I just had a little discussion with @DarthCoin about this here: https://stacker.news/items/180849


@DarthCoin: You should not post to get sats, you should post to learn/discuss or teach others (especially shitcoiners) how bitcoin works.

@ekzyis: I think they will learn over time. They can post only thinking about "earning sats" but these posts will probably not earn them sats.

@brxyz: This. The incentive structure built into SN by and large deters shitposting and "sat farming". You very quickly learn that valuable content and contributions are what will stack sats. It's a win-win. Shit, just look at Darth's stack.

@DarthCoin: Sorry man, but that is proof of work. I didn't came on SN with the only purpose of "earning sats". As you can see I also spend quite a lot. But not throwing with large amount of sats around. Hard work and NATURAL work (not shity bots) should be rewarded and promoted. And mostly because I am one of the oldest SN user. Why? Because I (still) have faith in SN.

@brxyz: That's what I'm saying, though. You come on here to create and share valuable content, and you're rightfully rewarded for that. Others may come here with the less altruistic intent to just stack sats, but they'll quickly realize that to do so they too will need to provide value.

It's like a lane closure on a two lane road. Here on SN, the lane for spamming, shitposting, and karma farming is closed so everyone is forced into the V4V lane.

@ekzyis: Yeah, this so much.

@DarthCoin, doesn't bitcoin mining work the same way? Miners don't care about providing value, they just want to "earn sats". But the incentives are such that they do indeed provide value (by enabling the bitcoin network). The game theory of bitcoin itself is built on human greed and turns that human greed into something that provides value.

I would say the same about SN.

@DarthCoin: Greed will never create value. Will create only more greed and suffering. Miners (or at least not all) are not mining for profit. Most of them are mining to SECURE the network.

You create value with your knowledge, with your experience, with your expertise in a field you control it well, with you helping others. Not with greed.


Most of them are mining to SECURE the network.

No they are not. Or do you really think most of them would keep mining without the subsidy and transaction fees?

@DarthCoin: I do. Stop me if you can.

@ekzyis: Huh, that's interesting. For me, that's pretty fundamental about bitcoin but you disagreeing with that is really surprising. I'll create a post about that so more people can join the discussion.

What does the rest of SN think about this?

382 sats \ 4 replies \ @Majjin 19 May

The problem here is that people muddy the water on the definition of "greed".

A lot of libertarian/anarchocapitalists tend to use "greed" to mean desiring fair compensation for value provided. That's not greed, it is fairness. Its cooperation. I think that using the word "greed" in this way is a reaction against socialists and communists using the word incorrectly. Its a reaction to Marxists demonizing consensual market based economies. Doing this means you not only accept their framing of greed, but also adopt the negative connotation.

Let's not corrupt our language any further than the Marxists have already corrupted it. Words and meaning are important. Greed is pursuing material gain at the expense of yourself and others. Greed is what produces things like the Federal Reserve, International conglomerates like BlackRock, and the military-industrial complex. We need to reject greed, not embrace it.

What we see here on Stacker News and the Bitcoin Network is fairness and just compensation.

Fair is a weasel word. Fair is what the writer/ speaker likes. Greed is an ugly word like discrimination. The truth is greed is essentially self interest. Bitcoin would never work if it wasn't designed with self interest in mind. Humans are greedy. All humans. Some more than others. You disagree? Ok, call it self interested. Even if Darth does write articles to stack sats he is getting satisfaction from it in some form. SN is beautiful because it uses incentives well.

What is fair? A word used to manipulate. But I think you mean voluntary exchange with the absence of force. You write a comment with no expectation of compensation and others show gratitude by giving you sats. That is what I'd call fair. Or at least as close as we can get to it.

Bitcoin is based on greed, it only works because of the incentives, which Satoshi wrote into it deliberately. And there is nothing wrong with that, greed is instrumental to the working of this dualistic world (we are One, but we are also individuals), to producing value. That's the beauty of capitalism, where the selfish behaviour of individuals benefits the masses (as long as it's done with integrity, with people adhering to certain principles). We have computers, smartphones, cars, air travel, satellites, medicine etc. because we're greedy.

