This post originally appeared on the Unbounded Capital website, and we republished with permission from Dave Mullen-Muhr.
Join me in an alternate reality. In this world, the automobile was invented in the early 21st century and the first ever model was a 2009 Ford F-150. The invention of this truck is a bit of a mystery. All we know is that one day, Alice Smith happened upon the revelation in her front yard without explanation. On the windshield was a note reading “Enjoy this powerful new invention. It will change everything!”
Alice, understandably confused, went to her husband Bob to ask if he knew anything about this inexplicable contraption she had discovered. He didn’t, but was curious. Together they began poking and prodding the thing trying to make sense of what it was. After about 20 minutes of this, they discovered a key placed on one of the back tires. Another few minutes passed and they realized that the key could be used to open the front doors. Eureka!
Alice and Bob, excited by their progress, hopped in the front seats. “Wow! These are comfy!” Bob exclaimed, rubbing his hand up and down the leather seats. As he continued to feel around he noticed a storage console in between the front seats and another in front of the front right seat, “Secure, locking storage! Nice!” Alice, fixated on the panel of knobs in front of her, began pressing buttons at random. Eventually she happened upon a clickable round knob and pressed it. Loudly, on came the local classic rock station, her favorite! Dumbfounded, Alice and Bob looked at each other with amazement. They had cracked the code on their mysterious discovery! By some strange stroke of luck, they had been gifted from on high. They are the proud owners of the first ever Truck: the world’s premier luxury technology for comfort, storage, and entertainment!
Alice and Bob were on cloud nine. They basked in the dopamine high delivered by their successful exploration. They felt as though they were genius modern day archeologists. In under two hours they had figured out what this thing was and how to use it. Surely no simple feat. The self congratulatory rush they were experiencing could only be dampened by one creeping concern. Bob asked, “Alice, how are we supposed to get this into our living room? It’s huge!”
Hmmm. It wouldn’t be easy, but it had to be done. There is simply no good use for a comfort, storage, and entertainment technology as powerful as this in their front yard. Bringing it inside where their family gathered only made sense. Alice and Bob called a couple of friends for help and, together, they all began disassembling. In the process they found other parts of the truck that they had previously missed. There was a relatively large water tank underneath the structure which could be refilled from a port on the truck’s side. Surely an interesting idea from whatever mysterious deity invented the truck, but Alice and Bob had a wet bar in their living room so the water tank was extraneous. “Toss it in the garage, I will sell it for scrap metal next week.” Bob instructed the makeshift crew.
Once disassembled into workable-sized parts, the crew moved on from disassembly to transportation. Piece by piece they brought the relevant parts of the truck into the Smith’s living room. Once inside, they began to reassemble. Because they had discarded various parts of the truck, like the useless water tank, they had some leeway on how to reassemble it all. Some design changes were made but the Smith’s ensured that all changes were strictly improvements to the truck’s core features: comfort, storage, and entertainment. One of the best additions Alice made was from realizing that the back of the truck had a big open space which perfectly fit the cushions of their couch. Her addition of cushions and blankets to the truck’s bed enhanced its comfort a hundred fold. Brilliant!
When the long day of work was over and night began to set in, Alice and Bob thanked their friends, sent them home, and proudly relaxed on their new truck enjoying its FM radio until they dozed off.
Over the following weeks and months the Smith’s divine discovery drew significant attention. Everyone wanted to learn about this truck and eventually clamored to get their own. Due to the demand, it didn’t take long for an entire truck industry to emerge. In under a year’s time there were nearly a dozen truck companies building and delivering trucks to living rooms around the world. The smartest minds in fields as diverse as technology, furniture, packaging, and more had converged on the new truck industry as thought leaders, painting captivating pictures for just how transformative truck technology will be for people over the coming years and decades.
A truck in every home! The prophetic note Alice found on the windshield on day one was right, this was changing everything!
This is the part of the story where we should conclude with a “happily ever after”. And we would have, had it not been for an unaccepting naysayer and saboteur who came in and ruined everything for trucks and the truck industry.
Meet Charles. Like seemingly everyone else not living under a rock, he had heard of trucks. He was interested. After delaying for several months he finally caved in and made a purchase. When his truck arrived he was happy enough. He and his dog enjoyed using it as a couch while they watched movies. That’s all fine and good, but Charles was bothered by the sneaking suspicion that his truck could do more. Take the tires for instance. “Why are there four rubber tires?” Charles would ponder this like a mantra throughout the day. To him it made little sense. Most people leave their trucks in one place once they set up their living room layout. The tires are nice when you’re rearranging furniture and could in theory be useful for moving your truck to a new house, but people almost never brought their trucks with them when they moved anyway. They were too big and cumbersome to transport so they typically were sold with the home like an oversized kitchen appliance.
