Some questions have easy answers. “What have you learned from Bitcoin?” isn’t one of them. After trying to answer this question in a short tweet, and failing miserably, I realized that the amount of things I’ve learned is far too numerous to answer quickly, if at all. I also realized that any set of answers to this question will be different for everyone — a reflection of the very personal journey through the wonderful world of crypto. Hence, the subtitle of this series is What I’ve Learned From Bitcoin, with which I want to acknowledge the inherent personal bias of answering a question like this.
有些问题很容易回答。“你从比特币学到了什么？”这个问题显然不在其中。在Twitter上试着用一条简短的推文（tweet）回答这个问题，但不够理想。如果有的话，我认识到我学到的东西太多了，无法快速回答。我也认识到，对于每个人来说，这个问题的答案都因人而异 —— 每个人在加密世界精彩纷呈的旅程体验和收获各不相同。因此，这个系列的副标题是“我从比特币学到的”，我必须坦白承认，回答这个问题带有我的个人偏见。
I tried to group the teachings of Bitcoin by topics, resulting in three parts:
I: Philosophical Teachings of Bitcoin
II: Economic Teachings of Bitcoin
III: Technological Teachings of Bitcoin
As hinted above, attempting to answer this question fully is a fool’s errand, thus my answers will always be incomplete. I would like to lessen this shortcoming by inviting you, dear reader, to share your own answers to this question:
Bitcoin is indeed a game disguised. It is akin to a trapdoor, a gateway to a different world. A world much stranger than I would have ever imagined it to be. A world which takes your assumptions and shatters them into a thousand tiny pieces, again and again. Stick around for long enough, and Bitcoin will completely change your worldview.
“After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
“在此之后，没有回头路。 你拿蓝色药丸 - 故事结束，你在床上醒来，相信任何你想要相信的东西。 你服用红色药丸 - 你留在仙境，我会告诉你兔子洞有多深。“
ps.兔子洞Rabbit hole，深陷其中，不能自拔 如果这块不明白的，好好看看《黑客帝国》系列，脑补一下。
Lesson 1: 不变和变化
Bitcoin is inherently hard to describe. It is a new thing, and any attempt to draw a comparison to previous concepts — be it by calling it digital gold or the internet of money — is bound to fall short of the whole. Whatever your favorite analogy might be, two aspects of Bitcoin are absolutely essential: decentralization and immutability.
比特币本来就很难描述。这是一个新事物，任何试图与之前的概念进行比较的尝试 - 无论是通过称之为数字黄金还是货币互联网（The internet of money） - 都必将覆盖不到全貌。无论您最喜欢的类比是什么，比特币的两个方面绝对必要：去中心化和不变性。 新发展：最近Twitter上又有了一个新类比数字地产（A digital real estate）。 ps.我个人喜欢用“比特币就是可以分割的数字黄金+去中心化的支付宝/PayPal”
One way to think about Bitcoin is as an automated social contract. The software is just one piece of the puzzle, and hoping to change Bitcoin by changing the software is an exercise in futility. One would have to convince the rest of the network to adopt the changes, which is more a psychological effort than a software engineering one.
The following might sound absurd at first, like so many other things in this space, but I believe that it is profoundly true nonetheless: You won’t change Bitcoin, but Bitcoin will change you.
“Bitcoin will change us more than we will change it.”
— Marty Bent
It took me a long time to realize the profundity of this. Since Bitcoin is just software and all of it is open-source, you can simply change things at will, right? Wrong. Very wrong. Unsurprisingly, Bitcoin’s creator knew this all too well.
我花了很长时间才意识到这一点的深刻性。由于比特币只是软件，而且所有这些都是开源的，你可能够随意改动，对不对？错误。非常错误。令人并不感到意外的是，比特币的创造者对此清清楚楚。 ps.比特币的分叉就很多 copy模仿者众多哟，但是这些都只是让比特币这条大船水涨船高了。比特币也第一次跳出“劣币驱逐良币”的怪圈。
The nature of Bitcoin is such that once version 0.1 was released, the core design was set in stone for the rest of its lifetime.
— Satoshi Nakamoto
Many people have attempted to change Bitcoin’s nature. So far all of them have failed. While there is an endless sea of forks and altcoins, the Bitcoin network still does its thing, just as it did when the first node went online. The altcoins won’t matter in the long run. The forks will eventually starve to death. Bitcoin is what matters. As long as our fundamental understanding of mathematics and/or physics doesn’t change, the Bitcoin honeybadger will continue to not care.
“Bitcoin is the first example of a new form of life. It lives and breathes on the internet. It lives because it can pay people to keep it alive. […] It can’t be changed. It can’t be argued with. It can’t be tampered with. It can’t be corrupted. It can’t be stopped. […] If nuclear war destroyed half of our planet, it would continue to live, uncorrupted. ”
比特币是新生活方式的第一个例子。 它在互联网上生活和呼吸。 它的存在是因为它可以让人们保持活力。 [...]它无法被改变。 它不能与之争论。 它不能被篡改。 它不会被破坏。 它不能停止。 [......]如果核战争摧毁了我们这个星球的一半，那么它将继续生存，而且不会受到侵蚀。
— Ralph Merkle
The heartbeat of the Bitcoin network will outlast all of ours.
Realizing the above changed me way more than the past blocks of the Bitcoin blockchain ever will. It changed my time preference, my understanding of economics, my political views, and so much more. Hell, it is even changing people’s diets. If all of this sounds crazy to you, you’re in good company. All of this is crazy, and yet it is happening.
Bitcoin taught me that it won’t change. I will.
比特币教会我它不会改变。我将会。 其实还有一个Bitcoin will fix it！ 比特币专治各种不服，目前华尔街开始宣传比特币真香。包括@michael_saylor 和灰度 CEO基本上每天都在Twitter上为比特币鼓吹和拉票。 ps.比特币正在改变我，我以前认为这个不能当作一份事业在做，我现在认为是可以的。无论从成就感和赚钱方面都不会比其他差。我已经在这个领域深耕了三年多了，我想在我预见的未来，我会继续干下去，直到比特币归零了。
Lesson 2: 稀缺性
In general, the advance of technology seems to make things more abundant. More and more people are able to enjoy what previously have been luxurious goods. Soon, we will all live like kings. Most of us already do. As Peter Diamandis wrote in Abundance: “Technology is a resource-liberating mechanism. It can make the once scarce the now abundant.”
总的来说，技术的进步似乎使东西变得更加富余。越来越多的人能够享受以前还是奢侈品的东西。很快，我们都将像国王一样生活。我们大多数人已经做到了。正如 Peter Diamandis 在“ 富余 ”中所写：“技术是一种资源解放机制。它可以使曾经稀缺的现在变得很充裕。“
Bitcoin, an advanced technology in itself, breaks this trend and creates a new commodity which is truly scarce. Some even argue that it is one of the scarcest things in the universe. The supply can’t be inflated, no matter how much effort one chooses to expend towards creating more.
“Only two things are genuinely scarce: time and bitcoin.”
— Saifedean Ammous
Paradoxically, it does so by a mechanism of copying. Transactions are broadcast, blocks are propagated, the distributed ledger is — well, you guessed it — distributed. All of these are just fancy words for copying. Heck, Bitcoin even copies itself onto as many computers as it can, by incentivizing individual people to run full nodes and mine new blocks.
自相矛盾的是，它是通过复制机制实现的。 交易是广播的，块是传播的，分布式的分类账 - 嗯，你猜对了 - 分发。 所有这些都只是用于复制的花哨字样。 哎呀，比特币甚至可以通过激励个人运行完整的节点和挖掘新的块来将自己复制到尽可能多的计算机上。
All of this duplication wonderfully works together in a concerted effort to produce scarcity.
In a time of abundance, Bitcoin taught me what real scarcity is.
在富裕的时代，比特币教会我什么是真正的稀缺性。 ps.2100w总量是非常深入人心的一个稀缺概念，所以要增加btc 2100w供应量的人绝对是脑残。
Modeling Bitcoin's Value with Scarcity
Lesson 3: 一个完美无瑕的概念
Everyone loves a good origin story. The origin story of Bitcoin is a fascinating one, and the details of it are more important than one might think at first. Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Was he one person or a group of people? Was he a she? Time-traveling alien, or advanced AI? Outlandish theories aside, we will probably never know. And this is important.
Satoshi chose to be anonymous. He planted the seed of Bitcoin. He stuck around for long enough to make sure the network won’t die in its infancy. And then he vanished.
What might look like a weird anonymity stunt is actually crucial for a truly decentralized system. No centralized control. No centralized authority. No inventor. No-one to prosecute, torture, blackmail, or extort. An immaculate conception of technology.
“One of the greatest things that Satoshi did was disappear.”
— Jimmy Song
Since the birth of Bitcoin, thousands of other cryptocurrencies were created. None of these clones share its origin story. If you want to supersede Bitcoin, you will have to transcend its origin story. In a war of ideas, narratives dictate survival.
自比特币诞生以来，发了数以千计的其他加密货币。 这些克隆中没有一个共享其原创故事。 如果你想取代比特币，你将不得不超越它的原创故事。 在一场思想战争中，故事决定了生存。（定位理论，第一才会真正深入人心）
“Gold was first fashioned into jewelry and used for barter over 7,000 years ago. Gold’s captivating gleam led to it being considered a gift from the gods.”
— Gold: The Extraordinary Metal
Like gold in ancient times, Bitcoin might be considered a gift from the gods. Unlike gold, Bitcoins origins are all too human. And this time, we know who the gods of development and maintenance are: people all over the world, anonymous or not.
像古代的黄金一样，比特币可能被认为是众神的礼物。 与黄金不同，比特币的起源非常人性化。 而这一次，我们知道发展和维护的神是谁：就是世界各地的人，匿名与否无关重要。
Bitcoin taught me that narratives are important.
比特币告诉我，会讲故事很重要。 ps.目前发展得比较好的几个比ETH 智能合约的故事，LTC莱特币有比特金莱特银的故事，Doge狗狗币纯粹一个搞笑起家的打赏币，马斯克把狗狗币变成了马币。而BCH和BSV最会做的事情就是碰瓷。
Lesson 4: 同一性问题
Nic Carter, in an homage to Thomas Nagel’s treatment of the same question in regards to a bat, wrote an excellent piece which discusses the following question: What is it like to be a bitcoin? He brilliantly shows that open, public blockchains in general, and Bitcoin in particular, suffer from the same conundrum as the Ship of Theseus: which Bitcoin is the real Bitcoin?
Nic Carter为了向托马斯·内格尔（Thomas Nagel）提出“What Is it Like to Be a Bat?”的同一性问题的致敬，写了一篇很好的文章，讨论了以下问题：What is it like to be a bitcoin？他精辟地表明，开放的公共区块链，特别是比特币，与忒修斯之船存在同样的难题：哪个比特币才是真正的比特币？ ps.特修斯之船（又译为忒修斯之船）亦称为忒修斯悖论，是一种同一性的悖论。假定某物体的构成要素被置换后，但它依旧是原来的物体吗？
“Consider just how little persistence Bitcoin’s components have. The entire codebase has been reworked, altered, and expanded such that it barely resembles its original version. […] The registry of who owns what, the ledger itself, is virtually the only persistent trait of the network […]
“考虑比特币组件的持久性有多少。 整个代码库已经过重新设计，修改和扩展，几乎不像原始版本。 [...]谁拥有什么，分类账本身的登记册实际上是网络的唯一持久性特征[...]
To be considered truly leaderless, you must surrender the easy solution of having an entity that can designate one chain as the legitimate one.”
— Nic Carter
It seems like the advancement of technology keeps forcing us to take these philosophical questions seriously. Sooner or later, self-driving cars will be faced with real-world versions of the trolley problem, forcing them to make ethical decisions about whose lives do matter and whose do not.
似乎技术的进步迫使我们认真对待这些哲学问题。 迟早，自动驾驶汽车将面临现实版本的电车问题，迫使他们做出道德决定，关于谁的生命有意义，谁的生命无关紧要。 ps.（The Trolley Problem） “电车难题”是伦理学领域最为知名的思想实验之一，其内容大致是：一个疯子把五个无辜的人绑在电车轨道上。一辆失控的电车朝他们驶来，并且片刻后就要碾压到他们。幸运的是，你可以拉一个拉杆，让电车开到另一条轨道上。但是还有一个问题，那个疯子在那另一条轨道上也绑了一个人。考虑以上状况，你应该拉拉杆吗？
Cryptocurrencies, especially since the first contentious hard-fork, force us to think about and agree upon the metaphysics of identity. Interestingly, the two biggest examples we have so far have lead to two different answers. On August 1, 2017, Bitcoin split into two camps. The market decided that the unaltered chain is the original Bitcoin. One year earlier, on October 25, 2016, Ethereum split into two camps. The market decided that the altered chain is the original Ethereum.
数字货币，特别是第一个有争议的硬分叉以来，迫使我们思考和赞同身份这形而上学的问题。有趣的是，我们迄今为止的两个最大的例子导致了两个不同的答案。 2017年8月1日，比特币分成两个阵营（补充，现在是BTC、BCH 和BSV三个阵营了）。 市场认为未经改变的链是原始的比特币。 而2016年10月25日，以太坊分成两个阵营（ETH和ETC）。 市场决定改变链是最初的以太坊。 ps.这个就是共识机制，更多人的人认可那一条链，那一条就是正统。
If properly decentralized, the questions posed by the Ship of Theseus will have to be answered in perpetuity for as long as these networks of value-transfer exist.
