Sunday, 9 October 2016

Bitcoin Is Not A Sprint, It's A Marathon (Op-Ed)

Bitcoin Is Not A Sprint, It's A Marathon (Op-Ed)
The first time I heard about Bitcoin I wasn't very impressed. As an anarchist with an Austrian economic background, it didn't make much sense to me right away. I was hard pressed on the collection of precious metals - after all, I had studied the likes of Rothbard and the great gold standard.
But when I began to research the integrity of the Bitcoin protocol I had become more addicted to learning about it. I spent hours of my evenings trying to figure out where the value came from. Its regression as far as Mises was concerned and all the great economists. Little did I know at that time the answers to questions such as value and regression were much simpler than I had expected.
Its value can rightly be regressed back to its users giving substance and trust to its algorithmic equation; to the encryption itself. Users of the network trust that bitcoins cannot be digitally printed out of thin air. Trust in these algorithmic equations can be said for the same trust in physical space atomic equations. Meaning we believe that no human or alchemist can produce gold and silver out of thin air.

Bitcoin Fever

I had finally got it. Now I was still in the Bitcoin fever of it all. The Bitcoin bug had bitten me. I was all over the place after this. I saw that Bitcoin could cure many of societies ailments and not just the financial sector, every sector. From financial, political and social. Bitcoin can bring about new ideas of autonomous governance. Like using the blockchain for identification purpose and reputation.
Organizations and corporate entities could be built on top of the ledger as well. Trusts, escrows, land deeds and future markets. Remittances could be lower than ever in history. For mere pennies, you can send millions of dollars from one side of the globe to the other.
Third world communities could use this tool. The people who don't have access to the common banking system could now become banked. We could crowdsource anyone in a matter of moments. Let's say a small tribe needs better access to clean water, maybe build an aqueduct. We can fund that now with bitcoin.
I've suddenly smashed head first into the overwhelming part of the sickness. What can't Bitcoin solve?
I now figured I've been down the path of utter Bitcoin utopian bliss. Might as well go down the other end of the rabbit hole. Let's find the weaknesses.

The Hurdles of Bitcoin

Does Bitcoin solve the Byzantine Generals problem? Isn't that the holy grail of Bitcoin? Slowly sliding down the elements of weakness I question everything. What's all this centralized mining talk? Research on the 51% hack and that evil witch, the Sybil attack.
My fundamentals are crumbling now. Bitcoin isn't anonymous you know, it's pseudo-anonymous. And suddenly I'm rooting for the altcoin space. Go Proof-of-Stake! That will distribute better. Go Darkcoin, I mean Dash. Go Monero! Those coins will bring anonymity.
But something's missing now. I've realized I've gone too far. This can happen when you get deeply infused in the crypto space. While all the while looking at all the different aspects, both positive and negative, in the Bitcoin world, I forgot about the most important thing - the standard.
Bitcoin has changed the standard. It's had massive and beautiful network effect that has changed the paradigm to a new standard. While looking at all the many wonderful things Bitcoin has yet to offer, sometimes we forget that it's early, and concentration on the standard itself is key.

The New Standard

Bitcoin has yet to see mass adoption, and we are already talking blockchain octopus theories. We need to continue to get 'use to' the new standard of money. That's not getting used to blockchain technology without bitcoin. This is how far ahead of ourselves we have gotten. We're now talking two separate things. How can we push the simple idea of common adoption while our heads are lost in the land of smart contracts and Ethereum?
There is no network effect or standard bigger than Bitcoin in crypto-land. The blockchain is Bitcoin. We need to focus back on the basics. People are still not handling wallets correctly and keeping them secure. Less than 6 % of wallet users use multisig.
We need to continue to spread why Bitcoin is important. Tell people that it does all the things mentioned above without the need for a third party. Especially cutting out the costs of the middleman.
Its the simpler things I think we need to regress to. We have to remind ourselves that Bitcoin is the first, and largest distributed consensus record mastered in digital real time. It's not going to be an overnight success.
As it's been said to me in the Bitcoin world many times, I will say it to you all. This isn't a sprint people. It's a marathon.

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