Proof of work (POW) is the bridge between the physical world and the digital. It is a digital task and a mechanism of mathematics that proves you have a real cost in the real world… Bitcoin is a money defined and defended through physics with proof of work (POW) and the SHA-256 encryption algorithm. SHA-256 allows us to overcome a limitation of thermodynamics in the actual physical realm with the use of an insanely large number to defend the Bitcoin network.
The encryption of Bitcoin allows us to pick one number at random which no one can guess — ever — unless we explicitly tell them which one we picked. The key space (2256) * of a SHA-256 key is as large as the number of atoms in the visible universe. This is the scale that we are talking about. What you are doing when you pick a SHA-256 key at random is like traveling anywhere in the universe totally at random without telling anyone where you are going. You can go anywhere: any planet or dust field, star or whatever and pick out a single atom. The probability for someone to find that atom (or key) is so unbelievably unlikely it would take to the ends of the human race and to the ends of the earth and to the death of our star. The computational power and energy needed to come anywhere close to guessing that number would require using every watt of energy and every source of thermodynamic power available in the most efficient way possible.
The encryption around your ownership of Bitcoin and the proof of work defends not only your key but all the computational power in the history of the Bitcoin ledger beginning with the genesis block in 2009. It’s like an invisible forcefield of energy. This forcefield is the proof of the astronomical real world energy cost it would take to undo something on the Bitcoin blockchain. This cost is energy, capital, human effort, everything that has gone into establishing and maintaining the blockchain.
Without that, it is just someone else’s authority. Before POW and Bitcoin, proof of stake (POS) is all we ever had in the digital space. You don’t see proof of stake in nature. You see proof of work in nature. Because it is objective. It can’t be corrupted. If it’s a real cost, you know someone must do something to get through it. There is no authority that can skip the work. We aren’t trusting someone not to corrupt the system. We aren’t trusting someone to not take our keys. We are not trusting someone to not edit the history of Bitcoin. What we are doing is verifying and we know exactly how expensive and how difficult it is for them to do so. So that is why we can trust it. Guy Swann — Bitcoin Audible Podcast Read 533 (edited for readability)
That is the power of one. The power of one random number. This key is ours and no one can take it from us without an insurmountable real-world cost. And that cost is so unbelievably high in terms of money, time, and effort that we are certain we can trust the Bitcoin blockchain to protect our value.
Guy Swann’s eloquent description should give us certainty that when we go to bed at night, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our value will be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, forever. Another truly sublime aspect of Bitcoin is that even if the internet were to go down, Bitcoin would still be there, and our value would be protected. If there was a sudden total power blackout across the entire world, our value would be protected. If all the computers in the world were confiscated, our value would be protected. Peace comes with certainty, and the Bitcoin network provides that peace of our value stored as energy in Bitcoin.
As we have reasoned here and here, we can know with certainty that man does exist in a created world. This created world has a rational Creator who intervenes in the affairs of men and communicates to us via rational propositional truths. Just as Satoshi was a rational creator who created rational propositional code. We have also reasoned about the historicity of a man named Jesus and analyzed the Apostle Paul’s speech at the Areopagus in Athens, Greece around 49–50 A.D. Recalling that it was not about the man Jesus that Paul’s listeners objected to but Jesus’ resurrection. He was verifiably dead, and eyewitnesses verified he lived again.
And we have likened cryptocurrencies to religion. We have reasoned that Bitcoin is unique among all other cryptocurrencies because of its unique attributes. This is truth. This truth about Bitcoin has and will change people, societies, and nation states.
Of all the philosophies and religions in the world, Christianity stands apart for one singular reason: There is One who came, He died, and He rose from the dead. There is no other religion or philosophy that talks about a personal God that in the form of man came and lived among us, died for our sins, and then rose from the dead.
In our previous essay a Bitcoiner was essentially saying: “yeah, seen all there is to know about religion. They’re all the same.” Another straw man argument is that most ancient civilizations have similar origin and flood stories. However, we reasoned why this argues for a singular true Creator. Nonetheless, if all religions are the same, why do no other religions or philosophies make claims about a God man who came, died, and rose again? If all religions fulfill the same basic function in human civilizations, why would Christians have the need to make these particular claims? What purpose do these claims serve? What purpose does Jesus serve to rise from the dead? Eastern pantheistic and other world religions often teach in the afterlife we become one with the universe or the idea of reincarnation — “the circle of life” (subliminally seeding our thoughts and culture through Disney animation and Hollywood movies). Truthfully, we see this process in nature all around us. Flowers die and they return the next year. Ancient man conceiving of “a circle of life” would see an example of that in the world around him so it makes sense that a man-made religion or philosophy would include something like reincarnation. Resurrection is not natural. It is never observed in nature. The idea that resurrection is the thought or speculation of natural man does not make sense. It is a supernatural event.