Bitcoin taught me that decentralization contradicts identity.
如果适当去中心化，只要这些价值转移网络存在，就必须永久地回答忒修斯之船所提出的问题。 比特币告诉我，去中心化与同一性相矛盾。 ps.忒修斯之船悖论可以自己百度脑补一下
Lesson 5: 复制和位置
Quantum mechanics aside, locality is a non-issue in the physical world. The question “Where is X?” can be answered in a meaningful way, no matter if X is a person or an object. In the digital world, the question of where is already a tricky one, but not impossible to answer. Where are your emails, really? A bad answer would be “the cloud”, which is just someone else’s computer. Still, if you wanted to track down every storage device which has your emails on it you could, in theory, locate them.
除了量子力学之外，位置在物理世界中不是问题。 无论X是人还是对象，都可以以有意义的方式回答“X在哪里？”的问题。 在数字世界中，问题在哪里已经是一个棘手的问题，但并非不可能回答。 你的电子邮件在哪里？ 一个糟糕的答案是“云”，这只是别人的电脑。 尽管如此，如果您想要跟踪每个存有电子邮件的存储设备，理论上您可以找到它们。
With bitcoin, the question of “where” is really tricky. Where, exactly, are your bitcoins?
“I opened my eyes, looked around, and asked the inevitable, the traditional, the lamentably hackneyed postoperative question: ‘Where am l?’”
— Daniel Dennett
The problem is twofold: First, the distributed ledger is distributed by full replication, meaning the ledger is everywhere. Second, there are no bitcoins. Not only physically, but technically.
问题有两层：首先，分布式分类帐本是通过完全复制分发的，这意味着分类帐本无处不在。 其次，没有比特币。 不仅在物理上，而且在技术上。
Bitcoin keeps track of a set of unspent transaction outputs, without ever having to refer to an entity which represents a bitcoin. The existence of a bitcoin is inferred by looking at the set of unspent transaction outputs and calling every entry with a 100 million base units a bitcoin.
“Where is it, at this moment, in transit? […] First, there are no bitcoins. There just aren’t. They don’t exist. There are ledger entries in a ledger that’s shared […] They don’t exist in any physical location. The ledger exists in every physical location, essentially. Geography doesn’t make sense here — it is not going to help you figuring out your policy here.”
“在这个时刻，在途中它在哪里？ [...]首先，没有比特币。 没有。 它们不存在。 共享的分类帐本中有分类帐条目[...]它们不存在于任何物理位置。 基本上，分类账本存在于每个物理位置。 地理位置在这里没有意义 - 它不会帮助你在这里找出你的策略。“
— Peter Van Valkenburgh
So, what do you actually own when you say “I have a bitcoin” if there are no bitcoins? Well, remember all these strange words which you were forced to write down by the wallet you used? Turns out these magic words are what you own: a magic spell which can be used to add some entries to the public ledger — the keys to “move” some bitcoins. This is why, for all intents and purposes, your private keys are your bitcoins. If you think I’m making all of this up feel free to send me your private keys.
Bitcoin taught me that locality is a tricky business.
那么，如果你没有比特币，当你说“我有比特币”时，你真正拥有什么？ 那么，还记得你用你所用的钱包写下来的所有这些奇怪的词吗？ 结果证明这些魔法词是你拥有的：一个魔法咒语，可以用来向公共总账添加一些条目 - 这是“移动”一些比特币的关键。 这就是为什么，出于所有意图和目的，您的私钥是您的比特币。 如果您认为我正在制作所有这些，请随时将您的私钥发送给我。 比特币告诉我，位置是一个棘手的事情。 ps.澳本葱要证明自己是中本聪很简单，就是用110w比特币的私钥，发一下币就行了。现在要法庭来判决，这个不是很荒唐的事情吗？
Lesson 6: 言论自由的力量
Bitcoin is an idea. An idea which, in its current form, is the manifestation of a machinery purely powered by text. Every aspect of Bitcoin is text: The whitepaper is text. The software which is run by its nodes is text. The ledger is text. Transactions are text. Public and private keys are text. Every aspect of Bitcoin is text, and thus equivalent to speech.
比特币是个Idea。 一种想法，其目前就是纯粹由文本驱动的机器的表现形式。 比特币的每个方面都是文本：白皮书是文本。 由其节点运行的软件是文本。 分类账本是文本。 交易是文本。 公钥和私钥是文本。 比特币的每个方面都是文本，因此相当于言论（Speech）。
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
“国会不得制定任何关于宗教信仰或禁止自由行使的法律; 或剥夺言论自由或新闻自由; 或者人民和平集会的权利，以及请求政府纠正不满。“
— First Amendment to the United States Constitution
Although the final battle of the Crypto Wars has not been fought yet, it will be very difficult to criminalize an idea, let alone an idea which is based on the exchange of text messages. Every time a government tries to outlaw text or speech, we slip down a path of absurdity which inevitably leads to abominations like illegal numbers and illegal primes.
As long as there is a part of the world where speech is free as in freedom, Bitcoin is unstoppable.
尽管加密战争的最后一场战斗尚未打响，但是将一个想法定为刑事犯罪将更加困难，更不用说基于文本信息交换的想法了。 每当政府试图取消文本或言论时，我们就会走上荒谬的道路，这不可避免地会导致非法数字和非法数字等可憎行为。 只要世界上有一部分言论自由，就像自由一样，比特币是不可阻挡的。
“There is no point in any Bitcoin transaction that Bitcoin ceases to be text. It is all text, all the time. […]
Bitcoin is text. Bitcoin is speech. It cannot be regulated in a free country like the USA with guaranteed inalienable rights and a First Amendment that explicitly excludes the act of publishing from government oversight.”
比特币是文本。 比特币就是言论。 它不能在像美国这样保障不可剥夺权利的自由国家和明确排除政府监督下的出版行为的第一修正案中受到监管。“
Bitcoin taught me that in a free society, free speech and free software are unstoppable.
Lesson 7: 知识的局限性
Getting into Bitcoin is a humbling experience. I thought that I knew things. I thought that I was educated. I thought that I knew my computer science, at the very least. I studied it for years, so I have to know everything about digital signatures, hashes, encryption, operational security, and networks, right?
Learning all the fundamentals which make Bitcoin work is hard. Understanding all of them deeply is borderline impossible.
深入比特币了解是一种令人羞愧的体验。 我以为我知道的事情。 我以为我受过的教育。 我以为我至少熟悉的计算机科学。 我研究了多年，所以我必须了解有关数字签名，哈希，加密，操作安全性和网络的所有信息，对吗？ 错了。 学习使比特币工作的所有基础知识很难。 深刻理解所有这些都是不可能的。
“No one has found the bottom of the Bitcoin rabbit hole.”
— Jameson Lopp
My list of books to read keeps expanding way quicker than I could possibly read them. The list of papers and articles to read is virtually endless. There are more podcasts on all of these topics than I could ever listen to. It truly is humbling. Further, Bitcoin is evolving and it’s almost impossible to stay up-to-date with the accelerating rate of innovation. The dust of the first layer hasn’t even settled yet, and people have already built the second layer and are working on the third.
Bitcoin taught me that I know very little about almost anything. It taught me that this rabbit hole is bottomless.
我阅读的书籍清单比我可能阅读的书更快地扩展。 要阅读的论文和文章清单几乎无穷无尽。 所有这些话题都有比我听过的更多的播客。 这真是令人羞愧。 此外，比特币正在发展，并且几乎不可能及时了解加速创新的速度。 第一层的灰尘还没有解决，人们已经建立了第二层并正在开发第三层。 比特币告诉我，我对几乎任何事情都知之甚少。 它告诉我这个兔子洞是无底洞。
Bitcoin is a child of the internet. Even though it requires computers to function efficiently, computer science is not sufficient to understand it. The implications of this new technology are far-reaching. Bitcoin is not only borderless but also boundaryless in respect to academic disciplines.
In this first part of the Teachings of Bitcoin I tried to outline some of the philosophical implications of this fascinating machinery. In part two I will try to discuss what Bitcoin taught me about economics. Part three will conclude this series to show what I, a technologist, have learned from the tech perspective by stumbling into Bitcoin.
As mentioned above, I think that any answer to the question “What have you learned from Bitcoin?” will always be incomplete. The systems are too dynamic, the space moving too fast, and the topics too numerous. Politics, game theory, monetary history, network theory, finance, cryptography, information theory, censorship, law and regulation, human organization, psychology — all these and more are areas of expertise which might help to grasp what Bitcoin is.
What have you learned from Bitcoin?
比特币只是互联网的孩子。即使它要求计算机有效运行，计算机科学也不足以理解它。这项新技术的影响是深远的。比特币不仅没有边界，而且在学科方面也是无边界的。 在比特币教案的第一部分中，我试图概述这种迷人机制的一些哲学教义。在第二部分中，我将尝试讨论比特币教给我的关于经济学的内容。第三部分将结束本系列文章，以展示我，一名技术专家，从技术角度学到了比特币。 如上所述，我认为对“你从比特币中学到了什么？”这个问题的任何答案都将是不完整的。系统过于动态，空间移动太快，主题太多。政治，博弈论，货币历史，网络理论，金融，密码学，信息理论，审查，法律和法规，人类组织，心理学 - 所有这些以及更多可能有助于掌握比特币的专业领域。 你从比特币中学到了什么？
The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking by Saifedean Ammous
Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis
The Mind’s I by Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter
Money, blockchains, and social scalability by Nick Szabo
Bitcoin’s Existential Crisis, originally published as What is it like to be a Bitcoin? by Nic Carter
Unpacking Bitcoin’s Social Contract: A framework for skeptics by Hasu
Why America Can’t Regulate Bitcoin by Beautyon
Why Bitcoin is different by Jimmy Song
Peter Van Valkenburg on Preserving the Freedom to Innovate with Public Blockchains hosted by Peter McCormack
Thanks to Arjun Balaji for the tweet which motivated me to write this.
Thanks to Marty Bent for providing endless food for thought and entertainment. If you are not subscribed to Marty’s Ƀent and Tales From The Crypt, you are missing out.
Thanks to Michael Goldstein and Pierre Rochard for curating and providing the greatest Bitcoin literature via the Nakamoto Institute and the Noded Podcast which influenced my philosophical views on Bitcoin substantially.
Thanks to Peter McCormack for his honest tweets and the What Bitcoin Did podcast, which keeps providing great insights from many areas of the space.
Thanks to Jannik for providing feedback to early drafts of this article.
And finally, thanks to all the bitcoin maximalists, shitcoin minimalists, shills, bots, and shitposters which reside in the beautiful garden that is crypto twitter.
Spanish translation by Camilo Jorajuría de León
Turkish translation by Deniz Özgür
What I’ve Learned From Bitcoin: Part II
Money doesn’t grow on trees. To believe that it does is foolish, and our parents make sure that we know about that by repeating this saying like a mantra. We are encouraged to use money wisely, to not spend it frivolously, and to save it in good times to help us through the bad. Money, after all, does not grow on trees.
钱可不是从树上长出来的，钱可不是从天上掉下来的。 如果相信它，那确实是愚蠢的。我们的父母通过像咒语一样唠叨这句话来确保我们知道这一点。 我们被提醒明智地花钱，不要大手大脚浪费，并在光景好的时候多存点钱，未雨绸缪以备不时之需。 毕竟，钱可不是从树上长出来的，钱可不是从天上掉下来的。
Bitcoin taught me more about money than I ever thought I would need to know. Through it, I was forced to explore the history of money, banking, various schools of economic thought, and many other things. The quest to understand Bitcoin lead me down a plethora of paths, some of which I try to explore in this series. This is the second of three parts:
比特币教会了我更多关于钱的常识，比我想象的还要多。 通过它，我迫使自己探索钱，银行业，各种经济思想流派以及许多其他事物的历史。 探索比特币之旅让我走了很多的路，其中一些我试图在这个系列中做探索。 这是我从比特币学到的系列三部曲中的第二部分：
I: Philosophical Teachings of Bitcoin
II: Economic Teachings of Bitcoin
III: Technological Teachings of Bitcoin
In Part I of this series, some of the philosophical questions Bitcoin touches on were discussed.
Part II will take a closer look at money and economics. Again, I will only be able to scratch the surface. Bitcoin is not only ambitious, but also broad and deep in scope, making it impossible to cover all relevant topics in a single essay, article, or book. I am starting to doubt if it is even possible at all.
Bitcoin is a child of many disciplines. Being a new form of money, learning about economics is paramount in understanding it. Dealing with the nature of human action and the interactions of economic agents, economics is probably one of the largest and fuzziest pieces of the Bitcoin puzzle.
Like the first part, this essay is an exploration of the various things I have learned from Bitcoin. And just like the first part, it is a personal reflection of my journey down the rabbit hole. Having no background in economics, I am definitely out of my comfort zone and aware that any understanding I might have is incomplete. Like blind monks examining an elephant, everyone who approaches this novel technology does so from a different angle and will come to different conclusions. Blindfolded as I am, I will try to outline what I have learned, even at the risk of making a fool out of myself. After all, I am still trying to answer the question:
“What have you learned from Bitcoin?”
After seven lessons examined through the lens of philosophy, let’s use the lens of economics to look at seven more. I hope that you will find the world of Bitcoin as educational, fascinating and entertaining as I did and still do. In any case, hop on and enjoy the ride. Economy class is all I can offer this time. Final destination: sound money.
