Digital Scarcity


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An oxymoron to say the least…how can something digital be scarce? Though it was outlined in an earlier part of the book, the notion of digital scarcity is counter-intuitive. Everyone knows that anything in a digital form can be copied, replicated, saved on multiple computers and shared with no limitations. Songs, photos, documents, software can all be copied an unlimited number of times and stored simultaneously in an unlimited number of locations on an unlimited number of devices.

In the case of bitcoin, the ultimate total supply of bitcoin is 21 million, which will be achieved in the year 2140. While too technical for this little book, there are many resources1 that discuss the 21 million bitcoin supply limit and how it is enforced. In fact, in the resource referenced above, it is explained that the fixed supply limit is so simple that it is accomplished in 5 lines of code in the bitcoin core software. The bitcoin core software is open sourced so anyone can review the code for themselves.

But beyond the code itself, the 21 million cap, is so fundamental to the integrity of bitcoin and is so ossified in the network that it will never be changed. If there is doubt about that then there is doubt about bitcoin itself. To change the supply limit would sacrifice the integrity of bitcoin and there is truly no reason to change the supply, especially no reason to increase its supply.


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