“Why are there four rubber tires?” Charles would bring up the question to people frequently. His curiosity craved other points of view on the question. Most people had no answer and were not interested in thinking about it too deeply. Some versions of the following was a common retort, “Trucks are great. Just take a seat and enjoy it. Stop overthinking.” Charles figured he would ask truck experts, of which there were thousands by now. Expecting their answers to be higher quality, Charles was disappointed by the fact that they basically said the same as the average joe. Worse yet, if Charles prodded too hard on the tire question, the experts tended to write him off entirely or even discredit him as a kook.
This frustrated Charles but did not deter him. To seek a fulfilling answer to his question, he turned to the source. Charles read everything he could about the Smith’s original truck. He scoured through pictures and videos captured by the Smiths or from the local news reports at the time of their miraculous discovery. Maybe there was some answer hidden in those resources. After almost a year of this, Charles had a hot lead of a question. The discarded water tank! What if that wasn’t meant for water? What other liquids might it have been intended to store? Luckily for Charles, Bob Smith never ended up scrapping the metal. A nearby museum had taken it for their collection on the famed discovery of the first truck. Charles didn’t live far from the museum, so he decided to pay it a visit.
Charles spent almost three hours at the truck’s water tank exhibit. He found it strange that it wasn’t fully sealed off. “Wouldn’t a water tank with holes lead to leaks?” he wondered. The tank even connected to other parts of the truck’s complex underside, as if intended to feed the liquid to other sections of the truck. After a lot of thought, Charles concluded that it could not be a water tank. His surprising realization prompted him to wonder what other assumptions he was operating on might turn out to be incorrect.
Charles spent over a year obsessing on the truck. Over time he made several shocking conclusions. The “water tank”, he hypothesized, is actually meant to store gasoline. The tank delivers the gasoline to an engine in the front (the engine was discarded as unnecessary by the Smith’s, they had electrical power in their house and decided they did not need a backup generator for the battery in their truck) which is powered by internal combustion. Amazingly, when properly constructed in its original form, it turns out that the key which opens the doors and storage boxes can also be used to start the engine. Once fueled with gasoline and started, the engine is able to rotate axles which turn the four rubber wheels (Charles was surprised to discover that you activate the tires by pushing down onto the footrest positioned in front of the front left seat.) To Charles, the mystery of the rubber wheels appeared solved! Trucks can also transport people and things long distances extremely efficiently and with little to no effort by the passengers!
After more than a year holed up in his house researching, Charles was excited to share his discovery with the world. Now THIS will REALLY change everything!
Charles had a connection to someone who worked at a large truck manufacturer named Derrick. Charles reached out to share his exciting news. Derrick, to Charles’ surprise, did not respond to the discovery with excitement. In fact, he was immediately dismissive.
“Transportation? What?! You’re out of your mind Charles. How on earth can trucks transport people around, people can’t even bring them with when they move to a new house. Not only are trucks not good at transporting people and things, it’s something that they are explicitly bad at.” Derrick continued, “You’re a smart guy Charles, but I think you’re just really off base on this one.” Despite his pessimism, Derrick begrudgingly promised Charles he would run the idea by a few of his colleagues. He did. They each reacted to Charles’ suggestion similarly, compounding Derrick’s initial reaction against the idea. He, and all of the smartest guys he knew IN THE TRUCK INDUSTRY thought the idea was ridiculous.
At this point, Charles was extremely frustrated. To him it was obvious. These trucks were great for transportation! Based on his first principles understanding of the design, transportation seems like its explicit function. Sure, maybe Derrick’s personal family truck couldn’t deliver a load of passengers across town today, but that’s because it was disassembled from its original design, rebuilt, and carelessly plopped in his living room. If the Smith’s had only discovered that the door key also worked in the truck’s ignition, filled the “water tank” with gasoline, stepped on the foot rest, and “driven it” (a term Charles coined) prior to taking the truck apart and putting it in their living room, their model would have made the truck’s value for transportation obvious. Charles decided that he had to move from theory to practice and demonstrate what he was arguing. Then Derrick and his colleagues would no doubt understand.