与第一部分一样，本文探讨了我从比特币学到的。就像第一部分一样，它是我在兔子洞中旅行的个人体会。我没有经济学的背景，这绝对不在我的舒适区域，并且意识到我可能有的任何理解都是不完整的。就像盲人摸象一样，每个接近这种新技术的人都会从不同的角度看，并得出不同的结论。像我一样蒙上眼睛，我会试着勾勒出我所学到的东西，即使冒着愚弄自己的风险。毕竟，我仍然试图回答这个问题： “你从比特币学到了什么？” 通过哲学视角审视了七个方面后，让我们用经济学的视角七个方面来看看。我希望你会发现比特币的世界像我一样，仍然在做，具有教育性，吸引力和娱乐性。在任何情况下，跳上并享受这段骑行。经济课程是我这次能提供的。最终目的地：健全的货币（Sound Money)。
Lesson 8: 金融无知
One of the most surprising things, to me, was the amount of finance, economics, and psychology required to get a grasp of what at first glance seems to be a purely technical system — a computer network. To paraphrase a little guy with hairy feet: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, stepping into Bitcoin. You read the whitepaper, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
To understand a new monetary system, you have to get acquainted with the old one. I began to realize very soon that the amount of financial education I enjoyed in the educational system was essentially zero.
Like a five-year-old, I began to ask myself a lot of questions: How does the banking system work? How does the stock market work? What is fiat money? What is regular money? Why is there so much debt? How much money is actually printed, and who decides that?
After a mild panic about the sheer scope of my ignorance, I found reassurance in realizing that I was in good company.
“Isn’t it ironic that Bitcoin has taught me more about money than all these years I’ve spent working for financial institutions? …including starting my career at a central bank” — aarontaycc
“I’ve learned more about finance, economics, technology, cryptography, human psychology, politics, game theory, legislation, and myself in the last three months of crypto than the last three and a half years of college” — bitcoindunny
These are just two of the many confessions all over twitter. Bitcoin, as was explored in part one, is a living thing. Mises argued that economics also is a living thing. And as we all know from personal experience, living things are inherently difficult to understand.
“A scientific system is but one station in an endlessly progressing search for knowledge. It is necessarily affected by the insufficiency inherent in every human effort. But to acknowledge these facts does not mean that present-day economics is backward. It merely means that economics is a living thing — and to live implies both imperfection and change.”
“科学系统只是在不断进步的知识搜索中的一站。 它必然受到每个人的努力所固有的不足的影响。 但承认这些事实并不意味着当今的经济学是落后的。 它只是意味着经济学是一种生物 - 而生活意味着不完美和变化。“
— Ludwig von Mises
We all read about various financial crises in the news, wonder about how these big bailouts work and are puzzled over the fact that no one ever seems to be held accountable for damages which are in the trillions. I am still puzzled, but at least I am starting to get a glimpse of what is going on in the world of finance.
Some people even go as far as to attribute the general ignorance on these topics to systemic, willful ignorance. While history, physics, biology, math, and languages are all part of our education, the world of money and finance surprisingly is only explored superficially, if at all. I wonder if people would still be willing to accrue as much debt as they currently do if everyone would be educated in personal finance and the workings of money and debt. Then I wonder how many layers of aluminum make an effective tinfoil hat. Probably three.
“Those crashes, these bailouts, are not accidents. And neither is it an accident that there is no financial education in school. […] It’s premeditated. Just as prior to the Civil War it was illegal to educate a slave, we are not allowed to learn about money in school.”
— Robert Kiyosaki
Like in The Wizard of Oz, we are told to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Unlike in The Wizard of Oz, we now have real wizardry: a censorship-resistant, open, borderless network of value-transfer. There is no curtain, and the magic is visible to anyone.
Bitcoin taught me to look behind the curtain and face my financial ignorance.
就像在《绿野仙踪》中一样，我们被告知要不要关注幕后的男人。与“绿野仙踪”不同，我们现在拥有真正的魔法：一种抗审查，开放，无边界的价值交换网络。没有帘子，任何人都可以看到魔法。 比特币教会我看幕后，直面我的金融无知。 ps.这个也好，让我们和传统金融从业者站在同一起跑线上竞争。甚至我们能没有那么多路径依赖，让我们比绝大部分的金融从业者先接受了比特币。
Lesson 9: 通货膨胀
Trying to understand monetary inflation, and how a non-inflationary system like Bitcoin might change how we do things, was the starting point of my venture into economics. I knew that inflation was the rate at which new money was created, but I didn’t know too much beyond that.
While some economists argue that inflation is a good thing, others argue that “hard” money which can’t be inflated easily —as we had in the days of the gold standard — is essential for a healthy economy. Bitcoin, having a fixed supply of 21 million, agrees with the latter camp.
Usually, the effects of inflation are not immediately obvious. Depending on the inflation rate (as well as other factors) the time between cause and effect can be several years. Not only that, but inflation affects different groups of people more than others. As Henry Hazlitt points out in Economics in One Lesson: “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”
ps.《一课经济学》(Economics in One Lesson)，作者Henry Hazlitt 通常，通胀的影响并不是很明显。 根据通货膨胀率（以及其他因素），通货膨胀导致的恶果需要几年才能显现出来。 不仅如此，通货膨胀也比其他人更能影响不同的人群。 正如Henry Hazlitt在经济学中指出的那样：“经济学的艺术在于不仅仅关注任何行为或政策的即时的影响，也需要关注较长时间的影响它包括追踪该政策的后果，不仅针对一个群体，而且针对所有群体。“
One of my personal lightbulb moments was the realization that issuing new currency — printing more money — is a completely different economic activity than all the other economic activities. While real goods and real services produce real value for real people, printing money effectively does the opposite: it takes away value from everyone who holds the currency which is being inflated.
我个人突然顿悟的时刻之一是认识到发行新货币 - 印刷更多货币 - 与其他所有经济活动完全不同。 虽然真实的商品和真实的服务为真实的人们带来了实实在在的价值，但是印钞却恰恰相反：它从你的手里抢钱。（ps.你手里的100块钱，购买力只剩下90了，这个不就是抢钱吗）
“Mere inflation — that is, the mere issuance of more money, with the consequence of higher wages and prices — may look like the creation of more demand. But in terms of the actual production and exchange of real things it is not.”
“仅仅是通货膨胀 - 也就是说，由于工资和价格上涨而仅仅发行更多的资金 - 可能看起来像是创造了更多的需求。 但就实际生产和真实物品的交换而言，事实并非如此。“
— Henry Hazlitt
The destructive force of inflation becomes obvious as soon as a little inflation turns into a lot. If money hyperinflates, things get ugly real quick. As the inflating currency falls apart, it will fail to store value over time and people will rush to get their hands on any goods which might do.
Another consequence of hyperinflation is that all the money which people have saved over the course of their life will effectively vanish. The paper money in your wallet will still be there, of course. But it will be exactly that: worthless paper.
一旦通货膨胀变得很大，通货膨胀的破坏力就会变得明显。 如果金钱过度膨胀，事情会变得非常丑陋。 随着膨胀的货币崩溃，它将无法随着时间的推移而存储价值，人们将急于获取任何可能的货物。(这时候囤物比囤纸币好） 恶性通货膨胀的另一个后果是，人们在一生中攒下的所有钱都会不复存在。 当然，钱包里的纸币仍然存在。 但正是如此：变成一文不值的纸张（比上厕所的草纸还便宜）。
1 Satoshi is now worth more than:
1 Indonesian Rupiah (IRR)
1 Vietnamese Dong (VND)
1 Iranian Rial (IRR)
Money declines in value with so-called “mild” inflation as well. It just happens slowly enough that most people don’t notice the diminishing of their purchasing power. And once the printing presses are running, currency can be easily inflated, and what used to be mild inflation might turn into a strong cup of inflation by the push of a button. As Friedrich Hayek pointed out in one of his essays, mild inflation usually leads to outright inflation.
货币价值随着所谓的“温和”通货膨胀而下降。 它发生得足够慢，以至于大多数人都没有注意到他们的购买力下降。 一旦印刷机运行，货币很容易膨胀，而过去温和的通货膨胀可能会通过按下按钮变成强烈的通货膨胀。 正如弗里德里希·哈耶克（Friedrich Hayek）在他的一篇论文中指出的那样，温和的通货膨胀通常会导致彻底的通货膨胀。（量变导致质变）
“”Mild” steady inflation cannot help — it can lead only to outright inflation.”
“温和的”稳定的通货膨胀没有帮助 - 它只会导致彻底的通货膨胀。“
— Friedrich Hayek
Inflation is particularly devious since it favors those who are closer to the printing presses. It takes time for the newly created money to circulate and prices to adjust, so if you are able to get your hands on more money before everyone else’s devaluates you are ahead of the inflationary curve. This is also why inflation can be seen as a hidden tax because in the end governments profit from it while everyone else ends up paying the price.
通货膨胀特别狡猾，因为它有利于那些离印刷机更近的人。 新发现的资金流通需要时间，价格需要调整，所以如果你能够在其他人贬值之前获得更多资金，那么你就会领先于通胀曲线。 这也是为什么通货膨胀可以被视为隐藏税的原因，因为最终政府从中获利，而其他人最终都要付出代价。
"I do not think it is an exaggeration to say history is largely a history of inflation, and usually of inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments."
— Friedrich Hayek
So far, all government-controlled currencies have eventually been replaced or have collapsed completely. No matter how small the rate of inflation, “steady” growth is just another way of saying exponential growth. In nature as in economics, all systems which grow exponentially will eventually have to level off or suffer from catastrophic collapse.
“It can’t happen in my country,” is what you’re probably thinking. You don’t think that if you are from Venezuela, which is currently suffering from hyperinflation. With an inflation rate of over 1 million percent, money is basically worthless.
It might not happen in the next couple of years, or to the particular currency used in your country. But a glance at the list of historical currencies shows that it will inevitably happen over a long
enough period of time. I remember and used plenty of those listed: the Austrian schilling, the German mark, the Italian lira, the French franc, the Irish pound, the Croatian dinar, etc. My grandma even used the Austro-Hungarian Krone. As time moves on, the currencies currently in use will slowly but surely move to their respective graveyards. They will hyperinflate or be replaced. They will soon be historical currencies. We will make them obsolete.
“History has shown that governments will inevitably succumb to the temptation of inflating the money supply.”
― Saifedean Ammous
Why is Bitcoin different? In contrast to currencies mandated by the government, monetary goods which are not regulated by governments, but by the laws of physics, tend to survive and even hold their respective value over time. The best example of this so far is gold, which, as the aptly-named Gold-to-Decent-Suit Ratio shows, is holding its value over hundreds and even thousands of years. It might not be perfectly “stable” — a questionable concept in the first place — but the value it holds will at least be in the same order of magnitude.
为什么比特币与众不同？ 与政府规定的货币相比，不受政府监管但受物理定律约束的货币产品往往能够生存，甚至随着时间的推移保持各自的价值。 到目前为止，最好的例子是黄金，正如恰当命名的黄金对高级西装比率所显示的那样，它的价值已经持续了数百甚至数千年。 它可能不是完全“稳定” - 首先是一个值得怀疑的概念 - 但它所拥有的价值至少会达到相同的数量级。 ps.黄金的价格一向坚挺，国外某投资机构研究出一个“黄金对高级西装比率”（Gold-to-Decent-Suit Ratio），指出，一百年前伦敦裁缝街一套体面西装的价格约为5、6盎司黄金金价，今天，裁缝街一套西装的价格仍为5、6盎司黄金金价，可见黄金购买力的稳定
If a monetary good or currency holds its value well over time and space, it is considered to be hard. If it can’t hold its value, because it easily deteriorates or inflates, it is considered a soft currency. The concept of hardness is essential to understand Bitcoin and is worthy of a more thorough examination. We will return to it in the last economic lesson: sound money.
As more and more countries suffer from hyperinflation, more and more people will have to face the reality of hard and soft money. If we are lucky, maybe even some central bankers will be forced to re-evaluate their monetary policies. Whatever might happen, the insights I have gained thanks to Bitcoin will probably be invaluable, no matter the outcome.
Bitcoin taught me about the hidden tax of inflation and the catastrophe of hyperinflation.
随着越来越多的国家遭受恶性通货膨胀，越来越多的人将不得不面对硬钱和软钱的现实。如果我们幸运的话，甚至一些央行行长也会被迫重新评估他们的货币政策。无论结果是什么，无论结果如何，由于比特币而获得的见解可能都是非常宝贵的。 比特币让我了解了通货膨胀的隐性税收和恶性通货膨胀的灾难。 ps.【2019年全球悲惨指数公布 #委内瑞拉成全球最惨国家#】4月18日，2019年彭博悲惨指数报告公布，委内瑞拉连续第5年被评为全球最悲惨经济体。经济学家预计该国今年通货膨胀率将达8000000%，其悲惨指数爆表，远超第二名的阿根廷。 没生活在这些国家的人民可能现在理解不了，但是我们也生活温和通货膨胀的国度，也只是五十步笑百步而已。
Lesson 10: 价值
Value is somewhat paradoxical, and there are multiple theories which try to explain why we value certain things over other things. People have been aware of this paradox for thousands of years. As Plato wrote in his dialogue with Euthydemus, we value some things because they are rare, and not merely based on their necessity for our survival.
价值有点自相矛盾，有多种理论试图解释为什么我们看重某些东西胜过其他东西。 数千年来，人们已经意识到这种悖论。 正如柏拉图在与Euthydemus的对话中所写的那样，我们看重一些东西，因为它们很少见，而不仅仅是基于它们对我们生存的必要性。
“And if you are prudent you will give this same counsel to your pupils also — that they are never to converse with anybody except you and each other. For it is the rare, Euthydemus, that is precious, while water is cheapest, though best, as Pindar said.”
