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A government or corporate entity can destroy the Bitcoin network | Opinion

Opinion
A government or corporate entity can destroy the Bitcoin network | Opinion

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to the author and do not represent the views and opinions of crypto.news’ editorial.

Destroying the Bitcoin network, which is a decentralized and distributed system, would be an arduous task. One day, however, state actors might set their targets on Bitcoin (BTC) in an effort to destroy the best money in the history of the world. Here’s how they might go about eliminating Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention.

Regulatory restrictions

One way that governments could limit the growth of the Bitcoin network is through regulatory restrictions. Governments have the power to regulate financial institutions and transactions, and they could use this power to restrict or even ban the use of Bitcoin. For example, a government could require all Bitcoin transactions to be reported and taxed or prohibit banks from processing them altogether.

This reporting requirement would make it difficult for individuals and businesses to use Bitcoin as a means of payment, limiting its adoption and growth. Another way that governments could prevent the further development of the Bitcoin network is by controlling access to electricity or internet infrastructure.

Bitcoin mining requires a lot of energy, so if governments were to impose restrictions on energy usage or shut down internet access in certain areas, miners would not be able to continue operating their equipment. This would significantly slow down transaction processing on the network and make it less attractive for users.

Centralization efforts

One of the biggest threats to the Bitcoin network is centralization efforts, particularly the risk of a corporate takeover. As more and more corporations begin to invest in Bitcoin, there is a growing concern that they may attempt to monopolize the network and ultimately exert undue influence over its governance.

Monopolization could take many forms, from using their financial power to influence key decision-makers within the network to acquiring large amounts of mining power and using it to control transaction processing. In extreme cases, it could even involve attempting to rewrite Bitcoin’s code and/or ledger itself to manipulate transaction history.

Many in the Bitcoin community advocate for more significant decentralization efforts to combat this threat, including encouraging more individuals and small businesses to participate in mining and transaction processing and implementing more robust protocols for governance and decision-making within the network. We can ensure that Bitcoin remains secure and free from corporate influence by maintaining a truly decentralized system.

Cyber attacks and network congestion

One potential risk to the security of the Bitcoin network is cyber attacks. Hackers could attempt to gain control of a significant portion of the network’s computing power, known as a 51% attack, which would allow them to manipulate transactions and potentially steal funds. Another form of attack is DDoS, which floods the network with traffic and slows down transaction processing.

Network congestion is another potential threat to Bitcoin’s security. As more people use the network, there is an increased risk of delays in transaction processing and higher fees, which could lead to frustration among users and make them less likely to use Bitcoin in the future.

To mitigate these risks, it is vital for developers and users to continuously monitor the network’s security and implement measures such as multi-factor authentication and encryption. Additionally, scaling solutions such as the Lightning Network can help improve transaction speeds and reduce congestion on the main Bitcoin network.

Corporate sabotage

Powerful entities such as governments and corporations have the resources and influence to launch a sustained attack on the network, potentially leading to its collapse. The most common method of sabotage is through a 51% attack, where an entity controls more than half of the mining power on the network, giving it the ability to manipulate transactions and block confirmations.

Another way that powerful entities could destroy Bitcoin is through regulatory action. Governments could pass laws that make it illegal to own or use Bitcoin, making it difficult for people to transact in cryptocurrencies and driving down demand for them. Corporations could also launch smear or disinformation campaigns to undermine confidence in Bitcoin. Given these risks, Bitcoin and other crypto users must remain vigilant against potential threats from powerful entities.

How to protect Bitcoin

The best way for Bitcoiners to protect the code is to stay informed and continue to educate others about the virtues of Bitcoin. In addition, keep any of the software you run up to date. Stay abreast of software updates, security vulnerabilities, and best practices. Furthermore, educate other Bitcoin community members about security measures and potential risks.

Using reputable and secure Bitcoin wallets is essential. Hardware wallets that store private keys offline are generally considered more secure than software wallets. For larger entities, multi-signature wallets can beef up security by requiring multiple private keys to authorize a Bitcoin transaction.

Perhaps the most essential way to secure the Bitcoin network is by running a full node, helping to validate transactions, and ensuring that the network remains resilient. A higher hashrate makes the network more secure against 51% attacks. Miners can contribute to the overall hashrate by supporting the network with their computational power.

Furthermore, as an industry, advocating for privacy-enhancing technologies like CoinJoin can help ensure continued privacy. The Bitcoin community must be vigilant and actively monitor and report suspicious activities or potential threats, including phishing scams, fake wallets, and malicious activity.

Taking place in the vibrant debate around the development of the Bitcoin protocol’s governance helps shape the protocol’s direction and ensures that security concerns are addressed. Education is also crucial, especially emphasizing the securely backing up private keys and wallet seed phrases. Support decentralized exchanges as they reduce the risk associated with centralized exchanges.

By taking these steps, the Bitcoin community can contribute to the overall security and resilience of the Bitcoin protocol. Also, fostering a collaborative and shared responsibility culture is crucial for maintaining a strong and secure network.

The ethos that underpins Bitcoin is fundamental. Decentralization, trustlessness, transparency, security, scarcity, financial inclusion, permissionless, sovereignty, and more make up the original principles. Bitcoin is a response to centralized entities seeking to minimize trust in intermediaries. Maintaining and defending these principles is the best way to ensure neither governments nor corporate entities destroy Bitcoin.

Kadan Stadelmann
Kadan Stadelmann

Kadan Stadelmann is a blockchain developer, operations security expert, and Komodo Platform’s chief technology officer. His experience ranges from working in operations security in the government sector and launching technology startups to application development and cryptography. Kadan started his journey into blockchain technology in 2011 and joined the Komodo team in 2016.

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