Exponential on-chain growth and it's amazing potential impact on humanity
I like tell anyone that will listen that the Bitcoin Blockchain an amazing gift. Something from nowhere that has no intrinsic worth, but which provides a public ledger which is open to everyone. A giant malleable utility, accessible from anywhere that all the people in the world can use and control for themselves. There are no restrictions, no laws and no rules beyond those which determine whether or not your interactions with the blockchain fall within a group of mathematical boundaries. If they do, they are validated, and then set in stone. Recorded immutably in the next block by this global network of mining nodes, each competing to win a prize by crushing immense numbers.
The Bitcoin network is a diverse and remarkable thing. Started on a single computer in 2009, it has become a global powerhouse with thousands of nodes on in many countries on almost every continent. The architecture of a modern node includes a huge array of ASIC miners combining to deliver petahashes of energy sucking number crunching power connected to a rack or two of server grade computers which control the system and hold copies of the mempool, UTXO database and blockchain coupled to some mid range networking equipment and a normal business grade internet connection. This hardware is probably suitable to scale Bitcoin to at least GB blocks or more without any substantial investment or development and, importantly, with this hardware the Bitcoin network is already the most secure and redundant network in the world for financial transactions. To date, there isn’t a single instance of someone’s wallet being compromised through anything but human factors.
We currently use this fabulous machinery to send money, which is important… Money controls the system. If Bitcoins had no value, the network would not function, meaning that nothing else that comes after can happen without the money part being wildly successful...
This is an exploration of what might happen to Bitcoin if it follows a trajectory that is within the bounds of Moores Law, and the impact that it might have on society if we move beyond using it as money. It assumes that we never stop using it as money, but looks at what might occur if people started using the blockchain for storage and a lot more.
Today - 1 Megabyte blocks - Fees 1 Satoshi/Byte - Max Fees/Block 0.01BCH
Most blocks mined today are less than 1MB. While there are approximately 1152MB available for Bitcoin transactions globally per day we only use a small fraction of this. What could the demand for indelible files be? Would there be enough people looking for secure storage for $20,000 per day of demand? Would this impact Bitcoin transaction fees? What is the open market price for immutable storage in a constrained system? $50/MB? $150?
The following assumes that the maximum blocksize always exceeds the average blocksize by a large margin, ensuring that fees are always small.
2019 - 10 Megabyte blocks - Fees 10 Bytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 0.01BCH
If we get to 10MB blocks, we now have 1.4GB per day going onto the blockchain. At this point, people are using the blockchain quite widely to store cryptographic hashes of documents, and for short, secure messages. A limited number are using it to store files and documents on-chain.
2021 - 100 Megabyte blocks - Fees 20 Bytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 0.05BCH
100MB blocks brings us up to 14.4GB per day. While this is quite amazing growth, it still only allows for 36 million transactions per day. If we assume that the price drops again to 20 bytes/sat, the fee market is now bringing in 0.05BCH per block. The reality is the price will probably fall, but only as far as the demand for on-chain transactions will allow. Mobile phones are now being sold with BCH wallets pre-installed in many parts of the world leading to explosive transactional growth. Short term peaks in transaction volume force miners to react fast, increasing the block limits to handle the demand, ensuring history is not allowed to repeat itself.
2023 - 1 Gigabyte blocks - Fees 40 Bytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 0.25BCH
At 1GB blocks, we can now perform over 200 million transactions per day. This is millions of people using Bitcoin daily for most or all of their transactions. Bitcoin is not ubiquitous, but it is everywhere. Most official documents and contracts can now be notarised on-chain, further legitimizing the Bitcoin blockchain as a place where data can be stored safely forever. Fortunately, gigabyte blocks are not much of a stretch with today's hardware and miners will be ready to adapt quickly to surging growth.
2026 - 10 Gigabyte blocks - Fees 80Bytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 1.25BCH
10GB blocks are now being mined regularly. Over a billion people now use Bitcoin for all or almost all of their daily transactions. At the same time, there are multiple applications that people use regularly to store files and data on-chain. In the face of a reducing block reward, the block fees are becoming a more integral part of the miners income and they are now actively encouraging storage of information on the blockchain.
2029 - 100 Gigabyte blocks - Fees 160 Bytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 6.25BCH
100 GB blocks are regularly being mined, but is still achievable with regular computer hardware. 20 Billion transactions are validated every day, and Bitcoin is now one of the worlds largest currencies. One Bitcoin is worth approximately $100,000 making Bitcoin mining a $50 billion industry. Organisations are routinely storing documents on-chain, and many people have started using it to store personal documents and files. Some countries are now using the Bitcoin blockchain to store passports and citizenship data. Several major data repositories are now planning the migration to on-chain storage of critical data.
2033 - 1 Terabyte blocks - Fees 320 Bytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 31.25BCH
At this point, the block fees are now well above the block reward, and have become the main incentive to mine Bitcoin. As predicted in 2017, 1TB blocks are still mined on regular, server grade hardware. 100 Billion transactions are being validated every day, and most are now including multiple data carrying outputs. It's still too expensive to store bulk data on-chain, but it's becoming very common for organisations and governments to store important documents such as public meeting minutes, contracts and company information on-chain. With rumors and scarce proof of quantum exploitable weaknesses being found in the SHA256 hashing algorithm, the first quantum resistant Bitcoin encryption standard goes live on the network causing a massive re-alignment of hashpower distribution and disruption in the price of Bitcoin.