“如果你过于谨慎，你也会给你的学生同样的忠告 - 除了你和对方之外，他们永远不会与任何人交谈。因为它是罕见的Euthydemus，它是珍贵的，而水是最便宜的，尽管最好，如Pindar所说。
This paradox of value shows something interesting about us humans: we seem to value things on a subjective basis, but do so with certain non-arbitrary criteria. Something might be precious to us for a variety of reasons, but things we value do share certain characteristics. If we can copy something very easily, or if it is naturally abundant, we do not value it.
It seems that we value something because it is scarce (gold, diamonds, time), difficult or labor-intensive to produce, can’t be replaced (an old photograph of a loved one), is useful in a way in which it enables us to do things which we otherwise couldn’t, or a combination of those, such as great works of art.
Bitcoin is all of the above: it is extremely rare (21 million), increasingly hard to produce (reward halvening), can’t be replaced (a lost private key is lost forever), and enables us to do some quite useful things. It is arguably the best tool for value transfer across borders, virtually resistant to censorship and confiscation in the process, plus, it is a self-sovereign store of value, allowing individuals to store their wealth independent of banks and governments, just to name two.
Bitcoin taught me that value is subjective but not arbitrary.
比特币就是综上所述：它极为稀缺（2100万），越来越难以产生（每隔四年奖励减半），无法替换（丢失的私钥永远丢失），并使我们能够做一些非常有用的事情。它可以说是跨境价值转移的最佳工具，几乎抵制审查和没收的过程，此外，它是一个自我主权的价值储存，允许个人存储他们的财富独立于银行和政府，仅举两个。 比特币告诉我，价值是主观的，但不是随意的。 ps.我从比特币中学到的，比特币第一次真正实现了“藏富于民”的理念。
What is money? We use it every day, yet this question is surprisingly difficult to answer. We are dependent on it in ways big and small, and if we have too little of it our lives become very difficult. Yet, we seldom think about the thing which supposedly makes the world go round. Bitcoin forced me to answer this question over and over again: What the hell is money?
In our “modern” world, most people will probably think of pieces of paper when they talk about money, even though most of our money is just a number in a bank account. We are already using zeros and ones as our money, so how is Bitcoin different? Bitcoin is different because at its core it is a very different type of money than the money we currently use. To understand this, we will have to take a closer look at what money is, how it came to be, and why gold and silver was used for most of commercial history.
“In this sense, it’s more typical of a precious metal. Instead of the supply changing to keep the value the same, the supply is predetermined and the value changes.”
— Satoshi Nakamoto
Seashells, gold, silver, paper, bitcoin. In the end, money is whatever people use as money, no matter its shape and form, or lack thereof.
Money, as an invention, is ingenious. A world without money is insanely complicated: How many fish will buy me new shoes? How many cows will buy me a house? What if I don’t need anything right now but I need to get rid of my soon-to-be rotten apples? You don’t need a lot of imagination to realize that a barter economy is maddeningly inefficient.
The great thing about money is that it can be exchanged for anything else — that’s quite the invention! As Nick Szabo brilliantly summarizes in Shelling Out: The Origins of Money, we humans have used all kinds of things as money: beads made of rare materials like ivory, shells, or special bones, various kinds of jewelry, and later on rare metals like silver and gold.
关于金钱的伟大之处在于它可以换取任何其他东西 - 这就是发明！正如Nick Szabo在Shelling Out: The Origins of Money中所阐述的那样，我们人类使用各种各样的东西作为金钱：由象牙，贝壳或特殊骨头等稀有材料制成的珠子，各种珠宝，以及后来的稀有金属银和金。
Being the lazy creatures we are, we don’t think too much about things which just work. Money, for most of us, works just fine. Like with our cars or our computers, most of us are only forced to think about the inner workings of these things if they break down. People who saw their life-savings vanish because of hyperinflation know the value of hard money, just like people who saw their friends and family vanish because of the atrocities of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia know the value of privacy.
The thing about money is that it is all-encompassing. Money is half of every transaction, which imbues the ones who are in charge with creating money with enormous power.
“Given that money is one half of every commercial transaction and that whole civilizations literally rise and fall based on the quality of their money, we are talking about an awesome power, one that flies under the cover of night. It is the power to weave illusions that appear real as long as they last. That is the very core of the Fed’s power.”
— Ron Paul
Bitcoin peacefully removes this power, since it does away with money creation and it does so without the use of force.
Money went through multiple iterations. Most iterations were good. They improved our money in one way or another. Very recently, however, the inner workings of our money got corrupted. Today, almost all of our money is simply created out of thin air by the powers that be. To understand how this came to be I had to learn about the history and subsequent downfall of money.
If it will take a series of catastrophes or simply a monumental educational effort to correct this corruption remains to be seen. I pray to the gods of sound money that it will be the latter.
Bitcoin taught me what money is.
Lesson 12: 金钱的历史和货币贬值
Many people think that money is backed by gold, which is locked away in big vaults, protected by thick walls. This ceased to be true many decades ago. I am not sure what I thought, since I was in much deeper trouble, having virtually no understanding of gold, paper money, or why it would need to be backed by something in the first place.
One part of learning about Bitcoin is learning about fiat money: what it means, how it came to be, and why it might not be the best idea we ever had. So, what exactly is fiat money? And how did we end up using it?
If something is imposed by fiat, it simply means that it is imposed by formal authorization or proposition. Thus, fiat money is money simply because someone says that it is money. Since all governments use fiat currency today, this someone is your government. Unfortunately, you are not free to disagree with this value proposition. You will quickly feel that this proposition is everything but non-violent. If you refuse to use this paper currency to do business and pay taxes the only people you will be able to discuss economics with will be your cellmates.
The value of fiat money does not stem from its inherent properties. How good a certain type of fiat money is, is only correlated to the political and fiscal (in)stability of those who dream it into existence. Its value is imposed by decree, arbitrarily.
fi·at /ˈfēˌät,ˈfēət/ — “Let it be done”fi·at /ˈfēˌät,ˈfēət/ — “Let it be done”
Until recently, two types of money were used: commodity money, made out of precious things, and representative money, which simply represents the precious thing, mostly in writing.
We already touched on commodity money above. People used special bones, seashells, and precious metals as money. Later on, mainly coins made out of precious metals like gold and silver were used as money. The oldest coinfound so far is made of a natural gold-and-silver mix and was made more than 2700 years ago. If something is new in Bitcoin, the concept of a coin is not it.
Lydian electrum coinLydian electrum coin
Turns out that hoarding coins, or hodling, to use today’s parlance, is almost as old as coins. The earliest coin hodler was someone who put almost a hundred of these coins in a pot and buried it in the foundations of a temple, only to be found 2500 years later. Pretty good cold storage if you ask me.
One of the downsides of using precious metal coins is that they can be clipped, effectively debasing the value of the coin. New coins can be minted from the clippings, inflating the money supply over time, devaluing every individual coin in the process. People were literally shaving off as much as they could get away with of their silver dollars. I wonder what kind of Dollar Shave Club advertisements they had back in the day.
使用贵金属硬币的缺点之一是它们可以被修剪，有效地降低了硬币的价值。新的硬币可以从剪报中铸造出来，随着时间的推移使货币供应膨胀，在此过程中使每枚硬币贬值。人们实际上正在削减他们可以逃脱的银元。我想知道他们当天回来了什么样的Dollar Shave Club广告。
Since governments are only cool with inflation if they are the ones doing it, efforts were made to stop this guerrilla debasement. In classic cops-and-robbers fashion, coin clippers got ever more creative with their techniques, forcing the ‘masters of the mint’ to get even more creative with their countermeasures. Isaac Newton, the world-renowned physicist of Principia Mathematica fame, used to be one of these masters. He is attributed with adding the small stripes at the side of coins which are still present today. Gone were the days of easy coin shaving.
如果政府只是做通货膨胀，那么政府对通货膨胀只会很冷静，因此努力阻止这种游击战贬值。在经典的警察抓小偷的游戏中，硬币剪刀通过他们的技术变得更有创意，迫使“造币厂的主人”通过他们的对策变得更有创意。世界着名的Principia Mathematica物理学家Isaac Newton 曾经是这些大师之一。他的目的是在今天仍然存在的硬币一侧添加小条纹。轻松硬币剃须的日子已经一去不复返了。
Even with these methods of coin debasement kept in check, coins still suffer from other issues. They are bulky and not very convenient to transport, especially when large transfers of value need to happen. Showing up with a huge bag of silver dollars every time you want to buy a Mercedes isn’t very practical.
Speaking of German things: How the United States dollar got its name is another interesting story. The word “dollar” is derived from the German word Thaler, short for a Joachimsthaler. A Joachimsthaler was a coin minted in the town of Sankt Joachimsthal. Thaler is simply a shorthand for someone (or something) coming from the valley, and because Joachimsthal was the valley for silver coin production, people simply referred to these silver coins as Thaler. Thaler (German) morphed into daalders (Dutch), and finally dollars (English).
The introduction of representative money heralded the downfall of hard money. Gold certificates were introduced in 1863, and about fifteen years later, the silver dollar was also slowly but surely being replaced by a paper proxy: the silver certificate.
It took about 50 years from the introduction of the first silver certificates until these pieces of paper morphed into something that we would today recognize as one U.S. dollar.
A 1928 U.S. silver dollar. “Payable to the bearer on demand.” Picture credit to the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution
Note that the 1928 U.S. silver dollar above still goes by the name of silver certificate, indicating that this is indeed simply a document stating that the bearer of this piece of paper is owed a piece of silver. It is interesting to see that the text which indicates this got smaller over time. The trace of “certificate” vanished completely after a while, being replaced by the reassuring statement that these are federal reserve notes.
As mentioned above, the same thing happened to gold. Most of the world was on a bimetallic standard, meaning coins were made primarily of gold and silver. Having certificates for gold, redeemable in gold coins, was arguably a technological improvement. Paper is more convenient, lighter, and since it can be divided arbitrarily by simply printing a smaller number on it, it is easier to break into smaller units.
To remind the bearers (users) that these certificates were representative for actual gold and silver, they were colored accordingly and stated this clearly on the certificate itself. You can fluently read the writing from top to bottom:
“This certifies that there have been deposited in the treasury of the United States of America one hundred dollars in gold coin payable to the bearer on demand.”
Picture credit to National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History.
In 1963, the words “PAYABLE TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND” were removed from all newly issued notes. Five years later, the redemption of paper notes for gold and silver ended.
The words hinting on the origins and the idea behind paper money were removed. The golden color disappeared. All that was left was the paper and with it the ability of the government to print as much of it as it wishes.
With the abolishment of the gold standard in 1971, this century-long sleight-of-hand was complete. Money became the illusion we all share to this day: fiat money. It is worth something because someone commanding an army and operating jails says it is worth something. As can be clearly read on every dollar note in circulation today, “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER”. In other words: It is valuable because the note says so.
A 2004 series U.S. twenty dollar note used today. “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER”
By the way, there is another interesting lesson on today’s bank notes, hidden in plain sight. The second line reads that this is legal tender “FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE”. What might be obvious to economists was surprising to me: All money is debt. My head is still hurting because of it, and I will leave the exploration of the relation of money and debt as an exercise to the reader.
As we have seen, gold and silver were used as money for millennia. Over time, coins made from gold and silver were replaced by paper. Paper slowly became accepted as payment. This acceptance created an illusion — the illusion that the paper itself has value. The final move was to completely sever the link between the representation and the actual: abolishing the gold standard and convincing everyone that the paper in itself is precious.
顺便说一下，今天的钞票还有另一个有趣的教训，隐藏在明显的视野中。第二行认为这是“适用于所有债务，公共和私人”的法定货币。对经济学家来说，显而易见的事情让我感到惊讶：所有的钱都是债务。由于这个原因，我的脑子仍在受伤，我将把金钱和债务关系的探索作为一种练习留给读者。 正如我们所看到的，黄金和白银被用作货币数千年。随着时间的推移，用金和银制成的硬币被纸取代。纸张慢慢被接受为付款。这种接受创造了一种错觉 - 纸张本身具有价值的错觉。最后一步是彻底切断代表与实际之间的联系：废除金本位，并说服每个人，纸币本身就是宝贵的。
Bitcoin taught me about the history of money and the greatest sleight of hand in the history of economics: fiat currency.
Lesson 13: 部分准备金制度的荒唐
Value and money aren’t trivial topics, especially in today’s times. The process of money creation in our banking system is equally non-trivial, and I can’t shake the feeling that this is deliberately so. What I have previously only encountered in academia and legal texts seems to be common practice in the financial world as well: nothing is explained in simple terms, not because it is truly complex, but because the truth is hidden behind layers and layers of jargon and apparent complexity. “Expansionary monetary policy, quantitative easing, fiscal stimulus to the economy.” The audience nods along in agreement, hypnotized by the fancy words.
Fractional reserve banking and quantitative easing are two of those fancy words, obfuscating what is really happening by masking it as complex and difficult to understand. If you would explain them to a five-year-old, the insanity of both will become apparent quickly.
