How to Destroy Bitcoin – Bits & Pieces #4

We love Bitcoin. A lot. So why would we want to destroy it? Well, for the most part, we don't. But if you've listened to our weekly podcast before, you may have heard us chatting a few times about how the only thing likely to displace Bitcoin is something better. So today, I'm talking about what could be better. If we really did want to destroy Bitcoin, how should we design an ultimate new currency?

Make It Faster

In many ways, Bitcoin is blazing fast. Sending a million bitcoins to the other side of the globe could easily take less than half an hour. In contrast, a small domestic bank transfer with fiat currency can take days. Bitcoin's speed is great for most use cases, but why not make it faster? Waiting just 10-15 seconds for a credit card to clear at a slow cash register can get a little awkward and upset customers in line. Similar delays can occur when paying with Bitcoin, even without waiting for confirmations.

If we're shooting for something better, let's make it reliably instant. Hey, I didn't say I knew how to implement these changes. I don't even know if they're possible. But I do know that this would make for one awesome currency.

Make It Slimmer

The Bitcoin blockchain is growing fast. At the time of this writing, it's over 24 gigabytes. This is small enough to fit on any modern hard drive, but it will not go unnoticed and it will grow. Even if you've got a few terabytes to work with, downloading it for the first time could take days. This hassle is enough to prevent the majority of Bitcoin users from installing a full Bitcoin node, making the network less secure. In his original Bitcoin whitepaper, Satoshi suggested some ways to prune the blockchain. Things might get a little better when those changes are implemented, but why not shrink the chain even more? Could we remove it altogether?

Make It Stronger

Multisignature is awesome. It makes cryptocurrency the only kind of currency that can actually do work for us. It can determine mathematically and predictably when it can and cannot be spent. This offers an insanely high degree of security and customizability. Why not add even more? Could we program our money to be locked at one address for a certain amount of time? Could we tell our money to decide where it should go and when, based on real world data?

There are already some alternate cryptocurrencies attempting to integrate with a full programming language. This is considered risky, because it opens so many doors, but it could also be world-changing, because it opens so many doors.

The ultimate currency might look something like a track star. It has to be faster, slimmer, and stronger. It will win marathons, long jumps, and shot puts, all in the same day. When that it finally comes around, we'll wonder why we ever thought Bitcoin was cool.

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