1/ Bitcoin is a decentralized super-organism made of individually replaceable cells that share aligned incentives. Some of Bitcoin's best traits are simply copied from the Fungi Kingdom. Let's explore this...

Part 1: Mycelium


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2/ Bitcoin appears superficially simple at first glance, however true understanding is difficult. Observers are easily seduced into making hasty assumptions. Competing narratives make it even harder (digital gold, fintech revolution, etc).

@nic__carter https://medium.com/@nic__carter/visions-of-bitcoin-4b7b7cbcd24c
3/ “What is bitcoin?” Like Fungi, bitcoin is a super-organism adapting to environmental stimuli, it unlocks stranded resources through PoW, absorbs proven competitor's advantages, and occupies a similar ecological role: the immune system.
4a/ Fungi are predominantly made up of “mycelium” - an underground decentralized intelligence network described by @PaulStamets as “earth’s natural internet.”

When conditions are right, fungi produce mushrooms which release spores (seeds) that attempt to colonize life nearby.
4b/ Fungi are fascinating:

-Largest organism on our planet is a fungal network (honey mushroom)
-Best chemists on our planet, they produce much of our medicine
-Trees cannot survive w/o underground fungal allies
-Around for 1.3b years
-Can save the bees

*More fungi facts later
5/ Fungi don’t have central “brains,” they’re decentralized networks distributing information + resources. These fungal networks form consensus on resource mgmt, reproduction, and defense strategy. Nice parallel w/ "Bitcoin as a social contract" @Hasufly https://medium.com/@hasufly/bitcoins-social-contract-1f8b05ee24a9?sk=27e8cf65d45c46ffae1466ce2ac31b48
6/ Bitcoin is 10 years old, however the decentralized network archetype is much older. Fungi (mycelium) began leveraging similar networks 1.3b years ago. This makes the advent of decentralized money seem less novel and more inevitable. The decentralized network archetype is Lindy
7a/ Fungi are the most successful species on our planet. They “inherited the earth” after all 5 mass extinction events on our planet. WHY? because fungi are antifragile decentralized networks + can adapt quickly + don’t need sunlight to survive + find their own food.
7b/ Bitcoin will become the most successful monetary specie because it's decentralized, adapts (relatively) quickly, finds its own food (unmet demand), and doesn't need government support. In the event of a mass monetary extinction event, bitcoin will "inherit the earth."
8/ In the information economy, decentralized orgs are more effective. They resist corruption, minimize bureaucracy, and push decision making to the edge (where the most accurate information lives). Bitcoin resists corruption and pushes complexity + decision making to the edge.
9/ Scientists conducted an experiment where a fungus (Slime Mold) was incentivized to recreate Tokyo's rail system (stops marked w/ food). The fungus designed a better rail network than the engineers hired by the Japanese govt. A sobering thought indeed.
10/ “Slime mold forms networks w/ comparable efficiency, fault tolerance, cost to real-world. Mechanisms needed for adaptive network formation can be captured in a biologically inspired mathematical model to guide network construction in other domains.” http://science.sciencemag.org/content/327/5964/439
11/ Over time, free market monetary competition enables bitcoin to out-compete legacy financial systems who have no skin in the game, suffer from innovator’s dilemma, become fragile over time, often drown in bureaucracy (or worse). Satoshi understood the power of the slime mold
12/ Bitcoin/mycelium have no central point of failure. Parts can be removed but the system survives. Individual developers, miners, users are vulnerable yet not crucial. No one to jail, no hardware to seize. Unsuccessful attacks on bitcoin/mycelium make the system stronger.
13/ Nation states and central banks face a paradoxical challenge. If they attempt to destroy their competition, they’ll highlight the very need for bitcoin in the first place. And yet, the longer they wait, the stronger bitcoin becomes.
14a / Both bitcoin and mycelium thrive in highly competitive ecosystems. They have skin in the game. Adapt or die. They become hardened from hostility. Antifragile.
14b / Fungi are constantly fighting underground battles against bacteria/microbes/fungi. When a predator is found, it sends info to the “mushroom scientists” who create a new enzyme targeting the predator. Then the fungi distributes the enzyme as needed. Fungi are antifragile.
14c / Bitcoin is a living system constantly evolving based on environmental stimuli. As threats are found in the system, info is sent to the “bitcoin scientists” (developers) who create an “enzyme” (software patch) before propagating it through the system. Bitcoin is antifragile.
15/ Both bitcoin and fungi harden their defenses over time (software patch/enzymes) and learn to consume new food sources (unmet demand). This has a compounding effect increases both antifragility as well as life expectancy over time (lindy).
16/ Genes are typically passed down parent to offspring via "vertical gene transfer." Fungi can also do “horizontal gene transfer” - effectively slurping up genetic info from competitors in the same ecosystem. This foreshadows bitcoin absorbing proven features produced by alts.
17/ There's a (misguided) belief in which people assume alts will implement a "cool new feature" (TPS, etc) and then outcompete bitcoin.