“Mahatma Gandhi the revered leader of India’s independence once said, ‘I had never been interested in a historical Jesus. I should not care if it were proved by someone that the man Jesus never lived, and that what was narrated in the gospel were a figment of the writer’s imagination. For the sermon on the mount would still be true for me’ Gandhi was a great man. But he was not- and never claimed to be- a Christian. Many people … approach Christianity just as Gandhi did. They try to separate what Jesus said from who Jesus was (is). They want to set aside the doctrine of a supernatural Jesus and exalt his ethical teachings. They find the beliefs of historic Christianity an embarrassment. They prefer to stress Christian behavior.”  We may find ourselves here with cryptocurrencies. At some point we may see what cryptocurrencies do, but not what they are. It may infiltrate our everyday lives and we may use them, but we may never know about the history of cryptocurrencies or Bitcoin, in particular. How and why Bitcoin came to be is critical to understanding it. And the farther we get away from the truth of Guy Swann’s statement above, we may lose confidence in our trust of Bitcoin. This distance may be temporal or intellectual, the result will be the same, indifference.
Another interesting aspect to truth is that many times a truth can be so fantastic that posers come along and distort the truth for gain. An example of this (but not singular) in Bitcoin was after El Salvador’s recent adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender an “official delegation of Bitcoin ambassadors” arrived to co-opt the event. Bitcoin Twitter (BT) erupted to defend the leaderless and decentralized nature of Bitcoin as it should have. No one person or entity represents Bitcoin:
History matters. The record of events matters. The Event that matters for Christians is this man Jesus rose from the dead. In the years and centuries that followed, many people, movements, governments, and yes even religions have attempted to corrupt the Event and the One for their own gain. To this day we remember the Crusades as such a distortion in Christianity. No text of scripture justifies what was done in the name of Christianity during the crusades nearly 700 years after Jesus lived.
“Many modern Christians would rather not discuss the central teachings of Christianity. They are not sure their ideas about religion- or theology- are all that important. ‘I love flowers,’ a minister once said, ‘But I hate botany; I love religion, but I hate theology.’ This widespread attitude often springs for good reasons. Theology can be dull, or much worse, it can be ruthless (the inquisition).
“In Christianity, however, the answer to bad theology can never be no theology. It must be good theology. God gave us minds, and he surely expects us to use them in thinking about his truth. Charles William, the English writer, was right: ‘Man was intended to argue with God.’ That means theology. Theology comes from two Greek words: theos, meaning God, and logos, meaning word or rational thought. So, theology is rational thought about God. It is not identical with religion. Religion is our belief in God and our effort to live by that belief. Theology is the attempt to give a rational explanation of our belief: it is thinking about religion.
“When we err in our thinking, we call it heresy or ‘bad theology’; heresy is not necessarily bad religion, but, like all wrong thinking, it may lead to bad religion. Heretics, in fact serve the church in an unintended way. Their pioneering attempts to state the truth forced the church to shape good theology- a rounded, systematic statement of biblical revelation. Church history shows us that Christian theology is not primarily a philosophical system invented by men in the quiet of an academic study. Doctrines were hammered out by men who were on the work crew of the church. Every plank in the platform of orthodoxy was laid because some heresy had arisen that threatened to change the nature of Christianity and to destroy its central faith.” 
Most of us understand the concept of proof of work (POW) explained by Guy Swann. It is the digital representation of actual work in all its iterations to produce Bitcoin. By extension, Bitcoin Twitter, mentioned above, is a real-time intellectual barrier that protects the ideals around Bitcoin. Let’s call it proof of defense (POD). Just like POW with its real-world costs, POD has real world costs. Think of the time people spend on Twitter and other platforms defending Bitcoin’s nature. Think of the computing power, the monitors, chairs, and desks that go into the POD. There is a real cost to defending the nature of Bitcoin from posers and ‘heretics.’ And it happens live 24/7. These cryptocurrency ‘heretics’ come and go on BT and those on the work crew of Bitcoin defend the nature of Bitcoin. They hammer these planks of truth about Bitcoin into the collective consciousness. The motives behind the POD for Bitcoin and Christianity are the same: to defend the nature of truth.
