Embarrassing or strange new narratives: Bitcoin is to money, like 0 to mathematics

Written in front: The original author Robert Breedlove started with the origin story of the number "0" and expounded its impact on the fields of mathematics, religion, philosophy, music, art, etc., and he believed that the absolute scarcity introduced by Bitcoin, In terms of meaning, it is equivalent to the discovery of the number "0", and zero and infinity are reciprocal …


Satoshi Nakamoto brought Bitcoin to the world, a real "nothingness", and he found that absolute currency scarcity is an irresistible idea, and it is changing the world greatly, just like its digital ancestor "0" same.

Zero is special

"In the history of human civilization, zero discovery is always one of the greatest achievements." Tobias Danzig "Numbers: The Language of Science"

Many people think that Bitcoin is just one of thousands of cryptocurrencies, which sounds right, just like the number 0 is just one of infinite numbers. But in fact, Bitcoin is special, and zero is special: both are an invention that led to a discovery that fundamentally reshaped the system. For Bitcoin, this system is money, and For zero, it's math. Since currency and mathematics are two common languages ​​of human beings, Bitcoin and Zero are also important parts of civilization.

For most of history, humans did not have the concept of zero: the understanding of zero is not inherent to us, it is a symbol that must be invented and continuously taught to future generations. Zero is an abstract concept. It is indistinguishable in the physical world. No one buys 0 apples. In order to better understand this, we will follow a winding road that covers more than 4,000 years of human history and makes zero a part of the foundation of modern experience.

Numerals are symbols of numbers. They are the greatest abstraction of human history: in fact, everything we interact with is grasped in the form of quantification or numbers. Mathematics is a number language that was originally developed out of humans' actual desire to count things, whether it is the number of fish caught every day or the number of days since the last full moon. Many ancient civilizations developed a basic number system: In 2000 BC, the Babylonians failed to conceptualize zero, and they used two symbols in different arrangements to create unique numbers between 1 and 60:


Babylon cuneiform is a relatively inefficient number system and it is very cumbersome to use it to calculate

To this day, the remains of the Babylonian cuneiform system still exist: 60 seconds in one minute, 60 minutes in one hour, and six groups of 60 degrees in a circle. But this ancient system lacks the number zero, which severely limits its usefulness. The ancient Greeks and Mayans developed their own digital systems, each of which contained a rough concept of zero. However, the first time Zero was explicitly proposed and used for arithmetic came from ancient Indian and Cambodian culture. They created a system of nine number symbols and a small dot to mark the absence of a number, the original zero. This digital system will eventually evolve into the system we use today:


The first known written zero, from the Bakshari manuscript, which contains content dating back to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD


Zero from the 7th century, it was found in Cambodia

In the 7th century, Indian mathematician Brahmagupta developed zero in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. As the Indian mathematics discipline matures, it enters China eastward through the trade network and into Islamic and Arab culture westward. It is this zero progress from the West that eventually led to the birth of the Arabic numeral system, which is the most common symbolic number representation in the world today:


Reduction of mathematics

About 300 years later, in the Middle Ages, when it arrived in Europe at zero, it encountered strong ideological resistance. In the face of opposition from users of the old Roman numeral system, Zero has found a hard footing in Europe. People at the time were able to survive without zero, but what they hardly knew was that performing calculations without zero was very inefficient . Here is an appropriate analogy to keep in mind: without zero and bitcoin, math and money are possible, but without these core elements, both are very wasteful systems . Consider the difficulty of arithmetic with Roman numerals:


If you think you are not good at using numbers, try using letters

Calculations using the Hindu Arabic numeral system are much simpler than using Roman numerals. In the long run, energy-efficient systems have a tendency to win , as we have seen (steam engines outweigh animal power). This example just shows that addition, multiplication, and division are more difficult. As Amir D. Akzel described in his book Finding Zero:

"The Arabic numeral system allows a great sign economy so that the same number, such as 4, can be used to represent itself or forty (40) followed by a zero, or 404 written as 404, or written after 4. With three zeros of four thousand (4000). The power of the Arabic numeral system is unparalleled because it enables us to represent numbers efficiently and compactly, and enables us to perform complex arithmetic calculations that were not easy before.

In a world of wealth through commerce, the inefficiency of Roman numerals is intolerable. With the proliferation of trade networks and the simultaneous enhancement of productivity, the growing wealth creation prospects have inspired businessmen to become more and more competitive, prompting them to always seek advantages over others. Calculations and recordings using zero-based digital systems are easier, faster, and less error-prone. Despite resistance from Europe, this new digital system cannot be ignored: just like its distant offspring Bitcoin, zero is an unstoppable idea, and its time has come:


Zero function

The first function of zero is to act as a placeholder in our numerical system : for example, notice the "0" in the number "1104" in the equation above, which means that there are no values ​​in the ten digits. In "1104", if there is no zero as the absent symbol of this order of magnitude, the number cannot be explicitly stated (without zero, is it "1,104" or "114"?). The lack of zero impairs the ability of a digital system to keep meaning constant when scaling. And the inclusion of zero gives other numbers new meaning based on their position relative to them. In this way, whether it is a ledger, calculator, or thought training, zero can allow us to calculate with less energy. Zero is a symbol of nothing. As Lao Tzu said, nothing is a very useful feature:

"I think that when there is nothing, it is useful ."

