What happens to Bitcoin if the internet is shut down?

4 months ago

If it shuts down and never comes back, yes bitcoin is dead, but we’ve got bigger problems than bitcoin.


If it shuts down but the internet is quickly restored, miners would probably reconnect and start up where they left off. Any smaller forks would drop out in favour of the greater good and bitcoin would be quickly back up and running. Worst case scenario something goes haywire and there would be an agreement to use a new version starting back where the pre shut down left off. Again people would readily accept this for the greater good of restoring the network quickly. It would be pretty fast. No changes required, just roll back the clock a bit to undo anything bad that happened when the power came back on.

I get asked this question quite a bit, that’s how I respond anyways. What do you tell people?

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From a digital currency perspective, yes. No internet, no transactions. Although I heard an Andreas Antonopoulos talk about transmitting Bitcoin using Morse Code if need be...

I wonder how Bitmain protects themselves (or more accurately 'position' themselves) to benefit from such an incident...

From a miners perspective, if the internet were to shut down, I would see it as an attack, were certain agencies might isolate the areas of outages...

As a hedge for you future, I do not see this as a problem, as its an investment in technology; in progression. If we cease to progress as a 'global' society.. Well, bitcoin would slide down the scale on Maslow's hierarchy of needs..

(Perhaps I'm not looking at your question as you intended..)


Morse Code! Wow, thats amazing. Antonopoulos is pretty great.

I wonder if Bitmain and others have any contingency given the severity of what would need to be happening in the world to shut down the internet (full global electricity loss or something). for analogy: Worry about whether or not you've left the TV on during a house fire.

Partial shut downs, outages, attacks.....A different scenario, definitely not as sci-fi. Suppose a country seals itself from the rest of the world entirely. My guess here would be a whole lot of forks. The areas that stayed connected to each other would continue to mine together independently of isolated areas. But given the resilience of Bitcoin, I would guess it could survive both inside and outside of the isolated areas (so long as the internal infrastructure is still there of course). So as many forks survive into the future as there are functioning isolated areas....If the separation was quick enough, I'd think people would easily agree on a proper chain and drop the others, or fork to an agreed earlier block.

I was looking for interesting conversation so thanks!


The bitcoin network could be used/maintained using CB/HAM radios - wouldn't be great, but it would work - it would be better than Morse Code, but good ol' Morse is always a fall back.

What's stopping people from just making another internet in this hypothetical scenario? :^)


Of course yes. The work around theory. It the shut down was gradual, that'd surely happen. But if it was worldwide, say a global EMP or something that knocks out everything for a few moments, but doesn't destroy anything. I think it would be whoever was set up to rebuild an internet fast enough and that'd be the same companies and systems.

This is where precious medals come in


Definitely. I think it'd be a big surprise too that paper bills would become very valuable, especially at first. ATMs go down, no one has any money, stores still full of goods. We'd still immediately need a way to trade and with atms out, it'd be whoever had bills. In a sustained scenario, the government would need to print a ton of new bills to pay its soldiers and servants and maintain authority.


I've read some distopian novels where junk silver (pre-1964 quarters and dimes) and .22 ammo became currency.

"Alas Babylon" is a scary fictional, "Light's Out" by Ted Koppel may keep you up at night...


Toilet Paper, and Booze - cheaper to acquire and will definitely be in high demand in the case of grid-down.

The internet is a web of connections between all the nodes on the network. The internet can't just "shut down" like flipping a light switch. It would require uprooting the entire infrastructure that supports it in order to completely "shut down" the internet. This is a silly hypothetical to be honest.


haha, of course that is true, but i would never be so blunt and happily indulge any question- including this one that i get asked all the time by newcomers. . . . . However, theories are always useful toward better understanding and a global power shutdown however unlikely is not impossible. Even a hypothetical that is entirely impossible is useful toward greater understanding, Einstein was all about that.


Hi. I realize you have flagged my post. Just wondering why? The image i used? I wasnt sure of the source and have changed it to something im sure is public. Would like to know what i did wrong to avoid it next time please. Thanks

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We would had bigger problems that bitcoin, if internet falls whole sistem will fail and real value will be weapons and food!


No doubt for sure! Back to a barter system. Although paper bills and precious metals would still be used as forms of currency. . . .Easier than trading a goat for ammo.


Not too sound insanely barbaric, but, if you trade away your ammo for the goat, I hope you didn't trade off all of it, or at least are willing to use a knife. Poor goat, but again, I've heard it's close to venison.


hmmmm...hopefully its a goat we can milk and then we're good!...or even just as a store of value i guess. Keep the goat til we trade it again or someone invents Goatcoin.

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