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Bitcoin and the Popular Imagination

Bitcoin and the Popular Imagination
Written by Jon Gulson @jongulson
Posted 16 April 2018
The recent passing of Stephen Hawking serves a timely reminder on how physics and the big questions around the universe can capture the popular imagination.

Quantum mechanics for example is probably the most successful theory in the history of science – explaining a range of phenomena together with the yielding of new technologies such as lasers and computer chips. It can cause the abandonment of the most basic assumptions about reality; simultaneously confusing, bewildering, exciting.

Just as bitcoin causes many to question their most basic assumptions of money. Which for a bitcoin blogger creates its own problems; who is it for and what does it all mean? 

Even the most seasoned bitcoin advocates sometimes question their understanding of this new form of payment protocol. For example, how many peers was Satoshi envisaging in a peer-to-peer electronic cash system? And what did he mean by cash? 

For bitcoin’s architect in chief himself there were questions: ‘Writing a description for this thing for general audiences is bloody hard. There’s nothing to relate it to’.

So we can see Satoshi was challenged in the way Einstein was decades previously. And like Einstein, Satoshi and bitcoin have come to slowly capture the imagination. As Professor Hawking said: ‘remember to look up at the stars and not down to your feet’.

As we contemplate the moon, can our understanding of a stable universe exist without a stable money?
Written by Jon Gulson @jongulson
Posted 16 April 2018
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