Bitcoin Box

A magazine dedicated to all things Bitcoin


Generation and Assimilation of Bitcoin Knowledge

author: kiba
published: 2011-04-21 05:37:59 UTC

What Bitcoiners Know

Members of the bitcoin community have a tradition of critical self-analysis of our technological and economic structure. We have probably thought more about the problems and solutions of the bitcoin system than most bitcoin critics. Continuous critical analysis of the bitcoin system has helped us become experts in the technology.

Bitcoin critics often cite perceived problems such as deflationary spirals or the formation of bitcoin cartels as reasons as to why bitcoin will fail. The bitcoin advocate, undaunted by criticisms, pushes on to learn all there is about bitcoin, good and bad. The success and failure of bitcoin is determined by whether or not the engineering and economics of the technology is sound. An increase in knowledge can only be a good thing.

Knowledge Generation

The job of the bitcoin forums is to not only serve as a conduit of software development and practical application of bitcoin, but to also be a forum for knowledge generation and dissemination. The bitcoin community is at the same time an entrepreneurial, technical, and economic community. It has to be, since knowledge creates a better and stronger bitcoin economy. Examples of knowledge generation include thought on the game theory of pool mining and collusion, the long running deflationary spiral debate, and the problem of printing bitcoins.

The Process of Knowledge Generation

In many cases knowledge is generated from logical reasoning rather than empirical evidence. Nonetheless, it is useful as it allows us to discuss potential problems.

With regards to security, the topic starter often proposes a means of attack and how it will work. The subsequent replies point out the plausibility, the likelihood of success, and whether or not the attack will works. Sometime, a real attack becomes the topic of discussion, but real attempts to attack the bitcoin network are rare.

In the business side, there are many proposals for potential use case of bitcoin. However, generative theories regarding how to run businesses, how to adapt to the environment or how to innovate, are rare. There is not much heavy usage of language such as "iterations", "pivoting", or "minimum viable product" or other terminologies commonly found in places like Hacker News. However, what they lack in theories, they made up for in the form of just trying out new business and seeing which stick.

There is much technical discussion on the forums. As mentioned previously the forums are coinduit for the development of the software and associated technologies. Bitcoin development is done in the bazaar style, with bitcoin developers developing on their own forked git repos. When a developer is satisfied with the changes he made, he asks for a pull request on the forum and github. On the forum, discussion ensues as developers review the changes and how it can be improved. Once the peer review is done and all improvements are applied, one of the senior technical developers will merge the changes into the main bitcoin repository.

Stuck Knowledge

However, all these knowledge are generated in the context of forum discussion and lively debate. People may write essay-length replies, but these are not written for the public and they must be read as part of the whole discussion to be understood.

This is where The Bitcoin Box and other publications comes in.

We are attempting to mine the knowledge of the forums and to present these knowledge to the public in an easily understandable manner. In addition, we will synthesize the existing knowledge of the forum into new ideas and theories. Ideally, through the discussion on the new theories between the forum and this magazine, it will act as a catalyst for the knowledge generation process that is taking place within the bitcoin community.

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