Proof of Life: Why is Bitcoin a living being?

How to prove that you are not a piece of code to read an article?

This is a very interesting question. Will you be a piece of code in a virtual machine if you live in the world?

I do not know.

If you think about this issue in a different way? Now the code created by our programmers has the characteristics of life?

This article gives an interesting perspective: Bitcoin is a new form of life.

Starting from the core elements of biology, the author finds that Bitcoin is in fact consistent with the basic framework of biology. Of course, you can also think that this argument is forcibly stuffing the material into the viewpoint and demonstrating it for argumentation.

However, he at least made an interesting idea, isn't it?

The following is the text, enjoy:


What is life?

Whether an objectively existing thing is alive is related to people's definition of life.

Life is very complicated, so answering the question of what is life is difficult. One of my favorite words is that life is a process, not a substance.

A living creature they have the attributes of growth, reproduction, inheritance, etc. They are made up of smaller units (such as cells) and can maintain the stability of the internal structure by acquiring the energy of the outside world.

From a physics point of view, biology is a thermodynamic system: it maintains a specific internal molecular structure through the energy difference of the surrounding environment, and allows it to continuously replicate and grow, and the living system can absorb energy from the environment to reduce the internal entropy.

Based on Chris Packard's Characteristics of Life, cc-by-sa 4.0

In short, life is actually creating order in chaos.

This is the case with Bitcoin: it takes energy from the environment and organizes everything. It does this by adding blocks to the ordered structure, which is what everyone calls the blockchain, and some say it is a distributed ledger.

But how to call it doesn't matter, you just need to know that the block is an important part of this complex system, just like the spine of a vertebrate.

To continue to understand that Bitcoin is an active creature, we have to let go of those popular words and ask ourselves: What exactly is Bitcoin? What constitutes it, and where is its border?


What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is relatively simple compared to the complexity of living things. But for the question of what is bitcoin, it is complicated.

It depends on your background. Bitcoin can be the financial revolution, computer technology, payment systems, new central banks, liberal revolutions, pyramid schemes, inefficient databases, digital currencies.

Bitcoin is something completely different for different people.

But no matter what it is, it has become a force to be reckoned with. This is why I say that it has a life attribute. It is like you describe a person in the real world. You can be a father, a son, a friend, an enemy, a good person, a keyboard man, etc. It depends on other people. Look at the perspective.

And what kind of creatures Bitcoin has has different opinions:

For example, in the book "Mastering Bitcoin", Bitcoin is considered to be a group of leaf-cutting ants.

Jimmy Song thinks Bitcoin is a candied fruit (it doesn't care about anything)

Others think of Bitcoin as a tree. The seeds of Bitcoin are code, planted in a suitable season, and thrived in a distributed soil and community.

Another mainstream argument is that Bitcoin is a fungus that has its own underground kingdom.

The metaphor of candied fruit is my favorite. When people say bitcoin, they are actually saying that bitcoin is an animal that cannot be controlled, can't be tamed, and doesn't care about external factors.

No matter which creature you use to analogize to Bitcoin, I think it makes a lot of sense. It means that you have taken an important step in understanding Bitcoin: Bitcoin is an organism with life attributes.


Bitcoin creature

From a technical point of view, Bitcoin is the first example of a new form of life. It lives and breathes in the fertile soil of the Internet, it survives because it provides a useful service and people are willing to spend money to make it alive.

It exists because anyone, anywhere, can run a copy of its code.

It exists because all code copies can communicate with each other.

It exists because the collapse of a copy of the code does not affect the global, it will be discarded immediately.

It exists because it is fundamentally transparent, and anyone can see its code and know what it is saying.

Although Bitcoin is completely transparent and open, no one knows where bitcoin will eventually go. Like other life, bitcoin is not a unified mass group.

It is dynamic and consists of many different parts that interact and communicate with each other and, like other creatures, can be integrated with the environment. Just like an organism, once a key part is lost, the entire organism will die.

Bitcoin is a strange beast that spans the field: one foot is called information (thought and code), and one foot is a physical object (node ​​and person).

Bitcoin is a living entity that grows through the interaction of thoughts, codes, people and nodes. All four concepts are mutually fulfilling and influencing in a value entity of Bitcoin, maintaining the vitality of Bitcoin.

Whether people are part of Bitcoin's life or symbiotic with it depends on your point of view. Now, let us look at Bitcoin from a broader perspective. It is human, just like our lives are inseparable from all kinds of microbes, fungi, viruses and animals. Bitcoin is also inseparable from us.

The Bitcoin node is like the cells in your body. It will change over time, the miners are constantly changing, the mining machine is constantly updating, and even the mines are being updated, but Bitcoin has been getting stronger. .

Thoughts and codes are relatively illusory relative to the former. It is difficult to describe. You can understand this: people and nodes form the physical body, and code and thought are the soul of bitcoin.

These constitute the essence of Bitcoin. Only if something is compatible with this essence, he will be regarded as a part of the whole. If it is incompatible, it will be rejected—just like the biological exclusion of foreign bodies in the body.

Bitcoin's consensus rules clarify this essence, while others are constantly being repeated. Without a private key, you don't have bitcoin and run your own nodes.

Remember how we defined life at the beginning. Bitcoin can actually find mappings on various features.

Growth: Bitcoin is growing in all areas, network nodes, bitcoin markets, users, ecology, etc.

Reproduction: Paradoxically, Bitcoin uses replication to create scarcity, replication makes its network effect stronger, and its scarcity is more prominent. It has many ways to breed: source code, nodes, books, and so on. At the same time, mutations are also taking place. In the past decade, many invalid transactions, invalid blocks, and hundreds of forked coins have appeared.

Hereditary: Bitcoin inherits many features from its predecessors: cryptography, digital signatures, P2P networks, timestamps, and more. In addition, the openness of Bitcoin makes it possible to transfer genes: some features are gradually developed, while others are integrated into the Bitcoin code base in conjunction with the ideas of other projects.

Steady-state: The consensus mechanism of Bitcoin supports the stability of its system. If the block does not comply, it will be ruthlessly eliminated. The Bitcoin network will want to get rid of these dead blocks like the dead cells on the skin.

Metabolism: Mining machines around the world allow Bitcoin to survive, just as plants rely on sunlight. Bitcoin consumes power or electricity, which translates into a powerful network to maintain system stability.

Cell: The Bitcoin network consists of multiple nodes, each of which is a self-sustaining functional entity.

Sensitivity: Bitcoin is a highly sensitive organism, and changes in the environment can affect it: currency prices, policy changes, economic changes, technological changes, and more. But this is all its own reaction and represents an individual, company or country.

As mentioned above: Life is a process, not an isolated object. It is a subtle dance composed of countless parts. These parts maintain their respective organizational stability through complex signal communication. This is what we say that life is a whole phenomenon.

Finally, life is like fire, and the process is not the result. The best way to prove it is to find it.


Reference materials:


Translation: Wind Answer

Source: Orange Book