What is Bitcoin?

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Many want to know what bitcoin is and how it works. But bitcoin is as complex as it is controversial, and relatively few have the technical background to understand it. In this paper, I offer an accessible on-ramp for understanding bitcoin in the form of a model. My model reveals both what bitcoin is and how it works. More specifically, it reveals that bitcoin is a fictional substance in a massively coauthored story on a network that automates and distributes jobs normally entrusted to centralized publishing institutions. My model therefore falsifies a popular view according to which each bitcoin is a chunk of code.
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Archival date: 2020-11-19
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