How To Destroy Bitcoin According to MIT Tech Review

in bitcoin •  last year 

MIT Technology Review posted an article titled "Let's Destroy Bitcoin" that discusses three different ways in which Bitcoin could be subverted to the point of obscurity. I was surprised more people didn't talk about this article, so I wanted to make a video about it and whether or not it convincingly demonstrated how to "destroy" Bitcoin.

It's worth noting that I have criticized Bitcoin often throughout my time on YouTube. I've called it a bubble (still think it is) and have stated many issues I have with it that I suspect will act as barriers to mass adoption, including the tradeoffs of decentralization, usability and security concerns. I am receptive to criticism of Bitcoin, but this article was not particularly convincing.

The article starts out by pointing out that since the innovation of blockchain technology, effectively anyone can replicate the Bitcoin idea which means competition. In other words, it is possible for an economic substitute to arise that effectively renders Bitcoin pointless. Here are the 3 primary examples the article gives:

  1. Fedcoin
  2. Facebook controlling Bitcoin
  3. Many, many forms of payment diluting Bitcoin's market share to obscurity

Fedcoin and the idea of a central bank-backed cryptocurrency is a common topic of discussion within the crypto community. However, this article poses the idea that the government could take over Bitcoin by implementing such a cryptocurrency which would be vastly superior to Bitcoin in terms of performance - No duh!

Paypal is already vastly superior to Bitcoin in the majority of "serious" use-cases and even for sending money to family & friends, it's free and doesn't require the hassles of exchanges or addresses. What does Fedcoin offer that U.S dollar related services don't already offer? I'll tell you this much: Not enough to convince the average Bitcoin user, who is already making sacrifices, to abandon their Bitcoin.

The article then discusses the idea that Facebook could create a Bitcoin client and due to its size, persuade enough full nodes to run it to become the "true" Bitcoin implementation. Good luck with that! I'd love to see the day that happened in a space where consumer big data companies are burned at the stake. That's not even mentioning the fact that full node operators tend to be more sophisticated and aren't likely to be persuaded by marketing campaigns.

Fortunately the article focuses on another method Facebook could control Bitcoin. The basic premise is to build an excellent wallet and then enable it for ALL Facebook users. Other Bitcoin users will switch over because Facebook, using its vast resources, will create a wallet with FAR superior usability than existing wallets.

First, I disagree that Facebook could achieve such a task so easily. There are many companies working on the "best" wallet implementation and the shortcomings aren't always money or labor related. Time is often a bottleneck and Bitcoin doesn't exactly make designing a simple consumer-facing product easy.

Even if Facebook successfully built such a wallet and could convince users to allow them to use their computing power for mining (another argument in the article), it is unlikely they would ever gain enough influence to gain control over Bitcoin in an environment which chastises them.

Lastly, the article discusses the idea of a world where you can pay with a plethora of different payment options, varying from Fedcoin, Toyotacash, shares of stock, etc. It's highly unlikely anyone would want to pay with an asset where you have to realize capital gains on any transactions (a current problem for cryptocurrencies).

Furthermore, previous attempts to create unique digital assets have been generally met with mixed results (e.g: Facebook credits). So what are the odds that many companies succeed at this and that additionally, other merchants want to accept it? Or that creating the infrastructure to enable such swapping of assets will EVER be a reasonable undertaking?

This sounds like the biggest cluster**** of all time. I don't see any world where this occurs and if it does occur, I'd be one of many who just sticks to using fiat currencies since it's much simpler. Note that all assets in this multi-payment environment will ultimately have to be priced in a static currency like the dollar anyway in order to accurately measure swaps, otherwise the relative pricing of goods in all these different currencies would be a royal pain to keep track of.

Overall the article attempts to do something big, but I feel falls quite short. It is possible, in my opinion at least, that Bitcoin becomes obscure in the future. However, the reasons listed in this article seem a little too absurd in my opinion and I thought it was interesting enough to share. Hope you all enjoyed, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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You don't seem to understand the way new technologies get optimized over time. The Internet was invented in 1969 and it took 30 years before it was ready for average people. Of course, when crypto is ready for mainstream you will be able to pay for anything with any token. Cross-chain atomic swaps and decentralized exchange will be buried at the protocol level and invisible to the user. That's what is being built. Capital gains will go away when people are using crypto like it's money. The governments cannot keep up the facade when their rules are in violation of basic reality.

