What is Number Go Up Technology? It has an interesting origin from the world of Bitcoin memes and Twitter discussion, where it is often stylised as NgU technology.
Number Go Up Technology refers to Bitcoin’s difficulty adjustment function and strictly limited supply of 21M. Given the extreme scarcity of Bitcoin, and the inability to copy it, this results in the price of Bitcoin going up.
Why does Number Go Up Happen?
Put simply, Bitcoin is extremely scarce. There are 100 million sats per Bitcoin. At time of writing in January 2021, there are just under 238k sats per person in the world.
As more people realise the incredible potential for Bitcoin to store value through time and space, relative to other options, more people will adopt Bitcoin. And the main way to really do that is to take ownership of some. This necessitates Bitcoin’s price rising.
Why does NGU not apply to other cryptocurrencies or things?
Because they will inevitably fall victim to the same political pressures that befell governments in the past, and they generally lack the same qualities that make Bitcoin special. Bitcoin is decentralised with no single leader or point of failure. Bitcoin also resists centralisation because you can self custody and then choose to send it anywhere in the world without having to trust a third party custodian.
Where did the Number Go Up Technology meme originate?
Saifedean Ammous popularised the term on this podcast episode SLP147 Savings Technology & Number Go Up.
Here’s a relevant section of the transcript:
Saifedean: It’s what I like to call the underlying technology behind Bitcoin, Number Go Up. It’s people have thought that it was blockchain technology. But, I think that was a nice camouflage. But, really the underlying technology of Bitcoin, that’s it is just the Number Go Up. It’s everything else can try to Number Go Up, but they can’t copy it. Because there’ll always be an incentive for people to make more of it, or more and more like it. But-
Pierre Rochard: The moment Number Go Up starts happening for another coin. They’re going to find ways to create more. And, to somehow-
Pierre Rochard: Create forks and whatnot and dilute it.
Saifedean: There’s no coin that’s going to be able to resist the political pressure, that was put on governments to get off the gold standard. And, join the shitcoin circus.
This is following the popularisation of the NgU (sans technology) meme earlier around mid 2019. This was initially used by shitcoiners who wanted to insult Bitcoin enthusiasts.
At that time it was mostly a term of derision, with the idea being that Bitcoin was all about “number go up” and nothing else. Because presumably your money should also do other utility functions! Hint: it doesn’t need to. This was then reframed and owned as a Bitcoin meme to succinctly convey its value.
Is Number Go Up only about the price?
The meme itself is mostly about the price. However, once you’ve been in the bitcoin space for a while, you see that just about everything in this space is indexed to the price. So as price rises, other things also rise:
- Number of Bitcoin nodes on the network
- Mining Hashpower
- Developer interest
- Businesses in the space do well
- More jobs are available in the Bitcoin industry
- More transactions take place
- Media coverage and FOMO
- Funding for Bitcoin projects and developers
So while it may seem superficially about the price, it really does have implications for all manner of things in the space.
Where does Number Go Up appear nowadays?
It regularly appears in memes:
You can even find it on Bitcoin merchandise!
Holding your Number Go Up Technology
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