Crypto Fun Facts | Crypto and Death & Crypto Death

Crypto Fun Facts

Crypto Fun Facts

What happens to your digital assets when you die? What is the relationship between cryptocurrencies and death? And what about crypto death, or rather, how do cryptocurrencies themselves die?

You would be surprised to learn about the many ways in which cryptocurrencies are affected by death. There is even a theory that suggests that Satoshi Nakamoto, the god of cryptocurrencies, is himself dead – in a kind of Nietzschean sense of the word. This could be true if Nakamoto was in fact Hal Finney, the first person who received a Bitcoin transaction from Nakamoto, and who lived not far from another suspected Satoshi, Dorian Nakamoto. Apart from Nakamoto, Hal Finney was the first person to use the software and make improvements. Finney died in August of 2014 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

But let’s forget about gods and death for a moment. What happens when crypto mortals die?

Multi-signature wallets, for example, are going to be immediately affected. If one of the validators dies, the assets are simply lost forever and cannot be accessed. Some researchers are arguing that in such cases, a trusted third party or an arbiter should exist to determine whether the person is truly dead or no. The only question is, how do you trust the arbiter – or, how do you determine for sure that the information that third party provides is true?

Another concern is, if users could gain access to funds after one of the parties who validate transactions dies, then what is stopping bad guys from killing the person who is in their way and getting all the money for themselves? This is one scenario which security experts are definitely considering.

When it comes to crypto death, on the other hand, there are two things that can kill cryptocurrencies. One of them is a “hostile takeover”. This happens when an entity which controls more than 50% of the mining capacity basically has enough power to manipulate, and even destroy the system. The other thing are quantum computers, which, once fully developed, should have enough power to undo the cryptography which makes blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies possible.

The hostile takeover issue is a real problem for Bitcoin at the moment, with many fearing that major mining pools, most of them in China, have too much power over the blockchain. When it comes to protecting cryptocurrencies from quantum computers, there are several potential solutions how the systems may have to be rebuilt, including soft forks and new, quantum-resistant addresses.


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Author: Max Rothstein

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