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I don't really think the Internet is comparable to cryptocurrencies. I still think at its very foundation, decentralization will always sacrifice convenience and more importantly support. You can reduce the odds of a screw-up by creating a decentralized exchange that has a beautiful front-end, but the problem is that those who screw-up, are screwed. There is no recourse - which is in part why discussions over proposals like EIP 999 and EIP 867 are interesting. No longer that "optimal" decentralized level (which is fairly extreme perception right now in crypto space), but perhaps enough so while still offering a tad more support. I suppose we'll see how it turns out over the long-run.

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Yes, we are so early in this process. I compare it to the Internet in the way that most users of the internet don't care how TCP/IP works. The long-term outcome is the user just uses a dapp and trusts the protocol will just work. The complexity is hidden. Saying the issues we currently have with crypto will never be solved is short-term thinking. Its just software, engineering the correct algorithm takes time but is not impossible. It's programmable money. Anything that can be done with software can now be done with money. We are just starting layer 2 solutions. Once we get to layer 3, layer 4 solutiuons the convenience issus will be solved.

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I agree, but also note, lower level, base line "Raw" decentralization is both inefficient and also requires a lot of responsibility. The higher the layer the potential for lower decentralization, but again lower responsibility ( I'd imagine). Higher layer solutions need to be very well thought out, and should not be rushed. Just my humble opinion.

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I've always advocated that decentralisation brings about responsibility, and to be honest, if I think about it, I have to say in general, in this day and age, people have been and are "Marketed" out of resonsibility, at what cost? well that's another topic. I also think about it this way, electricity can kill people almost instantly, and you cannot bring one back to life "even if death was by electrocution". ( equated to an irresponsible person working with decentralisation or a decentralised system), but it(electricity) has been one of the greatest innovations and game changers to humanity. Yes electricity can still kill, if you are irresponsible with it....

I mean I think you answered your own question why no one has shared this article, a vast majority sounds pretty asinine.

  • Will there be big companies jumping into the fray when shit gets frothy? Yes, money will follow money.
  • Will people openly adopt across the entire marketplace, what those big companies regurgitate out tech wise that probably already exists in the marketplace? Some will. Mostly only new people into the space. Those that have alternates will already be set up and probably won't migrate off something that is already working. Dont fix what ain't broke.
  • Will all of them? pffft. HA.
  • Will a majority of them? Meh, not likely in the short term, and not amongst the community who hates literally anything decentralized. Only newbs would trend towards those things because trust hasn't been developed.
  • Banks are trusted? Someone hasn't read a history book, or know anything about why cryptocurrency exists at all, so there goes all the credibility of the author.
  • Facebook Apple Amazon Netflix Google offering anything on the tech front will be just a better funded Ripple. These big companies are going to try to take the tech but will not remotely accept ANYTHING decentralized, because they want to control everything. A vast majority of the people already in the community will continue to hold their sentiments against centralization.

So ... I seriously doubt everything that article takes as givens, pretty much 100%.

  ·  last year (edited)

The author of this article is either completely delusional or has been smoking far too much crack for way too long :-). Joking apart the author fails to register the fact that part of the interest in crypto especially among core crypto adopters is a wish to have an alternative to the current financial system and the mega corps associated with it. Who does the author think will run the facebook crypto nodes ? .... Cambridge Analytica ??. IMHO this is a really poor uniformed article.

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Agreed, a very very silly article indeed and clearly proves they have absolutely no idea about the bitcoin inception and concept.

This article was premeditated FUD, I agree 100% on your points.

bitcoin don`t really care about articles like that :)

It’s really simple that article is pure click bait.

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Agreed

Only one thing can destroy bitcoin and that is the "TO THE MOON". No one cares about the idea or the use really, everyone just wants lambos. Until we get more matured people in the space we are closer to failure than success.

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since the majority of new investors in the space appear to be average investors or even newly investors the maturity may only come with time.

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I hope it happens soon for the sake of the tech. I love the tech and i have been an investor in stock market since last 10 years and i still feel scared of cryptos market. I think crypto markets need some serious moderation before serious investors with money get into it with all they got.

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if the tech proves to be valuable and revolutionary it will survive even the worst "crash". for some reason many call crypto the "intertnet 2.0".

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This is the real test. Once bitcoin is battle fought, it will get stronger. Lightning network is a big step forward. I hope Casper in ETH is also a success so we can move away from this energy intensive PoW method.