Imagine now living in the first century A.D. and you are a witness to Jesus’ resurrection. Paul was a witness to the Truth. If he sees this Truth, would he defend it? Of course. Is the Christian POD any different than Bitcoin’s POD? In terms of raw energy, power, and resources, Christians have expended more to protect Christian Truth than has been expended to defend Bitcoin truth. We laugh at toxic Bitcoin maxis when they get into attack mode on Bitcoin Twitter, but they are doing what early Christians and later the church has done to defend truth. With respect, die-hard Bitcoiners and famously Jack Mallers, CEO of Strike exclaim, “I will die on this hill!”
But has anyone really died for Bitcoin? We should not doubt the sincerity with which the statements are made. They are sincere, moving, and meaningful. John, who wrote the book of John, survived being plunged into a pot of boiling oil in the Colosseum in Rome only to be banished to the Greek island of Patmos where he later died (~100 A.D.) as the last surviving disciple. He was known as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” His eyewitness account of his time with Jesus and the other disciples is unmatched in its simple clarity, depth, meaning and love; one of the reasons his book is recommended as a starting point for those who are searching or are new to the faith. And Paul, while preaching in Lystra was beaten and dragged out of the city and left for dead. He later would be beheaded under the reign of Nero. As a Roman citizen, he had the “right” to be beheaded. Peter was crucified upside down because he felt it too much of an honor to die the same death as his Savior.
“We frequently read in the accounts of the martyrs that the courage and loyalty of Christians made an overwhelming impact on those who witnessed their trial or execution (many times in the Colosseum); So much that some of those spectators suddenly decided to become Christians themselves.” 
As the years, decades, centuries, and millennia have passed, the work of these lives, the books written, the churches built provide a POD in cost that surpasses Bitcoin.
Being a martyr doesn’t make a belief right. In fact, it might be a very dumb belief. Building a church doesn’t make a belief right. Nothing we do can make what we know true. What we know is either right or wrong. It is truth or it is not. Similarly, explaining how Bitcoin is different in the fog of all the cryptocurrencies out there is challenging. But Bitcoin is special for real reasons, so we defend it. The truth of Bitcoin compels us to defend it.
What we know about a true God comes from thinking, studying, discussing, and wrestling with this personal God who reveals propositional truth to mankind. Attempted hacks of this truth cannot be tolerated. We know that the Bitcoin code is open sourced and has had relentless hack attempts against it since its inception. None have been successful. Christianity has repeatedly been attacked with religious hacks since its inception. Within 10 years of Jesus’ resurrection, serious threats emerged inside of Christian circles. Beliefs of the Ebionites, Docetism, and Gnosticism had to be repudiated. These “hacks” needed to be defended against. And they were. Ultimately an orthodoxy was developed to put a firewall around core Christian beliefs. Simple truths that must be affirmed to consider a belief “Christian.” One example of this orthodoxy or belief is that Jesus is God who came and lived on earth:
“We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God…. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. And we believe in the Holy Spirit, …” This is a portion of the Nicene Creed. This creed is foundational to Christian belief, and it spans multiple “denominations” of the Christianity. It dates to A.D. 325. Consider taking the time to read the whole creed. We have only referenced a portion of it above for our discussion. This would be analogous to Satoshi’s white paper.
What we must realize is that there is indeed something special about this historical man, Jesus, and his resurrection. If we do not understand this, our theology is wrong or heretical. “We call this area of theology Christology because it raises the question, who was Jesus Christ? What was the relation of the divine life and the human life in this unique person, the Christian savior? The very existence of this question in the life of the church is profoundly significant. So far as I know, Islam has no Mohammedology and Buddhism has no Buddhaology. The debate in the history of Christianity is a monument to the uniqueness of the one Christians called the son of God. The mystery of the God man was central to the Christian worship (experience) long before it became central to Christian thinking (theology).” 
Getting back to Guy Swann’s summation, we must have certainty in proof of work (POW). Does Christianity have POW that exceeds that of Bitcoin? In fact, we don’t even have to prove God exists to be certain that Jesus the man lived. This is absurd to think about, but we can silo proof of God from proof of Jesus right now. The facts are 1) a real man named Jesus lived, 2) a real man named Jesus died by crucifixion, 3) a real man Jesus rose from the dead. We have discussed the POW in another essay in a different way. For an apples-to-apples comparison we will refer to our previous POW as POD and the current example as POW to compare to Guy Swann’s quote. The interesting thing about the Christian texts we call Scripture, or the Bible is that it shares its first half with Judaism. Interestingly, Islam shares its early history with Judaism. In fact, Christianity was considered a Jewish sect for decades after the death of Christ. Of all the religions and beliefs in the Roman empire Jews and Judaism were granted an exemption in not having to declare “Caesar is Lord.” The Romans knew that Jews would die on that hill: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” The history of the Jewish people is clear about this. This allowed Christianity to spread under the radar as a “Jewish sect.”
