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Can Bitcoin be used as a world currency after the apocalypse?

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Would everyone rush to Bitcoin if a catastrophic virus or nuclear catastrophe suddenly shook the world? To put it plainly, it is difficult to say. Non-fiat decentralized currencies, however, are more versatile than others.

Visualize it. A seismic occurrence abruptly shakes the entire world. It may be a brand-new financial catastrophe that transforms the 2008 financial crisis into a superficial market correction. A disastrous invasion of a nation might cause the collapse of the world economy. (For instance, China invading Taiwan.) Or it could be a pandemic that is far more deadly than COVID-19. even a nuclear conflict. Let’s imagine a world that is extremely unstable, whatever the source. Unrecognizably, maybe.

Could we still use Bitcoin after the apocalypse?

In the case of the end of the world, could we still utilize the most popular cryptocurrency in the world? That depends on how you define the apocalypse. However, the quick response is usually “yes.”

Numerous nodes make up the Bitcoin network. The world’s accessible nodes are really listed here. Despite the fact that this is simply a conservative approximation of the true quantity.) Each node’s responsibility is to validate each transaction and block. Each transaction or block in Bitcoin must follow the protocol’s rules since it is based on an immutable blockchain.


A disproportionate number of Bitcoin nodes are in Western Europe.

A disproportionate number of Bitcoin nodes are in Western Europe.


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

The good news is that the Bitcoin network only requires a small number of nodes to function properly. In essence, for any cataclysmic event to make the network useless, practically every single node would have to be destroyed. There is a good chance that many Bitcoin nodes will fall permanently down in the inconceivable scenario of a nuclear war, where vast portions of the earth become uninhabitable. (Especially when you take into account how few of us store our laptops in a bunker that is nuclear-proof.)

A situation like this can make it more difficult to validate blocks and transactions. A network with fewer nodes would likewise be less decentralized and more susceptible to manipulation. However, the network would basically continue to function, and new nodes would unavoidably appear.

Why not mention the Internet?

A digital currency called Bitcoin was created on the internet. Without it, it would not have been created. Would it endure without it, though? Simply stated, absolutely.

As of 2018, there is a fix in case the internet is abruptly down. The Bitcoin blockchain is transmitted internationally through a network of communication satellites run by Blockstream. It makes it possible for those without internet connectivity to get verified blocks and transactions. Although a computer and an antenna are required to connect to the network, using it is entirely free of charge.

There are a few more negatives as well. It does not offer complete coverage as of the time of writing. A significant portion of Siberia, Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, the Caucuses, much of western Russia, portions of Central Asia, and Madagascar are among the prominent dark areas.

Additionally, you may transmit bitcoin through a mobile network. A new SMS-based application called Machankura was introduced by South African developer Kgothatso Ngako last year, enabling people to access Bitcoin via feature phones without an internet connection.

By calling a number and inputting a five-digit pin, users of the service may send and receive Bitcoin through the GSM network, thereby generating a Lightning address. Machankura, on the other hand, is a custodial service, which is in opposition to the Bitcoin motto of

“not your keys, not your coins.”

Do we want to use Bitcoin?

Thus, it has been quite clearly demonstrated that Bitcoin could endure the end of the world. Would we use Bitcoin, though? The solution to that question is significantly more difficult.

The present level of Bitcoin acceptance is the first obstacle in the way of Bitcoin becoming the de facto global money in the case of a catastrophe. As of March 17, 2023, Glassnode estimates that there are around 1 million active Bitcoin addresses (i.e., those that have recently given or received money in BTC). That represents around 0.0125% of the world’s population, which is much too little for a meaningful study.

It’s much better to know that, according to TripleA, ownership of cryptocurrencies is just about 4.2%. (I’m assuming that everyone who owns a cryptocurrency is familiar with Bitcoin.) 95.8% of the world’s population are still bitcoin non-owners as of this writing. Even if we suppose that 20% of the world’s population has ever used crypto, that still leaves 80% of people who are virtually unfamiliar with this technology.

It will have an impact on how many individuals utilize cryptocurrency as a store of value or for transactions. Additionally, it will significantly reduce the number of suppliers who accept it. This may not be a problem in Vietnam, where almost 20% of the population owns cryptocurrency. The prospectus is less persuasive in the UK, where 6% of the population owns cryptocurrency and where there is a respected, widely-used fiat currency.

The advantages

Naturally, this approach makes the assumption that faith in fiat money would not be entirely destroyed by a calamity. (A large but not completely implausible assumption.)

There are several reasons, nevertheless, why Bitcoin could prevail in the end. Bitcoin’s hashing method, SHA-256, is thought to be quite safe. There are a huge number of potential hashes generated by the method and the likelihood of manipulation or duplicate hashes is less than one in 115 quadrillions. Bitcoin is virtually impossible to attack because it has a larger number of atoms than there are in the known cosmos.

Additionally, it runs on a decentralized network that is unconstrained by centralized power or government. The value of the currency would greatly benefit if existing institutions lost their ability to inspire trust. Additionally, it is immune to censorship and will continue to be available even in the case of a world dictatorship.

Unlike currencies produced by a central bank, Bitcoin has a finite quantity of 21 million coins, which implies that it cannot be inflated or depreciated. In a dystopian future when traditional fiat currencies may lose all of their value due to hyperinflation, Bitcoin may seem like a much safer investment.