The Byzantine general is becoming a bit literal in a fascinating proposed thesis by Jason Lowery (pictured) who says he’s a “space force engineer… being on the cutting edge of architecting completely new instruments of war and violence (to deter those who would impede on US claim to rights, as flawed as we may be) is literally my job… I know weapons-grade war-deterrent technology when I see it.”
He is referring to bitcoin, with his thesis being an interesting narration that some will call peak bitcoin, while we wanted to call it ‘Yellen backtracks as the boys show up.’
The boys being those that work in the national security or national defense who have a very different perspective on bitcoin than old bankers or old economists like Janet Yellen, the Treasury Secretary, who is begging for unfettered power on the promise she won’t abuse it where the definition of crypto broker is concerned. Lowery states, and we quote at length:
“Before the discovery of cyberspace, humans had no choice but to link their property (aka abstractly-stored collective energy) to physical things, and validate its legitimate chain of custody through a type of probabilistic game of force projection we’ll call “proof-of-work.”
One of the observable complex emergent properties of societies cooperating at scale is their tendency to instinctively agree that physical property’s “fair” chain of custody is the one coupled to the most proof-of-work. Whether or not they realize it, everyone who accepts physical property’s current state of ownership as “legitimate” tacitly complies to a deceptively simple consensus protocol: the entity which projects force across time and “wins” a probabilistic, proof-of-work game we colloquially call “war” deserves the right to define its current state.
Today, (full-scale) war has become so cost prohibitive (nuclear annihilation) that society finds itself missing a “fair” way to achieve consensus on competing claims to property’s legitimate state of custody, thus creating a breeding ground for growing resentment that undermines society’s ability to scale human cooperation to its global maximum.
In search of a solution to this problem, some pioneers are attempting to redefine the form of property altogether, in search of a solution that would restore society’s ability to achieve consensus on competing claims to its legitimate state of custody and thus “fairly” resolve emerging disputes. At the forefront of this quest is a digital-synthetic commodity known as Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is an invention that attempts to implement the ideal form of property – one that perfects its function of storing energy, and one that must necessarily exist in the ethereal, nuclear-annihilation-resistant void of cyberspace in order to return society to its instinctively “fair” method of consensus. To that end, the Bitcoin protocol not only represents a candidate solution to perfect property, it also doubles as a candidate social consensus protocol that obsoletes war by serving as its functional surrogate…
War is the globally adopted Proof-of-Work social consensus protocol that nodes (countries) use to validate the legitimate state of property and its chain of custody. Militaries project force across time (i.e. energy) in a fundamental game of probability to trigger a capitulation event. This is functionally identical to Bitcoin PoW miners projecting energy to probabilistically trigger the end of each block.
The reward for militaries that succeed in probabilistically triggering capitulation, is that participating nodes (countries) will grant consensus to the military host’s claim over what the legitimate state of property is. Thus, the history of warfare (and its corresponding chain of custody) is literally just a PoW-backed blockchain. Ever noticed how the reserve currency (i.e. the globally-legitimized state of property) belongs to the country with the most powerful military? That isn’t a coincidence. Society instinctively values PoW as the “fair” consensus mechanism.
Because of their functional identity, militaries are as essential to our current system as miners are to Bitcoin… If we don’t support our country’s military counterforce posture, then another country’s military will earn their host the right to declare the legitimate state of Property… ask yourself how happy you would be with Russia or China’s interpretation of what the legitimate state of Liberty/Property is?
A main argument in this thesis would be: because bitcoin miners are functionally identical to the role of militaries, then bitcoin adoption implicitly represents the adoption of a surrogate to war with respect to achieving global consensus on the current state and chain of custody of Liberty/Property.
