I read a forum comment on bitcointalk.org that struck me, put my mind upside down, and allowed me to see a much different future for Bitcoin and the alternate coins. Although at the beginning the creation of alternate coins was seen by the Bitcoin community as something positive, now relations are getting rough between different networks. First, some Bitcoin users (Artforz?) have attacked the Solidcoin alternate coin with a Denial-of-service attack (DoS). Then I read a conversation between RealSolid (Lead Solidcoin developer) and Gavin Andresen (lead Bitcoin developer) where RealSolid was rude (transcript here) . I will make a prediction: There is a war coming. Initially you may think this is a war of power or reputation over the peer-to-peer currency concept. But it is not. The reason is economic, like most of the wars. The price of peer to peer coins is sustained partially by speculation over the coin rapid valuation. Like any other network effect, the more users buy the coin, the higher the value the coin has. The creation of alternate coins erode the price of Bitcoin, because speculators then have a wider range of options to invest. The decrease may be imperceptible at first, but as long as the new currencies stand, the difference will became apparent. Bitcoin coin owners are the most interested people to keep the price high. Although very few users will publicly accept it, what Artforz has done could have helped the Bitcoin community to survive. He might be regarded as a hero. I’m not backing up such an attack, as I do not I back up aggression, in general. It’s not my opinion that counts, but the opinion of the majority of the Bitcoin community. As there was no public condemnation to Artforz or whoever attacked Solidcoin in bitcointalk.org forums, we could assume that the majority backs up the attack. What if Solidcoin retaliate by including in the official Solidcoin client application code to execute a DoS on the Bitcoin network? Will Solidcoin users accept such a change and download the new client? Maybe. Considering RealSolid temperament, and the fact that Solidcoin users lost a lot money because of the attack, this is a realistic scenario. Will Bitcoin users fight back? Surely! Money makes the world go round. They might do it by pushing the official Bitcoin client developers to include such a cyber-weapon or the may download the cyber-weapon developed by another Bitcoin user for the community. But in any case, a community has the capability to act coherently.
The first transnational communities equipped with Cyber-armies
Now imagine Bitcoin not only as a peer-to-peer currency, but as a coherent, self-defense capable, transnational economic founded community, equipped with an army of 60K computing nodes capable of performing a DoS attack against the enemy of the moment. I think that, eventually, both sides will transform their user base in transnational cyber-armies.
Will they arrive to the conclusion of Mutually Assured Destruction before they do so, as in the famous movie Wargames?
Or maybe the first transnational cyberwar is coming.