Bitcoin is Just an Idle Game

Written by Charles Weiler-Ulin

An analogy to shed some light on bitcoin and idle games. How elements of idle games mirror Bitcoin mining.

Before I begin, it should be noted that you’ll need at least a basic understanding of what an idle game is so allow me to shamelessly shill and point you to my article on idle games here.

I recently took a dive into what idle games are and how their economics and incentives work to entice players to keep playing. I did this based off of EtherGoo, the first blockchain idle game. From this, I had a thought that I couldn’t shake. Isn’t Bitcoin just an idle game? Not in the traditional sense of an incremental one (an ever inflating production scale) but a decremental one. To understand this analogy, I will discuss how elements of idle games mirror Bitcoin mining.

How Cookie Clicker Works

To earn cookies, simply run the cookie clicker website and if you’re as lazy as I am, run an auto clicking script (here’s my favorite for mac) and sit back while the sweet cookie wealth rolls in. As your cookie wealth amasses, you’ll want to up your production so let’s go ahead and buy some units. From a cursor, to grandmas, to farms, we now have higher and higher production capabilities and our cookie wealth just keeps growing.

How Bitcoin Mining Works (Simplified Beyond Belief)

To earn Bitcoin, simply run a program such as BFGMiner and sit back while the sweet Bitcoin wealth rolls in (Disclaimer: it won’t unless you’ve got one hell of a setup, but for the sake of this analogy I’m going to ignore that). As your Bitcoin wealth amasses, you’ll want to up your production so let’s go ahead and buy some units. Your mining will have started with your CPU (the processor within your computer) but you’ll want to upgrade to a GPU (the graphics processor within your computer). Eventually, you’ll upgrade to an ASIC, which is a circuit built for a specific use instead of a general one like a CPU. Now all you need to do it up your production and watch your wealth grow (again, it probably won’t).

Where the Two Diverge

Of course, an idle game and bitcoin mining isn’t a perfect parallel but it does shed some light on what exactly is being done. Both are based off of arbitrary tasks which can be optimized through increasing production. Cookie clicker and other idle games are gated by clicking because you need some measure to prevent infinite production. Bitcoin is gated by arbitrarily difficult mathematic problems that processing power is used to solve. The divergence happens in three key areas.

First, in cookie clicker you’re not competing against other clickers to gain that elusive cookie whereas in Bitcoin mining, you’re competing against other miners to solve algorithms first.
Second, cookie clicker is an incremental game where you earn more and more till infinity. With Bitcoin, you earn less and less as the difficult to solve arbitrary problems get tougher and tougher.
Third, Bitcoin mining serves to confirm transactions on the network, adding a vital functionality wherein the system would not function without the work of miners. Cookie clicker has no such functionality and if everyone in the world stops using cookie clicker, it would destroy the system running the game.

But really the main difference is that Bitcoin is built on blockchain which allows a ledger of all transactions so that we assign value to each Bitcoin. Cookies have no value assigned as their production is unlimited and not secured within a blockchain.

What This Tells Us

Bitcoin mining is of course more complex than what is laid out here but I think its important to create parallels to help demystify the space and broaden the understanding of how the system works. If you’d like a more in-depth look at Bitcoin mining, bitcoinmining.com was a source I used to help familiarize myself with the space. Additionally, this analogy is not unique to Bitcoin but can apply to crypto mining in general.

Hopefully this analogy can shed some light on what Bitcoin mining is by putting it in context of a game genre that many people have played. Hopefully someone will make a Cookie Coin and we’ll all be able to mine through clicking so we can add a little fun to the process. So the next time someone asks you how many Bitcoins you have, just answer “I’ve got billions of cookies, what about you?”.

Bitcoin is Just an Idle Game

"Both are based off of arbitrary tasks which can be optimized through increasing production."

Bitcoin Billionaire: An idle game based off of Bitcoin

From our community

ALL EVENTS MEMBERS STORIES
Member news

Insight from more than 40,000 players downloading Sonic Forces: Speed Battle via an invite on social media showed 43% better retention and play 87% more sessions compared to regular players.

The Hague Tech goes Capetown

International technology based community The Hague Tech enters into a partnership with the Cape Initiative of Innovation and Technology (CiTi). The partnership focuses on start-up acceleration and innovation by connecting The Hague Tech and CiTi ecosystems with the aim of generating opportunities for business, knowledge exchange and the bolstering of international investment in both countries.

