< Series are a group of articles that explore a particilar domain. This series is on:

Bitcoin Failure Modes.

‟#blockchain is as much a social innovation as a technical one.
-- via Twitter

Bitcoin is a remarkable assembly of technologies. It's also a unique social phenomenon.

For me, the happy path for Bitcoin looks apparent. We basically continue as we are. Perhaps with some minor bumps in the road as minor limitations are worked around.

What is less clear is how Bitcoin could stumble. And by stumble I mean crash. Either in price, technically or in confidence. Perhaps in all three at once.

This isn't to say that Bitcoin must or will fail. The potential in Bitcoin is clear. This potential makes having an eye on these failure modes all the more important.

Miner Failures

To start, let's look at the top of the chain. The mining network keeps the blockchain stable and secure. By design, the network behaves for overall fairness in exchange for a reward.

Rewards imply a gain. In my first article, I ask if the mining network is exposed via leverage. Speculation in Bitcoin expands the mining network. This, in turn, can drive speculation via the mining infrastructure itself. This exposes this vital piece of the blockchain puzzle.