Bitcoin against skyscrapers

The vision for Bitcoin, as explained Craig Wright

Dr. Craig Wright, the inventor of Bitcoin, released a new blog post on March 8, 2022. In it, he discussed the Vision for Bitcoin and what he wants to see in the future.

Given Dr. Wright’s in-depth knowledge of the Bitcoin protocol and what it’s capable of, you’ll want to read The Vision for Bitcoin. I’ve also summarized it below.

Introduction

Dr. Wright begins by lamenting that he has been dragged into debates over what Bitcoin is and what it is capable of since he told the world about it in 2008. He says that while it has been necessary to take a few people to court, he’s not interested in other visions of what Bitcoin is. He says that if people want to build hobby blockchains running on Raspberry Pis, they may do so, but his original vision for a Bitcoin system that scales massively and that can be used for micropayments remains.

He then reminds us that he has been arguing that Bitcoin will end up in data centers since he posted under the Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym. He says that, in fact, Bitcoin has ended up that way and that there are no more than four nodes running even BTC at any given time if we go by Dr. Wright’s definition of nodes as outlined in the Bitcoin white paper.

Before moving on to his vision for Bitcoin, Dr. Wright reminds us that his vision is set in stone, just like the protocol. It can’t and won’t be altered no matter what the time horizon.

The vision for Bitcoin

Dr. Wright begins by defining his vision for Bitcoin with four simple points. He says it will:

  • Scale to billions of transactions per second
  • Be open to anyone globally
  • Cost no more than a thousandth of a cent for a 250-byte transaction
  • Be completely traceable and work within the existing legal structure

He says that if this isn’t your vision, it’s best that you don’t use Bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s mission statement

Too often, Bitcoin is painted as anti-bank by cypherpunks who wish it was so. Dr. Wright reiterates that this was never the goal. Bitcoin is a tool, he says, and its aim is to create a secure electronic cash system that can facilitate micropayments globally. The values of said micropayments should be as low as or lower than one-thousandth of a cent. He says that the system is designed to facilitate quick and easy value exchange and should not be used for speculating and gambling.

Dr. Wright says that Bitcoin will remove all dust limits and allow for single satoshi transactions in the coming year. He describes how this will force miners to compete and drive fees lower. If a miner sets a fee that’s too low, that’s not a problem, but if they set a fee that’s too high, they’ll lose profit.

Dispelling some of the common myths about Bitcoin, Dr. Wright says that there is no such thing as spam, there’s no volume that’s too large, and that Bitcoin is always subject to being frozen and seized by legal order. He also emphasizes that all legal transactions should be sent. It’s a system designed to grow as volume grows and allow near-instant value transfer anywhere on earth while eliminating all the costs of existing payment networks such as the Visa and Mastercard networks.

Wrapping up this section, Dr. Wright explains that the protocol must be set in stone and remain unchanged. This way, a transaction made today will still work in a year, a decade, or a century from now. He says that if you write and sign a transaction and hold it off-chain, it will remain valid and will be processed by a miner even two centuries from now. The key to ensuring this is to not alter and tinker with the protocol. He reminds us once again what he has said many times before—the protocol doesn’t change.

Why should the protocol not change? Among other reasons, it means that developers can build something today and know it will work far into the future. He gives examples of land and property registers and says that long-term bonds and loans could be issued on the blockchain, but only if the protocol is set in stone.

Bitcoin goals

In this blog section, Dr. Wright explains what Bitcoin’s goals are and what they are not. Contrary to popular thinking, Bitcoin neither takes down banks nor banks the unbanked. Unlike banks, an electronic cash system such as Bitcoin doesn’t give out loans or allow people to raise capital. Dr. Wright says that Bitcoin is more important than any of this; it allows people to move value for incredibly low fees.

Naturally, such a system has a totally different customer base. He says it is for everyone, especially the poor. It will mean next to no fees for people who work abroad and send remittances home. Bitcoin can help those who don’t have access to banking services in developing countries to save in secure digital wallets. It will remove some of the problems associated with not having access to bank accounts, such as having to use extortionate check-cashing services and payday loans.

As for developers, Dr. Wright says Bitcoin will help them build long-term projects without worrying that what they’re working on will be rendered useless by a protocol change. This has happened several times already on BTC and Ethereum.

Bitcoin will also help users maintain privacy, but it will remain totally traceable. This will help reduce problems like corruption. If sizable money transfers can be linked to organized crime or corruption, then the innate ability to freeze and seize bitcoins will allow law enforcement to clamp down.

Once again, Dr. Wright says that those who seek a system without rules should not use Bitcoin at all. Bitcoin was designed to be traceable and to alert the network so that frozen coins would not be spent. While some believe that Bitcoin was designed to promote anarchy, Dr. Wright says it was designed to ensure that anarchy fails.

The purpose of the subsidy

There has been much speculation about why Satoshi created the block subsidy. Dr. Wright spells it out here. It was designed to ensure funding to build an ecosystem based on volume and allow miners to accept more transactions, some of which should be free. 

Looking to the future, Dr. Wright says that if Bitcoin doesn’t scale to first millions and then billions of transactions per second, it will fail. He says that most of the subsidy has been wasted by those running nodes so far and that in time, they’ll realize the error of their ways.

Speaking of the unilateral contract, he offered the world when he released Bitcoin, he says that this contract means that anybody mining will be paid for processing transactions as long as they follow the rules. Furthermore, he says that miners who ignore the necessity of including transactions are in breach of the contract and that there are consequences to this.

What Dr. Wright wants to see

Dr. Wright wants to see most people on earth using Bitcoin to “transact and to save evidence of the transactions they make.” He wants to see Bitcoin becoming a global commodity-based transaction system. He sees central bank digital currencies (CBDC) potential to run on top of Bitcoin.

As for scale, he sees it reaching billions of transactions per second with fees at one-thousandth of a cent or below.

Who will use Bitcoin? Dr. Wright hopes it will be the lowest income people on earth, those earning less than two dollars per day. He wants to see developers create solutions aimed at helping exactly these people.

As he has said many times before, he sees Bitcoin becoming “global plumbing,” connecting applications worldwide and eliminating the need for the ad-based model such as those used by Twitter and Meta.

Along with massive scaling, incredibly low fees, and a set protocol that never changes, Dr. Wright says that integrating Bitcoin into existing legal systems will help minimize criminal activity and corruption.

Lastly, Dr. Wright says that systems like BTC are not Bitcoin and that alternations such as SegWit prohibit it from being so. While he has no problem with alternative systems, he does take issue with passing these systems off as Bitcoin.

Watch: Dr. Craig Wright’s keynote speech “Set in Stone: What is a Commodity?” at the CoinGeek New York Conference

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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