What is Consensus: Rules without Rulers

Who is in charge of Bitcoin? Why is it so hard to change the rules? The governance model of Bitcoin, where there can be transparent and neutral rules without rulers, without regulators, is confusing to most people. It is a natural human inclination not only to appeal to authority but to see the absence of a leader as an invitation, a “job opening.” Bitcoin has resisted this for nine years, but it is still immature and trying to find its potential. What the failure of SegWit2x demonstrated was not that this group one and that group lost, but that consensus is an overwhelming majority system. Without it, you are unlikely to succeed. The question is not whether we will scale, but how. The battles we’ve faced so far are tiny compared to what lies ahead. The choice you all make between convenience and liberty, between safety and freedom, will open up opportunities for billions tomorrow.

This talk took place at the Swedish Bitcoin Association event on November 19th 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden: http://www.bitcoinforeningen.se/

Bitcoin for Beginners – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPQwGV1aLnTuN6kdNWlElfr2tzigB9Nnj
Decentralized Truth – https://youtu.be/XCVaabu3J04
Open Blockchains for Cashless Developed Economies – https://youtu.be/eo-0BgrKxiI
Money as a System-of-Control – https://youtu.be/FyK4P7ZdOK8
Worse Than Useless: Financial Surveillance – https://youtu.be/n4F-h4xuXMk
Fake News, Fake Money – https://youtu.be/i_wOEL6dprg
Delivering Liberty, at Scale – https://youtu.be/AecPrwqjbGw
Hardware, Software, Trustware – https://youtu.be/Etyjc1JdmFU
Forkology: A Study of Forks for Newbies – https://youtu.be/rpeceXY1QBM
Decentralized power, leaderless governance – https://youtu.be/E5VbDlQTPzU
The Switzerland of currencies – https://youtu.be/pV83Qmy578c
HODLing and the “get free” scheme – https://youtu.be/MhOwmsW1YNI
Why developers are leaving banks – https://youtu.be/GqOZ4IAQ-xQ

Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist and serial entrepreneur who has become one of the most well-known and respected figures in bitcoin.

Follow on Twitter: @aantonop https://twitter.com/aantonop
Website: https://antonopoulos.com/

He is the author of two books: “Mastering Bitcoin,” published by O’Reilly Media and considered the best technical guide to bitcoin; “The Internet of Money,” a book about why bitcoin matters.

Highlights of IoM Volume 2: https://youtu.be/Qkjm5E5BeB8

THE INTERNET OF MONEY, v1: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Internet-Money-collection-Andreas-Antonopoulos/dp/1537000454/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

[NEW] THE INTERNET OF MONEY, v2: https://www.amazon.com/Internet-Money-Andreas-M-Antonopoulos/dp/194791006X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

MASTERING BITCOIN: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mastering-Bitcoin-Unlocking-Digital-Cryptocurrencies/dp/1449374042

[NEW] MASTERING BITCOIN, 2nd Edition: https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Bitcoin-Programming-Open-Blockchain/dp/1491954388

Subscribe to the channel to learn more about Bitcoin & open blockchains!

If you want early-access to talks and a chance to participate in a monthly LIVE Q&A with Andreas, become a patron: https://www.patreon.com/aantonop

Videography: BitJoin (https://bitjoin.me/)
Music: “Unbounded” by Orfan (https://www.facebook.com/Orfan/)
Outro Graphics: Phneep (http://www.phneep.com/)
Outro Art: Rock Barcellos (http://www.rockincomics.com.br/)

100 thoughts on “What is Consensus: Rules without Rulers”

  1. I love it Andreas! You could call this video " The Emergence of Democratic Anarchy". Democratic because bitcoin is consensus based and Anarchy because bitcoin is leaderless and without appeal to authority, governed by code created through consensus and enforced through the incorruptible laws of mathematics. Great video!

  2. The real Bitcoin is the last update that received the sufficient consensus, Bcash (Bitcoin Cash) was a brand grab by a few wealthy corportists because it was a hard fork and did not receive consensus! — Evil exists in this world, because there are people in Power who want to rid the world of evil!

