Blockchain is a peer-to-peer, distributed ledger that is cryptographically-secure, append-only, immutable (extremely hard to change), and updateable only via consensus or agreement among peers. The conventional wisdom about digital currencies like bitcoin [and their underlying technologies like blockchain] is that this approach to distributed currency solved the problem of distributed consensus in a trustless network using using public key cryptography with an energy-intensive Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism to provide a secure, controlled, and decentralized method of minting digital currency … but this is hardly elegant an especially solution, certainly nowhere near as useful as refining ore containing the metal into gold that is actually USEFUL for something … and besides being pretty to look at and weigthty, gold is also an extremely USEFUL metal … is bitcoin useful in the same way that gold is? Clearly not.
It is NOT that bitcoin is digital information, easily transported around the world … we know that digital information in a coherent form can be EXTREMELY useful … so much of the power of bitcoin is in its way of tracking ARTIFICIAL scarcity. When it comes right down to it, artificial scarcity is really not all that revolutionary. Other technologies used in Bitcoin, but which existed before its invention, include Merkle trees, hash functions, and hash chains … certainly very useful, but none of these are particularly revolutionary technologies. They are mathy, but none are revolutionary in the same sense that the metallurgically technologies used to refine U235 were revolutionary … and nowadays there are OTHER technologies, in the realm of biology and genomics for instance, that present us with opportunities think about a currency that to deliver refined digital information of transformative value to other places in the world … WHY did we need to settle for such a boring P-o-W approach to preserving artificial scarcity? Why is artificial scarcity so important?
Isn’t the scarcity of 86400 seconds in a day enough? Maybe one day isn’t sufficient, but isn’t the finite lifespan and limited health, vigor and creativity of the human existence ENOUGH scarcity? A human can only be so tough, fit, vital … a fighter can never be any more than sum total of the work that he puts into a fight … so why do we need to create ADDITIONAL scarcity in order to give the more pathetic amongst us more power to compensate for their lack of toughness, their lack of fitness, they lack of creative vitality?
WHY isn’t a blockchain database more like an open source git repository? Why can’t anyone fork it, clone it, build it, use it? Of course, it’s the artificial scarcity … which we IMAGINE that we need for some reason. Exactly WHAT is the draw of artificial scarcity? Jealousy, greed, covetousness? Do we need to have EVIL in our economics in order for economics to work? Why isn’t it enough for humans to be disciplined, tough, fit, smart, creative? Maybe he can rent the illusion and hire all kinds of smart and tough thugs, but can Warren Buffett buy Jocko Willink’s, Fedor Emelianenko’s or Rickson Gracie’s level of fitness or ability to OWN the ground a fit, smart human stands upon?