Despite Chinese ban, 145 Bitcoin nodes are still operating there
While financial institutions and ramps may be off limits, the Bitcoin P2P network is immune.
Despite the recent Bitcoin ban in China, the country still has at least 145 Bitcoin nodes online, according to data from Bitrawr.com. As centralized companies like the BTC Huobi exchange and the Alibaba e-commerce store pull bitcoin-related services out of the Asian country, distributed systems like the Bitcoin network itself can stay put.
On September 24, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) called for a nationwide ban on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies by republishing a September 15 memo. the country’s leading financial institutions to help the PBoC prevent Chinese citizens from trading the asset.
Regulated financial institutions, by definition, comply with the laws and regulations of the country in which they operate. Their centralized nature allows for easy law enforcement and direct accountability. A central source of information and truth details all activities and transactions carried out with and by the organization. As a result, two leading companies have already announced their partial or total withdrawal from China.
Bitcoin exchange Huobi said in a statement on September 26 that it will phase out existing user accounts in mainland China by December 31 and no longer open new accounts for users in that region.
E-commerce giant Alibaba also announced similar measures. The Chinese group has said it will stop selling bitcoin mining hardware on all platforms it controls, as well as any other bitcoin-related products and services.
However, distributed systems are not as easy to shut down as centralized systems. By definition, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks have more than one data source. Stopping a P2P system would require stopping all of its participating peers.
It is not known whether the Chinese government will seek to shut down the more than 145 Bitcoin nodes currently operating on its soil. According to the memo, it looks like the PBoC will focus on dismantling the ramps to BTC, rather than the network itself, closely monitoring and enforcing exchanges, websites and financial institutions in general. who are trying to trade bitcoin.
The fact that Bitcoin is a suitable P2P network, with a low cost to run nodes that allows anyone to run one on their own, ensures that governments that ban it will not see a lasting effect on capacity. of Bitcoin to remain operational. In that sense, the Chinese ban may be a good thing for Bitcoin, as it helps demonstrate all the distinguishing features of the network, including resistance to anti-fragility and censorship.
However, all 145 nodes represented by Bitrawr.com operate on the open web, which means the Chinese government could track down their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. With their IP addresses, China could figure out their locations and identities, and an effort to shut them down probably wouldn’t be very high.
But Bitcoin has an answer to this too – Tor. The anonymity network allows users and Bitcoin nodes to connect to the internet while masking their real location. Tor achieves this with its onion network, a series of layers, or hops, that seek to protect the user’s true identity and location. While not perfect, the Tor network provides a good alternative for people facing censorship to use the services they love, including Bitcoin.
China’s Great Firewall goes to great lengths to prevent users from connecting to the Tor network. However, alternatives taking advantage of Tor bridges exist for those in the Asian country looking to escape censorship. More importantly, if done correctly, the use of Tor in Bitcoin can help the Chinese enjoy true monetary independence from the Communist country without leaving any indications that they are doing so to the authoritarian government.
In fact, and because of this, the actual number of Bitcoin nodes operating in China may be well over 145, but we won’t be able to find out, also because of the Tor network.
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