[Note: below is the Foreword to Great Chain of Numbers]
“It is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto non-existent blindingly obvious. The cry ‘I could have thought of that’ is a very popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn’t, and a very significant and revealing fact it is too.”
– Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
The physical world has an intractable problem; things exist.
Whether a bar of gold or a bus pass, left to their own devices these valuable objects will not move or act of their own accord. Furthermore, if you want to sell such an item, you have the unenviable task of finding someone who would like that item from you, is willing to pay you in the thing you desire and is local enough to make such a deal logical.
Money used to have this problem; we used antiquated systems that move promises for dollars around the world at 1960 speed. Bitcoin changed the equation, introducing the distributed ledger technology that allows value to change owner with no regard for where the transacting users are geographically located.
Bitcoin is to money what Smart Property is to ownership. A fundamental reinvention of how things should work, and a better way. The problems are not new, and the solutions enacted to this point were designed with that liability of physical existence in mind.
We are no longer constrained by this liability.
This all occurs against a backdrop of open source innovation and cooperative competition among the projects vying to “win” the battle for Bitcoin 2.0. Where six months ago there were two projects, now there are eight, with new protocols announced at least monthly.
When Satoshi Nakamoto mined the Genesis Block, he had months before there was much competition for the tokens he was mining and years before the first competitor for his protocol emerged. In this next generation there is no luxury of obscurity. The race is on and the only sure winner is technological progress.
In the information age, technological optimization is often confused with technological progress. Both are measures of growth, improvement in the lives of users of these technologies, but they are very much not the same thing.
Optimization is a purely additive process. Moore’s law and the competitive nature of the free market demand that these items be made smaller and denser. Faster and cheaper. This is steady and predictable, and it can be mapped and planned for.
Sometimes optimization constitutes progress; but most real progress, paradigm shifting in implication, comes from doing something unexpected. Intentionally or not.
You cannot plan for this.
You are not prepared for this.
But then, neither is anybody else.
So rejoice, because you got here first. Consider the manuscript that follows your guide to the exciting world of smart property, and let me be the first to welcome you to the Future of Money.
Adam B. Levine
Editor-in-Chief, Let’s Talk Bitcoin! March 3rd, 2014