Bitcoin are characters and letters, so they lead to a close correlation with words.
“There is no point in Bitcoin transactions that are not related to characters. They are all characters… ”
Bitcoin is the letter. Bitcoin is the word.
As long as there is still a so-called free speech on earth, nothing can stop BTC.
Bitcoin taught us that in a free society nothing can prevent freedom of speech, and “technology freedom.”
7) The lesson of limited understanding
Entering the journey to learn from BTC is a humble experience. We used to think that we knew many things such as computer science, digital signatures, hashes, encryption, security, networks, etc.
But, I was wrong. Understanding the whole mechanism and operation of BTC is not simple at all, it is even an impossible task.
“No one can reach the bottom of the rabbit cave called Bitcoin.” – Jameson Lopp
The list of books to read is increasingly thick, and the list of articles and research articles becomes endless. While we are still struggling to find out about the first floor, people are about to finish the second floor and ready to reach the third floor.
Bitcoin let us know that our understanding is still very limited, and this rabbit cave is endless.