Godfrey Bloom, addressing the European Parliament during a joint debate, said it way better than I ever could:
“[…] you do not really understand the concept of banking. All the banks are broke. Bank Santander, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland — they’re all broke! And why are they broke? It isn’t an act of God. It isn’t some sort of tsunami. They’re broke because we have a system called ‘fractional reserve banking’ which means that banks can lend money that they don’t actually have! It’s a criminal scandal and it’s been going on for too long. […]
“[...]你并不真正理解银行业的概念。所有银行都破产了。桑坦德银行，德意志银行，苏格兰皇家银行 - 他们都破产了！他们为什么要破产？这不是上帝的行为。这不是某种海啸。它们已经破产，因为我们有一个名为“部分准备金银行”的系统，这意味着银行可以贷出他们实际上没有的钱！这是一个犯罪丑闻，它已经持续太久了。[...]
We have counterfeiting — sometimes called quantitative easing — but counterfeiting by any other name. The artificial printing of money which, if any ordinary person did, they’d go to prison for a very long time […] and until we start sending bankers — and I include central bankers and politicians — to prison for this outrage it will continue.”
我们有假冒产品 - 有时称为量化宽松政策 - 但却以其他任何名称伪造。人工印刷的钱，如果有普通人的话，他们会长时间入狱[...]直到我们开始派银行家 - 我将央行行长和政治家包括在内 - 因为这种愤怒而继续监狱“。
Let me repeat the most important part: banks can lend money that they don’t actually have.
Thanks to fractional reserve banking, a bank only has to keep a small fractionof every dollar it gets. It’s somewhere between 0 and 10%, usually at the lower end, which makes things even worse.
Let’s use a concrete example to better understand this crazy idea: A fraction of 10% will do the trick and we should be able to do all the calculations in our head. Win-win. So, if you take $100 to a bank — because you don’t want to store it under your mattress — they only have to keep the agreed upon fractionof it. In our example that would be $10, because 10% of $100 is $10. Easy, right?
让我们用一个具体的例子来更好地理解这个疯狂的想法：10％的一小部分会做到这一点，我们应该能够完成所有的计算。双赢。所以，如果你向银行拿100美元 - 因为你不想将它存放在你的床垫下 - 它们只需保留商定的一部分。在我们的例子中，10美元，因为100美元的10％是10美元。容易，对吗？
So what do banks do with the rest of the money? What happens to your $90? They do what banks do, they lend it to other people. The result is a money multiplier effect, which increases the money supply in the economy enormously. Your initial deposit of $100 will soon turn into $190. By lending a 90% fraction of the newly created $90, there will soon be $271 in the economy. And $343.90 after that. The money supply is recursively increasing, since banks are literally lending money they don’t have. Without a single Abracadabra, banks magically transform $100 into one thousand dollars or more. Turns out 10x is easy. It only takes a couple of lending rounds.
Don’t get me wrong: There is nothing wrong with lending. There is nothing wrong with interest. There isn’t even anything wrong with good old regular banks to store your wealth somewhere more secure than in your sock drawer.
Central banks, however, are a different beast. Abominations of financial regulation, half public half private, playing god with something which affects everyone who is part of our global civilization, without a conscience, only interested in the immediate future, and seemingly without any accountability or auditability.
While Bitcoin is still inflationary, it will cease to be so rather soon. The strictly limited supply of 21 million bitcoins will eventually do away with inflation completely. We now have two monetary worlds: an inflationary one where money is printed arbitrarily, and the world of Bitcoin, where final supply is fixed and easily auditable for everyone. One is forced upon us by violence, the other can be joined by anyone who wishes to do so. No barriers to entry, no one to ask for permission. Voluntary participation. That is the beauty of Bitcoin.
I would argue that the argument between Keynesian and Austrian economists is no longer purely academical. Satoshi managed to build a system for value transfer on steroids, creating the soundest money which ever existed in the process. One way or another, more and more people will learn about the scam which is fractional reserve banking. If they come to similar conclusions as most Austrians and Bitcoiners, they might join the ever-growing internet of money. Nobody can stop them if they choose to do so.
Bitcoin taught me that fractional reserve banking is pure insanity.
Lesson 14: 健全货币
The most important lesson I have learned from Bitcoin is that in the long run, hard money is superior to soft money. Hard money, also referred to as sound money, is any globally traded currency that serves as a reliable store of value.
Granted, Bitcoin is still young and volatile. Critics will say that it does not store value reliably. The volatility argument is missing the point. Volatility is to be expected. The market will take a while to figure out the just price of this new money. Also, as is often jokingly pointed out, it is grounded in an error of measurement. If you think in dollars you will fail to see that one bitcoin will always be worth one bitcoin.
“A fixed money supply, or a supply altered only in accord with objective and calculable criteria, is a necessary condition to a meaningful just price of money.”
— Fr. Bernard W. Dempsey, S.J.
As a quick stroll through the graveyard of forgotten currencies has shown, money which can be printed will be printed. So far, no human in history was able to resist this temptation.
Bitcoin does away with the temptation to print money in an ingenious way. Satoshi was aware of our greed and fallibility — this is why he chose something more reliable than human restraint: mathematics.
比特币摒弃了以巧妙的方式印钱的诱惑。Satoshi意识到我们的贪婪和易犯错误 - 这就是
Bitcoin’s “supply formula”Bitcoin’s “supply formula”
While this formula is useful to describe Bitcoin’s supply, it is actually nowhere to be found in the code. Issuance of new bitcoin is done in an algorithmically controlled fashion, by reducing the reward which is paid to miners every four years. The formula above is used to quickly sum up what is happening under the hood. What really happens can be best seen by looking at the change in block reward, the reward paid out to whoever finds a valid block, which roughly happens every 10 minutes.
Formulas, logarithmic functions and exponentials are not exactly intuitive to understand. The concept of soundness might be easier to understand if looked at in another way. Once we know how much there is of something, and once we know how hard this something is to produce or get our hands on, we immediately understand its value. What is true for Picasso’s paintings, Elvis Presley’s guitars, and Stradivarius violins is also true for fiat currency, gold, and bitcoins.
The hardness of fiat currency depends on who is in charge of the respective printing presses. Some governments might be more willing to print large amounts of currency than others, resulting in a weaker currency. Other governments might be more restrictive in their money printing, resulting in harder currency.
Before we had fiat currencies, the soundness of money was determined by the natural properties of the stuff which we used as money. The amount of gold on earth is limited by the laws of physics. Gold is rare because supernovae and neutron star collisions are rare. The “flow” of gold is limited because extracting it is quite an effort. Being a heavy element it is mostly buried deep underground.
The abolishment of the gold standard gave way to a new reality: adding new money requires just a drop of ink. In our modern world adding a couple of zeros to the balance of a bank account requires even less effort: flipping a few bits in a bank computer is enough.
“One important aspect of this new reality is that institutions like the Fed cannot go bankrupt. They can print any amount of money that they might need for themselves at virtually zero cost.”
— Jörg Guido Hülsmann
The principle outlined above can be expressed more generally as the ratio of “stock” to “flow”. Simply put, the stock is how much of something is currently there. For our purposes, the stock is a measure of the current money supply. The flow is how much there is produced over a period of time (e.g. per year). The key to understanding sound money is in understanding this stock-to-flow ratio.
Calculating the stock-to-flow ratio for fiat currency is difficult, because how much money there is depends on how you look at it. You could count only banknotes and coins (M0), add traveler checks and check deposits (M1), add saving accounts and mutual funds and some other things (M2), and even add certificates of deposit to all of that (M3). Further, how all of this is defined and measured varies from country to country and since the US Federal Reserve stopped publishing numbers for M3, we will have to make do with the M2 monetary supply. I would love to verify these numbers, but I guess we have to trust the fed for now.
Gold, one of the rarest metals on earth, has the highest stock-to-flow ratio. According to the US Geological Survey, a little more than 190,000 tons have been mined. In the last few years, around 3100 tons of gold have been mined per year.
Using these numbers, we can easily calculate the stock-to-flow ratio for gold: 190,000 tons / 3,100 tons = ~61.
使用这些数字，我们可以很容易地计算出黄金的存量-产量比：190,000吨/ 3,100吨= ~61。
Nothing has a higher stock-to-flow ratio than gold. This is why gold, up to now, was the hardest, soundest money in existence. It is often said that all the gold mined so far would fit in two olympic-sized swimming pools. According to my calculations, we would need four. So maybe this needs updating, or Olympic-sized swimming pools got smaller.
Enter Bitcoin. As you probably know, bitcoin mining was all the rage in the last couple of years. This is because we are still in the early phases of what is called the reward era, where mining nodes are rewarded with a lot of bitcoin for their computational effort. We are currently in reward era number 3, which began in 2018 and will end in early 2020, probably in May. While the bitcoin supply is predetermined, the inner workings of Bitcoin only allow for approximate dates. Nevertheless, we can predict with certainty how high Bitcoin’s stock-to-flow ratio will be. Spoiler alert: it will be high.
How high? Well, it turns out that Bitcoin will get infinitely hard.
Visualization of stock and flow for USD, gold, and Bitcoin
Due to an exponential decrease of the mining reward, the flow of new bitcoin will diminish resulting in a sky-rocketing stock-to-flow ratio. It will catch up to gold in 2020, only to surpass it four years later by doubling its soundness again. Such a doubling will occur 64 times in total. Thanks to the power of exponentials, the number of bitcoin mined per year will drop below 100 bitcoin in 50 years and below 1 bitcoin in 75 years. The global faucet which is the block reward will dry up somewhere around the year 2140, effectively stopping the production of bitcoin. This is a long game. If you are reading this, you are still early.
Rising stock-to-flow ratio of bitcoin as compared to goldRising stock-to-flow ratio of bitcoin as compared to gold
As bitcoin approaches infinite stock to flow ratio it will be the soundest money in existence. Infinite soundness is hard to beat.
Viewed through the lens of economics, Bitcoin’s difficulty adjustment is probably its most important component. How hard it is to mine bitcoin depends on how quickly new bitcoins are mined*. It is the dynamic adjustment of the network’s mining difficulty which enables us to predict its future supply.
(* It actually depends on how quickly valid blocks are found, but for our purposes, this is the same thing as “mining bitcoins” and will be so for the next 120 years.)
The simplicity of the difficulty adjustment algorithm might distract from its profundity, but the difficulty adjustment truly is a revolution of Einsteinian proportions. It ensures that, no matter how much or how little effort is spent on mining, Bitcoin’s controlled supply won’t be disrupted. As opposed to every other resource, no matter how much energy someone will put into mining bitcoin, the total reward will not increase.
Just like E=mc² dictates the universal speed limit in our universe, Bitcoin’s difficulty adjustment dictates the universal money limit in Bitcoin.
If it weren’t for this difficulty adjustment, all bitcoins would have been mined already. If it weren’t for this difficulty adjustment, Bitcoin probably wouldn’t have survived in its infancy. It is what secures the network in its reward era. It is what ensures a steady and fair distribution of new bitcoin. It is the thermostat which regulates Bitcoin’s monetary policy.
Einstein showed us something novel: no matter how hard you push an object, at a certain point you won’t be able to get more speed out of it. Satoshi also showed us something novel: no matter how hard you dig for this digital gold, at a certain point you won’t be able to get more bitcoin out of it. For the first time in human history, we have a monetary good which, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to produce more of.
Bitcoin taught me that me that sound money is essential.
As we leave the “blockchain not bitcoin” days behind us, most people start to realize that there is not a single invention which encapsulates the genius of Bitcoin. It is the combination of multiple, previously unrelated pieces, glued together by game theoretical incentives, which make up the revolution that is Bitcoin.
For me, the economic teachings of Bitcoin are as fascinating as the philosophical ones examined in part one. Being a technophile, I can’t wait to tell you what Bitcoin taught me about technology in the third and final part of this series.
As mentioned before, I think that any answer to the question “What have you learned from Bitcoin?” will always be incomplete. The symbiosis of the two living systems examined here — Bitcoin and economics — is too intertwined and evolving too fast to ever be fully understood by a single person.
如前所述，我认为对“你从比特币中学到了什么？”这个问题的任何答案都将是不完整的。这里考察的两个生命系统的共生关系 - 比特币和经济学 - 交织在一起，而且发展得太快，一个人无法完全理解。
“I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take it violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something that they can’t stop.”
— Friedrich Hayek
Learning these lessons enabled me to finally understand what Hayek meant by the above. I believe that Bitcoin is the sly, roundabout way to re-introduce sound money to the world. Thanks to the economic teachings of Bitcoin I learned what good money is and that having it is possible.
What have you learned from Bitcoin?
Again, thanks to Arjun Balaji for the tweet which gave birth to this series.
Thanks to Saifedean Ammous for his convictions, savage tweets, and writing The Bitcoin Standard
Thanks to Dhruv Bansal for taking the time to discuss some of these ideas with me.
Thanks to Matt Odell for his candor and also for taking the time to discuss some of these ideas with me, even if he doesn’t remember all of it.
Thanks to Michael Goldstein and Pierre Rochard for curating and providing relevant literature via the Nakamoto Institute
Thanks to Jannik, Camilo, and Matt for providing feedback to early drafts of this article
There exists an almost endless list of books and essays on the topics discussed above and economic thought in general. The books and articles listed below are but a small selection which were particularly influential in my thinking. I am grateful for all the people who shared their insights, past and present.
