The internet has changed the way people live and do business, and is arguably one of the biggest advancements in human history. What many people don’t realise is that the internet we know today might never have happened at all because there were a number of ‘rival’ ‘internets’ being built at that time. These were specific companies that wanted to connect all the computers in the world and share information, but do it on their own system, so that people had to pay to access their own ‘information superhighway’.
The modern internet was different in that it was, by design, an open system that anyone could use as they please, and it wasn’t owned by anyone, so no gatekeepers. This lead to something called ‘permissionless innovation’ - people can try and test new things without needing access granted by some gatekeeper. This lead to an explosion of innovation and adoption of the ‘open’ internet, and is the reason the internet is so pervasive today. The design also means that most parts of the internet are ‘interoperable’ - this means that the internet or email I use can connect to the same internet or email a person in another country uses. This is similar to different countries speaking different languages - a German person and a Chinese person will struggle to communicate, but if they both speak English it’s much easier. The internet allowed everyone to essentially speak ‘one global language’.
In this sense, Bitcoin is similar to the internet. For one, it’s not owned by anyone, so anyone can use it as they please - no gatekeepers. This is often referred to as ‘decentralised’. It also allows for permissionless innovation, and this is the reason why so many people are building companies and applications on top of it and it is growing so fast. Lastly, Bitcoin is also interoperable. Like email or the internet, my Bitcoin and your Bitcoin work on the same system, one big global transaction ledger and, in some sense, the world’s first truly global currency.