Bitcoin 2018 vs Bitcoin 2019: The Ever-Changing Narrative of Bitcoin
A look At The Ever-Changing Narrative Of Bitcoin
Throughout the decade since Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper release, the narratives of bitcoin has changed. For example, back in the early days, Bitcoin technology was supposed to eradicate the current banking cartels and remove money from the state’s power as well. At least that’s what the early bitcoiners and cypherpunks said at the time.
However, Bitcoin accounts have evolved and lots of Bitcoin proponents now want the central bank’s recognition and think governments regulating the use of cryptocurrencies will make them a ‘legitimate’ form of tender. Moreover, some people believe Bitcoin should be a store of value much like gold, while others believe Bitcoin was meant to be a fast and cheap peer-to-peer cash system.
Earlier this month, Nic Carter, a partner at Castle Island Ventures and co-founder of Coinmetrics.io and his fellow researcher Hasufly published a study that looks at the ever-changing narratives tied to Bitcoin technology.
They accumulated a lot of data stemming from Bitcointalk.org posts over the years that highlight some of the community-derived visions of what Bitcoin should be and how these visions have changed over time.
7 Different Narratives Of Bitcoin
Progress, therefore, has been slowed by lack of agreement on what bitcoin actually is. Multiple parties have emerged, all with different conceptions of how bitcoin should function, and different views on which direction the protocol should take.
Nic Carterand Hasufly’s research breaks these differences down into seven distinct narratives, from the e-cash proof of concept to a cheap p2p payments network; censorship-resistant digital gold; private and anonymous darknet currency; reserve currency for the cryptocurrency industry; programmable shared database, and uncorrelated financial asset.
“Perhaps the most enduring source of conflict within the Bitcoin community derives from incompatible visions of what Bitcoin is and should become,” explains Carter’s study.
“In the absence of a recognized sole leader, Bitcoiners refer to founding documents and early forum posts to attempt to decipher what Satoshi truly wanted for the currency. This is not unlike US Supreme Court justices poring over the Constitution and applying its ancient wisdom to contemporary cases.”
Carter takes the study further by isolating certain narratives that have seem to be “entirely incompatible.” One example is the cheap P2P payments network versus the digital gold vision, which in turn caused the Bitcoin community to split in August of 2017. Further, Carter notes that the anonymous private vision of the Bitcoin protocol is very different than the transparent blockchain narrative bolstered by a lot of individuals.
Change Is Appropriate And Healthy
The authors of the study say they are aware that the analysis relies heavily on the researcher’s own interpretation of old forum posts. Carter says they are open to an alternative metric if someone wants to suggest it to them for further analysis.
“We’re not posting our analysis as the absolute truth. Instead, we want to nudge Bitcoiners away from absolutism and acknowledge that major narratives within the Bitcoin community have changed over time — And that’s ok — it’s appropriate to change your mind in response to new data,” Carter concludes.