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Will we use bitcoin at the end of the world?

If a nuclear war or a deadly pandemic suddenly rocks the world, are we suddenly flooded with bitcoin? To put it simply, it’s hard to say. But decentralized, fiat currencies are adaptable in ways that others are not.

imagine that. An event of seismic proportions suddenly shakes the globe. It could be a new financial crisis that makes the 2008 crash look like a short market correction. It could be a catastrophic invasion of a country that rips through the global economy. (China’s invasion of Taiwan, for example). Or it could be a pandemic many times more deadly than COVID-19. Or even a nuclear war. Whatever the reasons for this, let’s imagine a deeply disturbed world. It may not be recognized.

Can we use bitcoin at the end of the world?

Can we use the world’s most popular cryptocurrency if the end of the world happens? Well, that depends on your definition of the end of the world. But the short answer is probably yes.

The Bitcoin network consists of a series of nodes. (You can actually see a list of accessible nodes in the world here. Although this is just a conservative estimate of the actual number.) Each node’s job is to verify each transaction and block. Because Bitcoin is built on an immutable blockchain, it requires that every transaction or block be in accordance with the rules of the Bitcoin protocol.

A disproportionate number of Bitcoin nodes are located in Western Europe. source: BitNodes

If a transaction or block does not follow the rules, the node will reject it, preventing it from being added to the blockchain.

The good news is that the Bitcoin network needs relatively few nodes to function effectively. Basically, any apocalyptic scenario would have to wipe out nearly every node to render the network unusable. In the unimaginable event of nuclear war, where large parts of the planet would become uninhabitable, there is a strong possibility that many Bitcoin nodes would go out of business permanently. (Especially when you consider that very few of us keep our computers in a nuclear-proof bunker.)

Such an event may make it difficult to verify transactions and blocks. Fewer nodes will make the network less decentralized and more vulnerable to manipulation. But, basically, the network will remain, and new nodes will inevitably follow.

What about the Internet?

Bitcoin is a digital currency that was born on the Internet. It wouldn’t have been created without it. But do so survive without him?

Put briefly, yes.

As of 2018, there is a solution if the Internet suddenly becomes unavailable. Blockstream operates a network of communications satellites that broadcast the Bitcoin blockchain globally. It allows people without internet access to receive validated transactions and blocks. The network is completely free to use, although you need a computer and an antenna to access it.

There are also some other drawbacks. At the time of writing, it does not provide comprehensive coverage. There are some noticeable dark spotsincluding much of Siberia, Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, the Caucasus, most of western Russia, parts of Central Asia, and the island of Madagascar.

Access to the Bitcoin network via the Bluestream satellite network.
Blockstream satellites do not provide comprehensive coverage. source: Bluestream

You can also send your Bitcoin via the mobile network. Last year, South African developer Kgothatso Ngako launched a new SMS-based service called Machankura that allows users to access Bitcoin using their feature phones without accessing the internet.

The service uses a file GSM network To allow users to send and receive Bitcoin by dialing a number and entering a five-digit PIN, effectively creating a Lightning address. However, Machankura is the custodian service, which goes against Bitcoin’s ethos of “Not Your Keys, Not Your Coins”.

Will we use bitcoin?

So we have proven somewhat concretely that Bitcoin can survive the apocalypse. but He was Do we use bitcoin? This is a much more difficult question to answer.

The first hurdle to Bitcoin becoming a de facto global currency in the event of disaster is the current state of Bitcoin adoption. Glassnode places a number Active Bitcoin addresses (ie those who have recently sent or received money in Bitcoin) approximately 1 million as of March 17, 2023. This is about 0.0125% of the world’s population which is a very low number for a fair analysis.

TripleA estimates that Cryptographic ownership It’s almost 4.2%, which is a much better number. (I assume all cryptocurrency owners are familiar with bitcoin.) That still leaves 95.8% of the world’s population not owning any cryptocurrency. Even if we assume that 20% of the world’s population has used cryptocurrencies at some point in the past, that still leaves 80% with no familiarity with the technology.

This lack of familiarity will affect how many people use cryptocurrency as a store of value or for trading. It would also severely limit the number of sellers who would accept it as payment. in VietnamSince nearly 20% of the population owns cryptocurrency, this may be an insurmountable hurdle. In the United kingdoma country that owns 6% of cryptocurrency and has its own reputable and widely used fiat currency, the prospectus is less convincing.

Positives

Of course, this analysis assumes that the disaster will not completely destroy people’s trust in fiat currencies. (A big assumption, but not entirely unreasonable.)

However, there are reasons why Bitcoin won in the end. Bitcoin is considered very secure due to the SHA-256 hashing algorithm. The algorithm creates an enormous number of possible hashes, with the odds of tampering or duplicate hashes being less than one in 115 quattuorvigintillion. more than the number of atoms in the known universe, which makes Bitcoin virtually unhackable.

It also operates on a decentralized network, which is not controlled by any central authority or government. If traditional institutions no longer control the trust, this will be a huge boon for the currency. It is also free of censorship and will remain open and accessible, even in a global dictatorship.

Unlike central bank issued currencies, Bitcoin’s supply is limited to 21 million coins, which means it cannot be inflated or devalued. In a post-apocalyptic world where traditional fiat currencies may be rendered worthless by hyperinflation, bitcoin could start to look like a safer bet.

Disclaimer

Following the Trust Project’s guidelines, this featured article features opinions and perspectives from industry or individual experts. BeInCrypto is dedicated to transparent reporting, but the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of BeInCrypto or its employees. Readers should verify information independently and consult with a professional before making decisions based on this content.

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