Even Giants Started Out Small: Cooperation and the Early Days of Bitcoin

The paper, “Cooperation among an anonymous group protected Bitcoin during failures of decentralization,” is interesting and valuable work, including the team’s discovery of a new way of tracking Bitcoin activity through a mining data stream dubbed the “extranonce.” But it is also highly technical and nuanced, and the topics it touches on, including Bitcoin security, privacy, and distribution, are highly contentious. This makes it quite vulnerable to misinterpretation (or misrepresentation) by nonspecialists.