The original paper that sparked the creation of Bitcoin has since been supplemented by layers of agreed-upon protocol, updated regularly by the system’s participants. The protocol, like the currency, is a fiction they accept as real, because rejection by a large proportion of users—be they banks, exchanges, speculators or miners—could cause the whole system to collapse. Mr Hearn notes that he and other programmers who work on Bitcoin’s software have no special authority in the system. Instead, proposals are floated, implemented in software, and must then be taken up by 80% of nodes before becoming permanent—at which point blocks from other nodes are rejected. “The rules of the system are not set in stone,” he says. The adoption of improvements is up to the community. Bitcoin is thus both flexible and fragile.
Is it just me, or does this entire paragraph reads like the explanation of The Matrix?