What is Don't Trust, Verify

Key Takeaways

  • 'Don't Trust, Verify' is an idiom in Bitcoin meant to encourage you not to trust any claim you cannot verify yourself.
  • It's origins can be found in a old Russian proverb 'Trust, but verify'.
  • In Bitcoin, verification ensures legitimacy and integrity.

This common motto alludes to Bitcoin’s cryptographic system of work verification.

To keep things simple, it means you aren’t limited to relying on a stranger’s “good word” because you can verify the address yourself before sending a payment.

Would you take a random person’s word if they said they sent the correct amount to the right place without checking first?

Of course not!

An Example

To illustrate, imagine a scenario where you’re running a convenience store but you never see the customer’s face or get their name, and also you never see the money they give you. You have no idea who they are and whether or not they paid.

It’s a recipe for disaster!

Fortunately, in the Bitcoin and crypto communities, transactions are verified by looking at the sender’s and receiver’s wallet addresses.

When everything matches up, you know the transaction is legitimate.

Proving the integrity and compliance of transactions within the network is fundamental to the success and longevity of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general.

Where did “Don’t Trust, Verify” come from?

The term “Don’t Trust, Verify” is rooted in a Russian proverb:

Первое правило: доверяй, но проверяй, roughly translating to: “Rule number one: trust but verify.”

As you can see, the Bitcoin community has pushed the envelope a bit further by saying:

“Don’t Trust” instead of “Trust”.

Ironic Origins

Believe it or not, this parallels Stalin’s take on the proverb, understanding it as:

Здоровое недоверие — хорошая основа для совместной работы, which roughly translates to: “Healthy distrust is a good basis for joint work.”

Stalin’s message being, there should be a healthy amount of skepticism when working with others.

If you are too passive, nothing will get done.

You might even say, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

Just another reason why you shouldn’t Trust, but instead should Verify for yourself.