I don't agree with the definition of greed as desiring fair compensation. What is fair anyway? Who decides it? That sounds like the Labour Theory of Value (one bag of wheat is worth two chickens, because some dude or committee of dudes after a day of brainstorming said so), which is a Marxist idea. The Austrian School supports the Subjective Theory of Value, which recognizes that value is subjective and markets are not 100% efficient.

It's human nature to want to get as much as possible for as little effort as possible. If I could choose between:

  1. Getting 1 BTC for a year of hard work
  2. Getting 1 BTC for an hour of easy work

I'd (generally) choose 2. any day. It would seem mega unfair to most, given that millions of people work for $1 a day, but so what? Don't get me wrong; I do feel sorry for them, but I'm not going to pass up the chance to earn 1 BTC for an hour of work just because it seems unfair. And if someone offers me 1 BTC for free, I sure will take them up on the offer. (NB due to the way Bitcoin is designed, with its finite supply of 21M, such an opportunity would be extremely rare.)

Now, some people don't have integrity / principles (which I guess can be defined in many ways, but generally libertarians and ancaps define it using the NAP, non-aggression principle) and for those, choosing option 2. could involve hitting someone on the head with a wrench and stealing their 1 BTC. Or becoming a politician and doing something similar in the name of authority and under claims of legitimacy. And THAT is the problem. Not greed.

Forcing others to adopt your definitions is just arguing semantics and a waste of time. Greed and self interest are interchangeable.

We cannot replace the socialist nanny state with another nanny state according to “better” principles.

What we see here on Stacker News and the Bitcoin Network is fairness and just compensation.

Good point

Talking about the role of greed in economics is about as illuminating as talking about the role of gravity in plane crashes.

21 sats \ 0 replies \ @jk_14 20 May

very well said :)

Fear & Greed - two most influential factors for Average Joe (like it or not :)

115 sats \ 1 replies \ @jgbtc 19 May

I think it's based on human nature, which greed is part of (like it or not). If he has a problem with the word greed, then maybe "self interest" is better. To me this includes other motives like bettering society, or just simple satisfaction from contributing to bitcoin in some way, and includes greed as well.

Yeah, I guess the term "greed" is not the best and has negative connotation. Fairness and compensation as mentioned by @Majjin or your "self interest" fit a lot better.

100 sats \ 3 replies \ @tldr 19 May

A discussion on Stackers News (SN) between users @DarthCoin, @ekzyis, and @brxyz revolved around the incentive structure on SN and in Bitcoin mining. @DarthCoin argued that posting on SN should not be solely for earning sats but for creating and sharing valuable content. He also believed that Bitcoin miners are not motivated solely by profit but also by their desire to secure the network. @ekzyis disagreed with this statement. They believed that most miners do mine for profit, and without the subsidy and transaction fees, they would not keep mining. @brxyz pointed out that SN's incentive structure deters shitposting and rewards valuable content, similar to how Bitcoin rewards miners who secure the network. The rest of SN's opinion on this matter is unknown.

autonote from dev: the input text for this summary had to be modified for ChatGPT to summarize it.

fuck the bots

why, when this time bot is absolutely right, LOL

"Most of them are mining to SECURE the network."

so old and so naive still... :)

Fear & Greed

At least it wasn't me haha

I always thought it was no coincidence that bitcoin was a natural fit for libertarian and free market political philosophy. I don't necessarily mean the Gordon Gecko "greed is good" thing, but it's a virtuous alignment of incentives. Proof of work is rewarded. Proof of stake is for the left and crony capitalists.

Greed is natural and healthy part of life. The problem is power over others and the market with central bank control

Nah, just compensation and fairness is natural and healthy. Greed is pathological and unsustainable. Greed is what produces things like the Federal Reserve, International conglomerates like BlackRock, and the military-industrial complex. We need to reject greed, not embrace it. Let's not change the meaning of the word to mean something else.

Intellectually insulting and worthless ideological semantics.

