Note: This story is a fiction of the future. It’s not exactly what will happen to Bitcoin.
The year is 2140. A apocalyptic disaster hits planet Earth. Human civilization is wiped out. Humans die of starvation and disease. Bitcoin mining network is down. Bitcoin satellites are still flying around Earth. But nobody communicates to them. Hashrate dropped to 0. No new block is created. Pockets of human survivors are trying to make through their days.
Bitcoin is dead. Except, it isn’t. It’s just silent. Its enormous difficulty is still waiting for someone to mine the next block. But nobody can. Much of the mining infrastructure is destroyed. Bitcoin death prediction was wrong. Civilization can collapse but Bitcoin is still there. Without sufficient hashrate, nobody can attack the Bitcoin blockchain.
Fast forward 100 years. The year is 2240. Humans rebuilt their infrastructure. They are about to reach mining hashrate before the apocalypse. Some groups of humans are able to recover bitcoins from exchanges. Having centralized exchanges can be useful for recovery effort. The network is about to produce new blocks.
But this time, Bitcoin splits into 2 chains. Some people want to soft fork and restart mining rewards since so many coins were lost. The total theoretical supply limit of Bitcoin will be 42 million. Other people want to stick with the original supply limit of 21 million. The first group achieves majority. They took the domain name, social media handles. They anoint new leaders and proclaim themselves to be the true Bitcoin. The second group is angry. They rename their chain to Bitcoin Apocalypse to remind people that they are the Bitcoin chain before the apocalypse. And they also vow to bring apocalypse to the self-proclaimed true Bitcoin chain. Just like the forks that came before, Bitcoin Apocalypse will fade in memory.
Bitcoin is still not dead. It continues to live along with humans. It adapts to the majority consensus. It’s sneaky and controlling. It feeds and survives on human’s desire to fight and control. Bitcoin sheds its old self if necessary. It rules over the world of cryptocurrencies. Its existence seems to immune to human’s suffering and will.
This comes from two things I learn recently:
- Hashrate drop to 0 is not going to kill Bitcoin. The network just goes to sleep.
- Bitcoin doesn’t have to be completely decentralized.