No Change in Bitcoin Supply; Said Lead Bitcoin Maintainer, Wlad van der Laan
According to Wlad van der Laan, the lead maintainer of Bitcoin’s most widely used software, Bitcoin supply will not see an increase. Bitcoin, much like gold and other precious metals...
According to Wlad van der Laan, the lead maintainer of Bitcoin’s most widely used software, Bitcoin supply will not see an increase.
Bitcoin, much like gold and other precious metals, cannot just be created out of thin air. Precious metals are mined from the earth and have a finite supply. Bitcoin is mined digitally, and it too has a finite supply. In total, there are only 21 million Bitcoins that can be mined. After the entire 21 million Bitcoins have been mined, the supply will end forever, much like mining all the gold from the earth. However, there can still be more Bitcoins to mine, provided its protocol is changed.
Lately, there have been a lot of speculations regarding the change in the Bitcoin protocol — for instance, Jiang Zhuoer, CEO of Bitcoin mining pool BTC.TOP, argued on social media that Bitcoin developers have been planning for a long time to change the protocol of Bitcoin and add to its supply. However, in a ferocious tweet, van der Laan replied that it would be insane even to propose a change to Bitcoin’s monetary policy.
He further added that increasing the supply of Bitcoin does not make economic sense, as people do not usually seek after lowering the value of their assets. And this is exactly one of the implications of changing the Bitcoin protocol and increasing its supply. One reason as to why Bitcoin is such a valuable currency is its scarcity, not unlike gold.
Wlad van der Laan believes that, since scarcity is not a natural phenomenon in the digital world, and copying is in fact considered to be quite normal, the scarce nature of Bitcoin is a unique strength of this cryptocurrency. He stated that is its developers increase the supply of Bitcoin, that would be considered an exception and would set a bad precedent. So, he firmly believes that the scarce nature of Bitcoin should be preserved.
Another reason he stated as to why Bitcoin supply will not change, is the fact that doing so will imply there exists a centrality to the whole operation. One of the most important feature of Bitcoin and any other cryptocurrency for that matter is the fact that it is decentralized. However, if its developers change the supply of Bitcoin, it could potentially be an implication that someone, or some group, is in charge, i.e., is the central authority. That clearly could hugely damage the reputation of Bitcoin, and again all cryptocurrencies.
Therefore, he believes that any proposal regarding changing the supply level of Bitcoin will trigger huge discussions and controversies.