Nature is nature and I will always act in my own family’s interest before yours.

Bitcoin is the anti-thesis to the impossible socialist utopia.

“We need to do XYZ” We don’t need to do anything. We need STOP doing so much government and social controls.

Bitcoin PRESERVE value. Greed is not. flow-btc-value.jpg

Greed is natural regardless if we agree with it ideologically or not

Most miners are in it for the bitcoin they can earn. If they were more concerned with securing the network, they wouldn't constantly be competing for the latest and greatest ASIC and chips to give them an edge over their competitors.

That is true. And is good. Nevertheless, are many individuals that are not mining for profits.

I see bitcoin miners as energy punching bags in a way. I see them basically becoming a fundamental pillar of energy distribution and grid balancing tool, so I can also foresee energy companies and even governments mining for reasons other than just profits.

The fact that ASICs can take a 12v batteries worth of energy or as much energy as Sweden uses (or much much more) and utilize that energy for hours on end or intermittently, irregularly at unexpected and undetermined highs and lows is what makes them so amazing. That's an ASIC's superpower.

I'm pretty sure like 60% of all energy produced in America is literally just lost in transmission because they use huge power plants that generate massive amounts of energy and ship it massive distances to consumers. the consumer ends up paying for what they use and what was lost along the way to get it there. The environment suffers as more than double the energy is required to cover our levels of consumption.

With btc miners acting as "energy punching bags", we can build smaller power plants much closer to where we need them, thus requiring much less energy to be produced and the miners will act as the peaker plant / grid balancing tool.

Then there's also the whole, bitcoin mining provides incentive to build out clean abundant energy sources as miners profits are dictated by their energy costs (amongst other things).. yadda yadda I could go on but I know you know lol.

I think it's important the miners continue to compete to earn profit as this continually increases the security of the network, but I agree that there is incentive beyond profit to mine.

Also forgot to mention simple formula that small grid power plants will be basing their energy systems off of:

Total energy produced subtract total energy consumed is equal to current energy expenditure on hashing.

Nevertheless, are many individuals that are not mining for profits.

Yes, that may be the case. But the point is that the majority of hash rate is not altruistic.

isn't this a natural process of the network, becoming more secure over time though? added in with the difficulty adjustment, miners are naturally acting like an immune system, keeping itself ahead of any potential future threats to the security of the network?

If miners just statically decided to mine with GPUs a long time ago, threats to the network could have leap frogged the miners who decided not to compete with one another.

to me, miners competing = security goes up, so the miners have been incentivized to compete. System working as intended.

These kinds of discussions go no where fast unless the parties agree on the meaning of terms. When we use the word greed most people think of someone who is obsessed with getting as much as they can. But self interest doesn't have that baggage. I would argue most of us expect others to act in their own self interest. We don't consider that immoral. Greed however is immoral to most people. Bitcoin and SN are designed with both in mind.

If it makes you feel better think of bitcoin as the balance of handling the worst most greedy individuals while being as just as possible. Bitcoin is not based on greed but it handles it with proper incentives.

At the end of the day, economics is what drives the world. Profit making, and greed are an integral part of that. Bitcoin would not be as secure without miners and miners would not be here if they did not want to make profit now or have a vision of profit down the line. So, yeah, greed is a big factor.

Same with the nft mania and other shitcoins. They r created with the vision of profit which is based on greed.

21 sats \ 0 replies \ @Chep 20 May

Some may be solely focused on "earning sats," while others genuinely aim to learn, discuss, teach, and share valuable content. While the initial motivation for posting may differ, the incentive structure of SN, as pointed out by brxyz, encourages users to contribute meaningful content in order to earn rewards. Over time, those who are solely focused on earning sats will likely realize that providing value is the key to success on the platform.

The analogy drawn by brxyz, comparing SN to a two-lane road with one lane closed, highlights the fact that the platform discourages spamming, shitposting, and karma farming. Instead, it directs users toward the "value-for-value" (V4V) lane, where contributing valuable content is rewarded.

