Bitcoin and the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex

Eric Weinstein, the managing director of Thiel Capital, has coined the term “DISC” – the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex. His theory explores the idea that there is a network that exists amongst society that acts as a suppression mechanism for ideas that counter a prevailing narrative.

Thinking about the DISC doesn’t require one to believe in a top-down global conspiracy or anything like that—it just requires one to explore the possibility that innovative ideas can sometimes be ignored, or even suppressed, when they challenge the status quo. To “slip the DISC,” in Eric’s own words, is to work around this suppression complex and bring the idea into the mainstream.

A DISC exists when there exists a power structure that can be threatened by new ideas, and a network of individuals all work to suppress these ideas. This network of individuals doesn’t need to collude for the DISC to exist—the existence of this existential threat to their collective power structure ensures that each individual is incentivized to do their part and contribute to the distributed suppression of these ideas.

The creation of Bitcoin in 2009 led to the creation of new businesses and applications. Many began to see the promise that a large-scale digital cash system could bring to industries old and new.

As a result of a long and nonsensical scaling debate, the creation of businesses and applications on top of Bitcoin was short-lived, and instead entrepreneurs and developers in the space began working on competing cryptocurrencies and businesses selling “blockchain” solutions that had nothing to do with Bitcoin. This new ecosystem of thousands of digital currency tokens and largely unregulated exchanges brought large amounts of wealth into the hands of unlikely people.

As Bitcoin’s mining reward halves, the history of Bitcoin’s scaling debate is going to become relevant again. As Satoshi outlined many times, the plan was always for a large-scale increase in Bitcoin transactions (and fees) to subsidize miners in lieu of the decreasing blocksize reward.

While BTC proponents have pivoted to argue that Bitcoin is digital gold (and not cash), they haven’t yet come up for an economic motive for miners to continue mining the chain after the block reward is gone. As Kurt Wuckert Jr. elegantly outlines in the linked piece above—we have to wonder what happened to all of the reasonable people who warned about this unsustainability of the digital gold narrative?

I propose a simple theory: the vast amount of wealth in the digital currency ecosystem (aproximate $240B market cap) has created a distributed network of individuals who are financially invested against Bitcoin’s success. This group of individuals, who at one point supported Bitcoin’s success, have a financial stake in suppressing any ideas that suggest their businesses, solutions, and blockchains all cannot succeed without using the Bitcoin SV (BSV) blockchain. Let’s take a few examples:

  • Erik Voorhees was once an early proponent of Bitcoin. He advocated for Bitcoin’s success and for scaling Bitcoin onchain. In 2014 he founded Shapeshift, a company that allows users to trade between cryptocurrencies. His entire company creates revenue from the existence of multiple cryptocurrencies and having users trade between them. He argues against Bitcoin maximalism and is outspoken that Craig Wright is not Satoshi.

  • Vitalik Buterin was an early advocate for Bitcoin who made money writing for Bitcoin magazines. When he initially had the idea to build a decentralized virtual machine, he initially looked to build this on top of Bitcoin. Due to limitations put in place by the BTC Core developers, he decided instead to build what would become Ethereum on a separate blockchain. The idea of Bitcoin being able to do everything Ethereum can do (only better) and not suffer from the scaling issues that Ethereum does is a very threatening prospect for Buterin. Not only are the millions of dollars in ether he holds that were raised from token sales at risk, but his own reputation is on the line. Buterin infamously publicly stated that Craig Wright was not Satoshi as if he knew more than Gavin Andresen.

  • Changpeng Zhao (CZ) is the CEO of Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange that makes money on users exchanging Bitcoin with other digital currencies. Their entire business model is based on the existence of alternative digital currencies, and is clearly threatened by the existence of one global blockchain. CZ is very vocal on social media that Craig Wright is not Satosh
  • Gregory Maxwell is a BTC Core developer that engaged in hacking and has been a vocal critic of scaling Bitcoin onchain. The existence of a global immutable evidence trail on the original Bitcoin that suffers from no scaling problems is a big threat to Maxwell’s reputation and ability to engage in illegal activity. Gregory Maxwell is not only vocal that Craig Wright is not Satoshi, but regularly spends his time talking to himself with sockpuppet accounts online to try to convince others of this as well.

While I struggled to not list 500 other prominent individuals in the digital currency space, this list could go on and on. As someone who has been following Bitcoin under the ticker BTC, then BCH, and finally BSV, it is infuriating to see a suppression of two things that I see as obvious:

While it’s easy to imagine that there is a global top-down conspiracy being perpetuated on Bitcoiners to suppress BSV, the truth is actually more complex. Bitcoin, under the tickers BTC and BCH, have been so far removed from Bitcoin’s original vision that not only does Bitcoin (BSV) have to go up against the DISC that challenges any groundbreaking technology—it is forced to fight another DISC that has emerged in the digital currency ecosystem. I will call the latter the “Bitcoin DISC.”

The Bitcoin DISC:

  • Exists and distracts digital currency enthusiasts and prevents them from understanding the true innovations that Bitcoin enables in the world.
  • Has for years (since early 2011 when Satoshi publicly left the project) hidden information about Bitcoin’s true nature and potential and prevented it from achieving the vision that Satoshi Nakamoto gave the world.
  • Has turned Satoshi Nakamoto into a mythical character and makes the thought that Craig Wright created Bitcoin a preposterous idea not worthy of serious consideration.

Individuals that do their own research in the digital currency space have slipped this Bitcoin DISC. Companies like Unbounded Capital have documented their own research that allowed them to uncover these truths. Other companies have switched from building on other blockchains after they realized that the original vision of Bitcoin fulfilled everything they needed from building on a blockchain.

The only thing holding together the Bitcoin DISC is the fallacy that the BTC price (and the ensuing “cryptocurrency market”) will continue to go up, enriching its holders and proving the members of the DISC right. Unfortunately for these individuals, this validation is coming to an end. The BTC halving has come and gone, and we have not seen the prophesied pump of BTC to sustain miners that will now receive half of their block reward subsidy.

Holders are going to start to question why their investment isn’t growing in response to this halving event. They will begin to question the economics of the system that they are touting to their friends and neighbors. Some will argue for a change in these economics, but they will be the minority. The majority will look across the river and see that Satoshi planned for this a long time ago. The BSV blockchain will continue to grow and allow miners to replace the block reward subsidy with transaction fees. Then, the majority of this small ecosystem will slip the Bitcoin DISC and we will face the next challenge. We will have to build products to convince global industries and consumers that the Bitcoin blockchain provides them a better solution than their existing services.

The Bitcoin halving is a good thing for everyone. BTC proponents and those in the wider digital currency world will learn that Bitcoin was never a speculative asset that you hold and pray goes up in value, and meanwhile Bitcoin (BSV) proponents get their feet held to the fire and are required to build applications and products to increase the velocity of money in the Bitcoin blockchain. Whether he knew it or not, and I suspect he did, the incentives built into Bitcoin allows the truth to come out one way or another. With the 2020 Bitcoin halving over and done with, miners, developers, and entrepreneurs are about to learn that truth.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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