In more philosophical terms, zero is a symbol of nothingness, as Aksel described:

"… Nothing is everywhere, it moves around; when you write a number in some way, it can represent a truth (say, not ten), and in another case, it can represent another Truth, for example, when you don't have thousands in a number! "

A currency-like feature: Zero is a scalable "value store" of higher orders of magnitude, which is why we always like to see another zero at the end of a bank account or Bitcoin balance. Similarly, a sound economic value reserve will lead to an increase in savings, which will support investment and productivity growth. A sound mathematical value placeholder will also give us a number system that can contain more in less space. Meaning and support computing in less time: both of these will promote productivity growth. Just as money is the medium through which capital continues to cycle into the best economic places of employment, zero gives other digital cycles the ability to be used for different purposes over and over again and has different meanings.

The second function of zero represents a number : it is the midpoint between any positive and negative numbers (such as +2 and -2). Before the concept of zero was proposed, humans did not use negative numbers because there was no concept of "none" as a number, let alone "less than nothing". Mathematician Brama Gupta reversed the line of positive numbers, created negative numbers, and placed 0 in the middle, completing the number system we use today. Although negative numbers existed early, such as the Han Dynasty in China (206 BC to 220 BC), the use of negative numbers was not formalized before the emergence of Brahmanism because they required the concept of zero alignment to be properly defined and aligned. Visually, negative numbers are a reflection of positive numbers at 0:


Zero is the center of our entire digital system, just as money is the center of any economic system

Interestingly, negative numbers were originally used to represent debt, which predates the invention of double entry bookkeeping. In this way, zero is the "swap medium" between the positive and negative domains of numbers, and only through zero can they enter or leave these domains. By dropping below zero and conceptualizing negative numbers, many new and unusual (but very useful) mathematical structures have emerged, including imaginary numbers, complex numbers, fractals, and advanced astrophysics equations. In the same way, the monetary and economic exchange medium leads to the acceleration of trade and innovation, while the zero mathematical exchange medium also leads to the development of information exchange and its related civilizational progress:


Mandlebrot Set: One of the most famous examples of fractals, it is a puzzling mathematical structure composed of complex numbers that simulates natural geometry and its inherent complexity. As one of the most famous examples of the beauty of mathematics, this fractal has infinite depth, breadth, and unique self-similarity. And zero is the necessary premise of this fractal modeling!

The third function of zero is as a promoter of scores or ratios . For example, the number system of the ancient Egyptians lacked zero, and their method of dealing with fractions was extremely tedious: instead of treating 3/4 as a ratio of 3/4 (as we do today), they saw it as 1 Sum of / 2 and 1/4. The vast majority of Egyptian fractions are written as the sum of the numbers 1 / n, where n is the number of counts and these are called unit fractions. Without zero, a longer chain of unit scores would be needed to handle larger and more complex ratios (many of us remember the pain of converting scores from school). With zero, we can easily convert fractions to decimal form (such as 1/2 to 0.5), which eliminates the need for complicated conversions when dealing with fractions.

We will not say "this house will cost 11 cars", but rather "this house will cost $ 440,000". Currency gives us the ability to better handle exchange rate ratios, just like zero gives us the ability to handle better The numbers are the same.

Numbers are the ultimate level of objective abstraction. Numbers and mathematics greatly enhance the exchange of knowledge between people (which can be reflected in goods or services), because people can communicate almost anything in a common language. Well, money is just a mathematical measure of the available capital in the market: it is the least common denominator of all economic commodities, and it must be the most liquid asset with the least change in supply . It is used as a system for measuring changing capital valuations (that's why gold has become a currency-it is a currency metal whose supply is the most difficult to change). The ratio of money to capital (that is, price) is one of the most important ratios in the world, and the ability to effectively deal with ratios directly promotes the later rational development of mankind. This is a logic-based way of thinking. It is the Renaissance, The roots of major social movements such as reform and the Enlightenment. To truly understand the strange logic of zero, we must start with the origin of zero-the philosophy it was born of.

Zero philosophy

"In the earliest days of the gods, existence originated from non-existence." — Rigveda

Zero originated from the bizarre logic of the ancient East. In Buddhism, the logical characteristics of the phenomenological world are more complicated than "right and wrong":

"Everything is either true, or not true, or true or false, or neither true nor false. This is what the Buddha taught.


