If you have been into crypto for even for 5 minutes, the first question that would have crossed your mind after understanding Bitcoin might be:
- Could bitcoin be shut down?
- Can bitcoin be stopped by the government?
- Will bitcoin be shut down?
Of course, the short answer to it is NO (!); it cannot be stopped or shout down by the government.
Let me tell you why it is so:
Why Can’t Bitcoin Be Shut Down?
To kill Bitcoin completely, governments have to destroy all the Bitcoin nodes effectively, and that’s not easy. Of course, it might look possible but only in theory.
There are 9600+ Bitcoin nodes all around the globe. Not to forget, there would may more nodes which are not advertising that they are online, but in reality, they are.
All these nodes carry the Bitcoin ledger. To kill Bitcoin or destroy it completely, one needs to effectively destroy all the copies of ledger which spread across so many nodes in different countries.
Even if one ledger is left, the network can restart and cannot be effectively taken down.
So there is actually no central place or headquarters to attack. Anything meaningful will require a global as well as a coordinated attack on all these nodes.
But how will one do it if node owners start using VPNs or just stop advertising that they are online?
Of course, some of you might argue of shutting down the internet but is that possible? Again yes, it is possible, but it won’t be feasible.
Moreover, Bitcoin can live without the internet, so this endeavor of anyone would simply be in vain.
The question is not whether #bitcoin should be regulated, but whether it *can* be regulated. The reality is "No". The rest is nostalgia.
— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) December 31, 2016
Apart from that, you can attack Bitcoin from the mining perspective, but Bitcoin already has gone past the stage where it can be nipped in the bud.
It is no more a game on the internet where one used to receive magic bitcoins for another fun activity called mining like back in the days of 2010-2011.
To give you an idea:
Bitcoin mining is consuming more energy than the country of Switzerland, and that is good. Bitcoin is not easy money that you can just create by typing in a number in a bank computer.
It is hard money which is costly to produce.
Right now Bitcoin network is 100,000x stronger than the world’s supercomputers combined so practically speaking no government has that much power source to destroy Bitcoin.
Any smart guy or organization who even if able to gather this much power would like to join the Bitcoin network and mine bitcoins because that would be the intelligent thing to do. Join the network and get more bitcoins since they have more power. This is the power of positive incentive feedback loop.
Beyond the reasons of decentralization and viability of energy, governments around the world aren’t well equipped to understand Bitcoin like peer to peer technology.
Take the example of Tor or BitTorrent, were the government able to shut them down completely? You know the answer !!
No, they weren’t.
Of course, they were able to cripple such peer to peer technologies in some respect but not entirely, and now they are trying the same with Bitcoin by putting regulatory pressures, buy severing banking relations of crypto exchanges, by banning mining, by banning exchanges, etc.
But none of this makes sense to the Bitcoin’s blockchain. The underlying protocol is dumb and deaf to any of the things that happen in the outside world.
Of course, the network is run by humans, but until there is even one person who needs an open and censorship-resistant system for value transfer, the Bitcoin network cannot be shutdown.
Conclusion: How can bitcoin be stopped?
There will still some skeptics who will read this and again ask how the bitcoin network can be killed? To them, I would say, let’s talk more about this in the comments.
On the other hand, there would be some government guys reading this who’s salary would depend on not understanding Bitcoin and killing it, they would still ask:
- How to stop and destroy bitcoin?
To them, I would say, f…k off* with your insecurities and “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”