The Case For Trusting Bitcoin


Not too long ago a bug was found within the Bitcoin (BTC-USD)(COIN)(OTCQX:GBTC) software program affecting many alternative software program implementations together with Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin ABC, and even Litecoin (LTC-USD). Some have held this bug up as prime proof which you could’t belief Bitcoin. That is precisely unsuitable, and I will clarify why.

The Bug

This week a bug was present in Bitcoin’s code that might have led to the community being quickly shut down, which is an enormous deal. Nevertheless, the information ended up being a lot worse than this, when it was revealed that there have been different potential penalties from this bug, which might have led to an growth of the Bitcoin provide, past the 21 million “laborious” restrict.

Social media was abuzz with the information, particularly Twitter (TWTR).

Picture Supply: Twitter

The occasion was additional exacerbated by the truth that builders tried to “cowl up” the total extent of the bug, and as an alternative selected to deal with getting community individuals akin to miners and exchanges to improve ASAP.

With a purpose to encourage speedy upgrades, the choice was made to instantly patch and disclose the much less severe denial of service vulnerability, concurrently with reaching out to miners, companies and different affected techniques, whereas delaying publication of the total problem to present time for techniques to improve.

– Supply:

The bug particulars could be discovered right here, however the finish consequence was that the vulnerability was not exploited and at the moment greater than half of the community has upgraded, so the menace is actually mitigated now.

What was the worst case state of affairs?

Bitcoin’s worth is firmly rooted in having a useful community and a tough restrict on the variety of bitcoins that may flow into. So, it is value exploring what the fallout may need been, if a malicious actor had discovered and exploited this bug earlier than the builders have been capable of patch it.

Initially, it might have been chaos. The worth of Bitcoin might have plunged in a single day as the provision was abruptly expanded advert infinitum. The community itself might have even floor to a halt, inflicting the community uptime to plummet till an answer was discovered (fortuitously the repair was a single line of code, so this would not have taken that lengthy).


The market worth would have plunged, exchanges would have panicked, and Bitcoin would have been declared lifeless, once more.

Sounds fairly unhealthy… however let’s discover what would have occurred subsequent.

Aftermath of the Worse Case Situation

Within the aftermath of the worst case state of affairs, there would have probably been a tough fork of the community. On one aspect can be each transaction that occurred earlier than the exploit occurred, and on the opposite aspect can be the chain with limitless bitcoin.

The overwhelming majority of miners, builders, exchanges and customers would select the fork that didn’t include the exploit because the “reliable” fork, which might drive the second chain into obscurity or oblivion.

The worth would then stabilize, as the worth of the reliable blockchain rose above that of the exploited chain, and this could drive the remainder of the miners again onto the primary chain, since there can be no worth in mining on the exploited blockchain.

Finally, the exploit chain would merely vanish, with the one long-term reference to it being in a Wikipedia article someplace, and a small touch upon the date the place the worth of Bitcoin dropped abruptly after which recovered.

Software program as an organism

I’ve written about this concept many instances. There are various parallels between software program techniques and natural techniques. Think about the evolution of electronic mail spam filters (a primitive type of AI) and their everlasting warfare towards electronic mail spam.

dilbert spam filter


Keep in mind the story about Bubble Boy and the Sewer Rat?

Supply: Aantonop YouTube

If you do not have an hour to observe that discuss, it is OK. I can summarize.

It might be folly to assume that the easiest way to guard our youngsters can be to place them in a sealed bubble and by no means allow them to come into contact with the germs of the surface world. We want publicity to the atmosphere to be able to turn into tailored to it. And but, this “walled backyard method” is precisely how most software program safety techniques work at present. They wall themselves off from the surface world, management entry utilizing concentric circles after which in the event that they get hacked they simply file an insurance coverage declare. Bitcoin would not work like that.

Within the sewers of the web, Bitcoin faces fixed assault. However, due to this, it has the strongest immune system conceivable, developed from years of bombardment by viruses, germs, chemical compounds, and something that may wash down the drain (hackers, terrorists, rogue nation states with cyber armies).

Supply: In search of Alpha

You see, it is exactly this type of bug that reveals how sturdy the system is. One Twitter consumer (sNakamofo) put it succinctly:

Supply: Twitter

Why you’ll be able to belief Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a superb system primarily based on superior cryptography, a brand new class of knowledge construction, and a brand new approach to consider belief itself. However, past this, you’ll be able to belief Bitcoin due to the group.

We consider that there’ll solely be 21 million Bitcoin, and subsequently; even when somebody did handle to use a bug and create extra; the community would merely fork away from that blockchain, understanding that it was invalid.

Due to the financial incentives in play (recreation concept), this could trigger exchanges and miners to comply with swimsuit; successfully killing or relegating the secondary chain to the sidelines.

The truth is, this already has occurred:

Theymos continued, saying that rollback can be very similar to what occurred through the so-called “worth overflow incident” in 2010 when 187 billion bitcoins have been created out of skinny air however, finally, have been destroyed.

– Supply: Coindesk

You’ll be able to belief that although the Bitcoin software program is not good, it has a number of the finest and brightest engaged on it. If a bug is discovered, it is going to be fastened. In any case, there’s actual cash on the road.


Bugs have been present in Bitcoin’s software program prior to now, and there will likely be bugs sooner or later. It might be loopy to assume that any system is ideal and by no means must be up to date. Bitcoin isn’t any totally different, and it is precisely this type of state of affairs that highlights what’s actually occurring right here.

Bitcoin’s growth workforce is among the most lively on the earth for any sort of challenge, not to mention blockchain. It isn’t magic however laborious work and progressive considering which have stored individuals coming again to the Bitcoin challenge. It has worth due to the group, in a lot the identical approach that Fb (FB) and Twitter have worth due to their communities.

Do you want Bitcoin? Do you want Cryptos? Need extra? Try Crypto Blue Chips and get entry to fashions just like the BVIPE, which is up to date each week.

Disclosure: I’m/we’re lengthy BTC-USD, ETH-USD.

I wrote this text myself, and it expresses my very own opinions. I’m not receiving compensation for it (apart from from In search of Alpha). I’ve no enterprise relationship with any firm whose inventory is talked about on this article.

About Tom Greenly

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