The message is the medium

How To “Think Like Bitcoin”

Bitcoin does not care what anyone in particular “needs”.

If you try to think about it from “Bitcoin’s perspective” – if you try to “be Bitcoin” – then many of today’s arguments and debates around the development of the system seems moot. For instance: in Bitcoin’s perspective it doesn’t matter whether it is secured mainly by using small blocks behind a slow great firewall or by larger blocks in other areas. It doesn’t matter what bankers or regulators “want” (or “need” to uphold/increase profits). Bitcoin doesn’t care.

Because of this fact we’ll probably see the development of Bitcoin moving along a “lowest common denominator” considering the “consensus” debates (list of monitors here). In effect this is a type of “democracy” that results in a safe, conservative network development. Isn’t that pretty good for security and peace-of-mind in a financial network? Hyperboles and “Hernias” are part of the picture, just like the high tone-of-voice inbetween members of different political parties in the run up to a national election. Consequently, in the block size debate we’ll probably see the smallest possible change take place (moving from 1 MB blocks to 2 MB blocks), compared to the “wilder” suggestions.

Bitcoin is an idea more than a “technology”. All the parts constituting Bitcoin were already present before Bitcoin came about. Satoshi Nakamoto “just” merged them together in a new and truly ingenious way.

Its central mechanism (the proof-of-work mining) secures the actual end goal (to confirm transactions without a third party) directly without inefficiencies (it doesn’t do anything else, all of its power is directed towards solving this problem). Bitcoin is a new way to convert energy into security (or “trust”) and a new way to think around value. Bitcoin is in our heads.

12 disciplines you need to study to understand Bitcoin:
• Technology (knowledge about processes)
• Macroeconomics (human behavior)
• The Internet (network effects)
• Monetary & Fiscal History
• Cryptography
• Game theory
• Mobile/Apps
• Copyright
• Banking
• Politics
• Media
• Law

Are you an “expert” in all these interacting disciplines? Good “enough” in 10, but have no idea about two of them? There are traps everywhere. Newbies come into Bitcoin with a PhD in something and just assume they understand the rest. Be humble, and listen. Think like Bitcoin (slow, wide and deep). This is just the beginning. We are all students. You also need to question your own assumptions (Don’t Trust Anyone Alone).

P.s. But, but, but, what is “money” then? Check episode 1 of the podcast The Bitcoin Formula here.

P.s. 2. If you are building apps and/or developing for/in Bitcoin the requirements aren’t necessarily the same as for understanding.