What Would Happen to Bitcoin if there Were No Internet?
Delivering bitcoin transaction data to miners requires internet-enabled devices. As a digital currency, you cannot buy, sell or exchange bitcoin without the internet. As such, even a single day without internet access could cost bitcoin miners, exchanges, and traders millions. However, experts have claimed bitcoin is not solely reliant on the internet.
Things Bitcoin Users Should Expect when the Internet Is Down
The use of the internet in bitcoin transactions is paramount and, that is why users should expect glitches and occurrences if the internet stopped working. Here’s what happens to bitcoin whenever the internet goes down.
The Bitcoin network distributes transactions on ledgers across thousands of computers in the network. That means the computers will stop communicating with each other in case the internet is down. However, the halt would not affect the content of the ledgers in the blockchain. Once the internet is back, the computers will verify the copies of the register for consistency.
The bitcoin blockchain will stop synchronizing in the event of an internet shutdown. The ledgers will immediately stop recording bitcoin transactions, leading to a temporary break in transaction processing. The network will resume if the transactions are consistent. In case of inconsistency, users can either update their blockchain or opt-out of the networks.
Users will not be able to conduct bitcoin transactions due to a network shut down, but activities can resume as soon as the internet comes back up.
Weaker public perception
Internet shutdown could also weaken the users’ confidence in bitcoin as a reliable store of value and medium of exchange. That may arise from their inability to conduct transactions conveniently. If the shutdown goes on for several hours or even days, many people will undoubtedly start losing faith in bitcoin and, that could significantly affect its value.
Like other online trading platforms such as bitcoineras.com that use the internet to monitor trading activities within their sites, gauge the market, and interact with customers, bitcoin traders also need it to facilitate various core e-commerce processes. Therefore, their failure to fulfill those needs would negatively affect public perception.
Bitcoin without the Internet
The multifaceted impact of the internet on bitcoin is undeniable. It facilitates the flow of transactions data and interactions among users. It is the primary resource that allows the exchange of bitcoin across international borders. The internet gives bitcoin the definition of a digital currency, enabling users to leverage it for trading and a means of exchange for buying goods and services.
While the lack of internet access would significantly limit sending and receiving bitcoin, transactions could still occur via offline alternatives. For example, some companies like 37Coins have suggested using third-party SMS wallet providers for bitcoin exchanges. It advocates forwarding transaction data via text messages to an internet-enabled device.
A Finland-based project called Kryptoradio is currently exploring ways of broadcasting blockchain data across DVB-T, which is non-reliant on the internet. Some experts have also pointed out that Blockstream satellites could also facilitate using bitcoin without the internet. That option requires specific equipment for receiving the signals. However, the initial synchronization must occur over the internet.
Wi-Fi rebroadcasts could also offer alternatives for processing bitcoin transactions without internet access. It allows the offline verification of the blockchain and broadcasting bitcoin data across a given area or community using a single ‘’sat node.’
Bitcoin transactions heavily rely on the internet as the primary avenue for conveying data to miners. However, it does not mean people will stop using bitcoin if the internet goes down. This article shows other alternatives that users could still pursue to conduct bitcoin transactions if there is no internet.