According to a recent MIT master’s thesis by a US Space Force major, Bitcoin (BTC) is more than just an online payment method. Instead, the paper stated that the Pentagon should use it as a weapon in modern conflicts.
According to to Major Jason Lowery, the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus protocol used by BTC represents a significant change in the potential for global warfare. Instead of soldiers on the ground and missiles in the air, countries can compete with each other for block rewards. Lowery is a US National Defense Fellow at MIT. He is also an active duty astronautical engineer in the US Space Force. According to the biography of his most recent book, his responsibility is to advise top military personnel on the consequences of Bitcoin.
In some ways, Lowery likens the role of PoW competitors to that of a game of chess and the Olympics during the Cold War. It involves a kind of rivalry less violent than a shooting competition. The winner of PoW competitions gains power within a distributed computer network. The ledger is then used to allocate and abstract property rights.
Can Bitcoin Be Used as a Weapon?
While the idea is very interesting, countries are unlikely to resolve disputes by competing for block rewards. Can you imagine Ukraine and Russia going on about their conflict using massive mining rigs? Or a planet where the country with the highest hashrate is in control? Well, that would be ideal. If only things were that simple.
The idea behind the emergence of cryptocurrencies was to address the issues within our financial system. It was not to solve problems between nations. For that front, we may need to rethink our collective political ideas to resolve geopolitical tensions.
However, if Bitcoin (BTC) becomes an accepted form of currency in the future, it could potentially benefit countries with a larger supply or countries with a higher hash rate for mining. However, that future is pretty far off given the current climate surrounding cryptocurrencies. Perhaps in an alternate timeline, where violence has been abolished, people use alternate methods of resolving conflict. Bitcoin (BTC) mining could be one of those methods. At the moment, however, this idea only makes for fantasy reading, or maybe even a good movie.