ARTICLE: Is Bitcoin Going to Change the World? December 18, 2013 by Richard Brown

Have we been looking at Bitcoin through the wrong lens? Forget “currency”; think “internet-scale asset register”.  Make it your new year resolution to understand this insight and you’ll see why Bitcoin could change the world. As Michael Nielsen explains, the designers of Bitcoin set themselves an exceedingly difficult problem. They set out to build a system of electronic cash that required no participant to trust any other. This isaudacious: every other system works on trust: I trust my airline not to inflate away the value of my frequent flyer miles (at least not too much) and I trust my online bank not to give my money to somebody else without my permission. The designers of Bitcoin turned this upside down. They built a system that allows people to send electronic tokens to anybody else in the world without having to trust anybody else at all and without allowing the tokens to be lost or duplicated and they did this through an innovative combination of cryptography and economic insight. What they created is an internet-scale peer-to-peer network where participants have an overwhelming economic incentive to validate each other’s transactions and to maintain a truthful ledger of every transaction there has ever been. There is no central “bank”: everything is peer-to-peer and it runs across the public internet. It sounds insane (“store a copy of every transaction on every computer?!”) but it works surprisingly well. Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz has called it a profound technological innovation.

What looks like a novel system of digital cash on the surface is actually an internet-scale asset register.  Sure – the assets today are these things we call “Bitcoins” but that doesn’t matter.   Think of the Bitcoin currency as just the first application of something deeper: the Bitcoin platform

ARTCLE: Welcome to Bitcoin Island: Bitcoin is not a protocol of transfer, but a protocol of ownership. Coins never travel, but simply switch owners. You could argue this is a trivial observation – "how else could it work?!" – but thinking in terms of ownership and protocols for transfer of ownership is a surprisingly helpful way to think about how the system works. That’s because the 'protocol of ownership' insight means there is a whole other world of history, tradition and precedent to learn from: land. Observations:


·        In the end-state the quantity of bitcoin will be fixed, just like land

·        Bitcoin is not perfectly fungible and neither is land

·        Bitcoin is not 'consumed' through use – just transformed and transferred. This is similar to land and dissimilar to many commodities, which are consumed (or at least degraded) through use

See: IDMaps /Sonar Hops slide. Combine the use of these tools  with the Heart Beacon Cycle's time / space metric, meter meme to provide a consistent method and means to describe changes in area over time to describe Bitcoin allocation?  Welcome to Bitcoin Island! 

Lighthouse: Crowdfunding / Kickstarter Platform Built On Top Of Bitcoin: