Bitcoin’s Survival Depends on an Uncensorable Internet

In an age of unprecedented censorship, surveillance and rampant deplatforming, Bitcoin stands out as a beacon of hope. Its decentralized ledger enables value to be transmitted to anyone, anywhere without fear or favor. Whether you’re a Mongolian goat herder or a Miami drugs baron, your money is good when it’s sent as bitcoin. But Bitcoin alone is not enough. For it to function fully, it requires an uncensorable internet, from base layer to application.

Also read: Side Effects of Economic Growth: Is Snowden Right to Say Bitcoiners Shouldn’t Be Bankers?

The Quest to Create an Uncensorable Web

When mobsters want revenge on a well-protected target, they’ll settle for a softer target instead – their family. In the eyes of many politicians and bankers, Bitcoin is such a target. It has “no bullets, no bombs, no ships, no fighter jets, and no soldiers,” and has never harmed anyone, yet some want it dead. Since Bitcoin can’t easily be killed, its enemies will attack the soft targets that surround it: crypto exchanges, wallet providers, custodians and any other Bitcoin companies that can be subpoenaed and shuttered.

Bitcoin’s Survival Depends on an Uncensorable Internet

Take away the infrastructure that supports the cryptosphere, such as websites and apps, and the Bitcoin blockchain would keep faithfully chugging on. But without the ability to easily access it, to a vast swathe of the world’s population it would essentially be dead. We already inhabit a world where people are prohibited from trading on Localbitcoins or using exchanges like Bittrex and Coinbase on account of sanctions the U.S. has placed over an Iranian dispute that has nothing to do with Bitcoin. It’s easy to envisage a scenario where bitcoin starts threatening the dollar’s hegemony and authorities seek to criminalize crypto ownership.

Even if that dystopia never materializes, there’s a desperate need in the here and now for cloud computation, app stores, domain registries and web hosting that can’t be…

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