The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking by Saifedean Ammous
Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
Human Action by Ludwig von Mises
The Ethics of Money Production by Jörg Guido Hülsmann
The Denationalization of Money by Friedrich Hayek
The Machinery of Freedom by David D. Friedman
The Case Against The Fed by Murray N. Rothbard
End the Fed by Ron Paul
Shelling Out: The Origins of Money by Nick Szabo
The Bitcoin Halving and Monetary Competition by Saifedean Ammous
The Bullish Case For Bitcoin by Vijay Boyapati
Bitcoin’s distribution was fair by Dan Held
Turkish translation by Deniz Özgür
What I’ve Learned From Bitcoin: Part III
What is Bitcoin? The many answers to this question are as interesting as they are varied. Bitcoin is both a social and a monetary phenomenon, but it is also a technological one. The intersection of many disciplines is what makes Bitcoin endlessly fascinating. Like many others, I began to stumble down this strange rabbit hole a while ago. Even though this article is the last of this series, I am still stumbling down with no end in sight, and I invite you to stumble along with me.
This is the third chapter of a personal journey. Again, I am indebted to Arjun Balaji who asked the following on Twitter: “What have you learned from Bitcoin?” It is this question which has led me to write this series to outline some of the things I’ve learned.
I: Philosophical Teachings of Bitcoin
II: Economic Teachings of Bitcoin
III: Technological Teachings of Bitcoin
Part one explored what I’ve learned from Bitcoin when seen through a philosophical lens: the interplay of immutability and change, copying and scarcity, Bitcoin’s origin story and identity, locality in a world of replication, money as free speech, and the limits of knowledge.
Part two discussed some of the economic teachings of Bitcoin: the concept of value, (sound) money and its history, inflation, and some aspects of “modern” banking like fractional reserve banking.
Part three will explore seven things I have learned from examining Bitcoin through the lens of technology. As in the previous parts, I will only be able to scratch the surface. Bitcoin is an expanding universe, evolving and improving every day. Whole books can be and have been written on small, specific parts of this cosmos. And just like in our own universe, the expansion seems to be accelerating.
第15课：群体的力量（Strength in numbers）
Numbers are an essential part of our everyday life. Large numbers, however, aren’t something most of us are too familiar with. The largest numbers we might encounter in everyday life are in the range of millions, billions, or trillions. We might read about millions of people in poverty, billions of dollars spent on bank bailouts, and trillions of national debt. Even though it’s hard to make sense of these headlines, we are somewhat comfortable with the size of those numbers.
Although we might seem comfortable with billions and trillions, our intuition already starts to fail with numbers of this magnitude. Do you have an intuition how long you would have to wait for a million/billion/trillion seconds to pass? If you are anything like me, you are lost without actually crunching the numbers.
Let’s take a closer look at this example: the difference between each is an increase by three orders of magnitude: 10⁶, 10⁹, 10¹². Thinking about seconds is not very useful, so let’s translate this into something we can wrap our head around:
10⁶: One million seconds was 1½ weeks ago.
10⁹: One billion seconds was almost 32 years ago.
10¹²: One trillion seconds ago Manhattan was covered under a thick layer of ice.
As soon as we enter the beyond-astronomical realm of modern cryptography, our intuition fails catastrophically. Bitcoin is built around large numbers and the virtual impossibility of guessing them. These numbers are way, way larger than anything we might encounter in day-to-day life. Many orders of magnitude larger. Understanding how large these numbers truly are is essential to understanding Bitcoin as a whole.
Let’s take SHA-256, one of the hash functions used in Bitcoin, as a concrete example. It is only natural to think about 256 bits as “two hundred fifty-six,” which isn’t a large number at all. However, the number in SHA-256 is talking about orders of magnitude — something our brains are not well-equipped to deal with.
让我们把比特币中使用的Hash函数之一SHA-256作为一个具体的例子。将256位视为“二百五十六”是很自然的，这根本不是一个很大的数字。然而，SHA-256中的数字正在谈论的数量级 - 是我们的大脑没有足够能力应对的。
While bit length is a convenient metric, the true meaning of 256-bit security is lost in translation. Similar to the millions (10⁶) and billions (10⁹) above, the number in SHA-256 is about orders of magnitude (2²⁵⁶).
So, how strong is SHA-256, exactly?
“SHA-256 is very strong. It’s not like the incremental step from MD5 to SHA1. It can last several decades unless there’s some massive breakthrough attack.”
— Satoshi Nakamoto
Let’s spell things out. 2²⁵⁶ equals the following number:
115 quattuorvigintillion 792 trevigintillion 89 duovigintillion 237 unvigintillion 316 vigintillion 195 novemdecillion 423 octodecillion 570 septendecillion 985 sexdecillion 8 quindecillion 687 quattuordecillion 907 tredecillion 853 duodecillion 269 undecillion 984 decillion 665 nonillion 640 octillion 564 septillion 39 sextillion 457 quintillion 584 quadrillion 7 trillion 913 billion 129 million 639 thousand 936.
That’s a lot of nonillions! Wrapping your head around this number is pretty much impossible. There is nothing in the physical universe to compare it to. It is far larger than the number of atoms in the observable universe. The human brain simply isn’t made to make sense of it.
One of the best visualizations of the true strength of SHA-256 is the following video by Grant Sanderson. Aptly named “How secure is 256 bit security?” it beautifully shows how large a 256-bit space is. Do yourself a favor and take the five minutes to watch it. As all other 3Blue1Brown videos it is not only fascinating but also exceptionally well made. Warning: You might fall down a math rabbit hole.
Bruce Schneier used the physical limits of computation to put this number into perspective: even if we could build an optimal computer, which would use any provided energy to flip bits perfectly, build a Dyson sphere around our sun, and let it run for 100 billion billion years, we would still only have a 25% chance to find a needle in a 256-bit haystack.
“These numbers have nothing to do with the technology of the devices; they are the maximums that thermodynamics will allow. And they strongly imply that brute-force attacks against 256-bit keys will be infeasible until computers are built from something other than matter and occupy something other than space.”
Bitcoin’s treasure chest is very different. It is secured by strong cryptography, which does not give way to brute force. And as long as the underlying mathematical assumptions hold, brute force is all we have. Granted, there is also the option of a global $5 wrench attack. But torture won’t work for all bitcoin addresses, and the cryptographic walls of bitcoin will defeat brute force attacks. Even if you come at it with the force of a thousand suns. Literally.
很难夸大其深刻的含义。强密码学反转了我们习以为常的物理世界的功率平衡。在现实世界中不存在牢不可破的东西。施加足够的力量，你就可以打开任何门，盒子或宝箱。 比特币的宝箱非常不同。它通过强大的密码学来保护，它不会让位于蛮力。只要潜在的数学假设成立，蛮力就是我们所拥有的。当然，也有全球5美元扳手攻击的选择。但酷刑不适用于所有比特币地址，比特币的加密墙将击败暴力攻击。即使你带着一千个太阳的力量来到它身边。从字面上看。 ps. $5 wrench attack简单来说，就是比如你和他人收币-别人知道你的公钥，看到你有一大笔币，掏出5块钱买的扳手威胁你说出你的密码-无论是手机在线钱包还是交易所账户钱包的密码，性命攸关，对方又知道你有多少个币，不说就挂了，说了币就没了。
This fact and its implications were poignantly summarized in the call to cryptographic arms: “No amount of coercive force will ever solve a math problem.”
“It isn’t obvious that the world had to work this way. But somehow the universe smiles on encryption.”
Nobody yet knows for sure if the universe’s smile is genuine or not. It is possible that our assumption of mathematical asymmetries is wrong and we find that P actually equals NP, or we find surprisingly quick solutions to specific problems which we currently assume to be hard. If that should be the case, cryptography as we know it will cease to exist, and the implications would most likely change the world beyond recognition.
“Vires in Numeris” = “Strength in Numbers”
One direct result of this is the fact that you don’t have to ask anyone for permission to participate in Bitcoin. There is no page to sign up, no company in charge, no government agency to send application forms to. Simply generate a large number and you are pretty much good to go. The central authority of account creation is mathematics. And God only knows who is in charge of that.
Bitcoin is built upon our best understanding of reality. While there are still many open problems in physics, computer science, and mathematics, we are pretty sure about some things. That there is an asymmetry between finding solutions and validating the correctness of these solutions is one such thing. That computation needs energy is another one. In other words: finding a needle in a haystack is harder than checking if the pointy thing in your hand is indeed a needle or not. And finding the needle takes work.
The vastness of Bitcoin’s address space is truly mind-boggling. The number of private keys even more so. It is fascinating how much of our modern world boils down to the improbability of finding a needle in an unfathomably large haystack. I am now more aware of this fact than ever.
Bitcoin taught me that there is strength in numbers.
比特币建立在我们对现实的最佳理解之上。虽然在物理学，计算机科学和数学方面仍存在许多开放性问题，但我们对某些事情非常肯定。在找到解决方案和验证这些解决方案的正确性之间存在不对称就是这样的事情。计算需要能量是另一个。换句话说：在大海捞针中寻找一根针比检查你手中的尖刺是否确实是针更难。寻找针需要工作。 比特币广阔的地址空间真是令人难以置信。私钥的数量更是如此。令人着迷的是，我们现代世界的多少归结为在不可思议的大型草堆中找到针头的不可能性。我现在比以往任何时候都更了解这个事实。 比特币告诉我数字的力量。 ps.比特币让我选择相信数学，可笑是澳本葱选择相信法庭。
Bitcoin aims to replace, or at least provide an alternative to, conventional currency. Conventional currency is bound to a centralized authority, no matter if we are talking about legal tender like the US dollar or modern monopoly money like Fortnite’s V-Bucks. In both examples, you are bound to trust the central authority to issue, manage and circulate your money. Bitcoin unties this bound, and the main issue Bitcoin solves is the issue of trust.
“The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. […] What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust”
— Satoshi Nakamoto
While the regular world operates under the assumption of “trust, but verify,” Bitcoin operates under the assumption of “don’t trust, verify.” Satoshi made the importance of removing trust very clear in both the introduction as well as the conclusion of the Bitcoin whitepaper.
“Conclusion: We have proposed a system for electronic transactions without relying on trust.”
As Ken Thompson showed in his Turing Award lecture, trust is an extremely tricky thing in the computational world. When running a program, you have to trust all kinds of software (and hardware) which, in theory, could alter the program you are trying to run in a malicious way. As Thompson summarized in his Reflections on Trusting Trust: “The moral is obvious. You can’t trust code that you did not totally create yourself.”
正如Ken Thompson在他的图灵奖演讲中所表明的那样，信任在计算世界中是一件非常棘手的事情。在运行程序时，您必须信任各种软件（和硬件），理论上它们可能会改变您试图以恶意方式运行的程序。汤普森在他的“Reflections on Trusting Trust ”中总结道：“道德是显而易见的。你不能相信你自己没有完全创造的代码。“
Thompson demonstrated that even if you have access to the source code, your compiler — or any other program-handling program or hardware — could be compromised and detecting this backdoor would be very difficult. Thus, in practice, a truly trustless system does not exist. You would have to create all your software and all your hardware (assemblers, compilers, linkers, etc.) from scratch, without the aid of any external software or software-aided machinery.
Thompson证明，即使您可以访问源代码，您的编译器 - 或任何其他程序处理程序或硬件 - 也可能会受到损害，并且检测此后门将非常困难。因此，在实践中，不存在真正无信任的系统。您必须从头开始创建所有软件和所有硬件（汇编器，编译器，链接器等），而无需借助任何外部软件或软件辅助机器。
“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
The Ken Thompson Hack is a particularly ingenious and hard-to-detect backdoor, so let’s take a quick look at a hard-to-detect backdoor which works without modifying any software. Researchers found a way to compromise security-critical hardware by altering the polarity of silicon impurities. Just by changing the physical properties of the stuff that computer chips are made of they were able to compromise a cryptographically secure random number generator. Since this change can’t be seen, the backdoor can’t be detected by optical inspection, which is one of the most important tamper-detection mechanism for chips like these.
Ken Thompson Hack是一个特别巧妙且难以检测的后门，所以让我们快速浏览一下难以检测的后门，它可以在不修改任何软件的情况下工作。研究人员发现了一种通过改变硅杂质极性来破坏安全关键硬件的方法。仅仅通过改变计算机芯片制造的东西的物理特性，他们就能够破解加密安全的随机数发生器。由于无法看到这种变化，因此无法通过光学检测来检测后门，这是这类芯片最重要的篡改检测机制之一。
Sounds scary? Well, even if you would be able to build everything from scratch, you would still have to trust the underlying mathematics. You would have to trust that secp256k1 is an elliptic curve without backdoors. Yes, malicious backdoors can be inserted in the mathematical foundations of cryptographic functions and arguably this has already happened at least once. There are good reasons to be paranoid, and the fact that everything from your hardware, to your software, to the elliptic curves used can have backdoors are some of them.
“Don’t trust. Verify.”
The above examples should illustrate that trustless computing is utopic. Bitcoin is probably the one system which comes closest to this utopia, but still, it is trust-minimized — aiming to remove trust wherever possible. Arguably, the chain-of-trust is neverending, since you will also have to trust that computation requires energy, that P does not equal NP, and that you are actually in base reality and not emprisoned in a simulation by malicious actors.
上面的例子应该说明无信任计算是乌托邦的。比特币可能是最接近这个乌托邦的一个系统，但它仍然是信任最小化 - 旨在尽可能消除信任。可以说，信任链是无休止的，因为你还必须相信计算需要能量，P不等于NP，并且你实际上处于基本现实中并且没有被恶意行为者模仿。
Developers are working on tools and procedures to minimize any remaining trust even further. For example, Bitcoin developers created Gitian, which is a software distribution method to create deterministic builds. The idea is that if multiple developers are able to reproduce identical binaries, the chance of malicious tampering is reduced. Fancy backdoors aren’t the only attack vector. Simple blackmail or extortion are real threats as well. As in the main protocol, decentralization is used to minimize trust.
