The greatest supercomputer Man ever built

published Feb 16, 2013, last modified Jun 26, 2013

It's Bitcoin. It's voluntary. And it's magnificent in more ways than one.

Today, I opened this page. I sat for a few minutes hearing the beeps, watching the flags appear, seeing the count of unconfirmed transactions go up at a rate of one per second, and go down in melodious batches as unconfirmed transactions get folded into blocks.

And then it hit me. The most obvious realization I never noticed before.

This payment processing network I'm watching, is the single largest and fastest supercomputer in the whole wide planet Earth. And it processes payments for millions of people.

Isn't that amazing?

What's more, this supercomputer exists and works, not because psychopaths ordered green papers to be printed and punished those who refused to pay up, but because decent men genuinely willed the computer; and they willed it solely because they stood to gain so much value from their own participation. Nobody's forced, nobody's made to participate, and nobody's ruined through punishment if he refuses to play.

This epic monument to human progress was built, not by decree from any asshole supported by a collective delusion of power, not by threats against anyone, not from monumental loot extorted from millions of people, not from borrowed money whose collateral is the working man unaware he's being farmed for his labor, not by any of these chimerae passed off as "cooperation" but really monsters of undeniable observable coercion... but strictly by the power of voluntary associations and cooperation, arising purely from ethical self-interest.

Think about it. Bitcoin -- a safe, world-wide, cheap and revolutionary currency -- is the very thing we were told "governments were absolutely indispensable for, and without governments would never ever happen". Impossible? Are my eyes and ears lying to me, or is it more likely that said beliefs were blatant indoctrination lynchpins to begin with?

"The profit motive doesn't work"? Yah, fuck that propaganda. Bitcoin is a testament to the falsehood of that ideological bullshit. Its very existence belies the idea that without central authority (and violence against resisters), great things cannot be accomplished. Its very success stands on the shoulders of ethical giants who refused to obey, built a tool for peaceful rebellion, and went their own way.

"But who will build the roads"? Oh, blind man, you need to move over — we're too busy building airways. And we're definitely far too busy to hear you say "can't be done".