Why Bitcoin’s Rules Are Enforced by Physics
The German Autobahn highways have no legally enforced speed limit. The laws of physics are the only limitations as to how fast automobiles can travel there. As such, Germans have figured out how to make very fast cars. Fast small cars, fast family cars, fast SUVs, fast trucks, etc. And also safe fast cars, because nobody wants to die getting somewhere fast. The lack of legally enforced constraints is what makes German cars faster, safer and better than those engineered in countries where speed limits and safety standards are prescribed by government edict.
This same reasoning is remarkably why bitcoin is the best money the world will ever see. No government tells Bitcoin what rules apply or how to enforce them. Nor can one. The mechanisms that Bitcoin relies on to enforce its rules are the laws of physics. They are eternal, unchanging rules. They are not rules made up on a whim and changed from time to time by some individual or committee claiming to be pursuing some virtuous goal while in reality trying to enrich itself.
Like the safety and speed goals of German cars, Bitcoin has safety and speed goals too.
Safety-wise Bitcoin gives you the monetary equivalent of safety by allowing you to store your bitcoins where only you can find them. It does this using astronomically large random numbers as the storage location. The laws of physics dictate that nobody can guess your number even if they turn the whole planet into a giant computer making endless guesses.
Speedwise, Bitcoin doesn’t try to go fast though. Instead, it seeks to maintain a constant speed, or pace. That steady pace bitcoin is after is that one block will be added to the blockchain, on average, every ten minutes, forever. And it enforces this goal too with the eternal, unchanging laws of physics. Even if we turned all the world’s energy towards trying to speed this up, Bitcoin would slam the brakes on within 2016 blocks at most. And if we tried to slow it down, bitcoin would step on the gas and speed it up in the same number of blocks. And no government law can change this. This average speed target relies on a clever combination of something called Proof of Work, which is based on physical work in the real world (i.e. the laws of physics), and a little piece of computer code called the difficulty adjustment (which is how Bitcoin maintains its average pace of block discovery).
Nobody and nothing can violate these mechanisms — no lawmaker, no hacker, no protester, no banker, no government, no corporation, no army — Nothing. It is as raw and real as reality itself.
So if you appreciate that you can rely on the laws of physics instead of the whims of bureaucrats and politicians to protect your savings, Bitcoin is the choice for you.
By relying on the eternal and consistent laws of physics, Bitcoin guarantees perfect reliability that nobody can break its promises. That frees it from any reliance on temporary institutions like central banks, political parties and even nation states. Bitcoin is forever.
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 2 of “Why Bitcoin” — a series of articles I am writing that are all short, accessible to newcomers and still interesting to long time Bitcoiners.