Why the Layman Can Have Faith in Bitcoin
Money is a very old construct of the human existence. It most likely developed right around the time of commerce. Right around the time the very first human needed some thing to be an abstraction that represented other things. As soon as this leap in abstraction was made the next leap was to see if a group or many groups could make this same leap. Not to delve too deep into the history of currency, but in a nutshell, we have gone from seashells and salt, to golden tokens and certificates. Although the physical makeup of our currency has changed due to some properties being easier to utilize than others, the root that is common amongst all of the forms of money that we have chosen to use is faith. Faith is what gives currency power; not shininess, governmental stamps of approval, and plausibly not even scarcity. A person’s need to not have to think twice that the abstraction they have placed on a token is the same exact abstraction you have placed on a token is what emboldens that token’s ability to drive commerce. People don’t think about monetary systems, they have faith in them, they believe in them. This is partly why there are so many abrasive critics of bitcoin, it challenges their faith. Nevertheless there are a few reasons why the layman can have faith in bitcoin. Bitcoin is mathematically driven, proven, and founded. Bitcoin can be publicly scrutinized and publicly analyzed. And, Bitcoin has a large amount of human intellectual capital backing it.
Math is a wonderfully pure language that has been gifted to us. An ability to communicate in a way that is rooted in logic and reasoning. An ability to not only have a disagreement, but a provably true or false disagreement. Math is a great language to use as means by which we find truth. What makes it so amazing is that by communicating in math the participants that choose to communicate use the same rules and play the same game. If a participant doesn’t use the rules correctly then it is easy to spot. Bitcoin emboldens this rules-based precedent. The contributors in the bitcoin ecosystem must all play by the same rules. If they do not, then they can not participate. And, these rules aren’t dictated by a man, or a group of men, or a group of groups of men…these rules are simply dictated by the laws of mathematics. Which makes bitcoin a superior vessel for currency and commerce, because it’s regulation is built into the protocol. You can mathematically prove, without doubt, that someone has done a transaction if they publish the transactions ID. There is no stamp of approval from some entity that has been given an abstract amount of trust by people that we have given abstract amount of trust. There is just math. Try to have someone prove that 1+1 does not equal two, barring some random modulus, I guarantee that they can not.
Another reason why bitcoin does deserve the same level of faith if not more than we place on fiat currency is that Bitcoin is publicly scrutinized and analyzed. Bitcoin is a distributed, public, decentralized chain of events. Events that are tagged and ID’d in a manner that allows anyone connected to the network to review a transaction. That is a monumental feat. If this level of transparency existed just ten years ago then the prevention of cataclysmic economic crisis could have been avoided. If professionals had a standard ledger to check in order to verify the truthness of a transaction occurring then that would overhaul the financial industry in the best way possible. Fraud and misinformation could screech to a halt when thousands of professionals can check to verify the exact same ledger. Public scrutiny is also a slick phrasing for consensus. And, that is what bitcoin allows. A truth by consent of the masses. A truth by consent of the world. This has never existed before, and it deserves faith and trust.
When I go to the gas station, I no longer have faith that when I swipe in my 50+ year old magnetic strip card, that the transaction is going to do exactly what I wish it to do. Card fraud is increasing year-over-year, and banks, with their current payment rails are not doing a bang-up job of preventing this fraud. Bitcoin does that prevention management by design! And, the beauty of the design is that there are some of the world’s brightest and most passionate professionals working on Bitcoin, day-in and day-out. The professionals working on the fiat money system may very well be bright, in fact I guarantee that they are; however, they aren’t passionate. They are just doing what they need to do to perpetuate an outdated system to keep a handful of people more powerful than they should be. Bitcoin deserves the faith of the layman because the human intellectual investments that are being made on a daily basis. There are individuals pouring work, top-level work, into Bitcoin to advance its utility as a global currency. That much cultivated, pressure cooked, and dense intellectual creation is bound to achieve fruition as an unquestionably faith-deserving monetary system.
I have never questioned one transaction that I have sent using the bitcoin protocol. Seconds after I send it, I can check to see if it has hit the network and then I go about my life and thirty minutes later it is mathematically proven that I sent that money, and it can not be reversed. Not, proven by what my bank says to the other party’s bank, but proven by mathematics. There are a litany of reasons to keep faith in the Bitcoin monetary system, and any layman should rest assured that with enough base knowledge of the system, that their money does exactly what they wish for it to do.