Wendy McElroy is ready for most doomsday scenarios: a one-year supply of nonperishable food is stacked in a cellar at her farm in rural Ontario. Her blueprint for survival also depends on working internet: part of her money, assuming she needs some after the apocalypse, is in bitcoin. Across the North American countryside, preppers such as McElroy are storing more and more of their wealth in invisible wallets in cyberspace instead of stockpiling gold bars and coins. They won’t be able to access their virtual cash when a catastrophe knocks out the power grid or the internet, but that has not dissuaded them. Staunch survivalists are convinced bitcoin will endure economic collapse, pandemic, climate change catastrophes and nuclear war. "I consider bitcoin to be a currency on the same level as gold," she says. "It allows individuals to become self-bankers. When I fully understood the concepts and their significance, bitcoin became a fascination." At first glance, it seems counterintuiti...

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