This is the four-sentence syntax (Note: Buddhist proper nouns, which are in the form of categories, methods such as affirmation, negation, reaffirmation, and re-negation): To understand this ancient oriental logic, you need to master a Strange key-the concept of Shunya (Hindi), which means zero: it is derived from the Buddhist philosophy Śūnyatā (or Shunyata). The ultimate goal of meditation is to obtain enlightenment or achieve the ideal nirvana state, which is equivalent to completely emptying one's thoughts, desires, and worldly attachments. To achieve this state of absolute emptiness is to survive in Shunyata: a philosophical concept closely related to the void, as described by Buddhist writer Thich Nhat Hanh:

"The first door to liberation is void, and Shunyata Void always means nothing; Void is an intermediate way between existence and non-existence; reality transcends the concepts of existence and non-existence; real void is called" wonder “Being” because it transcends being and non-existing; focusing on the void is a way to stay connected to life, but it must be practiced, not just talked about.


Or, as described by a monk from an ancient temple in Southeast Asia:

"When we meditate, we count. We close our eyes and only know where we are now, nothing else. We calculate the breath as 1, we calculate the exhalation as 2, and then we move on. When we stop When counting, that's the void, the number zero. "

Through meditation you can directly gain the experience of the void. In true meditation, Shunyata is the same as the number zero. Nullness is the pipeline between existence and non-existence. Similarly, zero is the gate from positive to negative: every number is a perfect reflection of another number. Zero appearance in the ancient East is the epitome of this profound philosophy and the concept of absolute emptiness. From experience, today we know that meditation is good for the brain in many ways. Its contribution to zero discovery also seems to help form a concept that is beneficial to the collective wisdom of humankind: global hive thinking.

Although zero was discovered in a state of mind, it is a profound and practical concept: perhaps it is best understood as a fusion of philosophy and pragmatism. Crossing zero into the area of ​​negative numbers, we will encounter imaginary numbers. The basic unit of the square root of imaginary numbers is -1, which is represented by the letter i. The number i is contradictory: Consider the equations x²+ 1 = 0 and x³+ 1 = 0 only possible answers are the positive square root of -1(i) the negative square root of -1 (-i or i³) , respectively. Visualizing these real and imaginary domains, we find a zero-centered rotation axis whose direction is reminiscent of tetralemma: one true (1), one non-true (i), one true or false True (-1 or i²), one that is neither true nor false (-i or i³):


Zero is the fulcrum between the real and imaginary planes

Compared to the discrete "none or the other" logic commonly recognized by Aristotle and his followers, the domain of negative and imaginary numbers entered through the gate of zero provides a more continuous logical form. Compared to Aristotle's binary logic system based on "true" and "false", this framework is less "black and white" and provides many logical levels; it maps more precisely to our Many "gray shadows" found in nature. For example, someone might say "she is not unattractive", which means that her appeal is ambiguous, somewhere between attractive and unattractive. And this view is often more realistic than the binary evaluation "attractive" or "unattractive" .

Importantly, zero gives us the notion of infinity: this is obviously missing from the minds of ancient Greek logicians. By rotating the real and imaginary axes around zero, you can mathematically zoom into a three-dimensional model called a Riemann sphere. In this structure, zero and infinity are geometric reflections of each other, and they can be transposed at the instant of the mathematical arrangement. In the inverse of this three-dimensional quarterly mathematical interpretation, we find that zero twins are infinite :


Displaying the real and imaginary planes in three dimensions, we find that the twin brother of zero is infinite

Zero and infinite bipolarity, similar to yin and yang, as described by Charles Seife, author of "Zero: A Biography of Dangerous Thoughts":

"Zero and infinity always look suspiciously similar. Multiplying zero by anything yields zero. Multiplying infinity by anything still yields infinity. Dividing a number by zero equals infinity and dividing a number by infinity. It's equal to zero. A number plus 0 stays the same, and when you add a number to infinity, the infinity remains the same. "

In Eastern philosophy, the blood relationship between zero and infinity is meaningful: it is possible to become infinity only in an absolutely empty state. The logic of Buddhism insists that everything is intertwined endlessly: in a huge causal network, where everything is inextricably linked to each other, therefore, nothing can really be considered Independent because it has its own isolated, non-interdependent nature. According to this view, interrelationships are the only source of confirmation. For their teachings, this truth is the common origin of what Buddhists call dependence, meaning that everything depends on each other. The only exception is Nirvana: liberation from endless reincarnation. In Buddhism, the only way to Nirvana is through pure emptiness:


Nirvana: the ultimate spiritual goal of Buddhism, which is achieved by entering the emptiness of meditation, this is where zero is found

Some ancient Buddhist literature says: "True absolute freedom must be emptiness." In this sense, the invention of zero is special, and it can be regarded as the discovery of absolute emptiness, which was previously found in philosophy or mathematics. There is no such assumption in the knowledge system. Its discovery has proven to be a liberating force for human beings, because zero is the basis for the mathematical and software-based convenience that we inhabit today.

