Its hard not to think Bitcoin has failed to provide meaningful end-user control or real societal value with a cursory glance at today's reality, but the fate of Bitcoin has not been sealed. Quite the opposite - it is still early, and by treating Bitcoin not as something which should be improved, but as something which should be taken out back and shot does a disservice to the entire cypherpunk movement.
Do not measure Bitcoin by the inspirational goals people assigned to it on its first release. If we measure the internet by the same metric, it, too, has failed. And maybe it has, but we cannot deny that it is used, daily, for many to communicate across the world instantly, even if more often than not via centralized platforms. Similarly, Bitcoin, today, allows many to transact across the world nearly instantly, even if more often than not via centralized platforms.
Like seemingly everything in this world, it is easier and more profitable for someone to build a centralized, controlling platform to extract rent and build a nice user interface than to build a decentralized, user-protecting product. The Internet only achieves user-protection when many people, like those building Mastodon, constantly build user-protecting systems which fill niches and promote their use. So too, Bitcoin only protects users when many people, preferably more from this community, build user-protecting systems on top of it - various privacy-focused wallets have seen increased adoption over the past years, lightning was created to allow for lower-value instant transactions, and also slowly sees increasing adoption. But these systems, like Bitcoin itself, are early and strapped for resources. Instead of dismissing their existence as useless, we should celebrate them, contribute code to them, and come up with new ideas.
Cypherpunks Write Code.
Tried setting up Whisper on my Windows gaming rig recently and it took me 3X as much work as on Linux due to multiple library compatibility issues. But I'm now ready to embark upon a massive transcription project! https://blog.lopp.net/openai-whisper-transcription-testing/
Now for something completely different: I wrote a dystopian short story! https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/under-cbdcs-bitcoin-is-outlawed
#Bitcoin companies like @CasaHODL are expanding by raising funds and offering new features.
Great writeup by @lopp who picked up where I left off in 2017: https://blog.lopp.net/running-bitcoin-core-v0-7-and-earlier/
Probably the greatest academic 'mic drop' in history: In 1903, Frank Nelson Cole of the Columbia University delivered a "talk" with the title 'On the Factorization of Large Numbers'.
Apparently he, silently, wrote the following on the blackboard:
2^67 - 1 = 147,573,952,589,676,412,927 = 7,618,383,257,287 x 193,707,721
and then walked out (or something).
p. 183 of Singh "Number Theory step by step".
(2^n -1 was one of a list of numbers Mersenne had claimed to be prime).