Bitcoin creator Dr. Craig S. Wright would like to see Bitcoin fade from everyone’s attention in the future. Wait, can that be right? Yes it is, and to find out what he means by that, watch the latest “Theory of Bitcoin” episode with Money Button founder Ryan X. Charles on the Future of Bitcoin.
Dr. Wright sees a future where Bitcoin is widely used, but people don’t talk about it in public much. It becomes “plumbing”, as he puts it—infrastructure that everyone uses and depends upon, but which few ordinary people pay attention to, as long as it works. He muses on the idea that someday, people might say “whatever happened to Bitcoin, I heard it failed” and then take out a HandCash or Money Button app to pay for something.
Charles echoes Dr. Wright when he describes Bitcoin as “an economic system” involving many specialties that evolve over time. Specialization, they both agree, is a natural phenomenon and something that is necessary to grow an economy.
“We’re not hive animals,” Wright says.
Altcoins, bandwidth and communists
As you might expect, discussing the future of Bitcoin also involves discussing the future of other digital assets, especially altcoins like BTC and BCH. Not only does Dr. Wright see them as unviable long-term, he regards their pursuit of “decentralization” just as unlikely. BTC spent years fighting for small transaction blocks—the end result is a blockchain that can process only 3-7 transactions per second at high fees. Moreover, it doesn’t even produce the decentralization its supporters worship, since the number of nodes that actually matter remains miniscule, and the protocol is maintained by a small group.
Charles asks if there is actually an upper limit to Bitcoin’s ability to scale. There is, Dr. Wright says—but that limit is something far greater than anyone is really imagining right now. Perhaps if the world is networked with fiber cables a kilometer thick between major cities, you might start to see limits. But that’s the kind of technological advances that would need to take place before Bitcoin needs to worry about scaling limits.
There’s more of Dr. Wright’s opinions on equality as well, many of which were covered in earlier episodes but since they’re in the front of his mind, continue to pop up here.
When asked if he “hates communists,” Dr. Wright replies that “hate is the wrong word. I hate what they do to the world. I pity them.” Perhaps conscious of the current political zeitgeist, Charles wonders if Wright’s anger towards leftist groups could be turning off “people who identify as communists.”
“I’m working on that one,” Wright replies. But he maintains that, although everyone is different and that’s what makes us human, there’s also an underlying connectivity we must remain aware of.
Capitalism and responsibility
Though Dr. Wright maintains a strong belief in capitalism as the only system that produces real value and wealth, some of his more detailed views could be controversial. For example, he believes “corporations should get a vote” and perhaps also choose their own tax rate.
He asks “Do you want to be a subject or a citizen?” and posits that citizenship should be something you have to put effort into. The idea is that corporations could pay minimal tax, but get only a minimal vote in return. Contribute more and you get more voting power.
Charles says he’d “want to be convinced that it’s secure, that it does what it says it does” but wonders if it might encourage more responsibility for both corporations and individuals. Such ideas could probably only work in a world with greater transparency and accountability… such as a Bitcoin-based economy.
There’s all kinds of responsibilities corporations could require, too. Companies can engage in creative accounting to make their bottom lines look good, if maximizing shareholder value is the sole aim. But doing that can lead to a drop in R&D—something that requires large investments of time and money over longer periods, but which also drives real progress and eventually benefits society. You need to have a long-term vision or everyone will default to chasing quick profits. And that’s not good for evolution.
Dr. Wright is no fan of today’s Silicon Valley, whereas Charles lives there. That difference produces some interesting viewpoints in this series.
The “Theory of Bitcoin” series is ending soon, but Wright and Charles will likely return for future discussions on other aspects of the Bitcoin ecosystem… plus all the tangents that leads to, and the ways they all converge back upon Bitcoin’s purpose. There will be science, politics, philosophy, personal anecdotes, and reading lists. “Never stop learning” is another Craig Wright mantra, and everyone who wants to play a part in Bitcoin should heed that advice.
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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.