The concept of twins of zero and infinity has ignited the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, all of which weakened Catholicism as the world's leading institution and paved the way for the industrialized nation-state.

The decline of the church

The ancient Greek universe was founded on the philosophical tenets of Pythagoras, Aristotle, and Ptolemy. Their central idea of ​​the concept of the universe is: there is no nothingness, no zero . The Greeks inherited their numbers from the Egyptians who loved geometry, and they rarely distinguished between shapes and numbers. Even today, when we square a number (x²), this is equivalent to converting a line into a square and calculating its area. Pythagoreans are confused by the connection between shapes and numbers, which explains why they don't treat zero as a number: after all, what shape can represent nothingness? The ancient Greeks believed that numbers must be visible to be true, while the ancient Indians believed that numbers were an inherent part of a latent, invisible reality.

The symbol of the Pythagoras cult is the five-pointed star. This sacred shape within the five-pointed star is the key to their observation of the universe-the golden ratio. The golden ratio is considered to be the "most beautiful number", which is achieved by dividing a line so that the proportions of the small part to the majority and the majority to the whole are the same. It was found that this ratio was not only beautiful, but also naturally appeared in various forms, including nautilus shells, pineapples, and (a few centuries later) the DNA double helix found. This objectively pure beauty is considered a window to transcendence. Today, the golden ratio is widely used in art, music and architecture:


The beauty of the golden section has deeply affected many areas including architecture (as can be seen in the design of the Parthenon)

The golden ratio also exists in music harmony: when musicians play strings from a specific passage, they can create the perfect fifth note, which is a double resonance note. On the other hand, the discordant Tritone is ridiculed as "the devil in music". In the Pythagorean view of the finite universe (later known as the Aristotle's celestial model), this musical harmony is considered to be consistent with the harmony of mathematics and the universe. From Pythagoras's point of view, "everything is a number", which means that the ratio rules the universe. The seemingly supernatural connection between the golden ratio and aesthetics, life, and the universe became the central tenet of Western civilization, and later it became the Catholic (also known as the Church).

The concept of zero on the finite universe poses a major threat . Dividing by zero undermines the logical framework and therefore threatens the perfect order and integrity of the Pythagoras worldview. This was a serious problem for the church, which became the main institution in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. In order to consolidate its dominance in the world, the church regards itself as the gatekeeper of heaven, and it proposes that anyone who crosses the church in any way will find himself locked forever outside the gate. The church's claim to absolute sovereignty relies heavily on the Pythagoras model, which believes that the dominant institutions on the earth (in their eyes, the center of the universe) must dominate in the universe of God. As a symbol of nothingness and infinity, zero is heresy for the church . Centuries later, similar dynamics will emerge in the discovery of currencies.

The ancient Greeks insisted on a world view that could not tolerate zero or infinity: rejection of these key concepts proved to be their biggest failure because it prevented the discovery of calculus, which is the basis of many physical sciences and the modern world. Established mathematical mechanism. At the core of their (defective) belief system is the concept of "indivisible atoms", that is, elementary particles that cannot be infinitely subdivided. Similarly, they consider the universe to be the "atom of the macro universe", which is severely constrained by the outermost stars, who blinked at the core of the universe, Earth.


The Earth-centered "finite universe" was the central principle of ancient Greek philosophy and later Catholic rule of the world

Aristotle (which was later improved by Ptolemy) explained this finite universe in a philosophical way, and used it to lay the ideological foundation for the existence of God and the power of the church on earth. In Aristotle's view of the universe, the driving force that drives all the elements below is God. This cascade of cosmic power entering the human movement from top to bottom is considered the official interpretation of the divine will. When Christianity swept the West, the church relied on the explanatory power of Aristotle's philosophy to prove the existence of God in its religious activities. Opposition to Aristotle's doctrine was quickly considered to be against the existence of God and against the church. By the 13th century, some bishops began to call parliament to question Aristotle's doctrine of "God is omnipotent": for example, "God cannot move heaven straight, because that leaves a vacuum. If heaven moves straight, So what is left behind it? What material does it move through? This means the existence of void (vacuum), or God is not truly omnipotent because he cannot move heaven. "Suddenly, Aristotle's philosophy Began to break under its own pressure, thus eroding the premise of church power. Although the Church insisted on Aristotle's views for centuries, its struggle against heresy by forbidding certain books and burning certain Protestants marked the end of this arbitrary and oppressive system.

An infinite universe means at least a large number of planets, many of which may have their own populations and churches. The earth is no longer the center of the universe, so why should the church have universal domination? In a huge ideological shift that heralded the invention of Bitcoin centuries later, Zero became the idea of ​​breaking the church's control over humans, just as the absolute scarcity of money broke the Fed's restraint on the world today. In the echo of history, we modern people can once again hear the discovery of "emptiness" beginning to change everything.

Zero: Master of ideology

Under the teachings of the Church, Christianity initially refused to accept zero, which was related to its initial fear of nothingness. Zero had an insurmountable link between nothingness and chaos, which was a frightening concept for most Christians at the time. But it turns out that zero ability supports honest measurement, which is more important than the church's response. In a trade-based world, merchants need zero to achieve superior arithmetic utility. As Pierre Simon Laplace said:

"… [zero] is a profound and important concept. It is so simple for us that we ignore its true value. But its simplicity and the great convenience it brings to all calculations make it Our arithmetic is first in useful inventions. "

In the 13th century, scholars such as the famous Italian mathematician Fibonacci began to advocate for zero, which helped the Arab system gain credibility in Europe. As trade began to flourish and created unprecedented levels of wealth in the world, mathematics shifted from pure practical applications to more and more abstract functions. As Alfred North Whitehead put it:

"The problem with zero is that we don't need to use it in everyday operations. No one goes out and buys zero fish. In a sense, it is the most civilized of all bases. Its use is only It ’s forced by the way we think. "

As human thinking becomes more and more complex, people's requirements for mathematics become higher and higher. Tools like abacus rely on a set of sliding stones to help us track quantities and make calculations. The abacus is like an ancient calculator. With the popularity of zero in Europe, there is a competition between the abacus and the users of the emerging Arabic numeral system to see who can solve complex calculation problems faster. After training, algorithmicians can easily exceed the abacus in calculations. Competitions like this have led to the demise of the useful tool of abacus, but it still leaves a lasting imprint on our language: the words "calculation", "calculus" and "calcium" are all from Latin Derived from the word "pebble".


Algorithmists competing with abacus: competitions like this prove the superiority of zero-based mathematical systems

Before the advent of the Arabic numeral system, currency counters had to use abacus or counting boards to record the flow of value. The Germans called the counting committee a savings bank, which is why money lenders are called banks. Banks not only used counting boards, but also used counting sticks to track loan activity: the monetary value of the loan was written on the side of a stick and then divided into two parts, and the lender kept the larger part, the stock, and then we With the term shareholder:


An ancient loan-tracking device where lenders retained a larger portion (ie, stocks) and became shareholders of the lending bank

Despite its commercial utility, Zero is despised by major authorities. In 1299, Florence banned the Arabic numeral system. Like many innovations, Zero faces strong resistance from power structures because these structures are threatened by Zero . Italian merchants, acting illegally, continued to use zero-based digital systems and even started using it to transmit encrypted messages. Zero was essential for these early encryption systems, which is why the word "cipher", which originally meant zero, became "password".

In the early Renaissance, the threat of zero to church power was not obvious. At that time, Zero had been used as an artistic tool to create vanishing points, and it triggered a great renaissance of visual art. Even the best artists cannot capture realism without zero:


With the concept of zero, artists can create a zero-dimensional point in their works, which is "infinity" from the viewer, and all objects in the painting collapse visually. As objects seem to recede from the observer, they become more compressed and eventually disappear. As is the case today, art has a strong influence on people's perception. In the end, a cardinal of the church, Nicholas-Kusa, declared: "The earth is not the center of the universe." This declaration later led Copernicus to prove heliocentric theory, and then ignited the Reformation, and later the Enlightenment:


By adding vanishing points (visually zero concepts) to sketching and painting, art gains the realistic quality of depth, breadth, and spatial proportion

A dangerous, heretical, and revolutionary idea is implanted by the zero sum of its visual avatars (vanishing points). At this point of infinite distance, the concept of zero is visually captured and space is infinite, as Saif described:

"Zero and infinity are connected at the vanishing point, which is no coincidence. Just as multiplying zero will cause the digital line to collapse into a point, the vanishing point also plunges most of the universe into a small point. This is a singularity. It became very important in the history of science, but at this early stage, mathematicians knew only a little bit more about the nature of zero than artists. "

Renaissance artists (usually also mathematicians) promoted the promotion of zero in the perspective of human thought.

The era of one and zero

In the end, zero became the cornerstone of calculus: this innovative mathematical system enabled people to cope with smaller units close to zero, but cleverly avoided the logical trap of having to divide by zero. This new system provides countless new ways for humans to understand and grasp their surroundings. Different disciplines such as chemistry, engineering and physics rely on calculus to perform their functions in today's world:


Calculus allows us to make symphonic arrangements of matter precisely according to our imagination. This mathematical study of continuous change is the basis of all physical sciences.

Zero is the source of many technological breakthroughs, some of which together will become the most important invention in history (such as Bitcoin). Zero created a vacuum hole in the framework of mathematics, which shattered Aristotle's philosophy. Today, Bitcoin has created a vacuum hole in the currency market, which is killing Keynesian economics.

In modern times, zero has become a famous tool in our treasure house of mathematics. Since binary number systems are now the basis of modern computer programming, zero is essential for the development of digital tools such as personal computers, the Internet, and Bitcoin. Surprisingly, all modern miracles created by digital technology date back to the invention of an ancient Indian mathematician, and Satoshi Nakamoto emulated this generosity centuries later, as Aczel said:

" Numbers are our greatest invention, and zero is the culmination of the entire system ."

Binary code consisting of countless zeros and ones has led to the proliferation and standardization of communication protocols, including those embodied in Internet protocol suites. When people are free to try these new tools, they are organized around the most useful protocols (such as http, TCP / IP, etc.). The standardization of digital communication standards provides the foundation for the establishment of new social utilities such as e-mail, ride sharing, and mobile computing. Among these digital innovations, the latest and arguably the greatest invention is Bitcoin, an unstoppable and unstoppable currency.

A common misconception about Bitcoin is that it is just one of the thousands of cryptocurrency assets in the world today . This misunderstanding may be forgiven, because our world today is home to the currencies of many countries. But these currencies initially started with warehouse receipts for the same type of commodity, namely metal currencies (usually gold).

Given this confusion, many people mistakenly believe that Bitcoin could be overturned by any of the thousands of crypto assets to choose from in the market today. This is understandable, because what makes Bitcoin different is not part of the common saying, and it is relatively difficult to understand. Even Ray Dalio, the greatest hedge fund manager in history, has stated that he believes that Bitcoin could be disrupted by competitors, just as the iPhone is upending BlackBerry. However, the subversion of Bitcoin is extremely unlikely, and the key breakthrough is the discovery of absolute scarcity, a currency attribute that humans have never realized .

Just like the invention of zero, which led to the discovery of "there is nothing" in mathematics and other fields, Bitcoin is a catalyst for the phase change of the global paradigm (some people began to call it the "Great Awakening"). Zero fills the mathematical void, while Bitcoin fills the absolute scarcity of money. It is not just a new currency technology, it is also a new economic paradigm: an uncompromising base currency agreement that is applicable globally , Digital, non-state-owned economy. To understand this better, we first need to understand the nature of path dependence .

Bitcoin's path dependence

Path dependence is the sensitivity of the result to the sequence of events that led to it. In a broad sense, this means that history has inertia:


Path dependence means that the order of events is just as important as the event itself : as a simple example, if you bathe yourself first and then dry yourself, you will get drastically different results than if you wipe yourself off first and then bathe yourself . Path dependencies are particularly common in complex systems because they are highly interconnected and many (often unpredictable) interdependencies. Once it started on a particular path, it became impossible to get rid of its social inertia. For example, imagine if the world were trying to standardize power sockets of different sizes: consumers, manufacturers, and suppliers would resist this costly change unless there were huge expected benefits. Coordinating this shift in standardization requires either a significantly more efficient technology (a pull method that people benefit from) or a powerful organization to force change (people are forced to change when faced with a threat) Method of promotion). Path dependence is the reason that events in the socio-political field often affect technological development. When the United States government tried to change to the metric system in the 1970s, American citizens witnessed the pressure of path dependence.

Bitcoin is being pushed to the world as a technology: a non-state digital currency that is issued on a completely fixed, decreasing, and predictable schedule. It was released strategically when no comparative technology existed. Bitcoin's natural adoption path and the expansion of the mining network are a series of non-repeatable events . As a thought experiment, please consider that if someone introduced a "new bitcoin" today, its early security would be weak, because its mining network and computing power must start from scratch. Today, in a world where bitcoin is known, this weakly secure "new bitcoin" will inevitably be attacked .


Bitcoin's lead in computing power seems insurmountable

Path reliance protects Bitcoin from damage, as the sequence of organic events that led to the issuance and integration of Bitcoin into the market cannot be replicated . In addition, bitcoin's money supply is absolutely scarce. This is a completely unique currency discovery. Even if the "new bitcoin" is issued with an absolutely scarce money supply, it will motivate its holders to maximize liquidity, Network effects and chain security to hold currencies, which will cause them to dump "new bitcoins" into original bitcoins . What's more realistic is that those who seek to compete with Bitcoin will not launch "new Bitcoin" but will instead obtain a social contract attack vector by launching a hard fork. Similar attempts have been made on the "BCH" fork, which attempts to increase the block size to improve the utility of payments. This chain fork is an example of failure and is also a manifestation of Bitcoin's dependency path:


Continuing our thought experiment: Even if the money supply of "new bitcoin" decreases (in other words, deflationary monetary policy is adopted), how is its rate of decline in money supply (deflation) determined? What mechanism will be selected for its beneficiaries? When market participants (nodes and miners) scramble to get the most economic benefits from deflationary monetary policy, forks will follow, which will reduce the "new bitcoin" liquidity, network effects and blocks The security of the chain eventually led everyone to reinvest in the original Bitcoin as before .