Various efforts are being made to improve upon the chicken-and-egg problem of bootstrapping which Ken Thompson’s hack so brilliantly pointed out. One such effort is Guix (pronounced geeks), which uses functionally declared package management leading to bit-for-bit reproducible builds by design. The result is that you don’t have to trust any software-providing servers anymore since you can verify that the served binary was not tampered with by rebuilding it from scratch. As of this writing, a pull-request is in progress to integrate Guix into the Bitcoin build process.
Luckily, Bitcoin doesn’t rely on a single algorithm or piece of hardware. One effect of Bitcoin’s radical decentralization is a distributed security model. Although the backdoors described above are not to be taken lightly, it is unlikely that every software wallet, every hardware wallet, every cryptographic library, every node implementation, and every compiler of every language is compromised. Possible, but highly unlikely.
Note that you can generate a private key without relying on any computational hardware or software. You can flip a coin a couple of times, although depending on your coin and tossing style this source of randomness might not be sufficiently random. There is a reason why storage protocols like Glacier advise to use casino-grade dice as one of two sources of entropy.
Bitcoin forced me to reflect on what trusting nobody actually entails. It raised my awareness of the bootstrapping problem, and the implicit chain-of-trust in developing and running software. It also raised my awareness of the many ways in which software and hardware can be compromised.
Bitcoin taught me not to trust, but to verify.
It is often said that bitcoins are mined because thousands of computers work on solving very complex mathematical problems. Certain problems are to be solved, and if you compute the right answer, you “produce” a bitcoin. While this simplified view of bitcoin mining might be easier to convey, it does miss the point somewhat. Bitcoins aren’t produced or created, and the whole ordeal is not really about solving particular math problems. Also, the math isn’t particularly complex. What is complex is telling the time in a decentralized system.
As outlined in the whitepaper, the proof-of-work system (aka mining) is a way to implement a distributed timestamp server.
When I first learned how Bitcoin works I also thought that proof-of-work is inefficient and wasteful. After a while, I started to shift my perspective on Bitcoin’s energy consumption. It seems that proof-of-work is still widely misunderstood today, in the year 10 AB (after Bitcoin).
Since the problems to be solved in proof-of-work are made up, many people seem to believe that it is useless work. If the focus is purely on the computation, this is an understandable conclusion. But Bitcoin isn’t about computation. It is about independently agreeing on the order of things.
Proof-of-work is a system in which everyone can validate what happened and in what order it happened. This independent validation is what leads to consensus, an individual agreement by multiple parties about who owns what.
In a radically decentralized environment, we don’t have the luxury of absolute time. Any clock would introduce a trusted third party, a central point in the system which had to be relied upon and could be attacked. “Timing is the root problem,” as Grisha Trubetskoy points out. And Satoshi brilliantly solved this problem by implementing a decentralized clock via a proof-of-work blockchain. Everyone agrees beforehand that the chain with the most cumulative work is the source of truth. It is per definition what actually happened. This agreement is what is now known as Nakamoto consensus.
由于工作量证明中要解决的问题已经解决，许多人似乎认为这是无用的工作。如果重点仅仅是计算，那么这是一个可以理解的结论。但比特币与计算无关。它是关于事物的顺序独立地达成一致。 工作证明是一个系统，每个人都可以验证发生的事情以及发生的顺序。这种独立验证是导致达成共识的原因，是多方就谁拥有什么达成的个别协议。 在一个彻底分散的环境中，我们没有绝对时间的奢侈。任何时钟都会引入一个受信任的第三方，这是系统中的一个必须依赖并可能受到攻击的中心点。正如Grisha Trubetskoy 指出的那样，“时机是根本问题” 。Satoshi通过工作证明区块链实现分散式时钟，从而出色地解决了这个问题。每个人都事先同意具有最累积工作的链是真理的来源。根据定义，实际发生了什么。这个协议现在被称为Nakamoto共识。
“The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain [which] serves as proof of the sequence of events witnessed”
Thanks to proof-of-work, both the work and the validation of the work are radically decentralized. Everyone can join and leave at will, and everyone can validate everything at all times. Not only that, but everyone can validate the state of the system individually, without having to rely on anyone else for validation.
Understanding proof-of-work takes time. It is often counter-intuitive, and while the rules are simple, they lead to quite complex phenomena. For me, shifting my perspective on mining helped. Useful, not useless. Validation, not computation. Time, not blocks.
Bitcoin taught me that telling the time is tricky, especially if you are decentralized.
没有一致的方式来计时，之前没有一致的方法可以告诉我。可靠的序列是不可能的。如上所述，Nakamoto的共识是比特币一直在说出时间的方式。系统的激励结构通过利用竞争参与者的贪婪和自身利益产生概率，分散的时钟。这个时钟不精确的事实是无关紧要的，因为事件的顺序最终是明确的，任何人都可以验证。 由于工作证明，工作的工作和验证都是根本分散的。每个人都可以随意加入和离开，每个人都可以随时验证所有内容。不仅如此，每个人都可以单独验证系统的状态，而不必依赖其他任何人进行验证。 理解工作证明需要时间。它往往是反直觉的，虽然规则很简单，但它们会导致相当复杂的现象。对我来说，转变我对采矿的看法有所帮助。有用，而不是无用。验证，而不是计算。时间，而不是块。 比特币告诉我，即使需要工作量是棘手的，特别是如果你是去中心化的。
It might be a dead mantra, but “move fast and break things” is still how much of the tech world operates. The idea that it doesn’t matter if you get things right the first time is a basic pillar of the fail early, fail often mentality. Success is measured in growth, so as long as you are growing everything is fine. If something doesn’t work at first you simply pivot and iterate. In other words: throw enough shit against the wall and see what sticks.
Bitcoin is very different. It is different by design. It is different out of necessity. As Satoshi pointed out, e-currency has been tried many times before, and all previous attempts have failed because there was a head which could be cut off. The novelty of Bitcoin is that it is a beast without heads.
在崇尚互联网思维“唯快不破”的年代，慢工出细活可能是一个死亡魔咒。一开始就没搞清楚要做什么，做错了也不知道反思，失败就成了一种习惯。现在很多成功是以增长来衡量的，所以只要你在成长，一切都很好。如果某些东西一开始不起作用，你只需旋转和迭代。换句话说：投石问路。 比特币是非常不同的。它的设计不同。这是必要的。正如Satoshi 指出的那样，电子货币之前已经尝试了很多次，以前所有的尝试都失败了，因为有一个头可以被切断。比特币的新颖之处在于它是一头没有头的野兽。 ps. 比特币是中本聪一开始就想明白要做什么，所以比特币发展虽然不快，但一直走在正确的道路上。而就如ETH以太、EOS都是在不断寻找方向，不断改变版本，而且还没找到真正自己的方向。
“A lot of people automatically dismiss e-currency as a lost cause because of all the companies that failed since the 1990’s. I hope it’s obvious it was only the centrally controlled nature of those systems that doomed them.”
One consequence of this radical decentralization is an inherent resistance to change. “Move fast and break things” does not and will never work on the Bitcoin base layer. Even if it would be desirable, it wouldn’t be possible without convincing everyone to change their ways. That’s distributed consensus. That’s the nature of Bitcoin.
“The nature of Bitcoin is such that once version 0.1 was released, the core design was set in stone for the rest of its lifetime.”
As Hasu beautifully shows in Unpacking Bitcoin’s Social Contract, changing the rules of Bitcoin is only possible by proposing a change, and consequently convincing all users of Bitcoin to adopt this change. This makes Bitcoin very resilient to change, even though it is software.
This resilience is one of the most important properties of Bitcoin. Critical software systems have to be antifragile, which is what the interplay of Bitcoin’s social layer and its technical layer guarantees. Monetary systems are adversarial by nature, and as we have known for thousands of years solid foundations are essential in an adversarial environment.
这是比特币的众多矛盾特性之一。我们都相信任何软件都可以轻松改变。但野兽的本性使它变得血腥难熬。 正如Hasu在解包比特币的社会契约中所展示的那样，改变比特币的规则只有通过提出改变才能实现，从而说服所有比特币用户采用这种改变。这使比特币变得非常有弹性，即使它是软件。 这种弹性是比特币最重要的特性之一。关键软件系统必须是反混乱的，这就是比特币社交层与其技术层保证的相互作用。货币体系本质上是对抗性的，正如我们已知的数千年，坚实的基础在对抗性环境中是必不可少的。
“The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock.”
Just like geologists, who know that rock formations are always moving and evolving, one can see that Bitcoin is always moving and evolving as well. You just have to know where to look and how to look at it.
The introduction of pay to script hash and segregated witness are proof that Bitcoin’s rules can be changed if enough users are convinced that adopting said change is to the benefit of the network. The latter enabled the development of the lightning network, which is one of the houses being built on Bitcoin’s solid foundation. Future upgrades like Schnorr signatures will enhance efficiency and privacy, as well as scripts (read: smart contracts) which will be indistinguishable from regular transactions thanks to Taproot. Wise builders do indeed build on solid foundations.
Satoshi wasn’t only a wise builder technologically. He also understood that it would be necessary to make wise decisions ideologically.
可以说，在明智和愚蠢的建设者的比喻中，比特币不是房子。这是岩石。不变，不动，为新的金融体系奠定了基础。 就像地质学家一样，他们知道岩层一直在移动和发展，人们可以看到比特币总是在不断变化和发展。你只需要知道在哪里看以及如何看待它。 pay to script hash和隔离见证的薪酬的引入证明，如果足够的用户确信采用所述变更有利于网络，则可以改变比特币的规则。后者实现了闪电网络的发展，闪电网络是比特币坚实基础上建造的房屋之一。像Schnorr签名这样的未来升级将提高效率和隐私，以及脚本（阅读：智能合约），由于Taproot，这些脚本与常规交易无法区分。聪明的建设者确实建立在坚实的基础上。 Satoshi不仅是技术上的明智建设者。他也明白，在意识形态上做出明智的决定是必要的。
“Being open source means anyone can independently review the code. If it was closed source, nobody could verify the security. I think it’s essential for a program of this nature to be open source.”
— Satoshi Nakamoto
Openness is paramount to security and inherent in open source and the free software movement. As Satoshi pointed out, secure protocols and the code which implements them have to be open — there is no security through obscurity. Another benefit is again related to decentralization: code which can be run, studied, modified, copied, and distributed freely ensures that it is spread far and wide.
The radically decentralized nature of Bitcoin is what makes it move slowly and deliberately. A network of nodes, each run by a sovereign individual, is inherently resistant to change — malicious or not. With no way to force updates upon users the only way to introduce changes is by slowly convincing each and every one of those individuals to adopt a change. This non-central process of introducing and deploying changes is what makes the network incredibly resilient to malicious changes. It is also what makes fixing broken things more difficult than in a centralized environment, which is why everyone tries not to break things in the first place.
Bitcoin taught me that moving slowly is one of its features, not a bug.
开放性对于安全性和开源和自由软件运动中固有的至关重要。正如Satoshi指出的那样，安全协议和实现它们的代码必须是开放的 - 通过默默无闻没有安全性。另一个好处是再次与去中心化有关：可以自由运行，研究，修改，复制和分发的代码确保它可以广泛传播。 比特币的根本去中心化使其能够缓慢而有意地移动。由主权个体运营的节点网络本质上抵制变化 - 恶意或非恶意。无法对用户强制更新，引入更改的唯一方法是慢慢说服这些人中的每一个人采取更改。这种引入和部署变更的非中心过程使网络具有令人难以置信的恶意变化能力。这也是使得修复破碎的东西比在集中式环境中更难的原因，这就是为什么每个人都试图不破坏事物的原因。 比特币告诉我，慢慢走，稳步前进是它的一个特征，而不是一个bug。
If pundits are to believed, privacy has been dead since the 80ies. The pseudonymous invention of Bitcoin and other events in recent history show that this is not the case. Privacy is alive, even though it is by no means easy to escape the surveillance state.
Satoshi went through great lengths to cover up his tracks and conceal his identity. Ten years later, it is still unknown if Satoshi Nakamoto was a single person, a group of people, male, female, or a time-traveling AI which bootstrapped itself to take over the world. Conspiracy theories aside, Satoshi chose to identify himself to be a Japanese male, which is why I don’t assume but respect his chosen gender and refer to him as he.
如果要相信专家，自80年代以来，隐私已经死亡。比特币的匿名发明和近期历史上的其他事件表明情况并非如此。隐私是有生命的，即使它不容易逃脱监视状态。 Satoshi竭尽全力掩盖他的踪迹并隐瞒自己的身份。十年后，仍然不知道Satoshi Nakamoto是一个人，一群人，男性，女性，还是一个时间旅行的人工智能，他们自己开始接管这个世界。除了阴谋理论之外，Satoshi选择认定自己是一名日本男性，这就是为什么我不假设，而是尊重他所选择的性别并将他称为他。
Whatever his real identity might be, Satoshi was successful in hiding it. He set an encouraging example for everyone who wishes to remain anonymous: it is possible to have privacy online.
“Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on.”
It is a strange new world we are living in. A world where identity is optional, contributions are accepted based on merit, and people can collaborate and transact freely. It will take some adjustment to get comfortable with these new paradigms, but I strongly believe that all of this has the potential to change the world for the better.
We should all remember that privacy is a fundamental human right. And as long as people exercise and defend these rights the battle for privacy is far from over. Bitcoin taught me that privacy is not dead.
