Bitcoin Q&A: Is Bitcoin a democracy?


The intersection between blockchains and democracy. “Democracy” is a loaded word where people project a lot of things. Democracy without restraints (human rights, civil rights, constitutional protections) is a brutal system. I don’t think Bitcoin is a democracy – rather it is a flat, network-based, collaborative system of super-majority consensus among five constituencies (users, developers, exchanges, merchants, miners), which makes change very difficult. It is a radical decentralization of power. Some people call the politics of this system “cypherpunk,” “crypto-anarchy,” and other words we don’t yet have. Bitcoin and open public blockchains are redefining political systems, organisational systems, freedom of speech, and freedom of association on a transnational basis. Democracies today are systems of hierarchical institutions born out of the era of industrialisation. It doesn’t scale any more. We have the ability to produce enough food and energy for everyone, but we just can’t distribute it.

What is the structure of consensus? The different constituencies of the ecosystem. Coalitions, influencers, and pundits. Noise doesn’t change the consensus rules. Talk is cheap but real changes play out between live participating nodes on a network protocol with game theory economic incentives overriding everything else. You can be right or you can be wrong, but if you break consensus you’ll be poor either way. People may signal they want one thing, but execute something else, holding on until they start losing money.

This is part of a talk which took place on June 6th 2017 at a joint meet-up with Blockchain Professionals, BitcoinSYD and SydEthereum in Sydney, Australia: https://antonopoulos.com/event/blockchain-professionals-sydney/

Watch the full talk here: https://youtu.be/rpeceXY1QBM

RELATED:
Hard Promises, Soft Promises: Promoting Autonomy instead of Authority – https://youtu.be/UJSdMFPjW8c
Forkology: A Study of Forks for Newbies – https://youtu.be/rpeceXY1QBM
The Consensus Balance of Power – https://youtu.be/q6NbTB1af88
Ethereum, ICOs, and Rocket Science – https://youtu.be/OWI5-AVndgk
Governance trade-offs in decentralised systems – https://youtu.be/dtwaW79Fj7c
What is the role of nodes? – https://youtu.be/fNk7nYxTOyQ
Politics and counter-economics – https://youtu.be/t0NyxRftGBo
Fee markets, SegWit, and scaling – https://youtu.be/zxt-FLzZPhg
Unstoppable code – https://youtu.be/AQx3E3F8Kz4
Hardware, Software, Trustware – https://youtu.be/Etyjc1JdmFU
Decentralised immunity from state-sponsored attacks – https://youtu.be/ZBuHOGufW14
A voluntary alternative to mandatory currencies – https://youtu.be/5ogv3Eya9nQ

Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist and serial entrepreneur who has become one of the most well-known and well-respected figures in bitcoin.

Follow on Twitter: @aantonop https://twitter.com/aantonop
Website: https://antonopoulos.com/

He is the author of two books: “Mastering Bitcoin,” published by O’Reilly Media and considered the best technical guide to bitcoin; “The Internet of Money,” a book about why bitcoin matters.

THE INTERNET OF MONEY, v1: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Internet-Money-collection-Andreas-Antonopoulos/dp/1537000454/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

MASTERING BITCOIN: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mastering-Bitcoin-Unlocking-Digital-Cryptocurrencies/dp/1449374042

[NEW] MASTERING BITCOIN, 2nd Edition: https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Bitcoin-Programming-Open-Blockchain/dp/1491954388

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Music: “Unbounded” by Orfan (https://www.facebook.com/Orfan/)
Outro Graphics: Phneep (http://www.phneep.com/)
Outro Art: Rock Barcellos (http://www.rockincomics.com.br/)

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