  3. If you don't think there is a corportists monopoly threat to this Bitcoin Project, then once again I have to disagree with you: There is an EVIL in Corporatism. There is no neutral position here.

  4. P.S. I Admire your voice in this space the most!!!!! But obviously disagreement is build into our everyday lives.

  5. Great words. Bitcoin is opening up the possibilities to a life without rule sets at the whim of someone who is unnecessarily acting as your boss. Being free to choose your associations, to be financially empowered, to be censorship resistant and to live decentralized is what it is all about. Make sure to make the choices in Bitcoin that will keep enabling that.

  6. Look at that crowd. What a dude ranch. I'll know Bitcoin has made in when I see rooms like this filled with both men and women, old and young.

  7. Andreas, it seems to me that we have a shift in the way people invest in companies and their technology. The shift is occurring, I think away from traditional model of people owning shares of a company to people investing in companies via they are number one asset, their token. As such, could you please inform us which companies are offering tokens for supporting the core ideals inherent in Bitcoin. I am particularly looking for companies that are working on actual infrastructure and the ecosystem.

  8. Dear Andreas,
    Thank you again for a great speech.
    Please allow me to ask:
    How does the consensus work, when good devs try to make Bitcoin better?
    Are there 50 devs in total who vote for implementation of something 1 dev made?
    Or are there 1000 devs who have that power?
    You said that any change will only be implemented when there is consensus in the community.
    Who is the "community"?
    I have a few Bitcoin…
    I am very active in "the community" by listening to you on YouTube, and a lot of others.
    I follow good people on Twitter.
    But nobody asked my opinion/vote when a change is suggested.

    When there is a change implemented, is that called a softfork?
    Is every little change a softfork?

    In other words:
    What exactly is the structure of how changes are made?
    And more important: Who are the people that have to agree and how many of them are there in total?

    Thank you so very much for clarifying this.
    It puzzles me already longtime.

  9. I really wish I could express my ideas verbally as well as Andreas. He's so clear and convincing! Something I need to work on.

  10. Cryptocurrency is a transfer of wealth to a different set of people, who's preferences will rule, because the markets follow the money.

  11. I watch these videos because it's Andreas and it's his channel, but I gotta be honest these videos aren't informative at all for me, and are usually dated as fuck. NO way of knowing how old the video is or if he's uploaded the same clip to his channel already. The information on this channel is limited.

  12. 6:42 "Supernational" is a term I'd like to see used more commonly. He used it so well here that his context actually provides a nice definition for others!

    Edit/PS: maybe start at the beginning tho for the full context, of course

  13. It's not possible w/o leaders. It's a natural tendency for people to look for a leader, it's evolutionary thing.
    Look at communism, it was supposed to be like what you're describing. But what happened? That's an utopic and very dangerous idea. We are not made to live in Arcadia or smth, we are flowed creatures and if we accept our flows, then we would be better off.
    It's not that the leader will want to emerge, we will select them when we feel overwhelmed, insecure and just not confident enough. Leadership is a burden.
    Also, remember this Satoshi guy… he's still somewhere out there! Some people know him, he's a cult leader right now and when he re-appears… he'll be like Jesus. He'll be a leader.

  14. I trust the UK/US/DE etc governments less than I trust third world governments. At least white South Africans know where they stand. Living in the UK we have LESS FREEDOM, therefore BTC is equally, if not, more important to those in the UK. If the status quo is smashed, everyone will benefit in the long run. Dark times are ahead, but out of darkness comes light.

  15. What a beautiful mind. What a clean mind. The presence of Spirit (and lack of ego) are gleaming… as always. Continued prayers for Andreas to stay protected in Spirit as he continues his journey.

  16. Santa Claus is a fascist dictator… LMFAO !! As always, you're THE best advocate of the crypto space, Andreas!

    And to the people that will inevitably reply to this post:
    It's a joke, he made a joke. Don't get hung up on it too much….