Satoshi不是第一个假名或匿名发明者，他不会是最后一个。有些人直接模仿了这种匿名发行风格，就像MimbleWimble成名的Tom Elvis Yedusor 一样，而其他人则发布了高级数学proofs ，同时保持完全匿名。 这是一个我们生活在一个奇怪的新世界。一个身份是可选的世界，根据优点接受贡献，人们可以自由地进行协作和交易。对这些新范例感到满意需要一些调整，但我坚信所有这些都有可能改变世界。 我们都应该记住，隐私是一项基本人权。只要人们行使和捍卫这些权利，隐私权争夺战就远未结束。比特币教会我隐私没有死。
Like many great ideas, Bitcoin didn’t come out of nowhere. It was made possible by utilizing and combining many innovations and discoveries in mathematics, physics, computer science, and other fields. While undoubtedly a genius, Satoshi wouldn’t have been able to invent Bitcoin without the giants on whose shoulders he was standing on.
“He who only wishes and hopes does not interfere actively with the course of events and with the shaping of his own destiny.”
Ludwig Von Mises
One of these giants is Eric Hughes, one of the founders of the cypherpunk movement and author of the cypherpunk manifesto. It’s hard to imagine that Satoshi wasn’t influenced by this manifesto. It speaks of many things which Bitcoin enables and utilizes, such as direct and private transactions, electronic money and cash, anonymous systems, and defending privacy with cryptography and digital signatures.
“Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. […] Since we desire privacy, we must ensure that each party to a transaction have knowledge only of that which is directly necessary for that transaction. […]
Therefore, privacy in an open society requires anonymous transaction systems. Until now, cash has been the primary such system. An anonymous transaction system is not a secret transaction system. […]
We the Cypherpunks are dedicated to building anonymous systems. We are defending our privacy with cryptography, with anonymous mail forwarding systems, with digital signatures, and with electronic money.
Cypherpunks write code.”
Cypherpunks do not find comfort in hopes and wishes. They actively interfere with the course of events and shape their own destiny. Cypherpunks write code.
Thus, in true cypherpunk fashion, Satoshi sat down and started to write code. Code which took an abstract idea and proved to the world that it actually worked. Code which planted the seed of a new economic reality. Thanks to this code, everyone can verify that this novel system actually works, and every 10 minutes or so Bitcoin proofs to the world that it is still living.
Cypherpunks在希望和愿望中找不到安慰。 他们积极干预事件的进程并塑造自己的命运。Cypherpunks编写代码。 因此，在真正的密码朋友风格中，Satoshi坐下来开始编写代码。代码采用了抽象的概念并向世界证明它确实有效。种植新经济现实种子的代码。感谢这个代码，每个人都可以验证这个新颖的系统是否真正有效，并且每隔10分钟左右，比特币向全世界证明它仍然存在。
To make sure that his innovation transcends fantasy and becomes reality, Satoshi wrote code to implement his idea before he wrote the whitepaper. He also made sure not to delay any release forever. After all, “there’s always going to be one more thing to do.”
“I had to write all the code before I could convince myself that I could solve every problem, then I wrote the paper.”
Bitcoin taught me that cypherpunks write code.
In the last couple of decades, it became apparent that technological innovation does not follow a linear trend. Whether you believe in the technological singularity or not, it is undeniable that progress is exponential in many fields. Not only that, but the rate at which technologies are being adopted is accelerating, and before you know it the bush in the local schoolyard is gone and your kids are using Snapchat instead. Exponential curves have the tendency to slap you in the face way before you see them coming.
Bitcoin is an exponential technology built upon exponential technologies. Our World in Data beautifully shows the rising speed of technological adoption, starting in 1903 with the introduction of landlines. Landlines, electricity, computers, the internet, smartphones; all follow exponential trends in price-performance and adoption. Bitcoin does too.
在过去的几十年中，技术创新显然不符合线性趋势。无论你是否相信技术奇点，不可否认的是，许多领域的进步是指数级的。不仅如此，而且采用技术的速度正在加快，在您知道之前，当地校园的灌木丛已经消失，您的孩子正在使用Snapchat。指数曲线倾向于在看到它们之前你的脸。 比特币是一种建立在指数技术基础上的指数技术。我们的数据世界精美地展示了技术采用的速度，从1903年开始引入固定电话。固定电话，电力，电脑，互联网，智能手机; 所有这些都遵循性价比和采用的指数趋势。比特币也是如此。
Bitcoin has not one but multiple network effects, all of which resulting in exponential growth patterns in their respective area: price, users, security, developers, market share, and adoption as global money.
Having survived its infancy, Bitcoin is continuing to grow every day in more aspects than one. Granted, the technology has not reached maturity yet. It might be in its adolescence. But if the technology is exponential, the path from obscurity to ubiquity is short.
In his 2003 TED talk, Jeff Bezos chose to use electricity as a metaphor for the web’s future. All three phenomena — electricity, the internet, Bitcoin — are enabling technologies, networks which enable other things. They are infrastructure to be built upon, foundational in nature.
Electricity has been around for a while now. We take it for granted. The internet is quite a bit younger, but most people already take it for granted as well. Bitcoin is ten years old and has entered public consciousness during the last hype cycle. Only the earliest of adopters take it for granted. As more timepasses, more and more people will recognize Bitcoin as something which simply is.
In 1994, the internet was still confusing and unintuitive. Watching this old recording of the Today Show makes it obvious that what feels natural and intuitive now actually wasn’t back then. Bitcoin is still confusing and alien to most, but just like the internet is second nature for digital natives, spending and stacking sats will be second nature to the bitcoin natives of the future.
在他2003年的TED演讲中，Jeff Bezos选择用电作为网络未来的隐喻。所有这三种现象 - 电力，互联网，比特币 - 都是支持技术，能够实现其他事物的网络。它们是建立在自然基础上的基础设施。 电力已经存在了一段时间。我们认为理所当然。互联网相当年轻，但大多数人已经把它视为理所当然。比特币已有十年历史，并在最后一次炒作周期中进入公众意识。只有最早的采用者认为这是理所当然的。随着时间的推移，越来越多的人将比特币视为一种简单的东西。 1994年，互联网仍然令人困惑和不直观。观看今日秀的旧录音，可以看出现在感觉自然而直观的事实并非如此。比特币仍然令大多数人感到困惑和陌生，但就像互联网是数字原生代的第二天性一样，支出和堆叠坐标将成为未来比特币本地人的第二天性。
“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
“未来已来 - 它的分布并不均匀。”
In 1997, Jeff Bezos stated in a letter to shareholders that “this is Day 1 for the Internet,” recognizing the great untapped potential for the internet and, by extension, his company. Whatever day this is for Bitcoin, the vast amounts of untapped potential are clear to all but the most casual observer.
1995年，约有15％的美国成年人使用互联网。Pew Research Center历史数据显示了互联网如何融入我们的生活。根据卡巴斯基实验室的一项消费者调查，13％的受访者在2018年使用比特币及其他数字货币来支付商品。虽然付款不是比特币的唯一用途，但它可以说明我们在互联网时间的位置，就如互联网在90年代早期到中期。 1997年，杰夫贝索斯在给股东的一封信中表示，“这是互联网的第一天”，认识到互联网以及他的公司尚未开发的巨大潜力。无论比特币是什么日子，除了最随意的观察者之外，大量未开发的潜力都是明确的。
Bitcoin’s first node went online in 2009 after Satoshi mined the genesis blockand released the software into the wild. His node wasn’t alone for long. Hal Finney was one of the first people to pick up on the idea and join the network. Ten years later, as of this writing, more than 10.000 nodes are running bitcoin.
The protocol’s base layer isn’t the only thing growing exponentially. The lightning network, a second layer technology, is growing at an even faster rate.
In January 2018, the lightning network had 40 nodes and 60 channels. In April 2019, the network grew to more than 4000 nodes and around 40.000 channels. Keep in mind that this is still experimental technology where loss of funds can and does occur. Yet the trend is clear: thousands of people are reckless and eager to use it.
Hal Finney y su esposa Fran. Fuente: CCN.Hal Finney y su esposa Fran. Fuente: CCN.
更多关于Hal Finney： https://www.criptonoticias.com/colecciones/hal-finney-primer-bitcoiner/
比特币的第一个节点于2009年上线，因为Satoshi开采了创世块并将软件发布到荒野。他的节点并不孤单。Hal Finney是第一批接受这个想法并加入网络的人之一。十年后，在撰写本文时，超过10,000个节点正在运行比特币。 协议的基础层并不是指数级增长的唯一因素。闪电网络是第二层技术，其发展速度甚至更快。
To me, having lived through the meteoric rise of the web, the parallels between the internet and Bitcoin are obvious. Both are networks, both are exponential technologies, and both enable new possibilities, new industries, new ways of life. Just like electricity was the best metaphor to understand where the internet is heading, the internet might be the best metaphor to understand where bitcoin is heading. Or, in the words of Andreas Antonopoulos, Bitcoin is The Internet of Money. These metaphors are a great reminder that while history doesn’t repeat itself, it often rhymes.
Exponential technologies are hard to grasp and often underestimated. Even though I have a great interest in such technologies, I am constantly surprised by the pace of progress and innovation. Watching the Bitcoin ecosystem grow is like watching the rise of the internet in fast-forward. It is exhilarating.
My quest of trying to make sense of Bitcoin has led me down the pathways of history in more ways than one. Understanding ancient societal structures, past monies, and how communication networks evolved were all part of the journey. From the handaxe to the smartphone, technology has undoubtedly changed our world many times over. Networked technologies are especially transformational: writing, roads, electricity, the internet. All of them changed the world. Bitcoin has changed mine and will continue to change the minds and hearts of those who dare to use it.
Bitcoin taught me that understanding the past is essential to understanding its future. A future which is just beginning.
Technology is all about the application of scientific knowledge to solve problems in the real world. Every technology has to make tradeoffs in terms of efficiency, cost, security, and many other properties. Just like there is no perfect solution to deriving a square from a circle, any solution to the problems which Bitcoin tries to solve will always be imperfect as well.
Da Vinci tried to solve the intractable problem of squaring a circle with the Vitruvian Man, which places a human right at the center of it. Bitcoin tries to solve the double spending problem with sovereign individuals, which places humans behind each node, effectively removing any concept of a center.
Bitcoin’s headless nature shows us that seemingly simple concepts like creating accounts and agreeing on time require creative solutions in decentralized systems. It also shows that such systems can be astonishingly antifragile. How do you best kill something if the best point of attack is everywhere?
Even with all its quirks and seeming shortcomings, Bitcoin undoubtedly works. It keeps producing blocks roughly every ten minutes and does so beautifully. The longer Bitcoin continues to work, the more people will opt-in to use it.
“It’s true that things are beautiful when they work. Art is function.”
Just like in biological systems, removing one part seems to affect the whole. Maybe the most important lesson is that Bitcoin should be examined holistically, from multiple angles, if one would like to have a complete picture. Just like removing one part from Bitcoin destroys the whole (coughblockchain cough), examining parts of Bitcoin in isolation seems to taint the understanding of the whole system.
My journey continues, and as mentioned in part one, I think that any answer to the question “What have you learned from Bitcoin?” will always be incomplete. In any case, I’ve learned that the philosophy, economics, and technology of Bitcoin interact in a complex feedback loop, and I hope that these 21 lessons are just the beginning of what I’ve learned from Bitcoin.
比特币正在成倍增长，模糊了学科之间的界限。目前尚不清楚纯技术领域何处何在何处以及另一领域何处开始。我试图将比特币的经济教案与哲学教案和技术教案区别开来，结果比预期更难。 就像在生物系统中一样，去除一个部分似乎会影响整体。也许最重要的教训是，如果想要有一个完整的图片，应该从多个角度全面检查比特币。就像从比特币中删除一部分一样会破坏整个部分（*cough*区块链 *cough*），孤立地检查部分比特币似乎会污染整个系统的理解。 我的旅程还在继续，正如第一部分所述，我认为对“你从比特币中学到了什么？”这个问题的任何答案都将是不完整的。无论如何，我已经了解到比特币的哲学，经济学和技术在复杂的反馈循环中相互作用，我希望这21课只是我从比特币中学到的东西的开始。
Once more, thanks to Arjun Balaji for the tweet which gave birth to this series.
Thanks to Andreas M. Antonopoulos for all the educational material he has put out over the years.
Thanks to Marty and Matt for guiding me through the rabbit hole and reminding us all to stay humble and stack sats.
Thanks to Francis Pouliot for sharing his excitement about finding out about the timechain.
Thanks to Brandon, Camilo, Daniel, Jannik, Michael, and Raphael for providing feedback to early drafts of this article
Thanks to the countless authors and content producers who influenced my thinking on Bitcoin and the topics it touches. There are simply too many to name.
And finally, thank you for reading this series. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did enjoy writing it. Feel free to reach out to me on twitter. My DMs are open.
Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System by Satoshi Nakamoto
Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos
The Internet of Money by Andreas Antonopoulos
Inventing Bitcoin by Yan Pritzker
Applied Cryptography by Bruce Schneier
Reflections on Trusting Trust by Ken Thompson
Cypherpunks by Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum
The Anatomy of Proof-of-Work by Hugo Nguyen
Blockchain Proof-of-Work Is a Decentralized Clock by Gregory Trubetskoy
Unpacking Bitcoin’s Social Contract by Hasu
Why Bitcoin Matters by Aleksandar Svetski
Guess My Bitcoin Private Key by Michael Kerbleski
Turkish translation by Deniz Özgür
This work is published under the Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)license and also available on dergigi.com/bitcoin