It’s not often that a lengthy academic paper on bitcoin is considered a page-turner, yet a thesis written by an active-duty United States Space Force major intends to spark enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency beyond its financial use case. In “Softwar: A Novel Theory on Power Projection and the National Strategic Significance of Bitcoin”, Major Jason Lowery establishes and explores his “Power Projection Theory”. Under this concept, the proof-of-work system underlying Bitcoin transaction verification can be leveraged by military powers to impose restrictions on bad actors by making them do a steep amount of physical work in the form of crunching numbers. For this vision to become reality, Lowery argues that the U.S. should stockpile Bitcoin and foster a domestic Bitcoin mining infrastructure, and extend 2nd amendment protections to the technology.
The thesis has gained extensive recognition, with the paperback version ranking second in both books on technology and engineering on Amazon. It has received over 200 ratings with an average of nearly 5 stars on Amazon, many of the reviews praising its well thought-out arguments. However, a few reviewers express that the paper is lacking due to overly ambitious wishful thinking, arguments based on opinion, and even Matrix-style quotes that “detract from the seriousness of the topic.”
In his paper, Lowery notes that inadequate control of Bitcoin held on behalf of the U.S. government poses a threat to the nation’s national security. He expresses concern that the country has forfeited a strategically vital power if it fails to consider stockpiling reserves or at the very least encouraging the adoption of the cryptocurrency. The sale of seized Bitcoin by the U.S. of $215 million last month paints a different picture; the reliance of the government on Bitcoin for national security is not shared by all U.S. entities.
In terms of securing software systems, Lowery proposes creating programs that only respond to external signals if they come with a large enough Bitcoin transaction recorded on the network. This will help to prevent adversaries from flooding servers with fake signals and causing damage. To match the 2nd Amendment endorsement, Lowery compares Bitcoin to the Maritime trade routes, noting that freedom of navigation on the network should be safeguarded just as we protect trade routes.
The potential implications of Bitcoin on the world’s geopolitical stage are immense, and, if Lowery’s theories are correct, the cryptocurrency could become a military-grade solution for securing information. “The U.S. should recognize that the technology it is elected to oppose today may enable the nation’s security tomorrow,” Lowery states.
Though the crypto community is currently facing monopoly attacks from the U.S. government, cryptocurrency advocates are attempting to navigate the bureaucratic and political challenges that Bitcoin is facing. If this is accomplished, the technology may perhaps play a pivotal role in the future of cybersecurity and national defense.