Intercontinental Hypnotic Ray Device Solves Bitcoin Scaling Debate

This is a little thought experiment. The purpose of that is to argue against a certain misunderstanding of consensus rule in Bitcoin.

Many people are tired of the debate on exactly when and how Bitcoin should be scaled. So here is one way of solving it and moving on.

As is widely known, Bitcoin was given to Satoshi Nakamoto by the evil alien overlord Khalmorot in the first place.

Since that alien’s technology is a couple of hundred million years ahead of human technology, let’s imagine he gives Satoshi the “Intercontinental Hypnotic Ray Device” next. In this story Satoshi is still alive and still cares enough about Bitcoin that he wants to stop this bickering about block size.

So next he points his Intercontinental Hypnotic Ray Device at the whole globe and chooses one of the options for going ahead. Everyone opposed to that particular option suddenly changes position. A couple of hours later everyone runs the updated software, and Bitcoin prices spike by 732 percent.

Would you want to have this device, if everyone knew that you have it? It would make you the absolute ruler of Bitcoin.

That’s not a good position to be in. Lots of people would want to put pressure on you.

Would you want to have this device if you could operate it anonymously?

That depends. Would you be sure to choose the right answer every time?

Anyway, in the real world there is no Intercontinental Hypnotic Ray Device. But some people pretend there is.

There are lots of people who think that if you have a majority of hash power, you can change the rules of Bitcoin to whatever you want and magically everyone will agree with your changes.

They mistake the term of consensus as a technical term of computer science with consensus between people supporting Bitcoin.

Proof of work is a consensus protocol that assures that all computers running the code agree on one version of the blockchain.

If you expect that running a longer version of the blockchain with some different rules will assure that all people previously opposed to your rule change will somehow magically change their positions, you will find out that there is no Intercontinental Hypnotic Ray Device available.

If anything, people will oppose your position even more strongly. People are weird, they don’t like to be treated like the minority chain in a blockchain consensus protocol.

The proof of work consensus protocol works with machines. It doesn’t work with people.