Contrarian theory came relatively easily to Charles, but implementation was something else. He had to reverse engineer all of the disassembly by the Smith’s and fill in a bunch of gaps in what was left with his own research and engineering. If only the Smith’s didn’t take a hacksaw to the truck right off the bat! During the reconstruction effort people would walk by and see Charles tinkering with the truck on his front lawn, thinking he was out of his mind for even having the truck outside. Charles persevered. After several years he had it. A working prototype ready to demo.
Charles called up Derrick again. In the years Charles was playing mad-scientist on his outdoor truck, Derrick had become rich as his truck company had grown into a behemoth. Derrick’s success further compounded his belief that Charles was absolutely nutty. He wondered why Charles needed any more proof of the accuracy of Derrick’s critique beyond the market rewarding him and his company so heavily, making it clear that trucks are indeed great accoutrement for a living room. At this point, Derrick honestly felt sorry for Charles after witnessing him devolve into madness over his cockamamie theory. It was out of this very sense of pity that Derrick agreed to see Charles’ demo.
The big day arrived. Charles had his truck on his lawn, water tank full of gasoline, key in hand, and he was seated in the front left seat with Derrick standing by on his porch observing. Charles turned on the key, fired up the ignition, and pressed on the foot rest. Motion! Slowly at first and then faster, eventually approaching the speed of a horse. Charles was successfully “driving” circles around his property. He was thrilled to be actually driving his truck. It really works! His excitement to be driving was only trumped by his excitement to get out and get Derrick’s reaction. Charles had been vindicated!
Charles stopped the truck, got out, and approached Derrick. “See what I mean? Pretty awesome right! We’ve been misusing trucks for years now. This will change everything!” Derrick didn’t seem as excited as Charles expected. His face was almost blank. After a few moments of silent anticipation, he finally spoke, “Yeah Charles. That’s great and all. But how are people going to really use this? You made some core changes to the truck and that did make it ‘drive’, but in the process you totally ruined its real value. Listen to how loud that is. Look at the exhaust. Look at your lawn; it’s absolutely destroyed. If people modify their trucks like you did they won’t be able to use it in their living rooms at all. The truck’s value is entertainment, comfort, and storage. When you change it how you did, its value is almost entirely lost.” Charles was in disbelief. “But Derrick. Think about how powerful this tool is. We could travel cross-country in a day. We could transport food from farms to city centers. We could do so much with this. It’s way better than a piece of furniture! You’re not thinking it through!” Derrick thought on it for just a moment, then, almost defensively spurted “Charles we have horses. We have bikes. We have scooters. All you did was reinvent these things in a more expensive and clunky way. If you want to get cross-country, just take a train! Trucks are not the right tool for this.”
Now Charles was flabbergasted. How is this possible? “Derrick, forget the furniture thing! This is way bigger! You can do things with trucks that you can’t with trains!” Charles started listing use cases he had thought through over his years of development on the prototype. Derrick interrupted him,
“What you’re describing would require TONS of other things Charles. To execute on those ideas you wouldn’t just need modified trucks, you would need paved roads connecting everything. It’s just not practical. Everyone already has a truck and loves them. Think of how much fun people have doing movie night laying on their truck! That’s core to their value. Your vision is not only impractical, it’s destructive to that value. We have train tracks laid across the country already, just use that for transportation and leave the truck innovation to us experts.”
Welcome back to reality. The nightmare has ended. Look outside at the street. The cars are safe and sound outside where they belong.
Luckily the real history of the automobile is nothing like this alternate universe. Unfortunately however, the nightmare scenario above is playing out in a different field with potentially more transformative potential than the automobile: Bitcoin, a hyper scalable and efficient blockchain and micropayment system for the internet.
The original sin of the truck industry in our story was operating on false assumptions. The early adopters of truck technology earnestly misunderstood the tech. The Smiths were right; it was a great tool for entertainment, comfort, and storage. The Smith’s flawed assumption, later exacerbated by the industry which formed around their discovery, was that these value propositions were the extent of what the truck could deliver and/or that jeopardizing these value propositions in pursuit of others was absolutely off the table. They misunderstood trucks’ full potential. Compounding the faulty assumptions were “improvements” made to the trucks. Because the truck’s core value was misunderstood, it’s understandable that the changes intended as improvements were actually major degradations. It turns out that you really need that “water tank”. These degradations dug the truck industry in on their understanding of the value props. Suggesting that the truck was useful for transportation was actually incorrect BECAUSE they neutered it.
