According to a recent MIT master’s thesis by a U.S. Space Force major, Bitcoin (BTC) is more than just an online payment method. Instead, the paper mentioned that the Pentagon should use it as a weapon in modern conflicts.
According 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 having soldiers on the ground and missiles in the air, countries can battle each other for block rewards. Lowery is a U.S. National Defense Fellow at MIT. He is also an astronautical engineer on active duty with the U.S. Space Force. According to the biography of his most recent book, his responsibility is to counsel top military people on the ramifications of Bitcoin.
In some aspects, Lowery compares the role of PoW competitors, to that of a game of chess and the Olympics during the Cold War. It involves a sort of rivalry that is less violent than a shooting match. The victor in PoW competitions acquires power within a distributed computer network. The ledger is then used to allocate and abstract property rights.
Can Bitcoin be used as a weapon?
Now, although the idea is very interesting, there is little chance that countries will settle differences by battling for block rewards. Can you imagine Ukraine and Russia going on about their conflict using supper massive mining rigs? Or a planet where the country with the highest hashrate is the one calling the shots? Well, yes, that would be ideal. If only things were that simple.
The idea behind the creation of cryptocurrencies was to tackle the problems within our financial system. It was not to resolve issues between nations. For that front, we may need to revamp our collective political ideas to solve geopolitical tensions.
However, if in the future Bitcoin (BTC) becomes an accepted form of currency, it could potentially benefit countries with a larger stock or nations with a higher hashrate for mining. However, that future is fairly far away, given the current climate around cryptocurrencies. Maybe in an alternate timeline, where violence is done away with, people use alternate methods to settle conflicts. Mining Bitcoin (BTC) could be one of those methods. However, for the moment, this idea only makes for fantasy reading, or maybe even a good movie.