The Jewish scripture (what Christians call the Old Testament) was canonized in approximately 323 B.C. Over 300 years before the man Jesus was born, meaning the Jewish scriptures were “closed.” Nothing has been added since that time. If someone describes an event before it happens, we might describe that person as a clairvoyant or a medium. In fact, we may see palm reading shops on the sides of the road today. About 450 years before Jesus was born a Jew named Zechariah was a prophet in Israel. He came back to Israel from Persia (Iran). (In 538 B.C. Cyrus king of Persia conquered Israel and forced the Israelites to live in exile in Persia). Zechariah wrote a “book” that bears his name. In the book of Zechariah we find a prophecy about the coming Messiah. The Old Testament pivots on the coming of a Messiah. In it he writes:
I told them, ‘If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’ — the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.
Ok, let’s pause here for context. To be a prophet in Israel was no small or meaningless task. In the written Law of the Jews, if someone proclaimed to be a prophet and a single prophecy did not come true, he was to be put to death. They had to be 100% correct. * A medium is not a prophet. Think what we may, but this is an historical fact. Second, it is likely common vernacular today in most cultures (even Bitcoin “theology”) that “thirty pieces of silver” connotes betrayal (2000 years after the event). Lastly, think about the particulars of the described event written 450 years before it took place crossing time, culture, and religions. A specific number of coins made of a specific metal were used to value a person and an action of throwing is described at a certain place. In order for this to play out correctly, we need someone who was specifically valued at 30 pieces of silver (Jesus). We need a party to pay the amount (Jewish chief priests). We need a party to receive the amount (Judas). And we need a specific action of throwing at a certain place. And we would need this person, Jesus, to want to die for 30 pieces of silver if he was wanting to create a ruse to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Without bias and religious views, what is the probability that this event would take place given those circumstances? We didn’t gossip with someone about it under our breath, we actually wrote it down. And those words sat for 450 years until the time of Jesus. What are the odds? That is one prophecy. There are 456 prophecies in Jewish Scripture about this man, Jesus.
If we only choose 48 of these prophecies the probability that this man Jesus would fulfill them is 1 in 10157. Getting beyond a number like 1050 is well beyond human comprehension. If we take all of the known information in the in the ancient Jewish Scriptures about the promised Messiah and apply it to Jesus, the odds of this man fulfilling these prophecies is 1 in 1.5x10239. *
As Guy Swann says about SHA-256 and the key space of 2256: “That is why we can trust it.” Well, given the odds that a man named Jesus could fulfill all the prophecies written about him in Jewish Scriptures that were “locked” over 300 years before he was born, can you trust those odds? Math is truth — always has been.
We have rationally argued that God exists. The above demonstrates mathematically it is impossible for a mere man to have claimed to be Jesus and fulfill all the prophesies written about him. At this point, we are just acknowledging facts. Like Bitcoin, you can learn the truth about it, but you don’t need to do anything about it. Bitcoin maxis at this point would say, “have fun staying poor!” The Christian response is different. The Lord doesn’t want anyone to perish. The Lord doesn’t want anyone to remain spiritually poor. Why? Because He Loves you! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” *
Yes, it is true that God does not want anyone to perish. If your understanding of that truth is distorted, you will miss the most important event in the history of the world. “Like, how can God allow for someone in Africa to go to Hell because he has never heard of Him?” That’s a distortion of truth. And it is used all the time to corrupt thinking — FUD.
Let’s frame God’s love as proof of work (POW). Recall that complete knowledge is not needed for true knowledge. There are very few things we need to understand about Bitcoin to realize it is a sound money. But volumes have been written about it that we can spend time studying more about it. There are very few things we need to understand about God to realize He is the Creator of the universe, and He sent His Son to die for us. Volumes have been written about God’s revelation to man. And if we choose, we can study those as well.
If we were to rephrase Guy Swann’s statement above in the Christian context it may look something like this: “Without that, it is just someone else’s authority and opinion. Before POW and Jesus, proof of stake (POS) is all we ever had in the meat space. We believe proof of work when we see it in nature. Because it is objective. It can’t be corrupted. If it’s a real cost, you know someone must do something to get through it. There is no authority that can skip the work. We aren’t trusting someone not to corrupt the system. We aren’t trusting someone to not take our lives and beliefs. We are not trusting someone to not edit the history of Jesus. What we are doing is verifying and we know exactly how expensive and how difficult it is for them to do so. So that is why we can trust Him.”
