[bitcoin-dev] trust

Venzen Khaosan venzen at mail.bihthai.net
Sat Aug 8 09:05:25 UTC 2015

Hash: SHA1

On 08/08/2015 01:10 PM, Thomas Zander via bitcoin-dev wrote:
> 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.

I think the context is not that "Bitcoin's reason for existence is to
avoid trusting anyone but yourself", as you state above. This kind of
dystopia is not, in my view, what the advocates of trustlessness and
security are implying.

There are those instances where we have no option other than to trust
a centralized authority. They are mostly self-appointed and do not
have the interests of the rest of us in mind. The central bank is the
obvious example - they impose their currency as "official" and then
devalue our savings and purchasing power through money supply
inflation - without our permission and in betrayal of the trust
relationship.  Bitcoin allows one to hold money and to conduct money
transactions, transmit value, and so forth without having to trust
*them* - the central bank, or anyone.

In another example, we want to conduct escrow and have to trust the
notary, because of his reputation and framed certificate, but Bitcoin
multisig makes the degree of trust between the escrow parties
irrelevant, so no apparently trustworthy "gentleman" merchant (back
then or now) can socially engineer a transaction and scam us.

I don't know if my reply and its examples is over-simplistic but it
seems you were making a moral appeal that the notion of trustlessness
was destructive - I just wanted to contextualize it to relevant use
cases. It follows, and this is what I understand from Adam's message,
that security and protection of decentralization are paramount
concerns if we want to retain the trustlessness that makes Bitcoin so
useful and powerful.

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