Evan Shapiro: Bitcoin’s Stolen Revolution

Evan Shapiro is CEO and co-founder of O(1) Labs, the team behind Coda Protocol, a lightweight chain that affords all participants fully P2P, permissionless access from any device.

A hint: It’s not you. And it’s a far cry from the decentralized utopia many claim it to be. Systems of power are rapidly asserting control over Bitcoin. And their incentives are not your incentives. As an industry, we’re at a critical juncture, and we have to choose. We either demand that the properties of user ownership and censorship resistance pioneered by Bitcoin persist. Or, we accept the facade of false-decentralization that has been erected by a centralized regime. Our revolution is being stolen, but it’s not too late to take it back.

First, let’s take a look at who controls the Bitcoin blockchain. Sixty-five percent of its hashrate is in one country: China. Globally, about 10 different organizations control 90% of the hashpower. The big pools are all linked together with dedicated networking connections. If I described to you a council of 10 companies dictating the future of a product, and more than half are in China and beholden to a centralized government, would you call that decentralized? No, but that’s the state of Bitcoin today.

See also: Justin S. Wales – Why Bitcoin Is Protected by the First Amendment

Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you say, “even a 51% attack would be fine by me, because they are still economically aligned in the best interest of the protocol.” You’d be very wrong, but you wouldn’t be the first person to assume that a centralized power could represent your interests well. There are countless examples in history of misplaced trust in a centralized authority. Some of those authorities were beloved revolutionaries, leaders, countrymen and members of their community. Everyone thought, “They love their country, they won’t do anything to cause it harm.”

Robert Mugabe, the former dictator of Zimbabwe for 30 years, started his…

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