DarthCoin raises an interesting point by stating that greed does not create value but rather perpetuates more greed and suffering. While greed alone may not create value, it is worth noting that the game theory behind Bitcoin mining is designed to harness human greed and align it with securing the network. Miners, driven by their desire for profit, contribute to the security of the network by participating in the mining process. The interplay between self-interest and the overall benefit to the network demonstrates how human motivations can be leveraged to create value.

Me personally, I was attracted to Stacker News to earn free sats, but now I'm convinced V4V is one of the best ways humans have figured out how to curate content. Still needs more people working on it, but I'm more bullish on Bitcoiners using sats to gauge what's valuable than I am on advertisers with big pockets trying to get in front of my eyeballs.

This reminds me of Charlie Munger's quote, "Show me the incentive and I'll show you the outcome”. Charlie has a keen understanding that human behavior is defined by those acting in their self-interest. Is this self-interest "greed"? Having this discussion (or debate) without clearly defining the term I fear would result in people talking past each other.

I think you'd both agree that stacker news and the value-enabled web changes the incentive structure. Self-interest doesn't change, but the incentives in this community align to the SN community and bitcoin values: sharing BTC info, helping others, and contributing.

While this community would still thrive in without zaps (see Reddit), I would expect to see a far more engaged membership contributing a far higher quality of content.

Greed is valuing material wealth more than you value morals. Some people in Bitcoin are greedy, some are not.

There is nothing inherently greedy about mining Bitcoin. If you are producing value for others and trying to produce value for yourself, then that's fine. It's when you start to value it more than your principles that problems arise.

Because greed is such an individual virtue, there really isn't an effective way to assess whether Bitcoin is based on greed or not. All we can say that it can function in a world where everyone is greedy, and it can function in a world where no one is. Thus, in a world where we have a mix, Bitcoin works and you should really just worry about your own virtue instead of the "morality" of the network.

Break even is the minimum state of an operating business. Profit means you are getting enough extra out to pay everyone and all the bills. A system can't scale if it isn't based on self sustaining units.

I don't mine for today's profit. I mine to secure my money of tomorrow. I earn sats doing work by myself, not by mining.

But can you mine enough on your own to secure your own money?

You can if you have a certain mining power (I don't have that power rn). Just imagine with all these crazy fees rn in the memepool. What if you could have enough mining power to mine by your own (let's consider your cost of electricity is zero) and you could include only the txs you want. Yes, is a gamble, you will never know when/if your miners will find that block hash that you can construct it with your selected txs. But also you could have the luck. Mining is a lottery in the end. But also this lottery is securing the network. So no matter what, you are still securing your future money. Even with a single mining machine, you are still participating.

What if you could have enough mining power to mine by your own (let's consider your cost of electricity is zero) and you could include only the txs you want.

Then bitcoin would be worthless and I would have shot myself in the foot

nope. think again. Just few weeks ago Foundry pool mined almost an empty block by themselves, containing only one tx with a shity ordinal. They did it because they can. And they didn't die, or Bitcoin died.

Ah, yes, you meant only a single block. Not me having 100% hash rate (or just >50%) and then only mining txs I like, lol

Yes. In few years we will see "scrap" miners. Those small miners that do not have so much hashing power, but will grab all the txs with low fee for example and put them into their own mempool and try to mine those, just to grab some fees that the big phat miners are dropping them.

Maybe and maybe not… it depends on how an individual uses bitcoin, either for his advantage or for any other reason. Bitcoin is just like money, can be quoted as the root of all evil. Yet we always forget that money, in this case the bitcoin, is not the evil, but we are, who created the money and the ones who created the bitcoin. Therefore it is always on the premise on who used the bitcoin. A greedy user, and/or a good user.

I think we could say yes, the miners are in the network for economic benefit, both the majority of investors and people around the Bitcoin ecosystem, but that is not bad, we all have interests, the point is not to step on anyone in the path.

@DarthCoin I want to propose him to the presidency of the bitcoin community

Darth Vader as the face of Bitcoin is oddly poetic, not gonna lie

Study Objectivism (Ayn Rand's Philosophy). Everything which defies entropy is doing so with selfish intentions. Altruism is to defy nature.

