safety – How can authorities “seize” bitcoins?


It’s not essentially true that no quantity of drive or authority could cause or forestall any switch of Bitcoin. The protocol doesn’t permit arbitrary seizures or blocking, however there are nonetheless human components concerned.

Bitcoin is decentralized, so there is no such thing as a central authority that governments can go to (or coerce) to drive or disallow transactions. Nevertheless Bitcoin remains to be owned by folks, and folks will be compelled to carry out sure actions that they don’t essentially wish to do. Whereas a authorities can’t command the Bitcoin community to make a transaction to occur, they’ll go to a selected particular person who owns Bitcoin and coerce them to make a transaction

Moreover, governments usually have the facility to arbitrarily seize property owned by folks. They will do that by drive and bodily taking issues away. That is usually how Bitcoin is seized – the {hardware} that comprises the personal keys is bodily taken by the federal government. As soon as they’ve entry to the personal keys, the federal government can carry out any transactions that they want. There’s nothing that Bitcoin can do to stop this; it’s as much as the person to make sure the safety of their personal keys.

For disallowing transactions, that is a lot tougher. Nevertheless, as earlier than, there’s nonetheless a human issue concerned. On this case, it is miners who produce blocks. A authorities might mandate that miners working of their jurisdiction will not be allowed to create blocks containing sure transactions. If all miners had been to observe such mandates, then a transaction might stay unconfirmed indefinitely and thus be successfully disallowed.

Nevertheless that is a lot tougher to do. The decentralized nature of mining signifies that miners who’re in different jurisdictions that don’t require censoring sure transactions can mine these transactions. Moreover, miners who can defend their anonymity and are prepared to interrupt some legal guidelines can mine these censored transactions too.

Even when no present miner is prepared to mine a censored transaction as a result of their governments threaten them, extra folks might merely start to mine who don’t essentially observe the identical censorship necessities. Mining being decentralized permits anybody to be a miner, albeit at a excessive preliminary price at present. Governments might additionally attempt to snuff out the non-censoring miners by means of drive, probably by means of seizure or destruction of mining {hardware}. Besides, folks will nonetheless be capable of mine, and there’ll inevitably be some miner on the market who’s prepared to make a block that features a transaction censored by each different miner. So ultimately, it’s really not potential to disallow a transaction.

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