Unbannable Bitcoin: Why BTC’s Unbreakable, Unshakable Nature Will Just Keep Going and Going
amidst the increasing and suffocating regulations that are being imposed on cryptocurrencies, many people have started to ask themselves what would happen if Bitcoin was banned in their country. The good news is that the nature of cryptocurrency stops it from being banned in the same way that fiat currency can be banned.
The Old Saying Still Holds True
There is a saying in the cryptocurrency community that goes along the lines of “You can remove your country from Bitcoin, but you can't remove Bitcoin from your country,” and it is as relevant today as it ever has been. Regulating how Bitcoin is transferred via exchanges is one thing, but most regulation tries to bring the coin under control of oversight bodies that are far less qualified than the underlying technology itself.
If we could say that government is there to pass laws so that people are able to trust transaction between strangers, then Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that rely on blockchain based technologies are already streets ahead of the system. There is simply no way that a law made by humans can be as effective as the decentralized cryptographic algorithms that handle cryptocurrencies.
It is telling that instead of regulating Bitcoin as a new technology, many regulators are looking at the currency aspects despite Bitcoin being completely mostly about the fusion of various different late 90s era technologies used in an interesting way.
Open-source, Decentralized Protocols Live Forever
We live in an age where the internet can be revoked, websites shut down, and dissenting voices all across the world are shut out with the flip of a switch. This is due to the centralization of the internet into servers.
Despite that, many find a way to speak out – new websites pop up by disgruntled users banned from competing platforms, unhappy people use cryptographically enhanced new messenger apps to communicate and peer to peer networking thrives in areas where traditional ISPs don't see any profit from entering.
If by some unlikely scenario every single Bitcoin developer disappeared at the same time and a centralized authority hijacked Bitcoin at the same time, there would still be options. Bitcoin is open-source, and the software is out in the wild so to speak. T would still carry on despite a set back that is barely plausible.
If you add the increasingly decentralized nodes and mesh networking into the mix, even the internet as we know it is not enough to stop Bitcoin fully. VPNs, TOR, and other privacy tools can be used to circumvent bans, so there is very little chance of anything managing to know the network n its current state.
Alternatives To The Internet
OK, so how about true alternatives to the internet? Well, there are a few. The most commonly used one is SMS. You can send payments to people via SMS, which is a service that everyone uses and is so commonplace that it is considered old by many people who grew up with it. This is particularly useful in countries such as Venezuela where the majority of the population owns a mobile phone, but not necessarily a smartphone.
Then there is satellite broadcasting. Blockstream has launched five satellites so far, with the latest coming in December 2018. This has allowed them to cover basically the entire world barring Greenland and Antarctica. People who are trapped in oppressive regimes that have an unnaturally tight grasp on the internet and a populace that is extremely poor can still be reached using this system.
SMS and satellite give two more major options to people to use Bitcoin, and they are both independent of the internet. It would be (relatively) easy for a country to shut down its entire internet infrastructure, even though it would be bad news for the country itself. It would be almost suicidal for any regime to shut down the SMS service as well as it would provoke even more anger from citizens. It would take a Herculean effort on the part of any country to shut down a satellite.
Just looking at Bitcoin from that perspective, it will always be available barring an event that would get rid of the vast majority of humanity. In which case, having a digital asset would be the least of anyone's worries.
No One Is Going To Shut Down The Power Grid
The last thing that a country could reasonably be expected to do is to shut down the power grid so that no one has access to any electronic device. This option is the nuclear option and can't seriously be considered. No country in the world would be foolish enough even to attempt it