A United States Space Force officer argues Bitcoin’s underlying proof-of-work protocol mirrors time-tested military deterrence and warrants a priority investigation by the Department of Defense.
In a letter to the Defense Innovation Board, Major Jason Lowery contends blockchains like Bitcoin “represent an offset strategy for the 21st century.” He draws attention to software systems’ intrinsic cybersecurity flaws, which encoding cannot always effectively protect against.
Lowery focuses much of his analysis on the strategic potential of “proof-of-work” technologies that concentrate electrical power to secure networks. He explicitly challenges military leaders’ limited interpretations of Bitcoin as just an inefficient financial database.
Lowery says Bitcoin is the beginning of a cybersecurity revolution
“Bitcoin is not merely a cryptocurrency but the beginning of a cybersecurity revolution. It converts the global electric power grid into a large, physically costly computer, or ‘macrochip’ and uses it to physically constrain malicious actors and safeguard a wide range of data and messages traversing the internet.Lowery writes
The Space Force officer argues proof-of-work innovations like Bitcoin may one day rank among history’s most transformative deterrence breakthroughs if the national security apparatus moves quickly to evaluate real-world applications.
He cautions against discounting the non-financial risks associated with Bitcoin, since doing so could give up strategic advantages to competitors who are better aware of the ongoing paradigm change.
“If the observations in this letter are accurate, the DoD might have already lost valuable time and opportunities by not fully appreciating this technology’s potential beyond its original classification as electronic cash,” Lowery argues. “It’s crucial now to recognize this oversight and respond with urgency.”
The letter demonstrates the increasing recognition in military academia of distributed ledgers’ expanding application to national security issues. Given the exponential growth of cyber hazards, BTC’s dominance in global computing provides new ways to offset increasing digital risks.