The following article is an expanded, longer version of the original article of the same name, Medium by the author Tomer Strolight in his series of articles on Bitcoin with the title “Why Bitcoin”, which covers many aspects of Bitcoin, each with an average reading time of just three minutes.
No speed limits make cars faster, safer, and more reliable.
The German autobahns have no statutory speed limits. The laws of physics are the only restrictions on how fast cars can go there. As such, the Germans figured out how to build very fast cars. Fast compact cars, fast family cars, fast SUVs, fast trucks, etc.
They also figured out how to make very safe fast cars because nobody wants to die to get anywhere quickly. German automakers have pioneered advanced safety features like crumple zones that make high-speed collisions less dangerous for vehicle occupants.
The lack of statutory restrictions makes German cars faster, safer, and better than those developed in countries where speed limits and safety standards are prescribed by government regulations.
Consider the challenges of German auto engineers compared to those in a highly regulated country where speed limits are well below the speeds observed on the autobahn. German auto engineers have to compete to find out how cars can be made faster and safer than their other German competitors. But their regulated counterparts in other countries can stop improving their cars once they have safely reached the local speed limit. German auto engineers are interested in understanding and solving challenges posed by high speeds that affect reliability, aerodynamics, stability, fuel efficiency, high pressure, braking, accelerating and more. Your regulated counterparts simply have no interest in these considerations, and neither do they have a budget to research them.
No man-made laws make money stronger, safer, and more reliable
The same consideration is remarkable as to why Bitcoin is the best money the world will ever see. Just as cars are a mature form of transportation, Bitcoin is a mature form of money.
Bitcoin’s first engineer, Satoshi Nakamoto, designed it to operate regardless of what the universe might throw at it. He didn’t build it just to work under a human-dictated limit. Hence, the mechanisms Satoshi built into Bitcoin to enforce its rules are nothing less than the laws of physics themselves. No government told Satoshi what rules to apply or how to enforce them. (And now, interestingly, no government can.) Bitcoin’s rules were chosen to ensure that bitcoin would work no matter what.
Strong, safe money, guaranteed
Like the safety and speed goals of German cars that drive on the motorway network, there are also security and speed goals for Bitcoin, as it works on global digital networks.
Bitcoin offers the monetary equivalent of security, namely the protection of private property. Bitcoin allows owners of their currency units to store them where only the rightful owners can find them. Astronomically large random numbers are used as the storage location for these Satoshis (Satoshis are the base currency unit in the Bitcoin system).
The laws of physics dictate that for the foreseeable future of the universe no one can guess any of those astronomical numbers that hold satoshis. Not even when they were turning the whole planet into one giant computer and making endless guesses.
If you use HODL satoshis, you are guaranteed not to be stolen by a thief who guesses where they are stored (as long as you’ve generated your astronomically large random number correctly). Who guarantees you that? Not just any politician. Not just any businessman. Not just any company. Not just any person. The guarantor is none other than the universe itself. As long as the laws that hold the universe together hold, your satoshis are safe.
Stable, reliable money, guaranteed
When it comes to speed, Bitcoin doesn’t try to go as fast as possible. Instead, it tries to maintain a constant speed or pace. This constant pace that Bitcoin is striving for is intended to ensure that a block is added to the blockchain forever, on average, every ten minutes. (This is perhaps why “time chain” is a better descriptor than “blockchain” and is increasingly being suggested as a replacement term.)
Once again, Satoshi used the eternal, immutable laws of physics to evolve Bitcoin to keep reaching this pace. He combined the proof of work * and a difficulty adjustment to this proof of work in order to ensure this pace even under the most extreme physical circumstances.
If all of the world’s energy, or even all of the sun’s energy, were directed towards accelerating this pace, Bitcoin would “step on the brakes” within 2,016 blocks or less, slowing the block detection rate to one block every ten minutes. Conversely, if efforts were made to slow down Bitcoin by withholding energy from miners, Bitcoin would in turn reduce the workload within 2,016 blocks or less and effectively “step on the gas” to accelerate back to a discovered block every ten minutes on average .
No government law can change this fact. After all, government laws cannot replace the laws of physics. Nothing can. No billionaire, no hacker, no demonstrator, no banker, no company, no army. Not even the arrogant arrogance of an award-winning economist who eats Russian caviar at a cocktail party for New York’s elite and claims Bitcoin has a fundamental value of zero can change the very laws of physics. Thus, Bitcoin runs without interruption, regardless of what someone thinks of it or tries to do it. Bitcoin’s reliable and uninterrupted operation is as pure and real as reality itself.
Stricter standards lead to better money
As in comparing German auto engineers with colleagues in countries with low speed limits, we consider the results of the technical efforts of Satoshi and other Bitcoin employees with those of the designers of the established monetary system – Fiat Money. The rules of the fiat system are dictated by regulators, lawmakers and bureaucrats. These rules can easily be changed at any time by simply changing the dictation.
While no one can steal or confiscate satoshis, fiat money is stolen and confiscated so often that we don’t even count how often this happens or how much fiat money is involved. While Bitcoin continues to issue its currency units reliably and predictably on a set schedule, the fiat money supply experiences unpredictable shocks whenever the people running this system decide to change it.
History shows that fiat systems are collapsing. The currency units of these systems become worthless in these collapses. Science shows that the laws of physics do not break down. You are forever.
To sum up, by relying on the eternal and immutable laws of physics, Bitcoin guarantees perfect reliability that its promises of property protection and continued operation will always remain in effect. This frees Bitcoin, and especially its users, from having to trust temporary and fallible short-lived entities such as people, central banks, political parties, and even nation states.
Ultimately, it is a voluntary choice for each individual to decide whether or not to prefer Bitcoin and the reliability of physics over fiat money and trust in politics. It is a decision to choose science over politics. Bitcoin itself is in no hurry to make this decision, however. Like the laws of physics themselves, Bitcoin is forever.
* Proof of work requires that someone (in the case of Bitcoin a “miner”) is able to generate a very unlikely low number as an output of current input data (in the case of Bitcoin a block header) via a function (SHA256 (im Case of Bitcoin), which produces unpredictable, random looking numbers but always the same output for the same input. If the miner can demonstrate that the outcome of the output of his input is lower than the threshold set by Bitcoin’s difficulty level, it is very likely that he invested the expected amount of work by running the algorithm over and over again slightly modified inputs until they finally came to a result that met the proof of work criteria.
This is a guest post by Tomer Strolight. The opinions expressed are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.