The Internet of Money

Andreas M. Antonopoulos


People probably freaked out more about the introduction of paper money than they are currently freaking out about cryptocurrencies. The first one took 400 years to reach its 'maturity'...

Current money is a client-server architecture (because that money only exists as a form of debt in a ledger that is under the sole control of a bank) and even a master-slave architecture (because banks can sometime get unchallenged control over their ledgers/debt).

Bitcoin is fundamentally different because it is not a system based on debt.

The real power of the Internet comes from net neutrality. Bitcoin is the first financial network that exhibits neutrality.

Since the 1970s, when our currencies started being digital, we have been creating a system of totalitarian financial surveillance throughout the world. That system, which requires identification and credit checking and limited access, is responsible for the fact that economic inclusion is regressing.

Bitcoin is 'censorship-resistant' thanks to its architecture of neutrality that doesn't ascribe any meaning to source, destination, or value.

Privacy (ultimately, and practically in today's vocabulary) is the right of billions of individuals to not be surveilled. Secrecy is the power of the very few (like states, organisation, and highly influencial people) to escape accountability.

The agents that want to keep the financial world under strict control and surveillance have been trying to use fear to erode bitcoin's credibitility. But bitcoin never flinched. And the more it is lepts under pressure and under attack, the more it evolves defense mechanisms, similarly to the Internet in its first years.

Bitcoin is an open-source dumb network for smart endpoints (like the Internet), while the current banking system is a set of proprietary smart networks for dumb endpoints.

Bitcoin is a highly disruptive innovation that would enable such things as a computer program or a car to have their own full financial autonomy.

Bitcoin, as the Internet before it, has been created by engineers: it means it still needs a lot of design improvement, in particular its own design differentiating it from old banking interfaces.

Bitcoin is virtually unstoppable since any transaction is just a 250 byte transmission that has to reach the bitcoin network in any available way: social networks (even via smileys), short-wave radio (it only needs a passive receiver impossible to triangulate linked to the network).

Bitcoin adoption is favoured by the fact that kids that can’t get access to the ‘standard’ banking system are already using it, and won’t be agreably surprised by the strikingly poor and unfair standard banking system when they first get exposed to it, after years of seemless use of Bitcoin.

‘The gatekeepers confuse their payment-network cost for the value of their service.’ Same as phone companies, music records companies, news companies, printed books companies, banks are mixing medium value and content value: a transaction is no more valuable because done with delayed settlement and high transactions costs than news are more reliable because they are reported by a TV anchor rather than on say twitter. Value is in the intrinsic content, not in the medium.

Bitcoin has failed to scale for years, like the Internet has successfully been failing to scale for 25 years (Usenet, email, attachments, web, streaming, HD streaming, 4k/3D streaming, etc).

The bitcoin network is adaptative thanks to fees variability: all transactions are ‘valid’ by the fact that their originator attached some transaction fee to them in the first place.