Limitations Of The Physical World
If you were to ask a stranger, “What are the properties of a physical object?” They would likely say it can be touched, it has volume and mass, and is made up of atoms. If you were to ask about its limitations, they might say it must travel a physical path to move from point A to point B (no teleportation); it cannot be given to a person without being relinquished by the giver (discrete ownership); or it degrades over time (increasing entropy).
If you asked the same person how to describe “information,” they might say essentially the opposite; it’s intangible, it can be given to someone while the giver retains it, and it can survive in perpetuity without changing. In summary, the physical is finite and limited, while the metaphysical is infinite. Many of us (myself included until recently) believe that no single entity can be both finite and infinite. Enter Bitcoin.
Several of the following topics are touched upon by Alex Waltz in “Bitcoin: Or How We Became Gods.” He concluded, “Bitcoin is the link between the two worlds: chaos and order, real and digital, uncertain and certain, unconfirmed and confirmed.” I hope to build upon this idea and explore its implications.
I will generally refer to the network and the token as bitcoin. Bitcoin (the token) has advantages of both the physical and the metaphysical: it is intangible, teleportable, infinitely divisible and is created from nothing while it’s paradoxically impossible to destroy and finite in final quantity. Though you and I both know it’s not truly physical, it seems so by application (e.g. futures markets are ironically calling derivatives settled in Bitcoin “physically settled”). The significance of this relationship cannot be understated. We now have an example of how an infinite resource can be bound in a semi-physical form to leverage the benefits of both worlds. This author has lost his grasp of the metaphorical versus literal implications of this…