The recent megaupload site shut down made me wonder ... will it happen to bitcoin? All these mining sites; all the government has to do is cut off the head of the snake (the most popular mining sites), and the rest of the sites will be too afraid to continue. If and when that happens, will bitcoin die?
Just curious as to what are some of your thoughts ...
Bitcoin only needs enough mining to occur so that no individual or cartel has 51% of the hashing power.
If half the network were to be blocked or shut down some how (e.g., all ISPs suddenly block port 8332), the remaining half would continue mining away, though the blocks would be solved half as fast for the next a couple weeks or so, depending on the timing.
And it would take a matter of hours probably for alternate methods of mining to start being widely used (e.g., Tor, VPN or privately shared IP/port number)
As far as being "too afaid to continue", if a situation developed where the government were to go after miners by force things would already have deteriorated sufficiently that the miners left aren't necessarily those that would back away from the challenge.
About two decades ago, Philip R. Zimmerman and other cypherpunks were continuously being asked by the press and at business meetings about what the government would do to them when the day came it would crack down on their efforts to get cryptography software (PGP) into the parts of the world where it was badly needed.
Ends up, Philip says, the government "never once" even contacted them.