I just realized something that amuses me:
In physics, potential energy is defined as zero at distance infinity (from a massive object for gravity e.g.).
In Joinmarket some time back I added "block height" to the utxo metadata of the wallet, and set the "height" to infinity for unconfirmed transactions. In this weird analogy, being buried under many blocks (having a *lower* blockheight) is analogous to kinetic energy gained when a mass falls toward the object .. maybe :)
@waxwing My analogy is like the depths of the ocean. The lower you go, the column of water/blocks increases as your tx gets buried. That would require lots of energy to overcome. Imperfect but visually compelling.
@TallTim Yeah. It reminds me that some years ago I pointed out that "chain" as in "blockchain" is the wrong analogy, because in a chain links go both ways, whereas here it's one way. So it's really more like a vertical stack of blocks, than a chain.
@waxwing I understand the chain bit of it since the hash is used to incorporate the next block, but you're right -- visually its more like a growing column or layers that takes progressively more computational power to override.
@waxwing It reminds me of some thought experiments while writing a series of posts about PoW:
- UTXOs as "particles" moving in a 1D space,
- Work acting as a force "accelerating" UTXOs,
- Principle of inertia applied to UTXOs is what secures the UTXOs,
The great irony is that I don't even think that it's a good idea to use a newtonian model when dealing with a complex systems like Bitcoin. But it's hard to resist the pleasure of playing with analogies. :D
@waxwing Anyway, that was instructive. This is how I learned that the idea of using netwonian models in economics was popularized by Cantillon and later by the Physiocrats.
I like this thread; the rather un-obfuscated relationship between entropy and security in PoW is very interesting, I think there are some intriguing and perhaps instructive parallels to be seen, wrt physics, information theory, social interaction. It all just fits together far too beautifully, really.
My guess is that the main motivation of Cantillon was to show that the economy of a society follows a natural order that can be studied and understood. Thus, taking inspiration from the Newtonian model made sense since it was cutting-edge maths used to describe natural order.
I'm not an expert here (far from that :D) but I wouldn't be surprised to see an increasing shift of economics to alternate conceptual frameworks that better describe the complexity of economic systems (e.g: thermodynamics, statistical physics, chaotic systems, complex systems, etc) .
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