There’s an interesting web page called “Bitcoin Obituaries” which says that Bitcoin has died 323 times. The idea is that each time someone claims Bitcoin is dead, its actually just a minor bump in the road, and everything is fine.
By my count, Bitcoin has died just twice, but each of those deaths have been a major, rather than a minor setback.
Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System
The average mainstream observer probably believes that “Bitcoin” is the cryptocurrency that’s currently designated by the BTC ticker symbol. However, this is just one definition.
Another definition of Bitcoin is the idea of Bitcoin as expressed in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper and other early writings.
A new form of money. A peer-to-peer cash system. An electronic coin that allows you to send money to anyone, anywhere in the world, instantly, almost for free, without anyone’s permission or trust.
A Dangerous Idea
To central bankers and parasitical elites, the idea of a peer-to-peer form of money without central control is very dangerous. For, it provides sound money. It takes power away from the state and gives economic sovereignty back to the individual .
But a new money system depends on a network effect of many people using it, and that in turn depends on the idea being widely understand and popular. I think in the long term this is inevitable.
But for now, the elites would like to suppress this idea as long as possible. This is why Bitcoin is not widely illegal. If it were to be outlawed, it could lead to a quicker popularization of Bitcoin, as many people simply do not trust government these days.
You do see it more restricted in places that have a statist and authoritarian regime, because in those places, the populations are not as able to think and operate freely already. Therefore, the reported “deaths” of Bitcoin based on laws and restrictions are indeed only minor set backs.
The real deaths are when the community itself is tricked into giving up its own ideals. The early community recognized Bitcoin as a potent tool for economic freedom and humanitarian development. Others who came later were mostly interested in speculation.
From 2013–2017, developers and thought leaders were bought and paid for. Censorship and propaganda were the order of the day.
Bitcoin Death #1: Blockstream/BTC
To make a long story short: a fake “scaling debate” was concocted from 2013–2017 in which the BTC developers convinced many of the miners and much of the community that it was unsafe to go beyond a 1MB blocksize. A corporation, Blockstream, received millions from questionable sources and funneled it to key decision makers in the BTC community.
This effectively stopped Bitcoin from being the fast, reliable, low-fee payment system that Bitcoin was meant to be. Essentially, Bitcoin was no longer peer-to-peer cash. This was rationalized by a) hopes placed on a “second layer” scaling solution known as the Lightning Network and b) a narrative that the payment system wasn’t the goal and instead Bitcoin should be a “store of value”.
In response to the endless stagnation in BTC, Bitcoin Cash was born in August 2017 as a fork of the network with the simple idea of raising the block size. If Bitcoin effectively died with BTC, it continued in BCH.
Here are some references for further reading:
- BTC is Effectively no Longer “Bitcoin”. It’s the Biggest Scam Ever in Crypto.
- Clarifying my Objections to the Lightning Network
- How the Bitcoin Community Lost its Way and How we Can Find it Again
- 12 Reasons Bitcoin Cash is the Real Bitcoin
Bitcoin Death #2: nChain/BSV
The second Bitcoin death is happening right now. The Bitcoin Cash community was infiltrated by a pretend “Satoshi” figure who sought to divide the community with another fork.
However, this attack was based not just on propaganda and social engineering. It was also backed by large amounts of hash power. Although (so far) the BCH blockchain never faltered, millions of dollars were needed to spent to defend the ledger.
Bitcoin SV has forked off for reasons that have a facade of technical contention, but really has been about controlling the protocol.
Suddenly, the premise of Bitcoin (both BTC and BCH) is in question. Does the proof-of-work security model really work if big money comes in to disrupt it? Will Bitcoin Cash keep forking itself and allowing its community to be divided?
The Fork and the Damage Done
Bitcoin Cash continues but the drama surrounding the fork and the loss of market capitalization has been unquestionably damaging. BCH had tremendous momentum before this event, and the derailment is to such a degree that I would call this the second “death” of Bitcoin.
Despite the chaos and the carnage, I believe Bitcoin Cash still represents the best viable option right now to continue the Bitcoin experiment.
BSV seems to be mostly a toxic community funded by 1 or 2 corporations that failed in their takeover of Bitcoin Cash. BTC hasn’t changed course and is still deluding itself with the same narratives of the last several years.
Bitcoin Cash still has the right idea of permissionless peer-to-peer electronic cash, and is still the original, legitimate fork of the Bitcoin project stemming from the culmination of the scaling debate in 2017.