Philosophical Teachings of Bitcoin

What I’ve Learned From Bitcoin: Part I

Lesson 1: Immutability and change

“Bitcoin will change us more than we will change it.”

Marty Bent

Lesson 2: The scarcity of scarcity

“Only two things are genuinely scarce: time and bitcoin.”

Saifedean Ammous

Lesson 3: An immaculate conception

“One of the greatest things that Satoshi did was disappear.”

Jimmy Song

Lesson 4: The problem of identity

“Consider just how little persistence Bitcoin’s components have. The entire codebase has been reworked, altered, and expanded such that it barely resembles its original version. […] The registry of who owns what, the ledger itself, is virtually the only persistent trait of the network […]

To be considered truly leaderless, you must surrender the easy solution of having an entity that can designate one chain as the legitimate one.”

Nic Carter

Lesson 5: Replication and locality

“Where is it, at this moment, in transit? […] First, there are no bitcoins. There just aren’t. They don’t exist. There are ledger entries in a ledger that’s shared […] They don’t exist in any physical location. The ledger exists in every physical location, essentially. Geography doesn’t make sense here — it is not going to help you figuring out your policy here.”

Peter Van Valkenburgh

Lesson 6: The power of free speech

“There is no point in any Bitcoin transaction that Bitcoin ceases to be text. It is all text, all the time. […]

Bitcoin is text. Bitcoin is speech. It cannot be regulated in a free country like the USA with guaranteed inalienable rights and a First Amendment that explicitly excludes the act of publishing from government oversight.”


Lesson 7: The limits of knowledge

“No one has found the bottom of the Bitcoin rabbit hole.”

Jameson Lopp







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