How One Developer Toppled an Empire (For Now)

Idle games on the blockchain: earn more while also earning while “idle” or in a state of doing nothing.

Newsroom

The seventh edition of the technology festival Border Sessions will be held between the 13th and the 16th of June in various venues in the city centre of The Hague.

Newsroom

Brian Gharibaan, co-founder of The Hague Tech talks about how The Hague tech saw the need to combine strenghts with partnerships, current major developments and future plans.

MEET THE COMMUNITY

Meet Marja, independent social innovator, communications specialist and strategist

MEET THE COMMUNITY

Clensta International Pvt. Ltd. is an Indian Innovative start-up company of Healthcare sector, founded by Dr. Puneet Gupta and now they are forming dutch entity Clensta International B.V. to address personal hygiene concerns of european market along with World Startup Factory.

Newsroom

After starting up our operations at Spaces, The Rode Olifant, it's now time to broaden our reach and impact. As of December, 1th, The Hague Tech campus in the heart of the Central Innovation District will be the new base for SIM-CI.

MEET THE COMMUNITY

Meet Astrid Homan, founder of Il Pettirosso.

Newsroom

World Startup Factory presented ten promising startups at Demo Day in The Hague. The startups are halfway the Impact Acceleration program.

Newsroom

You can have your office space at The Hague Tech!

Newsroom

In the week of the first pizza bought with Bitcoin we organize two full days on which experts share the newest developments and insights in blockchain technologies.

Newsroom

Growth Hacking is the new marketing, used by giants as Dropbox, AirBnB and Instagram. Discover how rapid experimentation can get you the best results.

MEET THE COMMUNITY

Meet Hatim Baheranwala, battle hardened entrepreneur. "Started my first company in India (IDfy.com) in 2011, which was venture funded in 2012. While I moved on from the business in 2013 to pursue a couple of new ventures, it continues to grow and was series A funded a little while back. Prior to starting up, I worked on the buy side of the investment industry - as a portfolio manager with the Dutch railway pension fund for 2 years. Currently, all my heart and effort is focused on https://trussbot.com"

MEET THE COMMUNITY

Meet Charles, tv-show-expert, traveler, biggest fan of The Hague and founder of Holland Park Media and very active community member of The Hague Tech.

Newsroom

Creative Dock helps to build start-ups for large corporates. Since their original start in Amsterdam last year the company has doubled their staff and was looking for a new location to grow and hire over 20 new employees before the end of 2019.

Thomas's Talk

After our successful international outreach to San Francisco in September, where we signed a partnership with tech community The Vault, it is time for a new international step.

MEET THE COMMUNITY

META_lab The Hague is a pre-incubator program of 12 weeks, initiated by Haagse Makers and Wunderpeople, where we set up a program to learn, work and prototype with emerging technology: Making Emerging Technology Accessible. 

Member blog


Blockchain technology is getting more attention as start-ups and entrepreneurs envision how to process transactions and decentralize their networks by applying this technology to their business models. So what’s buzzing in The Hague?

Mobile World Congress 2018

Martijn Brouns gives a recap of Mobile World Congress and talks about some interesting things that he saw and noticed.

BRIANS TALK

Technological advancement is increasing and becoming a core component of basically any business. While technology is growing broadly and cross-domain, innovation in technology must be approached by multidisciplinary teams.

MEMBER NEWS

Based on investor and attendee interest, THT local GetSocial was voted one of the top 25 most hyped startups at WebSummit 2017, something they only found out while waiting to board the airplane to Lisbon.

MEMBER NEWS

, Clensta with the research partnership of IIT Delhi is eyeing to deliver a solution for the Personal Hygiene segment by providing comprehensive body and head hygiene without zero use of water.

Bitcoin is Just an Idle Game

An analogy to shed some light on bitcoin and idle games. How elements of idle games mirror Bitcoin mining.

THIS ONE'S FOR YOU

Entrepreneurs with an appetite for innovation need more than a top notch office with ditto espresso machine. They need the genius, the know-how and the can-do. Whilst sometimes these qualities are combined in just one person, no successful company was ever built alone.

MEET THE COMMUNITY

Meet Chris van Maarseveen, blockchain expert and the youngenst member of The Hague Tech.

MEMBER NEWS

One of our members, The Smart Insect Farm, is nominated for The Hague Innovators Challenge. You can watch the movie in the link. Let's help them win and vote! https://impactcity.nl/hagueinnovators/vote/