Can Bitcoin be Hacked

Hacker attempting to crack Bitcoin vault
Hacking Bitcoin

As a relatively new technology, concerns about the security of funds on the Bitcoin blockchain may linger in the minds of its users. The digital nature of Bitcoin prompts questions about its underlying technologies such as its cryptography or the blockchain itself. However, since its inception, Bitcoin has remained impervious to failures or hacks, making it one of the most robust computer networks on the planet. Bitcoin’s advanced cryptography, decentralized structure, and the immense energy backing the network establish it as an impenetrable fortress of the digital economy.

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Blockchain Technology

The Bitcoin blockchain is a decentralized ledger upheld by a global network of nodes (computers running the Bitcoin software). Each node holds a copy of the blockchain and updates the ledger when a new block of transactions is added to the chain. This chain of blocks, and thus the Bitcoin ledger is both unbreakable and immutable. This is because each new block added contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, forming an unbreakable chain. 

Once a block is added to the chain, it becomes impossible to alter any information in it, ensuring the integrity of the entire transaction history. This immutability ensures no one can tamper with the state of the ledger to acquire more bitcoins for themselves or take bitcoins from others. Furthermore, the transparent and public nature of the Bitcoin blockchain allows anyone to verify transactions, extending trust and accountability within the network.


As previously discussed, Bitcoin is a global network of nodes running the Bitcoin software and maintaining the blockchain ledger. There is no central authority in Bitcoin and this decentralized structure prevents a single entity from ever having undue influence over the network. The absence of a central authority makes it virtually impossible for hackers to target and compromise the entire network at once.

Even in a scenario where a subset of nodes faced an attack or were shut down, the Bitcoin network would continue to function and validate transactions as intended through the remaining nodes. With no single point of failure, Bitcoin remains impervious to hacking or shut downs. The decentralization of Bitcoin is also what allows for resistance to censorship. Transactions cannot be arbitrability blocked or reversed, enabling true financial freedom for its users.


Introducing another layer of security to the network, Proof-of-Work (PoW), the process by which new bitcoins are mined and brought into circulation, backs the Bitcoin network with an immense amount of computational power. While we covered how an attack on Bitcoin nodes is infeasible, we must shift our attention to an attack on Bitcoin miners, another key player in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Bitcoin miners dedicate processing power (electricity) to produce new bitcoins for the network in a process known as mining. Currently, there are over 100 terra-watt hours (TWh) backing Bitcoin, making it economically unfeasible for any new entity to amass enough computing power to compromise the network.

Theoretically, an existing player(s) in the Bitcoin mining space could attempt to compromise the Bitcoin network using the full force of their computing power, however, they would need to amass over 50% of the entire network's computing power to do so. Currently, no entity in the mining ecosystem possesses even close to 50% of the network's computing power. 

Furthermore, the economic incentives of the Bitcoin network are skewed against such a scenario. Bitcoin miners are rewarded with new bitcoins for acting honestly and in the best interest of the network. It is much more beneficial for them to play alongside the existing ruleset and be rewarded for their efforts than to attack the network and gain nothing. 

In sum, the economic incentives are such that miners are motivated to contribute to the stability and security of the Bitcoin network above all else. If an attack were to occur, it would have been much more feasible in the early days of Bitcoin when its node set and computational power were minimal compared to where they have grown today.


Zooming into the smaller details, Bitcoin employs advanced cryptography in its transaction architecture to guarantee the integrity and authenticity of all transactions in the network. Bitcoin utilizes cryptographic keys — a public key for receiving bitcoin and a private key for authorizing outgoing transactions. Public keys are derived from your private key and can be shared openly, while the corresponding private key is kept secret and only known to the owner. This design contributes to secure and confidential transactions since anyone can send funds to a public key but only the holder of the corresponding private key can access the funds.

Digital signatures further fortify transactions, a sender’s private key will sign an outgoing transaction and the recipients can verify the transaction is 100% authentic using their public key. This ensures there can be no double spending or counterfeit transactions in the Bitcoin network. Underpinning these cryptographic tools is Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), which provides a secure way to generate public/private keys and digital signatures. These components combined form the robust cryptographic foundation of the Bitcoin network allowing it to function as a secure and trustworthy digital currency.


While Bitcoin’s digital nature may prompt initial concerns surrounding the possibility of a hack, we have explored how its decentralized structure and computational power paired with blockchain and cryptography technologies make hacking the Bitcoin network next to impossible. This may surprise many who are aware of hacks and security issues in the digital age we live in, however, Bitcoin introduces new variables to its design that make it unlike any other network on the planet. Bitcoin’s security model, bolstered by Proof-of-Work, a fault-tolerant set of nodes, and advanced cryptography leaves its users in safe hands, ensuring the ability to transact safely and securely in all walks of life.