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The biggest threats to Bitcoin in 2020


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One of the most respected names when it comes to Bitcoin, Andreas Antonopoulos, shared his opinion on what factors or global events could seriously threaten Bitcoin's existence in 2020 and in the years to come. It turns out that the list is quite short.

Bitcoin would probably survive a 51% attack

First, Antonopoulos noted that 51% attacks – usually the biggest nuisance when it comes to Bitcoin's existential threats – are not so scary in reality. While it is theoretically possible for a large group of malicious actors to try to control 51% – or more – of Bitcoin's hashrate to disrupt the network, such attacks are extremely expensive and not very effective.

“Such attacks are too expensive to carry out, require enormous coordination, offer very little benefit and can be easily frustrated. So, for such a high cost, so little reward and so great a risk, we haven't seen 51% attacks and I don't think we will see those attacks, ”said Antonopoulos.

He added that even if a 51% attack occurred, Bitcoin would likely survive, as there is not much that bad guys can do during the attack. They would not be able to steal people's money, change consensus rules or turn invalid transactions into valid ones. This is due in large part to the decentralized nature of Bitcoin, as it is not just the miners who validate the transactions – they are also nodes, exchanges and traders.

Is Bitcoin Disaster-Proof?

Speaking of more catastrophic events, Antonopoulos said that while a major electrical failure could certainly hit Bitcoin, existing banks and financial systems will suffer a much more serious impact.

"Bitcoin would be one of the first things to come back" in the event of an electrical failure or a natural disaster that would damage infrastructures such as the Internet or the power grid, said Antonopoulos.

Bitcoin is not just a self-financing system; its decentralized community of users, miners and node operators has many incentives to rebuild its local infrastructure in a timely manner.

Bitcoin does not depend on an Internet connection to operate in some cases. For example, Blockstream's satellite network allows transactions to be made only with a TV satellite dish and a smart device. "Bitcoin requires only one means of communication," said Antonopoulos; even shortwave radio or telephone lines could be used in certain cases.

Likewise, while combined attacks against mining equipment – such as viruses – can be problematic, they are "survivable" and would result in quick solutions, added Antonopoulos.

With hackers and natural disasters out of the way, what is the next biggest threat to Bitcoin?


What would happen if governments get in the way of Bitcoin?

If there is one thing that worries Antonopoulos, it is the political attacks on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In particular, he is concerned with “stealth political attacks”, like changing the tax status of cryptocurrency, in order to make it go underground. "I think these attacks could alienate much of the middle class and speculative investors, who would not be at risk of opposing governments to use Bitcoin," explained Antonopoulos.

He stressed that, in his opinion, more than half of the human population lives under totalitarian, dictatorial or authoritarian regimes, in which "opposing the government is a matter of life and death".

Seen in this light, he concluded, breaking the law to use Bitcoin would probably be the least of the offenses possible, while "the incentives are totally different".

* Translated and republished with authorization from

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