Path dependence ensures that those trying to create new Bitcoins will be burned to death. With the strengthening of the Quartet network effect, Bitcoin's first-mover advantage seems insurmountable. The idea of ​​absolute currency scarcity runs counter to the will of a deeply rooted power structure like the Fed: like zero, once a timed idea is released into the world, it is almost impossible to put this well-known elf back into the bottle . After all, the unstoppable idea is an independent life form:


Limited and unlimited games

Macroeconomics is essentially a series of global gaming games to meet the (infinite) needs of humans within their (strictly limited) time frame. In these games, the score is calculated in currency. Using the words in the seminal book "Limited and Infinite Games", there are two types of economic games: markets that are not free (or centrally planned) are theatrical, which means that they follow a predetermined script , And scripts often require due diligence and disregard for humans. Free markets, on the other hand, are dramatic, which means that free markets are currently being developed based on voluntary and adaptable boundaries. Software development is a good example of a rapidly changing market, because entrepreneurs are free to adopt the rules, tools, and protocols that best serve their customers. In short: Dramatic games are governed by imposed rules, while dramatic game rulesets are used voluntarily (based on personal sovereignty) .

From a moral point of view, sovereignty is higher than autocracy. From a practical point of view, the energy efficiency of free markets is also higher. Because interdependence between people is the core of the comparative advantage and division of labor driving cooperation and competitive value propositions, we can say that currency is an infinite game: it means that its purpose is not to win, but to Keep playing. After all, if a player has all the money, the game will end (just like a monopoly game).

In this sense, Bitcoin's ultimate money supply growth rate (inflation rate) is absolutely zero, which is the ultimate currency Schelling point. In game theory, game refers to any situation where there may be winners or losers. The strategy is a decision-making process, and the Schelling point is the default strategy of the game. In this case, the two sides of the game cannot fully trust each other (just like currency):


In many areas of competing interpersonal interests, scarcity is the shering point of money

Incentive economic participants choose the currency that best retains its value over time, is most widely accepted, and conveys market pricing information most clearly. And these three qualities all stem from scarcity: resistance to inflation, the ability to ensure that the currency retains its value, and the ability to accurately price capital across time, which has led to its use as a medium of exchange. For these reasons, holding the scarce money is the most energy-efficient strategy that participants can adopt, which makes the absolute scarcity of bitcoin an indisputable shering point, and in currency games, this is a Unshakable fancy theme.

Bitcoin is a distant digital offspring of zero, and its invention represents the discovery of the absolute scarcity of money: an equally unstoppable idea.

Similar to the discovery of absolute nothingness marked by zero, the discovery of absolutely scarce currencies marked by bitcoin is also special. Gold has become a currency because it is the least flexible (or relatively scarce) among monetary metals, which means that no matter how much time is allocated for gold production, its supply growth is the least. As the supply of gold has the slowest growth rate and is the most predictable, gold is conducive to storage value and pricing, which encourages people to voluntarily adopt gold, thereby making gold the dominant currency in the free market. Before the advent of Bitcoin, gold was the shering point of the world's currency because it made transactions easier, thereby reducing the need to trust other participants. Bitcoin is like its digital ancestor "zero". It is an invention that fundamentally improves the efficiency of exchange by purifying the transmission of information. In currency games, people's goal has always been to hold the most scarce currency metal (gold), but now the goal is to occupy the largest territory on the absolutely scarce currency network bitcoin.

New era of money

Historically, precious metals have been the best currency technology in terms of five key characteristics of currency: severability, durability, portability, recognizability, and scarcity. Among monetary metals, gold is relatively the scarcest, so it is a relatively reliable way of storing value, and it outperforms other currencies. In the rise of gold as a currency, it seems that the forces of free markets are trying to focus on a sufficiently divisible, durable, portable, and recognizable currency technology that is also absolutely scarce. A free market is a distributed computing system that is based on the general needs of people and the supply of available capital, with the most useful prices and technologies at zero. In this case, verifiable scarcity is the best representative of currency authenticity, which ensures that currency does not depreciate over time.

As a thought experiment, suppose that humans found "new gold" in the earth's crust, assuming that it is evenly distributed across the entire earth's surface. As far as the five currency characteristics are concerned, it can be completely comparable to gold (even more scarce), The dynamics of the free market will then lead to its selection as a currency because it is closer to absolute scarcity, which makes it a better means of storing value and spreading price signals. And if we can turn on a switch and force everyone on the planet to engage in gold mining alone, the supply of gold will soon skyrocket. Unlike Bitcoin, it is impossible to guarantee a permanently fixed supply in any form of currency, and as far as we know, absolute scarcity can only be digital.

Of all five characteristics of money, digitization is advantageous. Compared to other currency technologies, since Bitcoin is only information, we can say that it is the most divisible, because the information can be subdivided infinitely and reorganized at a cost close to zero (such as numbers); its durability is also the highest , Because information does not break down; its portability is also the highest, because information can move at the speed of light, and its recognizability is the highest, because information is the most objectively discernible substance in the universe (such as written text). Finally, and the most critical point, because Bitcoin enforces an absolute scarcity of money supply in algorithm and thermodynamics, we can say that its scarcity is infinite. Taken together, these characteristics make absolutely scarce digital currencies appear indestructible on the market .

Just as the number zero enables our digital system to scale and perform calculations more easily, currency also enables economies to scale society by simplifying trade and economic calculations. In short: scarcity is critical to the use of money, and zero-growth final money supply represents "perfect" scarcity, which makes Bitcoin as close to the "perfect" currency technology that humans once had. Absolute scarcity is a major currency breakthrough. And because currencies are valued based on reflexivity, this means that investors' views on their future convertibility will affect their current valuation. Therefore, Bitcoin's fully predictable and limited future supply will be based on Increase market value at an unprecedented rate:


Bitcoin is truly unique, and its money supply is scarce and predictable

In a nutshell: Bitcoin's invention represents a discovery of absolute scarcity or absolute irreproducibility. This discovery was caused by a series of special non-reproducible special events . Any attempt to introduce absolute scarcity or reduced supply to the world, its participants may eventually return to Bitcoin (as we saw in the "BCH Fork"). Just like heliocentric or other major scientific paradigm shifts, absolute scarcity is a discovery. In a world where bitcoin already exists, it has become impossible to successfully launch new bitcoin through a proof-of-work system (PoW) due to path dependence. This is also another cryptocurrency asset that uses this consensus mechanism. Another reason why Bitcoin cannot be copied or surpassed. At this point, the absolute scarcity of money seems to be a real one-time discovery.

A true "Bitcoin killer" will require a brand new consensus mechanism and distribution model, and an implementation supervised by an unprecedented organization group. However, so far, no idea can meet these requirements . The absolute scarcity of Bitcoin supply will continue on its way to global dominance, surpassing all other monetary agreements.

Numbers are the basic abstraction that governs our world, zero is the vanishing point in the field of mathematics, and in the field of interpersonal competition and cooperation, currency is the dominant abstraction that governs our behavior. Money naturally becomes the most tradable thing in society, including communicating with others and our future self. Scarcity is a characteristic of money, which can keep the value of money in time, and enable us to trade with our future self in exchange for lost opportunity costs. As productivity increases, scarce currencies will generate value. Simply put, the scarcest currencies will win. In this sense, the meaning of zero on mathematics is the meaning of absolute scarcity on money .


Bitcoin engulfing other currencies

Bitcoin is the singularity of the global economy: the ultimate monetary center of gravity, the index devourer of the value of liquidity in the world economy, the epitome of time, the zero point of currency.

Dollars that will eventually zero

Zero Pass has made digital systems scalable, reversible, and easily convertible, proving that it is the pinnacle of our digital systems. Over time, Bitcoin will prove itself to be the most important network in the global economic system by increasing the scalability of society, leading to the inversion of economic power, and transforming culture into a readjustment to the laws of nature. Bitcoin will allow sovereignty to re-exist at the individual level, instead of being usurped by the institutional level as it is today, thanks to its special predecessor, Zero :


Central planning in the money market is dying. This autocratic financial hierarchy has exacerbated the world's wealth gap, funded permanent warfare, and plundered all public wealth to "rescue" failed institutions. The return to the free currency market is the only way to heal the damage caused by the past 100 years. The central authority is easy to make mistakes. They will succumb to political pressure and plunder value from people through printed currency. Bitcoin's monetary policy will not yield to anyone and it will not cause anyone any trouble. In a world where you can steal your wealth by adding zero, the only hope for people is a currency that will not be confiscated and will not swell:


Bitcoin is specifically designed as a countermeasure to "expansive monetary policy" (ie, the confiscation of wealth through inflation), which sets a new paradigm for money and energy efficiency.





零和无穷是互易的:1/∞=0 以及1/0=∞ 。同样,当通货膨胀率接近无穷大时(通过法定货币的恶性通货膨胀),一个社会的福利也会减少到零。相反,理论上,随着通胀率接近于零(通过比特币的绝对稀缺性),社会福利可以无限扩大。记住:美联储现在正在尽一切努力确保银行系统中有“无限现金”,这意味着它的价值最终将降为零:






感谢Brahmagupta和Satoshi Nakamoto的慷慨。