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Issue #467: Very important to understand

Issue #467: Very important to understand

Apr 22, 2019
Marty's Ƀent

Issue #467: Very important to understand

A common topic that we have harped on around these parts for the last two years has been the fact that Bitcoin is an amoral protocol that has no idea what we humans are attempting to use it for. Bitcoin is an alien technology that we do not fully understand yet. Every day more information is revealed to us as Bitcoin continues to produce blocks in the wild, providing new data that illuminates Bitcoin's limitations to us in real time.

As more people begin to use Bitcoin, stress testing the network and helping us discover the parameters within which we are working, we will be better prepared to route around any hurdles produced by these parameters using other technologies to leverage and extend the assurances of the protocol. Bitcoin now has more than ten years of working in production under its belt, going from a niche experiment in a weird corner of the Internet to a sound digital currency with millions of users that demands the attention of the world as it continues to work and draw in attention and mindshare. Due to its popularity, we have been able to brush up against some of these parameters and react accordingly.

Scarce block space, enabled by a block weight limit, has helped us discover that it is probably advantageous to be as efficient as possible when transacting at the protocol level. We envision a future in which many more people on this rock we find ourselves on will adopt and use Bitcoin, which means the demand for this scarce resource (block space) will skyrocket, driving fees higher. In recognition of this inevitability produced via Bitcoin's success, prescient enthusiasts have decided to prepare for this by building the Lightning Network, a second-layer enhancement that is attempting to leverage the Bitcoin protocol to make fast and cheap payments possible. We are not sure if this is going to be the silver bullet in terms of enabling this particular use case, but it seems very promising to me so far.

As our friend StopAndDecrypt points out, those who point to Bitcoin's limitations and call them "problems" have a fundamentally flawed approach to working and building on this technology. If Bitcoin is to be successful in its endeavors to become a globally accessible store of value, it must change as little as possible. This means working within the provided parameters of the protocol which ensure its long-term viability as a truly distributed system. Additions like Lightning simply help us squeeze as much utility as possible out of the protocol.

Final thought...

First sunburn of the year after being in the sun for 30-minutes. This is the Summer I get serious about protecting this fair skin.


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