We often hear proponents, like Andreas Antonopoulos, say things along the lines of Bitcoin being an application of the Blockchain technology and that Bitcoin as a currency can fail, but blockchain technology will continue.

But the blockchain is only secure (and therefore useful) if there is a large enough and diverse enough (e.g. no one with >50% of the mining power) network of miners securing the network.

If the USD to BTC value goes down too low, or Bitcoin as a currency (for whatever reason) fails, the miners will stop mining. Is it therefore possible that this could then make the bitcoin blockchain technology insecure and put the other applications built on top of the blockchain technology at risk?

I guess one might say, what Andreas means is that new blockchain mining networks, independent of bitcoin could be setup. But what makes the bitcoin blockchain so good, is because the network of miners is so large (and therefore so secure), is it not?

3 Answers 3


There are a few examples of how alternative, non-currency, applications of blockchains are secured. In most cases, it involves formally requiring some sort of a new blockchain token to use the service that the alternative blockchain provides.

  • Namecoin is the prime example that comes to mind. Namecoin was the first ever fork of Bitcoin to make an altcoin. It uses its own token (namecoins) to register domain names. Thus, the mining is incentivized through a token which provides access to the service that the block chain provides. This model could be applied to other applications.

  • You may also find Counterparty to be an interesting example. They have their own token (XCP) that limits access to the creation of new tokens. From what I have read, however, they use transactions on the bitcoin block chain for security and use XCP for spam prevention. This is an interesting case because it shows how the bitcoin blockchain can be used for something other than just the transferring of bitcoins.

It all comes down to there being a use-case for your blockchain. Bitcoin is mainly advertised as a new currency, so if it no longer is valued as a currency, then the chain will likely become insecure.

  • I had heard about namecoin before but assumed it used the bitcoin blockchain too. Good to know this is false. I'm still having a hard time understanding how namecoin as a domain registrar works though.. another Q for SE I guess. Thanks for the answer and edit, marking as accepted.
    – alexkb
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 3:02

I understand it exactly the same way as you .. the currency needs to be worth the time and effort of the miners or at least the have to believe it is in the long run.

  • Thanks. Glad I'm not the only one concerned.
    – alexkb
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 2:59

He means that the use case of currency may bot be successful and other alt could get it right Or be more advanced and replace bitcoin but that blockchain technology cannot be uninvented.

PD, Namecoin uses another blockchain that is mined at the same time with bitcoin. Only BTC miners can get NMC. Why not 100% of them do it is another story.

  • What do you mean by PD?
    – Nick ODell
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 6:39

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