The Internet is the Wild West

What does the internet of the 2020s - not the "respectable" internet of Substack, not a hypothetical version of Twitter where the bad people and somehow only the bad people are censored, but the real internet as it exists today - fundamentally want?
The answer is, it wants chaos. It does not want gentle debates between professionals who "disagree on policy but agree on civics". It wants decisive action and risk, in all its glory. Not a world with genteel respect for principles, where even the loser peacefully accepts defeat because they understand that even if they lose one day they may still win the next, but a world with great warriors who are willing to bet their entire life savings and reputation on one single move that reflects their deepest conviction on what things need to be done. And it wants a world where the brave have the freedom to take such risks.
I have to admit that when I read this I thought, "That's a pretty good description of how I see the internet."


Woe unto me! Not only is the above quote from an article all about ways we should implement taxes with odd-sounding names (definitely no taxation is theft here) it also makes asides about how illegal immigration is free and fair and speaks glowingly of communism. And that's not even the worst of it: the article is entitled nothing less than "Degen Communism" and it was written by Vitalik Buterin.
If you are brave enough to continue, may God be with you. Otherwise, I bid you farewell.

"Do not try to enforce stasis"

The last time Vitalik published an article on April 1st, it was a dubious defense of bitcoin maximalism that nobody knew how to receive.
So maybe this article is all a joke and silly me for not getting it. Ha ha. But sometimes you can find truth in a thing even if it wasn't meant to be there. And there is truth here.
While I disagree with most of what Vitalik proposes we should do in response to the situation, he makes a valid observation: it often feels like our government exists to preserve the status quo. Maybe this is an obvious observation, but it hadn't been crystallized for me before.
Vitalik concludes his piece with the statement:
Do not try to enforce stasis. Instead, embrace the chaos of markets and other fast-paced human activity.
This is pretty good advice.

Is this also true for Bitcoin?

My general attitude toward change in Bitcoin has been: we still need a few improvements, but eventually it's going to ossify and there will be no more changes.
Obviously, Bitcoin has taken a different path than the move fast and break things people. And some things do need to stay the same or it isn't Bitcoin anymore (21 million, censorship resistance, not your keys not your coins, others?). But perhaps there is no world where bitcoin ossifies, no "last fork and then we're done."
First, we should listen to heretics. And critics. Good ideas come from everywhere (as does good criticism), and putting on shitcoin/FUD blinders means missing that stuff. Obviously, that listening should be critical and not just blind, but I'm not a big fan of echo chambers.
And that also applies to joke pieces, which certainly have produced wisdom (accidental or otherwise) in the past.
Second, as to this piece specifically (and your take on it), I also think there's no ossification. Some changes are cornerstones (the ones you note), but the reason consensus exists as an option at all strikes me as a feature, and if the need for change is recognized, it'll happen.
Or, as Emerson wrote, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
Echo chambers are ok. We could consider the entire Earth an echo chamber, composed with smaller echo chambers. Eventually, the echo bounces so many times that new patterns are formed from which the solution to our problems emerges. It is this controlled environment that allows us to experiment, because the dataset is limited enough to provide all we need, but it is not excessively large so we get lost into so much random and irrelevant information. Remember that all experiments bust be done into very controlled environments in order for them to be reliable.
And definetly, shitcoins are just very anoing and distracting noise.
I wonder if Vitalik's playing the fool, in the traditional sense: saying the unsayable, under cover of foolishness, and nobody knows what to believe. I also see great value in that -- if you can't figure out if it's bullshit, either it's not bullshit, or you need to get smarter.
But perhaps there is no world where bitcoin ossifies, no "last fork and then we're done."
That's weired for rest of the world but it's a truth and Bitcoin is so dynamic in energy that nothing can really ossify it, not even after every block is mined.
What do you mean by "every last block is mined"?
I'm referring to the consensus rules, not the chain of blocks with transactions in them.
I've just added a bit of my PoV. Please correct me if I was wrong.
Saying "nothing can really ossify it, not even after every block is mined" is confusing because if we were to stop mining blocks that would actually pretty solidly "ossify" bitcoin. It would also kill it. And it would mean no one is using it anymore.
But I don't think anyone is arguing that we should stop mining new blocks (well, maybe the feds...).
The ossification conversation is about bitcoin's consensus rules. There are some people who think that as it gets more complex and as it has more people using it, every change to the consensus rules introduces a large amount of risk (risk of accidental fork, risk of a bug, risk of introducing incentives that screw things up).
I have a lot of sympathy for this view. But I wanted to use Vitalik's post to think about how it might be a fool's errand to try to entirely avoid exposure to such risks by never changing the consensus rules again.
What do you think?
But I don't think anyone is arguing that we should stop mining new blocks
I didn't say that we should stop mining. I said 'after' means when 'there are no blocks left to mine, may be in 2141.
In that scenario, can Bitcoin ossify?
There will always be more blocks to mine as long as someone wants to mine them. If people stop mining blocks bitcoin ceases to exist.
Why would people mine when all 21 million Bitcoins are mined?
Transaction fees.
Think about this: how do you use bitcoin? How do you pay someone with it or receive it? A transaction has to get included in a new block.
If no new blocks are mined, no bitcoin can move. What is the use of a money that cannot change hands?