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Issue #364: Social attacks + Bitcoin's design

Nov 19, 2018
Marty's Ƀent

Issue #364: Social attacks + Bitcoin's design

Happy Monday, freaks! What a last 12-hours it has been for the fake Internet money markets. Deep breathes, people. This too shall pass. To get your minds off the abruptness of the recent price volatility, we're going to talk about Bitcoin attack vectors as the above conversation piqued my interest yesterday afternoon. Our boy storms brings up a very good point while discussing the needed improvement a potential usurper would need to replace Bitcoin; Satoshi was so thorough when designing and launching Bitcoin that he mitigated an untold number of potential future attacks that would be possible had he done certain things differently.

no soup for you!

By dropping Bitcoin anonymously, having a fair PoW launch open to mining competition from Block 1 (Block 0, the Genesis block, has a block reward that cannot be spent), and leaving the project, Satoshi set Bitcoin up for future success via impenetrable social attack vectors that very few projects, if any, can claim to also have. As storms rightly points out, there are too many egos out there who want to be the next Satoshi... publicly. In my opinion, this is a non-starter for any cryptocurrency that plans to become the apolitical reserve asset of the world. To usurp Bitcoin, a project would have to at least match Satoshi's thoroughness, complete anonymity, and fair launch while adding a 5x improvement on top of all of it. I'm not so sure there are enough inefficiencies that exist on Bitcoin's attack surface that can be 5x'd trivially. A lot of people believe the supply distribution of BTC is happening quicker than may be necessary, and I definitely have some sympathy for this qualm, but I don't think someone who matches Satoshi on everything laid out above and adding a less aggressive distribution model would be a 5x improvement.

On top of all of this, there are so many eyes on this space now. I believe the probability of pulling off what Satoshi did without any corruption by nefarious actors at some point in the process is significantly lower than it would have been five or six years ago. Taking this further, every new project is fighting a battle against time and Bitcoin's Lindy Effect, which grows stronger every day. As we get further away from the Genesis Block and more economic value gets preserved in the blockchain as a mosquito becomes preserved in amber, any ambitious upstart cryptocurrency has to convince people to take the pain of switching costs and abandon a system which has been reliable for them for almost a decade. The narrative would have to be extremely convincing.

This is why I tend to focus on Bitcoin. The probability of something achieving what was just described above seems very low to me. I believe Bitcoin's biggest attack vector at the moment is misinformation. People reporting on Bitcoin who do not understand Bitcoin is a very bad thing for anyone who wants to see Bitcoin succeed. My time is better spent attempting to actively get out in front of all of the FUD surrounding Bitcoin's energy use, distribution, and anarchic nature. Perception is important, the traditional avenues through which the masses consume information is filled with misinformed informers, and we are fighting an uphill battle to make sure people are being properly educated on the subject. This social attack vector is Bitcoin's biggest weakness at the moment.

Final thought...

I may be the worst fantasy sports player ever.


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