"This is your last chance to stop ISPs from messing up your Internet," proclaims Battle for the Net in bold, vibrant letters.
And for those involved with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and other altcoins, that could really be true. If Net Neutrality is indeed revoked, many believe it will be technically possible (and likely probable) for internet service providers (ISPs) to block or throttle cryptocurrency transactions and mining operations.
In fact, most ISPs already have deep packet inspection (DPI) boxes that are capable of isolating traffic, then throttling, blocking, or otherwise directing it based on targeting factors that their programs select. In layman's terms, that means they can sift through the information or websites that you are trying to send or receive, then target certain types, for example videos, streaming audio, or in this case blockchain transaction data, and then slow it down, change where it points to, or ban it altogether, if they see fit.
What's more is that they can do it the other way around too! If you are a highly active user, perhaps one who has been identified as a Bitcoin miner, your ISP might be legally allowed to throttle your upload and download speeds.
So why does Net Neutrality matter to somebody who doesn't mine for cryptocurrency?
It's not sectret that a major hurdle for crypto-exchange is the transaction approval time. In some cases, people already become frustrated by the pace of transactions over cryptocurrency. That is because your transaction is relying on the successful completion of a block within the blockchain, by a miner on the other side. Imagine now that all miners internet was throttled to half their old speed.
A transaction that took seconds before now takes minutes. A transfer of many tokens could take hours.
Now imagine a time when there is a downward trend in Bitcoin. You bought 10 coins long ago, and you've seen a great return on investment, but you think a short-term down turn is coming. You need to sell, and sell quickly!
If you saw the price dip coming at 2:30 PM on Nov 29, 2017, but your Bitcoin transaction took hours to complete, you would stand to lose as much as $1,700 per coin, or $17,000 (U.S. Fiat) in total.
Interested in Net Neutrality's Impact on Cryptocurrency & Bitcoin now?
From a practical standpoint, I believe that the impact likely won't be as significant to your web experience as some have made it out to be, however. If the (semi) free market has anything to say about it, it would seem likely that a rebel ISP looking to carve out its niche market share would come about, allowing users to browse unimpeded, but that would not be a simple endeavor. I suppose all one can say for now is that the jury is out, but we'll be watching this progress with telescope & microscope in hand.