2037 - 10 Terabyte blocks - Fees 1 Kilobyte/Satoshi - Fees/Block 100BCH
By this stage, the global need for financial transactions on-chain is completely sated and almost all growth is through new applications leveraging on-chain storage. At $500,000 per Bitcoin, the price for 1MB of on-chain storage is now $5, making it fairly accessible for most people to store important data on-chain. Bitcoin mining is now a $3TN industry, and is driving new innovations in data storage, efficient computing and automated data-center construction techniques. Almost all Bitcoin mining is powered by renewable energy and mining activities are used to manage power flows within grids and to dynamically stabilise the renewable grid.
2042 - 100 Terabyte blocks - Fees 5 Kilobytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 200BCH
At this point, almost all countries are either using Bitcoin as their currency, or have created a Bitcoin token based currency for their own use. Paper money is a collectible relic from previous times. 1MB of on-chain data is now $2 and most digital media is delivered on-chain using multisignature keys. All software distribution is done on-chain making it exceedingly difficult for hackers to compromise package downloads and other files. Almost all public data is now being migrated on-chain including wikipedia and the library of congress. Secure and encrypted communication is increasingly conducted on-chain. It is around this time that SHA256 encryption is considered broken however all Bitcoin transactions are now being conducted with new Quantum resistant keys. Slowly, old UTXOs tied to lost keys begin disappearing from the database including all of Satoshi's original coins.
2047 - 1 Petabyte blocks - Fees 25 Kilobytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 400BCH
The Bitcoin Blockchain has now become the most valuable instrument ever created by mankind. The combination of mining and blockchain storage technology has become the biggest industry in the world, and almost all trade and industry depends on the blockchain to function. Transactions less than 10kB are now free, meaning that most of global commerce is done without fees. At $0.80/MB, most people are now using the blockchain to store documents, pictures and other data on a daily basis.
2053 - 10 Petabyte blocks - Fees 100 Kilobytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 1000BCH
At this point, in each block, there is enough space for each person on earth to have 1MB of space. This includes all their financial transactions, and any data they need stored on-chain. 6MB per hour. 144MB per day. Most people are putting multiple photographs on-chain daily and Blockchain file sharing has replaced almost all social media. Most operating systems now have on-chain file systems but use local storage to cache large files and media.
2059 - 100 Petabyte blocks - Fees 500 Kilobytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 2000BCH
Now each person has access to 1MB of space per minute. With 1 Bitcoin at $2 million, this 1MB costs roughly $0.04. People are starting to use the blockchain to store videos recorded directly from their optical nerves which are shared globally. Widespread adoption of optical, aural and neural implants means that a memory recorded by one person can be shared with anyone in the world with amazing clarity. Selling 'Memographic recordings' has become a lucrative industry and 'memographers' are the new media stars.
2066 - 1 Exabyte blocks - Fees 4 Megabytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 2500BCH
By this point, most people are storing local copies of everything they experience as recorded by their cortical implant on a local storage device, and uploading anything that they might want to review or share later onto the blockchain. All new media is now fully immersive, purchased on-chain and consumed via direct telecortical link. Memograph units can now make recordings with quality indistinguishable from your own vision and hearing, giving you the ability to access and experience memories from multiple timelines at once. Instead of reading about and watching video of an event on a webpage, you can now see it through the eyes and hear it through the ears of the people who were there.
2073 - 10 Exabyte blocks - Fees 25 Megabytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 4000 BCH
1 Bitcoin is now worth $5 million, giving the blockchain a total value of almost 100 trillion dollars. It is now the dominant currency and main means of conducting trade. Most people are now storing several minutes per hour of memographic recordings on-chain. These 'clips' are shared with friends through new methods of encryption meaning that although you are sharing more of yourself than ever before, you are sharing it only with those you want to share it with. Most people have implants that connect to their visual and auditory systems allowing them to see and experience clips from friends and family at any time. In addition, new technology is allowing people to attach emotional data to these clips, with advanced implants allowing the emotional state of the record maker to be shared along with the memory itself.
2081 - 100 Exabyte blocks - fees 200 Megabytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 5000BCH
By now, all data is on-chain. Only people wanting to record multiple memory streams simultaneously will need off-chain storage. The storage of a continuous stream of one person's memory on-chain will cost a fraction of a dollar per day. From the moment you enable this technology, you will have perfect recall of any experience you have ever had. Not only that, you can share that recall with anyone else at any time. Humanity has become truly connected, and the ability to share experiences and emotions directly with each other leads to the almost complete elimination of human to human violence.
2090 - 1 Yottabyte Blocks - Fees 1.6 Gigabytes/Satoshi - Fees/Block 6250BCH
Most people are given implants at birth, and are recording everything they see and feel from that moment on. Everyone's life is recorded on-chain including full medical diagnostics. The collective heartbeat of humankind is now stored on-chain. Everything that any person sees, hears or feels is saved onto the chain. In addition, robots are now almost indistinguishable from humans and record sights, sounds and emotions with the same level of clarity as humans. Some human brains are now being transplanted into robots, bringing the first cyborgs to life. Most people have already replaced limbs, lungs, hearts and other core organs with superior synthetic versions, blurring the line between human and automaton.
2100 and onwards
As the block reward tapers down, human society evolves into it's next state. Bitcoin is now integral to the human experience and a direct cortical connection to the blockchain is needed to participate in most aspects of society. Even animals are being given implants, allowing human empathy to expand further. Emotional intelligence is at an all time high and humankind has never been richer or happier than at this moment in time. I, for one, hope to be around to see if we get there.
Thanks for reading.
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