A Severed Undersea Internet Cable Can Bring Bitcoin to its Knees

Over the past few years, the “Russian threat” has become a lot more prevalent than ever before. Specifically, the United States is concerned about how Russia could affect the everyday lives of American citizens. Two years ago, there was grave concern over how Russia could sever undersea internet cables. Should that happen again, Bitcoin users all over the world will be impacted as well.

Severed Undersea Internet Cables Could be Problematic

Before we go any further, it is important to keep in mind Russia has little to gain by purposefully severing undersea internet cables. In 2015, the US government grew quite concerned over this issue, as Russian submarines were floating in the vicinity of these undersea internet cables for no reason. It would take a bit of planning to sever a cable, but it is something that could happen at any time.

For the time being, there is no evidence to suggest Russia is planning such a move by any means. After all, cutting these cables would disconnect large parts of the world from the Internet. Repairing these cables is a time-consuming and a costly process. It could take days, if not weeks until such a connection would be restored. Especially if semi-hostile submarines were in the area, as that would only complicate matters even more.

Over the past few years, we have seen multiple undersea internet cables getting damaged. In most cases, this is the result of ship anchors or natural disasters. No malicious intent has ever been recorded regarding these incidents, as far as we know. Should any nation target these cables specifically, it is impossible to tell what would happen. Some cables are located at greater depths, which also makes them much more difficult to access and repair.

If such a cable were to be severed – on purpose or by accident – the repercussions would be quite severe. Undersea internet cables are vital to the world’s economy and communication. In fact, these cables are reportedly responsible for transmitting around 95% of global communications. Severing such a connection would result in global internet problems, among other things.

It is evident such a catastrophic event would severely impact Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well. Since we all need a connection to the internet to interact with cryptocurrency, it is possible the network would come to a standstill all of a sudden. This could prove to be fatal for smaller altcoin ecosystems, even though Bitcoin would be impacted quite severely as well. Mining would become impossible, no one can send transactions, and there would be no further progress whatsoever.

For the time being, it is in no nation’s best interest to cut these undersea cables by any means. Should it happen, every aspect of our daily lives will be impacted, including Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Our society relies on the Internet for virtually everything we do these days, especially when it comes to finance and communication. We can only hope Russia – or any other nation – never decided to purposefully cut such a cable.

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  • Johanne Trader

    Drama, drama…

  • drowninbleach

    Severing the cables would interrupt fiat payments as well, considering nearly all point-of-sale instruments are connected via the internet.

    • Johnny

      Fiber cuts happen all the time and do effect POS systems when they are setup badly. Prudent business owners have satellite backup which essentially uses fiber in another state or country. Also, many servers have multiple sites loaded in the POS IP database as a workaround too if a fiber cut somewhere is blocking the destination address site so it can connect to a different location.

  • xeridea

    “This could prove to be fatal for smaller altcoin ecosystems, even though Bitcoin would be impacted quite severely as well. Mining would become impossible, no one can send transactions, and there would be no further progress whatsoever.”

    Mining could be slowed, most notably bitcoin, since it is most cenralized, and 2 week block retargets, but mining would still happen. Most other coins have faster retargets, or per block difficulty adjustments. There are also alternate routes for data to travel than over a single cable. The entire world internet would not stop due to a single cable, and cryptos being decentralized has obvious advantages. Article is a bunch of hogwash.

  • Yas

    blah blah blah Bullshit!
    It’s not in Russia’s interests to shut the internet down!

    Me too I heard that a whale tried to connect to the backbone and for free

    • Johnny Swanepoel

      Regular banking would also almost come to its knees, as 97% of Fiat currencies are digital in any case..

  • Johnny

    A VPN is a workaround for a large fiber cut that is in the way of your destination to force it to re-route if it wont automatically. Never had it fail even on the largest trunk cuts.
    But, I thought the crypto coin networks were decentralized? wouldnt that mean nodes in all directions in every country to connect to anyway so it should route itself around it eventually anyway? If anything it sounds like a possible programming bug at best that can be updated and take advantage of that if it hasnt already.

    Everyday more and more fiber is getting put in the earth making this scenario less likely as more bandwidth and paths are available too. I doubt this will be a problem, and if it is it will be fixed real quick. Because time is money on a fiber cut.