What Makes Bitcoin Special
I can only speak for myself, but I have had many conversations with the core developers and I feel confident that the sentiments and opinions expressed in this post align with the sentiments and opinions of many of the Bitcoin Core developers.
I was introduced to Bitcoin in 2011. A decentralized currency that could not be controlled by any government, could not be controlled by a bank, could not be censored, had a fixed inflation schedule, and was trustless: 'Magical Internet Money.' Investigating Bitcoin took over my spare time and eventually the rest of my life as well. Bitcoin has become my career, my passion, and is a huge part of what defines who I am.
Above all, Bitcoin is interesting to me because it is decentralized. The promise of Bitcoin is a currency that is not controlled by any government. The inflation schedule is determined by algorithms, payments are irreversible, and funds are protected from seizure by corporations and government authorities. As a bonus, Bitcoin has some of the strongest security of any financial system accessible to the common man. Between hardware wallets, cold storage, multisig, and strong cryptography, secure Bitcoin setups are miles ahead of anything you can get from a bank. Bitcoin ignores borders, and transactions can move money to any person or place in the world in under an hour. With payment channels, times can be brought well under a second.
A major feature of Bitcoin is that it is trustless. When this is stated, what is meant is that when your client tells you about a balance or a series of payments, you can be certain that the client is telling the truth and that the truth is economically difficult to rewrite. When PayPal tells you a bank balance, you need to trust that PayPal is telling you what they think is the truth, that they are doing their accounting correctly, and that they are not going to freeze your account, deny you access to withdrawal, or declare bankruptcy.
Decentralization is important because people make mistakes, people do bad things, and public opinions can turn against your favor. The crisis in Greece is a good example of a monetary system that turned against its people. Because there is no source of control in Bitcoin, a similar thing could not happen. PayPal has a long reputation of freezing merchant accounts or blocking payments days or weeks after a purchase has gone through, forcing the merchant to accept a loss. These payment reversals are not possible when Bitcoin is used correctly. The United States engages in inflationary monetary policy that I disagree with, to the expense of every holder of the US dollar. By keeping my savings in Bitcoin, I can isolate myself from all of these problems while still having an asset that is easily liquidated. Decentralized money has many other advantages as well, some of which are explored in a post by Matt Corallo.
Click here to see the full blog post
Great post David !
It would be great to see more recognition from the community of the work the core developers are doing.
Not only on Bitcoin, but in any kind of crypto projects. People are too often taking it for granted.
I was wondering where this kind of commentary was last year when the hollow men made all the noise. To me, it is obvious that a hard fork is not worth discussing.
By all means, a hard fork is an attack. Your afterthought is very important because a fork can hardly replace Bitcoin.
By any standards the legal consequence can only be,
§0 Bitcoin = treaty
§1 Bitcoin can not be changed (beyond changes allowed within the treaty)
If you where to replace it you would be in breach of the treaty. Thus the replacement is void.
I see one loophole left that could allow a fork to succeed Bitcoin. This would require that Bitcoin (see §0) is declared retroactive invalid (e.g. culpa in contrahendo doctrine, 'Schwebende Unwirksamkeit').
This would need an agreement between all participants.
I disagree, thus, not all participants agree, thus it is void. - Period.
Interestingly, I wonder if the Hague Conventions (or Geneva additions) apply mutatis mutandis. Otherwise the stronger will inevitably triumph.
PS: Those who would trade in their Bitcoin for temporary space on the Blockchain deserve neither.