“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Bitcoin is so different from anything we’ve ever seen before that it is helpful to newcomers to first show them what it is not. In doing so we often use words that are the opposites of ones we typically use to describe things we are familiar with.
Bitcoin is Not Like Any Organization that Anyone has Ever Encountered Before.
Bitcoin is missing a lot of features we see in just about every organization. Bitcoin has no leader, no employees, no headquarters, no center of operations, no government, no rulers of any type, no elections, no location, no physical or intellectual property, no assets and no money. It is not even incorporated or legally constituted in any manner anywhere on Earth.
Bitcoin’s Design Rejects All These Common Features of Organizations
Bitcoin sees these features not only as unnecessary, but as undesirable. This is because it recognizes that each is a vulnerability. Bitcoin deals with such vulnerabilities by not having them in the first place. If any of these features were in Bitcoin it could lead to Bitcoin halting, being taken over, becoming corrupted or being destroyed. By removing them Bitcoin becomes unstoppable, uncontrollable, incorruptible and indestructible. By eliminating all vulnerabilities, Bitcoin becomes invulnerable.
These intentional omissions are the genius in its design which makes Bitcoin valuable and indispensable.
What Then is Bitcoin?
If Bitcoin isn’t any of these things, what then is it? Bitcoin is a mechanism organizing people and computers to make one un-eraseable, digital document. (Un-erasable is also known by the fancier terms immalleable or immutable). That document is a record of its own history. It can only be added to over time, not edited nor erased. This record’s past is preserved beneath layer upon layer of proof of the energy used in creating it. Erasing any recent records requires so much energy as to be impractical and erasing older ones is effectively impossible.
There’s Even More That Bitcoin Doesn’t Do
Bitcoin doesn’t keep track of the identities of the people (or machines) that use it — making it permission-less. It doesn’t increase the supply of bitcoins to meet demand — making it deflationary and inviolate . It doesn’t force itself on anyone — making it consensual. It doesn’t exclude anyone from using it — making it inclusive.
Bitcoin sets out to do one thing and one thing only — to be the best money that humankind has ever had and will ever have and it is uncompromising in its singular mission. In being this Bitcoin makes possible a much brighter future for humankind and the Earth.
Want more? This entire series (plus a 26th bonus article) is available as a pdf or kindle ebook at https://swanbitcoin.com/whybitcoin.
This is article 17 of the Why Bitcoin Series.
Why Bitcoin, The Series
This series is my attempt to write inspired articles that fit the following criteria:
Next Up is #18: