Because the protocol used in Bitcoin mining is open and the programs used are licensed as free, open source software (F/OSS) the competition in mining is plentiful. There is no advantage gained when a hash is created using high-end equipment in a Tier IV data center versus a hash performed by a gaming PC at a cyber-cafe in Mozambique or on hardware located anywhere else.
Because Bitcoin transactions are pseudonymous, neither PCI security compliance nor a protective moat are necessary. Because Bitcoin’s network architecture is peer-to-peer there’s no service level requirement that a mining operator must meet. The Bitcoin mining network has never delivered anything less than 100% uptime.
These low budget operators actually strengthen the Bitcoin network. Because there is no master node or central authority for the Bitcoin blockchain the system then is reliant on computer power being distributed to where an attack wouldn’t be successful. Each additional GPU crunching away makes it harder for an attacker to acquire sufficient computing power to have any negative effect on Bitcoin’s performance.
A bank might use marble columns to try to convey a message of strength even though financially it nears collapse. Bitcoin doesn’t and can’t benefit from the same level of government protection banks receive though.
Bitcoin’s protection comes from transparency. That photo delivers the exact message it must for it describes how Bitcoin is different. It helps show how Bitcoin is the financial network of, by and for the people.
Written on 10 May 2012.