11 thoughts on “Bitcoin IRL: could bitcoin exist without computers?”

  1. Which means that cryptocurrency is not the future of world currency. Cryptocurrency is only a currency for a technocratic world. My theory is that whoever came up with this idea of cryptocurrency had very nefarious and sinister reasons.

  2. We could reduce the difficulty to reflect the human mind. But how will the P2P communication happen? 😛

  3. This hypothetical NEEDS to be made into an animated short film. It would be both entertaining and educational.

  4. Wonderful scenario leading to an interesting train of thought. My wife and I have been discussing on this scenario since a few weeks.
    The scenario of Monks spending their lives trying to find the next blockchain and self-realization kind of reminds me of Doctor Who – Logopolis, where monks on a particular planet use a very cosmic block-transfer mathematics to keep entropy at bay! ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logopolis)

    My gut feeling is that it'd not work, NOT because it's too complicated (as you said, a hard fork could be done or a new bitcurrency created on simpler steps). It'd fail because the concept of "virtual mining" would be too abstract a concept for people of an older generation. Even post-apocalyptic cultures would quickly degenerate to the point where this kind of "mathematical science" would not be understood by most people.

    However, I'd have been more interested in seeing you discuss how to overcome these challenges.

    For example, encryption and codes have been around for centuries. (https://www.amazon.com/Code-Book-Secret-History-Code-Breaking/dp/0007453086)

    A cryptographic hash is only used today because all other ancient forms of encryption are so easy to break or modify in today's world. But in those days (or a post-apocalyptic era without technology), simple techniques would suffice. You could use techniques that could be computed in minutes (You could use arbitrarily large prime number pairs for example – Humans would take too long to find out a prime number partner given the public prime of a particular length. ). You could use carrier pigeons / semaphores using morse code and light beacons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_lamp) setup in bit-monasteries to increase range and speed of communication. The currency could be a local one (within 50 kms range for example). There could be a consolidation period (When people rest – Sunday??) wherein transactions aren't done, or a mechanical calculator to speed up calculations (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanical_calculator).

    Then more interesting problems would crop up (would it be possible to own bitcoins that are printed/noted down on paper and verified by a bitpriest before transactions would be deemed valid?). Most villages would have a low enough rate of transaction to make it possible to have a religion based upon mathematics and heavenly validation by two-bit-priests of money transactions by the Gods of mathematical purity , but in the post-apocalyptic era, things would be very simple and slow, and the need for such involved ways of creating value would not be required.

    People would just use barter system and some coins minted in the local foundry by the order of the local king.

  5. Love this! Very fun idea that I think about sometimes. Love to see it explored realistically. Love your dry humor too.

    I imagine that if blockchains existed before computers, they would primarily be used by [slave?] pools which mine coin, and various empires, which issue currencies backed by the coin in their wallets. Most people would never interact with the blockchain, or even have knowledge of transactions.

     Question: Could the hashing primitive be changed to something simpler to calculate that perhaps is easier to brute force, but still secure since computers aren't around? That way it could still be cheap to verify.

  6. Laid back, great analogies and think you need to have more subscribers as well. Quality not quantity for now lol.

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