Proof

After a series of record trading days at LedgerX, I had the opportunity to take time off for once and spend a day with my dogs. I have a fantastically cute Yorkie who responds incredibly, as any dog owner will appreciate, when I pet his head.

Why this is related to LedgerX and Bitcoin, please indulge for a minute. It’s obvious to me that there is no physiological benefit to petting a dog’s head. His cataracts do not improve and his organs will continue their natural downward progression.

But — he knows that I love him precisely because I “waste” energy petting him in this process. I get the sneaking suspicion nature was on to something.

Bitcoin mining has often been accused of being a waste of energy. I also once thought the electricity involved should be directed to benefit protein folding analysis or something of a distributed-amenable computational nature. One of LedgerX’s top engineers convinced me I was wrong (all credit to Bryan for this).

Well, I am now incredibly convinced he is right. Having an agenda to a proof of work scheme, or worse, no notion of work required at all, distorts things in ways that are complicated and hard to predict. The most honest way, and the one I’ve realized has been around us for all time, is to literally “waste” energy. It’s the quantity of the universe that none of us can manufacture for free, and therefore its primary currency. It’s why we give uselessly expensive gifts to loved ones, or spend hours petting the heads of our dogs.

Others have argued — why not have trust, why not have faith? Well, it turns out blind faith and trust in banks and the funds we custody to them, credit agencies and our personal data within them, or a brilliantly transformative “trusted, trustless, anonymous but only when we need to find out who they are, immutable but we can always change it later, back office changing, we need a consortium to do this, whoah some people dropped out of my consortium, now we’re a database company, let’s figure out how to make a database, ok there is some free stuff for that that’s pretty good, also, federated, distributed blockchain ledger” (yep, had to add that one in) or even car makers have all demonstrated enormous betrayals throughout time.

But expending energy is never as efficient a way to hurt people as effectively as these institutions have managed.

There is no proof without what nature has long known: to show faith in a system, a respect for an agreement, a belief in a ledger, or most importantly of all — a love in a relationship…you will always need to “waste” energy. Wasted energy is nature’s currency of proof, the only thing that miners produce, the only principle $130 billion dollars worth of crypto assets is entrusted on, and the only thing that my dog accepts. I’m just fine with that.

As usual, nature continues to give us lessons. Bitcoin following this principle gives me great confidence that this community is on to something.

Paul

(Opinions expressed are without any question my own and do not express the views, opinions, endorsement or even inclinations of my employer)