Said another way, bitcoin adoption represents the opportunity to partition our current state of property (i.e. our existing economy) onto a “new” blockchain that would hot-swap our current PoW-backed social consensus protocol (war) for bitcoin PoW as a surrogate consensus protocol, and dramatically reduce the functional utility of militaries/war/violence. This makes global bitcoin adoption a potentially highly disruptive and powerful technology of US strategic deterrence…
No need for kinetic warfare when we finally have a perfect 1-for-1 functional surrogate to war where nation states can hash it out (pun intended). Bitcoin is digital violence. It obsoletes messy, analog physical violence and is the ultimate “peacekeeper” missile.
If bitcoin becomes base-layer collateral for all global currencies (which game theory says is in the best interest of all countries to do, even authoritarian ones) and western allies mass adopts it first (which we now have the lead on, thanks China!), we benefit disproportionately AND we get the built-in strategic deterrent benefits of mutually assured preservation.
A war between two bitcoin-anchored nations is a war without winners. It would be a “kinetic 51% attack” that everyone would be incentivized NOT to do. Plus the winner has no ability to steal/co-opt reserve currency, no ability to cheat global btc node network to gain illegitimate claim to chain of custody, and very little to gain if the loser can (for the first time ever) can no-kidding take their wealth to the grave. Schelling point becomes to preserve your opponent, compete your values in the free market and through your bitcoin digital army of miners.”
It’s just as easy as it is difficult to attack this argument. Easy because if an opponent army seizes the mining farms, that’s a net gain for them and a net loss for you. Many of the imperial wars during the gold standard were precisely to get more gold, especially gold mines, and so why should it be any different for bitcoin.
One answer can be that bitcoin is a man made product. Unlike gold, it isn’t constrained to a physical plain and its mining distribution is not a matter of natural luck, but of human will as anyone can produce asics anywhere and use them to mine anywhere.
Another answer was provided in 2019 when the War in Syria ended as far as most are concerned. Just before the last battle, the US government is thought to have seized $2.1 billion worth of gold, but they seized no bitcoin even though it is known they used bitcoin though probably to a small extent.
This inability to locate bitcoin stored wealth, at least as easily as gold, can reduce the incentives for war and its funding through looting.
Afghanistan is currently either at the end or at the beginning of an intensification of 20 years of war. In that sort of situation, bitcoin you’d think would be the most valuable asset and by far because it does not reveal its existence.
If your mayoral office is raided, they may look for the gold and take it. If you’re on the ‘wrong’ side and have to leave, any cash you might be carrying may well be found and taken.
Unless of course it’s outside the country in digital bank accounts or digital investment platforms, but they can be a lot more difficult to access than bitcoin.
In addition although bitcoin mines can be seized, bitcoin mines can be in very remote locations which can be far better defended due to terrain advantages presuming their aim is to catch the mine intact.
On the other hand due to its fixed limit, productivity increases translate to a rise in the value of bitcoin. Wars tend to be destructive. Thus a bitcoining nation going to war against another bitcoining nation reduces the value of their own holdings and thus the strength of its own economy.
At worst thus you’d have a situation where you can not loot, you can not seize remote mining farms, and you just tanked your economy because now there is less value to be priced in bitcoin, and thus less demand for bitcoin, potentially causing inflation or worse.
Presumably you’d also have to raises taxes to fund the war just as you’re crashing the economy, which is a limitation that led to the invention of the debt system with it unclear why such debt system through fractional banking would not continue, but to a more limited extent due to self-custodian wallets.
A bitcoin system thus would reduce war, and considering the cost of war as well as the fact bitcoin offers the option of mining it anywhere rather than based on natural luck, it may well be that investing in mining would cost far less than investing in seizing bitcoin mines which are very mobile and may have gone by the time you reach the premises.
Making this proposition interesting as bitcoin wouldn’t have gold’s disadvantage of leaving your country through exports – necessitating war games to control gold mines – as you can just produce bitcoin in your own country.
Who is better in such production dominates with anyone able to compete through peaceful means, so deterring war under this thesis as the ‘war’ would be fought through mining dominance rather than military dominance.
There’s a reason afterall why nobody touches the Swiss. This thesis is suggesting that with bitcoin everyone would become the Swiss, and thus bitcoin adoption is in the national interest.