Bitcoin and the Zombie Apocalypse

In the case of a zombie apocalypse, are your bitcoins of any use?

Our scenario: zombies are real and the infection has begun. TV’s are broadcasting news about the dead rising from their graves 24/7, the internet is teeming with real and imaginary zombie encounters, bloggers, journalists, youtubers and other opinion makers discuss how to avoid infection… It’s real and it’s here.

I’m sure all of you have watched/read/played post-apocalyptic movies, TV shows, books, comics and games. Most of them present a medieval world with very scarce resources, with ruthless people willing to do anything -anything- to survive and, of course, with no technology whatsoever.

No technology -no electricity, no internet, no mobile phones- means no bitcoin. There’s no room for bitcoin or any altcoin in this type of world. So this post is over.

Or is it?

We have made two assumptions here:

  1. The zombie apocalypse wipes out all our technological capabilities, in one single blow.
  2. No altcoin is possible without technological capabilities.

Let’s address these two concerns:

Even though destruction is easier than its opposite, total destruction is not so easy. I remember being taught that the internet was designed to be resilient, even to withstand a nuclear attack. Zombies may be badass, but not nuclear. A total blackout of technology will require many, many zombies and much, much time.

But there’s one thing that is not so resilient as the internet, a thing that is so fragile that even a rumor can send it crashing. That thing is the economy.

Imagine how the first news about zombies will be received in Wall Street: The crash of 1929 will look like the flutter of a butterfly’s wing compared to this typhoon. But crashes never come alone: after stock crashes the companies run out of money and they go to bankruptcy, people get anxious and pull all of their money out of the banks, so the banks also collapse, the government tries to bail them out and prints more and more money… Sounds familiar?

In a moment of economy collapse, it will become handy to have some money backed not by the government, but for something much trustworthy: math. So if you think an apocalypse is possible, I’d save some bitcoins just in case.No altcoin is possible without technological capabilities. Are we really sure of this? If we’re talking about a PoW coin, you don’t need the technological capabilities you had in the beginning of the 21st century: you only need more technological capabilities to compute the algorithm than your possible attackers. And if your capabilities have diminished, so have your potential attackers’. But you could have a PoS coin with no technology whatsoever; at least, some people think that the protocols behind the hawala or hundi payment systems are very similar to those involved in a Proof-of-Stake system.

In any case, even after the apocalypse, money will emerge before there is an actual society, for money is a very useful concept. And the best money humankind has produced until now are cryptocurrencies, right?


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