Similarly, Bitcoin history is rife with flawed assumptions and downstream consequences of “improvements”. The consensus view of Bitcoin, one propagated by virtually all the experts, is that Bitcoin is amazing as a decentralized store of value. They claim that one of its main problems, unfortunately, is that Bitcoin is so damn inefficient. But worry not, the experts have been making improvements to remedy this and accentuate Bitcoin’s value as a decentralized store of value for nearly a decade.
In reality, Bitcoin is not only not inefficient, it is purpose-built to be THE MOST efficient ledger and transaction processing network in the world. The reason BTC, the most popular version of Bitcoin, is actually inefficient today, is because of implementation decisions made based on the incorrect assumption about its value proposition. It made sense to put trucks in the living room when the Smith’s misunderstood its purpose. Because everyone has their truck in their living room, it is in fact a terrible transportation tech. It’s stuck. BTC, in pursuit of the flawed decentralized store of value use case, obliterated its efficiency and now points to its inefficiency as its main flaw. When understood in this context the whole thing is silly.
What about Charles? Where is he in the Bitcoin story? The Bitcoin SV (BSV) implementation of Bitcoin is Bitcoin’s Charles. If you are unfamiliar, give it a google. If you do, you’ll quickly see that, just like Charles, BSV is largely dismissed as silly. Despite this dismissal, today, BSV is driving circles around the front yard. It’s regularly doing millions of hyper efficient transactions per day, sometimes constituting 90%+ of all blockchain transactions across all chains and all for a tiny fraction of the cost (at times hundreds of thousands of times cheaper per transaction).
Today, the digital currency and blockchain industry is dominated by Derricks: people who fancy themselves as experts who have the market validation of recently earned riches to validate this belief. When you show the blockchain-Derrick’s the above transaction charts they scoff. They think it’s silly that someone would even point to it as a demonstration of BSV’s value. Sure, maybe BSV is doing a lot of transactions for extremely low fees (~$0.00005), but in the process they missed the entire point of blockchain as being a decentralized store of value. I may be witnessing the truck driving circles in front of me, but it has been rendered a useless piece of living room furniture in the process. If you want a centralized database just use AWS? Online payments? Just use Venmo. Personal truck? Just take the train!
Today, BSV is emerging from this cloud of confusion. The blockchain industry is simply mistaken. The thought leaders are wrong. Bitcoin SV is pushing forward in demonstrating what Bitcoin as a scalable blockchain really can do when used properly, and the Derrick’s of the blockchain industry are beginning to look more and more silly to fresh eyes taking a look at the two visions for Bitcoin. The power of the technology that is being built leveraging BSV is becoming undeniable. A hyper efficient blockchain which can process the most efficient transactions ever and deliver a micropayment system for the internet as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system is far too valuable to overlook. Visa and Mastercard are nice services which have served the world well, but they have major shortcomings and innovation-stifling fees.
A native micropayment protocol for the internet is beyond a 1000x improvement. And the downstream consequences of a micropayment solution like this is enormous. It is not hyperbolic to suggest that the move from horses to cars is less of an upgrade than the move from Visa to Bitcoin when properly implemented.
People pursuing decentralized stores of value or other blockchain use cases downstream from the industry’s flawed assumptions can coexist with Bitcoin unleashed but it would be ludicrous to ignore the much bigger opportunity in front of developers, entrepreneurs, and investors. Right now, people who own trucks have them in their living rooms. Their blockchain/digital currency projects are so limited. If you like your truck-couch you can keep your truck-couch. But get ready for real trucks, unleashed. Get ready for cars, semis, roads, highways, and interstates. Get ready for industrial delivery, supercharged supply chains, rideshare applications, urbanization and the long tail of century-defining applications and consequences downstream from this invention’s proliferation.
At Unbounded Capital we are confident in our contrarian position. We are experiencing the value. It’s real and it’s here today. How could you convince Charles that trucks are not valuable when he is actively driving it around his yard? It’s true that the BSV ecosystem has a lot of work ahead of it. Charles’ car prototype needs roads. This is our opportunity. At Unbounded Capital we are busy investing in the companies which are building out the infrastructure to deliver on the full potential of this innovation. The future of Bitcoin (BSV) is much brighter than its short history to date. If you think you know what Bitcoin and blockchain can do, think again. This will change everything!
This article was lightly edited for clarity.
Watch: The BSV Global Blockchain Convention panel, The Future World with Blockchain
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.