‘Nothing new at all’ in research paper that accuses Bitcoin of early centralization

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A new research paper that claims the early success of Bitcoin (BTC) was based on “cooperation between a small group of selfless founders” rather than true decentralization has sparked debate in the community, with some questioning why it received such media attention when he was “not remarkable at all.”

The article, written by researchers from seven universities in the United States and Europe, said that although Bitcoin was “designed to rely on a decentralized and trustless network of anonymous agents”, it was far to be the case in its infancy.

The earliest period observed in the study was between Bitcoin’s launch in March 2009 and until the price first hit $1 in September 2011.

Meanwhile, most bitcoin was mined by just 64 “agents”, according to the newspaper, attributing this to “the rapid emergence of Pareto distributions in bitcoin revenue”.

According to the article, this has led to “a centralization of resources so extensive that nearly all contemporary bitcoin addresses can be connected to these principal agents by a chain of six transactions.”

Due to the high level of centralization in those early days, attackers could “regularly mine Bitcoin via a ‘51% attack,'” the report further states, while noting that this was the “altruistic” approach of early adopters. of the project that kept preventing them from attacking him.

The decentralization of Bitcoin a “myth”

And while it’s hardly surprising to community members that Bitcoin was less decentralized in its early days, that didn’t stop The New York Times from writing a 4,000-word article about the discovery titled ” How anonymous is Bitcoin, really? ”

Writing on Twitter, The New York Times called it a “myth” that Bitcoin is “egalitarian, decentralized, and nearly anonymous,” and said “data scientists have found the reality to be very different.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the article was quickly mocked by members of the Bitcoin community, with many claiming that the document it was based on contained nothing new.

Nic Carter, a popular Bitcoin supporter and partner of Castle Island Ventures, commented this,

“This is probably the most egregious example I’ve found of an article saying something completely innocuous and the NYT trying to turn it into a big scandal.”

Carter added that the article the article is based on is “not remarkable at all”, while reminding people that it has not been published in any peer-reviewed journal and only covers the mining from 2009 to 2011.

“As far as I know, beyond a new attribution of the first miners, the log doesn’t say anything new at all,” the popular bitcoiner added.

Others also offered their take on the NYT article, with one user writing: “there is nothing astonishing in that… why even write this story?”

“Is there data for a relevant period? » asked another user in the same thread.

Meanwhile, others directed their criticisms at the research paper on which the article was based, with depositary bank CEO Caitlin Long saying that it is “obvious that the authors do not understand decentralization, or the process of decentralization”.

“Of course Bitcoin wasn’t decentralized in 2009 – but it certainly is now (and has been for several years),” she explained.

Answer too long, Digital GalaxyAlex Thorn, head of research, compared the statement made in the article to how some argue that bitcoin “is not yet a medium of exchange or a unit of account.”

“As if bitcoin could just pop up and immediately become perfect money. Just a lame review, really,” he said.


Learn more:
– Decentralization in crypto is a difficult ideal to measure
– Bitcoin is “fundamentally different” from other cryptos, unlikely to be replaced – Fidelity

– Report on Lightning Network-powered DeFi and NFTs Rejected Even by Bitcoin Proponents
– Only 18% of respondents do not expect Bitcoin to become legal in 3 years – Poll

– Centralization caused most decentralized financial hacks in 2021
– Another research on Bitcoin concentration omits important details

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