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From Theory, To Practice

September 20, 2021

Steven McCormack

The ideas are elegant. The ambition is impressive. But how exactly does Bitcoin work in practice? Well folks, that's what I've been figuring out for the past month. Armed with my understanding of the network, I embarked on a journey to become a full node operator (i.e. a validator of transactions and blocks). Admittedly, I wasn't quite sure I could pull it off. Even with all my prior research, this felt like a tricky technical challenge. And yet here I am, running a Bitcoin (and Lightning!) node with little fuss. How so?

1 min
Global Truth, Local Value

August 27, 2021

Steven McCormack

At this point, it is worth wondering what all this research represents. We seemingly have an answer crying out for a question. To that end, there are a few good candidates. Is Bitcoin a response to monetary distortion? Government largesse, perhaps? Is Bitcoin a dry, technical update for the internet? I would contend that it does all those things. And excellently so. But there is also a more profound, universal quandary to address.

All Things Bitcoin; Layer Cake

August 19, 2021

Steven McCormack

We have a robust protocol, but one that cares little for convenience or efficiency. And that presents a few issues for growth (and thus sustainability). It is like the British Labour Party in the 1980s; sticking true to its socialist ideals, and also completely useless at winning elections. Fortunately, an ecosystem has developed around Bitcoin that helps address the scalability conundrum. Enter the layer cake, my friends. A baking masterpiece that is worth the extra calories.

3 mins
3 mins
All Things Bitcoin; Incentive Structure

August 13, 2021

Steven McCormack

Property rights are established by consensus. Time and energy is converted into security. Transactions are transparent. This creates a formidable flywheel; legitimacy encouraging growth, which in turn generates trust, resulting in more legitimacy. And so on. But Bitcoin cannot survive alone on impressive technical credentials. After all, there is a cost to all of this auditing, blocking and chaining. So for the flywheel to keep spinning, we must introduce an economic reward for participation.

1 min
All Things Bitcoin; Under The Hood

August 10, 2021

Steven McCormack

In essence, Bitcoin is the perfect marriage between long established record-keeping systems, cryptographic genius and networked computing. Add a sprinkling of economic incentive (scarcity, mining, fees) and we have something rather tangible. But it can still take a leap of faith to imagine a bunch of ones and zeros as the basis for our financial future. For me it clicked when I (rightly or wrongly) visualised Bitcoin as a far more sophisticated version of Kazaa or LimeWire; a peer-to-peer network for payments rather than music.

The Great Crypto Schism
November 23, 2021
Steven McCormack

For a few weeks now I've been trying to establish a clear worldview on the wider Crypto landscape. Y'see, I'm fairly settled on the epic store-of-value proposition that is Bitcoin. I've dived into the gory details, gained some practical skills, and completely overindulged in the 24/7 debates sparked in Twitterland. And just like a BTC-Big Mac in El Salvador, it all feels rather warm, gooey.....and potentially fatal. So to address this intellectual comfort, I must stress-test my understanding of Bitcoin. I must fuel my curiosity by casting a wider net.

3 mins
Global Truth, Local Value
August 27, 2021
Steven McCormack

At this point, it is worth wondering what all this research represents. We seemingly have an answer crying out for a question. To that end, there are a few good candidates. Is Bitcoin a response to monetary distortion? Government largesse, perhaps? Is Bitcoin a dry, technical update for the internet? I would contend that it does all those things. And excellently so. But there is also a more profound, universal quandary to address.

1 min
It's all Greek to Me
August 6, 2021
Steven McCormack

Another Vervaeke inspired musing, folks. This time over four Greek words I have been introduced to, thanks to his series; Agape, Logos, Gnosis and Anagoge. The best way for me to explore these terms (or concepts even) is to relate them to my own investing and writing efforts. And before we begin, I must admit to borrowing heavily from other sources to help with the explanations (a big hat tip to Mark Mulvey and Andrew Seeney). So please bear with the heavy quoting. On that bombshell, let's roll.

1 min