Jeff Garzik zombie-proofs bitcoin

Wednesday 01 April 2015

It’s a problem that has doubtless occurred to most bitcoiners at one point or another. In the event of a global disaster, such as a total social collapse, meteor strike or Zombie Apocalypse, the financial system as we know it will be over. No banks, no ATMs, no wire transfers, no cheques, no PayPal...


It’s the perfect situation for bitcoin to thrive, becoming the dominant currency for post-apocalyptic commerce and increasing 10 or 100-fold in value.

If only it wasn’t for its troublesome dependency on the Internet.

The problem of reliable cash in the event of a zombie infestation is what has prompted core bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik to sign a contract between his startup, Dunvegan Space Systems, and Deep Space Industries. The deal will see the creation of 24 nanosatellites for the BitSat programme, which aims to fire the blockchain into space - freeing from its reliance on its earthly internet connections and enabling its propagation without reference to data received from undead-vulnerable ground stations. When all 24 satellites are deployed, continuous ground coverage will be possible. You can read a one-page summary of the plan here. (The overview is light on the programme’s resilience to interference from animated corpses and other forms of living dead, but clearly evident between the lines.)

Communication with the satellites will be via S-band frequency: the same frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum used for microwave ovens, amateur radio and home digital telephone and networking equipment. ‘In a Walking Dead-type scenario, you’re basically dependent on using ammunition or bottled water as a form of cash’, a source close to the project said. ‘This initiative means that anyone with a car battery, a pimped microwave and a predilection for the movie Convoy will be able to query the blockchain.’

Moreover, relocating the blockchain in space has significant security advantages. ‘Zombies are known for being tenacious,’ commented the source, ‘but there’s no a single known case of one flying a space ship. In Firefly you had Reavers, which I suppose bear some superficial resemblance to zombies, such as their feral communication and limited social skills. But to be honest, you could say the same about a lot of software developers. Point is that zombies are more interested in cannibalism than taking down communications networks, so putting the blockchain into space effectively puts it beyond the kind of casual vandalism zombies are known to perpetrate in their lust for human flesh.’

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