Just over 13 years ago a tsunami was silently and slowly building from the force of Satoshi Nakamoto’s newly released paper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” At the time only a handful of cryptography enthusiasts were aware of Bitcoin, and even they were grappling with its viability. And since the source code was still being refined and the genesis block had yet to be mined, Satoshi was grinding away in obscurity oblivious to the havoc Bitcoin was about to unleash on the world.
Any Bitcoin enthusiast knows that a fundamental element of Satoshi’s Bitcoin architecture is the selection of Proof-of-ork (PoW) as a consensus mechanism. Today when most people think of PoW, they immediately think of Bitcoin mining, and when they think of Bitcoin mining they garner images of ASIC-based mining servers lining a warehouse. But while Satoshi made analogies to gold mining, he never publicly used the word miner. The closest he (or she) probably came was the phrase “proof of worker.” He also talked about things like “your computer's heat is offsetting your baseboard electric heating” regarding the cost of running a node and implying that he viewed the PoW function as something that would be performed largely by individuals in homes. The Satoshi of 2008 would likely have found the direction of the Bitcoin mining infrastructure baffling, and, maybe, like me, a bit concerning. The basis of my concerns are the emerging trends for the Bitcoin mining network to lack diversity in the scale of operations and toward a dependence on third-party controlled energy sources.
To illustrate this situation let’s look to the animal world. Consider three animals and their key characteristics: elephants, horses, and rabbits. Elephants are very large and mighty, slow to move over distance,