  17. the best way to achieve something is not by democracy. is by testing many things and then keeping the best. thats why i love the creation of many altcoins. im hoping for the best one to win

  18. Is there a way I could pay Bitcoin to see your videos in a more timely fashion?  I would have liked to see this when you did the talk.

  19. Sometimes i'm convinced that this guy is either Satoshi Nakomoto "himself" or part of the intimate team that used the pseudonym…

  20. Ive been saying it since I discovered Bitcoin a month ago. You cannot regulate what you cant control. Essentially you're chasing a 👻

  21. I may be wrong, however, I'm seeing a bigger picture evolve in my head while watching this, mainly, a political blockchain. What would happen if we have a political system "governed" within the blockchain concept?

  22. This might sound strange but the power of the blockchain is its decentralisation – yes. And yet it's as though the bitcoin blockchain is currently a focus of centralisation. I'm not familiar with the intricacies of the coding and mathematics involved, but is it possible to have a system where a new blockchain is created every time someone wants to participate in the trade of a particular commodity? So let's say there are the people who trade wheat or salt or whatever. They have their own discrete blockchain. I guess what I'm suggesting is that rather than scaling up bitcoin, is it possible to separate it into many smaller blockchains that are used by communities whose members will quite naturally do a lot of trading with each other. I hope this makes sense to someone.

  23. Your comments on the creation of enemies by extreme polarization were clairvoyant as fuck. Continually amazed at the duality of your technical knowledge and social awareness. Killer combo, and exactly what's needed.

  24. The bitcoin tx fee is 30 USD. Can a poor person that have a android phone to 1 USD pay 5 * 30 USD in Bitcoin fee for open the 5 LN channels? Or pay 2 * 30 USD for 2 LN channels? Or 1 * 30 USD?
    60 USD is all he have to food for 2 weeks. And he have no more. He have no bicycle because he have no money to bought a bicycle. So he work when he bring water. It is heavy to bring 20 l water 2 km from you place.
    Will he choose to eat or open LN channels? I know what I will do.
    For rich people is can be difficult really to understand how it is to be poor. I know it because I was not knowing until I was live together with poor people.
    The bitcoin fee we have now make Bitcoin only for the lower class and up. Not for who that really need Bitcoin. The poorest 1 bn.
    If only 100 mil open 5 ch then the total cost is 100,000,000 * 5 * 30 = 15 bn USD to build the network.
    If every open ch cost 280 byte: 140 GB =140,000 1 MB blocks. If all space is used to LN open only tx: 972 days, 2.7 years. But the network also need to serve close cn tx, normal tx etc.

  25. Your videos are pretty much the only ones on Youtube that I watch in regular speed! Simply because they are worth it.
    Thanks a lot for your work!

  26. IMPORTANT: The community needs to learn about a place or places where and average user can know what are the latest consensus from the paperWallets address algorithm all the way to the new accepted forks rules from legitimate forks

  27. If only we could structure our society like this, to have rules without rulers… Too many people that have no skin in the game want to make calls in how I should use my property!

  28. Government regulations are what scares me. In my 60 years on this planet, I have never known any government to do anything right, other than line their own pockets.

  29. To counter your point, sending jpeg in 1990 was not feasible. But artificially limiting users to do it in 2000 is absurb. Bitcoin's scale is not limited by technology but economy. Tx fees are high because blocksize is restricted to have a free market. This completely goes against the fundamental of Bitcoin.

    There is no longer scaling debate in Bitcoin. It is all about politics. This is the first test of Bitcoin's governance you're preaching about.

    I challenge you in an open debate online live on youtube. Please respond if you take my challenge.

  30. Exactly. Both solutions to scalability problem shall compete in friendly atmosphere cos people on both sides are aiming at the best that open blockchains wil deliver: economic freedom, financial sovereignty. But people are emotional and dumb, people have confirmations bias, and drama won't go away

  31. Modern world will not have boarders and will not have control the current governments have with corrupt people like most of the political elites in the current world!

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