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It doesn't work at all without the peer network. However, you might be able to construct an "IOU" of sorts by creating a signed transaction offline, to be fed to the network later. (I'm not 100% sure whether anti-replay features make this impractical.)



Offline signing is common, so theoretically you could print the transactions and private-key to the account/utxo on paper and use them as physical promissory/bearer notes.

Unfortunately though, it's the network that verifies the absence of double spends, so there's no guarantee of uniqueness.

With the no internet, and limited interbank settlement, I would still bet on the value of crypto over the fiat inflation that would be used to facilitate credit-worthiness.


Crypto would only retain its value in such a situation if a significant market system, in real goods, had been developed around it. Meaning you could exchange your crypto for the things you need. (Meaning the seller would have confidence they could do the same.)

It seems like this could work, hypothetically, but given the need we have for the currency of our country, it's hard for me to imagine that crypto would hold its value in the face of some kind of massive computer failure.


Ah, I hadn't thought of that. You still couldn't double-spend on the network, but you could double-spend the offline IOUs :)


> However, you might be able to construct an "IOU" of sorts by creating a signed transaction offline, to be fed to the network later.

And if you grant the holder of that IOU the sole right to print and distribute notes representing subdivisions of that debt, you’ll find yourself back at cash!


Each such IOU would be tied to a single specific bitcoin. That's not very much like cash, unless your definition is loose enough to call every stock, bond, and collectible in the world cash.




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