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ummmm if you look back in history, I can't really see anything else that have survived the monumental crashes the likes of which bitcoin has been through... If you really believe in the tech, you will say "Bitcoin will never die because I will not let it die"

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right now bitcoin is not used for payments as of the moment. All of the volume comes from trading. For these things to be adopted, they need to be used as payments and merchants accepting these payments.

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where did you get this information? I'm curious.

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they are not investors, they are gamblers claiming to be investors. They think they've found the secret winning horse that everyone else seems to know about.

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Don't worry, the "to the moon" people are weak hands, they will move on the the next best thing in due time. They are the least threat to bitcoin.

Well, as slightly-edited NYT header said, "All the news, that fits, print."

Sad to see that the venerable MIT tech review is being run by a bunch of nooblets

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Yeah, I didn't bother to click the MIT article since pretty sure they get paid per click

I think Bitcoin is a Bubble also and just because it hasn't burst doesn't mean it wouldn't. Blockchain it the only real innovation here and not bitcoin. Taking out bitcoin in my opinion could be done by first take out means of exchange especially centralised exchange and go after those promoting the idea but we know that cannot happen because the people have rights and the government gave them those rights

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A technology can be in a bubble without bursting if the value of the technology catches up with its expectations. With looming stock market crashes, currency devaluation and possible failure of the fractional reserve system of the banks the value of bitcoin could dramatically increase in a short period of time.

I had read the article before I watched the video, and I agree it's a joke. The person who wrote it obviously has little understanding of crypto.

  ·  last year (edited)

Amazing that an article from MIT would have so much unrealistic assumptions in their attempt to downplay Bitcoin. The fact that cryptocurrencies in general continue to gain steam shows the support from the growing community to make the use case of many of them work for the benefit of the masses. That supports the theory that while Bitcoin may ultimately fail, another concept based on the technology will be able to cater to the needs and demands of the community and surpass what Bitcoin has been able to achieve. This would imply higher market caps of the crypto space in the long term.

THE BITCOIN will never DIE!

All excellent points. But your criticism of Bitcoin is redundant if the dollar collapses. That's the expectation. Our national debt will eventually get so big that the interest payed on it exceeds the revenue of the US government, which will either result in another Venezuela like situation of hyperinflation, defaulting followed by a possible world war 3, or increased taxation to the point rebellion.

Either way, the dollar will collpase and chaos will take its place, eventually. Some, like Jeff Berwick, have estimated that it will be as soon as 2020. This is the purpose of Bitcoin: It's our lifeboat.

And since EOS can handle millions of transactions at no fees, maybe crypto can sustain the entire world. We can only hope, because someday, we may need it's help.

Thank you for bringing this article up. It makes me more bullish on bitcoin, since it shows me that critical people, havent even understood the core concepts of bitcoin. Was this article a social experiment in the MIT journal to see, if they check their articels?

BTW: Facebook design sucks... if they would have picked Apple... okay... but Facebook for outstanding UI design. Gosh...

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I don't think the governments want to battle cryptocurrencies so much, because you are trying to deny a common public interest (it's growing everyday) which may harm the government in return (that depends of course how much power it has).

Countries that try to go with cryptocurrencies may start to gain financial momentum, because they would be one the first ones to properly integrate cryptocurrencies.

Small countries have this in favor like for instance - Binance moving to Malta because of regulatory reasons. For big giants like the US it is much harder to do and big companies like PayPal dislike crypto as they see it as a threat (former CEO calling crypto a scam).

Overall the masses for sure dislike the government, but a middle ground will be reached with this technology eventually.

With BitCoin you can make illegal money transfers

impossible to follow

on the other side it can take the place of $ 3 billion, which does not exist in the market,
conomic depreciation can occur in the face of cash flow Bitcoin can block the risk of cutting the buy cash flow
but most importantly, states that support illegal organizations like the US need bitcoin.
or these reasons bitcoin will live and be impossible to erase from the earth

I found this article to be so utterly bad. MIT Tech review reputation got harmed after that, at least for me.

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My first gripe of that article is that they say that copying the idea of bitcoin is a negative? grrrrrr... that's actually a good thing... that's my interpretation of that part anyway...

Crypto has too many overvalued alts. Influencers are paid, and air drops are daily. Artificially pumped alts are then being traded for bitcoin, then the bitcoin is being sold to pay salaries.