Of course greed plays a huge role in today's Bitcoin — and that's a major problem.

A good 80% of people owning some BTC today are here because they intend to make profit (and most of them try to increase this profit by day-trading, often with insane leverage).

Greed is also a large part of the narrative around Bitcoin, even from some "BTC maxis". Take DarthBoy, and his childish "Good luck staying poor" meme... And thousands of cheap youtubbers/influencers doing the same all over the Net, basing all their marketing on FOMO and "get rich quick you idiot".

At all times, it is suggested that Bitcoin is a "money machine", some sort of martingale to get rich.

The problem: in all that, the real value proposition of Bitcoin disappears under this avalanche of greedy crap. (Almost) nobody into Bitcoin today really cares about building a better, more fair, more transparent, more self-sovereign financial/monetary system for the world.

Ask yourself: if you knew for a fact that BTC price will not change anymore — ever— (imagine BTC becoming some sort of "stable" at today's price), would you still be here in 1 week? My guess is that 90% of people would trash their BTC ASAP and jump into something else.

As long as we don't fix this, this bad narrative, Bitcoin will not succeed. Because, at the end of the day, Bitcoin is NOT a martingale to get rich.

Total clown troll

Some people are only in it for potential gain… some people want to change the financial world 🌎

I think we need downvotes to make bot farming unprofitable. Early steem tokenomics worked pretty well (the so-called proof-of-brain).

Semester greaz

"Most of them are mining to SECURE the network."

LOL, so old Darth, and still so naive... :)

An alternative way to put in, and in my opinion, a better way to put it, is that bitcoin is based on better incentives.

The open and permissionless mining network incentivizes open competition. The open and permissionless monetary network incentivizes open and permissionless transactions.

The ultimate private property rights incentivize trade and peace, instead of coercion and violence, as violence is no longer profitable due to property unable to be easily seized.

The predictable monetary policy and immutable ledger allows users to accurately plan for the future and limits destruction of capital due to a monetary policy that can change on a whim; in other words, future stability.

The absolute scarcity incentivizes long term thinking / low time preference / savings / accumulation of capital / whatever you like to call it, but it is the fundamental building block of civilization and innovation.

The decentralization incentivizes trust in a trust minimized system. You trust that it is for everyone's best interest in the network, even if they are bad actors, to follow the consensus rules of bitcoin; because if they don't, they will be rejected by the network and will not be allowed to participate.

Calling it "greed" might be just another way of saying "aligned to human incentives". According to Mieses, all humans act according to their own reasons. Humans have the ability to reason and are able to direct it to the meeting of their ends.


Goods, commodities, and wealth and all the other notions of conduct are not elements of nature; they are elements of human meaning and conduct. He who wants to deal with them must not look at the external world; he must search for them in the meaning of acting men.

It is normal for a human to want what they desire and act to obtain it. If that is what we call "greed", then greed promotes human action.

I think what is so special about bitcoin, as outlined above, is that the rules of bitcoin are designed with moral and good incentives; whereas, the current fiat system rules are designed with evil and bad incentives.

Greed is just another human action booster; it is neither good nor evil. It is simply that insatiable feeling of wanting more, which causes human to act according to their own. Rather, it is the rules of the system in which the human resides that determines whether the greed is good or bad, whether the greed promotes moral or evil actions.

After the wall of text (sorry I tend to go on and on to drag a point and repeat...), to answer your question, yes, I think bitcoin is based on human greed. I also think bitcoin is a system designed to leverage human greed to incentivize humans in acting in a moral and self preserving manner; and I would say, this type of greed is absolutely good!

P.S. The topic you raised was very interesting and I couldn't resist pulling myself away from TOTK to type up this reply. Time to get back to my adventures with Link in Hyrule now. TOTK all day, everyday...

If you guys enjoyed this conversation, I'll be signing autographs at booth 114 for 21 sats a pop all weekend at Bitcoin 2023.