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Definition of the word Experiment:

A scientific procedure undertaken to make a discovery, test a hypothesis, or demonstrate a known fact.

If Bitcoin was/is an experiment, I don't think it's trying to make a discovery, it certainly isn't demonstrating a known fact.

It might be more closer to testing an hypothesis like "A digital decentralized form of money is viable". But what exactly is the hypothesis? Where does the test end? Who declares the end of the experiment? The bitcoin foundation? The governments? Forum folk?

As we're nearing the end of 2014 and getting closer to the fifth birthday of Bitcoin, is it still an experiment?

I know that this is a very broad and open ended question. And yet, the argument is popularly used by prominent people from the community. Like Gavin Andresen. Everytime he faces a tough question, this is his response. If we don't know where the experiment began and where it ended or where it will end, then maybe we should not use this as a wildcard answer.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Pieter Wuille, Andrew Chow, MeshCollider, alcio, Murch Oct 19 '17 at 10:45

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Good question, I like. It might be 5 years old but it's still pre-v1.0 (despite all the talk of bitcoin 2.0). – George Dec 2 '14 at 21:42
  • Thanks George. I thought this question would receive more attention. Given that "bitcoin is an experiment/is experimental" is a commonly used "thing". – Emre Kenci Dec 4 '14 at 19:19
  • I would say that Bitcoin is experimental, which has a less strict meaning than experiment. Plenty of things are done in the real world that are meant to increase experience and knowledge, without (a) being an "experiment" in the sense you have quoted or (b) being a complete solution to a specific problem. Bitcoin is pretty clearly somewhere between those two extremes. – Greg Hewgill Dec 4 '14 at 19:28
  • @AntonA. It's a good question; it's all very opinion-based and very much governed by your definition of experiment though. Perhaps clarifying the question would narrow down a very wide range of topics of which many are somewhat "difficult" to discuss (for lack of a better term; my point being, discussion of possible successors to Bitcoin are often pigeon-holed as either 1) Altcoin experiments or 2) Bitcoin 2.0 speculation (never a popular area to explore as there's the implication that Bitcoin will fail). All of this is my experience w/ communities such as SE, Reddit, BCT & Zapchain – Wizard Of Ozzie Dec 5 '14 at 6:23
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    @Wizard I know what you're saying. And I know that this is a very broad and open ended question. And yet, the argument is popularly used by prominent people from the community. Like Gavin Andresen. Everytime he faces a tough question, this is his response. If we don't know where the experiment began and where it ended or where it will end. Maybe we should not use this as a wildcard answer. – Emre Kenci Dec 5 '14 at 7:56
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Is Bitcoin still an experiment?

I don't think so. There's no control, and nobody's made one of those three panel boards.

In all seriousness, though, I think Satoshi probably wrote and published Bitcoin because he found it interesting. He may also have done so because it aligned with his political views. Of course, we're speculating on the motives of a guy that nobody's met.

I also speculate that the current Bitcoin developers are part of the project for much the same reason.

When does the test end? Who declares the end of the experiment?

Anybody could declare it, I suppose. It would be a bit like Emperor Norton ordering the US Army to arrest the United Nations, but they could still declare it.

As we're nearing the end of 2014 and getting closer to the fifth birthday of Bitcoin, is it still an experiment?

I think the essence of your question is, "Is Bitcoin ready for mainstream adoption?" I don't think so. There's aren't mature payment solutions for physical stores. There are problems with Bitcoin that haven't been sufficiently solved to my mind (primarily detecting double spending).

  • being mainstream ready != not being an experiment & being beta != being an experiment. So the essence of my question is not about being ready for mainstream adoption. – Emre Kenci Dec 3 '14 at 9:11
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    @AntonA. what is your question getting at, if I can get you to clarify further? – Wizard Of Ozzie Dec 5 '14 at 6:15

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