We define property rights and examine how Bitcoin paves the way for the next stage in human evolution: Towards H. sapiens bitcoinensis.

In the beginning: Property rights by social consensus

1. Where property rights come from

To understand what the intrinsic value of any good really is — be it a bitcoin or a bar of gold; a painting or its NFT; a carrot or a car — one must first take a step back and truly grok property rights.

The widely-held belief is this: It is the role of the government to provide, protect and enforce an individual’s rights over her property, so that markets may develop and flourish without the debilitating fear of confiscation and appropriation thwarting their very existence.

This traditional view insists that property rights are only ‘real’ when they are formally…


The Road Ahead

with Andrew Edstrom

Bitcoin embodies Schumpeterian Creative Destruction. Bitcoin also behaves like a physical natural resource, with unique differences that make it a driving force for effecting fundamental change, much like gold, oil or electricity has done.

Bitcoin goes through periodic cycles of varying lengths that inspire a creative rejuvenation of its ecosystem with new ideas and innovations at various timescales and magnitudes.

We apply the idea of a Schumpeterian Business Cycle to Bitcoin and construct a Schumpeterian Bitcoin Cycle based on three componential waves: a multi-decadal Bitcoin Kondratieff Cycle; a Bitcoin Juglar Cycle that is shorter than a decade…


On institutional incompetence and what to do about it

Trusting Institutions, No Longer

The remark above may rank low in the pantheon of Balaji S. Srinivasan’s unfailingly thought-inspiring tweets, but I think there is enough to unpack in here to deserve a short essay.

Specifically, it gives impetus for two related thoughts. First, are all proclamations made by institutions to be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism by any independently-minded thinker? Second, if we can identify features of institutions that predispose them towards making faulty assertions, can we use that information to reform institutions or build better replacements?

Regarding the first, suppose we adopt the policy that no institution deserves our trust…


Lessons from the very first case study

Source: Wharton

Suppose we really knew where new and novel ideas come from — some powerful tool to create ideas. Imagine being able to deterministically engineer innovation into existence.

With the switch of a button…poof! In all walks of life we would all instantly become more creative, even those among us who are quick to write themselves off as ‘just not that creative’.

Entrepreneurs and managers would simply use this fool-proof framework for radical innovations and instantly tame the disruptive threats of the innovator’s dilemma. If innovations were to become entirely predictable, even the so-called innovation paradox — that of an essential…


Bitcoin’s value comes from being an anchor with absolute irreversibility that entrains our present with our future by design.

with Robert Breedlove

1. The Tyranny of the Future

Think about the future for a space, as it pertains to each of us individually or even to any combination of us taken as a group, from a couple all the way to the entire world.

The present is a point in time, wherefrom you draw several paths that each represent one possible future. As a matter of fact, the future is theoretically characterized by an infinite number of states of the world. Some states of the world that arise in the future map to untold riches or unimaginable happiness, others point to a life led destitute…


A Jeeves & Wooster story

“Some days seem perfect,” I remarked, as I drained the trusty tumbler of its bracing contents. “Don’t they, Jeeves?”

Jeeves, who had been setting the bookshelves in order, shelved the task to consider.

“Indeed, sir,” he assented.

“No, Jeeves,” I retorted, for I had him exactly where I wished in the repartee. “I thought you would say that. But you are incorrect.”

“Sir?”

“You readily agreed,” I remarked, “indubitably in the best of feudal custom, to my statement. And, I am sorry to have to say this to you, Jeeves, but you are, on this rare occasion, wrong.”

I distinctly…


Digital Westphalia: Imagine there’s no countries

“I think the internet warrants a native currency and Bitcoin is probably the best manifestation of that thus far. I can’t see that changing given all the people who want the same thing and build it for that potential.” — Jack Dorsey

If you’ve followed Bitcoin with the lightest degree of seriousness you know what makes it special to you. There are several value propositions for it, after all. To me, for example, Bitcoin’s awesomeness is in its potential to become the ultimate platform for contracts: a platform that provides a far stronger mechanism for final settlement than national institutions.


Virtuous Habits and the Shameless Bitcoiner

The Mind Behind the Memes

I. Bitcoin-ism

Bitcoin has provided us with a veritable catalog of concepts and ideas. As the essential merits of its framework have become more broadly understood; as ever more services have been developed to leverage its mechanisms for broader objectives; as its ecosystem has matured and become more varied and complex, discourse on Bitcoin has flourished.

Beyond technical concepts, there are simple ideas with astounding memetic resonance that have become tenets for a class of individuals who see themselves as true Bitcoiners : low time preference; hard money; store of value; #HODL; hyperbitcoinization; #stackingsats; “number go up”; Bitcoin not blockchain; stock-to-flow; digital…


Cobweb Supply, Reservation Demand & the Foundations for Understanding Bitcoin’s Price

Bitcoin. An actual diagram.

Bitcoin’s value has little to do with its quotidian price histrionics. Yes, exuberant speculation routinely outplays rationality. And, of course, there are complex interactions from extant and expected financial market innovations, growing or abating regulatory risks, and the insidious exertions of misinformation.

But price is important. To say you are interested in Bitcoin, but far too cerebral to care about its price is as daft as saying that you are interested in gold, but only as an element on the periodic table.

That said, I fear that you learn nothing of value about Bitcoin from looking at charts and following…


Metatechnologies and Semicommons

Bitcoin is a metatechnology. Moreover, it is rare metatechnology because it directly enables the creation of semicommons, much like it was with medieval Village Commons.

The Bitcoin Village Commons simultaneously curates rules for an overarching open-access commons as well as those for private use cases within semicommons. The former fuels the search of technological developments beyond blockchains; the latter fuels the search for uses beyond money.

Metatechnologies

The trouble you face in trying to place a value on a technology is compounded when the technology in question is actually a metatechnology.

A metatechology is one that is capable of realizing extensions…

Prateek Goorha

Social scientist interested in the economics of innovation. Part-time author. Full-time blockchain explorer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store