Why Everything That Should Hurt Bitcoin Only Makes It Stronger

Bitcoin loves being attacked. Bitcoin especially likes it when something tries to kill it. And it’s also very fond of people trying to ban it or trying to replace it with something “better”. When it comes to attacks on Bitcoin, the question isn’t “what’s going to kill Bitcoin?”; it’s “what’s going to make Bitcoin bigger, stronger, better, and more valuable?”.

Bitcoin was born with many capabilities that protect it against the kinds of attacks that would instantly damage or destroy any person, company or country. (Yes, Bitcoin could survive a nuclear attack). Bitcoin can also develop new defences that it previously lacked. It can add or learn new capabilities because it is software and it strongly incentivizes people who own bitcoins to create and install these defences.

All of Bitcoin’s battles take place out in the open. Each time Bitcoin successfully fends off a new attack in the real world, the whole world gets to see that Bitcoin is invulnerable to yet one more thing. As a result, observers can all see that Bitcoin has proven itself to be stronger than was believed. Some of these witnesses then begin to use Bitcoin, or to use it more than they had previously. This makes Bitcoin more valuable. When Bitcoin becomes more valuable, that usually attracts new attackers, allowing this glorious process to begin anew.

Even when it comes to the very people who are attacking Bitcoin, or those cheering them on, Bitcoin does not prevent them from using it when the attack is over; nor even during the attack for that matter. Bitcoin welcomes all its enemies as equally as it does its allies. Bitcoin is always ready to make peace with everyone, even with those who fought against it. Bitcoin holds no grudges against anyone and will treat its enemies exactly as it treats everyone else.

One of the most significant ways Bitcoin grows is by proving itself capable of adapting to and surviving attacks.

Many corporations and institutions are beginning to store their wealth in Bitcoin precisely for this reason. They once expected Bitcoin to die. In fact many of them expected it to die because they tried to kill it by preventing their customers from accessing it. They now see that this strategy only hurt themselves, not Bitcoin. So now they are coming around, and in so doing, they are making Bitcoin more valuable and more widely adopted.

The same is true of people who developed and invested in competitors to Bitcoin, expecting to kill it by replacing it. They couldn’t match Bitcoin’s unique features, but Bitcoin could patch into itself any improvements they may actually have had.

Not every attack is easily defeated. Bitcoin has been through some very frightening and drawn out battles. The most severe of these, in my opinion, was when powerful people within Bitcoin’s ecosystem tried to betray it. But even in that worst case example, Bitcoin dealt a lesson to all involved — enemy and ally alike — that it could resist such an attack. As such, it has demonstrated to all those stakeholders that it is pointless to mount such an attack ever again.

This article is not meant to discourage anyone from attacking Bitcoin if they have some clever attack planned. Instead, it asks that they please do attack it and give it their very best shot. It’s for the good of Bitcoin.

Want more? This entire series (plus a 26th bonus article) is available as a pdf or kindle ebook at https://swanbitcoin.com/whybitcoin.

Note: To understand some more about how Bitcoin manages to be unstoppable, I’ve written another article in this series, “Why Nobody Can Stop Bitcoin”.

This is article twelve of my Why Bitcoin series.

Here is the next one:

Destroying the lies that imprison people