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Moore's Law: Doing Moore with Less

A network consists of connected nodes all following a common protocol (ruleset). For a monetary network to achieve a level of decentralization capable of resisting geographically-targeted attacks, running a node that can independently verify recorded history must be within reach for a sufficiently l
Moore's Law: Doing Moore with Less


A network consists of connected nodes all following a common protocol (ruleset).

For a monetary network to achieve a level of decentralization capable of resisting geographically-targeted attacks, running a node that can independently verify recorded history must be within reach for a sufficiently large cohort.

A big part of this barrier is the availability and cost of the hardware required to operate a node.

Fortunately, Bitcoin benefits from a phenomena that continues to enable the proliferation of nodes around the world by way of technological progress and falling hardware prices.

That phenomena is Moore's Law.


Moore's Law

In 1965, engineer Gordon Moore hypothesized about the rate of growth in the density of transistors in integrated circuits.

He made an observation at the time, that the number of transistors on a computer chip doubles approximately every two years, and extrapolated this out into the future. The resulting trend has since held up remarkably well.

Moore's Law visualized

In short, prices of integrated circuits decrease exponentially with technological advancement, as newer (denser) chips are preferred over older ones.

Hardware

Bitcoin full nodes have three major hardware needs-

  1. A computer to run the software and commands that enables verification of data.
  2. Storage capacity to maintain the full history of the blockchain.
  3. An internet connection with enough bandwidth to sync the blockchain initially and keep it up to date.

Unlike miners, validating nodes don't require top of the line hardware, nor ever more computational power. Additionally, the linear growth of the blockchain (in terms of memory) means that future storage needs are both predictable and negligible.

The End of the Road?

There's much debate about the when Moore's Law will reach its natural limits or if it has already. Regardless, the Bitcoin network isn't dependent on the continuation of this staggering rate of innovation. Even minor improvements at this point in time will massively benefit the growth of nodes in the network (furthering resiliency).

"Moore's law is really about economics." -Gordon Moore

[embed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzyJxAP6AQo&ab_channel=ASML]

Disclosure: I am an investor in Umbrel