TLDR. Analog Bitcoin fans (aka Gold Bugs) like to talk about domesday scenarios where there is no Internet and so Bitcoin will be worthless. In the real world (as opposed to the talking heads circuit) it is not Bitcoin or Gold it is Bitcoin AND Gold. However nobody wants worthless Bitcoin. This update to The Blockchain Economy digital book describes Blockstream satellites and Locha mesh networking . These ventures and technologies ensure that you can still use cryptocurrencies even in the domesday scenario.
This update to The Blockchain Economy digital book covers:
- Domesday Scenarios without Internet
- Blockstream satellites
- Locha Mesh networks
- Context & References
Domesday scenario without Internet
The Chapter entitled Why BTC = USD1 million may be possible, but not desirable even for those with Bitcoin describes 4 scenarios that investors plan for, the 4th being what we refer to as the domesday scenario:
- Scenario 4. Legacy Finance assets suffer a catastrophic decline and Bitcoin goes to zero. In that awful scenario, shelter, food & physical safety become critical and financial assets become only a distant memory and it is the gold part of your tail risk insurance that you rely upon.
Bitcoin can go to zero because a) it was always just a mirage or ponzi scheme or b) it becomes impossible to use because it requires Internet access and there is no Internet.
There are three ways we can be deprived of Internet access:
- There is a catastrophic disaster from climate change or nuclear war or economic/societal collapse.
- Your Government orders ISP’s to cut off Internet access for everybody (possibly to prevent a stateless challenge to their Fiat currency).
- Your Government orders ISP’s to cut off Internet access for you (because you are viewed as an enemy of the state).
We look at the two technological solutions to this domesday scenario – one from above (satellites) and one from your neighbours on the ground (Locha Mesh networks).
The Blockstream Satellite network broadcasts the Bitcoin blockchain around the world 24/7 for free, protecting against network interruptions and providing anyone in the world with the opportunity to use Bitcoin.
Blockstream is a private venture funded business with a lot at stake in Bitcoin. The theory is that even if the Internet is not available, you can still use Bitcoin via satellites. The problem is that as a centralised venture funded business, they are susceptible to pressure from Government.
Locha Mesh networks
This is a more ground up initiative coming out of Venezuela. The best introduction in the English language is this podcast interview. There is a lot about the political situation in this interview; if you want to skip to the tech, go to around minute 15.
101 on mesh networking: Traditional networks rely on a small number of wired access points or wireless hotspots to connect users. In a wireless mesh network, the network connection is spread out among dozens or even hundreds of wireless mesh nodes that “talk” to each other to share the network connection across a large area. Mesh networks use publicly available radio frequencies.
In short, wireless mesh networking is a decentralized, open permissionless network like Bitcoin ie nobody can shut it down.
This is an example of why this chapter describes The Path To Mainstream Adoption Of Bitcoin Is Not Through Legacy Finance Institutions, It Is Through The Excluded
Context & References
I have no positions or commercial relationships with the companies or people mentioned. I am not receiving compensation for this post.
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