Explaining Bitcoin with Horcruxes and White Walkers

I was recently quoted in CoinDesk using Horcruxes to explain Bitcoin to JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series:

As we all know, Voldemort’s downfall was a result of an insufficient number and distribution of Horcruxes. Had he created and distributed 10,000 Horcruxes across the world, Harry’s job would have been significantly more challenging. Luckily for the wizarding world, creating Horcruxes is literally life sucking and difficult to execute.

Contrast this to the death of the Night King from the Game of Thrones. The resurrection of White Walkers took seconds and required zero expenditure. Luckily for the human race, the stabbing of the Night King also caused the entire army of White Walkers to be wiped out. Press play for a replay of the famous scene:

What can we learn from two of the most iconic fantasy novels of my generation? The Game of Thrones series show that no matter how distributed an army is, a centralized governance system with a known single attack vector is vulnerable and can be shut down (see e.g., Liberty Reserve). The Harry Potter series show that in order to reach censorship resistant levels of decentralization, the cost of running nodes needs to remain easy and cheap enough to spin up.

JK Rowling claims that she cannot and will not ever understand Bitcoin. She doesn’t know it yet, but it is clear from her writing that she understands the ideology of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies more than she thinks she does. JK Rowling created the concept of decentralizing and distributing one’s soul into fragments with the goal of becoming immortal and unstoppable years before Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin Whitepaper in 2008:

“Well, you split your soul, you see, and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one’s body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged.” – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)


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