Why People Wonder if Bitcoin is Alien Technology

Where Did Bitcoin Come From?

We don’t know.

One-Of-a-Kind

Bitcoin appeared on Earth as an invention that satisfied a need all by itself: A need every person has; A need which was not being satisfied — The need for reliable money.

Self-Replication of a Different Kind

Replication Unlike Other Man-Made Things

Bitcoin is self-replicating. When anyone starts up Bitcoin Core it will begin working on creating a perfect, flawless replica of the entire Bitcoin blockchain — all the data in the Bitcoin network — from the genesis block of data, to the most recent one.

Replication Unlike Life

There are other things here on Earth that exhibit the property of self-replication. Not human inventions, but living things. Living things self-replicate. Single cells divide into two cells — often identical to each other (but sometimes taking on different attributes).

Leaderless, But Identical, Honoring Only Work as Their Leader

There is no instance of Bitcoin that is the leader. None has any rank different than any other. They are all exactlly the same. Any instance can propose a new state of the blockchain to the others. If its proposal is valid, all the instances it is connected to will accept its proposal and send the new, valid state to all the others they are connected to. All those others will also accept that proposed change. This will repeat until every instance in the world is in perfect synchronization again. Can you think of anything else on Earth that does this?

Self-Adjusting, But Improvable

Every human invention eventually wears out, breaks, or at the very least needs ongoing maintenance to prevent it from falling apart. Every living thing eventually dies. Not Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Adjusts Itself and Refuses Any Other Adjustments

To be clear — the only adjustments that can be made to Bitcoin are the adjustments it makes by itself to itself. Nobody else can adjust it.

New Rules Can Be Added, None Can Ever Be Taken Away

Also, quite rarely, we even modify Bitcoin to allow for new types of transactions — what we call soft forks. We don’t have to do this. Bitcoin doesn’t need these to survive. Bitcoin will continue to work without these modifications. We do it because we think there are new technologies that can make Bitcoin better. Bitcoin only lets us do this under certain conditions:

Everlasting

What about running out of space or running out of capacity. Bitcoin won’t run out of either. It’s database, the blockchain, has infinite size potential. It already has built in the capacity to create trillions of addresses for everyone who will ever live without needing any upgrade. As far as how much work it can handle, it has the capacity to absorb more than all the energy stored in the sun itself.

Becoming Exponentially Scarcer Over 130 Years

What about the four year cycles after which Bitcoin cuts its issuance of new bitcoins by half? No other human invention increasingly restricts the supply of the thing people find valuable about it. Bitcoin does.

Why 130 Years of Issuance?

I myself wonder why does this halving event take place every four years? Why not every single year or why not every ten years? Is one year too short to incentivize humans to accumulate bitcoin? Is ten years too long to expect them to wait? I don’t know.

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