[bitcoin-dev] trust

Thomas Zander thomas at thomaszander.se
Sat Aug 8 06:10:25 UTC 2015

On Friday 7. August 2015 23.53.43 Adam Back wrote:
> On 7 August 2015 at 22:35, Thomas Zander via bitcoin-dev
> > As we concluded in our previous email, the need to run a node is inversely
> > proportional to the ability (or willingness) to trust others.
> > And lets face it, practically everyone trusts others with their money
> > today.

> Bitcoin's very reason for existence is to avoid that need.  For people
> fully happy to trust others with their money, Bitcoin may not be as
> interesting to them.

I'm making this a thread of its own because this is very serious.

The idea that Bitcoins very reason for existence is to avoid trusting anyone 
but yourself is something I've heard before, and I have to comment because it 
is a destructive thought. It is very much untrue because we don't live in a 
black/white world.

If you look at the history of money (500 years is enough) you may know about 
business being done in the late 1600s in Europe that included essentially a 
general ledger that every merchant used and had his own copy of (at least 
their own bits).
Merchant in France used a system that when they bought stock from one company
they didn't give them money, they instead gave them a IOU-style piece of 
paper.  To break your promise meant to be evicted from their money system.
Which to a merchant in that time is equal to starvation.

The point was NOT to trust no-one, the point was to trust everyone, but keep 
everyone honest by keeping the ledger open and publicly available.

Bitcoins current model to decentralize and distribute trust has historical 
precedent and is known to work. It was abandoned when Newton started the mint 
in London because that allowed international trade. And their system didn't 

On a tangent;
What we saw with the Internet is growth because of a lack of centralized 
controller. This does not mean lack of trust in your neighbours. Internet grew 
because permissionless innovation was allowed. Not by going from one extreme 
of central trust to the other extreme of no trust.
It flourished just by stepping out of the trust-one party extreme.

What Adam Black and probably some others must understand is that there is a 
whole spectrum between having a monopoly on trust and every player having 
their own node.

Bitcoin sole reason for existence is because it is the first every system that 
has global reach and does not need a central trusted party.
It is, in other words, the first alternative that for the very first time in 
centuries that allows innovation without permission.

> For people
> fully happy to trust others with their money, Bitcoin may not be as
> interesting to them.

So, this is to black/white. And also wrong.

This thinking will block growth towards the thing you want, and leave you 
without any toys at all.
For instance it is perfectly all right to have a central player in a poor 
country that helps millions of unbanked to use Bitcoin as their first 
international payment system.

I can only try to convince you to change your worldview be explaining some 
history and concepts you may have missed, if you don't thats fine with me. 
I do, however, have to ask you to assume people will not like Bitcoin and will 
not use it because they don't fit your worldview. That will ultimately hurt 
billions of people.
Thomas Zander

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