On Friday, we had a community call focused on the future of Sovryn and its platform. Much of the discussion revolved around technical questions such as platform architecture, and commercial questions such as budgeting. These are important questions. However, upon reflection, I think these are almost the “wrong” questions.
When I first encountered Bitcoin, the technological breakthrough and the unprecedented investment opportunity both stood out to me. However, neither of those is what truly captured my imagination. What made Bitcoin stand out from the many technological advances we have seen over the years is precisely that Bitcoin is not primarily a technological innovation.
Bitcoin is a societal innovation. An innovation in the way we organise society and coordinate communities. It is on par with the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the separation of church and state. In fact, if we can take the Bitcoin revolution to its logical conclusion, it will surpass these social inventions and represent a leap forward more powerful and sustainable than the ideas of democracy or the republic.
The social inventions I mention above are powerful ideas that have shaped the course of history. I will term these philosophical inventions. As powerful as these philosophical inventions are, they are extremely fragile and frequently falter in the face of other social ideas - totalitarianism, communism, fascism, etc. However, there is another class of social inventions that have vastly more staying power and more far reaching impact. These inventions, rather than being primarily philosophical, are technological in nature. Examples include the printing press, firearms, the birth control pill and the internet. These technological inventions radically changed the shape of society and the distribution of power. However, they did so without intentionality. They were not designed as social innovations - that was an unintended consequence.
Bitcoin is different. Bitcoin is a socio-technological invention. At once both a technological invention and a philosophical invention. In fact, even this description doesn’t do Bitcoin justice because, in addition to being a philosophical innovation and a technical innovation, Bitcoin is also a commercial innovation. It invented an entirely new business model. Bitcoin is a philosophy, wrapped in a technology, presented as a get-rich scheme.
This brings me back to the call we had on Friday. Upon reflection, it illuminated for me that if we want to expand and amplify the world built on Bitcoin, we need to expand on all three pillars. Discussion of technical and commercial aspects is not enough. Sovryn must have technological, commercial and philosophical intentions. Intentions go beyond what is immediately possible and make a leap of faith. Instead of a restrained acceptance of current reality, they are a meant to provoke an imposition of will upon reality. We will not bend to reality. Reality will bend to us. This is the path of all innovation, all change.
The questions that were raised on the Friday call were thoughtful, sober and serious. What will be the architecture of Sovryn Layer? What is the path to get there? How will the effort be financed? These are the right questions but in the wrong order. Our first order of business is to decide where we want to go and only then to figure out how we get there. It is the nature of thoughtful, sober and serious groups to quash innovation with questions of this nature. Decision-by-committee frequently leads to stagnation. We must avoid that trap. Innovation is, by its very nature, experimental and unprecedented - not a continuation of the status quo, not an extension of the trendline, but discontinuity and disruption.
None of this is to say we must abandon pragmatism and critical thinking. I am not suggesting that we wish upon a star. We must set rational goals. But we must do so by starting from the end and working backwards - rather than starting from the status quo and projecting forwards.
We know that it is technically feasible to build rollups on Bitcoin. We have done our homework. John Light has written the most definitive analysis to date. I have written a lighter, less technical piece describing the high-level architecture of a modular system for unlimited extension of Bitcoin’s features. I would appreciate feedback. So based on what we know, the destination is not fantasy but realistic innovation.
How do we get there? There are many possible paths - but ultimately it will be through trial and error, iterative engineering and figuring it out as we go along. This is the way of innovation. First we declare our intentions and become a beacon for those who wish to reach the same destination. Then we build the momentum to reach our destination. We cannot wait for momentum to carry us there.
Sovryn must fly the flag of rollups for Bitcoin. We will bend reality to our will. Stay Sovryn!