What People Really Want From Bitcoin Cash Is for It to Be Money

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Avatar for dave_gutteridge
3 years ago

There are a lot of exciting possibilities that emerge from the technology that underpins Bitcoin Cash.

The two features that I'm personally most interested in is coin shuffling, to create truly fungible and anonymous currency, and non fungible tokens to create and track unique or collectable items. I also like the potential to create tokens for all sorts of uses, such tickets, point cards, and more.

But even though I think there are all sorts of exciting future pathways, I think there's a case to be made that sometimes they obscure the real value of Bitcoin Cash, which is its use case as money. A use case that it does just fine already. Well enough to support successful replacements for existing services that people want.

And I don't think it's just me who feels this way, I think the market is speaking.

Compare Noise.cash to Memo.cash. Both are Twitter clones, both are "based on" Bitcoin Cash. But they have very different ideas about what that means.

Memo.cash is built in such a way that every post is stored on the blockchain, where it can never be removed again. Since no one controls the blockchain, posts stored there can not be removed by anyone, not even Memo.cash. It's an exercise in how blockchain technology can fundamentally alter the underpinnings of how we communicate on the internet. The intention, and it's main selling point, is that it is "uncensorable."

Noise.cash doesn't use blockchain technology or any specific feature of BCH to make it function. It basically works the same as any other website or social media service, using standard web server technologies. The BCH factor is only that users can tip and reward each other with Bitcoin Cash. It is, in essence, Twitter, but with the ability to give money for posts you like.

Noise.cash is still only in early release stages, it doesn't even yet have all its intended core features implemented. For instance, tipping is still done with QR codes, not with a built in wallet like it's sister site, Read.cash.

And yet, Noise.cash is already surpassing Memo.cash in usage. I read somewhere that Noise.cash had around 50,000 users signed up within its first month. I've seen comments on r/btc that attribute the recent surge of BCH transactions to Noise.cash, but I'm not sure it can be known for sure that's the case. We know Noise.cash launched, lots of users signed up, and transactions went up. Occam's razor suggests Noise.cash is what's driving transactions, but so far as I know, that's speculation.

Memo.cash has been around since early 2018 or so, and if I'm reading their stats and charts correctly, their growth has been largely static. They get a few dozen new users a day, which should mean a slow and steady growth in activity. But their daily on-chain actions, which I assume includes everything users can do, such as posts, comments, and tips, has been close to, but under, two thousand a day for the last two years. My read on this is that people are joining, trying it out a while, and becoming inactive. It's almost certainly not as simple as that, but whatever the details are, it's clear it's not growing.

In any case, you can see the activity difference in real time. Just now as I write this, I loaded Noise's Explore page, and there are 39 posts within the last minute. On Memo, on the Everyone feed, there weren't any posts under a minute old, and the top ten most recent posts stretch out to nine minutes.

I think the lesson here is pretty clear. The market overall, does not care whether or not their posts are "uncensorable." They are interested in going somewhere that their posts can potentially be rewarded.

Which is not to say that accountability and censorship aren't issues to address, or that the attempt to provide a solution isn't a noble cause. I'm all for upsetting the balances of power in society and ensuring that truths aren't suppressed, and that communication isn't restricted.

And I think Bitcoin Cash could help with those issues. It's just that storing data on the blockchain isn't the part of BCH that is best suited to helping create a more accountable world.

Consider that one of the major reasons why Twitter, Facebook, Instragram, Reddit, and other social platforms are not completely fair and open forums for discussion is because they rely on advertiser revenue to be profitable. It's not the only reason they're problematic, but it's a significant one. We'd be better off if that distortion didn't exist.

I personally believe that if truly micro transactions were possible, then platforms could earn revenue directly from the people that use them, and the organizations that run them would therefor be accountable to their users, not corporate sponsors. That would be a power shift of real significance.

But that's something we'll only find out if and when viable peer-to-peer money is standard enough in the marketplace. And we'll get there by having services popular enough that people want to use them. And that's what Noise.cash is doing.

And they're doing it by exploiting the most important feature of Bitcoin Cash:

It's money.

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Avatar for dave_gutteridge
3 years ago