More likely outcome: bitcoin will eventually absorb proven features making alts unable to compete long term.

Example: https://twitter.com/bquittem/status/1067964892865540096
18/ Bitcoin has been performing "horizontal gene transfer" since Satoshi first combined technologies used in previous attempts at creating an electronic cash systems (Hashcash, E-gold, etc).
19a/ Fungi mine minerals underground for trees in exchange for sugars that the tree produces (photosynthesis). Trees gain protection from invaders & crucial minerals. This underground mycelial network is both a resource/data transport layer + the immune system of the forest.
19b/ Fungi unlock stranded resources by converting matter (leaves/sticks) into base elements (carbon/nitrogen). Fungi then trade these unlocked resources with nearby organisms.

We'd be buried in 200 feet of leaves if they weren't decomposed (and redistributed) by fungi.
19c/ Bitcoin's PoW unlocks stranded energy resources. Instead of stranded energy (excess supply, remote geothermal, etc) being wasted, producers can sell excess energy to bitcoin miners. Excess energy to be converted into "digital gold." @danheld


20/ Bitcoin has a robust immune system. Market sends bitcoin signals to satisfy unmet demand / improve security.

-Block space demand exceeds supply: LN grows
-China closes exchanges, @LocalBitcoins flourishes
-Another currency gets hyper-inflated, bitcoin helps as a SoV
21/ Bitcoin acts as humanity’s immune system  against greed — helping to fight off cancerous governments, rent seeking businesses, central bank seigniorage, and debasement of the monetary supply. https://twitter.com/bquittem/status/979654574595190784
22/ “Bitcoin’s incentives create a self-reinforcing feedback loop.” Like the giant honey mushroom consuming entire forests in Oregon, bitcoin is getting bigger and stronger over time. https://twitter.com/danheld/status/1055499657076387841
23/ What is bitcoin? Technology? Get rich quick scheme? New age religion? Payment rails? Social contract system codified by a protocol? Super-organism with shared incentives? Join me in Part 2 (coming soon) as we explore "bitcoin as a social construct" through the lens of Fungi.
25/ Special thanks to @danheld for publishing "Planting Bitcoin" which inspired me to finally publish these crazy ideas. I thoroughly support the trend of comparing bitcoin to the natural world. Biology already solved most of our problems. https://medium.com/@danhedl/planting-bitcoin-sound-money-72e80e40ff62
26/ PS… Our polymathic responsibility:

Just as Satoshi combined separate disciplines to stitch together a franken-technology... It is my belief that each of us have the responsibility to explore our unique cross sections of knowledge.
27/ It was my honor to initiate you into the fascinating world of fungi (assuming you were new to this topic). Looking to learn more? Start with @PaulStamets episode on @joerogan:

In the meantime, here are a few more fungi facts...
28/ Fungi Facts:
-Animals more closely related to fungi than plants
-humans/fungi share over 50% DNA
-Fungi/animals inhale O2 + exhale CO2
-Plants make food (autotrophic) & animals/fungi find food (heterotrophic)
-Super kingdom was proposed (Opisthokon) combining Fungi+Animals
29/ Fact: The largest organism on our planet is the Honey Mushroom (Armillaria sp) is found in Eastern Oregon. This single organism is over 2.4 miles (3.8 km) across. It’s estimated to be between 1,900 - 8,650 years old and is currently consuming a forest. http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141114-the-biggest-organism-in-the-world
30/ Fungi fact: I wrote most of this essay while consuming medicinal mushrooms used for cognitive enhancement (Lions Mane, Chaga, and Cordyceps).
31/ 🍄 To all the mycologists out there, I apologize if I took any liberties explaining fungi in this context. Feel free to correct me where needed, I'm here to learn.
END/ Reminder: Pursuit of understanding #bitcoin is akin to mountain climbers continually reaching “false peaks” - momentarily fooled into thinking they’ve reached the summit.

As soon as you "have bitcoin figured out," you discover how little you actually know (false peak).
You can follow @Bquittem.
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