Bitcoin’s vision, as explained by Craig Wright
Dr. Craig Wright, the inventor of Bitcoin, published a new blog post on March 8, 2022. In it, he discusses Bitcoin’s vision and what he wants to see in the future.
Given Dr. Wright’s extensive knowledge of the Bitcoin protocol and what he is capable of, you will want to read Bitcoin’s vision. I have also summarized it below.
Dr. Wright begins by lamenting that he has been drawn into debates about what Bitcoin is and what it is capable of since he told the world about it in 2008. He says that while it has been necessary to bring a few people to justice, he is not interested in other visions of what Bitcoin is. He says if people want to build hobby blockchains running on Raspberry Pis, they can, but his original vision of a massively scalable Bitcoin system that can be used for micropayments remains.
He then reminds us that he maintains that Bitcoin will end up in data centers since he posted under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. He says that in fact Bitcoin ended up that way and there are no more than four nodes running even BTC at any given time if we follow Dr. Wright’s definition of nodes as shown in the Bitcoin White Paper.
Before moving on to his vision for Bitcoin, Dr. Wright reminds us that his vision is set in stone, and so is the protocol. It cannot and will not be changed regardless of the time horizon.
Dr. Wright begins by defining his vision of Bitcoin in four simple points. He says it’s okay:
- Scale to billions of transactions per second
- Be open to everyone in the world
- Costs no more than a thousandth of a penny for a 250 byte transaction
- Be fully traceable and work within the existing legal structure
He says if that’s not your vision, you better not use Bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s mission statement
Too often Bitcoin is portrayed as anti-banking by cypherpunks who wish it were. Dr. Wright reiterates that this was never the intention. Bitcoin is a tool, he says, and its goal is to create a secure electronic payment system that can facilitate micropayments on a global scale. The values of said micropayments must be as low as or less than one thousandth of a penny. He says the system is designed to facilitate a quick and easy exchange of value and should not be used for speculation and gambling.
Dr. Wright says Bitcoin will remove all dust caps and allow single satoshi transactions in the coming year. He describes how this will force miners to be competitive and lower fees. If a miner sets fees too low, that’s fine, but if they set fees too high, they’ll lose profits.
Dispelling some of the common myths about Bitcoin, Dr. Wright says there is no spam, there is no too much volume, and Bitcoin is always subject to being frozen and seized by lawful order. . He also points out that all legal transactions must be sent. It is a system designed to grow as volume increases and enable near instant transfer of value anywhere on the planet while eliminating all the costs of existing payment networks such as the Visa and Mastercard networks.
To conclude this section, Dr. Wright explains that the protocol should be set in stone and remain unchanged. This way, a transaction made today will still work a year, a decade or a century from now. It says that if you write and sign a transaction and keep it off-chain, it will remain valid and be processed by a miner even two centuries from now. The key to guaranteeing this is not to modify and tinker with the protocol. He reminds us once again of what he has said many times before:the protocol does not change.
Why shouldn’t the protocol change? Among other reasons, this means developers can build something today and know it will work long into the future. He gives examples of land and real estate records and says bonds and long-term loans could be issued on the blockchain, but only if the protocol is set in stone.
In this blog section, Dr Wright explains what the purposes of Bitcoin are and what they are not. Contrary to popular thought, Bitcoin does not destroy banks or unbanked banks. Unlike banks, an electronic payment system such as Bitcoin does not grant loans or allow people to raise capital. Dr. Wright says Bitcoin is more important than all of that; it allows people to move value for incredibly low fees.
Naturally, such a system has a totally different clientele. He says it’s for everyone, especially the poor. This will mean almost no fees for people who work abroad and send funds home. Bitcoin can help those without access to banking services in developing countries save in secure digital wallets. This will eliminate some of the problems associated with not having access to bank accounts, such as resorting to exorbitant check cashing services and payday loans.
As for developers, Dr. Wright says Bitcoin will help them build long-term projects without worrying that what they’re working on will be rendered useless by a protocol change. This has already happened several times on BTC and Ethereum.
Bitcoin will also help users maintain privacy, but it will remain fully traceable. This will help reduce issues like corruption. If large money transfers can be linked to organized crime or corruption, then the innate ability to freeze and seize bitcoins will allow law enforcement to crack down.
Again, Dr. Wright says those looking for a no-rules system should not use Bitcoin at all. Bitcoin was designed to be traceable and to alert the network so that frozen coins are not spent. While some believe Bitcoin was designed to promote anarchy, Dr. Wright says it was designed to ensure anarchy failed.
The purpose of the grant
There has been a lot of speculation as to why Satoshi created the Block Grant. Dr. Wright states it here. It was designed to provide funding to build a volume-based ecosystem and enable miners to accept more transactions, some of which should be free.
Looking to the future, Dr. Wright says that if Bitcoin doesn’t scale to millions and then billions of transactions per second, it will fail. He says most of the grant has been wasted on these running nodes so far and in time they will realize the mistake they made.
Talking about the one-sided contract he offered to the world when he released Bitcoin, he says that this contract means that anyone mining will get paid for processing transactions as long as they follow the rules. Further, he says that minors who ignore the need to include transactions are in breach of contract and there are consequences for that.
What Dr. Wright wants to see
Dr. Wright wants to see most people on earth using Bitcoin to “perform transactions and maintain evidence of the transactions they perform.” He wants to see Bitcoin become a global commodity-based transaction system. He sees the potential for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to operate above Bitcoin.
As for scale, he sees it reaching billions of transactions per second with fees of a thousandth of a cent or less.
Who will use Bitcoin? Dr. Wright hopes these will be the lowest income people on earth, those earning less than two dollars a day. He wants to see developers create solutions aimed at helping precisely these people.
As he has said many times before, he sees Bitcoin becoming a “global plumbing,” connecting applications around the world and eliminating the need for ad-based models such as those used by Twitter and Meta.
Along with massive scale, incredibly low fees, and a defined protocol that never changes, Dr. Wright says integrating Bitcoin into existing legal systems will help minimize criminal activity and corruption.
Finally, Dr. Wright says that systems like BTC are not Bitcoin and alternations like SegWit prohibit it from being. Although he has no problem with alternative systems, he does not agree with passing these systems off as Bitcoin.
Watch: Dr. Craig Wright’s keynote “Set in Stone: What is a Commodity?” at the CoinGeek conference in New York
New to Bitcoin? Discover CoinGeek bitcoin for beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn about bitcoin – as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto – and blockchain.