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Bitcoin is Incorruptible

You heard that right. Bitcoin is the most incorruptible asset in human history. It answered a question that had been plaguing computer scientists for years: How do you ensure that a peer-to-peer, distributed network with no central authority can make correct decisions, even if some of the nodes in it turn rogue? Can we make a distributed system that is “trustless” and doesn’t automatically assume that the participants are going to act ethically and work in the interest of the group? This problem is called the Byzantine Generals Problem.

Bitcoin solves this. Each node running the Bitcoin Protocol is an equal participant. It stores and maintains a complete and up-to-date copy of the blockchain ledger (history of every transaction) and is constantly receiving broadcasts of new transactions as they are completed. Each node is connected to every other node to some degree, and they are constantly checking their ledger against each others.

For a corruption to occur, more than 51% of the nodes would have to collaborate to alter the protocol. In the very, very early days of the protocol, when there were only a handful of people around the world running nodes, this would have been feasible. Over a decade later, it would take an enormous amount of planning, hardware, time and energy (i.e. money) to mount a 51% attack. Organizing such an attack would not go unnoticed. And mathematically speaking, it would be more profitable to run Bitcoin mining equipment than mount an attack on the protocol. That is, unless you were a corrupt world organization that had everything to lose from Bitcoin becoming the world reserve asset or currency!

For more information about the Byzantine Generals Problem, see the link below.


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