Peter and John had to defend this POW in front of Jewish leaders after Jesus’ death. The historical account reads: “On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” And Peter said: “let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead that we do what we do. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” *
Peter and John are making a defense in front of the very people that crucified Jesus. If Jesus was a fraud or the event didn’t happen, where is the textual, historical proof to debunk it? Where is the Jewish religious and political objection to Peter and John in the historical texts? Do you think for one moment if we make a false statement about Bitcoin on Twitter that we will get free ride? Man has always been a rational thinker. Today, however, ‘heretical’ thoughts are almost instantaneously debunked. The process has not changed, only the speed of the process.
Returning to Guy Swann: “Proof of work (POW) is the bridge between the physical world and the digital. It is a digital task and a mechanism of mathematics that proves you have a real cost in the real world…” Proof of Work in Christian theology is the bridge of man and creation’s brokenness to God’s perfection. We have explored the spiritual aspect of man. Philosophies that deny the spiritual aspect of man are lacking. There remains an unknown, a doubt, an angst. A doubt, such that if it was related to Bitcoin, you wouldn’t trust Bitcoin to store your value. The POW for Christians is the work of Jesus. There is a gap between man and God. We will explore this by asking a question: Why would Jesus come and die for our sins if we had no sin? This was His only purpose: to come and die for our sins. One of the beautiful things about Bitcoin code is its simplicity. It fulfills one purpose. Any other purpose would be nonsense. God’s code is simple. A Man came to die for our sins to reunite us to Himself. Any other purpose is nonsense. There is only one rabbit hole you need to explore for your soul. Any other is a waste of time.
We have rationally made an argument for God’s existence. We have mathematically demonstrated the certainty that a man Jesus came and was crucified for our sins. This man Jesus did die on a hill: Golgotha outside Jerusalem. His life energy, all that he was, did and said is one aspect to his POW. The other aspect to his POW is that he took all of the stored energy of man and bore that on Himself to redeem mankind. Mankind is corrupt and broken. All that makes us corrupt and broken was taken on by Jesus when He suffered and died on the cross. The world is corrupt and broken. All that energy was taken on by Jesus when He suffered and died on the cross. Jesus’ purpose is to redeem man and all of creation. Jesus and his proof of work is the bridge between our brokenness and God’s goodness.
Peter, John, Paul and all the martyrs through the ages were all “in” because “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” There is only One Name. His name is Jesus. And there is only one story that is true about God and man.
Bitcoiners affirm with thermodynamic, mathematic, and probabilistic certainty that there is one coin: Bitcoin.
Christians affirm with thermodynamic, mathematic, and probabilistic certainty that there is only one man who can save us. His name is Jesus.
In his story the dead are raised, hell is conquered, sins are forgiven. In this story we are raised spiritually back to everlasting life. This story is different than all the other religious stories and philosophies on planet earth. Only one story is about a living, loving God. And there is only one story about Grace. All these different roads do not lead to the same conclusions. All the different religions and philosophies are not about the same God. There is One Story that speaks of resurrection. Louie Giglio, Passion Church Podcast (sermon 516 edited for readability)
That Story is in the Bible. That Man is Jesus. That God is YHWH, the Great “I AM.” The First Cause. The Creator of heaven and earth. For all mankind has sinned. * All mankind will give an account to God for what we have done. * And all mankind will receive an inheritance of eternal life and glory or an eternal life of damnation and separation from God. *
Yes, there is one coin, Bitcoin. We can choose to accept the truth of what Bitcoin can materially provide or not.
Yes, there is One Name by which man must be saved: Jesus. We can choose to accept the truth that Jesus saves us or not.
Tonight, we can sleep knowing that our Bitcoin is safe. Tonight, can we sleep knowing our soul is safe? In the power of One Name, Jesus, the answer is YES!
1 Church History in Plain Language — Bruce Shelley — 2nd edition
Photo credit: christianmessenger.in
*A 256-bit private key will have 115,792,089,237,316,195,423,570,985,008,687,907,853,269,
984,665,640,564,039,457,584,007,913,129,639,936 (that’s 78 digits) possible combinations. No Super Computer on the face of this earth can crack that in any reasonable timeframe. So if each digit was an atom, that is what Guy is referring to.