"The Bitcoin blockchain is famously promoted as “immutable.” Is the structure
of Bitcoin itself immutable?
Is the 21 million BTC limit out of the control of any individual? Is Bitcoin a
decentralised entity of its own, the essence of its operating parameters
unalterable by mere fallible humans? Is Bitcoin truly trustless?
Well, no, obviously. Even though bitcoiners literally argue all the above —
most notably Saifedean Ammous in The Bitcoin Standard, and Andreas Antonopoulos
in his books on Bitcoin — and these ideas are standard in the subculture.
Decentralisation was always a phantom. At most it’s a way to say “can’t sue me,
bro.” Every process in Bitcoin tends to centralisation — because Bitcoin runs
on economic incentives, and centralised systems are more economically
Trustlessness is also a phantom. Bitcoin had to create an entire infrastructure
of trusted entities to operate in the world.
Something called “Bitcoin” will be around for decades. All you need is the
software, the blockchain data, and two or more enthusiasts. But Bitcoin’s
particular mythology and operating parameters are entirely separate questions.
Bitcoin’s basic operating parameters are unlikely to change in the near future
— but this is entirely based on trust in the humans who run it. Their actions
are based in whether changes risk spooking the suckers with the precious
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics