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Choose your Bitcoin

Bitcoin Users Are In Complete Control

By hifi.bitcoin | HiFi Bitcoin | 22 Sep 2022

Read now to learn how the ability to choose is a key part of Bitcoin's decentralization.

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Decentralization is a frequent topic in the crypto space. The political turmoil and societal upheaval of the last several years show that the people of the world are largely disillusioned by the failures of centralized governments and markets. Bitcoin ushered in a new age of decentralized finance, and numerous copycats have since come along to try and replicate its success. Consensus mechanisms give a good example: 

The Bitcoin blockchain uses the proof of work consensus mechanism, which relies on the expenditure of energy and on market incentives in order to maintain global distribution and censorship resistance. Nearly 15 years into its existence, Bitcoin on proof of work has suffered nearly zero downtime and has never experienced a major hack on its base-layer blockchain.

However, critics of Bitcoin’s energy usage have attempted to supplant proof of work by introducing the proof of stake consensus mechanism, which uses far less energy and which they (erroneously) claim is just as decentralized as proof of work. As time passes, more and more critics seem intent on trying to manipulate Bitcoin users into abandoning proof of work altogether, either for an altered version of Bitcoin that relies on a different consensus mechanism or for one of the army of other altcoins on the market.

This article won’t be an expose on the weaknesses of proof of stake (see here, here, here, and here for that). Instead we’ll focus on a decidedly less well-known aspect of Bitcoin’s decentralization, specifically the fact that each user has full sovereignty over their decision on how to use Bitcoin.

Choose For Thee, And I’ll Choose For Me

The Bitcoin blockchain is freely available to anyone who chooses to access it. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or what you do or say. Bitcoin is open to you. 

On top of that, you have the full right to choose which version of the Bitcoin software you’ll run. No governments can tell you what software you’re allowed to use (unless you allow them to, of course). No miner can convince the rest of the miners around the globe to ignore your money and transactions. No developer can force their upgrades onto your computer.

Some people in the crypto space will tell you that the same is true of many cryptocurrencies. But there are some key differences to keep in mind:

Bitcoin’s Network Effect Is Second To None

There are a lot of people in the space these days, and not all of them follow or use Bitcoin. That said, Bitcoin has by far the largest community and the most staying power, which are commonly referred to as the “network effect”.

Since there are more people and companies out there teaching about and using Bitcoin, the network is likely to continue to grow exponentially faster and will be much less susceptible to attacks of any variety.

Bitcoin Is The Best At What It Does

Bitcoin is money, and I believe firmly that it is the best money humanity has ever had. No other monetary medium has a supply cap that is as unchangeable as Bitcoin’s. Nor is any other money as resistant to censorship and seizure as Bitcoin can be. Bitcoin does its job better than any of its competitors.

The same cannot be said of any other cryptocurrency. They simply aren’t the best at what they set out to do. Some cryptocurrencies try to be “world computers”, and yet each of them is less decentralized and less robust than the internet (i.e., the OG world computer). Other cryptocurrencies optimize for payments above everything else, but still can’t compete with the throughput of the traditional financial system.

In short, users have less incentive to push for real decentralization within their cryptocurrency of choice when traditional options already do the job better.

Choices Have Consequences

Above all, Bitcoin allows for pure freedom of choice. You can use your money however you’d like, no questions asked, and there will be no one to manipulate the consequences of your choices.

Thanks to Bitcoin, for the first time in a long time, whether you succeed or fail in life can be completely up to you and your individual choices.

What will you choose?

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